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Equal Shares for Heirs? Not Unless You Take Taxes into Account

If clients fail to consider their heirs' tax brackets when crafting estate plans, heirs could lose more money to taxes than they need to. Dividing taxable and tax-deferred accounts in accordance with the unique financial situation of each heir can lead to better results. To read the full article in Kiplinger, click: Equal Shares for Heirs? Not Unless You Take Taxes into Account. ...

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Tips for Managing an Inherited IRA

After the death of a spouse, a client has several options for handling the retirement accounts that belonged to the deceased. Here is a brief overview of the financial implications of different strategies for managing IRAs and Roth IRAs. This helpful chart shows the rules and requirements related to distributions for clients who inherit a Roth IRA. To read the full article in MarketWatch, click: Tips for Ma ...

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Is it Ever a Good Idea to Hold Company Stock in a 401(k)?

Company retirement plans have changed significantly over the past few decades, with a few trends coming on strong. In light of the fact that 401(k) participants are famously hands-off, plans have increasingly added “nudge” features to get more people saving: Roughly two thirds of plans now offer automatic enrollment, for example, up from just about half in 2012. Roth accounts have also shot up in popularity ...

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How to Realize Tax Benefits for Charitable Clients

Changes in the tax code have doubled the standard deduction, meaning that clients who donate money to charity may not see the tax benefits to which they are accustomed. Advisers can help by encouraging clients older than 70½ to use qualified charitable distributions and having younger clients use gift clumping strategies. Volume 1 of The Adviser's Guide to Financial and Estate Planning has several chapters ...

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Tax Traps for Divorcing Clients

The surprise split of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie puts advisors on alert: Are you prepared with appropriate retirement and tax advice if your clients divorce? It’s unlikely that Bezos will have to crack open his Amazon 401(k) or IRA to get through this event. But for your average client, that’s exactly where most of their wealth may be. To read the full article in Financial Planning, click: ...

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This Failing Market Offers an Opportunity to Cut Your Taxes in Retirement

If stock market volatility has drained value from your traditional IRA, this might be a good time to convert the account into a Roth IRA to take advantage of tax-free asset growth. The move may be especially appealing for retirees who have delayed their Social Security benefits and are younger than 70½. To read the full article in CNBC, click: This Failing Market Offers an Opportunity to Cut Your Taxes in R ...

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Beware of Hidden Taxes in Retirement: Retirement Scan

Retirees may face a more complicated tax situation than when they were still working.  For example, a portion of their Social Security benefits may be taxed at the federal level if their combined income, which is their adjusted gross income, plus any non-taxable interest and 50% of their benefits, exceeds a certain limit.  Their retirement benefits may also be subject to state income taxes.  Those who reach ...

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Enough About Social Security: For Some, Pensions Are the More Immediate Issue

With the Social Security Administration’s recent update on its long-term financial health, advisors and their clients now have a new time frame for the anticipated depletion of the retirement program trust fund. Unless Congress acts, the trust fund is expected to run out of money in late 2034, at which point Social Security will be able to cover just 77% of retirement benefits. To read the full article in F ...

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Could this Simple Social Security Strategy Solve the Retirement Crisis?

The key to implementing this suggested strategy is establishing auto-IRA plans to workers who lack a 401(k) option with a preset percentage of wages to be contributed to the plan.  This would create a retirement nest egg that would not be linked to any one employer, but rather would stay with the worker throughout a career. To read the full article in FinancialPlanning, click: Could this Simple Social Secur ...

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Why Aren’t Clients Using QCDs? Help Them!

Qualified charitable distributions can offer a tax-saving opportunity, and they may be more advantageous to consider under the new tax law.  QCDs, which are available only for certain clients, count toward required minimum distributions and are excluded from income. To read the full article in InvestmentNews, click: Why Aren’t Clients Using QCDs?  Help Them! ...

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Get a Tax-Smart Plan for In-Retirement Withdrawals: Retirement Scan

Retirees with multiple retirement accounts are advised to have a tax-efficient way of tapping into these accounts to minimize the tax bite, writes Morningstar's Christine Benz.  Retirees who have reached the age of 70 1/2 should take required minimum distributions from tax-deferred accounts, while those who are younger should draw from their taxable accounts, selling assets with the highest cost basis first ...

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Seven Ways the New Tax Fight Could Hit Annuities

What Tax Reform Could Mean for Annuities Republican lawmakers have said a tax overhaul framework would retain incentives meant to encourage retirement security, but uncertainty remains about the direction that reform will take.  This article summarizes several ways changes in federal tax laws could affect annuities, charitable giving, and other aspects of retirement planning. To read the full article in Thi ...

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Treasury Ends myRA Retirement Savings Program

Due to “extremely low” demand and high costs, the Treasury Department announced that it is ending the myRA retirement savings program.  Treasury says it is notifying participants about the ending of the program and giving them information on how to move their myRA savings into Roth IRAs. To read the full article in The Tax Adviser, click: Treasury Ends myRA Retirement Savings Program. ...

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An Alternative to the 4% Rule

Ditch the 4 Percent Rule.  Here's How to Handle Your Retirement Withdrawals It might be time to scrap the 4% retirement rule, as it could be unsafe if there are large portfolio losses in the early years of retirement.  Here are three factors to weigh when developing a financial plan. To read the full article in CNBC, click: An Alternative to the 4% Rule. ...

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When You Should Establish an IRA as a Trust

The Benefits of Setting Up a Trusteed IRA Trusteed individual retirement accounts are not right for every circumstance, but they can provide additional control over assets.  For example, trusteed IRAs can help clients determine what happens to assets after the death of a beneficiary, which can be especially useful for clients who have been married multiple times.  Talk with your clients about trusteed and o ...

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Some of the Biggest Estate-Planning Mistakes People Make

Estate Planning Missteps Create a Burden for Beneficiaries Mistakes such as failing to create an inventory of assets, having too many accounts or not including a see-through provision in a trust can complicate matters for beneficiaries who are left behind after a client dies.  Proactive planning can help simplify the situation for a client's loved ones. To read the full article in Kiplinger, click: Some of ...

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A Tax Nightmare: Excess IRA Contributions

We’re quickly approaching the time of year when most contributions are made to IRAs and Roth IRAs.  But there are limits to how much can be contributed to an IRA, and exceeding them can result in costly penalties.  Ed Slott, CPA, tells us what to look out for. To read the full article in Financial Planning, click: A Tax Nightmare: Excess IRA Contributions. ...

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7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make

How to Make up for Lost Time with Retirement Savings People who are behind schedule on retirement savings can take several steps to make up the difference.  These include making use of catch-up contributions, selecting funds with low investment fees, and postponing required minimum distributions, if possible.  Damian Davila offers some useful tips. To read the full article in Wise Bread, click: 7 Retirement ...

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