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Why Your 401k & IRA Might Not Secure Your Future

Updated: May 13


Are you solely relying on your 401k or IRA for retirement? Think again. Limited control, market volatility, tax implications, and hidden fees can hinder your financial security. Explore alternatives for a more robust retirement plan. Jenkins-Financial Group can help!



Relying on your employer's 401k or IRA might NOT be the best decision for your retiement? It's time to rethink your strategy. These government-designed plans are not as beneficial as you think...


Here's why:


  • Limited Control: Your investment options are restricted, limiting your ability to tailor your savings to your needs.

  • Market Volatility: Fluctuations in the market can erode your savings, leaving you vulnerable during economic downturns.

  • Tax Implications: While contributions offer upfront tax benefits, withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income, potentially reducing your retirement income.

  • Hidden Fees: Many plans come with undisclosed fees, eating into your returns over time.


Let's explore the scenario of James, who has diligently saved $1 million in his 401k over the years. As he begins withdrawing his retirement savings, he encounters various fees and taxes that impact his overall income:


  1. Management Fees: James's 401k plan charges a management fee of 1% annually on his account balance. This amounts to $10,000 per year, deducted from his withdrawals.

  2. Administrative Fees: On top of management fees, James faces administrative fees of 0.5% annually, totaling $5,000 per year. These fees cover the costs of maintaining and managing his 401k account.

  3. Investment Fees: James's 401k invests in mutual funds, which charge an average investment fee of 0.75% annually. This adds up to $7,500 per year in investment fees.

  4. Withdrawal Penalties: If James decides to withdraw funds from his 401k before the age of 59 ½, he'll incur a 10% early withdrawal penalty on top of income taxes. Let's assume he withdraws $100,000 in one year before reaching the eligible age, resulting in a penalty of $10,000.

  5. Federal Income Tax: Withdrawals from James's 401k are subject to federal income tax. Assuming he falls into the 24% tax bracket, he'll owe $24,000 in federal taxes on his $100,000 withdrawal.

  6. State Income Tax: James also needs to consider state income tax. Let's say he lives in a state with a 5% income tax rate. This adds an additional $5,000 in state taxes on his $100,000 withdrawal.


Now, let's calculate the total deductions from James's $100,000 withdrawal:


  • Management Fees: $10,000

  • Administrative Fees: $5,000

  • Investment Fees: $7,500

  • Withdrawal Penalty: $10,000

  • Federal Tax: $24,000

  • State Tax: $5,000


Total Deductions: $61,500


After accounting for fees, penalties, and taxes, James is left with only $38,500 from his $100,000 withdrawal. This significant reduction in his withdrawal amount underscores the importance of understanding the various costs associated with accessing retirement savings in a 401k plan. It also highlights the impact these deductions can have on James's retirement income and overall financial stability.


IS THERE A SOLUTION? YES!!!


Look beyond traditional plans and explore alternative retirement savings strategies.


Consider the benefits of a properly structured plan that offers:


  • Flexible Contributions: Adjust your payments based on your financial situation and goals.

  • Market Protection: Shield your savings from market volatility while still benefiting from potential growth.

  • Tax Advantages: Enjoy tax-free access to your savings during retirement, maximizing your income.

  • Transparency: Choose a plan with clear terms and no hidden fees, empowering you to make informed decisions about your financial future.


Let's delve into the scenario of Mark, who has diligently saved $1 million in his Indexed Universal Life (IUL) insurance policy. As he considers accessing his retirement savings, let's calculate the potential costs and benefits compared to James's 401k scenario:


  1. Policy Fees: Mark's IUL policy incurs an annual fee of 0.2% on his account balance, totaling $2,000 per year.

  2. Tax Considerations: Mark's IUL policy allows for tax-free access to the cash value accumulated within the policy. Therefore, Mark can access his $100,000 withdrawal without any tax deductions.

  3. Flexibility: Mark can access his cash value through withdrawals or policy loans without penalties. Let's assume he decides to withdraw $100,000 from his policy.

  4. Market Protection: Mark's IUL policy provides protection against market downturns, shielding his principal from market losses.

  5. Legacy Planning: Mark can leave a tax-free legacy for his beneficiaries. Any remaining cash value in the policy can be passed on to his heirs.

  6. Death Benefit: Mark has a death benefit which he can leave to his loved ones on the event of his passing.


Now, let's calculate the total deductions and remaining amount for Mark's $100,000 withdrawal:


  • Policy Fee: $2,000 (annual fee)

  • Withdrawal Amount: $100,000


Total Deductions: $2,000


By embracing a more efficient way to save and invest for your future, you can take control of your retirement and work towards achieving your financial goals.

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