When it comes to deciding what retirement plan is best for you, it can be somewhat confusing. There is so much advice out there, it can be often difficult to know where to look and know which are best for you. So I have made this easy for you and taken away the ‘heavy-lifting’ and found the 10 best retirement plans, as recommended by the world’s leading authorities.
1. Affiliate marketing
This option is great for people of all ages – from those approaching retirement who are worried about shortfalls in their funds, to others who are looking to retire early. Affiliate marketing is explained more in-depth, HERE. It is essentially promoting a third-party vendor’s products or services on your own website, and then referring the potential buyers to the vendor’s website to complete the transaction. When the purchase is made, the affiliate marketer is paid a commission ranging anywhere from just 3% – 100% value of the total sale. This value varies from program to program, but as a guide typical commissions range between 15% to 30% of the final sale.
This is a highly popular, lucrative and fun way to ensure a steady and good income after retirement. We recommend the Wealthy Affiliate program as its free to join and the training is superb, extensive and easy to follow. It’s also free to get started and earning your income. >> Check our Wealthy Affiliate Review here.
OK. Now this may sound a little obvious but pensions are the simplest solution to a retirement plan as it requires very little effort from you. Your employer pays and contributes the money to a properly and professionally managed plan until the day you retire, whereupon you can start collecting it. Clearly, this option is only for those who are employed!
On the downside, many pension plans have become less lucrative. Many do not have a cost-of-living adjustment, so what you get each month can be the same throughout your retirement. This often means that you’ll need to save or get access to additional funds or accept accept a lesser lifestyle. Increasingly, many people are turning to a part-time affiliate marketing career after retirement – see option 1 above – to supplement their income to make up for this shortfall.
3. Defined Contribution Plans
Contribution plans like 403b or 401k allow you to get full control of your future. You decide which plans are right for you, what options to choose (and when), and how much to pay in. What’s more, employers who offer these plans will often match a proportion of your own contribution – often by 100%.
Your own contributions are deducted at source, though there are certain age-related limitations as to how much can be paid into your plan. Some employers provide Roth 401k options, whereby the funds are taxed upfront. However, most 401ks are more of the traditional type where taxes are paid on withdrawal.
4. Roth IRAs
A Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is funded with taxed dollars. There benefit here is that you get to enjoy tax-free growth and withdrawals. These are often done alongside an existing 401k employer plan – where income permits. This allows you to make pre-tax contributions to the employer plan and after-tax contributions to the Roth plan.
Roth IRAs are typically recommended for younger retirement savers – regardless of whether they have access to an employer sponsored plan. When you’re someway off retirement age, the ability to pay tax at a known rate and have it grow tax-deferred and then taken tax-free at an unknown rate can be somewhat advantageous.
Be warned, however. A Roth IRA isn’t available to everyone. There are eligibility and contribution limits that depend on your modified adjusted gross income and tax filing status.
Another advantage is that you’re not obliged to withdraw money if you don’t want to. You can choose to contribute well after retirement age. What’s more, if you need the money before age 59 ½, there’s no penalty. However, there is a 10% federal penalty for withdrawing earnings.
5. Traditional IRAs
Traditional IRAs offer similar contribution limits to that of Roth IRAs. However, they have no income restrictions, so absolutely anyone can contribute to them. These contributions are tax-deductible and enjoy tax-deferred growth. This means that they do not qualify for capital gains tax, though tax is paid on your contributions and earnings when withdrawals are made. Traditional IRAs are also subject to required distributions at age 70 ½. Furthermore, you cannot make any further contributions to your plan beyond this age.
All-in all, a traditional IRA is generally the option chosen by people closer to retirement age – i.e. within 5 to 10 years.
6. SEP IRAs
SEP IRAs (Simplified Employee Pension Plan) are usually the most popular retirement plan option for those who are self-employed. Whilst there are various options for these people, most sole traders or proprietors opt for a simplified employee pension plan. This is particularly attractive to self-employed people with no employees of their own, as it’s easier to manage, lower cost and offers a large contribution limit. If this person has enjoyed a particularly good year’s income and/or doesn’t have a lot of tax deductions, they can shelter away a large sum to limit their tax bill. Then, if later on times get a bit harder, they don’t have to contribute anything at all.
