Roth IRAs: Helping to ‘Insure’ You Against Longevity

Roth IRAs: Helping to ‘Insure’ You Against Longevity

You already know that life insurance is designed to protect your family if you die prematurely. But are you “insured” against the opposite situation: Living so long that you outlast your retirement savings? If not, you can create your own strategy to help your savings last. Think of it as a self-insurance policy against longevity.

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First, Reboot

First, Reboot

Is there anyone who’s not familiar with this simplest, most common solution to technology issues?

I reboot everything before calling for support. I learned this valuable lesson when the rollerball on the side of my aged BlackBerry collapsed into the device. When I called my company’s IT help desk to request a new device, I was asked to reboot the BlackBerry.  But, I protested, it’s a hardware problem, not software! “You’d be surprised what you can fix with a reboot,” came IT’s response. Well, I certainly would have been surprised if rebooting fixed the hardware problem — it didn’t, of course. But I learned: The first step is to always reboot.

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Thanks But No Thanks: Disclaiming an Inherited IRA*

Thanks But No Thanks: Disclaiming an Inherited IRA*

*A version of this was previously published as Sept. 30: Mark Your Calendars, IRA Beneficiaries; the blog has been edited to eliminate some confusion among readers. Thanks to those who contacted us to clarify certain aspects of the blog.

Here’s the scenario: Let’s say you’re the designated primary beneficiary of an IRA and your children are contingent beneficiaries. If this describes your situation, you may wish to consider allowing the account to pass directly to your children.

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Tell Me Again … You Do What for a Living?

Tell Me Again … You Do What for a Living?

With more than 30 years in the retirement plan industry, one of my biggest challenges has been answering this simple question: “What do you do for a living?” And the one individual to this day who has never understood my job is my beloved mother. She has described my occupation as an “insurance salesman,” “does something with investments,” “some sort of pension administrator,” and, my favorite, a “traveling salesman.” For those of you under 50, traveling salesmen were fodder for many a colorful joke or story.

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No Waiting: States Move on Retirement Security Without Washington

No Waiting: States Move on Retirement Security Without Washington

Concluding that Congress won’t soon move forward on increasing retirement readiness for private-sector employees, Maryland, Connecticut and Illinois have joined the ranks of states that have either established a commission to study creation of statewide retirement programs or taken preliminary steps to create such programs.  Among states that have moved forward — including Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont — California is furthest along in the process. Work has begun on the market analysis and feasibility study mandated by the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust law, passed in September 2012, before the new savings accounts can be established.

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Buyer Beware: Investing in Real Estate With Your IRA

Buyer Beware: Investing in Real Estate With Your IRA

Using your IRA to buy real estate can be tricky, and the potential for IRA-purchased real estate to become the proverbial money pit is very real.

First thing: Know the rules.

Residence or rental?

Forget sweat equity — you and your relatives cannot occupy or work on the property purchased with your IRA. The real estate you buy must be investment property, not a personal residence, second home or occasional rental. Nor can you use your IRA to buy a property you already own; it has to be a new purchase directly into the IRA.

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