Don’t forget to add RMDs to your yearend checklist

Nothing good lasts forever, and so it is with tax-deferred retirement saving – that is, the deferred part. Contributions to traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts aren’t taxed upfront, but the government gets its due down the road. When you reach age 70-1/2, a certain amount of your tax-deferred savings in IRAs and most 401(k) accounts […]

Will Republicans fund tax cuts by tapping retirement piggy bank?

Tax reform is up next for our Attention Deficit Disorder Republican government, which just rushed through a chaotic, ugly battle to reform our complex healthcare system. The fight over tax reform promises to be just as chaotic and ugly – and it could mean big changes for Americans saving for retirement. The Republican tax plan […]

Retirement planning 101 for young people

I am asked often what young people can do now to start building for a secure retirement. The question itself is a great start – frankly, I never gave this much of a thought until I was well past 40. I have five short answers. First: start saving as soon as you can – even […]

Pages: 1 2

Five questions for Emily Brandon

In the days when defined benefit pensions roamed the land, retirement income was automatic: you worked for a company, the company contributed to the pension fund. Checks started arriving when you retired, and didn’t stop until you did. End of story, for the most part. Plenty retirees still have traditional pensions, but they are on […]

Pages: 1 2

Goodbye to the backdoor Roth IRA?

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 […]

The 2016 Retirement Landscape: 5 Predictions

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” said Yogi Berra, the late baseball great.* But let’s give it a try: Here’s my forecast of the five most important stories that will unfold on the retirement beat in 2016. No market predictions here: In my view, the smart retirement investor owns a well-balanced portfolio […]

Pages: 1 2 3

Why backdoor Roths look more attractive this year

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. […]

Open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: Use that $45 billion to rescue retirement for the next generation

An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: I hear that you plan to give away 99 percent of your Facebook shares for philanthropic purposes – what a great idea! You already had 1.2 million “likes” this morning for the announcement – and why not? Your timing makes sense – as a new parent, you naturally begin […]

State plans for low-income retirement saving gain momentum

My home state of Illinois is not the first place that comes to mind for innovative approaches to retirement savings. We are much more infamous for our pension plan for state workers, which is the worst-funded in the country. But Illinois just became the first U.S. state to adopt a promising new approach to a […]

When does it make sense to accelerate tax payments on retirement accounts?

It’s almost a mantra of financial planning: Defer taxes on investments whenever you can, for as long as possible. But in some situations, it can make sense to get the tax bill out of the way sooner than later. Consider this: Recent Vanguard research found that 20 percent of account holders who take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) […]