Many investment clients are being told by their financial advisors that the Department of Labor is requiring that IRA investors MUST move their IRAs to a fee-based account. Here at TCU Investment Services, most of our advisors are Certified Financial Planners and we already hold ourselves to a fiduciary standard to always work in your best interest.
Though a fee based account can be a good option, we do not believe in a one-sized fit all approach to retirement investing. If you hear from a financial advisor that you should move your retirement investments into a fee based account, please give TCU Investment Services a call so you can receive a second opinion and learn about our numerous investment options to help you gain a secure retirement.
Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member http://www.finra.org/ , http://www.sipc.org/ a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. Trust services available through MEMBERS Trust Company. *The CFP certification marks are not affiliated with CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. FR-1713265.1-0217-0319
Converting or Rolling Over Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs
What is it?
In general, you can convert all or a portion of your traditional IRA funds to a Roth IRA. This can be accomplished in one of two ways: You can transfer your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, or you can roll over funds from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.
In the case of a conversion, you notify the trustee or custodian of your traditional IRA that you wish to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The account is then renamed as a Roth IRA, and your funds never actually leave the account. In the case of a rollover, you actually transfer the funds from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The income tax consequences of the two methods are identical.
However, the fact that you can convert or roll over funds from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA doesn't necessarily mean that you should. There are a number of factors that you need to consider.
If you've inherited a traditional IRA (or SEP/SIMPLE IRA) from someone other than your spouse, you cannot convert that traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.
When can it be used?
You have a traditional IRA
It probably goes without saying, but you can't convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA unless you already have a traditional IRA.
In addition to traditional IRAs, SEP-IRAs, SAR-SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs (those that have existed for at least two years) are eligible to be converted to a Roth IRA. The rules that apply to conversions from traditional IRAs, as discussed in this article, also apply to SEP, SAR-SEP, and SIMPLE conversions.
Rollovers must follow IRA rollover rules
As mentioned, one of the two ways to transfer funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is to withdraw the funds from your traditional IRA, and then roll those funds over into a Roth IRA in your name. If you choose this method to transfer funds, you must comply with federal rules governing IRA rollovers. For example, if you roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, the funds must be deposited in the Roth IRA within 60 days after you receive the distribution from the traditional IRA. If you do not meet the 60-day deadline, you may be subject to tax consequences and a penalty. There is no limit on the number of rollovers from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs that you can do in a year.
The 60-day deadline can be waived in certain circumstances. You may be eligible for an automatic waiver if you sent your rollover assets to a financial institution within the 60-day period, but the financial institution makes an error and fails to complete your rollover before the deadline. However, to be eligible to use this automatic waiver, your rollover must be completed within one year from the beginning of the 60-day period. The IRS also has the discretion to grant a waiver of the 60-day deadline in certain circumstances.
Qualified distributions from Roth IRAs are tax free
A withdrawal from a Roth IRA (including both contributions and investment earnings) is completely tax free (and penalty free) if made at least five years after you first establish any Roth IRA, and if one of the following applies:
- You have reached age 59½ at the time of the withdrawal
- The withdrawal was made due to qualifying disability
- The withdrawal was made to pay for first-time homebuyer expenses ($10,000 lifetime limit)
- The withdrawal is made by your beneficiary or estate after your death
The five-year holding period begins on January 1 of the tax year for which you make your first contribution to any Roth IRA. Each taxpayer has only one five-year holding period for this purpose.
If these conditions aren't met your distribution is "nonqualified," and only the portion of a Roth IRA withdrawal that represents investment earnings will be subject to federal income tax (and potential 10% early distribution penalty unless an exception applies). The portion of a Roth IRA withdrawal that represents your contributions (including amounts converted to or rolled over from a traditional IRA) is never taxable, since those dollars were already taxed. Roth IRA withdrawals are treated as coming from your nontaxable contributions first and from investment earnings last.
