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The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Protecting Your 401(k) and IRA

Book Description

No need to panic.

Written by financial experts, this essential guide tells investors how to keep their investments safe in this difficult economy. Readers will discover how economic upswings and downturns affect investment plans-and what can be done to anticipate these trends; changes in investment rules and guidelines and their impact on 401(k)s and IRAs; and how to identify the proper investment decisions for their needs.

*On NPR's March 7, 2008, broadcast of All Things Considered, discussion centered on new weaknesses in the economy, and quite a bit of time was devoted to a story on how to protect your 401(k)

*In 2000, 40 million 401(k) participants had an average account balance of about $50,000 and total assets of $2 trillion

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1 - Understanding Your Accounts
    1. Chapter 1 - Retirement Accounts and Why You Need to Protect Them
      1. You’re in the Driver’s Seat
      2. Reading the Warning Signs
      3. Living Longer Requires a Bigger Nest Egg
      4. Retirement Planning Rules of Thumb
      5. Introducing 401(k)s and IRAs
    2. Chapter 2 - How They Work: 401(k)
      1. The Basics: Contributing to Your 401(k)
      2. Your 401(k) Investment Choices
      3. 401(k) Investing While You’re Still Working
      4. Withdrawing Early, When You’re Out of Options
    3. Chapter 3 - How They Work: IRA
      1. Just the Facts
      2. Getting Started: Opening and Investing Your IRA
      3. Nurturing Your Nest Egg Before Retirement
      4. Roth IRA
    4. Chapter 4 - Special Employer Plans
      1. Plans for the Small Business and the Self-Employed
      2. 403(b) Plans: More Than 401(k)s for Teachers
      3. The 403(b)’s Partner: 401(a) Plans
      4. 457 Deferred-Compensation Plans
      5. Employer Roths: Roth 401(k) and Roth 403(b)
  6. Part 2 - Tending Your Nest Egg
    1. Chapter 5 - Going Online for Help
      1. Keeping It Organized
      2. Helpful Tools
      3. Comparing the Online Calculators
      4. Avoiding the Common Mistakes
    2. Chapter 6 - Keep It Growing
      1. Setting Your Savings Target
      2. It’s Never Too Early to Start
      3. Savings Tips for Young Families
      4. Playing Catch-Up
      5. Back on Track After Divorce
      6. Protect Your Nest Egg When You Change Jobs
    3. Chapter 7 - Asset Allocation: Make Your Investments Work for You
      1. Getting the Numbers Right
      2. Active vs. Passive Investing: Choosing Your Best Style
      3. On the Margins: Alternative Investments
      4. Allocate Around a “Bad” Account
    4. Chapter 8 - Against All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic
      1. Don’t Be Your Nest Egg’s Biggest Enemy: Plan for the Unexpected
      2. Keep It Growing When You Change Jobs
      3. Pay Attention to Rules and Paperwork
      4. Managing Your Retirement Accounts Through Divorce
    5. Chapter 9 - When You Need to Dip Into Your Accounts
      1. Last Resort: Other Cash Options Besides Retirement Savings
      2. Hardship Withdrawals from Your IRA-Based Account
      3. Hardship Withdrawal from Your Plan at Work
      4. Borrowing Your Own Money
  7. Part 3 - Ready for Retirement
    1. Chapter10 - Ten Years Before You Retire
      1. Shifting Gears for Maximum Savings
      2. Keep It in Balance
      3. Taxes: Pay Now or Pay Later
      4. Converting to a Roth
      5. Trend Watch: Retiring Later
    2. Chapter11 - Retiring Early
      1. Minding the Special Withdrawal Rules
      2. Asset Allocation for a Long Retirement
      3. Pension Planning: Know the Numbers
      4. Medical IRA
    3. Chapter12 - Managing Your Plans During Retirement
      1. Organizing Your Accounts
      2. Adjusting Your Asset Allocation
      3. Social Security Planning
      4. Annuitize or Not?
      5. Best Sources for Advice
  8. Part 4 - After You’re Gone
    1. Chapter13 - Leaving It Behind
      1. Charity and the Kids
      2. Naming Your Beneficiaries
      3. Protecting Your Estate from Long-Term Care Expenses
      4. Decisions That Are Set in Stone
      5. Planning with Your Second Spouse in Mind
    2. Chapter14 - Inherited IRAs
      1. Step One: Stop and Think
      2. Planning for the Long Term
      3. What Spouses and Nonspouses Need to Know
      4. Guard Against the Common Mistakes
  9. Appendix A - Glossary
  10. Appendix B - Web Resources
    1. Calculators and Asset Allocation Tools
    2. Account Aggregators
    3. Asset Allocation and Investing
    4. Retirement Planning
    5. Hiring Professional Advice
    6. Financial Sites, Newsletters, and Blogs
    7. Online Money Market Accounts
    8. Real Estate
    9. Taxes and Information on Retirement Plans
    10. Estate Planning and Elder Law
    11. Online Education
    12. Divorce
    13. Widowhood
  11. Appendix C - Staying the Course When the Economy Gets Choppy
    1. 1. Understand your account statements2. Don’t change your plan contributions3. Turn off the “auto-rebalance” feature4. Don’t buy anything you don’t need5. Track expensesUnderstand Your Account Statements
    2. Don’t Change Your Plan Contributions
    3. Turn Off the “Auto-Rebalance” Feature
    4. Don’t Buy Anything You Don’t Need
    5. Track Your Expenses
    6. What If Your Partner Disagrees?
  12. Index