Agricultural business owners have distinct financial characteristics compared to the general population, such as higher personal savings and less dependence on social security during retirement. They also have income from both farming and non-farming sources. Therefore, it’s crucial for them to have a well-defined and comprehensive retirement plan.

 In this article, we will explore different retirement plan options available to agricultural business owners. These include IRAs, SIMPLE plans, SEP plans, and 401(k) plans. We will also discuss the importance of estimating net worth, income, and expenses, and how to use that information to create a retirement plan that aligns with your goals. 

Planning for Retirement with an AG Business

Retirement planning for agricultural businesses can be a complex process due to the unique nature of the industry. Compared to typical business owners, farm and ranch households often have:

  • More personal savings
  • Diverse financial portfolios
  • Income from both farm and off-farm sources

Commercial farm operators are also less likely to have employer-sponsored pension plans and often have to rely on farm assets for retirement income.

It is important for farmers and ranchers to begin planning for retirement well in advance, ideally five to fifteen years before they plan to retire. This provides ample time to make necessary adjustments to their financial portfolio and informed decisions about their future.

Let’s take a look at some options.

Retirement Plan Options for Farmers

As farmers and ranchers approach retirement, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure financial security. There are several options available for retirement planning, including:


There are regular (traditional) IRAs and Roth IRAs. Regular IRA contributions can get you a current-year tax deduction of up to $6,000 for 2022, or $7,000 if you’re over 50 years old. However, you will pay income tax on the distributions when you withdraw them in retirement. Roth IRA contributions, on the other hand, get you no tax deduction for the current year, but you will pay no income tax when you receive distributions after 59.5 years old.


Simplified Employee Pension plans allow for tax-deductible contributions for the employer, with contribution limits of up to 25% of the employee’s compensation. This plan is a good option for agricultural businesses with a small number of employees.

401(K) PLAN

This plan allows for tax-deferred contributions from employees, with contribution limits of up to $20,500 for 2022 and up to $27,000 if you’re over 50 years old. Employers can also match contributions, but this plan can be more costly and complex to administer.

Farmers and ranchers can also consider investing in farm assets such as land, equipment, and livestock as a means of retirement income. However, it is important to consult with a financial advisor or CPA to determine the best plan for your situation.

Do Farmers Ever Really Retire? 

It ultimately depends on the individual. Some farmers choose to continue working, while others decide to retire for health reasons or to pursue other interests. Some farmers may sell their farm to a younger generation and continue to work on the farm in an advisory role. 

Others may lease their land to another farmer and continue to work on the farm in some capacity. It’s important for farmers to have a plan for retirement and to consider their options for income during retirement, whether that means continuing to work on the farm or finding alternative sources of income.

With all of these options available, many business owners in the agricultural sector may not know where to start. Let’s discuss how to begin developing a retirement plan. 

How Farmers Can Develop a Retirement Plan

Here are four steps for agribusiness owners can use to develop a financial or retirement plan:

Identify Your Goals:

Establishing your financial objectives in advance is the key to ensuring your investment strategy aligns with your goals. While your long-term goals may not change significantly over time (such as retirement planning and passing on your business to the next generation), your investment mix will evolve as you age. As you approach retirement, you may prefer less risky investments. Because markets fluctuate, it’s essential to reassess your goals and investments regularly to ensure that your financial strategy remains on track.

Calculate What You Can Invest

When creating your investment plan, subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income to calculate your disposable income. This will determine the amount of money you have left over after covering necessary expenses and what you can afford to invest each month.

If you find that your expenses are greater than your income, consider ways to reduce or delay expenses or find ways to increase your income. If your income exceeds your expenses, it’s time to decide how to use the surplus income to achieve your financial goals.

Planning Retirement with a Professional 

Preparing for retirement can be a complex and overwhelming process. It is important to have a thorough understanding of how to make the most of your distributions and avoid potential pitfalls to ensure a comfortable and secure retirement. It can be beneficial to seek guidance from a team of financial experts to develop a personalized plan that aligns with your specific needs and goals.

Contact RWM today to learn more about retirement plan distributions and how we can help you get ready for retirement. 

This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material. 

Retirement brings you the opportunity to spend time on what matters most in life and finally relax as your career comes to an end. If you’ve taken the right steps throughout your career, then you may be in a position to receive Retirement Plan Distributions. These distributions can be crucial to living comfortably after you’ve stopped working. 

Retirement Plan Distributions allow you to receive payments or withdraw money from retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs. They provide you with a consistent income or a lump sum of cash so you don’t need to worry about working as you get older. It’s vital that you understand Retirement Plan Distributions so you don’t incur penalties, maintain a healthy income when you’re no longer working, and save on taxes.

This article will look at how you can get the most out of your retirement plan and set yourself up for long-term financial freedom. 

Eligibility for Distributions 

The best way to avoid penalties when it comes to your distributions is to understand eligibility. 

