Financial Independence Day
As I gear up for another year of celebrating our nation's independence with friends and family I am reminded that many of my favorite 4th of July activities mirror those that I envision myself enjoying in retirement. With the onset of summer, I always wish I had more time to bask in the warmth and festivities of the season; all of my favorite leisure activities, that I can’t wait to do more of, once I am no longer working.
I have yet to meet an American who doesn't have detailed plans for how they want to spend their retirement.
One of the freedoms that come with living in this great country is the ability to define ourselves and chase down our dreams - whatever they may be. Whether it is boating, hiking, fishing, travel, golf or touring wineries, I have yet to meet an American who doesn't have detailed plans for how they want to spend their retirement. Pondering the different freedoms available to Americans, I continually come back to the concept of financial independence. In my world, retirement planning is directly related to achieving financial health and comfort; something that Americans strive for and many feel is a basic right that is attainable in this country.
The “American Dream” can often be summarized as the ability to achieve the financial freedom or independence that will allow us to live out our retirement years enjoying the finer things in life as defined by our own set of personal criteria.
Although we all have a clear picture of what we want retirement life to encompass, too few of us have a clear understanding of how to make it happen or where to start. Too often we shy away from asking questions that will help us find the tools to move in the right direction.
As Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) with an independent TPA (Third Party Administration) professional practice, I spend my days thinking about how to facilitate efficient and effective retirement savings programs for private businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Many people assume that I am an investment advisor or traditional financial planner. This is not the case. My job is to design ways for people to save enough money to need the services of an investment advisor.
We all know that the basic purpose of an investment advisor is to strategically invest money for growth. However, to make your money work for you, you must first have something set aside to be invested.
In the United States one of the most powerful tools available to the hard-working American is a 401(k) Plan. These plans are flexible and simple for employees to utilize. They can be sponsored by a variety of private employers from individual sole proprietors to large corporations and even may types of nonprofits. 401(k) Plans are also extremely strategic for employers; they can be custom designed to provide a wide range of tax and savings benefits to help meet a variety of business goals. In short, 401(k) retirement savings plans are great for both business owners and their employees; a well designed 401(k) plan can help solve the “how to obtain financial independence” question that keeps us up at night.
In the spirit of independence, and living the American Dream, I would challenge all who are not actively saving a company retirement plan, to ask a simple question of their employer - or of themselves - for all of you who are self-employed:
Do we have a company 401(k) or other similar retirement savings plan?
If so - How can I participate and make the most of it?
If not - Have you explored the business and tax benefits of offering a 401(k) retirement savings plan?