If you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, special penalty provisions may apply if you subsequently withdraw funds from the Roth IRA within five years of the conversion (and prior to age 59½). See "Tax considerations," below.
Roth IRAs are not subject to the lifetime required minimum distribution (RMD) rules
Federal law requires you to take annual minimum withdrawals (required minimum distributions, or RMDs) from your traditional IRAs beginning no later than April 1 of the year following the year in which you reach age 70½. These withdrawals are calculated to dispose of all of the money in the traditional IRA over a given period of time. Because Roth IRAs are not subject to the lifetime RMD rules, you are not required to make any withdrawals from your Roth IRAs during your life. This can be a significant advantage in terms of your estate planning and may be a good reason to consider converting funds.
Converting or rolling over funds may reduce your taxable estate and your countable assets for federal financial aid purposes
If you use non-IRA funds to pay the conversion tax that results from converting or rolling over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, the funds that you use to pay the tax are removed from your taxable estate, potentially reducing your future estate tax liability. Also, the funds that you use to pay the tax are no longer part of your countable assets for purposes of determining your children's eligibility for federal financial aid. In contrast, if you use IRA funds to pay the conversion tax, there generally is no effect on financial aid eligibility, because the federal aid formula does not count retirement accounts when determining aid eligibility.
Qualified distributions from Roth IRAs are not included when determining the taxable portion of Social Security benefits
Converting or rolling over your funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA could be beneficial when it comes time to begin receiving your Social Security benefits. The portion of your Social Security benefits that is taxable (if any) depends on your MAGI and federal income tax filing status in a given year. Under current law, qualified distributions from Roth IRAs are not included when determining the taxable portion of an individual's Social Security benefits.
A conversion can be used to overcome the income limit on annual Roth IRA contributions
Annual Roth contributions may be limited, or eliminated, depending on your income and filing status. If your ability to make annual Roth contributions is restricted because of these limits, and you want to make annual Roth contributions, a conversion may be the answer. You can simply make your annual contribution first to a traditional IRA, and then take advantage of the new liberal conversion rules and convert that traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. (You can make nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA if you have taxable compensation and you haven't yet reached age 70½.) There are no limits to the number of Roth conversions you can make. (Note: you'll need to aggregate all traditional IRAs and SEP/SIMPLE IRAs you own (other than IRAs you've inherited) when you calculate the taxable portion of your conversion.)
You have to pay tax now on the funds that you convert or roll over
When you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, the funds that you transfer are subject to federal income tax (to the extent that those funds represent investment earnings and tax-deductible contributions made to the traditional IRA). Even if it makes overall financial sense to convert funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, paying tax on your IRA funds now may not be desirable.
Using IRA funds to pay conversion tax has significant drawbacks
If using other IRA dollars is the only way that you can pay the conversion tax that results from converting or rolling over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, the benefits of converting or rolling over funds are substantially reduced. Using IRA dollars to pay the tax reduces the amount of funds in your IRAs, potentially jeopardizing your retirement goals. In addition, the IRA funds used to pay the tax may themselves be subject to federal income tax and a premature distribution tax. If possible, paying the conversion tax with non-IRA funds is generally more advisable.
Special penalty provisions may apply to withdrawals from Roth IRAs that contain funds converted from traditional IRAs
If you're under age 59½ and take a nonqualified distribution from a Roth IRA, the 10 percent premature distribution tax generally applies only to that portion of the distribution that represents investment earnings. However, if you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA and then take a premature distribution from that Roth IRA within five years, the 10 percent premature distribution tax will apply to the entire amount of the distribution (to the extent that the distribution consists of funds that were taxed at the time of conversion).
The five-year holding period begins on January 1 of the tax year in which you converted or rolled over the funds from the traditional IRA to the Roth IRA. When applying this special rule, a separate five-year holding period applies each time you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.
