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The “Default” Default Distribution Period

What is the default distribution period of an inherited IRA? Did you know that it depends on how old the original owner was at death?

Will TCJA Encourage QCD?

A byproduct of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may be a new appreciation for and much greater use of the QCD for charitable contributions from your IRA.

Disclaiming an Inherited IRA

Disclaiming an inherited IRA must be done with caution. There may be many reasons to do this, and there are many ways to mess it up.

IRA RMD Reporting

IRA RMD reporting may be a mystery – it’s not that complicated though. And the IRS is watching your every IRA move, so never fear, they’ll know.

New Deadline for Rollover of 401k Loan Distributions

TCJA allows an extended period of time to rollover 401k loan distributions. This will help folks who have left a job with outstanding 401k loans

Back-door Roth Blessed by Congress

The back-door Roth contribution method has always had an air of skepticism around it. With the passage of TCJA, the skepticism should be gone.

Roth Recharacterization is No Longer Allowed

Although used by few taxpayers, the Roth conversion recharacterization strategy is no longer allowed after the passage of the TJCA 2017.

Non-Spouse Rollover of Inherited IRA or Plan

Is a non-spouse rollover of an inherited IRA allowed? It depends on what you mean by rollover. There are many restrictions for the non-spouse beneficiary.

Creditor Protection for Retirement Plan Assets

Are my retirement accounts protected from a creditor in the case of bankruptcy? In most cases the answer is yes, but not always.

7 Mistakes With Stretch IRAs

The stretch IRA, when implemented properly, can be a great vehicle for transferring wealth to your heirs. Using this method, you pass along the tax-deferred status of the account until it is withdrawn, which may be much later.  The problem is that there are some very specific rules that must be followed in order to achieve the stretch IRA – and if you screw it up, there’s definitely not a do over in most of these cases. Ground Rules First, let’s run through the specifics that make up a stretch IRA.  When an IRA account owner dies, the beneficiary(s) are eligible to re-title (or transfer) the account(s) as inherited IRAs in the name of the deceased owner. At that point the beneficiary(s) must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions based upon the beneficiary’s age. This is much better (tax-wise) than having to take the entire sum all at once and pay tax […]

A SIMPLE Kind of Plan

The SIMPLE Plan is a type of retirement account for small businesses that is simpler (ah hah!) to administer and more portable than the 401(k) plans that are more appopriate for larger businesses.  SIMPLE is an acronym (probably a backronym, more likely) which stands for Savings Incentive Match PLan for Employees. A SIMPLE typically is based on an IRA-type account, but could be based on a 401(k) plan. What we’ll cover here is the IRA-type of SIMPLE plan.  The difference (with the 401(k)-type) is that there are more restrictions on employer activities, and less room for error (as can be the case with 401(k) plans). A SIMPLE Kind of Plan Much like a regular 401(k) plan, a SIMPLE Plan is an agreement between the employer and employee where the employee agrees to a salary deferral.  This deferral effectively reduces the employee’s taxable take home pay, and the employer then contributes […]


How much do you know about recharacterizing IRA contributions? I bet it’s not enough to keep yourself out of trouble, if the need arises…

Determining Your MAGI

Do you know how to calculate your MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income)? It’s important to know when you’re contributing to an IRA.

Remember Your RMD

It’s getting close to the end of the year and that means many individuals need to take their required minimum distributions (RMDs). It also means that there will be individuals who must begin taking their required minimum distributions as they will have reached the magic age of 70 ½. For those already taking RMDs, check with your advisor or asset custodian and find out the amount you need to take and how you can receive payments. In most cases, RMDs can be taken in an annual amount, or monthly via check or direct deposit. The specific RMD amount is based on the account balance as of December 31st the previous year and your age. You can use the RMD calculator found here to get an idea of your RMD amount. Additionally, be sure to account for any taxes you might owe. For 401k type plans, 20 percent will be withheld […]

IRA Distribution Pro-Rata Rule

How does the pro-rata rule for IRA distributions work? Can it cause problems as I implement the back-door Roth conversion strategy?

5 No-No’s for IRA Investing

It is generally well-known that in an IRA account you have a wide range of investment choices. These choices are typically only limited by the custodian’s available investment options.  However, there are specific prohibited transactions that cannot be accomplished with IRA funds. Often these prohibited transactions can cause your IRA to be disqualified, which can result in significant tax and penalty, along with loss of the tax-favored status of the funds. What’s Not Allowed for IRA Accounts? Self-Dealing.  You are not allowed, within your IRA, to make investments in property which benefits you or another disqualified person.  A disqualified person includes your fiduciary advisor and any member of your family, whether an ancestor, spouse, lineal descendant (child) or spouse of a lineal descendant.  It is important to note that this limit applies to both present and future use of a property. So if you purchased a condo and rented it […]

The Earliest Age You Can Withdraw Retirement Money Without Penalty

Do you know what is the earliest age you can be and still be eligible to withdraw money from a deferred retirement account without penalty?

Where To Establish Your IRA Account

There are many institutions where you can establish your IRA account. This article reviews the pros and cons of the main options.

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