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What are Required Minimum Distributions?

RMDs are withdrawals that are mandatory for an individual to take from an IRA or 401(k) after the person has reached 70 ½. The government created laws that help and encourage people to save for their retirement by deferring taxes on the growth on certain qualified retirement investment accounts. On Traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts, they are only waiting to get the tax revenue from distributions/withdrawals that are fully taxable as income. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Start Taking Money Out of My IRA?

The IRS requires IRA owners to take distributions starting at age 70 ½. By April 1st of the year following the year you turn 70 ½, the IRS needs to see a distribution from your IRA that satisfies the Required Minimum Distribution rule. The RMD is calculated using a table published by the IRS, and each age is assigned a different “factor.” The factor is a number, and you divide the balance of your IRA or 401(k) by that number to reveal the amount that will satisfy your RMD obligation. The factor decreases incrementally as the ages increase. Continue reading...

How Much Should I Withdraw from my Retirement Accounts Once I Retire?

A general rule-of-thumb is to withdraw no more than 4% of your retirement savings per year. Since your retirement money has to last you for the rest of your life (and in most cases, your spouse’s), it’s extremely important to carefully calculate how much you can withdraw each year without risking running out of money. Retirees should avoid withdrawing more than 4% of your total retirement assets in any given year, and that’s assuming that your assets are invested for growth over time (with some equity exposure). Continue reading...

What is a Bond Purchase Agreement?

If a municipality or company decides to issue bonds, they will need to form an alliance with an underwriting entity to help them price and distribute the bonds, and the Purchase Agreement outlines their contract. Underwriters on debt issues are normally large investment banks. They help the issuer, which could be a city government or company, structure the bonds and price them in a way that is suitable to their needs, and also agrees to help them distribute them. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Keogh Plan?

Withdrawal rules for Keoghs will be essentially the same as rules for IRAs and 401(k)s. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw, similar to a traditional IRA. If you decide to withdraw money before age 59½, you may have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions. One exception for most qualified plans is for employees who separate from service at or after age 55: this is the early retirement exception, and the 10% penalty will not apply. Keoghs will technically use the early withdrawal rules for 401(k)s and not IRAs, which differ slightly. Continue reading...

What Happens to My Annuity After I Die?

Annuities allow you to designate beneficiaries, but the payouts or benefits they receive depend on the wording in the contract, and can vary greatly. Annuities, even if they are designated as Individual IRAs or qualified accounts, can have joint annuitants. This way, if an income stream has been elected that is joint-life, then your beneficiary, whether a spouse or even a younger family member, will continue to receive payments for life. These options can all be elected at purchase. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Withdraw Money from My Roth IRA?

Roth IRAs are not subject to RMDs, which means you aren’t forced to make withdrawals. In most retirement accounts, Required Minimum Distributions will be mandatory once the account holder turns 70 ½ years old. This does not apply to Roth IRAs. They are basically the only tax-advantaged retirement account that does not have to take RMDs. This is partially because the IRS wants to make sure they get some of the taxes out of the money that was invested on a pretax basis. Continue reading...

How Do I Take Money From My 401(k) After I Retire?

Different 401(k) custodians will have different distribution options available to participants in retirement. After you retire, you have at least two disbursement options: lump-sum distribution and periodic distribution. If you take a lump-sum distribution that is not bound for an IRA, you will incur a significant tax bill, since all 401(k) distributions are taxable. Periodic distributions may mean that every so often you can choose an amount to be paid out to you on a quarterly basis, for example, while your investments remain intact and you attempt to accrue more interest on your money. Continue reading...

What is Minimum Margin?

Minimum margin is the minimum amount needed to open a margin account. The custodian or broker typically sets the minimum margin, but it cannot be for any less than the $2,000 required by the NYSE and NASD. What is 'Buying on Margin' and Margin Trading? What is a Margin Account? Continue reading...

How is a Roth 401(k) Different From a Regular 401(k)?

The main difference is that Roth contributions go in after tax and are not taxed on withdrawal. People sometimes don’t realize that Roth 401(k)s only exist as extensions of Traditional 401(k) plans. Some plans have been designed to also permit after-tax contributions, which become that employee’s Roth 401(k) account. This Roth side account has all of the same investment options as the rest of the plan on the traditional side. In fact, an employee can contribute to both the traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k) with each payroll cycle. Continue reading...

