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“Third-party posts from Ed Slott’s IRA Blog:”

IRA BLOG

HOW THE 401(K) NONDISCRIMINATION RULES WORK – PART 2

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Many 401(k) plans must pass two annual nondiscrimination tests: the ADP test and the ACP test. The November 11 Slott Report discusses the ADP test. This Slott Report tackles the ACP test and the options available to 401(k) plans that fail...

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By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst If you participate in a 401(k) plan, you probably know about the annual limit on the amount of your deferrals (for 2019, $19,000, or $25,000 if over age 50). But if you are a high-paid employee, another limit may apply. Welcome to the IRS...

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MODERATION

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Hypersensitivity to caffeine - this is my affliction. So much so that I limit myself to one energy drink per week. It must be opened before noon and should be nursed for a minimum of 90 minutes. Any violation could result in me...

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WHO SHOULD BE YOUR IRA BENEFICIARY?

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst IRAs are for saving for retirement. However, as these accounts have grown over the years, many IRA owners still have significant funds in their IRA at their death. This means that estate planning for IRAs is essential. Effective estate...

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VESTING RULES FOR COMPANY PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst If you’re thinking about leaving your job, you may want to inquire about your company retirement plan’s vesting schedule. If you are close to becoming vested in a retirement benefit, it may pay to stick it out until you have enough...

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THE 5-YEAR FOREVER CLOCK

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Buckle your seatbelt and hang on to your hat. This ride could get bumpy. We are about to embark on a conversation that might give some readers vertigo or whiplash or all of the above. An article I wrote about the two 5-year clocks...

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SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SPOUSAL IRA CONTRIBUTIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Many individuals find themselves stepping away from a job for reasons such as raising children or being a caregiver to aging parents. When this happens retirement savings can take a hit. That does not necessarily need to be case. You...

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ALL ABOUT ERISA

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Contrary to urban legend, ERISA does not stand for “Every Ridiculous Idea Since Adam.” Instead, it is an acronym for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. ERISA is a federal law that regulates employer-sponsored retirement...

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CARRY THE BOX

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst My wife teaches elementary school kids. Been at it for years. Long enough to have former students visit her classroom as adults. She was put on this Earth to teach. Tough job, though. Even at this early age, and oftentimes through...

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THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE YEAR OF DEATH RMD

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst There are always questions that come up as to the correct way to handle the required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year of death of the IRA owner. Here are three things you need to know about the year of death RMD. 1. The RMD for...

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RETROACTIVE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Retroactive adjective ret·​ro·​ac·​tive | extending in scope or effect to a prior time or to conditions that existed or originated in the past; especially: made effective as of a date prior to enactment, promulgation, or...

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FOUR OCTOBER 15 DEADLINES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst October is upon us. This means fall is in full swing. Along with football, pumpkin-spice everything and stocking up on candy for trick-or-treat come four important October 15 deadlines you will not want to miss! 1. Did you contribute...

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DOLLAR LIMITS WHEN PARTICIPATING IN TWO COMPANY PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Knowing your limits is important when you’re sitting in a bar and realize that you have to drive home. It’s also important to know the dollar limits that apply when you participate in more than one company retirement savings plan or you...

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HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst My son is 14. I make every effort to expose him to a wide array of cultural elements. A variety of music. Plays. History. Food. Movies from the 80’s and 90’s are a significant slice of the “Understanding Social References” pie...

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EXCEPTIONS TO THE 10% PENALTY FOR BOTH IRAS AND COMPANY PLANS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Retirement accounts are supposed to be for saving for retirement. If you tap your retirement savings before reaching age 59 ½, you run the risk of being hit with the 10% early distribution penalty. However, there are exceptions to this...

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A SHORT PRIMER ON DEFINED BENEFIT PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Like cassette tapes and slide rules, defined benefit (DB) plans are becoming relics of the past. It’s estimated that 88% of private sector employees with a company plan in 1975 were covered by a DB plan. Today, that number is less than...

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TOP 10 RMD GOOFS, GAFFES AND BLUNDERS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst People stumble over themselves all the time. Bad advice is provided, misinformation gets freely disseminated, and sometimes normally smart individuals do less-than-smart things. Stories of good folks fouling up their required...

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QCDS AND ROTH CONVERSIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hello, I’ve been a follower of Ed’s expertise for over 10 years. The information has always been helpful and clearly explained. At this time, I’m looking to help a client minimize her taxes. She recently inherited an IRA from...

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RELIEF FOR JOINTLY SPONSORED RETIREMENT PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst If you run a small company, you may be reluctant to offer a retirement plan to your employees because of the cost of plan administration and compliance. If so, you’re not alone: approximately 38 million American workers lack access to a...

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SQUALLS OUT ON THE GULF STREAM

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As I write, Hurricane Dorian is pummeling the Bahamas, churning the ocean and producing catastrophic damage. Godspeed, Freeport. Forecasts suggest the storm will sweep north and brush the east coast of Florida, which is where I...