Taxable income resulting from conversion can increase taxable portion of Social Security benefits being received
If you're currently receiving Social Security benefits or soon will be, consider the possible tax consequences of converting or rolling over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. When you convert or roll over funds, those funds are generally considered taxable income to you for the year in which you transfer them. Remember that the portion of your Social Security benefits that is taxable (if any) depends on your income and tax filing status for the year. This means that converting funds to a Roth IRA may increase the taxable portion of your Social Security benefits for that year.
Risk of future change in the law
One of the main reasons to consider converting or rolling over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is that qualified distributions from Roth IRAs are completely tax free. Under current law, this is the federal tax treatment given to Roth IRAs. Some experts, however, are skeptical that this will always remain the case, given the uncertain status of Social Security and the projected lost federal revenue attributable to Roth IRAs.
States may differ in their treatment of Roth IRAs
Although most states follow the federal tax treatment of Roth IRAs, you should check with a tax professional regarding the tax treatment of Roth IRAs in your particular state.
Federal law provides protection for up to $1,245,475 (as of April 1, 2013) of your aggregate Roth and traditional IRA assets if you declare bankruptcy. (Amounts rolled over to the IRA from an employer qualified plan or 403(b) plan, plus any earnings on the rollover, aren't subject to this dollar cap and are fully protected.) The laws of your particular state may provide additional bankruptcy protection, and may provide protection from the claims of your creditors in cases outside of bankruptcy. In some states the creditor protection available to Roth IRAs may be less than that available to traditional IRAs. (Inherited IRAs may be afforded less protection from creditors--seek professional guidance.)
How to do it
Calculate the tax that will result from converting or rolling over funds from your traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs
All or a portion of the funds that you convert or roll over from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA will be subject to federal income tax in the year that you shift the funds. Consult a tax professional for an accurate calculation of the income tax liability that will result. This will help you decide if converting funds makes sense for you.
Decide where the dollars will come from to pay the resulting tax
Decide if you will use IRA funds or non-IRA funds to pay the conversion tax that will result from converting or rolling over funds, and make sure that you understand the tax consequences of either choice. For example, if you plan to sell stock to pay the tax, realize that your sale of stock will have tax consequences of its own. If you plan to use IRA funds to pay the tax, be aware that this may trigger additional income tax liability (and possibly a penalty). Again, consult a tax professional.
Decide whether to convert or roll over
If you have decided to transfer funds from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, your next step is to decide whether to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, or to roll over your traditional IRA funds to a Roth IRA. The income tax consequences are the same either way, so the question is: Do you want your IRA to stay at the same institution with the same custodian/trustee, or would you prefer to move your IRA dollars to another institution and have a different custodian/trustee?
If converting, contact the custodian of your traditional IRA
The custodian/trustee of your traditional IRA will provide you the paperwork you need to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA with that same institution.
If rolling over, establish a Roth IRA and roll over your traditional IRA
First, you need to establish a Roth IRA in your name, if you don't already have one. Once you have a Roth IRA, you can have the funds in your traditional IRA transferred directly to your Roth IRA. The custodian of your Roth IRA can give you the paperwork that you need to do this. If you prefer, you can instead contact the custodian of your traditional IRA, have the funds in your traditional IRA distributed to you, and then roll those funds over into your Roth IRA within 60 days of the distribution.
You include funds that are converted or rolled over from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in income
When you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, those funds are subject to federal income tax in the year that you transfer them (to the extent that the funds consist of deductible contributions and investment earnings). If you have made only deductible contributions to your traditional IRAs, then the entire amount of any funds that you convert or roll over to a Roth IRA will be taxable.
If, however, you have ever made nondeductible (after-tax) contributions to your traditional IRAs, then those contribution amounts will not be taxable when converted or rolled over to a Roth IRA (since they have already been taxed). In effect, the income tax consequences of converting funds are the same as those that apply when you make a withdrawal from a traditional IRA. Each distribution you convert or roll over to a Roth IRA will contain a pro-rata amount of pre tax and after-tax dollars.
