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Coping with student loans in retirement: Retirement Scan

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Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

How to cope with student loan debt in retirement
Pre-retirees are advised to weigh their options before applying for a student loan to fund their child or grandchild's college education, according to this article on U.S. News & World Report. They should also avoid co-signing for a student loan, as they will assume the responsibility if the borrower fails to pay. Clients who are approaching retirement should avoid a default in student loan payments and consider signing up for an income-driven repayment scheme. Retirees who are on Social Security can expect the federal government to garnish a portion of their benefits if they fail to make student loan payments.

The missing step to getting out (and staying out) of debt
Holding a spending account can be the key to living a debt-free life, as it will help people avoid using their credit cards, according to this article on Forbes. To do this, clients should open a savings account funded through automatic payment or payroll deduction. They should set a specific amount to put in the account for spending.

The 3 biggest tax mistakes retirees make
One of the biggest mistakes that retirees make about taxes is that they forget about paying their tax dues on Social Security benefits and other earnings as well as making the most of all the tax breaks available to them, according to this article on Fox Business. Many retirees who turn 70 1/2 also fail to start taking required minimum distributions from their tax-deferred retirement accounts, forcing them to pay the hefty tax penalty aside from the income taxes on the distributions. Many seniors also miss out on the tax breaks for medical expenses, as they are unaware that some of these costs are tax deductible.

Pulling the curtain back on those 401(k) fees
401(k) participants face various fees to cover the costs for managing the plan, the expenses associated with investing their savings, and the cost for providing loan and other individual services, according to this article on Cincinnati Enquirer. Clients who change jobs should consider moving the funds if the current plan has a limited investment menu and the new plan offers better investments and services at lower costs.

Here's what clients need to know about required minimum distributions and taxes
While people can defer taxes on a portion of their income by contributing to a 401(k) plan and a traditional IRA, they are required to start making mandatory distributions when they reach 70 1/2, according to this article on Motley Fool. These required minimum distributions are taxable income and could boost their tax liability in the future. Retirees should ensure that they follow the rules to avoid the penalty, which is 50% of the RMD amount, and they may want to convert some traditional IRA funds into a Roth to reduce the RMD and prevent an increase in their taxable income.

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