7. Nonqualified Deferred Contribution Plans (NQDC)
If a Roth-like plan appeals to you but you are coming up against income restrictions or you’ve reached your limit on contributions in other plans, then an NQDC plan may be for you.
This is an option typically taken up by C-Suite executives who, due to contribution limits, are unable to realize the benefits of IRAs or predefined contribution plans.
In a nutshell, these plans allow you to defer a part of your income until a later date. When you become entitled to it, no income tax is payable, and it will continue to grow tax-deferred, eventually to be realized completely tax-free. No contribution limits apply and the investment options are huge.
8. Guaranteed Income Annuities
Annuities are insurance policies that allow you to invest and then get a guaranteed income when you eventually retire. Payments are made monthly, quarterly or yearly. Or, if you prefer, it can be paid in one lump sum.
There are various kinds of annuities out there. These include policies such as the single-premium immediate annuity (SPIA) where an investment is made and where you have to trigger the income right away. This isn’t always a particularly attractive option to many people – especially when interest rates are low.
A deferred-income annuity (DIA) that includes a cash-refund option is much more attractive to most people. With this, you have full control and can trigger the income stream when you need to. Furthermore, if you don’t need the money right away, then you don’t ever need to annuitize. What’s more, with the cash-refund option, longevity is not an issue as you can get this money back and not lose the asset.
One key piece of advice we would give with annuities, is that the solvency and safety of the company invested in is crucial. Essentially, you are gambling on their solvency and investment strategy.
9. Cash-Value Life Insurance Plan
When you invest in a cash-value life insurance plan, you ultimately are paying for a policy that develops a cash value. As soon as that value is realized, you can use it to get a loan against your death benefit to use as your income during your retirement. Unlike a more traditional bank loan where qualification is required, the cash value dictates your ability to take the loan. As an example, you may have a $2 million policy and you borrow $1 million for your retirement, the loan is repaid from your benefits at death, leaving the remaining $1 million to your beneficiaries.
There best advantage is that you can dip into your funds whenever you like – whatever your age. Furthermore, the tax has already been paid, so there is none to pay on any of the distributions you get. This makes it an ideal retirement plan for stay-at-home spouses. Essentially, you get life insurance and a retirement income.
10. Real Estate
Like an affiliate marketing program, real estate is a bit left-field, but at the same time should not be overlooked – especially if you’re within 10 years of retirement and worried about the amount of savings you have. Real estate can deliver a great and fast return on your investment and provide a good income stream into retirement.
If you can, purchase a property with a lump sum investment, thereby removing any debt from the equation. What this kind of investment is not, is a passive income stream. It requires work and, of course, there are risks involved. Like any investment, you need to weigh these risks up. Though on the whole, the risk/return ratio is often good with real estate investment and as such is a worthy consideration.
So the choice is yours
With so many great retirement plans out there, there’s usually one too best suit your needs and requirement. Quite often, a number of these plans will be run in parallel, so for example, a pension plan and an affiliate marketing program, or an NQDC with a real estate investment. Everyone is different and so by bespoking the options, and cherry picking between each, you can enjoy a long a fruitful retirement.
You may have noticed that I left out Social Security – this was deliberate, as in many countries around the world, this is a given. In many others, it’s not an option at all. What I would say is that for those who do qualify for social security, timing is usually the key to getting the most from a social security plan – and this will, of course, differ from country to country.
For most, it seems that a combination of an affiliate marketing program and any of the recommendations above from 2 to 10, provide a great way to enjoy your retirement. Not only does this approach ensure that you get the best plan for you, but what many say is that the affiliate program provides the safety net of an additional income and also keeps them active, at a pace that suits them.
If you have any questions about anything you have read in this post, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll come back to you. And if you feel that I’ve missed anything, then do let me know.