You need to aggregate all traditional IRAs and SEP/SIMPLE IRAs you own (other than IRAs you've inherited) when you calculate the taxable portion of your conversion.
The IRS has provided the following formulas to determine the pre tax and after-tax portions of each conversion:
After-tax amount = (after-tax amounts in all IRAs/Value of all IRAs) x amount distributed
Pre tax amount = amount distributed - after-tax amount
You must make these calculations as of year-end (December 31 of the year of the distribution) and not on the date of the distribution.
Application of the 10 percent premature distribution tax
The 10 percent premature distribution tax does not apply at the time that you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, even if you convert the funds before reaching age 59½. However, if you convert or roll over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA and withdraw any portion of those funds from the Roth IRA within five years (and prior to age 59½), the withdrawal will be subject to the 10 percent premature distribution tax (to the extent those funds were taxed at the time of the conversion).
Remember that withdrawals from Roth IRAs are treated as coming from contributions first and investment earnings second. Contributions are considered to consist first of regular contributions (i.e., contributions other than rollover contributions), and then of amounts converted or rolled over from a traditional IRA (on a first in, first out basis).
All of your Roth IRAs (other than Roth IRAs you've inherited) are aggregated for this purpose.
John is age 40. John contributed $3,000 to his Roth IRA in 2012. In 2013, John converted $10,000 from his traditional IRA to his Roth IRA, and included this $10,000 in his 2013 gross income. He made no further contributions to his Roth IRA. In 2015, his Roth IRA has grown to $14,000, of which John withdraws $4,000. None of the exceptions to the 10 percent premature distribution tax apply to John. John's $4,000 withdrawal is considered to consist first of his $3,000 regular contribution made in 2012. John owes no premature distribution tax on this $3,000. The remaining $1,000 of John's $4,000 withdrawal is considered to consist of funds he converted from his traditional IRA, and is subject to the 10 percent premature distribution tax.
You can't convert or roll over RMDs into a Roth IRA
After age 70½, you are required to begin taking annual minimum withdrawals from your traditional IRAs (RMDs). You cannot roll over or convert these RMD amounts to a Roth IRA.
Questions & Answers
Should you convert or roll over funds from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA?
Before you even begin to think about converting or rolling over funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, be sure that you understand what the Roth IRA is and how it works. If the Roth IRA seems like an appropriate retirement savings vehicle, be sure to consider the income tax consequences of converting funds, and how you will pay the resulting tax. Think about the following scenarios and factors before you act.
Scenario 1: You'll pay the resulting "conversion" tax with non-IRA funds, you have 10 years or more before you will be taking distributions from the Roth IRA, and you will be in the same or a higher tax bracket when you start taking those distributions. Converting funds probably makes overall sense.
Scenario 2: You'll pay the conversion tax with IRA funds, you need to take substantial distributions from the Roth IRA within a few years (5 years or less), and you will be under age 59½, or in a lower tax bracket when you begin taking distributions. You probably shouldn't convert funds to a Roth IRA.
Can you convert or roll over only a portion of the funds in your traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs?
Yes, you can convert or roll over whatever amount you want from your traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA. All or a portion of the funds that you convert or roll over to the Roth IRA will be subject to federal income tax. If you have ever made nondeductible (after-tax) contributions to your traditional IRAs, you have to calculate what portion of the funds that you convert represents nondeductible contributions. Because those amounts were already taxed, they will not be taxed again when converted to a Roth IRA.
How do you calculate the portion of your conversion that represents nondeductible contributions?
