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Getting Started

In general, your savings journey should start with an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a stash of money you set aside as a financial safety net to cover future financial surprises and mishaps life throws your way. There are many places where an emergency fund can live, including a bank, a traditional brokerage account, and in permanent life insurance.


Many people open a 401(k) because their employer matches some of their contributions, and they just believe saving for retirement via a 401(k) is what you’re “supposed to do”. Maybe you had a representative come into your place of employment and speak to you briefly, or maybe no one attempted to educate you at all! Everyone’s situation is different; therefore everyone’s use of their 401(k) should be different. However, we can give you a few tips that apply to most people.

The biggest tip we can give a new 401(k) owner is don’t ignore your debt. Take care of your high interest debt first, before contributing the maximum amount to your 401(k).

Another thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be able to withdraw money from your 401(k) without penalties until you’re 59.5 years old. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a plan in place for when financial hardships come, so you don’t have to take a loan out of your 401(k) or pay a tax penalty on an outright distribution. If you place some of your savings into a bank account in the early years of investing, and not all into your 401(k), you’ll be able to weather the storms of life a bit better.

Remember, you don’t have to have a 401(k) at all! For some people, a brokerage account might be a better option. You also don’t have to contribute the maximum amount, especially when you’re young. The most important thing is to diversify your savings and investments.

Now is a good time to move away from the 401(k) your employer(s) have set out for you and be a bit more precise in your investments. A professional advisor can help you take the risk out of your investments, so you don’t lose them before retiring. They can either help you manage your 401(k) directly, and possibly start moving money into different buckets, or, if your 401(k) plan does not allow for direct individual management and control, they can still offer guidance.

In most 401(k)s, once you become 59.5, you can do what’s called an in-service distribution (a rollover into your own IRA). This gives you more control over how you will take money out during retirement. Another option is to roll over your 401(k) into an accumulation annuity.

When you’re ready to retire, the financial advisors at DuPont Wealth Solutions can help you make the transition.


Annuities themselves are not “good” or “bad”, but how an annuity is applied to your situation can be. Annuities are very complex, and many people don’t fully understand them, giving salesmen an opportunity to take advantage of people. In short, there are many types of annuities out there and there is most likely one available to fit your needs. However, finding the right one can be difficult and it’s extremely important to contact a trusted financial advocate before purchasing one.

There are three major categories of annuities.

  • A variable annuity gives the saver the opportunity to have their money that is in that annuity grow based on the performance of a set of mutual funds.
  • A fixed annuity is the simplest kind of annuity. It pays a guaranteed rate of interest. In a low interest rate environment, it becomes a very attractive option for many savers that would otherwise be looking at a Certificate of Deposit. It pays a similar interest rate as a CD, and sometimes a little higher.
  • A fixed index annuity gives you some of the same benefits as a variable annuity. There is also the potential that the index credit for the annuity over time will be higher that it would be with a fixed annuity.
  • Each type of annuity has it’s own benefits and drawbacks, a trusted financial advisor can discuss annuity options with you.

In general, people that could benefit from purchasing an annuity have 3 similar qualities

  • They believe they will outlive their money.
  • They don’t like that they’re money in the market is at risk.
  • They like the idea of having a regular income for as long as they may need it.

It doesn’t technically cost you anything to get an annuity. You control how much money you want to put into it.

Leaving a Legacy or Inheritance

Estate Planning is the most effective way to make sure that your wishes are carried out properly after you pass away. You might be thinking “I don’t have an estate”, I don’t have a mansion with lots of property and servants. But that’s not what estate planning really means.

An estate plan can be fully customized to fit your needs. Most commonly an estate plan consists of the following documents: a will, a trust agreement, a power of attorney for healthcare, and a financial power of attorney,. A skilled estate planning attorney can discuss your goals with you and create a plan to help you meet those goals.

A will is part of the legal structure that implements an estate plan. It sets forth what your wishes are, and who is to be put in charge of implementing those wishes and managing your affairs when you pass away. In most jurisdictions, this person is called the Executor. They are a fiduciary and are bound by law to make sure your assets are distributed in accordance to the terms of your will. If you have minor children, you will state who will be their guardians in your will.

The dreaded word, probate. Probate is the judicial and administrative process by the state that oversees the management and distribution of your estate as set forth by your will or the state’s de facto structure. Many people want to avoid probate because it is very costly and very public. You can actively prevent your family from having to experience this by working with an estate planning attorney to draft documents that can be administered out of the probate process, such as a trust.

There are a few estate planning documents that can ease your mind knowing that your financial and medical needs and wishes will be carried out even if you can’t communicate them at the pertinent time.

A Power of Attorney document – An official grant of authority to someone else to take care of your affairs when you can’t yourself. The Financial Power of Attorney allows someone to take care of your banking and the Healthcare Power of Attorney gives someone the tools to be your advocate in regards to your medical care. It gives them the authorization to make sure your wishes (set in your living will) are carried out. These documents protect you and your family against end-of-life issues and incapacity during your lifetime.

A living will states your wishes in regard to your healthcare if you are in a permanently unconscious state. This could include a Do Not Resuscitate order.<

It’s a good idea to review and update your estate plan when you have major life changes such as having children, getting married, and moving states.

As you get older and your priorities shift, you may want to regularly meet with your estate planning attorney and financial advisor to make sure your assets are properly protected, and your loved ones will be properly cared for when you pass away.

Life Insurance

There are many different types of life insurance, here are the 3 most common:

Group insurance is paid for through your employer. It’s a great start for many young people. However it’s not a good idea to count on financial stability solely though a group life insurance policy.

Term insurance is a pure life insurance product with no savings component. It is the cheapest form of insurance (second only to a group policy). Typically, you only buy it for a certain amount of time (a term) such as 10, 15 or 20 years. It is the most profitable type of insurance for the insurance company because the vast majority of policies never pay anything out.

Permanent life insurance is designed to be used throughout your whole life. It has the death benefit that group and term insurance does, as well as some savings and accumulation potential. There are many different categories of permanent life insurance.

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