Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS)
- Total membership approximately 573,900
- Active Members 208,800
- Inactive Members 218,900
- Retired Members and Survivor Beneficiaries 142,200
- Long Term Disability Members 4,000
1. Provide incentive in recruitment and retention
2. Contribute toward competitive total compensation package
3. Provide employers with the benefits of a stable workforce
4. Promote a high level of public service
5. Provide a base retirement benefit
The Benefits of Tax-Advantaged Savings Vehicles
Taxes can take a big bite out of your total investment returns, so it’s helpful to look for tax-advantaged strategies when building a portfolio. But keep in mind that investment decisions shouldn’t be driven solely by tax considerations; other factors to consider include the potential risk, the expected rate of return, and the quality of the investment.
How Recent Retirement Legislation Will Affect State Employees
Recently, the Arizona Legislature passed three retirement bills that will impact ASRS members,including teachers. Those affected would be wise to review these changes closely to determine how your retirement plans will be affected.
Hardship Withdrawals from Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans
Hardship withdrawals are a type of “discretionary” distribution available from certain employer-sponsored retirement plans. Retirement plans aren’t required to allow employees to take hardship withdrawals while they are still working for the employer. Consult your plan administrator or your employer’s benefits department to find out if hardship withdrawals are available from your plan.
Tax Credit for IRAs and Retirement Plans (“Saver’s Credit”)
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 made significant changes to IRAs and retirement plans. One provision of the act allows some low- and middle-income taxpayers to claim a partial, nonrefundable income tax credit (the “saver’s credit”) for contributing to certain tax-deferred retirement savings vehicles. The credit can be applied against the taxpayer’s regular income tax liability (or minimum tax liability, if paying under the alternative minimum tax system) and is in addition to any income tax deduction the taxpayer receives for making the contribution. The purpose of this provision is to encourage retirement savings among those who, typically, can least afford to save.
Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest?
Owning a home outright is a dream that many Americans share. Having a mortgage can be a huge burden, and paying it off may be the first item on your financial to-do list. But competing with the desire to own your home free and clear is your need to invest for retirement, your child's college education, or some other goal. Putting extra cash toward one of these goals may mean sacrificing another. So how do you choose?
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