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Get Ready for Employee Benefits Season: Maximize Growth with Tax-Advantaged Accounts

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Maximizing Growth with Tax-Advantaged Accounts during Employee Benefits Season

As employee benefits season approaches, it's not just health and dental benefits that deserve attention. It's also the perfect time to review contributions and investments in tax-advantaged accounts such as 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and health savings accounts (HSAs). By strategically positioning assets for growth and tax efficiency, investors can maximize their tax-favored growth potential.

Tax Diversification and Asset Location

Investors should aim for a combination of tax-deferred, tax-free, and taxable accounts to tailor their income and effectively manage taxes in retirement. Tax-deferred accounts, like traditional 401(k) plans and IRAs, are ideal for storing assets generating significant income, such as corporate and high-yield bonds. By deferring taxes, investors can capture growth and postpone tax payments into the future.

Optimizing Tax-Free Growth

Tax-free accounts, such as Roth 401(k)s and Roth IRAs, offer the advantage of tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement (subject to certain conditions). Aggressive investment strategies, like a 90/10 or 100/0 allocation between stocks and bonds, can be suitable for these accounts. However, it's crucial to align the level of risk with an individual's comfort level.

Strategic Allocation for Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts

For workers in the early to mid-career stage, tax-deferred retirement accounts can be split 80/20. Small-cap stocks and emerging market equities are examples of assets that could be kept in Roth accounts. On the other hand, taxable accounts are suitable for holding assets like Treasury bills or municipal bonds, especially if the funds will be used in the near future. Treasury bills are not subject to state or local income taxes but are subject to federal levies. Municipal bonds, on the other hand, are exempt from federal levies and may also be tax-exempt at the state and local levels, depending on the investor's residence.

Health Savings Accounts

For individuals with high-deductible health plans, health savings accounts (HSAs) offer a triple-tax advantage. Contributions to HSAs can be made with pretax or tax-deductible dollars, and the funds can grow tax-free. As long as the money is used for qualified medical expenses, withdrawals from HSAs are also tax-free. Unlike flexible spending accounts (FSAs), HSAs do not have a "use it or lose it" provision, allowing individuals to carry over unused funds into the future, even if they change employers.

Optimal Usage of HSAs

High-deductible health plans are most suitable for young workers with low medical expenses and those who can afford to cover healthcare costs out of pocket. It is essential to ensure that the HSA is funded sufficiently to cover the deductible before considering investment options. Depending on the HSA service provider, attractive yields may be available through money market funds or other investment options. It is important to consider the current economic landscape and adjust risk levels accordingly. In conclusion, employee benefits season presents an excellent opportunity to optimize tax-advantaged accounts for growth. By strategically diversifying tax-deferred, tax-free, and taxable accounts and making the most of HSAs, individuals can maximize their after-tax returns and effectively plan for their financial future.

Conclusion: The Implications for New Businesses

Employee benefits season, with its focus on tax-advantaged accounts, presents unique opportunities and challenges for new businesses. The strategic management of these accounts can significantly impact a company's financial health and the satisfaction of its employees.

Financial Planning and Employee Satisfaction

New businesses can leverage this period to improve their financial planning and enhance employee satisfaction. By educating employees about the benefits of tax-advantaged accounts and providing guidance on optimizing these accounts for growth, businesses can help employees maximize their financial benefits. This not only boosts employee morale but also enhances the company's reputation as an employer that cares about its employees' financial well-being.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Moreover, a well-structured and effectively communicated benefits package can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining talent. In a competitive job market, offering tax-advantaged accounts such as 401(k) plans, IRAs, and HSAs can give businesses an edge over competitors.

Long-Term Business Sustainability

Finally, the strategic use of tax-advantaged accounts can contribute to long-term business sustainability. By deferring taxes and maximizing tax-free growth, businesses can improve their financial health and ensure their longevity in the market. In conclusion, the management of tax-advantaged accounts during employee benefits season can have far-reaching implications for new businesses. By taking a strategic approach, businesses can improve their financial health, enhance employee satisfaction, attract and retain talent, and ensure long-term sustainability.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/13/employee-benefits-season-is-coming-prepare-these-tax-advantaged-accounts-for-growth.html
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