Here are some things you might want to do before saying goodbye to 2017.  What has changed for you in 2017? Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and 2018 begins.    Even if your 2017 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still a good time to get cracking and see where you can plan to save some taxes and/or build a little

What beneficiaries need to know and consider. At first glance, the rules surrounding inherited IRAs are complex. Here are some questions (and potential answers) to consider if you have inherited one or may in the future. Who was the original IRA owner? If the original owner was your spouse, you have a fundamental choice to make. You can roll over your late spouse’s IRA into an IRA you own, or you can treat it as an inherited IRA. If the original owner was not your spouse, you must treat the IRA for which you are named beneficiary as an inherited

These tools can shield inherited IRA assets from lawyers and creditors. Inherited IRA assets are vulnerable in bankruptcy proceedings. Many older IRA owners and their beneficiaries do not realize this, but it is true. In Clark, et ux v. Rameker (2014), the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that inherited IRAs cannot be defined as “retirement funds” under federal bankruptcy law. They now lack the protection that retirement savings accounts commonly get in bankruptcy courts.1 So today, a longstanding estate planning dictum is being reevaluated. If you have non-spousal heirs who seem at risk for bankruptcy, you might want to leave your

Retirement Savings

Why an early start (and accepting some risk) matters. Are you on track to save $1 million or more for retirement? If you are 50 or younger, you may need that much in savings to generate the kind of retirement income you prefer.   Personal finance website NerdWallet recently did some math concerning this very objective. What kind of sustained savings effort would a 30-year-old with nothing invested need to make to amass $1 million in retirement savings by age 67, assuming a consistent 6% annual return? (Keep in mind, a tax-advantaged retirement account is not the only potential source of

Things to check and double-check. Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies. No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year regarding estate planning.  Create a will if you don’t have one. Many people never get around to creating a will, not even buying a will-in-a-box at a stationery store or setting one up online. A solid will drafted

Taxes IRA

With the tax filing deadline approaching, have you considered contributing to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA)? IRAs are one of the most powerful retirement savings tools available to you. Even if you’re contributing to a workplace retirement plan, you may want to consider having an IRA as well. You may be eligible for a full or partial federal tax deduction with a traditional IRA. This can be especially valuable if you are already contributing the maximum to your workplace plan, such as a 403(b) or 457(b). There’s still time to make an IRA contribution for the 2016 tax year. The deadline

Will it apply to your retirement savings distribution? If you receive a distribution from your IRA or workplace retirement plan, what will you do with it? You will probably want to arrange an IRA rollover – a common and useful financial move designed to take these invested assets from one retirement account to another, without tax consequences. The I.R.S. may give you just 60 days to do it, however.    The clock starts ticking on the day you receive the distribution. If assets from your employee retirement plan account or your IRA are paid directly to you, you have 60 calendar

What is it? What kind of benefit could it provide? Seemingly everyone has heard of an IRA, but few people know about IRA trusts. Perhaps more people should, for an IRA trust may provide a way to “stretch” IRA assets for decades to benefit multiple generations.    An IRA trust is simply a revocable living trust designed to hold IRA assets. It will continue to house them after your death, but that will not prevent you from distributing those assets to your heirs. This is because an IRA trust also contains one or more sub-trusts, which can be designated and customized

IRARoth401k

How much can you contribute to an IRA or workplace plan this year? In 2017, you have another chance to max out your retirement accounts. Here is a rundown of yearly contribution limits for the popular retirement savings vehicles.  IRAs. The 2017 limits are the same as in 2016: $5,500 for IRA owners who will be 49 and younger this year, $6,500 for IRA owners who will be 50 or older this year. These limits apply to both Roth and traditional IRAs.1 What if you own multiple IRAs? This $5,500/$6,500 limit applies to your total IRA contributions for a calendar

White House Proposes Changes to Retirement Plans

A look at some of the ideas contained in the 2017 federal budget. Will workplace retirement plans be altered in the near future? The White House will propose some changes to these plans in the 2017 federal budget, with the goal of making such programs more accessible. Here are some of the envisioned changes. Pooled employer-sponsored retirement programs. This concept could save small businesses money. Current laws permit multi-employer retirement plans, but the companies involved must be similar in nature. The White House wants to lift that restriction. (1,2) In theory, allowing businesses across disparate industries to join pooled retirement

2016 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Tame yearly inflation means very little change. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have increased very little. The latest Consumer Price Index (September) shows 0.0% yearly inflation and only 1.9% core yearly inflation. That means no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, and very few IRS adjustments to retirement plan contribution limits.(1) Roth IRA & traditional IRA contribution limits stay the same for 2016. Those 49 and younger in 2016 can contribute up to $5,500 to their IRAs, while those 50 and older will be able to contribute $6,500.(2) 401(k), 403(b), 457 & TSP annual contribution limits are also unchanged.