In the United States, the retirement age is considered 59.5. If you withdraw any money from your retirement plan before retirement age you will incur a 10% penalty on the cash you withdrew. Unless you absolutely need the money, you should really think twice about any early withdrawals. You’ll be far better off in the long run if you stick to the practice of not touching your retirement plan before retirement age.

There are exceptions however to that 10% penalty. Some examples include:

  • First Time Homebuyers can withdraw up to 10,000 dollars
  • The death of the retirement plan participant 
  • Total and permanent disability 
  • Qualified medical expenses 

Most of the reasons for the penalty being waived are that something has gone really wrong in your life. It’s important to talk to a qualified financial planner if you’re ever in a position where you need to take money out of your plans so they can help with waiving the fee. 

Required Minimum Distributions

A Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is the minimum amount of funds that you must withdraw from your traditional retirement plan once you reach the age of 72 (increased from 70 with the Secure Act). The government created legislation for RMDs to make sure people don’t use their retirement accounts as a way to avoid paying taxes indefinitely.

The IRS performs a mathematical calculation to inform you how much you need to take out. There will be no penalty if you take out the minimum or more, but it’s possible you’ll have to pay income tax. Some plans allow you to defer the RMD if you’re still employed at 72. 

Lump Sums or Installments?

Once you reach the age where you can start receiving distributions, you’ll have the choice of receiving cash in either a lump sum or installments. This is where a lot of people start to feel overwhelmed as there’s a lot of information about what’s the best step to take toward long-term financial freedom. 

From our own experience in retirement plans, we typically see clients choose  installments as their preferred choice for taking distributions. The two main reasons for this are:

  • Taxes: Getting paid in installments helps you spread out your taxes over time and avoid the higher tax rate that may come with a lump sum distribution.
  • Financial Stability: It’s difficult to make a sitting lump of cash last. Having installments allows you to have a predictable and stable source of income, providing you with peace of mind in retirement. 

There are some pros to choosing a lump sum, such as putting that money into other investments with the help of a qualified financial planner, but this decision should be carefully thought over by a professional as it can lead to greater financial risk. 


It’s possible, even likely, that you’ll change companies over your career. And you may be worried about what happens to all the money in the plan at your current place of work if you’re considering a job change. The good news is that you can take all of that money with you if the new plan accepts money from your previous plan with a rollover. 

A rollover is the process of transferring retirement assets from one plan to another while avoiding any possible penalties and maintaining your tax-deferred growth. 

But what if you want to rollover your retirement plan to an IRA?

Well, you can do that too. A direct rollover to an IRA means that income taxes are still not due. Your future earnings are still tax-deferred and you can now control your money as far as investments are concerned. A direct rollover is an optimal way of transferring assets from account to account. 

Planning Retirement with a Professional 

Planning for your retirement can be stressful. You want to do everything in your power to make it a period of life that’s as stress-free as possible. Having the knowledge of how to make the most out of your distributions and how to avoid potential pitfalls goes a long way toward making a pleasant retirement possible. 

The next step is talking with a team of professionals to find the best plan of action for your financial situation. You can contact RWM today to learn more about retirement plan distributions and how we can help you get ready for retirement. 

When it comes to saving for retirement, there are a lot of things to consider. How much money do you need to save? What kind of account should you use? And how can you make sure your savings last throughout retirement?

Here’s a quick guide to help you get started on the right track.

How Much Should You Save For Retirement?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your age, income, and lifestyle. A good rule of thumb is to save at least 10-15% of your income for retirement. Also aim to save enough to replace 70-80% of your pre-retirement income.

If you’re starting to save late in life, you may need to save more than 15% to make up for lost time. And if you want to retire early or maintain a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, you may need to save even more.

What Kind Of Account Should You Use?

There are a few different types of retirement accounts available, including traditional IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, and 401(k)s. Each type of account has its own rules and benefits, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

A traditional IRA is a good option if you’re looking for tax-deferred growth on your savings. With a Roth IRA, you’ll pay taxes on your contributions now, but all future withdrawals are tax-free. And a 401(k) is a good choice if your employer offers matching contributions.

How Can You Make Sure Your Savings Last Throughout Retirement?

There are a few different ways to ensure your savings last throughout retirement. One option is to invest in annuities, which provide guaranteed income for life. Another option is to create a withdrawal plan that includes regular withdrawals, as well as a buffer for unexpected expenses.

There are a few other key things you can do to help ensure you don’t run out of money in retirement, including :

  • Saving enough money
  • Diversifying your investments
  • Planning for potential health care costs

A Final Word

No matter how you choose to save for retirement, the most important thing is to start now. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. And the more time your money has to grow, the more comfortable you’ll be in retirement.For more advice on saving for retirement, be sure to check out our other articles. And if you have any questions, our team is here to help. Contact us today!

When it comes to retirement planning, there are a lot of moving parts. One important decision is what to do with your retirement savings when you leave your job. You may be able to roll over your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan into an IRA. Or you may choose to cash out your account. Both options have pros and cons.