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BACK TO SCHOOL WITH AN ESA

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The calendar is turning to September and Starbucks is once again selling pumpkin spice lattes. It’s back to school time! We can all agree that education is expensive. If you have children, you know that you cannot afford to miss out on...

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IRA BENEFICIARIES AND NUAS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hello, I have an IRA from my deceased father. The beneficiary is my mother, but she passed on before my father. The IRA custodian is saying this doesn't go through the estate but directly to me. I thought all IRA's that don't...

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CATCHING UP

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Who says getting old is all bad? Once you reach a certain age, Congress rewards your longevity by letting you contribute an extra amount to your IRA or workplace savings plan – with no strings attached. It’s a great way to boost your nest...

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DEATH, TAXES AND MISSED RMDS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Every year thousands of traditional IRA account owners turn 70 ½ years old. In addition, each year thousands of younger non-spouse beneficiaries inherit traditional and Roth IRA accounts. What do these two groups of people have in...

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ROLLOVERS & RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: We found a discussion on your website’s discussion board in 2011 regarding 60-day rollovers straddling two calendar years. We are trying to confirm that a rollover would still be valid even if the Form 1099-R and 5498 may be...

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3 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW IF YOU INHERIT AN INHERITED IRA

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst IRAs have now been around for decades. This means these accounts are now being inherited by beneficiaries and even, increasingly, by successor beneficiaries. Here are 3 things you must know if you are a successor beneficiary who...

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THE SKINNY ON DC PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst You may know that you participate in a DC retirement plan. But what exactly does that mean? (Hint: It doesn’t mean that your plan is sponsored by the District of Columbia.) “DC” actually stands for “defined contribution” plan. Defined...

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THE SKINNY ON DC PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst You may know that you participate in a DC retirement plan. But what exactly does that mean? (Hint: It doesn’t mean that your plan is sponsored by the District of Columbia.) “DC” actually stands for “defined contribution” plan. Defined...

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BANKRUPTCY: FAIL TO PLAN? PLAN TO FAIL

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Just as IRA and 401(k) plans have different levels of bankruptcy protection, so too do other possessions. Whether these assets are qualified or not, there are ways to shield oneself from creditors. Case in point - in order to...

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7 COMMON QUESTIONS ON THE SECURE ACT

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act recently passed the House of Representatives by a large margin. It is currently stalled in the Senate. This bill includes a multitude of provisions that would...

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LESSENING THE HARDSHIP

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Participating in a company plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, is a great way to save for retirement. But to make sure that employees don’t use those plans as checking accounts, Congress has imposed limits on when you can withdraw your...

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USING NUA FOR AN RMD – 3 STEPS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Many company retirement plans – like a 401(k) – offer company stock as an investment option. Under special tax rules, a plan participant can withdraw the stock and pay regular (ordinary) income tax on it, but only on the original...

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SHOULD YOU LEAVE YOUR IRA TO A TRUST?

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst You may wonder about naming your trust as your IRA beneficiary. For some that may be the way to go, but you should be careful. Trusts are not for everyone. There are trade-offs and consequences. Trusts as IRA beneficiaries create...

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GOING SOLO

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Sometimes it pays to go solo. For self-employed individuals looking to maximize their nest egg, a solo 401(k) plan -- also known as an “individual 401(k)” or a “uni-k” -- may be a better choice than a SIMPLE or SEP IRA. Who Can Have a...

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USING RETIREMENT DOLLARS WITHIN THE 60-DAY ROLLOVER WINDOW

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst By the look of everyone’s Facebook and Instagram photos, it appears we are all flying Gulfstream jets around the world, relaxing on far-away beaches and lighting Cuban cigars with twisted-up $100-dollar bills. Is the economy really...

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A SEP FOR YOUR SIDE GIG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst It is not unusual for many workers today to have a side gig. They may have job, and it might even be full time, but it’s still not enough to make ends meet. So, they operate their own business on the side. The extra income can be...

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RETIREMENT ACCOUNT ROLLOVERS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I read your November 29, 2017 explanation of rollovers and the time limitations. But my issue is still unclear to me. In December 2018, my husband made a transfer from his 401(k) to an IRA to a Roth IRA. We intended to do the...

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QUALIFYING TO BE QUALIFIED

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Many of you who participate in a company retirement plan may have heard that the plan is “qualified” or “tax-qualified.” That sounds reassuring, but what exactly does it mean? In other words, what qualifies a qualified plan to be...

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ROTH IRA & ROTH 401(K) – THE BASICS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k) plans are incredibly popular, and why wouldn’t they be? Both offer tax-free earnings and allow the account owner to pass tax-free dollars to their beneficiaries. However, despite the ubiquity of Roth...

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INHERITED IRAS AND RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: I have read your updates and shared information regarding the SECURE bill that is in the Senate currently.  The information discusses the non-spouse beneficiaries of IRAs will need to take distributions over 10 years as a...

