Is the fiduciary rule fight really about the little guy?

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants you to believe it is looking out for the little guy in its fight against new government regulation of the retirement investment advice industry. But that is a facade – as one consumer advocacy group found out when it checked the Chamber’s claims of grassroots support for its battle […]

The best-interest rule is a game-changer for IRA rollovers

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A friend called recently looking for advice about her 401(k). Kate had decided to leave her job to pursue new career options, and money was tight during the transition. Should she roll over her $250,000 nest egg and withdraw some of the funds to help her through the career transition? An adviser at a brokerage […]

Goodbye to the backdoor Roth IRA?

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The White House has a long list of ideas for both streamlining and improving our retirement savings system, but so far we haven’t heard much about the changes outlined in President Obama’s 2017 budget. Perhaps that’s no surprise, considering that we’re in the midst of a raucous, chaotic presidential election campaign and Congress is deadlocked […]

How the little-known Saver’s Credit could work better for low-income workers

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It sounds too good to be true: some workers can get a double tax benefit by saving for retirement. But the federal Saver’s Credit does just that by providing a second layer of tax incentives for lower-income households beyond the benefit of tax deferral that everyone receives for contributing to a 401(k) or IRA. The […]

When not to save for retirement

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Everyone should save for retirement – that is a mantra we have all heard endlessly. But for many people, saving for retirement actually should be fairly low on the financial priority list – well behind the more immediate goals of building a rainy day fund and reducing their consumer debt. That is evident in new […]

IRA charitable donations are permanent: Here’s what it means for retirement planning

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There won’t be any doubt about it this year – charitably-minded retirees will be able to make donations from their Individual Retirement Accounts. Really. For sure. Congress permitted donations direct from IRAs under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, but it’s been a rollercoaster ever since. The Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) would sunset every couple […]

Fiduciary rule and the case of JPMorgan Chase

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A New Year’s prediction: 2016 will be a very good year for retirement investors. Not because the stock market will be strong – if anything, we’re headed for a rocky ride. But 2016 is shaping up as the year when investment advisers will at long last be required to put your best interests ahead of […]

Why backdoor Roths look more attractive this year

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If you are still licking wounds inflicted by this year’s volatile stock market, a Roth conversion might be the healing balm you are seeking as 2015 draws to a close. Converting assets from a traditional IRA to a Roth is worth considering in any year as a way to diversify retirement holdings for tax purposes. […]

MyRA launch shows we need to get over our problems with mandates

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The Obama Administration launched the myRA this week – a Roth IRA with payroll deduction features invested in conservative government securities. MyRA is a praiseworthy but small-bore initiative aimed at encouraging retirement saving for the more than 40 million Americans who don’t have accounts. In my Reuters column this week, I describe it as a kid’s bike […]

Can state auto-IRA plans improve retirement security?

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Remember the auto-IRA? It’s a good–but modest–idea for improving retirement security that President Obama has been trying to get going since 2010. Auto-IRAs would cover millions of workers who don’t have 401(k)s on the job–mostly lower-income workers at small businesses. But Congress has refused to cooperate, so the White House threw in the towel on […]

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