Rolling over your account may be the best choice if you want to keep your money invested and continue to grow your nest egg. Cashing out may make sense if you need the money to cover immediate expenses. But cashing out comes with taxes and penalties that can eat into your savings.

Before making a decision, it’s important to understand all of your options. This blog will explore the different rollover options available to you and help you decide which one is right for your situation.

What is a Retirement Plan Rollover?

A retirement plan rollover is when you move money from one retirement account to another. This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to invest in a different type of account or consolidating multiple accounts.

When you retire, you have the option to rollover your retirement plan into another plan or take the money as a lump sum. Rolling over into another plan is usually the best option because it allows you to continue growing your savings tax-deferred. The most common retirement plans that are rolled over are 401(k)s and 403(b)s. 

What Are the Benefits of Doing a Retirement Plan Rollover?

There can be several benefits to doing a retirement plan rollover. These can include: 

  • Reducing fees
  • Diversifying your investments
  • Consolidating multiple accounts

Retirement Plan Rollover Options

There are a few different options when it comes to rolling over your retirement plan. You can roll over into another employer’s plan, you can roll over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), or you can cash out the plan entirely.

  • Rolling over into another employer’s plan is usually only possible if the new employer offers a retirement plan that accepts rollovers. This option can be beneficial because it allows you to keep your money in a tax-deferred account.
  • Rolling over into an IRA is a good option if you want more control over how your money is invested. With an IRA, you can choose from a wider range of investment options than with most employer-sponsored retirement plans.
  • Cashing out your retirement plan entirely should be a last resort. This is because you will have to pay taxes on the money that you withdraw, and you may also be subject to an early withdrawal penalty if you are younger than 59½.

What Are the Different Types of Retirement Plan Rollovers?

There are a few different types of retirement plan rollovers. The most common are: 

Direct Rollovers

With a direct rollover, the money is transferred directly from one account to another. The advantage of a direct rollover is that there is no tax liability on the money being rolled over.

Indirect Rollovers

An indirect rollover is slightly more complicated.With this type of rollover, the money is first withdrawn from the original account and then deposited into the new account. 

The advantage of an indirect rollover is that it allows you to take a 60-day loan with the money before it is deposited into the new account. However, there is a downside to an indirect rollover: if you do not deposit the money into the new account within 60 days, you will be subject to taxes and penalties on the money.

Roth Conversions 

This option involves converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. One of the benefits of a Roth conversion is that it allows you to take advantage of tax-free growth on your investments. With a Roth IRA, you do not have to pay taxes on any money that  you withdraw from the account. This is different from a traditional IRA, where you have to pay taxes on money that you withdraw from the account. 

Another benefit of a Roth conversion is that it allows you to diversify your retirement savings. By converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, you can have both types of accounts and enjoy the benefits of both.

What Are the Requirements for Doing a Retirement Plan Rollover?

Requirements for doing a retirement plan rollover vary depending on the type of rollover you’re doing. For example, indirect rollovers have a 60-day window in which the money must be deposited into the new account, or else it will be considered taxable income. Direct rollovers generally don’t have any such restrictions.

How Do I Do a Retirement Plan Rollover?

The process for doing a retirement plan rollover will vary depending on the type of rollover you’re doing. For example, with a direct rollover, you would simply contact the new account provider and request a transfer from the old account. With an indirect rollover, you would first need to withdraw the money from the old account and then deposit it into the new account within the 60-day window. Roth conversions may require some additional paperwork.

What Are the Tax Implications and Fees of a Rollover? 


The tax implications of a retirement plan rollover will depend on the type of rollover you’re doing. In most cases, the money being rolled over will not be subject to any taxes. However, if you do an indirect rollover and don’t deposit the money into the new account within the 60-day window, it will be considered taxable income.


There may be some fees associated with doing a retirement plan rollover, depending on the type of rollover you’re doing and the account providers involved. For example, you may be charged a transfer fee by the old account provider or a deposit fee by the new account provider.

Things to Keep in Mind

Before doing a retirement plan rollover, it’s important to consider your goals and objectives. You should also compare the fees and expenses of the different accounts involved. And finally, make sure you understand the tax implications of the rollover. 

For help deciding on your rollover plan, reach out to us today. 

Are you one of those people who think that they have plenty of time to start saving for retirement? If so, you’re making a huge mistake. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the more money you will have when it comes time to retire. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of saving for retirement early and how compounding interest can help you reach your goals!

The Importance of Retirement Plans

When it comes to personal finance and money management, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. A study from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority found that only 24% of Americans could pass a basic financial literacy test. This is why financial wellness programs and resources at work like retirement plans, are essential. They provide employees with the education and support they need to make sound decisions about their money.

If you’re not saving for retirement, start today. Even if you can only contribute a small amount, it’s important to get started. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow through compounding interest. 

Employees who opt out of retirement savings or put it off often don’t have the information necessary to make better decisions based on the power of compounding interest.

What is Compounding Interest?

