Articles Posted in IRA

2.20.20Most financial experts would agree that it is rarely, if ever, a good idea to take an early withdrawal from a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. This is due in part to the high cost of penalties that can hit an account holder for an early withdrawal (not to mention losing out on years of potential earnings).

Early distributions from IRAs—before you reach 59½—typically are hit with a 10% tax penalty, and you may owe income tax on it. The IRS uses the penalty to discourage IRA account holders from dipping into their savings before retirement. However, the penalty only applies if you withdraw taxable funds, says Investopedia, in its new article entitled “Early Withdrawal Penalties for Traditional and Roth IRAs.”

If you withdraw funds that aren’t subject to income tax, there’s no penalty for distributions taken at any time. The issue of whether the funds are taxable depends on the type of IRA. Early distributions from traditional IRAs are the most likely to incur significant penalties. That’s because you make contributions to this type of account with pretax dollars. These are subtracted from your taxable income for the year, which will decrease the amount of income tax you'll owe. As a result, since you get an upfront tax break when you contribute to a traditional IRA, you have to pay taxes on your withdrawals in retirement.

1.15.20New research from TD Ameritrade finds that many individuals are confused when it comes to Roth IRAs — accounts that are funded with post-tax money. Consequently, many people are leaving cash on the table, when it comes to maximizing this savings strategy.

CNBC’s recent article entitled “Not knowing these Roth IRA truths can cost you” explains the biggest things that investors typically don’t know about Roth IRAs. They include not knowing how to decide between a Roth IRA and Traditional IRA, along with the fact that you can contribute to a 401(k) and a Roth IRA.

You’re allowed to contribute to a 401(k) and a Roth IRA. Many workers get their retirement savings education from their employer. Those employer-provided plans are usually 401(k) plans, and you generally want to contribute enough to that account to get the employer match. However, what 60% of investors incorrectly think is that you can only contribute to a Roth once you reach your 401(k) maximum, according to TD Ameritrade’s research. It’s okay (and smart) to be contributing to both a Roth IRA and a 401(k) at the same time. You don’t have to hit the 401(k) max to contribute to a Roth IRA.

1.7.20“A new law could affect the IRAs and 401(k)s of millions of Americans in 2020.”

The SECURE Act is the most substantial change to our retirement savings system in over a decade, says Covering Katy (TX) News’ recent article entitled “Laws Change for IRA and 401K Retirement Savings Plans.” The new law, called the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, includes several important changes. Let’s take a look at them.

There is a higher age for RMDs. The current law says that you must start taking withdrawals or required minimum distributions from your traditional IRA and 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan when you turn 70½. The new law delays this to age 72, so you can hold on to your retirement savings a while longer.

10.18.19An IRA is one of the most popular ways to save for retirement. The possibility, however small, does exist that you will pass before using the entire IRA. How do you decide who to leave your IRA to?

In addition to leaving assets, including IRAs and 401(k)s, to heirs, you can also leave assets to a trust. When you first open an IRA, you are asked to designate a beneficiary. However, over time you may find yourself wanting to change that designation. You may also be doing sophisticated estate planning that involves having a trust as the beneficiary for your IRA.

KTVA.com’s recent article, “How to Name a Trust as Beneficiary of an IRA,” discusses some of the important elements of naming a trust as an IRA beneficiary. Naming a trust as a beneficiary requires careful planning, so work with an experienced estate planning attorney.

10.17.19Whenever there are major changes to tax laws, estate plans need to be reviewed. The change to the kiddie tax because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is an excellent example of this.

If your estate plan includes passing down traditional IRAs to children and grandchildren, you better make an appointment with your estate planning attorney soon. Changes that began with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may turn your planning inside out. Your children might find themselves in the top tax bracket, which is not likely what you had in mind.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brought about a big change in how children are taxed on unearned income. This includes required minimum distributions (RMDs) from inherited IRAs.

4.27.19Those who happily enjoy senior discounts at national parks, fast food restaurants and movie theaters will tell you that turning 59 ½ is no big deal. Chances are at 59 ½, you’re still enjoying good health, working productively and wise enough to know you’re a bit smarter than you were back in the day.

59 ½ is around the time that people wake up to the idea that hey, they really are getting older. With that realization, they need to embrace the financial benefits of their age and there are more than a few, according to the article “What Should You Do When You Turn 59½?” from Kiplinger. Here are some of the advantages, and also a few to-do items.

Review Your 401(k). At age 59½, you reach the magic age when you can start taking money out of your retirement accounts without penalty. That’s not to say it’s time to drain your accounts, but it does give you more options.

5.10.19The emphasis on the SECURE act is all about helping Americans save more for retirement. However, it may eliminate a strategy that is used by many to pass wealth across generations.

The coverage of the SECURE Act, that has been passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, is garnering considerable attention, because of its focus on helping Americans save more for retirement. One provision would require employers with 401(k) plans to make the plans available to long-term part-time workers. The $500 tax credit for small companies that open retirement plans with an automatic enrollment feature is also a popular provision.

However, as CNBC reports in its recent article “Congress may gut the 'stretch IRA' that wealthy people love,” the also bill includes a provision that would force non-spouse beneficiaries to draw down inherited retirement accounts within 10 years of the original owner's death.

3.20.19You may know that there are tax traps when IRA withdrawals or rollovers are done incorrectly. However, did you know that an investment portfolio could contain a tax trap that could ruin your IRA status?

The most frequently occurring IRA tax trap comes from tax bills through the Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI). Sources of business income from stocks, bonds and funds like interest income, capital gains and dividends are exempt from UBTI and a related tax, the Related Business Income Tax.

Fox Business’s recent article, “Your IRA and taxes: Don't get a surprise tax bill” explains that IRAs that operate a business, have certain types of rental income, or receive income through certain partnerships will be taxed, when the total UBTI exceeds $1,000. This is to prevent tax-exempt entities from gaining an unfair advantage on regularly taxed business entities.

1.10.19The rules are strict, and mistakes can be costly.

Inheriting an IRA is not like inheriting any other asset. You’ll need to be very careful to follow the rules. Usually the parent is the beneficiary and the children (grandchildren) are successor beneficiaries. Here’s how it works, as described in nj.com’s recent article, “Inheriting an inherited IRA? Your payout choices will be limited.”

Per IRS rules, if you die prior to withdrawing all the funds from an inherited IRA, then the beneficiaries are bound by the same Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) schedule that they’d chosen when they inherited it.

1.2.19Their lives were devoted to family and public service, and to each other. The passing of George H.W. Bush and his wife gave many Americans pause to consider their leadership and their devotion.

Few were surprised when George H.W. Bush passed less than eight months after Barbara’s death. Their deep connection—from his service in World War II to the Presidency and their role in public service after leaving the White House—was evident to everyone around them, says Forbes in the article, “Valuable Estate Lessons From The Passing Of George And Barbara Bush.”

The death of a longtime married couple in quick succession, is often called “broken-heart syndrome” or “widowhood effect.” The thought is that the lives of two people are so entwined they can’t bear to be without each other. The time between the Bushes’ deaths also raises practical questions in estate planning. Timing is critical in an estate plan, and if the deaths of married spouses happen within a short period of time, it can make the administration of an estate more difficult.

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