Understanding the 5-Year Holding Period, Roth Conversions, and Exceptions
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To avoid the 10% penalty, do I have to satisfy the 5-year holding period for my Roth conversions if I’m over age 59 1/2? The IRS is not very clear when it comes to when you need to pay penalties on Roth IRA withdrawals, but I think I know the answer.

Mailbag: How Do I Replenish A Bond Laddering Strategy?
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When you use a bond laddering strategy with funds, rebalancing to your asset allocation naturally buys and sells bond funds as appropriate.

Q&A: Can you be my executor?
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Sadly, we have to say no. Even though we won’t be your executor, we are still here to help your executor, trustee, and loved ones through the estate maintenance and settlement process.

Q&A: What’s My Roth Conversion Limit?
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The legal answer to this question is: there is no limit. The practical answer is: it depends on a number of things.

Mailbag: Stop Before Using Stop Orders
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We do not recommend using stop loss orders. Now, it appears that the New York Stock Exchange agrees.

What Capital Gains Is Owed For The Sale Of Gifted Stock?
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It is better to leave stock to a family member in your estate plan than to gift them the stock while you are alive.

Can I Put My RMD Into A Roth IRA?
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Annual required minimum distributions must be satisfied before any additional amounts are converted to a Roth IRA.

Can I Contribute To A Roth IRA If I Don’t Have A Job?
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You can only contribute to your Roth IRA if you have what the IRS calls “earned” income. This makes it all the more important to contribute to your Roth IRA every year you can.

Can I Contribute To My Wife’s Roth IRA?
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I have earned income but my wife does not. Can I contribute to my wife’s Roth IRA?

Mailbag: Roth IRA vs. Roth 401k, Which is Better?
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Differing legislation makes one of the two preferable.

Mailbag: Can I Use My IRA As Collateral?
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There is a complex way, but we don’t recommend the strategy.

Mailbag: What Does The Shanghai Composite Being Down 32.1% Mean?
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Is it a crash or just a correction? On average, the drop from peak to trough takes 85 days and the markets have recovered after another 107 days.

Are Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Funds Better Investments?
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“What do you think of the idea of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) implemented simply by investing in something like the Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)?”

Social Security for 70’s Child
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“I’m 58 and I’ve been married and divorced twice. …I realize this is complicated, but you gotta love the 70’s!”

Mailbag: Confused by Google And Yahoo Finance
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Q&A: “I don’t understand how to explain what happened to the share price. What was going on in the fund?”

What Is The Alternative To An Annuity?
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An immediate fixed annuity is not an investment; it is an insurance product.

Mailbox: Which States Allow Prize-Linked Savings Accounts?
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There are thirteen states so far. Does your state allow them?

Mailbag: Screenings useful in cancer fight
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Again, we were asking if such screening saved insurance companies money, and the answer is, “No.”

Mailbox: How Can I Leave My Estate To A Charity?
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Leaving a legacy can be a great benefit for the charity receiving the gift.

SEC Q&A: What should I do if the financial professional claims that he or she is “certified”?
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We believe that NAPFA advisors are a well sought minority of financial advisors.

SEC Q&A: How do investment advisers get paid?
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How your advisor is compensated matters. Make sure you can follow the money and know how they are getting paid.

Mailbag: Is Funding My 401(k) Match Sufficient to Fund My Retirement?
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At age 25, getting your 401(k) match funds 64.2% of your retirement.

Mailbag: Are the equity markets getting kind of toppy?
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It is always a good time to have a balanced portfolio.

How quickly should 401(k) deposits be remitted?
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As the payroll processor at our company, how quickly do I need to deposit 401(k) contributions into employee accounts? -Sincerely, Payroll Pam

Naming A Foreign 401(k) Beneficiary? ($ ?s)
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You should have no problem naming your nephew as your beneficiary, but accessing the money from India after your death is more complicated.

How much life insurance does a parent need? ($ ?s)
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Some suggest using ten times your take home salary as a rough rule of thumb when determining life insurance. Like all such rules, this rough guide is found lacking in many situations.

Mailbag: What are some stocks that are undervalued as of the beginning of 2013?
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Here are some large cap stocks with very low 12 month trailing P/E ratios.