Compounding interest is when you earn interest on your initial investment, plus any interest that has accumulated in previous periods. Reinvesting your earnings generates new earnings from the original investment – and that’s called compounding.

But it’s not just about starting early. Consistency is key when it comes to saving for retirement. The more you can save on a regular basis, the better off you’ll be down the road.

If you’re not sure how much you should be saving for retirement, a good rule of thumb is to save at least 15% of your income. But if you can save more, that’s even better.

For example, let’s say you start saving $200 per month at age 25. If you continue saving that same amount and earn a conservative return of six percent, you’ll have almost $900,000 saved by the time you retire at age 67.

What Happens if You Wait to Start Saving?

If you wait until age 35 to start saving, you’ll need to save almost $500 per month to have the same amount of money when you retire, as someone who started saving 10 years earlier than you.

The effect of compounding really adds up over time, especially if you start early. In the example above, the difference in savings between starting at 25 versus 35 is almost $600,000.

The power of compounding interest is real. And, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the more time your money has to grow. If you haven’t started saving yet, don’t wait any longer. 

What Types of Retirement Savings Programs Are There?

There are two main types of retirement savings programs – employer-sponsored plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Employer-sponsored plans, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457s, are tax-advantaged savings plans offered by many employers. These plans typically offer a matching contribution from your employer, making them a great way to save for retirement.

IRAs are another type of retirement savings account that you can open on your own. There are two main types of IRAs – traditional and Roth. With a traditional IRA, you make contributions with pre-tax dollars and pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it in retirement. With a Roth IRA, you make contributions with after-tax dollars and the money grows tax-free.

There are other types of retirement savings programs, such as annuities and pension plans. But employer-sponsored plans and IRAs are the most common.

If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, be sure to take advantage of it. If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan, open an IRA and start saving on your own. It’s never too late to start saving for retirement.

How Much Would I Have to Save if I Started at 30?

A recent study found that an alarming amount of millennials and Gen-Zers have nothing saved for retirement. That’s scary considering that most people retiring today are living 20-30 years in retirement.

There are a number of reasons why millennials and Gen-Zers are so unprepared for retirement. One reason is that many of them are saddled with student loan debt. According to the study, millennials and Gen-Zers said their student loan debt was the biggest reason they weren’t saving for retirement.

Other reasons include low wages, high living costs, and a lack of financial literacy. Many young people simply don’t know how to save for retirement or don’t think they can afford to.

If you’re in your 20s or 30s and have nothing saved for retirement, don’t despair. It’s never too late to start saving. Even if you can only afford to save a little bit each month, it’s better than nothing. And the sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow.

If you started saving for retirement at age 30, assuming a six percent rate of return, you would need to save $383 per month to have the same amount of money saved as someone who started saving at 25.  

If you’re not sure where to start, try our retirement calculator. This tool can help you figure out how much you need to save and which type of retirement savings account is right for you.

Embed that calculator! 


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Final Thoughts

Saving for retirement may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow. And with the power of compounding interest on your side, you’ll be on your way to a bright financial future. The earlier you start saving, the more time you have to reach your retirement savings goals.

Saving early can also help you reduce your taxes in retirement. If you contribute to a traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan, you can deduct your contributions from your taxable income. 

Lastly, saving for retirement early can help you avoid running out of money in retirement. If you start saving early, you’ll have a larger nest egg that can last throughout your retirement years.

What are you waiting for? Start saving for retirement today. Talk to someone on our RWM team about the retirement savings options available to you and make saving for retirement a priority.

The State of California requires that all businesses with 5 or more employees offer a retirement savings program. When examining the retirement-readiness of CA residents it became clear  that many people were not saving enough for retirement. Because of this, a whole generation of retirees was facing the very real possibility of finding themselves dependent on State-funded programs… which would be very expensive for the government.  So, to solve the problem, California now requires all employers with 5 or more employees to offer retirement savings to their employees.  Employers and business owners can choose to default to the California state-run CalSavers program or, they can offer a retirement savings plan of their own. 

There are a number of reasons why business owners should consider setting up their own 401k plan rather than relying on CalSavers. In this article, we review what CalSavers offers, what a custom plan can offer, and what the benefits of a custom 401k retirement savings plan are to both employers and employees. 

What is CalSavers and what does it offer?

The CA EDD describes CalSavers as: 

“a retirement savings program for private sector workers whose employers do not offer a retirement plan. This program gives employers an easy way to help their employees save for retirement, with no employer fees, no fiduciary liability, and minimal employer responsibilities.” The details are that CalSavers offers a basic Roth IRA to help employees build their retirement savings. If you are not familiar with Roth IRAs, they allow employees to save after tax dollars. 

Roth IRAs have lower contribution limits, limited investments, and limited tax advantages. 

You can withdraw the money from a Roth IRA without having to pay any taxes on it because you paid taxes on that income before contributing it to the IRA. 

The contribution limit for a Roth IRA is $$6,000 per year, and the income limit is $144,000 for single people or $214,000 for married filing jointly per year (as of 2022). This means that if you make more than $144,000 per year, you are not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. 

