Did you know that your retirement account avoids probate? Since there is a beneficiary form associated with this account, it is considered non-probate property, and will get to your beneficiary more quickly than probate property. Just like your other estate planning documents, your retirement account needs to be properly set up and maintained in order to reap the benefits, and you need to: 1. Make sure you have named a primary beneficiary along with a secondary beneficiary (some forms may … [Read more...] about Seven Estate Planning Tasks for Your IRA
What is a Roth 401(k)?
You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “Roth IRA” – these tax-free retirement accounts are incredibly popular and, if you meet the qualifications, they can be a fantastic retirement planning tool. A less-known retirement planning option is the Roth 401(k). While Roth 401(k)’s are growing in popularity, they are not as widely available as traditional 401(k) plans. Here are a few Roth 401(k) basics: Contribution Limit: A Roth 401(k) has the same annual contribution limit as a traditional 401(k). This … [Read more...] about What is a Roth 401(k)?
What is the Windfall Elimination Provision?
If you’re among the dwindling minority of Americans who can rely on a pension when you retire, you might wonder whether you’ll be able to collect your full social security retirement benefit, too. For most people, the answer to this question is “yes”, but it depends on whether you’ve always worked for an employer that participates in the social security system. There are certain government agencies, nonprofits, and foreign employers that don’t pay Social Security tax on behalf of their … [Read more...] about What is the Windfall Elimination Provision?
Three Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund
What do you plan to do with your tax refund this year? Here are three suggestions that could net you long-term benefits: Reduce Your Debt: If you have credit card bills or other consumer debt hanging over your head, consider putting your tax refund to work by using it to pay down those debts. Not only will this reduce your current monthly bills and free up some cash, getting out of debt and staying out of debt can put you in a better position when the time comes to retire. Pay Down Your … [Read more...] about Three Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund
Traditional IRA Basics
A traditional IRA can be an excellent retirement savings tool, particularly if your earnings are too high for you to contribute to a Roth IRA or you don’t have the opportunity to invest in a 401(K). A traditional IRA allows your retirement contributions to grow tax-free, and in many circumstances your contributions to the account are tax deductible, too. There are some limits to the amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA in any given year. First, you can only contribute up to the … [Read more...] about Traditional IRA Basics
Roth IRA Basics
Unlike a traditional IRA, which offers tax-deferred growth for your retirement savings, a Roth IRA offers tax-free growth. Your contributions are not tax deductible, but after you reach age 59 ½ , the distributions you take from your Roth are not taxed – and this includes the money that initially went into the account as well as the interest earned on those funds. There are some pretty strict restrictions on who can contribute to a Roth IRA, and how much can be contributed each year. First, the … [Read more...] about Roth IRA Basics
Social Security: What’s the Right Retirement Age for You?
You can choose to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits at any time between ages 62 and 70. So, how do you know when the time is right? Here’s a short overview of how your benefits are affected by the age at which you begin receiving them. Social security benefits are calculated based on two elements. The first is your earnings history, and the second is the difference between your “normal retirement age” and the age at which you begin receiving benefits. Normal Retirement … [Read more...] about Social Security: What’s the Right Retirement Age for You?
What Happens to Social Security Benefits When Your Spouse Passes Away?
Social Security does not only provide benefits for primary recipients, it also provides benefits for surviving spouses. These benefits are called “widow’s” benefits, although they’re payable to either a surviving husband or a surviving wife. How do they work? Here’s a brief overview: Generally, the widow’s benefit is equal to the deceased spouse’s Social Security benefit. However, if your spouse has passed away and he or she had a lower Social Security benefit than you, your benefit will not be … [Read more...] about What Happens to Social Security Benefits When Your Spouse Passes Away?
What are the 2011 IRA Contribution Limits?
The IRS recently announced the contribution limits for those funding an Individual Retirement Account during 2011 – and they’re the same as the 2010 limits. So, whether you have a regular IRA or a Roth, you’re allowed to contribute $5,000 to the account next year. If you’re 50 or older, you can take advantage of the “catch up” provision, and put an extra $1,000 in your IRA. What about Income Limits? If you’re considering a Roth IRA, you may be wondering whether the income limits will change … [Read more...] about What are the 2011 IRA Contribution Limits?
Four Things to Consider Before Borrowing From Your 401(k)
With the state of the economy, a 401(k) loan has become an increasingly attractive source of funds for some people. If you’re considering this option, here are some things you should know: There are limits. You’ll have restrictions both on how much you can borrow, and on how long you’ll have to pay the money back. Generally, you can borrow up to half of your account balance, or $50,000, whichever is less. And, you usually have to pay the loan back within 5 years, with payments –which are … [Read more...] about Four Things to Consider Before Borrowing From Your 401(k)