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GOING IN REVERSE

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst When driving your car, most of the time you’re going forward. But sometimes, like when you back into a parking spot in anticipation of beating the traffic after a sporting event or concert, you must shift gears to reverse. So it is with...

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TAKING A LITTLE BIT OF THE STING AWAY

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst ‘Tis the season for bee stings and mosquito bites. Just like those summer irritations, 401(k) plan loans have their own annoying rules that can make them risky transactions. Fortunately, a provision of the 2017 tax reform law applied a...

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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! – 4 IRA TIPS TO SHARE AT YOUR BARBECUE

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Happy 4th of July to all the loyal readers of the Slott Report! This summer holiday is a time for barbecues. This is a time when all ages come together to celebrate. Families will gather to grill hot dogs, roast marshmallows and watch...

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CAUTION! NO ROLLOVER FOR NONSPOUSE BENEFICIARIES

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Did you inherit an IRA from someone who is NOT your spouse? This is not uncommon. Maybe you inherited from a sibling or a parent or a friend. If this is your situation, you will want to proceed with caution. For nonspouse beneficiaries...

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DON’T FEAR THE 5-YEAR RULE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Prior to 2002, a default option for paying out required minimum distributions from an inherited IRA to a beneficiary was the 5-year rule. If the IRA owner died before their required beginning date and an election was not made in a...

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BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD?

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Roth IRAs are a wonderful way to save for retirement. A person can sock away $6,000 a year (plus another $1,000 if they are age 50 or older) and the earnings will grow tax free. Plus, most custodians allow Roth IRA dollars to be...

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6 THINGS ABOUT ROLLOVERS THAT EVERY IRA OWNER SHOULD KNOW

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The road to retirement is long. Along the way you may need or want to move your retirement funds. Maybe you are leaving a job or maybe you are just looking for a new investment strategy. When the time comes to make a move, you will...

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THE PIANO MAN’S FIRST RMD

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Every single month since January of 2014, Billy Joel has headlined a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden. Demand for tickets to see the Piano Man has not waned. Ticket sell out quickly. Millions of fans will attest that Billy Joel,...

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THE TIME MACHINE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A time machine would be cool to have. Even if it only worked on financial assets, it sure would come in handy. One might jump into the future and see if an investment paid off, or you could look around to see where the smart money...

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GETTING THE CREAM OUT OF THE COFFEE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The pro-rata rule is the formula used to determine how much of a distribution is taxable when an IRA account consists of both pre-tax and after-tax (basis) dollars. The rule requires that all SEP, SIMPLE, and traditional IRAs be...

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SIMPLE IRAS AND 72(T) PAYMENTS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: I am a financial advisor and want to be clear on something. If a client has a SIMPLE IRA that they are contributing to and have an IRA and are 70.5, can they aggregate the distributions for both and remove from the IRA? Wanda...

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WHICH LIFE EXPECTANCY TABLE DO I USE?

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst When it comes time to calculate your required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, you may wonder which life expectancy table to use. Last updated by the IRS back in 2002, there are three possible tables for IRA owners and...

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THE TWO-YEAR HOLDING PERIOD FOR SIMPLE IRAS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst SIMPLE IRAs are not so simple. One factor that makes SIMPLE IRAs tricky is that they are subject to unique rules, found nowhere else in the tax code, such as the two-year holding period. Two-Year Holding Period When does the two-year...

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72(T) & RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: IRA HELP, I’ve got a client who is retiring early. He has roughly $1,000,000 in an IRA now which he could initiate a 72(t) with.  That will not generate enough cash flow to support their needs. He also has an additional...

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IRS ANNOUNCES HSA INFLATION-ADJUSTED LIMITS FOR 2020

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The IRS has announced the 2020 inflation-adjusted limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). How an HSA Works An HSA is a tax-free account that is used to pay for qualified medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. It is...

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SCIENTIST MILTON IS STILL WORKING

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k) and 403(b) plans, have some definitive benefits vs. IRA accounts. For example, company plans provide an unlimited amount of protection from bankruptcy, while IRA contributions and...

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“WRONG AIRPORT, DUDE”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst After a recent Ed Slott conference in Dallas, Texas, I found myself sitting in a hotel café, surrounded by travel bags, having pizza with a few meeting attendees with later flights. “Anyone want to share an Uber to the airport?”...

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UNDERSTANDING THE SAME PROPERTY RULE FOR IRAS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst If you are planning on doing a 60-day rollover with your IRA funds, be sure you understand same-property rule. This is one of the lesser known rules that apply to rollovers and is one many taxpayers find confusing. For IRA-to-IRA or...

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USING A ROTH IRA TO PAY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION? BE CAREFUL!

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst With college costs almost certain to keep increasing each year, parents need to explore every possible tool available to meet the challenge of paying for higher education. Roth IRAs are not just for retirement savings. They can play a...