There are also limits on what you can invest in with a Roth IRA. You are limited to investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 

While a Roth IRA can be a great way to save for your retirement, if you are looking for a retirement savings plan with more flexible investment options and higher contribution limits, you will want to consider setting up a 401k for your business instead. 

First and foremost, a custom 401k plan can be designed to specifically meet the needs of your business and your employees. This means that it can be tailored to maximize both employee retention and to encourage and reward retirement savings.

Additionally, setting up a custom 401k retirement savings plan can have tax benefits for Business Owners. CalSavers does not offer any tax breaks for businesses, meaning that you could be missing out on significant savings. 

If you are not familiar with the difference between a Roth IRA and an employer-sponsored 401k: 

A 401k plan is a retirement savings plan that allows employees to save money for their retirement with pre-tax dollars, which means that the income they choose to invest in the plan is not taxed until it is withdrawn from the plan after retirement. 

Setting up a 401k retirement savings plan for your business has a number of tax advantages that can save you money in the long run. 

One of the biggest benefits is that contributions to the plan are made with pre-tax dollars. This means that you do not have to pay taxes on the money until it is withdrawn from the account. This allows employees to save more money for their retirement. 

Another advantage of 401ks is that they offer businesses a number of tax breaks. For example, businesses can deduct their contributions to the plan from their taxable income, and they can also deduct employee contributions. This can save business owners a significant amount of money on their taxes each year. 

It’s no secret that good employees are hard to find and harder to keep. 

One of the best ways to retain key employees is by offering them a good benefits package. And one of the most valuable benefits you can offer your employees is a 401k retirement savings plan. Offering a 401k plan is a great way to show your employees that you value them and want them to stay with the company for years to come. 

If CalSavers is not the right solution for my business, what do I have to do to exempt my business from the requirement?

Business owners must have a retirement plan in place as of the mandatory participation date. This may mean a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) plan, a SEP or SIMPLE plan, or a multiple employer (union) plan. Want to know what these terms mean? Check out our blog on simplifying the retirement savings jargon here. 

Even if you set up your own 401k employers must still register with CalSavers to certify their exemption. Visit: and choose  “I need to exempt my business” from the drop-down menu. You will need your federal EIN or TIN and an access code provided on the notice sent to you from CalSavers (can’t find it or didn’t get one? Call (855) 650-6916).   

Setting up a 401k retirement savings plan for your business is a great way to save money on taxes and provide your employees with a valuable benefit. If you are considering CalSavers for your retirement savings plan, be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors, but is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. Each plan has unique requirements, and you should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does advisor assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations.

It used to be that when you thought of someone retired you’d imagine them sitting in a rocking chair knitting, maybe with a blanket across their knees. These days, most of us like to imagine an active retirement, filled with travel and adventure. Whether you plan to retire at 62 or at 82, the post-work-years can be a time to live life to the fullest.

If you imagine your retirement paddling around Lake Como or hiking the Alps, you’ll need to put some things in place starting right about now to afford that kind of lifestyle.

Because employees change jobs so often, the pension structures that used to support retirees (in combination with Social Security benefits) can no longer be relied upon to the extent they were in the past. The traditional sources for post-work income in the form of social security and pensions are less robust today than they were say, 30 years ago.  That, in combination with longer life spans and the expectation of good health well into your 70s (at least!) means you’re going to need additional income to support your lifestyle in retirement. By most estimates, you’ll need between 60% and 100% of your current income in order to keep up with your current lifestyle in retirement.

Setting up retirement savings now is key to a comfortable retirement

Adults who are in their 40s, or 50s now can’t bank on Social Security to fund their retirement.  At the time of this article’s writing, Social Security is estimated to cover only about a third of the current retiree’s income and that number will continue to dwindle. In fact, according to the Social Security website by 2037 benefits will be exhausted. (source:

Because of inflation the numbers associated with maintaining your current income levels might surprise you (and not necessarily in a good way).  At an average inflation rate of 3%, the cost of living would double in 24 years. So, if you are 40 years old today and you make $80,000/year, you’ll need to be bringing in $160,000 when you’re 64 and beyond. 

You’ll also want to factor in increased medical costs in retirement. Falls and unforeseen illnesses such as stroke or heart attack can send medical bills soaring. 

Whether you imagine a modest or a luxurious retirement the numbers point to the need to save now to prepare for your later years. If you do want to travel and have luxury experiences, well, you’re going to need even more money. For entertainment purposes only, let’s run some numbers to estimate what a person who makes a significant income currently would need to put away to meet their retirement goals. (not for financial planning purposes, for illustration only) 

How Much Would You Need for a Luxurious Retirement?

For the sake of this calculation, let’s assume you’ll need 85% of your current income to retire in style. 

