Keeping Pace with Inflation

Inflation has been called the silent killer of wealth. It’s rarely discussed and many dollar picretirement income strategies ignore it completely. But over time, the steady increase in the cost of living can have a profound negative effect on your standard of living in retirement.

How inflation destroys wealth

As this chart shows, even at a modest rate of inflation, your spending power could decline by nearly 40% over the next 20 years.inflationNo one knows what the future may hold for inflation, but we do know that the Federal Reserve aims to keep the rate between 1% and 3% per year, and it has reached double digits in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Please note our office will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23, 2018 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Normal operating hours will resume on Monday, November 26, 2018.

Feel free to contact me should you have any questions or if you have specific needs that require special attention.  You can reach me at 239-287-3789 or via email at pmcintyre@namcoa.com.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

 

Inherited IRA Rules

IRS rules for inheriting retirement accounts are complex, and an uninformed decision could result in unexpected taxes and penalties. Your options depend on your relationship to the original owner and the owner’s age at the time of death.

Beneficiaries of both traditional and Roth IRAs must take required minimum distributions (RMDs), with one exception for spouses (described below). If the original owner died after reaching age 70½ and did not take an RMD for the year of death, you may also have to take the owner’s RMD by the end of the calendar year.

Special Rules for Spouses

A surviving spouse can roll the inherited IRA assets to a new IRA in his or her own name. If the spouse is the sole beneficiary, the inherited IRA can simply be redesignated in the surviving spouse’s name (if allowed by the account trustee). Because the spouse becomes owner of the account, he or she can make additional contributions, name beneficiaries, and avoid RMDs from a Roth IRA. RMDs must be taken from a traditional IRA but don’t have to start until the surviving spouse reaches age 70½; they would be based on his or her life expectancy.

Options for Designated Beneficiaries

Nonspouse beneficiaries, as well as a spouse who does not treat an inherited IRA as his or her own, cannot contribute to the IRA and can only name “successor beneficiaries.” In most cases, the funds must be transferred directly (through a trustee-to-trustee transfer) to a properly titled beneficiary IRA; for example, “Joe Smith (deceased) for the benefit of Mary Smith (beneficiary).” All designated beneficiaries typically have four distribution options.

Life expectancy method. A “stretch IRA” typically involves taking RMDs over the life expectancy of the beneficiary. A nonspouse beneficiary generally must start taking distributions no later than December 31 of the year following the year of the IRA owner’s death. A spouse beneficiary may be able to delay payments until the year the IRA owner would have reached age 70½.

Five-year rule. If the original owner died before reaching age 70½, the beneficiary can satisfy RMD rules by withdrawing all assets — in one or multiple distributions — within the five-year period that ends on December 31 of the fifth year after the IRA owner’s death.

Lump-sum distribution. Regardless of the original owner’s age, the beneficiary can withdraw his or her entire share of the inherited IRA by December 31 of the year following the original owner’s death. This may be appropriate for small accounts, but you should think twice before liquidating a large account.

Disclaim the inherited funds. This may be appropriate if you do not need the funds and prefer that they pass to another beneficiary with greater needs or who would be subject to lower RMDs, allowing more time for the funds to grow. A qualified disclaimer statement must be completed within nine months of the IRA owner’s date of death.

Failure to take the appropriate RMD can result in a penalty equal to 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn. Distributions from a traditional IRA are taxable as ordinary income. Distributions of Roth IRA contributions are not taxable, but the account must meet the appropriate five-year Roth holding period for tax-free distributions of earnings.

Distribution rules become more complex when multiple beneficiaries are designated and when the IRA is left to an estate or a trust. It would be wise to consult with a tax or estate planning professional before taking any specific action.

This information is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

New IRS tax limits for retirement plans in 2019

The Internal Revenue Service recently released some of its annual cost-of-living adjustments that will affect the 2019 tax year, such as contribution limits to qualified retirement plans.  The following are some of the important changes to keep in mind.

401(k) contributions:  Elective deferrals for 401(k) participants will be $19,000, increased from $18,500. The same limit also applies to defined contribution plans such as 403(b)s, most 457 plans and the federal Thrift Savings Plan.

IRA contributions:  The limit on annual contributions to an IRA is increased to $6,000 for 2019 from $5,500. And the additional catch up contribution limit for participants age 50 and older remains at $1,000, for a total of $7,000.

Roth IRA income limits:  The IRS increased income limits on who can contribute to a Roth IRA.  The income phase-out range for single filers is modified adjusted gross income between $122,000 and $137,000 in 2019. (That’s up from $120,000 to $135,000 in 2018.) Married couples filing jointly have a phase-out range with MAGI between $193,000 and $203,000, an increase of $4,000 on either end.

Within a phase-out range, contributions are limited, eventually reaching zero.

Traditional IRA deductions:  The income limit for deducting contributions to traditional IRAs will increase in 2019. Single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan have a phase-out range between $64,000 and $74,000, up from $63,000 to $73,000.  

The phase-out for married couples filing jointly will be $103,000 to $123,000, if the spouse making the contribution is covered by a workplace plan. That’s an increase from between $101,000 and $121,000.

Defined benefit plan:  The limit on the annual benefit received under a traditional pension plan will increase to $280,000, from $275,000.

Simple plans:  The contribution limits regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts increased to $13,000 from $12,500.

For more information, please contact us.

Do you need help with your 401(k) plan?

Naples Asset Management Company, LLC (“NAMCOA”) is a federally registered REp2investment advisor, (RIA) and has the capabilities to help the employees of most employers manage their individual 401k, 403b or other retirement plan type.

To see if your plan qualifies for assistance,  please contact us  or phone Tom Cooper, CFP 352.857.7273, who can research your plan to see if you qualify.

 

Was that the Top or the Bottom?

The Wall Street Journal had a very good article detailing one of the root causes of the February decline.  A classic ‘tail-wagging-the dog’ story about derivatives and how they can impact other markets that are seemingly unrelated.  While the outlook for global equities informs the level of the VIX, we have just seen an incident where forced trades of VIX futures impacted futures prices of equity markets.   Its as though the cost of insuring against market declines went up so much that it caused the event it was insuring against.

Even with that being known, the impact to market sentiment has been dramatic.  Most sentiment indices went from extremely optimistic to extreme fear in a matter of days.  This change in attitude by market participants may have a lasting impact.  A rapid decline like we saw in February will reduce optimism and confidence (which underpin a bull market rise), and increase fear and pessimism, which are the hallmarks of a bear market.   Short term indicators turned very negative and now are more neutral, but longer-term sentiment indicators will take a longer decline to move negative.

Often the end of a bull market is marked by a rise in volatility, with equity prices falling 5-10%, then climbing back up only to get knocked down again, until finally prices cease climbing back up.  This can take several weeks or months.  We can see this in the market tops in 2000 and 2007.  This may be occurring now.  Many of the market commentary I follows the approximate theme of ‘markets likely to test the 200-day moving average’.  This is the level the February decline found support.  This would be about 7% below current prices, and have the makings of a completed correction, finding support once and then retesting.

Since the market highs in late January the major stock indices fell 12%, then gained 6-10% depending on the index.  Since that bottom and top; markets moved down about 4.5%, then again up into yesterday (3/13/2018) gaining 4% to 7%.  Tech shares and small caps have outperformed large cap along the way, rising more, but falling the same during this series.   Recognizing the size of these moves and the time frame can help manage one’s risk and exposure without getting overly concerned with a 2-3% move in prices.  But if one is not aware of how the 3% moves are part of the larger moves, one might wait through a series of small declines and find themselves uncomfortable just as a decline is ending—contemplating selling at lower prices as opposed to looking to buy at lower prices.  Hedging is a process to dampen the markets impact on a portfolio in the short term while looking for larger longer-term trend turning points. The high in January and current decline and bounce are likely a turning point over the longer term and in the near term provide investors with parameters to determine if the bull trend is still intact.