CPA Olga Kovaliov of Davie Kaplan CPAs and the New York State Society of CPAs discussed retirement savings options and one big mistake to avoid Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“While some expenses decrease during retirement, other expenses, such as health care actually increase significantly,” noted Kovaliov. “Social Security is often not enough to cover all those expenses and health care is only increasing in cost. So it’s really important to plan ahead.”
Kovaliov said start saving as early as possible. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to start saving as early as you are able to do so. I know coming out of college, retirement was the last thing on my mind. So I would suggest for any graduate to start saving right away, even if it’s just a small amount. Time is the biggest advantage you have when it comes to compounding of contributions and earnings. So if you haven’t started saving, start right away. Even if you’re 50 years old, there’s still time to build up your savings for retirement.”
The first step in saving for retirement could involve an employer sponsored plan. “The first thing you want to do is start participating in your employer sponsored retirement plan, if it’s available to you and you haven’t done so already,” Kovaliov said. “Start by contributing a small portion of your earnings. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Like I said, time is a very important factor. If you’re really set on maximizing your retirement you can contribute up to $19,000 in 2019 and an additional $6,000 if you’re 50 or older. But keep in mind that contribution limits can change each year.”
Kovaliov said there’s an important mistake to avoid when it comes to employer sponsored retirement plans. Many companies offer a match for employee contributions, so if you don’t contribute up to the match, you’re leaving money on the table. “If you don’t participate, you’re not getting that match. A lot of people wouldn’t pass up on a bonus or a pay increase. So, I’m surprised at how many people aren’t taking advantage of this.”
Outside of the workplace, there are Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs. “A Roth IRA differs from Traditional in the sense that it is post-tax rather than pre-tax,” Kovaliov said of your contributions. “So all the earnings from a Roth IRA are tax-free and the distributions can be tax-free as well.”
Kovaliov said saving for retirement is extremely important and can be complex, so please talk to your CPA or Financial Adviser about what’s best for you.
For more “Smart Money” advice from the New York State Society of CPAs, visit nysscpa.org/getmoneysmart.