  1. If you are currently making $140,000 and have 20 years until retirement, you’ll multiply your income by two: $140,000 x 2 = $280,000 this is assuming about a 2% inflation. 
  2. Since we chose 85%, now we’ll multiply the sum by that number: $280,000 x .85 = $238,000
  3. Now subtract your social security benefits SS.GOV CALCULATOR (we got $35K) $203,000 (this is questionable since the previous reference states the funds will be exhausted)
  4. Now multiply that total by 20 (to find amount of money you would need to last you if you live 30 years) = $406,000
  5. Take all your savings and investments and multiply it by 5% (since we’re looking at a 20 year timeline)  $3,000,000 x 5% = $1,500,000
  6. In this scenario, you will need an additional: $1,094,000
  7. Assuming an 8% annual return, divide that number by 50. So you’ll want to set aside: $22,000.00 a year

Calculator based on tables linked here: 

As with any online calculator, this is a rough estimate and should not be construed as financial guidance.  Speak to your financial planner to better understand your goals. 

How Else Can You Prepare for Retirement?

While there are pensions, social security and there may be unforeseen inheritances, relying on government support will not lead to the action-packed retirement outlined at the beginning of this article. The good news is the earlier you start saving the better because compounding interest really adds up over time. 

Using resources like 401k retirement savings plans, Defined Benefit plans, and other tax-deferred retirement options can help put your funds to work for you. 

Did you know: If someone starts investing at 25 vs 35 those 10 years can yield nearly triple the savings?!  As with all investments, there are no guarantees any investment will provide the same results as described or experienced by someone else.

Taking the time to discuss your goals with your financial planner can help create clarity around how much money you should set aside and what tools are best for your unique situation.  With good planning and forethought, you can set up the right structures to support your financial and retirement goals.

Many people find themselves financially unprepared for their non-working retirement years. According to the most recent National Retirement Risk Index, nearly half of Americans age 55-59 have insufficient savings to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living.*

In response, California has recently established its own state-run retirement plan. The plan has been mandated for use by business owners who otherwise do not offer a retirement plan benefit program for their employees, such as a 401(k), SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k).

For some companies CalSavers can make sense as a retirement saving option for both the business owner and their employees. However, as time passes and the company grows, this option may no longer be the right fit.

Now is the time for you to have a conversation with RWM Financial Group regarding this program and what it means for your business. We can help guide you through your options and help you decide what’s best for you and your employees. Here are some frequently asked questions being asked by employers like you:

What is CalSavers?

In 2016, Senate Bill 1234 was passed, requiring the state to develop a workplace retirement savings program, known as CalSavers, for private sector workers whose employers do not offer a retirement plan. State law protects employers from any liability or fiduciary responsibilities to the plan.

Who is required to implement the CalSavers program?

Employers with five or more employees who do not provide a retirement plan for their workers must register for CalSavers and facilitate employee contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts.

How will the program work for my employees?

  • Contributions to their account will occur automatically from each paycheck.

  • The default savings rate is 5% and an automatic increase feature that will increase their contributions by 1% each year, until it reaches 8%.

  • The first $1,000 of contributions will be invested into the CalSavers Money Market Fund.

  • Employees can customize their account and choose alternative savings rates and investments.

  • An asset-based fee will be applied to their account to cover administrative expenses and the operating expenses of the underlying investment funds.

  • Depending on their investment options, the fees will range from 0.825% to 0.92%. This means they will pay between 83 cents and 92 cents per year for every$100 in their account.

  • Employees can opt out or back into the program at any time. If they leave their job, they can take the money with them or leave it in the account.

When do employers have to register for the CalSavers program?

Employers can start the program as soon as July of 2019. However, the final deadlines for employers to implement the program are as follows:

Size of Business Deadline

Over 100 employees … June 30, 2020

Over 50 employees … June 30, 2021

5 or more employees … June 30, 2022

How much work will be required of employers?

Employers are required to manage all employee census data and submit their employee contributions each pay period. You will need to assign this ongoing administrative task to someone in your organization and make sure they get trained — or do it yourself.

Do I have to use the CalSavers program?

No. Registering for the CalSavers program is just one way to fulfill the requirement that every qualified employee in California have access to a retirement plan. Businesses can also establish their own employee retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA, or SIMPLE 401(k) to satisfy this requirement.

How RWM Financial Group Can Help

While we applaud the mission and effort behind the CalSavers program, we believe you should also consider other available retirement plan solutions that can provide your employees with more benefits and value.

Consider the following:

The CalSavers program does not allow for employers to make contributions on behalf of their employees. In a competitive labor market, this limits your flexibility and takes away your ability to offer an attractive retirement plan benefit to employees you are trying to recruit.

  • The CalSavers managers will pick the investment options, which may be different from what you and a financial advisor might choose.

  • Employee contributions are limited with the CalSavers program. It only allows a maximum contribution of $6,000 in 2022, compared to $20,500 for a 401(k) or $14,000 for a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k).

  • While there is no cost to employers for participating in the CalSavers program, it does not offer the employer any tax credits, which you can get by offering a 401(k) plan. For example, starting a 401(k) plan currently allows employers up to a $500 tax credit in each of the first three years.

