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IRA

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 Using this method, you pass along the tax-deferred status of the account until it is withdrawn, which may be much later.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 […]

Recharacterizing

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.

Your 401k and IRA in 2018

Recently, the IRS just announced the contribution limits for 401k plans (including 403b and 457 plans) as well as IRAs. Additionally, the IRS also announced changes to the income phase-outs for traditional IRA deductibility and Roth IRA eligibility. Let’s start with the 401k plans. For 2018, the IRS increased the contribution limits to $18,500, up $500 from $18,000 last year. The catch-up contribution for those age 50 or over remains unchanged at $6,000. $500 may not seem like much, but think of it this way – you get to give yourself a $500 raise! For those interested in maxing out their 401k plans in 2018, here’s the breakdown depending on whether you’re paid monthly, 24 weeks per year or 26 weeks per year. If you’re paid monthly, the contribution is $1,541.66. This brings you just eight cents under the $18,500 max annually. If you’re paid 24 weeks per year, then […]

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.

Higher Education Expenses Paid From an IRA

An IRA can be used to pay for higher education expenses. This avoids the penalty for early withdrawal that occurs if you’re under age 59 1/2.

Traditional IRA v. Roth IRA – Compare & Contrast

What are the differences and similarities between traditional IRA and Roth IRA? This article gives you the basics in a comparison and contrast.

Calculating your Required Minimum Distribution

Learn how to calculate your required minimum distribution for your IRA, 401k, 403b or other qualified retirement plan.

Adjusting Withholding Saved 44% of the Tax Bill

Adjusting withholding on your income taxes can produce some surprising results. See how one taxpayer saved 44% in taxes by adjusting his withholding.

Tax Impacts of Early Withdrawals from Your IRA

When you make early withdrawals from an IRA or other retirement plan there are tax ramifications, depending on the circumstances of your withdrawal.

Rollover Risk

The idea of an IRA rollover, or a rollover IRA, isn’t necessarily a cosmic mystery – this happens all the time.  You leave your job, and you rollover your 401(k) to an IRA.  No problem, right?  Unfortunately, there often are problems with the process of moving funds from one account to another – because there are a couple of very restrictive rules regarding how this process can and cannot be done.  It’s not terribly complex, but you’d be surprised how easily these rules can trip you up. Rollover Risk Let’s start with a few definitions: A Rollover is when you take a distribution from one qualified plan or IRA custodian, in the form of a check made out to you, and then you re-deposit that check into another qualified plan or IRA account (at a different custodian). A Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer (TTT), even though it is often referred to as a […]

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