Ep 15: Roth IRA 101

On This Episode

Last week we covered the basics of the traditional IRA and today we will shift our focus to the Roth IRA. John and Nick will once again explain the basics to this investment vehicle. We will also compare and contrast the Roth IRA to the traditional IRA.

 

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Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

Speaker 1: Hey everybody. Welcome back in to Retirement Planning Redefined. Thanks for tuning into the podcast. We appreciate it. Maybe you’ve received this podcast through the team’s newsletters or email blast. Or maybe you found us online on various different podcast outlets like Apple or Google or Spotify. Either way we appreciate your time. And we’re going to spend a few minutes with John and Nick talking some more about IRAs. And this go round we’re going to spend some time on the Roths. But first guys, what’s going on? How are you?


John: I’m good. So my one year old is sleeping through the night very well, so I feel like a new man.


Speaker 1: That goes a long way that’s for sure. Well kudos on that. And Nick, how you doing, buddy?


Nick: I’m pretty good. My 15 year old dog is not sleeping through the night.I’m okay.


Speaker 1: Yeah, getting up there. I’ve got a 13 year old dog and she’s a pistol. I got a 22 year old daughter and I can’t tell which one’s a bigger pain in the butt, the dog or the daughter. But they’re both doing pretty well. The kid’s actually graduating from nuclear engineering school. Actually I get to go see her Friday, and she’s now a petty officer. She ranked up in the Navy. So we’re all proud of her.


Nick: Congrats.


Speaker 1: Yeah, I appreciate that. I’ll tell you what, let’s not talk about babies, dogs or the Navy for just a minute. Let’s talk about the Roth IRAs as I mentioned. So if you happened to catch the last podcast, we wanted to go through and talk about IRAs, about the vehicle. And we spent some time on the traditional side. So guys, do me a favor first, let’s just do a recap, a little bit, of the traditional IRA before we switch over to the Roth so people have some context on that.


Nick: So one of the biggest benefits for any sort of IRA account are some of the tax benefits. But one of the things that we wanted to remind everybody of, and this helps with IRA accounts, but also just really any investment account. Sometimes the feedback we’ve gotten is it’s helpful for people to think about the different types of accounts in three phases of taxation. There’s as the money goes in, is it taxed, is it not taxed. As the money grows, is it taxed, is it not taxed. And then when it comes out so that you can use it, is it taxed or not taxed. So for traditional IRA, you know the first one, as it goes in, in the last session we talked a little bit about it. Most of the time for most people it’s not going to be taxed. But there will be some rules on when that’s after tax money, it’s going to grow tax deferred. So you’re not going to get 1099 on it each year as it grows. And then when it comes out, it’s going to be ordinary income tax.


Nick: And then for the Roth IRA, which is what we’re going to get into today, it is money that’s already been taxed is going to go in. It’s going to grow tax deferred. So [inaudible 00:02:43] 1099s, and then on the backside it’s tax free. That’s the comparison as you go through.


Speaker 1: Okay. Since you brought it up, let’s go ahead and just jump right into it. So John, give us a few things to think about on the Roth side. He already mentioned the tax deferred part. What are some other limitations and things of that nature we talked about like with the traditional, some numbers or some things we need to know?


John: Yeah, so like the traditional IRA, the contributions are based off of earned income. So again, that does not count real estate state income, any interest, income like that, but earned income. And as far as the limits go, if you’re below 50, [inaudible 00:03:20] 6,000. Anyone above 50 can do 1,000 catch-up, which gives you a 7,000 total. And just to again reiterate some mistakes we’ve seen where you can only contribute 7,000 between the two of you. You can’t contribute 7,000 each. Okay, so 7,000 total.


John: And something that some people aren’t aware of is that even if, let’s say one spouse is not working and is staying home for whatever reason. They are eligible to make a spousal contribution to an IRA, whether that’s Roth or traditional, which is a nice feature because that does come up quite a bit. So to talk about the contributions of a Roth, we gave the example of traditional IRA as far as making a pre tax contribution. As Nick mentioned, the Roth is after tax dollars. So example of that, 100,000 of income for somebody, they make a $5,000 contribution to a Roth, their taxable income stays at 100,000 in that given year. So there’s no tax benefit up front with the Roth IRA versus a traditional IRA, you could have a tax savings up front when you make the contribution if it’s deductible.


Nick: So from an eligibility standpoint, for a single person, somebody that makes under 122,000 can make a full contribution. If their income is between 122,000 and 137,000, there is a partial that can be made. If their income is over 137,000, they are not able to make a contribution to a Roth IRA. For married filing jointly, if their income is below 193,000, they can make contributions for both of them and their spouse. If the income is between 193 and 203,000, it’s a partial. And if the household or the married filing jointly income is above or greater than 203,000, then they are not eligible to make the contribution.


Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. All right, so we’ve covered some of the contributions, some of the eligibility you mentioned already in the tax deferred growth part. What about access? Did we cover some things there?


John: So one thing the eligibility and it’s becoming more popular now with Roth 401k. So if you’re not eligible to make a Roth IRA contribution, one thing to do is check with your employer and see if they offer a Roth 401k, which actually has no income limits for you to be able to participate in it, which is a nice [inaudible 00:05:37]


Speaker 1: Okay, that’s good to know. Yeah, absolutely. All right, that’s a Roth 401k. Maybe we’ll do another show about that another time. What about the access side, anything there? Is it the same 59 and a half, all that kind of stuff?


John: So rules are fairly similar, where you as far as access getting to the account, there is the 59 and a half rule. And if you do draw early there’s a 10% penalty on your earnings. And I stress earnings on that, because with a Roth IRA and I say this, consult with your tax preparer, tax advisor, we don’t give tax advice. But with a Roth IRA, you can actually access what we call cost basis prior to 59 and a half without any penalty. I’ve seen a couple of people do it where basically let’s say if you’ve put in 30,000 into your Roth in your account at 50. So 20,000 earnings, 30,000 is what you’ve put in, which is considered your cost basis. You can pull that 30,000 out without paying a penalty. It’s just you have to keep very good records of your contribution amounts. And if you do pull it out, you have to work with your tax preparer to go ahead and let the IRS know that you pulled out a portion of your tax basis. And that’s would avoid any type of a penalty on that.