  • Are you worried about the extra work and time commitment necessary to sponsor a workplace retirement plan such as a 401(k)? RWM Financial Group can help you review retirement plan providers who can provide very cost effective solutions that can help minimize your administrative burdens and fiduciary risk.

At RWM, we help businesses like yours create well-managed retirement plans that benefit both your employees and you as an employer. Contact us to learn more about how we develop customized solutions to help you design a 401(k) program, maintain compliance, reduce your costs, and increase employee loyalty.

*The NRRI is published by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.

This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult our attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does advisor assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations.

As a business owner in the agricultural sector, you may be considering starting a retirement plan for your employees, or you may already have a plan in place that needs some updating. From technology to employee education, there are particular challenges agricultural companies face when designing and communicating a 401(k) plan. We’ll share our top five features to consider when creating or updating your retirement plan.

#1 Adopt a Safe Harbor Provision

If you already have a 401(k) and matching program or are designing your plan for the first time, adding a safe harbor provision may be a critical component.

Companies with a traditional 401(k) plan must perform annual nondiscrimination testing to remain compliant and ensure every employee can benefit from a plan fairly. These tests measure a plan’s participation, contributions, and other factors. For example, suppose more highly compensated employees participate in your plan than lower-paid employees. In that case, it can result in an imbalance in the plan’s assets or a “top-heavy” plan, which the IRS considers is favoring highly compensated employees.

However, the nondiscrimination calculations can also make it difficult for a highly compensated employee, such as an executive or owner, to max out their annual 401(k) contributions. This can quickly become a common scenario and challenge among small agricultural companies that consist of owners and a few farmworkers with significant differences in income.

If this is your situation, you can avoid a top-heavy plan and annual nondiscrimination testing by adopting a safe harbor provision in your 401(k) plan. In a safe harbor plan, employers contribute to an employee plan through matching or other contributions. Matches, in particular, incentivize more employees to participate and save for retirement, and the IRS offers the benefit of “safe harbor” from annual testing. Consult with a retirement plan professional to determine if this would be suitable for your company.

#2 Establish an Investment Committee

Managing a 401(k) program comes with specific requirements and rules from the IRS, Department of Labor, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Plan administrators have the fiduciary responsibility to oversee a plan, review that investments are diversified and fees are reasonable, and share plan details with employees, among other duties.

It’s important to establish an investment committee so you can stay up-to-date with your plan and regulations and act in your employees’ best interests. A committee may look different from company to company, consisting of executives, HR representatives, a third-party retirement plan professional, or a combination of internal and external teams. If you’re a larger company with several different job levels, you may even consider appointing employee delegates representing the various employees you serve.

#3 Share Plan Information in Multiple Languages

To promote your plan’s success, your staff will need to understand its features and guidelines clearly. It can be challenging to do this if the information, disclosures, and jargon are not in your employees’ primary language.

To facilitate a comprehensive understanding, ensure you’re providing materials and communicating presentations in multiple languages, as applicable to your employees’ needs. While this may seem like an obvious detail, it’s a common mistake we see in the agricultural sector, which overlooks the diverse makeup of its farmworkers and their ability to make investment decisions and plan for retirement.

#4 Use Technology

Another typical detail that’s often missing from agricultural retirement planning for employees is the use of technology. It can be a challenge if most employees, including the owners and managers, work on a farm and do not require a computer to perform their daily tasks.

However, even small steps that leverage technology can be significant in your retirement plan’s effectiveness and ensure you’re meeting your requirements if you’re the plan administrator. For example, it’s harder to walk participants through the plan’s details, disclosures, and guidelines and offer to print essential documents without access to a computer.

At the minimum, we encourage you to set up a workstation where your employees can securely use a computer, view their statements, and print the resources they need.

#5 Provide Employee Education

When you’re managing day-to-day operations, a sprawling worksite, and several groups of employees, retirement plan education can quickly go on the back burner on your list of priorities. However, as a plan administrator, you’re required by law to meet specific compliance guidelines—one of which is providing employee education to help inform investment decisions.

The positive results of education can help increase your plan’s participation and employee loyalty for employees who feel supported, engaged, and secure with their retirement benefits. However, overlooking this key area can result in legal action by your employees, increased risk to your organization, and expensive plan corrections.

Train plan fiduciaries or work with a company specializing in retirement plans and administration to create an employee education campaign that fits your agricultural business and employee needs in an efficient and compliant way.

How RWM Financial Group Can Help

We’re aware of the challenges agricultural companies face daily and how operations could affect the effectiveness of an employee retirement plan.

At RWM, we help businesses like yours create well-managed retirement plans that benefit both your employees and you as an employer. Contact us to learn more about how we develop customized solutions to help you design a 401(k) program, maintain compliance, reduce your costs, and increase employee loyalty.

