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[Video] Saving Strategies for High Income Earners

by Financial Design Studio, Inc. / October 5, 2020

[Video] Saving Strategies for High Income Earners 

One of the biggest questions we get from high earning business owners and corporate executives is: how can I be saving more money?  If you look at the 401(k) limits for 2020 you can put $19,500($26000 if over 50) into your 401(k) pre-tax.  While that is a good amount, depending on your expected retirement lifestyle, that may not be enough for you to be able to live in retirement comfortably.  The question is how can you be saving more? 

We have a couple of options and I will preface all this by saying you have to be very careful, so please work with a financial professional or tax accountant before you do all this.  Here are some options to think about:   

1.  Health Savings Account (HSA)

The first option is a Health Savings Account(HSA) . This is important given the cost of healthcare in retirement, we are living longer, and nursing care is becoming more and more expensive.  It’s really important to think about your healthcare costs in retirement as a separate expense, other than your normal living expenses.  The great thing is that when you take money out of the HSA for medical purposes, the distributions/withdrawals are not taxable. To the extent you have an HSA available to you, we recommend maxing out contributions so that when you’re in retirement, you will have a dedicated pool of money to be able to pay those medical expenses.

2.  Backdoor Roth

Another strategy that we consider is called a “Backdoor Roth”.  High income earners are likely going to exceed the limits where you can get a tax deduction for making an IRA contribution.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still contribute to your IRA.  Any contribution(s) are classified as non-deductible instead.  What we can do in certain circumstances is actually take that non-deductible contribution from your IRA and convert that to a Roth IRA.  The benefit is that Roth IRAs grow tax-free and when you take money out of a Roth IRA you don’t have to pay taxes on it like you do out of a traditional IRA. 

3.  Mega Backdoor Roth

Another strategy, similar to a backdoor Roth, is called a “Mega backdoor Roth” conversion.  In this case you are putting after-tax money into your 401(k) plan.  We know that for 2020 the limit for pre-tax contributions to a 401(k) is $19,500($26,000 if over 50), but you can actually put up to $57,000 into that 401(k) plan between your pre-tax contributions, your company match, and after tax contributions.  The strategy is completely dependent upon if your plan allows it.  To the extent you contribute after tax money, you can roll these funds directly into a Roth IRA once you leave the company or while still employed if in -service rollovers are permitted.  This can be a great way to save a lot of extra money and additionally benefit from the money being a Roth account!

4.  Taxable Account

The last thing we look at is the good old taxable account. This is the brokerage investment account that you can open up at a custodian like Schwab. The key here though is while there are no contribution limits, you want to make sure it’s invested in a tax efficient manner.  Investing in passive index funds that don’t pay out year-end capital gains distributions, owning municipal bond funds, and other asset location strategies will help make sure that while you are investing you are not paying a lot of taxes as well.

Click Here to Download!

We’ve actually created a guide looking at all of these different strategies and going into a little more detail. Look here to download our guide and we will run through each of these strategies in more detail.  If there is anything we can help you with to make your life a little easier and plan this all out for you we are here to help you!


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Financial Design Studio, Inc.

We are financial advisors in Deer Park and Barrington, IL. A team with a passion for helping others design a path to financial success — whatever success means for you. Each of our unique insights fit together to create broad expertise, complete roadmaps, and creative solutions. We have seen the power of having a financial plan, and adjusting that plan to life. The result? Freedom from worrying about the future so you can enjoy today.