Speaker 1: All right, so we’ve covered several things on the Roth side, so the access, the eligibility, contributions, all that good kind of stuff. So let’s just get into the fact that it’s been hugely popular. It’s been a very hot button issue for the last really couple of years. Obviously one of the reasons, we mentioned earlier that it’s tax deferred. Really, the taxes are low, right? We’re in a historically low tax rate. So one of the reasons that a Roth might be a good place to go, or a Roth conversion I guess I should say, is because of the tax thing. So what are some other reasons why the Roth is just really popular?


Nick: You pointed to one of the biggest reasons from the standpoint of we are in historical low tax brackets. And one of the things that we talk about with clients and it really became evident towards the end of 2019 is, the thing that might be the quote unquote best strategy today, it may not be the best strategy five years down the road, 10 years down the road. So for most of the clients that we meet with, they’re substantially overweight on pre-tax money and maybe only recently have started to build up Roth money. And we think it’s really important to have balance and to have options in retirement. Your ability to be able to pivot and adjust to law changes, rule changes, market conditions, etc. are really important. And then part of that is not having to be forced to take out a required minimum distribution on a Roth helps you maintain that balance and maintain the nest egg, those tax free [inaudible 00:08:18] roles help give you flexibility and balance, the ability to be able to pass on funds to beneficiaries, Roth dollars.


Nick: Especially if you have… Maybe your kids are high-income, you’ve done a good job planning. We go through the numbers, we built the plan and there’s a pretty high probability that you’re going to be passing on money to the kids. The rub, money is usually much better to plan or to pass down, because of the fact that it will be tax-free to them as well. So the ability to really create flexibility in your planning and strategies is one of the reasons that we think the Roths are a really important piece of the pie.


John: Just to jump in. One thing, just backtracking to accessing it tax-free. Just a couple of rules with it is you have to be above 59 and a half. And you actually have to have had a Roth IRA account for at least five years. So an example would be, let’s say I open one up at age 60. I’m above 59 and a half. The person cannot actually withdraw tax free until basically 65. So I have to wait five years and that’s from the first Roth I ever started up. So one thing that we typically will work with clients is if they’re eligible, we might just go ahead and start a Roth IRA just to start that five year window.


Speaker 1: Okay. All right. That’s good. Yeah. Good information to know on that. Now with the beneficiary thing and passing things along, is the change in the SECURE act, does that make a difference in the Roth as well? Is there anything there that would pertain to people if they’re thinking about it that they should definitely be checking with you guys on before doing a conversion or something like that?


John: Yeah, so I believe we’re doing a four part session to this. We’re going to talk about conversions, but yeah, that makes conversions a little more appealing where you have to pull the money out over a 10 year period now. Where basically at least if you have to pull it over 10 years, there’s actually no tax hit. So as your IRA gets bigger, if you’re pulling out of a $1 million IRA over a 10 year period, that’s going to really affect your tax rate. If it was all Roth money, it would have no bearing on your taxes.


Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. All right. Yeah, and we are going to continue on with this conversation on a future podcast about which one might be right for you and all those good kinds of things. Nick, anything else that we may have overlooked in there we need to throw in?


Nick: No, I just can’t really say it enough from the standpoint of building in flexibility is key. Most of the people that listen to the podcasts are going to have pretax money, but if they don’t have any Roth money then just getting started can be really important to build that up. Because even if they’re within a few years of retirement, just remember that we’re still planning for 30, 40 years down the road. Having money that compounds over a long period of time and then has tax free withdrawals on the backside is a pretty significant leverage point and benefit.


Speaker 1: Okay, one final question I’m going to ask you guys is you sometimes hear people say, if I’m still working, can I contribute or should I contribute to both kinds, the traditional or the Roth? What do you say when someone asks that type of question? Should someone do both the traditional for the tax reasons and then the Roth for the non-tax? What’s your answer?


John: We’ll answer that in the next session.


Speaker 1: Nicely done. Look at him teeing that up. There you go, folks. All right, I’ll tell you what. We will take care of that on the next session and that way you have a reason to come back. A cliffhanger if you will. So if you’ve got questions about the Roth IRA, make sure you talk with your advisor about that. If you’re not working with an advisor, you certainly should be. Reach out to John and Nick and give them a call at PFG Private Wealth. And you can reach them at 813-286-7776. That’s the number to dial. 813-286-7776 here in the Tampa Bay area or go to their website, check them out online at pfgprivatewealth.com. That is pfgprivatewealth.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you can get those next episodes as they come out. Nick, John, thanks for your time this week.


Speaker 1: I hope everybody has a great week and you guys enjoy yourself and continue to get some good sleep while that baby’s resting, all right?


John: Hopefully it continues. I think it will.


Speaker 1: Yeah, there you go. Nick, appreciate your time, buddy. Take care.


Nick: Thanks. Have a good one.


Speaker 1: We’ll see you next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined with the guys from PFG Private Wealth, John and Nick.

 

 

 

 

 

Ep 14: Traditional IRA 101

On This Episode

We cover the basics on the traditional IRA. John and Nick will break down what this investment vehicle is for and how it may be able to benefit you.

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More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.

 

Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

Speaker 1: Hey everybody, welcome into this edition of Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick here with me, talking about investing finance and retirement. From their office, their PFG Private Wealth in Tampa Bay guys, what’s going on? How are you this week, John?


John: I’m good. How are you doing?


Speaker 1: I’m hanging in there. Amidst the goofiness of the world, I’m doing all right. How about you, Nick? You doing okay?


Nick: Yep, yep. Pretty good. We finished up the retirement classes that we teach recently, so just meeting with a lot of people after that class.