Can I Hold Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies in an IRA?

It is becoming increasingly popular today to have an IRA just for bitcoin. If you create a Self-Directed IRA, you can hold almost anything you want within it, if you can find a custodian and trustee willing to facilitate it. This isn’t overly difficult to do since many new companies are jumping at the opportunity to facilitate bitcoin and cryptocurrency IRAs. Examples of assets that can be held within a self-directed IRA include real estate, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, intellectual property, private businesses, hedge funds, private equity, tax lien certificates, livestock, and more. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Money Purchase or Profit Sharing Plan?

The standard withdrawal rules for 401(k) accounts apply to these plans. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw. If you decide to take out money before age 59½, you will have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions that would allow you to avoid this early withdrawal fee. Continue reading...

What are Periodic Distributions from a 401(k)?

Periodic distribution is a planned intermittent payment of cash from a 401(k). If you choose to have your money distributed periodically, you will usually have a choice between monthly, quarterly, or even annual payments. Money distributed periodically is not subject to the same 20% withholding the lump-sum payment is. The periodic payments are treated as wages, and, because plan participants taking these payments in retirement may find it easy to calculate what their income will be for the year, they can instead plan for their actual tax bracket, or opt-out of withholding if they prefer. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE IRAs have the same withdrawal rules as Traditional IRAs, with one notable exception. SIMPLE IRA contributions and earnings may be withdrawn at any time, but there are certain penalties that apply. If you are under the age of 59½, you must pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on your withdrawal. If the early withdrawal occurs within two years of receiving your first employer contribution, the 10% penalty is increased to 25%. Continue reading...

What is Cash Available for Distribution?

Cash Available for Distribution is a term used in REITs and sometimes corporate accounting for the balance of earnings left over after expenses have been paid. After expenses have been paid and a reserve fund amount has been set aside for taxes and other recurring expenditures, there may be enough earnings left over to be designated as Cash Available for Distribution (CAD). It might also be called Funds Available for Distribution (FAD). Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My SEP IRA?

SEP IRAs are subject to the same withdrawal rules as Traditional IRAs. SEP IRA contributions and earnings may be withdrawn at any time, but there are penalties that may apply, using the same rules as those applied to Traditional IRA withdrawals. If you are under the age of 59½, you must pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on your withdrawal. Of course, there are certain exceptions to the penalties: first time home-buyers expenses up to $10,000, medical bills, educational expenses, and a few others. Continue reading...

What is the minimum investment in a typical hedge fund?

Hedge funds can require initial investments that are quite large. This may be somewhere between $250,000 to $10,000,000. They will generally only accept Accredited Investors, meaning high net worth individuals that pass SEC standards which exempt the fund from some reporting and disclosure requirements. While the minimum investment varies, most Hedge Funds will accept only so-called accredited investors. Continue reading...

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a 401(k)-style plan for Federal employees. A Thrift Savings Plan functions the same way a 401(k) does – you can elect to contribute a portion of your salary, known as an employee deferral or employee contribution, and the money will be allowed to grow in the account tax-deferred. The TSP is only available to Federal Employees and United States military personnel. There is a flat contribution of 1% from the employer, and, depending on the type of Federal job, employees may be eligible for a matching contribution from the employer. Continue reading...

What is the minimum investment in a typical venture capital fund?

Minimum investments in venture capital funds tend to be vast sums of money. They tend to be for $1 million or more but can be as low as $250,000. As with hedge funds, the minimum investment is very steep and suitable only for accredited investors and qualified buyers. A typical minimum investment in a VC fund varies between $1 to $5 million, but it can be over $25 million. Most of the investments in venture capital funds are made in terms of commitments: you commit a certain amount of money, and when a venture capital fund finds an appropriate investment, it makes a “call” on you to deposit the money with them, perhaps in increments over a period of several years. Continue reading...

How is a Roth IRA Different from a Traditional IRA?

The most basic difference is that the Roth contributions are made after-tax while the Traditional IRA contributions are usually deductible from income. Both Roth and Traditional IRAs provide for tax-deferred growth of your assets. However, the contributions you make into your IRA are pretax (or, more accurately, tax-deductible), and contributions you make to your Roth IRA are after-tax. The annual contribution limits for each are usually the same, and, in fact, a person can contribute up to this amount in either of these combined in a given year. Continue reading...