72(T) DON’TS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The 72(t) rules (”series of substantially equal periodic payments”) allow a person to tap retirement dollars before 59½ without a 10% early distribution penalty. However, to gain this early access, you must commit to a plan of...

WHEN THE FIVE-YEAR RULE APPLIES

By Sarah Brenner Director of Retirement Education If you inherit an IRA, especially if it is a larger one, you may be afraid of being stuck with the five-year distribution rule. If this rule applies, your IRA must be entirely emptied in five years, which can be a...

ONE ROTH IRA BUCKET

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst SCENARIO: John owns multiple Roth IRAs. He believes it is necessary to maintain all these accounts to keep things properly organized and to track his 5-year conversion clocks. He has contributed to Roth IRA #1 for over a decade. He...

5 WAYS AN EXCESS IRA CONTRIBUTION CAN HAPPEN

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education You can have too much of a good thing. While saving for retirement with an IRA is a good strategy, there are limits.  When a contribution is not permitted in an IRA, it is an excess contribution and needs to be...

WHEN A “REVERSE ROLLOVER” MAKES SENSE

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Usually, rollovers involving 401(k) accounts and IRAs involve moving dollars from a plan to an IRA. But sometimes it makes sense to instead do a “reverse rollover” – from an IRA to a 401(k). Let’s get some bad news out of the way:...

WATCH OUT FOR THE ONCE-PER-YEAR ROLLOVER RULE

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Why is it so important to know how the once-per-year rollover rule works? Well, that is because trouble with the once-per year rule is the kind of trouble no one wants! An IRA owner who violates this rule is...

HOW THE VESTING RULES WORK FOR COMPANY RETIREMENT PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Employees leaving their jobs are often surprised to discover they aren’t entitled to the full balance of their company plan account. The reason is that some plans impose a vesting rule on certain types of contributions. What do the...

HOW YOUR IRA CAN HELP IF YOU ARE A FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The real estate market is red hot right now. This can be especially challenging for first time home buyers. IRA savings are intended to be used for your retirement. However, if you are like many others, your IRA...

A DOZEN QCD FACTS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) continue to gain popularity, and with that popularity comes more questions. Here are a dozen QCD facts that will keep you on the straight-and-narrow with your QCD transactions: 1. QCDs are...

INVESTING YOUR IRA IN CRYPTO

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Recently, Fidelity investments made headlines by announcing that it would allow retirement savers to put Bitcoin in their 401(k)s. Cryptocurrency has been all over the news, and you may be wondering if it would be...

April 2022 Market Review and Outlook

Monthly Market Commentary – April ’22 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Global financial markets had a rough month in April. Inflation continued to be top of mind for investors as data continued to show historic increases in prices. The Federal Reserve still appears to be behind...

401(K), 403(B), 457(B): DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst There are three types of company savings plans: 401(k) plans if you work for a for-profit company; 403(b) plans if you work for a tax-exempt employer, a public school or a church; and 457(b) plans if you work for a state or local...

FIRST DOLLARS OUT RULE AND THE STILL-WORKING EXCEPTION

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst For those who have 401(k)s or other employee retirement plans (but not SEP or SIMPLE plans), the required beginning date (RBD) for when required minimum distributions (RMDs) are to begin is the same as for IRA owners – April 1 of...

UNDERSTANDING THE SAME PROPERTY RULE

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education For IRA-to-IRA or Roth-to-Roth 60-day rollovers, the same property received is the property that must be rolled over. These rules also apply to SIMPLE and SEP IRAs. You cannot receive a distribution of cash and...

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CATCH-UP CONTRIBUTIONS!

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Tax Day 2022 seems like an appropriate time to review a sometimes-overlooked way to get extra dollars into your IRA or company savings plan. Folks age 50 or older are allowed to make “catch-up” contributions with no strings attached....

LAST-MINUTE IRA TAX DEADLINES & RULES

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The deadline for filing your 2021 tax return is this Monday, April 18. It is extended through the weekend because IRS offices in Washington DC are closed on Friday, April 15, in observance of the locally recognized Emancipation...

5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE NEW SECURE ACT REGULATIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The SECURE Act was signed into law in late December of 2019. This new law upended the rules for retirement accounts. With it came many questions, and IRS guidance was eagerly anticipated. Finally, on February 23,...

HOUSE PASSES SECURE 2.0 BILL, BUT IT’S NOT LAW YET

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst A bill designed to increase savings in IRAs and company plans has passed the House of Representatives, but it’s not yet law. The bill is officially called the “Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022,” but many are calling it “SECURE...

