Category: IRA

How to Tap Retirement Savings during a Financial Crisis

If your work-based retirement plan allows loans, you typically can borrow up to the lesser of 50% of your vested balance or $50,000. Most loans must be repaid within five years, but if the money is used to purchase a primary residence, the repayment period may be longer. The...
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You are going to retire when?

Just how wealthy are you? You'll want to figure that out before you make any major life decisions. Your first impulse may be to go out and buy things, but that may not be in your best interest. Even if you're used to handling your own finances, now's the...
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IRA’s What you DON’T know

What are my options if I inherit an IRA or an employer retirement savings plan account? If you don’t want the money, you can always disclaim (refuse to accept) the inherited IRA or plan funds. But if you’re like most people, you will want the money. Your first thought...
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Little Known IRA Facts You Can Use

Little Known IRA Facts You Can Use When it comes to IRAs, the tax rules get pretty complicated, to say the least. Here are five unusual IRA facts:   Military death benefits can be contributed to a Roth IRA: Help families of veterans with this one because it can...
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Portfolio Performance

Assessing Portfolio Performance: Choose Your Benchmarks Wisely You can’t help but hear about the frequent ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 index. The performance of both major indexes is widely reported and analyzed in detail by financial news outlets around the nation....
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Financial Stress

Five Steps to Tame Financial Stress Do you sometimes lie awake at night thinking about bills that need to be paid? Does it feel as though you’re drowning in debt? If this describes you, you might take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. A recent report released...
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Indexed Annuities

If you want to limit potential losses while participating in the potentially attractive returns of a market-driven investment but would also like a guaranteed return, an indexed annuity might be worth checking out. The performance of indexed annuities, also referred to as equity-indexed or fixed-indexed annuities, is tied to...
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I need money: can I take funds from my IRA?

Answer: Yes, but the taxable portion of your distribution may be subject to a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal if you’re not yet age 59½. If you are 59½ or older and take money from your traditional IRA, you will not be assessed a penalty, though you may...
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Can the IRS waive the 60-day IRA rollover deadline?

If you take a distribution from your IRA intending to make a 60-day rollover, but for some reason the funds don’t get to the new IRA trustee in time, the tax impact can be significant. In general, the rollover is invalid, the distribution becomes a taxable event, and you’re...
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401(k) Withdrawals: Beware the Penalty Tax

You’ve probably heard that if you withdraw taxable amounts from your 401(k) or 403(b) plan before age 59½, you may be socked with a 10% early distribution penalty tax on top of the federal income taxes you’ll be required to pay. But did you know that the Internal Revenue...
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Retirement Plans: The Employee Perspective

Qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans can provide a number of tax and nontax benefits to employees. The employee perspective on these plans should certainly consider the obvious tax deferral and retirement savings benefits. Additionally, however, employees should consider various strategies to optimize their benefits. For example, employees will approach their...
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Roth Rollover Guide

Required distributions and non-spousal death benefits can’t be rolled over. Required distributions, certain periodic payments, hardship distributions, corrective distributions, and certain other payments can’t be rolled over. Spouse beneficiaries generally have the same rollover rights as the plan participant, and in addition may roll over Roth 401(k) and 403(b)...
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Rollover Guide

Required distributions and nonspousal death benefits can’t be rolled over. You can make only one tax-free, 60-day, rollover from one IRA to another IRA in any one-year period no matter how many IRAs (traditional, Roth, SEP, and SIMPLE) you own. This does not apply to direct (trustee-to-trustee) transfers, or...
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What are catch-up contributions?

Answer: If you are 50 or older, or you will reach age 50 by the end of the year, you may be able to make contributions to your IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan above the normal contribution limit. Catch-up contributions are designed to help you make up any retirement...
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Inheriting an IRA or Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

What is it? When the account owner of a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or employer-sponsored retirement plan dies, the remaining funds in the account pass to the named beneficiary (or beneficiaries). Unlike many other inherited assets, these IRA or plan funds typically pass directly to the beneficiary without...
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What is an IRA distribution?