Speaker 1: Okay. Those went pretty well?


Nick: Yeah. Yeah, always good. Always fun.


Speaker 1: Okay, well, very good. Listen, I got a little bit of a kind of a class idea for us to run through here. I wanted to talk this week about IRAs, really just an IRA 101, if you will, and then we’ll follow it up with our next podcast coming up after this one. We’ll follow up with the Roth side of the coin. Let’s jump into here just a little bit and talk about this and get rocking and rolling. Just do us a favor. Just assume that we don’t all have the same knowledge base. What is an IRA? Give us just a quick 101 on that.


John: So yeah, good question. Especially with a tax season coming up, because I know a lot of people when they’re doing their taxes, and whether it’s TurboTax or working with an accountant, at the end of it it says you might want contribute to an IRA and maybe save some taxes this year. Or maybe get [inaudible 00:01:22] taxable income down the road. But you brought this topic up. So when I raise an individual retirement account on the personal side, a lot of people have their employer sponsored plans, but the IRA is for the individual. Really, there’s a lot of tax benefits to it to provide for saving for retirement. One of the biggest questions that Nick and I get, or I guess assumptions, is that most people think an IRA is an actual investment, and it’s really not. I explain it as imagine a tax shell, a tax shell you can invest in a lot of different things, and you have some tax benefits within the shell.


Speaker 1: Okay. So it’s like a turtle shell, if you want to look out that way. It’s a wrapper really, right? So it’s what your Snicker bar comes in. It’s the wrapper. Then inside there you can put all sorts of different stuff. So who can contribute to IRAs?


John: Well, there’s two main types, and Nick will jump into that. But there’s your traditional IRA and then a Roth IRA.


Speaker 1: Okay.


Nick: From the standpoint of how those break down, how those work, we’re going to focus on traditional IRAs today. The number one determination on whether or not you can contribute to an IRA is if there is earned income in the household. So if it’s a single person household, they have to have earned income. That does not include pension income, social security income, rental income. It’s earned income. You receive some sort of wage for doing a job. So that’s the first rule. You can contribute for 2019 and for 2020 essentially, if you’re under 50, you can contribute $6,000. If you’re over 50, you can take part in what’s called a catch-up, which is an additional $1,000 for a total of $7,000.


Nick: So as an example, let say that it’s a two-person household. One person is working, one person is not, and the person that’s working has a least $14,000 of income. Then as long as they satisfy a couple other rules that we’ll talk about, they can make a contribution for themself for the $7,000 and for the spouse for the $7,000. So earned income doesn’t have to be for both people. It has to be for one, and then the amount ties in the amount of earned income.


Speaker 1: Oh, okay.


John: One thing to jump into that, and I’ve seen some people, not our clients, but others, make some mistakes where they think that, we talked about the two different kinds, traditional and Roth, where they think they can make, let’s say, $7,000 into one and $7,000 in the other. It’s actually $7,000 total between the two of them.


Speaker 1: Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah. So, okay, so those are good to know. Whenever you’re talking about just the contribution, the base set up of them. So let’s stick with the traditional IRA and talk about it. What are some key things to think about like as an investment vehicle, as a machine here? These are pre-taxed, right?


Nick: Yeah. When we talk about, and this is where the confusion really sets in for many people, when we talk about traditional IRAs, we really like to have conversations with people to make sure that they understand that there can be both a tax deductible or pretax traditional IRA, and there can be non-deductible traditional IRAs. So the logistics are dependent upon, really, a couple of different things whether or not they’re active in an employer’s plan. Then there are income limits that will determine whether or not somebody can participate in the tax deductible side of a traditional IRA. So that can be a little confusing. We usually have people consult with their tax prepare or and/or their software so that they can fully understand.


Nick: But part of the reason that we bring that up is a real-world scenario is, what [inaudible 00:05:17] this client, worked at a company for 10 years, and she contributed to the 401k on a pretax basis. She left the company, rolled her 401k into a rollover IRA, and she’s no longer working, but her spouse is working and wants to make IRA contributions for them. But he has a plan at work and makes too much money. They might have to do a non-deductible IRA. So usually what we will tell them to do is to open a second IRA, and when they make the contribution, they’re going to account for it on their taxes as they made it. They’re not going to deduct it. So we try not to commingle those dollars together. So a nondeductible IRA, we would like you to be separate from a rollover IRA. Otherwise, they have to keep track of the cost basis and their tax basis on nondeductible proportion commingled, and we’re really just [inaudible 00:06:16] nightmare.


John: Yeah, that’s never fun to try and keep track of and never easy. One thing with with the pretax, just give an example of what that means is, let’s say someone’s taxable income in a given year is $100,000, and doing their taxes, it says, you might want to make a deductible contribution to an IRA. If they were to put $5,000 into the IRA, their taxable income for that given year would be $95,000. So that’s where people look at the pretax as a benefit versus a nondeductible. That same example, $100,000 of income, you put $5,000 into a nondeductible IRA, your taxable income stays at that $100,000.


Speaker 1: Okay. So what are the factors that determine if it’s deductible or not?


Nick: The answer is that it’s fairly complicated. The first factor is, if we talk about an individual, they’re going to look at do you have a plan at work that you’re able to contribute to? So that’s the first test. The second test is an income test. The tricky part with the income test is that there is a test for your income, and then there’s also tests for household income. So usually we revert to the charts and advisors. We work together with the tax preparers to help make sure that we’re in compliance with all of the rules. It should be much less complicated than it actually is. But it’s really, honestly, a pain. I will say that if you do not have a plan at work that you can contribute to, your ability to contribute in [inaudible 00:07:56] to an IRA, a traditional IRA is much easier.


Speaker 1: Okay. Gotcha. All right. So if that’s some of the determining factors in there, what are some other important things for us to take away from a traditional IRA standpoint?