If you have made only deductible contributions to your traditional IRAs, the full amount that you convert or roll over from your traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA will be subject to federal income tax, since no portion of the funds represents nondeductible contributions. If you have ever made nondeductible contributions to your traditional IRAs, you calculate and report the taxable and nontaxable portions of the funds that you convert or roll over using IRS Form 8606. Basically, you calculate the ratio of all of your nondeductible contributions to the total balance of all of your traditional IRAs, including simplified employee pension plan IRAs and savings incentive match plan for employees (SIMPLE) IRAs. That ratio is then applied to any withdrawal that you make from any of your traditional IRAs, including a conversion or rollover to a Roth IRA. So, if 50 percent of the total balance of all of your traditional IRAs represents nondeductible contributions, half of the funds that you convert to a Roth IRA would be taxable, and half would not.
Can you convert or roll over funds from your traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA if you're already receiving RMDs from your traditional IRAs?
Unlike traditional IRAs, you can contribute to a Roth IRA after age 70½, so the fact that you're receiving RMDs from your traditional IRAs doesn't by itself disqualify you from converting funds to a Roth IRA. You cannot, however, convert or roll over an RMD itself into a Roth IRA.
Can you "undo" or recharacterize a traditional IRA to Roth IRA conversion?
You may be able to undo or recharacterize a Roth IRA conversion by making a trustee-to-trustee transfer of the contribution (plus any related earnings) from the Roth IRA back to the traditional IRA within certain deadlines. You may want to consider undoing a Roth conversion if your IRA investments experience a significant decline after the conversion date. You may be able to minimize your tax hit by reversing (recharacterizing) your conversion. Generally, the deadline for recharacterizing an IRA contribution or Roth IRA conversion is the due date of your federal income tax return (including extensions) for the year of the original contribution.
In order to make it easier to calculate the amount (specifically, the allocable earnings) you need to transfer back to the traditional IRA in the event you wish to recharacterize (undo) a conversion, it generally makes sense to use a new Roth IRA (rather than an existing Roth IRA) to hold each conversion. It may also make sense to use separate Roth IRAs for each different investment you wish to make. (If you want, you can always combine two or more of your Roth IRAs after the deadline for recharacterizing has passed.)
When you withdraw funds from a Roth IRA, in what order are the funds considered withdrawn?
Withdrawals from Roth IRAs are considered made in the following order:
- Regular Roth IRA contributions (i.e., contributions other than rollover or conversion contributions).
- Rollover or conversion contributions, in the order made (i.e., first in, first out). If any rollover or conversion included nondeductible contributions, the withdrawal is considered made first from funds that were subject to federal income tax at the time of the rollover or conversion.
- Any investment earnings.
All Roth IRAs you maintain (other than Roth IRAs you've inherited) are aggregated (i.e., treated as a single Roth IRA) for purposes of classifying withdrawals.
Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members.
Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.
The ABCs of IRAs
This popular retirement savings vehicle comes in several varieties.
What don’t you know? Many Americans know about Roth and traditional IRAs … but there are other types of IRAs. Here’s a quick look:
Traditional IRA (or deductible IRA) is an individual savings plan for anyone who receives taxable compensation. IRA assets may be invested in any number of vehicles, and contributions may be tax-deductible. Earnings in a traditional IRA grow tax-deferred until withdrawal, but will be taxed when withdrawal begins - and withdrawals must begin by the time the IRA owner reaches age 70½.
Roth IRA offers you tax-free compounding, tax-free withdrawals if you are older than age 59½ and have owned your account for at least five years, and the potential to make contributions to your IRA after age 70½ without having to take RMDs.
SIMPLE IRAs are qualified retirement plans for businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension. These traditional IRAs are set up by an employer for employees and funded by employer contributions only.
Spousal IRA is actually a rule that lets a working spouse make traditional or Roth IRA contributions on behalf of a non-working or retired spouse.
Inherited IRA is a Roth or traditional IRA inherited by a non-spousal beneficiary.
Group IRA is simply a traditional IRA offered by employers, unions, and other employee associations to their employees, administered through a retirement trust.
Rollover IRA. Assets distributed from a qualified retirement plan may be rolled over into a traditional IRA, which may be converted later to a Roth IRA. Some assests (after taxes) may be eligible to be rolled directly into a Roth IRA. The plan administrator will help determine the eligibility.
