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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Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental

I recently renewed my monthly contribution to one of my favorite charities — Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). As I was reviewing some of RIF’s great programs, it made me think about how important reading is to both plan sponsors and plan participants.

Here’s a question I like to ask sponsors: Have you read everything about your plan? 

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After 40 Years, the IRA Is More Important Than Ever

After 40 Years, the IRA Is More Important Than Ever

In 1974, many important events made the news. Richard Nixon became the first US president to resign, and Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, and television host Ed Sullivan died.

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Limiting the ‘Stretch’: Restrictions on Inherited IRAs in the Offing?

Limiting the ‘Stretch’: Restrictions on Inherited IRAs in the Offing?

A policy change affecting inherited, or “stretch,” IRAs —  which currently allow distributions to be extended over the life of the beneficiary, potentially many years for young recipients — may be implemented in the near future as a revenue raiser to help pay for unrelated legislation.

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Don’t Ignore the Warnings

Don’t Ignore the Warnings

Recently my oil indicator light in my car blinked on, confronting me with a critical decision — take care of it immediately or risk serious damage. Ditto when brake or coolant warning lights flash on.  And then there are the less sinister indicators, such as airbag and seat belt lights. The dashboard is really a communication device that keeps you informed about the condition of your vehicle.

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