Articles Posted in Roth IRA

When people think about beginning the estate planning process, they often think about creating a will and power of attorney documents. They do not often consider how a Roth IRA can—and should—be incorporated into the estate planning process. Roth IRAs are a powerful tool that can benefit individuals as they plan for their future and make sure their loved ones are financially taken care of after they pass away. Below are common explanations to common questions about Roth IRAs and why they should be included in estate planning efforts.

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is a retirement account that allows individuals to make tax-free withdrawals. Unlike traditional IRAs, individuals pay taxes on the money going into the account, which then makes future withdrawals tax-free. This is beneficial when individuals think their taxes will be higher in the future, once they are retired, than they are currently.

What Are the Benefits of a Roth IRA?

One benefit of a Roth IRA is there are no required minimum distributions—this is majorly beneficial when Roth IRAs are incorporated into estate plans. Required minimum distributions are minimum amounts that a retirement account owner must withdraw every year. Since Roth IRAs do not require the owner to make withdrawals every year, the funds can grow, tax-free, for the individual’s beneficiaries to use in the future. This is one way to include extra assets in an estate plan to help make sure beneficiaries are financially taken care of after the Roth IRA account owner has passed away.

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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.

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