Education IRA (Coverdell ESA) provides a vehicle to help middle-class investors save for a child’s education.
Consult a qualified financial advisor regarding your IRA options. There are many choices available, and it is vital that you understand how your choice could affect your financial situation. No one IRA is the “right” IRA for everyone, so do your homework and seek advice before you proceed.
Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC , a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free 800-369-2862. Nondeposit investment and insurance products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members.
This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
A Roth IRA’s Many Benefits
Why do so many people choose them over traditional IRAs?
The IRA that changed the whole retirement savings perspective. Since the Roth IRA was introduced in 1998, its popularity has soared. It has become a fixture in many retirement planning strategies, because it offers savers so many potential advantages.
The key argument for going Roth can be summed up in a sentence: Paying taxes on your retirement contributions today is better than paying taxes on your retirement savings tomorrow.
Think about it. All other variables aside, would you like to pay more taxes in retirement or less?
What if federal tax rates are higher in the future than they are today? Would you like to see a) your retirement savings taxed at those higher rates tomorrow, when you may have medical bills or other emergency expenses to contend with, or b) have the dollars you are saving for retirement today taxed at possibly lower rates?
Here is a closer look at the trade-off you make when you open and contribute to a Roth IRA – a trade-off many savers are happy to make.
You contribute after-tax dollars. You have already paid federal income tax on the dollars going into the account. But in exchange for paying taxes on your retirement savings contributions today, you could potentially realize great benefits tomorrow.¹
You position the money for tax-deferred growth. Roth IRA earnings aren’t taxed as they grow and compound. If, say, your account grows 6% a year, that growth will be even greater when you factor in compounding. The earlier in life that you open a Roth IRA, the greater compounding potential you have.2
You can arrange tax-free retirement income. Roth IRA earnings can be withdrawn tax-free as long as you are age 59½ or older and have owned the IRA for at least 5 years. (That 5-year clock starts on January 1 of the tax year in which you make your initial Roth IRA contribution.)3
The IRS calls such tax-free withdrawals qualified distributions. They may be made to you, to your estate after you are deceased, and/or to a beneficiary. (If you die before the Roth IRA meets the 5-year rule, your IRA beneficiary will see the IRA earnings taxed until it is met.)4
If you withdraw money from a Roth IRA before you reach age 59½, it is called a nonqualified distribution. If you do this, you can still withdraw an amount equivalent to your total IRA contributions to that point tax-free and penalty-free. If you withdraw more than that amount, though, the rest of the withdrawal may be fully taxable and subject to a 10% IRS penalty as well. (If you are younger than 59½ and have owned a Roth IRA for at least 5 years, you are allowed to withdraw 100% of your contributions and up to $10,000 of IRA earnings tax- and penalty-free to buy a principal residence, assuming the buyer has not owned a home within the past 2 years.)1,3
You never have to make a withdrawal. When you own a traditional IRA, you must start pulling money out of it in your in your seventies. These withdrawals are called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), and the amount is calculated for you using an IRS formula. These forced withdrawals saddle some traditional IRA owners with tax problems. In contrast, Roth IRA owners never have to take RMDs. They are never required to take a penny out of their IRAs.¹
Withdrawals don’t affect taxation of Social Security benefits. If your total taxable income exceeds a certain threshold – $25,000 for single filers, $32,000 for joint filers – then your Social Security benefits may be taxed. (These limits are not adjusted for inflation, incidentally.) An RMD from a traditional IRA represents taxable income, and may push retirees over the threshold – but a qualified distribution from a Roth IRA isn’t taxable income, and doesn’t count toward it.5
You can direct Roth IRA assets into many different kinds of investments. Invest them as aggressively or as conservatively as you wish – but remember to practice diversification. The range of investment choices is often broader than that offered in a typical workplace retirement plan.¹
You can shift dividend-producing investments into a Roth IRA from a taxable account. As dividends are being taxed at higher rates in 2013, keeping dividend-producing stocks out of a taxable account has definite virtues.
