Last quarter, the percentage of Americans’ personal savings rate stood at 5.9% of their disposable income, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s. Given that number had fallen to as low as 1.9% in 2005, that’s a large improvement. But who is saving and who is not is the real question to ask. Our savings rate is clearly higher than it used to be relative to other countries. It is nowhere near the Chinese savings rate of 38% of 2014, for example, but it has improved to the point that we are now somewhere in the middle of the pack…
Last quarter, the percentage of Americans’ personal savings rate stood at 5.9% of their disposable income, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s. Given that number had fallen to as low as 1.9% in 2005, that’s a large improvement. But who is saving and who is not is the real question to ask.
For well over 20 years I have been guilty of the sin of cluttering. It is only now, after I was finally forced to address the consequences of my actions, that I can write this column. This is my confession.
Next year investors will be given a once-in-a-life-time chance to convert their traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs regardless of how much you earn. Most savers’ knee-jerk reaction is to convert, pay the taxman now and forevermore be free of giving the government a cut of their tax-deferred retirement money. When I dig beneath the surface of this transaction, however, I’ve discovered a few things you should consider.
It’s not often that earning less is an advantage in the working world but one of the savviest things a young person can do right now is invest in a Roth IRA. You can contribute up to $5,000 a year in after- tax earned income, twice that if you’re married. If you’re 25 now and sock away the maximum at 8% a year, you end up with $1.1 million at retirement and it’s all tax-free. Double that number if your spouse does the same thing. So where’s the catch?
Although the deadline, April 15, is still a good three months away, it might be time to think about contributing to your traditional IRA. That’s the individual savings plan that allows each of us to contribute up to $5,000 this year tax free ($6,000 if you’re over fifty) toward our retirement. We’re urged to contribute the maximum each year.