  Distributions from Traditional IRAs: Between Ages 59½ and 70½ A withdrawal from an IRA is referred to as a distribution. Distributions can come in the form of several payment patterns, from a one-time (lump-sum) payment to a series of distributions over a number of years. Depending on how...
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Time Can Be a Strong Ally in Saving for Retirement

Father Time doesn’t always have a good reputation, particularly when it comes to birthdays. But when it comes to saving for retirement, time might be one of your strongest allies. Why? When time teams up with the growth potential of compounding, the results can be powerful. The premise behind...
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Deciding When to Retire: When Timing Becomes Critical

Deciding when to retire may not be one decision but a series of decisions and calculations. For example, you’ll need to estimate not only your anticipated expenses, but also what sources of retirement income you’ll have and how long you’ll need your retirement savings to last. You’ll need to...
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Retirement Plan Considerations at Different Stages of Life

Throughout your career, retirement planning will likely be one of the most important components of your overall financial plan. Whether you have just graduated and taken your first job, are starting a family, are enjoying your peak earning years, or are preparing to retire, your employer-sponsored retirement plan can...
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When I die, what will happen to my retirement plan benefits?

In general, your retirement plan benefits pass to the beneficiaries you designate on the plan beneficiary designation form. It is generally recommended that you designate beneficiaries, the percentage of the total that each will receive, and any backup beneficiaries on the plan beneficiary form. However, if you are married...
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Should I be investing more aggressively?

Answer: There’s no way to know the answer to that without reviewing your individual circumstances and financial goals. However, if you are investing too conservatively, it can have a profound effect on your long-term financial security. That’s particularly true for women. According to a U.S. Department of Labor study...
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Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k)

Selecting beneficiaries for retirement benefits is different from choosing beneficiaries for other assets such as life insurance. With retirement benefits, you need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in order to select the right beneficiaries. Although taxes shouldn’t be the sole determining factor in...
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How can I gauge my risk tolerance?

Answer: Risk tolerance is an investment term that refers to your ability to endure market volatility. All investments come with some level of risk, and if you’re planning to invest your money, it’s important to be aware of how much volatility you can endure. Your tolerance for risk affects...
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What does the term “qualified plan” mean?

Answer: A qualified plan is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that qualifies for special tax treatment under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. There are many different types of qualified plans, but they all fall into two categories. A defined benefit plan (e.g., a traditional pension plan) is generally...
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Risk Tolerance Worksheet

The following worksheet may help you assess your ability to take on investment risk in pursuit of long-term goals. Answer each question, then tally your results at the end. Score Investor Type Description 6-12 Conservative In general, a conservative portfolio will invest heavily in bonds and stable value/cash alternatives....
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Tax Considerations

Income tax Like other distributions from traditional IRAs and retirement plans, RMDs are generally subject to federal (and possibly state) income tax for the year in which you receive the distribution. However, a portion of the funds distributed to you may not be subject to tax if you have...
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Delay your RMD

Should You Delay Your First RMD? Remember, you have the option of delaying your first distribution until April 1 following the calendar year in which you reach age 70½ (or April 1 following the calendar year in which you retire, in some cases). You might delay taking your first...
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RMD Calculations

How Are RMDs Calculated? RMDs are calculated by dividing your traditional IRA or retirement plan account balance by a life expectancy factor specified in IRS tables. Your account balance is usually calculated as of December 31 of the year preceding the calendar year for which the distribution is required...
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RMD’s

What Are Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)? Required minimum distributions, often referred to as RMDs or minimum required distributions, are amounts that the federal government requires you to withdraw annually from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans after you reach age 70½ (or, in some cases, after you retire). You...
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Rollovers

In general, a rollover is the movement of funds from one retirement savings vehicle to another. You may want, or need, to make a rollover for any number of reasons–your employment situation has changed, you want to switch investments, or you’ve received death benefits from your spouse’s retirement plan....
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Changing Jobs? Take Your 401(k) and Roll It

If you’ve lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) plan account. It’s important to understand your options. What will I be entitled to? If you leave your job (voluntarily or involuntarily), you’ll be entitled to a distribution of your...
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True or False: You Are a Retirement Savings Plan Expert

How much do you really know about your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan? If you’re like many people, you have many ideas about how your plan works, which may or may not be entirely accurate. To gauge your knowledge, take this brief quiz: Are the following statements true or false?...
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Have You Checked Your Retirement Plan Lately?

It’s generally a good idea to review your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan at least once each year and when major life changes occur. If you haven’t given your plan a thorough review within the last 12 months, now may be a good time to do so. Have you experienced...
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Rollover 1

Can I roll a retirement plan distribution into an IRA? Answer: If you’re asking this question, you probably have a 401(k) or other retirement plan through a former employer. The short answer is yes–most retirement plans allow you to roll your plan funds over into an IRA after you’ve...
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