The Hartford found in a recent survey that 37% of Americans age 45 and older with incomes below $50,000 worry more about rising taxes than those with higher incomes, but are less likely to participate in a 401(k) or other retirement plan that could reduce their taxes. By comparison, 28.5% of those earning $50,000 to $100,000 have such worries, and 32% of those earning more than $100,00 are worried about taxes.
Thus, The Hartford has developed educational materials for retirement plan participants outlining the tax advantages of saving in a qualified or other retirement savings plan.
The materials note the 2011 Savers Credit that provides up to $1,000 for individuals with adjusted gross income of $28,500 or less and up to $2,000 for married couples with adjusted gross income of $56,500 or the head of a household whose adjusted gross income does not exceed $56,500.
The Hartford also tells investors about the advantages of Roth 401(k)s: while contributions are made after taxes, earnings accumulate tax-deferred and withdrawals are tax-free at retirement.
Further, contributions to a traditional 401(k) lowers a participant’s overall taxable income since contributions are made before taxes are paid.
In addition, The Hartford encourages investors to contribute either to a Roth IRA or traditional IRA.
And finally, The Hartford extols the virtues of contributing at least enough to meet a company 401(k) match. “Some employers provide a 50% match on the first 100% of employee contributions up to 6% of their income,” The Hartford says.
“Rising taxes can have a bigger impact on Americans with lower incomes, so they are understandably more concerned about that possibility,” said E. Thomas Foster, Jr., vice president and national spokesman for The Hartford’s retirement plans. “The Hartford is working with employers that sponsor retirement plans to help educate employees about opportunities to reduce their tax bills, defer taxes on their investment earnings and generate tax-free income.”
Foster added: “A person with a lower income who contributes to a 401(k) may qualify for both the Savers Credit and a matching contribution. In this instance, a couple that earns $50,000 and contributes 4% of their income, $2,000, could qualify for a $1,000 Savers Credit and a $1,000 match. The result is $4,000 in total retirement savings and potentially lower taxes.”