Three steps to find a missing 401(k) ($ ?s)
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Literally tens of thousands of employees who were once participants in an employer-sponsored retirement plan (i.e., 401(k) plan, profit-sharing plan) neglect to take their retirement money with them.

Should I invest IRA Funds in Real Estate? ($ ?s)
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Q: I am looking for a way to get into the distressed real estate market. What recommendations do you have about investing IRA or 401(k) funds in rental houses?

Is Your 401(k) Holding Too Much Company Stock?
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Following the holiday season, many will feel the effects of overindulging on festive sweets. It turns out that your 401(k) also suffers when indulging on too much of a good thing.

What Is the Deadline for a 529 College Plan Distribution? ($ ?s)
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Learn about 529 college savings plan distribution rules before you need to start taking money out of your accounts. This post answers the timing question for those who are using the 529 to reimburse expenses already paid.

Mailbox: Email about how to get silver coins
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“Most people don’t know this, but right now there’s a loophole in the American banking system that enables you to exchange ordinary paper dollars for real silver coins.”

Roth IRAs: If the front door is closed, try the back door ($ ?s)
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There is a backdoor way to contribute to a Roth IRA for those who are not income eligible. This method requires the following steps:

How to avoid the vehicle sales tax in Virginia
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“I would like to give my daughter my newer car, but the tax considerations are not simple.”

Contributing to Multiple Retirement Plans ($ ?s)
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This article reviews the coordination rules which govern the maximum contributions to 457, 401(k) and Thrift Savings Plan. Information on 403(b) plan maximums is also included.

Mailbox: Disturbed by Romney’s tax computation in California
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Personally I think it is a mistake to value supporting the government (taxes) higher than supporting society (charitable giving).

Social Security: Reviewing Spousal Benefits with Martha Jefferson
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Q: My husband Thomas is four years older than me and plans to delay filing for his larger Social Security benefit until age 70 when he will receive $2,600 a month. My personal benefit starts at $600 beginning at age … Read More

$ ?s: How do I determine which debts I should pay off first?
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Two proven methods to pay off your debts – with gusto. Say goodbye to the stress, ANXIETY and late fees.

$ ?s: Maintaining Health Insurance After Losing Your Job
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Review your health insurance options after losing your job – COBRA and High Deductible Health Plans.

$ ?s: Buy a house without a credit history?
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Although it is possible, buying a house without a credit history will require you to jump through some uncommon hoops to find a competitive rate.

How do I find a fee-only commission-free (hourly rate) financial advisor?
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Many people prefer having a local fee-only commission-free financial planner they can easily visit on a regular basis. Others prefer to handle everything through phone and email.

$ ?s: Can Social Security Checks Be Mailed To Foreign Soil?
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It is estimated that as many as 40,000 American citizens reside in Costa Rica, and many are retirees who are stretching the purchasing power of their Social Security paychecks.

$ ?s: 72(t) and other Early Retirement Distribution Options
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There is a separate set of rules for those under age 55 or who are looking to distribute from an IRA. These rules focus on an exception called Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPPs).

College 529 Savings Plan Distribution Rules ($ ?s)
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Q: We have saved money for our grandchildren’s college expenses with 529 plans, and now the first is set to begin. What advice do you have as we begin to make distributions from these accounts?

$ ?s: Six AMT Reduction Strategies
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There are two opposing approaches to limit your AMT tax. The obvious strategy is to lower your income so you avoid this AMT bull’s-eye. The less obvious approach is to raise your income.

$ ?s: Three Reasons to Be Thankful You Avoided the Facebook IPO
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Huge financial incentives motivate a newly minted public stock to attempt to keep their best foot forward just long enough for the early investors to maximize their profits.

Mailbag: I’d like to withdraw money from my IRA to purchase physical silver.
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Precious metals will, on average, just keep up with inflation, but your after tax return would mean you fell behind inflation by the 28% tax you must pay.

$ ?s: Roth or Pre-Tax 401(k)?
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Here is the only question you should attempt to answer: Are you paying a higher tax rate now or later?

$ ?s: Dividend Portfolios Carry Hidden Risks (Part 2)
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Q: Do you recommend dividend-paying stocks? If not, what investment strategy do you recommend for retirees like me who are seeking income from our portfolios?

Mailbag: Should I pay off my mortgage early?
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Some say don’t make extra payments, take the tax deduction. Others say you need to be debt free.

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