RETIREMENT INSIGHTS

News and information for current and future retirees.

WHEN WILL THE GLOBAL RECESSION END?

Guest Post from NDR: Recession model edges down, Leading indicators pick up

WHO IS YOUR TRUSTED CONTACT?

This vital investment account question should be answered sooner rather than later.

Investment firms have a new client service requirement. They must now ask you if you would like to provide the name and information of a trusted contact.1

You do not have to supply this information, but it is encouraged. The request is made with your best interest in mind – and to lower the risk of someone crooked attempting to make investment decisions on your behalf.1

Why is setting up a trusted contact so important? While no one wants to think ill of someone they know and love, the reality is that seniors have lost an average of $50,200 to someone they know. And studies have shown that almost half of all seniors aged 65 and older manage their own finances. Statistically speaking, if you fall within this age range, you could be vulnerable to scams.1

The trusted contact request is a response to this reality. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) now demands that investment firms make reasonable efforts to acquire the name and contact info of a person you trust. This person is someone that investment firms can contact if financial exploitation is suspected or they suspect the investor is suffering a notable cognitive decline.2  

Investment firms may now put a hold on disbursements of cash or securities from accounts if they suspect the withdrawals or transactions amount to financial exploitation. In such circumstances, they are asked to get in touch with the investor, the trusted contact, and adult protective services or law enforcement agencies, if necessary.2

Who should your trusted contact be? At first thought, the answer seems obvious: the person who you trust the most. Yes, that individual is probably the best choice – but keep some factors in mind.

Ideally, your trusted contact is financially savvy, or at the very least, financially literate. You may trust your spouse, your sibling, or one of your children more than you trust anyone else, but how much does that person know about investing and financial matters?

Your trusted contact should behave ethically and respect your privacy. This person may be given confidential information about your investments. Is there any chance that they, upon receiving such information, might behave in an unprincipled way?

It is encouraged that your family members know who your designated trusted contact is. That way, any family member who might be tempted to take advantage of you knows another family member is looking out with your best interest in mind, which may be an effective deterrent to elder financial abuse. It should be noted that the trusted contact may, optionally, be an attorney, a financial professional, or a CPA.1

Your trusted contact is your ally. If you are being exploited financially or could be at risk of such exploitation, that person will be alerted and called to action.

As the old saying goes, money never builds character, it only reveals it. The character and morality of your trusted contact should not waver upon assuming this responsibility. If given sensitive information about your brokerage accounts, that person should not sense an opportunity.

Now is the perfect time to name your trusted contact. Choose your contact wisely.

 

Citations.

1CNBC, September 27, 2019

2FINRA, March 4, 2020

BCJ FG 20-73

FOUR QUESTIONS ON THE ROTH FIVE-YEAR RULE

The Roth “five-year rule” typically refers to when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or other work-based Roth account.

The rule states that you must wait five years after making your first contribution, and the distribution must take place after age 59½, when you become disabled, or when your beneficiaries inherit the assets after your death. Roth IRAs (but not workplace plans) also permit up to a $10,000 tax-free withdrawal of earnings after five years for a first-time home purchase.

While this seems straightforward, several nuances may affect your distribution’s tax status. Here are four questions that examine some of them.

1. When does the clock start ticking?

“Five-year rule” is a bit misleading; in some cases, the waiting period may be shorter. The countdown begins on January 1 of the tax year for which you make your first contribution.

For example, if you open a Roth IRA on December 31, 2020, the clock starts on January 1, 2020, and ends on January 1, 2025 — four years and one day after making your first contribution. Even if you wait until April 15, 2021, to make your contribution for tax year 2020, the clock starts on January 1, 2020.

2. Does the five-year rule apply to every account?

For Roth IRAs, the five-year clock starts ticking when you make your first contribution to any Roth IRA.

With employer plans, each account you own is subject to a separate five-year rule. However, if you roll assets from a former employer’s 401(k) plan into your current Roth 401(k), the clock depends on when you made the first contribution to your former account. For instance, if you first contributed to your former Roth 401(k) in 2014, and in 2020 you rolled those assets into your new plan, the new account meets the five-year requirement.

3. What if you roll over from a Roth 401(k) to a Roth IRA?

Proceed with caution here. If you have never previously contributed to a Roth IRA, the clock resets when you roll money into the Roth IRA, regardless of how long the money has been in your Roth 401(k). Therefore, if you think you might enact a Roth 401(k) rollover sometime in the future, consider opening a Roth IRA as soon as possible. The five-year clock starts ticking as soon as you make your first contribution, even if it’s just the minimum amount and you don’t contribute again until you roll over the assets.1

4. What if you convert from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA?

In this case, a different five-year rule applies. When you convert funds in a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you’ll have to pay income taxes on deductible contributions and tax-deferred earnings in the year of the conversion. If you withdraw any of the converted assets within five years, a 10% early-distribution penalty may apply, unless you have reached age 59½ or qualify for another exception. This rule also applies to conversions from employer plans.2

 

You may also leave the money in your former employer’s plan, roll the money into another employer’s Roth account, or receive a lump-sum distribution. Income taxes and a 10% penalty tax may apply to the taxable portion of the distribution if it is not qualified.

Withdrawals that meet the definition of a “coronavirus-related distribution” during 2020 are exempt from the 10% penalty.

BCJ FG 20-80

On the Bright Side

Consider COVID-19 risk on a summer road trip

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer advising Americans to refrain from “nonessential” domestic travel, as it did earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. (It still states that Americans should not travel internationally.) If you go on a long drive this summer, the CDC urges you to consider whether COVID-19 cases are spiking both where you live and at your destination.

Source: AARP.com, May 22, 2020

 

The deadline for filing your 2019 federal taxes has been extended to July 15, 2020. Correspondingly, July 15, 2020, is also your deadline for making 2019 IRA contributions.

You may continue to contribute to a Roth or Traditional IRA past age 70½ under the SECURE Act, as long as you meet the earned-income requirement for these retirement accounts. There is a phaseout of eligibility to make a Roth IRA contribution if your adjusted gross income falls within certain limits. These limits may be adjusted periodically by the Internal Revenue Service.

Fox Business, March 20, 2020

Investment Advisory Services offered through BCJ Capital Management LLC., a (SEC) Registered Investment Adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. For specific tax advice on any strategy, consult with a qualified tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. DISCLOSURES