Retirement Planning

It's never too early to start your retirement planning



It's not going to be your parents' retirement - rewarded at 65 with a gold watch, a guaranteed pension, and health insurance for life. For many Americans, retiring in this new century is a mystery. Earlier generations of workers could rely on employer-provided pensions, but now many workers will need to rely on their own work-related and personal savings plus Social Security benefits. These savings have to last longer because Americans are living longer, often into their eighties and nineties.

At age 50

Begin making catch-up contributions, an extra amount that those over 50 can add, to 401(k) and other retirement accounts.

At 59½

No more tax penalties on withdrawals from retirement accounts, but leaving money in means more time for it to grow.

At 62

The minimum age to receive Social Security benefits, but delaying means a bigger monthly benefit.

At 65

Eligible for Medicare.

At 66

Eligible for full Social Security benefits if born between 1943 and 1954.

At 70½

Start taking minimum withdrawals from most retirement accounts by this age; otherwise, you may be charged heavy tax penalties in the future.

Retirement Decisions

Members of the Armed Services

Two areas of concern for military members are the loss of SGLI upon separation and whether or not to elect the Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) at retirement. In particular, the decision process regarding SBP should be started at least 10 years prior to retirement so that all alternatives can be explored.

Different Options for Different Groups

FFSI offers numerous solutions to fit the needs of the various groups which we serve.

Federal employees face similar decisions as the military. Questions, such as whether to opt out of FEGLI Option B, what to do about their Survivor Annuity Option, and whether to do a rollover of their TSP at age 55. These are all important retirement planning decisions and should be carefully considered.

The Department of Veterans Administration operates a number of programs providing financial, medical and other assistance to veterans. For Americans who received an honorable or general discharge, there are 4 major benefit programs:

  • Disability compensation
  • Veteran's pension programs
  • Free or low-cost medical care through VA hospitals and medical facilities
  • Education Programs

Employees have a myriad of information to gather and choices to make regarding their health care, voluntary benefits, and retirement plan options. This can be a daunting task. Finding a balance between eliminating debt and saving for the future is one of the most important decisions they will face.

Employers & Business Owners

SMART Consumer Group

Leveraged Retirement Plans

We facilitate individualized, personalized, and proprietary retirement programs. A business owner may have the ability to drastically advance their wealth accumulation relative to their retirement planning efforts in a highly tax advantaged manner.

A buy–sell agreement, also known as a buyout agreement, is a legally binding agreement between co-owners of a business that governs the situation if a co-owner dies or is otherwise forced to leave the business, or chooses to leave the business. An insured buy–sell agreement (triggered buyout is funded with life insurance on the participating owners' lives) is often recommended to ensure that the buy–sell arrangement is well-funded and to guarantee that there will be money when the buy–sell event is triggered.
Transfer massive amounts of wealth to your heirs, charity, school, or foundation utilizing the most powerful and cost effective manner while guaranteeing the results. With the ability of front loading to be assumed, it may provide massive benefit to the business seller and buyer at the time of sale.




Corporate America started to take notice of pensions in the wake of the dot-com crash. Interest rates and stock prices both plummeted, which meant that the value of pension liabilities rose while the value of the assets held to meet them fell. A number of major firms in weak industries, notably steel and airlines, went bankrupt in large measure because of their inability to meet their obligations under defined-benefit pension plans. The result was an acceleration of America's shift away from defined-benefit (DB) pensions toward defined-contribution (DC) retirement plans, which transfer the investment risk from the company to the employee. Once an add-on to traditional retirement planning, DC plans—epitomized by the 401(k)— become the main vehicles for private retirement saving. But although the move to defined-contribution plans arguably reduces the liabilities of business, it has, if anything, increased the likelihood of a major crisis down the line as the baby boomers retire. To begin with, putting relatively complex investment decisions in the hands of individuals with little or no financial expertise is problematic.

Life insurance comes with a tax-free death benefit. Though it won't help you in your lifetime, it will help heirs. "Life insurance can also distribute tax-free streams of income up to what you put into the policy that can be used to complement retirement income streams," says Leonard Wright, CPA, member of the AICPA's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. There are a couple of caveats; for instance, taking cash from a life insurance policy will reduce the death benefit. Plus, a combination of bad luck in the market and borrowing against the cash value of the policy can lead to increased premiums or a giant tax bill if the policy lapses. Annuities are a type of insurance product that some retirees may consider as well. "They manage your longevity risk and also have an exclusion ratio," Herman says. The exclusion ratio means that part of the income you get from your investment will be taxable and part of it will not.


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