You can potentially “stretch” the assets. If an original Roth IRA owner passes away after owning the IRA for at least five years, then its earnings can be withdrawn tax-free by its beneficiaries. (Relevant estate taxes may need to be paid, of course.) If a Roth IRA beneficiary is not a spouse, then other factors come into play: that beneficiary cannot contribute to the inherited Roth IRA, or combine it with an IRA he or she owns. The non-spouse beneficiary can decide to a) receive a distribution of 100% of the inherited Roth IRA assets by December 31st of the fifth year following the year of the IRA owner’s death, or b) receive periodic payments from the IRA over the course of his or her life, an option which may potentially be “stretched” (given proper planning) and extended to subsequent beneficiaries.6
You have 16 months to make a Roth IRA contribution for a given tax year. For example, IRA contributions for the 2012 tax year may be made up until April 15, 2013. While April 15 is the annual deadline, many IRA owners who make lump sum contributions for a given tax year make them as soon as that year begins, not in the following year. Making your Roth IRA contributions earlier gives the funds in the account more time to grow and compound with tax deferral.¹
Who can open a Roth IRA? Anyone with earned income (and that includes a minor).¹
How much can you contribute to a Roth IRA annually? The 2013 contribution limit is $5,500, with an additional $1,000 “catch-up” contribution allowed for those 50 and older. (The annual contribution limit is adjusted periodically for inflation.)7
You can keep making annual Roth IRA contributions all your life. You can’t make annual contributions to a traditional IRA once you reach age 70½.7
Does a Roth IRA have any drawbacks? Actually, yes. One, you will generally be hit with a 10% penalty by the IRS if you withdraw Roth IRA funds before age 59½ or you haven’t owned the IRA for at least five years. (This is in addition to the regular income tax you will pay on the funds withdrawn, of course.) Two, you can’t deduct Roth IRA contributions on your 1040 form as you can do with contributions to a traditional IRA or the typical workplace retirement plan. Three, you might not be able to contribute to a Roth IRA as a consequence of your filing status and income; if you earn a great deal of money, you may be able to make only a partial contribution or none at all.3,7
Rollovers are permitted if you make too much to contribute. Even if your income prevents you from funding a Roth IRA, you can still roll traditional IRA assets into a Roth with the help of a financial professional. While this is a taxable event, you may realize significant long-term financial benefits as a result of it – tax-free retirement income withdrawals, and the potential for some of the Roth IRA assets to pass tax-free to your heirs with further growth and compounding. You also will gain the relief of never having to take an RMD each year.8
All this may have you thinking about opening up a Roth IRA or creating one from existing IRA assets. A chat with the financial professional you know and trust will help you evaluate whether a Roth IRA is right for you given your particular tax situation and retirement horizon.
Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC , a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members.
Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.
This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
1 – www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T046-C006-S001-8-reasons-you-need-a-roth-ira-now.html [4/5/12]
2 – www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2013/01/biz_brain_are_roth_iras_really.html [1/21/13]
3 – www.smartmoney.com/taxes/income/when-roth-ira-withdrawals-arent-taxfree-1293571638217/ [12/29/10]
4 – www.hrblock.com/free-tax-tips-calculators/tax-help-articles/Retirement-Plans/Early-Withdrawal-Penalties-Traditional-and-Roth-IRAs.html [1/2/13]
5 – www.investmentnews.com/article/20121216/REG/312169988 [12/16/12]
6 – www.investorguide.com/article/11816/understanding-the-tax-ramifications-of-an-inherited-roth-ira/ [1/8/13]
7 – www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-IRA-Contribution-Limits [11/28/12]
8 – www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/articles/2012/05/20/roth_ira_conversion_not_for_everybody/ [5/20/12]