With all the talk about big-picture financial concerns, one thing that can get lost is what these economic ebbs and flows means for your savings and investments – particularly 401(k)s and other individual retirement accounts. With regard to Social Security and retirement accounts, we are seeing certain investment products getting sliced because of low bond yields. 10-Year Treasury notes are at historic lows, and, as a result, the insurance industry is having a harder time making money and is being forced to trim benefits. The danger is that lighter returns and rising commodity prices will force people to pursue riskier assets in the stock market. And at a time when market volatility is high, that’s a worrying proposition; particularly for those investors approaching retirement age.
One important IRA calendar note: October 17th is the deadline for those individuals who wish to recharacterize if they performed a Roth IRA conversion in 2010. A recharacterization – moving assets back to a traditional IRA – is a no-brainer if your account decreased in the past year. Why would anyone want to pay taxes on money they no longer have? Where it gets tricky is if your account has increased slightly. Because if there is a double-dip recession or extended period of economic unrest in our future (as many analysts are predicting) you do not want to miss an opportunity by failing to recharacterize and end up paying taxes on the larger sum of money that you used to have. Talk to your financial advisor or wealth management specialist to determine a course of action that makes sense for you.