March 2022 Market Review and Outlook

Monthly Market Commentary – March ’22 -Darren Leavitt, CFA In March, global financial markets continued to be volatile, focused on the Russian/Ukraine war and inflation rates not seen in decades.  Countries worldwide condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine...

THE 3 EXCEPTIONS TO THE PRO-RATA RULE THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Most IRA distributions will be taxable. However, if you have ever made nondeductible contributions to your IRA or rolled over after-tax funds from your company plan to your IRA, then the rules can get a little bit...

$1,512,350 IS THE NEW $1,362,800

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst When you file for bankruptcy, one thing you usually don’t have to worry about is protecting your IRA funds from creditors. That’s because, in just about every case, all of your IRA (and Roth IRA) monies are off limits. Under the federal...

NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE YOUR 2021 IRA CONTRIBUTION

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education It may be hard to believe it but the countdown to the 2021 tax filing deadline is on. The deadline is April 18, 2022, for most filers. That is really only a few weeks away. Time is running out. Is your IRA ready?...

DECIPHERING YOUR 401(K) STATEMENT

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst With many 401(k) (and 403(b) and 457(b) plans) offering multiple participant accounts, your plan statement is probably more complicated than ever. Here’s a brief primer to help you understand what each account represents: Pre-tax deferral...

“MONITORING CONCURRENT LIFE EXPECTANCIES?” – SMH

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst I am usually patient with the IRS. I understand the massive workload they have, and there are tax cheats lurking around every corner. The IRS does its best to ensure no loopholes exist for bad actors to circumvent tax laws to avoid...

SECURE ACT REGS BRING NEW ROTH IRA ADVANTAGE

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Roth IRAs have always been a great retirement savings tool. While pre-tax retirement accounts allow tax deferred savings, a Roth IRA promises tax-free benefits. They allow you to receive years of earnings in...

THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL PART OF THE NEW IRS REGULATIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The part of the new IRS SECURE Act regulations causing the most reaction is the one requiring annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) for some IRA or workplace plan beneficiaries subject to the 10-year payment rule. Under the SECURE...

AGE OF MAJORITY AND THE NEW SECURE ACT REGULATIONS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The 275 pages of proposed SECURE Act regulations, released by the IRS on February 23, are chock full of little details. Each of these tidbits will have some impact on particular IRA owners and retirement account participants. One...

SECURE ACT REGULATIONS ARE HERE

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education On February 23, 2022, the IRS released the long-awaited proposed SECURE Act regulations. The new regulations clock in at 275 pages and offer guidance on many SECURE Act rules. They also include a few surprises....

ACT NOW TO CLEAN UP 2021 EXCESS 401(K) DEFERRALS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The amount of annual pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions you can make to a 401(k) plan is limited by the tax code. If you exceeded that limit in 2021, time is of the essence to correct the error. If you don’t act quickly, the tax...

WHAT PROTECTION DO SPOUSES GET IN COMPANY PLANS?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The federal ERISA law gives spouses of plan participants in ERISA-covered plans certain rights to the participant’s account. There are two types of ERISA financial protection for spouses. Spouses of IRA owners usually don’t have similar...

MAKING A SPOUSAL IRA CONTRIBUTION

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The pandemic has upended the workforce. Many workers lost jobs. Some workers resigned by choice. Others were forced to leave jobs due to childcare issues. If you are not working outside the home, you may believe...

HOW DOES THE IRS COMPENSATION LIMIT WORK?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Towards the end of each year, the IRS announces cost-of-living increases for several retirement-related dollar limits that will become effective for the next year. For example, last November, the IRS said that the limit on employee...

ROTH CONVERSIONS & RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I turn 72 this year. I am getting notices from my many IRA custodians that they want a waiver on file if I am NOT using my account for the RMD (i.e., I am taking it somewhere else). They make it sound...

10% PENALTY EXCEPTIONS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst For IRA owners and retirement plan participants who are under age 59 ½, taking a distribution from a retirement account is typically off limits. The distribution will most likely be taxable, and there is a good chance that a 10%...

WATCH OUT FOR THE FIVE-YEAR RULE ON CONVERTED ROTH FUNDS

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education If you are under age 59 ½ and you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you will need to watch out for the five-year rule for penalty-free distributions of converted funds. Not understanding how the rule...