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ROTH IRA: TWO CLOCKS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Roth IRAs are extremely popular, and why wouldn’t they be? Tax-free earnings over a lifetime can add up to a serious chunk of change. However, in order to receive those tax-free earnings, rules must be followed and timeframes must...

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REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Question: Good morning, We have a client that retired on 1/2/2019 and he was over 70.5.  He was not required to take his RMD in 2018 from his 401k since he was still working (he did take his 2018 RMD from his IRA).  He rolled...

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AVOIDING THE EARLY DISTRIBUTION PENALTY

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst To discourage early access to amounts invested in IRAs and company retirement plans, the IRS imposes a 10% early distribution penalty on withdrawals before age 59 ½. Even though Roth IRAs consist of after-tax contributions, the...

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TWO POPULAR QCD QUESTIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst In the wake of tax reform, more IRA owners are making use of the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) strategy. This is a side effect of fewer people choosing to itemize and instead going with the larger standard deduction. If you...

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TWO POPULAR QCD QUESTIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst In the wake of tax reform, more IRA owners are making use of the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) strategy. This is a side effect of fewer people choosing to itemize and instead going with the larger standard deduction. If you...

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CHECKING ALL THE BOXES WITH NET UNREALIZED APPRECIATION

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Net Unrealized Appreciation (“NUA”) is a powerful tool that people with employer stock in company plans should be aware of. Under this tax concept, the gains on the employer stock that are distributed according to the NUA rules...

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QCDS AND ROTH CONVERSIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: My sister is 72 years old and quite philanthropic. Much of her traditional IRA RMD she donates to various charities. Is it possible for her to instruct the IRA trustee to send the money directly from her IRA account to the...

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DOUBLE BROCCOLI VS. IRD

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst My son does not much care for broccoli. However, he knows it is for the greater good, and I insist he grow strong and healthy. As long as he lives under my roof, I could feed him broccoli for both lunch and dinner. Double broccoli...

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PAYING ATTENTION TO THE RULES IS CRUCIAL

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst If the dictionary had pictures next to each word, the U.S. Tax Code would fit nicely next to the definition of “esoteric.” But as we all know, this complex web of rules and regulations cannot be ignored. Mistakes cost money, in...

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TAX DAY IS HERE! – 2 IRA LESSONS WE LEARNED THIS TAX SEASON

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Today is April 15, 2019. This is deadline for filing your 2018 federal income tax return, unless you have an extension. This tax season was the first one where we saw the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Wholesale changes to the...

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SUNK BY A ROLLOVER

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Unfortunately, it happened again. Another person dove into the IRA rollover pool before checking the depth, temperature, or if the pool was even open for swimming. In this scenario, $125,000 was rolled from an IRA at Bank A to Bank...

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KEEPING THE RMD RULES STRAIGHT

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Most people are aware of the tax concept, Required Minimum Distributions or “RMDs.” These are the tax rules that force you to take a distribution from your IRA or qualified plan, even when you don’t want to. Moreover, that...

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4 SEP IRA PLAN RULES THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Are you a small business owner or a sole proprietor? If so, you may use a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA plan to save for retirement. These plans are a popular choice for small businesses because they are inexpensive and easier...

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THE HOUSE WITH TWO FRONT DOORS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A little house on Easy Street has one front door. It is a traditional IRA. There is a sign above the lone entry point the reads, “To All Those That Enter, Thy Earnings Will be Taxable.” It does not matter if the money that enters...

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ROLLING OVER YOUR PLAN? PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO YOUR RMD

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Whether by choice or necessity, many Americans are still working long beyond what has traditionally been retirement age. If you are a member of this group, you may be keeping funds in your employer plan well into your seventies and...

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IRA CONTRIBUTIONS, ROLLOVERS & UPDATED BANKRUPTCY CAP

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Edward was born in 1950. Traditional IRA accounts would not be established until the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In 1975, Edward and many other Americans took full advantage of this tax-deferred savings...

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DIRECT TRANSFER (OR ROLLOVER) – THE BEST WAY TO GO!

By Jeremy Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst I’m sure you’ve heard countless advisors mention that a direct transfer (or direct rollover) is the best way to move funds between IRAs or qualified retirement plans. But do you understand why? There are a number of reasons, and in...

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REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: I have a question about avoiding RMDs for a still-working 72 year old in a 401k plan.  Suppose they don’t have to take 401k RMDs due to the still-working exemption from RMDs.  Let’s say the person knows they will retire next...

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5 IRA CONTRIBUTION RULES THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst It’s that time of year again. Tax season is upon us. This is now the time when many individuals consider funding their IRAs. Contributing to an IRA may seem pretty straight forward and in many ways it is! But there can be twists. Here...

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THE DISCLAIMER

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A disclaimer is an interesting tool. It is a denial or disavowal of legal claim, or a formal refusal to accept an interest in something. “Release” and “waiver” are good synonyms. Oftentimes a disclaimer statement is used by a...

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OPTIONS AND PITFALLS FOR NON-SPOUSE BENEFICIARIES

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Much attention is paid to the favorable options available when spouses are named as IRA beneficiaries. However, a significant portion of IRA assets will end up being inherited by individuals who are not a spouse of the decedent. Many...

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IVAN SEEKS ADVICE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Ivan is an inventor at heart, but he is stuck in an office at a job he does not particularly care for. Ivan constantly daydreams about starting his own company and improving everyday life with his inventions. For 20 years Ivan...

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“GAP ANALYSIS”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst There are many gaps. Generation gap, stop-gap, The Gap Band. In baseball you can hit into the gap. Football linemen have an A-gap, B-gap and C-gap to concern themselves with. Of course, there is the Cumberland Gap. And there is a...

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NUA AND EMPLOYER 401(K) PLANS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: If I convert Trad IRA funds to a Roth IRA, does the ratio of After-Tax Contribution to Total IRA holdings include 401k holdings or only IRA holdings. I am a recently retired pilot and want to make Trad to Roth IRA conversions...

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10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE REQUIRED BEGINNING DATE FOR IRAS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst If you have an IRA, you may have heard the term “required beginning date” or “RBD.” This is an important date that every IRA owner should understand. The significance of the RBD is not limited to IRA owners. It is a critical date for...

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RMDS AND SPOUSAL BENEFICIARIES: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Jeremy Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hello Ed, I have an elderly client in his 80’s, not in the best of health. He has named his spouse (also in her 80’s) along with his 4 children as primary beneficiaries of his IRA. That said, I know the 4 children will...

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SO YOU WANT TO THROW A 401(K) HOUSE PARTY?

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When it comes to 401(k) plans, I feel like the Johnny Cash lyric…“I’ve been everywhere, man.” I’ve wholesaled record keeping platforms to financial advisors and sold direct to business owners. I’ve taught novice investors about...

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INVESTING IRA MONEY IN REAL ESTATE

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst So, you want to invest your IRA money in real estate? Every so often we get this question from advisors wondering what they should look out for. Under the tax code, real estate is a permissible investment for IRAs. However, that...

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RMDS & QCDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Client passed in the middle of December 2018, but did not take her RMD.  We are setting up beneficiary IRA accounts.  We will be moving assets over to the beneficiary IRA accounts and then the beneficiary will take the...

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CORRECTING EXCESS IRA CONTRIBUTIONS WITHOUT PENALTY

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Not all contributions to IRAs belong there. When a contribution is not permitted in an IRA, it is an excess contribution and needs to be fixed. The bad news is that excess contributions happen easily and often. The good news is that if...

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DISABILITY – A HIGH HURDLE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst There are a number of ways an individual can avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty from their IRA or employer work plan. Some exceptions apply specifically to IRAs (i.e. higher education; first-time home buyer, etc.) and others...

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SO, YOU MISSED A REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTION…

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Mistakes happen, and when dealing with complicated rules like the U.S. tax code, they aren’t exactly uncommon. Thankfully, the IRS has numerous ways various mistakes can be corrected, and one of the most lenient processes is for...

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KONMARI YOUR IRA

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Marie Kondo is a decluttering and tidying expert from Japan. She has a new show on Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, that is a huge hit. Thrift shops around the country are reporting a large influx of donations as Americans...

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PROHIBITED TRANSACTIONS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst If I decide to climb on the roof of my house and try to ride a unicycle while blindfolded, it is not illegal. Dangerous, yes, but not in violation of any laws. If I elect to randomly jump off a bridge under the guidance of the...

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INHERITED IRAS AND RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: Dear Ed, Thanks for all your work on the retirement frontier.  I have a question…we have married clients who are age 70 (he) and 62 (she).  Both clients have IRAs.  The 62-year-old client just passed away.  I know that the...

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DEEMED

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A word we don’t see much in daily conversation is “deem.” I imagine a sweeping proclamation made by an authority figure from an ivory tower: “It is deemed that the third day of the standard workweek shall henceforth be called...

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6 RULES FOR TAX-FREE ROTH IRA DISTRIBUTIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Roth IRAs offer a trade-off. You decide to pay taxes now on your contribution (or conversion) in exchange for tax-free earnings down the road. Don’t miss out on Roth IRA benefits by making mistakes when you take a distribution. Here...

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RMDS & ROTH CONVERSIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi Mr. Slott: I turn 70 ½ years old this year (D.O.B. 5-28-49) and must commence RMDs for an IRA total asset value as of 12/31/2018.  When do I have to report this RMD on my tax return - before or no later than...

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EASY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR YOUR RETIREMENT

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst When it comes to tax law and retirement planning, there are two things I like to talk about at the beginning of a new year: (1) some of most important rulings issued and laws passed in the prior year; and (2) the steps you can...

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ROTH IRAS AND RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst Question: I am 64 and opened my only Roth IRA over 5 yrs ago. I originally contributed $32.5K ($6.5K for 5 yrs) to this Roth IRA but now find it at $22.5K in value. Can I close this account and take a $10K capital loss? Kaptain Kurt...

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Happy holidays from Slott Report! We would like to wish all of our readers and their families a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year! Thank you for taking your valuable time to read the Slott Report in 2018. Throughout the year...

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HSA CONTRIBUTIONS AND RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hello IRAHelp, I have a copy of Your Complete Retirement Planning Road Map and find it to be an extremely useful resource.  I have uncertainty regarding optimum means for funding a Health Savings Account (HSA).  I am 61.  In...

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IRS EASES SOME OF THE RESTRICTIONS ON HARDSHIP DISTRIBUTIONS

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst In mid-November 2018, the IRS issued proposed regulations altering some of the rules governing hardship distributions from 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Most of the rules weren’t new; instead the IRS adopted changes that were issued...

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WIDGET JERRY MEETS THE PRO-RATA RULE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Jerry sells widgets for the ACME Widget Company. Jerry is a hard-working employee who participates in the ACME Widget Company 401(k) Plan. Jerry also contributes annually to an IRA account at a local bank. The widget business is a...

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ILLIQUID ASSETS AND IRA RMDS

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst I get the same question every year at year end. “My client has an illiquid IRA and can’t take his RMD. Can we just write a note to IRS explaining the problem?” Every year my answer is the same. “NO.” What is an RMD? It is...

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IRA CONTRIBUTIONS & QCDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Mr. Slott, My spouse turned 70 on June 27th, 2018, so in December 2018 she will be 70 ½. She would like to complete a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). Does the QCD need to be dated from December 27 to December 31,...

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POST DEATH PLANNING FOR IRAS WITH MULTIPLE BENEFICIARIES

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst One piece of advice we commonly reiterate is, when you inherit an IRA or other retirement plan asset, touch nothing! That’s because many transactions cannot be undone, and the IRS rarely grants relief simply because the taxpayer...

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THE GRINCH RECOMMENDS 3 IRA TAX SCHEMES…THAT DON’T WORK!

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst It turns out the Grinch stirs up a blizzard of trouble beyond stealing Christmas trees and presents from the innocent Whos down in Whoville. That candy cane he slipped out of Cindy Lou’s fingers? Child’s play. The breadcrumb he...

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REVOCATION-ON-DIVORCE – IT MATTERS WHERE YOU LIVE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Twenty-six states have adopted revocation-on-divorce statutes similar to each other, and these statutes are impacting court decisions. Example #1: The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8 – 1 ruling just this past June, concluded that life...

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TRADITIONAL AND ROTH – RELATED, BUT NOT TWINS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Tim and Robert are identical twins. They wear the same clothes. They have similar hair styles. They have similar jobs and similar incomes. Tim and Robert are both concerned about taxes, and they agree that saving money for the...

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! WE ARE THANKFUL FOR THESE 5 IRA RULES

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Thanksgiving is only a few days away. This is a time when we gather together and express our gratitude for all the good things in our lives. When it comes to our retirement accounts, we too often complain about the negatives, such as...

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401(K) AND IRA RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I am 70 ½ and still working in 2018.  If I work part time (still employed) in 2019, can I delay my 401K RMD until 2020? Best regards, Will Answer: Will, If you are still employed by the company that is offering the 401(k)...

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RETIREMENT ENHANCEMENT AND SAVINGS ACT OF 2018 – RESA

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst There is a 131-page bill currently working its way through the U.S. legislature. The proposal would amend the Internal Revenue Code and encourage retirement savings. While the “Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018,” or...

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ROLLING OVER YOUR IRA? BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR RMD

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The road to retirement is long. Along the way you may need to move the funds in your IRA. When that time comes, you will want to be sure that everything is done correctly. Moving your retirement funds can be tricky and the consequences...

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GLIDE PATH TO A LANDING POINT

By Andy Ives CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Assisting business owners with the establishment of a new 401K plan brings a multitude of questions.  From plan design to investment options to employee education, everything is in play. One common topic of discussion is the plan’s...

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YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE MORE TO YOUR IRA FOR 2019

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Good news for retirement savers! The IRA contribution limit, which was $5,500 for 2018, will rise to $6,000 for 2019. If you are over age 50 in 2019, you will be able to save even more. The limit for those who are age 50 or over in...

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TAKING DISASTER RECOVERY FUNDS FROM RETIREMENT PLANS

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, Congress passed special legislation allowing expanded access to retirement plan funds for individuals affected by those storms.  Congress also previously enacted that sort of legislation...

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A NOT SO SIMPLE DISCUSSION ON SIMPLE IRAS

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst SIMPLE IRAs are popular retirement vehicles for small businesses. They are relatively cheap to adopt and are easy to understand and administer. However, that doesn’t mean problems do not arise. Routinely, we see issues involving...

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COMBINING INHERITED IRAS AND THEIR RMDS

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst IRA owners can clearly combine the accounts they own and they can combine the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from multiple IRAs and take them from any one or combination of their IRAs. But what are the rules for inherited IRAs? An...

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SIMPLE INHERITED IRA SCREW-UP RESULTS IN A $9,000 TAX BILL

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Legal training is less about memorization and more about understanding how to break down complex problems. With that mind, I often suggest that people understand the law and not try to memorize it. Why was it enacted and what is...

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WHY IRA BENEFICIARIES SHOULD NAME THEIR OWN BENEFICIARIES

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst I just had a call from an advisor with a “complicated” scenario. “Ralph” died and left his IRA to his spouse “Alice.” Ralph was 62 in the year he died. Alice did nothing with the IRA. It remained an inherited IRA and there were no...

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ARE CHANGES COMING TO THE IRA RULES?

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst After last year’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which overhauled the tax code, you might think Congress would be done with tax legislation for a while. That is not the case. While Republican efforts to unleash as second round...

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ROTH IRAS AND THE 5-YEAR RULES

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst We constantly see questions regarding the distribution rules for Roth IRAs. Personally, I’ve always thought that the failure to understand these rules prevents many from truly appreciating the benefits of these accounts....

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TRUSTS AND BENEFICIARIES: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Jeremy T. Rodriguez, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hi Read your column in the Chicago Tribune and have learned a lot.  I have a question I don't think you have addressed. I have multiple Roth IRA's that I converted years ago, paid the taxes and they are continuing to...

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7 TAX-FREE HSA DISTRIBUTIONS THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst You may understand the basics of how an HSA works. The fundamental premise is not so complicated. If you have a qualifying high deductible health plan you may contribute to an HSA. Then, you can take tax-free distributions to pay for...

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HOW TO MAKE REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS WORK FOR YOU

By Jim Glass, JD IRA Analyst As summer ends and fall approaches, so does the season for taking required minimum distributions (RMDs). There is a 50% penalty for failing to take an RMD, so don't miss one. But don't just take an RMD, plan ahead now to make it work for...

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“SEE-THROUGH” TRUSTS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst You may ask if you should leave your IRA to a trust. This can be a complicated question. Trusts can be complex and retirement accounts are not like other assets. How a Trust Beneficiary Can Get the Stretch If you are thinking a trust...

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TIME TO ROLLOVER YOUR EMPLOYER PLAN? KNOW YOUR OPTIONS!

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst For years we saw and heard the commercials – rollover your 401(k) to an IRA. They suggested that this was the only option – and the best option – for you. But it was not the only option; and it might not be the best option for you. Here...

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ROTH IRAS & 72(T) PAYMENTS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Jim Glass, JD IRA Analyst Question: Mr. Slott, My 45 year old daughter’s financial advisor has recommended for her NOT to put retirement contributions into a Roth IRA! His reason being that by paying taxes up front for a Roth, there is less money to grow!  Also,...

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BE SURE YOUR IRA BENEFICIARIES ARE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES

By Jim Glass, JD IRA Analyst IRAs have beneficiaries and "designated beneficiaries," and it is important to know the difference. If you wish your heirs to have the opportunity to take full advantage of "stretch" IRAs, and to avoid other possibly costly mistakes, be...

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TAKE YOUR RMD LIKE A ROCK STAR

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport Even rock stars get older. Although it may seem hard to believe, both Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame and rock legend and reality tv star Ozzy Osborne celebrate their 70th birthdays in 2018. Steven...

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MY FIRST RMD

By Beverly DeVeny IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport Both my husband and I turn 70 this year but only one of us has a required minimum distribution (RMD) from our retirement accounts. Here is why. RMDs begin in the year you turn 70 ½, not 70. He turned...

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THE COST OF MEDICARE PREMIUMS AND YOUR IRA

IRA distributions and Roth IRA conversions can affect the size the Medicare premiums you pay. Here's how, and what to do about it. Means Testing Medicare Medicare consists of four "parts."  Part A, which covers hospital costs, is paid for by the government. But the...

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THE PRO-RATA FORMULA AND INHERITED IRAS

Do you have after-tax dollars in your IRA? This could be from making nondeductible contributions to your IRA or rolling over after-tax funds from your company plan to your IRA. If so, you will want to know about the pro-rata rule. The pro-rata rule is a rule that...

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7 WAYS AN EXCESS IRA CONTRIBUTION CAN HAPPEN TO YOU

Not all contributions to IRAs belong there. When a contribution is not permitted in an IRA, it is an excess contribution and needs to be fixed. Some excess contributions are easy to understand. Others may be a bit trickier to grasp. Here are 7 ways an excess IRA...

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CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE TO A ROTH IRA?

Contributing to a Roth IRA is generally considered to be a good idea. But not everyone is eligible to make an annual contribution. We have seen several cases recently of individuals who contributed for many years until they discovered they were not eligible to make...

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CAN YOU LOSE AN IRA TO MEDICAID?

As Americans live longer, more are eventually coming to need long-term nursing home care.  The cost of this can be devastating to a family. Nursing home care now costs an average of over $85,000 per year, and much more than that in some parts of the country. Medicaid...

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LATE 401(K) DEPOSITS

Every retirement plan custodian has an interactive website that participants can visit, if their employer offers that feature. While all are a little different, the websites all contain access to vital information about your account under the plan. You can review your...

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10 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW BEFORE THEY MOVE THEIR IRA

Change can be good. Is your IRA ready for a change? Maybe you are looking for a new type of investment or maybe a new IRA custodian. To change it up with your IRA, you may need to move your IRA funds. Here are 10 things everyone should know before they move their IRA....

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ROLLING OVER IRAS & EXCESS CONTRIBUTIONS: TODAY’S Q&A MAILBAG

Question: My husband passed away this April at 83. I’m 68 and sole beneficiary of his traditional IRA.  I was advised that it didn’t matter if I rolled his IRA into mine and then took his RMD for the year as long as I do so by 12/31/2018.  I rolled his IRA into mine...

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CONGRESS SAYS NO ROTHIFICATION … FOR NOW

When someone keeps telling you not to worry about them doing a certain thing, you know they are thinking about doing that very thing. That’s what Congress is doing with so called “Rothification.” As a review, “Rothification” – as it has become known –  is a way to...

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THE SUPREME COURT HAS AN IRA REMINDER FOR YOU

In the recent case of Sveen v. Melin, the Supreme Court ruled that life insurance proceeds would not go to an ex-spouse, even though her name remained on the beneficiary form after the divorce. Instead, the Court said the Minnesota state statute removing an ex-spouse...

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SELF-DIRECTED IRAS: KNOWING THE LAW IS ONLY HALF THE BATTLE

Many individuals who open IRAs choose to invest in traditional asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. But for a growing number of people, these options are not enough. Instead, they look to invest in other non-traditional assets. The tax code actually...

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SEPARATING IRAS: TODAY’S Q&A MAILBAG

Question:  Is this a question you can help me with? Client’s husband & Wife had a living trust. Attorney suggested that all holdings be put into the trust or make the Trust the beneficiary. Husband died several years ago, in January, 2018 the wife died. There are...

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DISASTER RELIEF INFORMATION FROM IRS

A lot has changed in the last six months for certain federally declared disaster areas. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 added relief for the California wildfires and mudslides of late 2017. The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017...

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YOUR IRA MAY GO TO THE GOVERNMENT, BUT YOU GET THE TAX BILL

Did you know your IRA could be escheated to the state as abandoned property? Not many IRA owners are aware of this possibility, but more and more are facing it. Escheatment - Bigger and Badder than Ever The legal theory of escheatment dates way back. It originally...

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Is Your IRA Safe From Creditors?

Suppose you unexpectedly incur a major liability, from a lawsuit or some other unforeseen cause. Will the funds in your IRA be protected from your creditors? Maybe … or maybe not. Here are the rules: Federal Law Protection If you own an IRA that you’ve funded yourself...

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5 Things to Know About Your IRA Agreement

There is a lot of paperwork involved when you open an IRA account. You have to prove to the bank who you are and that your funds are legitimate. There is an account opening form and a beneficiary form to be completed. After you do all of that, then you get a...

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How Having Multiple IRAs Can Help Bequest Planning

Having just one IRA instead of several may simplify paperwork and minimize fees. But when you begin to think about leaving IRA funds to heirs, consider using more than one IRA to do so. Here are reasons why:   Preserve Funds for Bequests in a Roth IRA Statistics...

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Commingling Inherited Assets and QCDs: Today’s Q&A Mailbag

Question: Dear Mr. Slott, In 2013, my husband was offered a buyout from his employer, Ford Motor Co.  He had been retired since 1999 and so was already receiving a monthly pension check. (My husband had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011 and then passed...

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The Death of the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

It now appears that the new fiduciary rules proposed by the Department of Labor (DOL) back in June of 2016 are all but dead. Late last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a last-minute appeal of its March 15th decision to toss the DOL rules. The appeal...

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Meet the New HSA Limit, Same as the Old HSA Limit

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) with family coverage, determining your 2018 contribution limit has been an adventure. This in one of the many unintended consequences of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Many of the HSA limits are indexed annually for...

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QCDs and RMDs: Today’s Q&A Mailbag

Question: Can you please advise regarding the following: I’m 63 years old and am required to take a yearly RMD [required minimum distribution] from my deceased Mom’s IRA (BDA).  In order to save on taxes, am I allowed to have my financial institution send the RMD...

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3 Investing Mistakes to Avoid with Your IRA

Beware of making these 3 mistakes with your IRA… 1. Late Investments  If, like so many people, you made your IRA contribution for 2017 only recently in 2018, just before the 2017 tax return filing deadline, you missed earning up to 15 months of pre-tax investment...

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