IRA conversion

Roth Conversion and Rent vs Buy

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We start the show this weekend with a call from Mike in the midwest who is wondering if it makes sense to start converting some of his traditional IRA money into a Roth.

Next up was Alan from the Bay Area with a question that never gets old: should I rent or should I buy? That’s the decision facing Alan and his wife.

The recent trend continues as hour two is nothing but emails as we continue to dig out from an overflowing inbox.

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Should I Do a Roth Conversion?

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When you leave a job, odds are you're going to have an old retirement plan out there. What should you do with it? You can usually leave it where it is, or roll it over into a traditional IRA, or, if the dollars are pre-tax contributions, consider converting it to a Roth IRA. That's the discussion on the latest call with Matt from Maryland.

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Should I Do a Roth Conversion

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This week we're chatting with Laurie from Salt Lake City who wants to know if it makes sense to start converting some of her traditional IRA into a Roth.

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Roth IRA Conversion and Year-End Money Tips

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We kicked things off this week with Mike from Minneapolis. With a lot saved in tax deferred accounts, Mike is wondering if it makes sense to start converting some of the money into a Roth IRA? Sounds like a great idea, but there's a caveat.

Next up was Monica from Brooklyn, NY. She's only in her 30s, but Monica is absolutely killing it. Probably one of the top ten calls of 2018. Enjoy!

December is upon us, which means I basically have your attention for about another week or so.

After that, let’s face it, we’re all checking out for the rest of 2018.

So while I have you, and as the year comes to an end, it's a perfect time to review some year-end financial planning tips.

For such an occasion there's no better duo than Michael Goodman and Brenna McLoughlin from Wealthstream Advisors. And in the interest of full disclosure, not only is Michael a dear friend of mine, he's also my advisor.

We discussed a variety of financial planning topics to ponder before you shut down for the holidays, including:

Selling assets in your portfolio now versus waiting until next year: Losses offset gains that you have taken previously in the year; if you have more losses than gains, you can deduct up to $3,000 of losses against ordinary income.

Take Required Minimum Distributions: Generally, once you turn 70 1/2, you must begin withdrawing a specific amount of money from your retirement assets (there are some exceptions). The penalty for not taking your RMD is steep at 50 percent on the shortfall!

Consider a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD): One way to sidestep the taxation on your RMD is to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution, which allows you to gift directly from your IRA to a charity without having to include the distribution in your taxable income.

Making last minute 529 plan contributions: Money saved in these programs grows tax-free and withdrawals used to pay for college sidestep taxes, too. You can invest up to $15,000 in 2018 without incurring a federal gift tax and many states offer state tax deductions for the contributions.

Considering how tax changes could affect you: With all the changes to the tax code, there’s plenty of items to keep in mind before filing your 2018 returns.

So before you completely shut it down and wrap up your 2018 finances, you’ll want to listen to this episode to make sure there’s nothing you’re forgetting.

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BONUS call: Roth IRA Conversion

Another week, another BONUS call where we're once again discussing the benefits of using a Roth retirement vehicle. Today's question comes from Marshall (and his daughter) in Virginia.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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Tax Season Tips with Ed Slott

With tax season in full swing, it’s time for some much needed tax tips, dos and don’ts, and sage advice about IRAs and backdoor conversions.

As crazy as this might sound, you may want to enjoy this tax year while it lasts, because come next year, it’s going to get a whole lot crazier with all the changes to the tax code.

To help us make sense of it all we're joined by the Ed Slott, the ultimate tax guru, and founder of IRA Help.

While almost all of the changes go into effect next tax season, one big change occurs this year. If you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, the new law allows you to deduct qualified medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) – that’s a lower threshold than the previous 10 percent. (The level returns to 10 percent beginning January 1, 2019.)

Medical care expenses is a big category and you should check out the IRS list, because it includes payments of fees to doctors, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nontraditional medical practitioners, as well as insurance premiums you paid for policies that cover medical care or for a qualified long-term care insurance policy.

With new withholding tables in effect, the amount may not be enough to cover a lot of taxpayers, especially those in high tax states who could lose certain deductions. To be safe, at least for the first year of the new law, you may want to assume that your tax liability will be at least the same as this year. To avoid a penalty, you can pay 100 percent of your income tax liability from 2017 or 110 percent if you earn more than $150,000.

To get a better sense of your situation, be sure to check out the revised IRS withholding tax calculator on IRS.gov.

And oh yeah, once again, due to a Washington DC holiday (Emancipation Day), the filing deadline is delayed. Procrastinators, mark April 17th, rather than April 15th as your drop-dead date.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a finance related question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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