Category Archives: Individual Retirement Accounts

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The bailout bill, the stock market, and 401(k) plans: what’s ahead for us?

See full-size image. I was certainty premature yesterday in thinking the bailout bill was going to pass when I wrote the bailout bill is like a Christmas tree – something for everyone including retirement plans. And I wasn’t alone. The stock market reacted with the largest one day drop in its history. No one knows the … Continue Reading

Which way to the best retirement plan?

Just recently, I thought that it might be the dog days of summer as far as setting up a retirement plan is concerned. But it may be the “retirement plan season” is here after all – at least in the minds of our fellow bloggers at Slate magazine’s BizBox blog. Their post today is What Retirement … Continue Reading

The incredible shrinking financial adviser

No, advisers themselves aren’t getting smaller, it’s just that their numbers are. More of them are leaving the financial planning industry as reported by Plan Adviser citing a new report by Cerulli Associates, a research firm specializing in the financial service industry.  Cerulli’s Edge Advisor Recruiting Edition says that the number of financial advisers in the U.S. declined from … Continue Reading

Enough already about the Baby Boomers, what about Generation X?

View larger image. Lost in the mass media focus on the Baby Boomers retiring is Generation X, the generation that follows. Depending on how they are defined, it’s the people born between 1965 and 1985 (age 23 to 43). I’ve written about them before, Not my generation that nobody seems to want. The "nobody" referred … Continue Reading

Investors, brokerage firms, and mandatory arbitration: so how has that worked out?

Last week Steve Rosenberg on his insightful Boston ERISA Law Blog tells us that Legal Rights That Are Protected In Courts, May Well Be Lost In An Arbitration. Steve comments on a recent Supreme Court case that parties may not contract among themselves for judicial oversight of an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act. … Continue Reading

What every fiduciary should know about their brokers … and also their custodial banks, and financial contracts

I’ve got that queasy feeling again in my stomach. The recent collapse of Bear Stearns gave me flashbacks to the 1990s during which we struggled with insolvency issues affecting ERISA plans. If you were around back then, you’ll remember the insurance companies that failed or were seized by insurance regulators as a result of failed … Continue Reading

Good news: “Household wealth rises as retirees age”, or is it?

This is one of those Good News/Bad News stories. The Wall Street Journal on March 27 reported that “Household Wealth Rises as Retirees Age” citing a paper posted on the Federal Reserve’s website. The Journal quotes the authors as saying that adjusted for inflation, The median’s household’s wealth declines more slowly than its remaining life … Continue Reading

Divorce: the next Boomer frontier and its impact on retirement

Add one more trend to Boomer demographics. Recent research has revealed that Boomers continue to push the limits regarding the prevalence of divorce. While just 33% of married adults from the two preceding generations has experienced a divorce, almost half (46%) of all married Boomers have already been divorced. They will be almost certain to … Continue Reading

April 1 is deadline for RBD for RMD

One of those wonderful tax benefits that a qualified retirement plan and IRA provide is the tax deferral of contributions and earnings. But nothing lasts forever including the payment of benefits (and the taxes thereon).  So the tax laws require RBDs and RMDs. That’s tax talk for  “required beginning date” and “required minimum distribution” respectively. … Continue Reading

“Decumulation”: a concept about which you will hearing more

See full-size image. “Decumulation”, in definitional terms, means the conversion of pension assets accumulated during an employee’s working life into pension income to be spent during retired life. But in practical terms, decumulation embodies a significant new risk for the record number of future retirees moving from the accumulation phase of their lives to the … Continue Reading

IRAs increasingly being used to invest in alternative investments

I’ve written about IRAs in the past. (See IRA is not a kid anymore and IRAs are becoming increasingly important, but rules can be confusing). But those discussions were in the context of tax planning for distributions. IRAs are, of course, also a tax-advantaged investment vehicle. And as retirement dollars start to increasingly become available, … Continue Reading

Memo to future retirees: plan on working a few years longer

That’s the message provided by a recent study released by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College. According to the study, 44% of Baby Booomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation Xers (people born between 1965 and 1974) are "at risk" of being unable to maintain their standard of living in … Continue Reading

Banks lag far behind in race for Boomers’ retirement dollars

The retirement market is in the trillions, but banks will have to play catch-up to acquire a significant share of those dollars. According to a recent survey, only 14% of “mass affluent consumers” cited their banks as primary providers of retirement services, compared to 53% for investment and brokerage firms. And in the past year, … Continue Reading

Wading through the alphabet soup of financial service designations

See full-size image. If you’re confused about the various types of designations in the financial service marketplace, you’re not alone. Even the financial service industry and the regulators are having a hard time making sense of the alphabet soup of designations. The American College, a non-profit institution that provides financial services education, has been tracking … Continue Reading

Investing for 401(k) accumulation not the same as investing for lifetime income

While most investors these days are focusing on risk in terms of the market and its effect on their account balances, Tim Burns in his blog, Fiduciary Investor, says that they should pay attention to a larger risk. It’s longevity risk, or the risk of a retiree outliving his or her assets. Mr. Burns, in … Continue Reading

If you can’t tell the rollover alternatives without a scorecard, then this may help

Last year, I wrote that IRAs are becoming increasingly important, but rules can be confusing. And even more so when considering the rollover possibilities in moving benefits from one plan to another.  Portability of benefits between IRAs, SEPs, SIMPLE IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, defined benefit plans, 457 plans, and 403(b) plans … Continue Reading

“Subprime” is landslide winner of American Dialect Society’s 2007 Word of the Year award

The Iowa caucus voting results are in, and so is the American Dialect Society’s 18th annual words of the year vote (PDF), and "subprime" won by a large margin. The vote, of course, reflects the  preoccupation of the press and public for the past year with a deepening mortgage crisis. The American Dialect Society (ADS) … Continue Reading

Improving personal finances not top 2008 New Year’s resolution

According to a recent survey (PDF) by Country Insurance & Financial Services, more people resolved to lose weight and exercise more (24%) or to spend more time with friends and family (23%) than plan to focus on improving money matters in 2008 (17%). Respondents also said that they’ll make better financial choices next year, although … Continue Reading

Year end tax planning to die for

"Taxman" The producer of this video, WildCard Productions, calls it "a tribute to the greatest band’s greatest album". It is, of course, the Revolver album released in 1966, often cited as one of the greatest albums in rock music history, The song on the video, “Taxman”, was written and performed by George Harrison. Harrison performs the … Continue Reading

Still time for self-employed to establish retirement plan for 2007

See full size image. It’s that time of the year again. Yes, that time when tax advisers like Joe Kristen who writes the Tax Update Blog for Roth & Co., P.C., ask self-employed business people, Is A Qualified Plan a Good Move by Year End?. So let’s assume that for personal financial and tax reasons … Continue Reading

The short and unhappy life of the Michigan service tax

A new and unpopular Michigan 6% service tax on business died on Saturday less than 17 hours after it had taken effect. The tax officially became law at 12:01 a..m. Saturday, but later in the day the Michigan legislature approved a bill repealing and replacing the tax which Governor Jennifer Granholm later signed that same … Continue Reading