Retirement Dictionary: Terms To Know

By Erin Palmer, Suncoast Credit Union

As you prepare for retirement, you’ll face a lot of planning and decisions. You want to make the best moves for your future, but you may get a little confused by some of the unfamiliar jargon that relates to retirement.

A financial advisor can help guide you and understand any retirement or investment plans that you may have questions about. But this guide can help you brush up on some of the language so you’re prepared for the conversation and ready to dive into the important information.

Save this article to refer back to when you need a refresher on retirement terminology. It will help you learn the lingo so you can focus on making the big-picture decisions with your financial advisor.

401(k) – a retirement savings program that many employers offer. Employees can regularly contribute to these accounts and some employers match up to a certain percent of contributions. Most 401(k)s don’t charge income tax on your contributions until you withdraw from the account.

403(b) – a retirement savings plan that is specifically for people who work for organizations that are tax-exempt, like public schools or nonprofit organizations. These tax-sheltered accounts usually have lower administrative costs than a traditional 401(k) program.

457(b) – a retirement savings program that offers eligible people a tax-sheltered account that does not have the 10% early withdrawal penalty of other retirement plans. Eligible employees are often from tax-exempt organizations like government, schools and nonprofits, though some executives may also be eligible.

Annuity – a contract that lets an person make a lump sum payment or regular contributions to an insurance company to get regular disbursements of income during the time of the investor’s choosing, usually retirement.

Bonds – investors loan money to a company or government agency, then the organization repays the investor over time with interest payments.

IRA – a traditional IRA is a retirement savings account with tax advantages. Contributions may be fully or partially tax-deductible and usually don’t get taxed until you withdraw them.

Mutual funds – investment programs that shareholders fund. The investors pool money into diversified holdings that are managed professionally.

Roth IRA – similar to a traditional IRA, but there are a few key differences. Unlike a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA doesn’t have age limits. However, there are limits to eligible compensation. Roth IRAs do not provide a tax break for contributions, but earnings and withdrawals are usually tax-free.

Stocks – investors that purchase an individual stock basically own a piece of a business. So the investment will have profits and losses based on how the business performs. Investors can even give opinions on business decisions with shareholder meeting votes.

Vested – this term refers to the employer match contributions of a retirement plan. “Fully vested” means the employee can keep all of their employer’s contributions after leaving the company. When employees aren’t fully vested, they can only keep part or sometimes none of their employer’s past contributions, depending on their rules.

It’s never too early to start making your retirement plan. Start your retirement planning or get a second opinion on your current plan by contacting Suncoast Trust and Investment Services.

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