As an employer, offering a retirement plan is one way to help your employees realize their post-career goals after their years of hard work. When you’re designing your retirement plan, there are key areas to be aware of based on your entity type, such as governmental agencies and non-governmental businesses in both non-tribal and tribal organizations. If you’re unaware of these various factors and differences, you could face administrative and legal challenges.

We’ll share the common—and sometimes costly—mistakes we’ve encountered working with these different types of businesses and explain how you can seek to avoid similar challenges.

Mistake # 1 Not Discussing Your Goals and Needs

Many businesses elect to work with a third-party professional who specializes in retirement plan design and administration. However, the partnership can pose problems when the third party offers a standard prototype design without fully understanding your business type and goals. It’s critical to interview potential third parties to ensure they are well-versed in tailoring a plan to your organization. Ask them questions and discuss which features or strategies are appropriate as you’re establishing your company’s retirement plan.

For example, we frequently come across businesses offering a 401(k) matching program that have not yet adopted a safe harbor provision. There are qualifying factors, but the safe harbor provision helps you maintain compliance and avoid the expense of annual nondiscrimination testing required by the IRS. Unfortunately, many businesses are not made aware of this option and the cost savings available.

Mistake # 2 Setting Up the Wrong Type of Plan for Your Business

Every entity that sponsors an employee retirement plan must follow specific guidelines under various governing boards such as the IRS and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The type of retirement plan you establish is essential to remaining compliant while not taking on unnecessary risks or costs. However, if you are unaware of the key differences, you may find yourself in a plan that’s unsuitable or costly to your business. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

  • Non-ERISA Plans for Governmental Agencies. It’s critical to know that on the governmental side for non-tribal and tribal agencies, you may be eligible for a non-ERISA plan, excusing you from the requirements found in a traditional ERISA plan. However, once you have filed a standard ERISA plan with the IRS, you cannot reverse it. This can be a damaging revelation for an agency that has implemented a traditional plan and unnecessarily opened itself up to Department of Labor audits and ERISA requirements.

  • 457 Deferred Compensation Plans. The same situation occurs when assumptions are made and a tribal government establishes a 457 plan, committing to its guidelines and associated administrative costs. In traditional, non-tribal governments, a 457 may be appropriate; however, tribal governments, unrecognized under 457 regulations, are usually best suited with a non-ERISA 401(k). In this case, it’s challenging for a tribal government to terminate a 457 plan, which requires lengthy IRS approvals.

Mistake #3 Not Using Technology

Sometimes companies set up a retirement plan without a clear strategy for leveraging technology.

As a plan sponsor, you have a legal obligation to ensure your employees adequately understand the plan’s details. Technology can help to simplify this area. For example, if you have a payroll site where employees can view and print their statements, you may consider adding your retirement plan disclosures, forms, and other resources. This way, you’ll stay compliant and reduce your fiduciary risk while giving employees a central location for important retirement information.

When employees feel more informed and engaged in their retirement benefits, we’ve found they’re more inclined to participate and take an active role in their financial future. And technology and access can be significant factors in helping them pursue their goals.

Mistake #4 Not Providing Employee Education

It can be difficult to coordinate schedules and carve out an hour for your company’s retirement plan education. However, not providing employee education can have long-term consequences.

As we’ve mentioned, providing employee education is part of your fiduciary responsibility as a plan administrator. Employees should be aware of the plan’s details and have an opportunity to ask questions and learn about plan updates, economic and business news, and general investment planning. In extreme cases, you could violate your duties and be at risk for employee litigation in the future by not providing suitable educational opportunities.

Whether through technology or group meetings, we encourage you to establish a retirement plan strategy that consistently promotes employee education. You may also think about how your education needs to shift based on your audience—for example, when speaking to executives versus frontline employees.

We do this for companies by taking advantage of regularly scheduled team meetings or trainings and simply dedicating a few minutes to the retirement plan and employee questions.

Mistake #5 Not Establishing an Investment Committee

As you can see, you must stay up-to-date on the various administrative duties and evolving regulations regarding your company’s retirement plan—and establishing an investment committee can be the determining factor in meeting those needs.

Your investment committee will be the fiduciary body responsible for managing and updating your plan, ensuring investments are appropriately diversified and fund fees are reasonable, and ultimately acting in your employees’ best interests.

When forming a committee, consider who can effectively represent your employees and inform their needs. For example, you may find a group of executives, HR staff, and a third-party partner are sufficient for your company. In contrast, another company may also appoint employee delegates based on their various employee subsets for additional accountability.

Creating a Strong Foundation

There are many moving parts when designing, implementing, and administering a retirement plan. However, when you focus on the key areas in your initial design or partner with a professional specializing in retirement plans and administration, you can strive to avoid the common challenges and unnecessary costs while helping your employees succeed.

At RWM Financial Group, we help commercial businesses and governmental agencies design and oversee well-managed retirement plans in non-tribal and tribal organizations. Learn more about building a custom, cost-effective strategy that is compliant and promotes success for you and your employees.

This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does the advisor assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations.