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Last chance to undo a Roth conversion

September 7, 2018

The new tax law ended Roth recharacterizations, effective for conversions done in 2018 and later years. However, there is still a window of opportunity to reverse 2017 Roth conversions. But that window is closing quickly: The last day to recharacterize...

Are Roth conversions after 70½ advisable? 5 factors to consider

August 9, 2018

The biggest benefit of a Roth conversion of an individual retirement account is the tax-free compounding over time. Those who are over age 70½ obviously have less time to make the upfront tax cost of a Roth conversion worth the benefit, given...

Can inherited IRAs be split in a divorce?

July 16, 2018

Can an inherited individual retirement account be split in a divorce? No one knows for sure, but it's already happening. This is a new phenomenon, and it may signal a developing trend in future divorce agreements, especially in light of the...

Where does the proposed indexing of capital gains leave retirement accounts?

August 1, 2018

There has been talk in Congress about indexing capital gains for inflation. This talk was largely under the radar until this week, when the story hit the front page of the New York Times. Its story says that the White House might try to make...

Prepare clients for an untimely end to Roth conversion do-overs

November 9, 2017

The new tax proposal from Congress had a November surprise. The proposal includes a repeal of the Roth IRA recharacterization, which is the ability to undo a Roth conversion. I normally don't like to advise planning based on proposed law, but...

Gotham's retirement loan disasters

August 28, 2009

Two recent cases involving New York City employees illustrate how retirement plan loan provisions are more complex than they first appear, and how violating any of them can lead to serious tax consequences. One case involved Vincent Marquez,...

Distribution holiday has its complications

February 1, 2009

No required minimum distributions for 2009. That will certainly reduce the tax bite for millions of retirees and their beneficiaries — at least, for this year. The tax relief sounds easy, but as with any new tax law, along with the tax savings...

It is time for IRA conversions

November 16, 2008

This month and next, help your clients by advising them to use a 2008 Roth IRA conversion to take advantage of the stock market decline. That will be the case for clients who meet these two criteria: They have traditional individual retirement...

October Roth IRA opportunities

September 22, 2008

For financial advisers who want to help clients take advantage of a down market, mark Oct. 15 on your calendar.  That is the last date for re-characterizing, or undoing, a Roth IRA conversion from the previous year. An example illustrates why...

Safeguarding IRAs in difficult times

August 25, 2008

Worries about bank failures and the stability of other financial institutions are all over the news lately. Clients with individual retirement accounts at a bank might be concerned about them. But retirement accounts are federally insured up...

A tax break for the military

July 28, 2008

The new Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 contains several retirement plan provisions for military service personnel that financial advisers must know about. The act made permanent an exception to the 10% early-distribution...

When clients are knowledgeable

June 23, 2008

Do you know as much about retirement distribution planning as your clients and prospects? You'd better hope so. If not, you will lose those clients; maybe not now, but very soon. Consumers are getting smarter. In recent seminars I've conducted,...

Tax stimulus may cause IRA headache

May 26, 2008

Some taxpayers who requested a direct deposit of their tax refund into an individual retirement account may be in for unpleasant surprises. What they might not know is that by requesting the direct deposit option, any tax rebate — including...

Don't make early-withdrawal mistakes

October 22, 2007

Early withdrawals from retirement accounts should be discouraged. Withdrawals reverse the retirement savings process, and early distributions are the most expensive type, as they are subject to both income tax and the 10% early withdrawal penalty....

Roth IRA strategies for a rocky market

September 24, 2007

While recent stock market declines may worry some investors, those with stocks and funds in their individual retirement accounts can take advantage of current market volatility by making key moves. If your clients’ IRAs have taken a hit and...

ERISA regulation trumps prenuptial agreement

April 23, 2007

If you have clients with sizable pension plans who are getting married for the first, second or third time — or more — the question of who gets the pension plan after death must be agreed upon now, and the agreement must hold up when the time...

Protecting plan assets for non-spouse beneficiaries

January 29, 2007

Buried deep in the 900-plus pages of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 are several individual retirement account and plan gems that create new retirement planning opportunities for your clients. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for financial...

Changes in estate planning

January 4, 2009

The New Year brings major changes in many estate plans. Not only has there been the biggest year-to-year increase in the federal estate tax exemption (from $2 million to $3.5 million), but the change comes at a time when the values of many estates...

Charitable-IRA rollovers are back

October 19, 2008

The bailout bill, known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, contains many little-known provisions, including the retroactive extension of the IRA charitable rollover. If you have clients 701/2 or older who are individual retirement...

Stretch IRA saved by IRS ruling

April 28, 2008

Financial advisers should be aware of a new IRS ruling that recently saved the day for an IRA beneficiary and may help your clients. The decision involved a "stretch individual retirement account," which allows a designated IRA beneficiary —...

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