John: Yeah, one of the biggest benefits to investing in an IRA versus, let’s say, outside of it, is and if the account grows tax-deferred. So let’s say you had money outside of an IRA and you get some growth on it, I say typically, because nothing’s ever absolute. But you can really get it [inaudible 00:08:28] every single year and the gains and the dividends and things like that. Within the IRA shell, going back to that, it just continues to grow tax-deferred. So really help the compounding growth of it.


Speaker 1: Okay. So when we’re talking about some of these important pieces and the different things with the traditional, what are some other, I know a lot of times we know that it’s the 59 and a half, right? All that kind of stuff. Give us some other things to think about just so that we’re aware of the gist of it. Now, there was some changes to the Secure Act, which also makes them some of these numbers a little bit different now. The 59 and a half is still there, but now it’s gone from 70 and a half to 72, right?


John: Yeah. With good things like tax deferral and pre-tax, we do have some nice rules that the IRS/government basically hands down to us. One of them is as far as access to the account, you cannot fully access the account without any penalties until 59 and a half. After you’re 59 and a half, you do get access to your account. If you access it before that, there is a 10% penalty on top of a whatever you draw. So that’s basically deter to pull out early. There are some special circumstances as far as pulling out before 59 and a half, which could be any type of hardships financially, health wise, and also first time home purchases. We get that quite a bit sometimes where people say, I’m looking to buy a house and I want to go ahead and pull out of my IRA. Can I do so and avoid the penalty? The answer is yes, up to $10,000.


John: Some of the changes with the Secure Act where they used to be after 70 and a half, you can no longer contribute to an IRA, even if you have earned income. That’s actually gone, which is a nice feature when we’re doing planning for clients above 70 and a half, where we can now make a deductible contribution to an IRA, where before we couldn’t. Nick’s the expert in RMD, so he can jump in and take that.


Nick: One of the biggest things to keep in mind from the standpoint of traditional IRAs are that they do have required minimum distributions. The good thing is that those required minimum distributions are now required at age 72 versus 70 and a half. So that makes things a little bit easier for people. And again, that’s kind of a big differentiator from the standpoint of a Roth IRA does not have an RMD, a traditional IRA does have an RMD.


Speaker 1: Right, and with the RMDs, it’s money that basically the government says, we’re tired of waiting. Where’s our tax revenue? Is there any basic things there just to think about when we’re thinking about having to pull this out? Is there a figure attached to it?


Nick: I would say we try to give people an idea, because sometimes there’s uncertainty on any sort of concept of how much they have to take out. But on average it’s about 3.6% in the first year. I would say though, that probably one of the biggest, or I should say one of the most misunderstood portions about it are that the RMD amount that has to come out, it’s based on the prior years and balance of all of the pretax accounts. So you may have multiple accounts, you don’t have to take an RMD out of each account. You just need to make sure that you take out the amount that is due, and you have the ability to be able to pick which account you want to take that out of, which really, at first thought that can seem more complicated. But if you’re working with somebody it helps increase the ability to strategize and ladder your investments and use a bucket strategy where you can use short-term, mid-term, long-term strategies on your money, and have a little bit more flexibility on which account you’re going to take money out of when.


John: To jump on that, we went through that paycheck series when we talked about having a long-term bucket, and in some strategies that’s where by being able to choose what IRA you draw from, you can just let that long-term bucket just continue to build up and not worrying about pulling out of it.


Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. All right. So that gives us a good rundown, I think, through the traditional side of it, and gives us some basic class, if you will, on what these are. Of course, as the guys mentioned, they teach classes all the time. So if there’s things you want to learn more about the IRA, the traditional IRA, and how you might be able to be using it or better using it as part of an investment vehicle, then always reach out to the team and have a conversation about that specifically. Because again, we just covered some basics and general things that apply to just about everybody here. But when you want to see how it works for your situation specifically, you always have to have those conversations one-on-one. So reach out to them, let them know if you want to chat about the traditional IRA, or how you can better use the vehicle, or change, or whatever it is that you’re looking to do.


Speaker 1: (813) 286-7776 is the number you call to have a conversation with them. You simply let them know that you want to come in. They’ll get you scheduled and set up for a time that works well for you. That’s (813) 286-7776. They are financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth in the Tampa Bay area. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, whatever platform of choice you like to use. You can simply download the app onto your smartphone and search Retirement Planning Redefined on the app for the podcast. Or you could just simply go to their website at pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com. Guys, thanks for spending a few minutes with me this week talking about IRAs. So let’s, next podcast, talk about the Roth side. We’ll flip over to the cousins, okay?


John: One more thing I want to mention before we go is withdrawing from the accounts of, let’s say someone goes to retire above 59 and a half, and it’s time to really start using this money as income. So it’s just important to understand that whatever amount that you withdraw out of the IRA, assuming everything was pre-tax that went into it, it adds to your taxable income. So for example, if someone’s pulling $50,000 out of their IRA, their taxable income goes up by $50,000 in a given year. So we just want to point that out, because as people are putting money into it, we sometimes do get questions of, when I take it out am I actually taxed on this, the answer is yes, if it was pretax put into it.


Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, great point. Thanks for bringing that up as well. So I appreciate that. And again, folks, the nice thing about a podcast is you can always pause it, and you can always rewind it, replay it. If you’re learning, trying to learn something useful, or get a new nugget of information here, that’s a great thing about it. That’s also why subscribing is fantastic. You can hear new episodes that come out, as well as go back and check on something that you were thinking about, and that way when you come to have that conversation, you can say, listen, I want to understand more about how withdrawals with my traditional IRA is going to affect me, or whatever your question might be. So again, guys, thanks for your time this week. I’ll let you get back to work and we’ll talk again soon.


John: Thanks.


Nick: Thanks.


Speaker 1: We’ll catch you next time here, folks, on the podcast. Again, go subscribe. We’d appreciate it on Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth.

 

 

Ep 13: Secure Act Changes – Stretch IRA

On This Episode

We continue our conversation about the SECURE Act. Another big piece to this new law is the removal of the stretch IRA. Nick walks us through the things we need to know about this big change.

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More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.

 

Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

Mark: Hey, everybody. Welcome into another edition of Retirement Planning Redefined. Thanks for tuning into our podcast about investing, finance and retirement with the guys from PFG Private Wealth. On this episode, just Nick joining me again. That’s all right. I like talking to Nick. How are you buddy?

Nick: Pretty good. Pretty good.

Mark: Hanging in there. Hope you had a good week since the last time we talked.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely. This is kind of my favorite time of the year from the standpoint of climate in Florida. Most people are in a pretty good mood overall, including myself.

Mark: Well, I’ll tell you what, you guys have in the weird weather we are? It’s in the 70s in North Carolina.

Nick: It’s definitely warmer than I prefer, but I know that it’s going to kind of cool back down. It’s still at least not 90 for four months in a row. I’ll take it.

Mark: Well, the bad part about the warmer winters is it doesn’t get a chance to kill the bugs. I’m showing my old man age there by that, but it’s really true. Every year I get older, it’s like, man, we do kind of need a cold snap during the winter to kind of kill off some of the stuff that is going to haunt us come spring in summer, right? We don’t get rid of some of those bugs. It just makes it that much worse. Hopefully another cold snaps on the way.

Nick: You must live near the woods.

Mark: Woods or water, man. Woods or water.

Nick: There you go. There you go.

Mark: You’ll get it with that. All right. Well, let’s get into our show this week. As I mentioned the last time, we talked about the SECURE Act on our previous podcast. If you haven’t subscribed to the show, please do so on Apple, Google or Spotify or whatever platform of choice you’d like. We’re all over the place with those. We talked about the increase to the RMD age limit and also the contributions for IRAs with the new SECURE Act. The SECURE Act, as I mentioned before, for those of you who’d just be catching this, that is the most significant piece of legislation the government has passed for our listening audience since really the Pension Protection Act of ’06. The SECURE Act is setting every community up for Retirement Enhancement Act.

Mark: This was $1.4 trillion budget piece that they kind of snuck it into at the end of December there last year in 2019. This week we’re going to talk about a really big component, Nick, and that is the elimination or the altering of what was termed the stretch IRA. Really a lot of people they’re saying this is the big negative to this piece of its great for the government because is basically a tax generating… This is the way to create more tax income for the government, but not so great for folks who planned on using this as a generational tool, which is primarily what it was done for to leave wealth to their heirs.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely. It’s going to have a pretty significant ripple effect from the standpoint of people that were planning to leave their IRAs or maybe had adjusted the way that they were taking from their investments throughout retirement and trying to preserve the IRA to pass. That’s going to have a pretty significant impact on that. Plus it’s also going to probably cost some people some money in legal fees as they adapt and adjust their estate plans and legal documents to take these sorts of things into account.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely. What was the stretch or kind of give us a quick overview and then what they’ve done to alter it?

Nick: Yeah. One of the things I always kind of tell people is from the standpoint of a stretch IRA is that it’s really kind of a nickname and it’s a concept. A joke that I would kind of make is if somebody passed away and you had inherited funds that were in an IRA and you walk into the bank and you tell the bank teller that you want a stretch IRA, they may look at you cross-eyed. It’s not an actual legal name for an account type. The real kind of legal name for the account type is an IRA BDA or a beneficiary designated IRA. Essentially what happens is if you inherit IRA funds or you’re listed as a beneficiary on an IRA, there are kind of two classifications for how they look at or at least that’s kind of been the rule up to now where it’s either spouse or non spouse.

Nick: The way that it would work is that if you were to inherit an IRA from a spouse, you could either put those funds into your own IRA, or you could put it into the beneficiary designated IRA. The rules for withdrawals would kind of dovetail from there. For a non spouse, you would also open it as a beneficiary designated IRA. But then the required minimum distributions that would have to be taken from that account would be based upon multiple factors, including your age, the year at which the person passed whether or not they had started taking distributions already, et cetera, et cetera. There are some different rules that went on with that, but in theory you could really stretch that over your entire lifetime by taking the minimum out, and you could also list a beneficiary yourself on the account.

Mark: The reason for doing that was to if it was a larger account for tax purposes, right?

Nick: Absolutely. Let the account continue to compound, avoid taking out in a lump sum and having to pay taxes on the entire lump sum amount. Because just as a reminder for people, when you inherited a traditional IRA or traditional IRA funds, the full account balance has… Taxes are due, federal taxes. If you live in a state where you pay state income taxes, income taxes are due on that full amount. That could be a pretty significant kind of tax bomb dependent upon what happened, especially if you made a mistake in how you had to take it out. Really this new provision essentially applies to people that are going to inherit these funds starting on January 1st of 2020 moving forward. It is not a retroactive rule. Essentially what it does is it says that you must deplete that account within 10 years.

Nick: From what I’ve seen so far, correct me if I’m wrong, the rules on how you need to take out distributions within those 10 years are not as strict as they used to be. However, that account needs to be depleted within the 10 years.

Mark: Right. Yeah. You can do it over like annually obviously, but at the end of 10 years, whatever’s left, you got to pull it out and pay the taxes.

Nick: But you can defer within those 10 years as well.

Mark: Yes.

Nick: Again, that could create a pretty big tax bond dependent upon the size of the account. There’s a little bit of a flexibility and a little less accounting or paperwork on trying to track those required minimum distributions that would have to come out and the amount on are you doing it correctly, are you calculating it correctly, or some people most likely, and we haven’t gotten into it yet with any clients with it being so early in the year, but my assumption is dependent upon the overall situation, people are going to probably take it out equally over the 10 years or try to defer and be a little bit strategic with how they take it out dependent upon maybe there’s an impending retirement. Maybe a husband and wife are 60 years old and they both plan on retiring at 65.

Nick: Wife’s father passes away, leaves them money in the inherited IRA. Our goal is going to be that we’re going to take it out post retirement where the income has come down, try to minimize the taxation, and maybe even let that fill in the income hole that they have between 65 and 70 or even 65 and 72 now that the RMD age for their own accounts has bumped up to 72, and they can let their own account kind of accumulate and grow and defer accordingly. It will definitely add another level of strategy and just kind of thinking outside the box a little bit so that we don’t have to deal with that, but it’s going to be interesting to kind of adjust and adapt to the new rules.

Mark: Oh yeah, for sure. Now, for some of those folks listening who are thinking about this now, I do know there are definitely some exceptions I guess if you will, if you want to call them that. There are definitely some pieces to ponder when it comes to some exceptions I guess if you will. Obviously if you’re a spouse, that kind of stays the same. This is really kind of targeting the heirs, so like basically if you were leaving this to your kids, but there are also a couple of exceptions there like chronic illness I think is one. There’s a couple of others as well.

Nick: Yeah, chronic illness is definitely one. If there’s a disability, that changes and adds a different set of rules. Those sorts of kind of deeper details are the things or the aspects of the new legislation that everybody’s kind of digging through. The attorneys are kind of reading through all the paperwork to make that everybody has a really good grasp and understanding of what those exceptions are and how those funds can be used. Attorneys typically do a good job of interpreting the new rules and laws and coming up with new strategies that allow us to work around them a little bit.

Mark: Yeah, no, that’s a great point. That’s why it’s really important to talk with your advisor about how this may affect you if you are planning on leaving. A lot of people do that. Some people are saying, Nick, with the way this whole SECURE Act is working together with the increase to the RMD limit at 72, age of 72, and then with this, a lot of folks, they’re kind of looking at it saying it’s a tax grab for the government, which of course, I mean, it’s always something, but it’s one of those deals where if you’re living longer and you’re putting more money and you don’t have to take it out and you choose to leave it to your heirs, like these IRAs or whatever, then that’s kind of where this is coming from.

Mark: That’s kind of how the two pieces of the puzzle in some people’s minds are working together in order to generate more tax revenue for the government. It’s certainly a piece where you want to talk with your advisor about how you can now be planning more efficiently.

Nick: Yeah. As an example with that, just kind of a thinking outside the box and how people may adjust and those sorts of things, if there are substantial funds in the IRA and it’s important to you to try to leave money to your beneficiaries, this change in the law may kind of push people to look a little bit more at using a tool like a permanent life insurance policy where they’re going to use their own distributions that they’re taking from their IRA in retirement, apply some of those distributions towards a life insurance policy that is going to pay out tax free after they pass on and avoid that potential tax bomb that the IRA would leave.

Mark: Got you.

Nick: There’s different things. The fun part, and we can put that in quotes as far as the fun part, but the part that we enjoy the most as far as financial planning and retirement planning, et cetera, is that people are different. There are enough rules, laws, product strategies, et cetera, that there’s usually something for everybody. It’s just important for us to kind of get to know them, figure out what’s most important to them, and adapt and adjust the strategies that we recommend so that it fits within their life and what they’re trying to do. This is just another change that we take it into account. We adapt. We adjust. One of the things that we always preface, and this is a really good example of why is…

Nick: In these classes that we teach, one of the most common questions that people will ask us is, should I contribute money to a traditional IRA or a traditional 401k or Roth IRA or Roth 401k? They start to understand by the end of the class together that we say it depends for a reason, things change. The only thing that we know for certain is that things will change. This is a great example. We always emphasize building in the ability to be flexible and adapt to whatever changes we do have happen to us so that we aren’t all in on one certain strategy that we have no control over whether or not it changes. This is just a perfect example, and it emphasizes even more that it’s important to have multiple sources of income in retirement, multiple account types.

Nick: That goes for the funds that you’re going to use in retirement, as well as the funds that you want to leave in retirement.

Mark: Got you. Got you. Okay. That’s why we kind of preached that on the show that anytime you hear anything, whether it’s our podcast, somebody else’s, a different show, a radio show, a television show, you may be hearing some information that kind of peaks up your ears there and kind of gets you to thinking about something. But before you take any action, you should always check out what’s going to affect your specific situation by talking with a qualified professional financial advisor like the team at PFG Private Wealth, John and Nick here on the podcast. As always, we’re going to sign off this week. Really good information here on the show.

Mark: If you’ve got questions about how the stretch IRA, the removal of that or the changes to that are going to affect you or how the SECURE Act in general is going to affect you, make sure you talk with your advisor or reach out to John and Nick at (813) 286-7776 here in the Tampa Bay area, (813)-286-7776. You can also find this online and subscribe to the podcast via the website pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, whatever platform it is that you choose. Nick, my friend, thanks so much for your time this week. I appreciate you. We’ll talk more I’m sure about the other components of the SECURE Act and how it’s going to affect things in the weeks to come.

Nick: Thanks, Mark. Have a good day.

Mark: You do the same, and we’ll see you next time right here on Retirement Planning Redefined.

 

 

Ep 12: Secure Act Changes – RMD

On This Episode

After it simmered in Congress for a year, the SECURE Act is now law. If you have a retirement account of any kind, or will one day inherit a retirement account, this will affect you. Today Nick will discuss the details around the new age specifications.

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Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

Speaker 1: Hey everybody, welcome into another edition of Retirement Planning Redefined. Into 2020 with our first podcast of the new year, joined this week with just Nick on the show with me. Nick McDevitt joining me here from PFG Private Wealth. Nick, buddy, what’s going on? How are you?


Nick M.: Just recovering from the holidays and getting ramped up for the new year.


Speaker 1: Yeah, aren’t we all? It’s so weird. Are you used to 2020 yet? I don’t know, it’s a weird number to me.


Nick M.: It is weird. Honestly, I was having this conversation with somebody the other day and the craziest thing to me is, with the age that I am, my grandparents were born in the early 30s, late 20s and it takes me back to thinking about in grade school, learning about The Great Depression and realizing that, that was 100 years ago almost.


Speaker 1: Yeah.


Nick M.: World War I and how far back, growing up in the 90s, how far back the 20s seemed and now here we are again.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Well, to that point, I’m a little older than you is, my dad was born in ’32. Actually my grandfather was born in 1890, go get that. And here it is 2020, so that just totally trips me out. My family had this weird and I’m only 50. But my family had this weird tradition of having, well, they had a lot of kids back in the day, but then they also had them late. My dad was 40 when I was born and so on and so forth. So yeah, maybe that’s why, my wife’s grandfather was born at the same time my dad was, and it’s just really weird how different people’s family dynamics work.


Speaker 1: But to that point, 2020 is bringing us a lot of change obviously and we’re going to spend probably, we’re going to the next two podcasts around this topic, but obviously we’re going to have an election later this year. The market popped 29,000, the DOW did for the first time, actually I think has done it twice now. It went over and then went back down at the time of this podcast taping, here in the early couple of weeks of January. So we’ll see. It didn’t drop very much, but it’s gone over and down. So that’s new records and new things happening, a lot of stuff.


Speaker 1: But out of all of that, one thing that really affects our listener base here for retirees and pre-retirees is the passing of The Secure Act. We talked about it months ago that it was sitting before the house and it looked like it was dead, The Secure Act. But then all of a sudden in December, there at the end, they slipped it through with some budget stuff. So let’s talk a little about The Secure Act this week, shall we?


Nick M.: Yeah, yeah. For sure. I was pretty surprised that it pushed through as quickly as it did. I had some clients that touched base towards the end of the year. And I told them what I always tell everybody from the standpoint of once it’s passed and it’s done, then we can talk about it.


Speaker 1: Yeah.


Nick M.: Because there’s always little adjustments and amendments and things like that, that are made. But a lot of the key aspects carried through. And so we’re still pouring through the details or really getting into the nitty gritty. But we figured today, we could at least cover one of the topics.


Speaker 1: Yep, sure.


Nick M.: And focus on that.


Speaker 1: Yeah, we’re going to do that with this week’s podcast and next week. We’re going to cover the two biggest components that it pertains to a lot. There’s multiple facets to The Secure Act and like any piece of legislation, there’s good and there’s bad. And of course, the government had to give it this name, secure. So for folks who are wondering, it actually is an acronym, it’s setting every community up for retirement enhancement. So that’s a mouthful.


Nick M.: Yeah, I always wonder how many people got in a room to try to figure out those sorts of things and how long it took them.


Speaker 1: How much money they spend just coming up with a name.


Nick M.: Yes, yes. And it actually takes away, fortunately, as you alluded to, the biggest aspect of this is changing the age at which required minimum distributions are required.


Speaker 1: Let’s get into it.


Nick M.: From 70 and a half, to 72 years old.


Speaker 1: Yeah.


Nick M.: Which ruins one of my favorite jokes about, again, the previous rule was so confusing to so many people and so absurd to make it a half a year and people trying to figure that out. We’re constantly befuddled, so now this is pretty cut and dry and pretty easy for people to understand, which I think it is probably a bigger benefit even than the increase of age.


Speaker 1: Well, okay, so let’s dive into that a little bit. So they did raise the RMD limit to 72, as Nick just mentioned. That’s the required minimum distribution, was 70 and a half. Now we should say Nick, to clarify, that if you have already started your RMDs at that 70 and a half threshold, it’s not like grandfathering but you have to stick with that. So make sure you are talking with your advisor about that. You don’t get to switch.


Nick M.: Correct, yes. So if you turn 70 and a half before 01/01/2020, then you are-


Speaker 1: On the old system, yeah.


Nick M.: So it’s everybody from 2020 moving forward, which again is a positive. A lot of people are working longer. And for those that don’t need the full distribution, defer income to live on, it helps them accumulate and grow money for a longer period of time.


Speaker 1: Right.


Nick M.: We’re definitely a big fan of the change.


Speaker 1: Yeah. And I think it needed to be done. I think from that standpoint, it’s good and it does clear up that confusion piece, but we just have to get through this initial weirdness, right, for folks who maybe just turned or are just planning at the end of last year, that kind of thing. So there may be a few areas where you want to try to have that conversation with your advisor about where you fall in that. So it’s certainly a piece you want to ask.


Speaker 1: So as you’re listening to this podcast, if you are new to our podcast and you’re not working with John and Nick yet, make sure you reach out to them. If you’re working with another advisor, ask them that same question, how it’s going to affect you because you still don’t want to get hit with that God awful penalty that the RMDs have, which is 50%.


Nick M.: Correct. Yeah. So just as a reminder for everybody, when those required minimum distributions are calculated. And from my understanding, again, we’re digging through all the language, the actual tables that are used to calculate the amount of money that has to come out, those tables themselves haven’t changed. So it’s just the time that you can wait as a little bit longer.


Speaker 1: Right.


Nick M.: And as a reminder to everybody, as an example, let’s say that the required amount needed to come out as $50,000. And for the last three years you’ve been taking out $2,000 a month from your account or $24,000, the penalty would be the difference between the amount due, which is 50, minus the 24,000 so 26,000. It’s 50% of that $26,000 so it’d be a $13,000 penalty, which is absolutely not a penalty that you want to participate in.


Speaker 1: No, that’s like a death sentence and it’s just terrible. I mean, so they don’t mess around when it comes to making sure you do that. Now this piece of legislation, by the way, The Secure Act, folks, it’s the most significant change since the 2006 Pension Protection Act that has come through. And there’s like I said, there’s a lot of components. We’re just going to talk a little bit about the age limit today. And along with that line, Nick, they also did eliminate age limits for contributions. So tell us a little bit about that.


Nick M.: Correct. So previously, if somebody had a traditional IRA and they were continuing to work, so as a reminder for everybody, if you want to be able to contribute to a retirement account, you must have earned income. So for those people that were maybe, let’s say, one of the things that we’ll see a lot is, to keep themselves busy, people would work a part-time job, so they would have earned income. And they were over 70 and a half and they weren’t necessarily working for the income. Of course, some are. But for example, even if you weren’t, if you were over seventy and a half, you could not contribute that money into a traditional IRA, even though you had the earned income.


Nick M.: So that rule or that restriction has been lifted. So it allows people that are working longer, which is much more common than it used to be, to be able to add money to the traditional IRA and dependent upon other factors, to potentially deduct that. So that’s a nice bonus because the other thing that happened is, because even if you were working in and this is how some of these two tie together. Let’s say you’re 71 and you were still working and you had IRA money and 401k money. Previously you would’ve had to take your RMD out of the IRA, although you could defer or wait on the money that was in the 401k for a business owner. So now that extra year and a half buffer, it can really, on some situations, it can really have a significant impact for some people on avoiding having to pay as much in taxes.


Speaker 1: Yeah. And it really also expands the opportunities for backdoor Roth conversions, as well for older clients, so that’s nice as well.


Nick M.: Yes, absolutely. And for those of you whose ears perked up a little bit on the Roth conversion, there’s a lot of caveats and we’re actually going to have a podcast in the future that talks specifically about those. There’s some hoops that you have to jump through, but that can be a really good tool to be able to use to produce some Roth money.


Speaker 1: Exactly. So yeah, make sure you subscribe to the podcast. That’s a great segue for me to mention that. We are going to talk next time about the stretch IRA and what happened to it in The Secure Act. So by subscribing to the podcast, you’ll get notifications for new episodes and really that’s pretty much it. So it’s a pretty easy thing to do. We just let you know about new episodes. You can listen to past episodes and you can find it a couple of ways. Whether Apple or Google or Spotify or whatever is your platform of choice, you can simply search on their a window, like if you’re on Spotify and hit search. You could certainly just type in retirement planning redefined and get us that way or Apple or whatever platform you choose.


Speaker 1: You can also go to the guy’s website@pfgprivatewealth.com. John and Nick have got the site there for their service, for their company. And while you’re there, there’s the podcast page. You can check that out. So that is pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com and you can also call them. As we mentioned before, it’s very important. There’s a lot of changes, a lot of components to The Secure Act. We’re just going to cover over the next couple of episodes what’s going to affect most of our listening audience, but there are a lot of little pieces, so you want to make sure you’re having a conversation with your advisor and about the planning opportunities that may arise from these changes in The Secure Act law.


Speaker 1: Call John or Nick, give them a ring at the office there, if you need to talk with them. (813) 286-7776 in the Tampa Bay area, (813) 286 7776. Anything you can think of extra this week about the RMD component or shall we say goodbye for this week and hit it up next week?


Nick M.: I think we’re good to go.

Speaker 1: With that, we’ll say goodbye for this week on the podcast. So again, talk to your advisor about the RMD age limit change with The Secure Act. Reach out to John and Nick if you need a second opinion and we’ll catch you next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined.

Ep 11: Social Security, Part 5

On This Episode

Today is part 5 of our social security series and we will focus on the survivor benefit option. We will talk about a few situations that can arise and share a couple of client stories that have revolved around this topic.

Subscribe On Your Favorite App

Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

Speaker 1: Back here with us for another edition of Retirement Planning Redefined, the podcast with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth. Gentlemen, how’s it going? Nick, how are you today, my friend?


Nick: Doing pretty well. How about yourself?


Speaker 1: I’m hanging in there. Not doing too bad. We are into December. Moving along nicely on this. John, how are you doing? You doing all right?


John: I’m doing good. I’m doing good. No complaints. It’s a getting a little cooler here in Florida, which is nice. It’s been been hot, so it’s nice to get a little a cool, no more humidity.


Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. Now, as planners, you guys plan a lot of things, but are you the same way when it comes to holiday shopping? Have you kind of gotten some of this knocked out? We’re at about the middle of the month here now in December. So you guys ready to roll for Christmas or are you last minute?


John: I’ll take that one first. No, I do a lot of Amazon shopping [crosstalk 00:00:49].


Speaker 1: Me and you both. But how about you, Nick?


Nick: Anything I can do to avoid going to a store, I do, so the majority of my shopping [crosstalk 00:00:59].


Speaker 1: I think so many of us are that way, right, which obviously we can see in the death of brick and mortar, for sure. But yeah, absolutely. I agree with you there. Well, hopefully, folks, you’re out there getting your shopping done. Maybe you’re checking out this podcast while you’re driving around doing some shopping or walking around in the malls or whatever the case might be. That is kind of the beauty of podcasting. It’s not like traditional radio obviously, so you have more options, and hopefully you’re subscribed to the podcast Retirement Planning Redefined. Do it at Apple, Google or Spotify, and a couple others as well, and you can find the links if you want, and podcast episodes on their website at PFGPrivateWealth.com. That’s PFGPrivateWealth.com.


Speaker 1: All right, part five. I think this is going to probably wrap it up, too, for our series on social security. We’re going to talk about survivor benefits. Guys, give us some things to think about here. Survivor benefits are available to children and surviving spouses, correct?


John: Yeah, so it is available to children and surviving spouses. For today’s session, we’re going to focus more on surviving spouses because that comes into play more when we’re doing retirement planning.


Speaker 1: Okay.


John: So we always like to actually joke around with the survivor benefit. Not many people are aware, but they get a nice $255 lump sum death benefit if the spouse were to pass away.


Nick: Obviously has not been adjusted for inflation.


Speaker 1: Yeah, no, that doesn’t cover much of anything, does it?


John: No, no it doesn’t. But they do get a monthly benefit as survivor and when it comes to planning, that does help out quite a bit when we’re talking about strategies and trying to figure out a plan for a survivor. Kind of some rules that go with that. A survivor can actually start drawing social security at age 60 versus 62, which is kind of the normal first spouse, which we discussed last week.


Nick: It is important to note that as a reminder, even though they’re eligible to draw at 60, there are still the income tests from the standpoint of reductions. So if that person is working, then it may not make a whole lot of sense to get that early.


John: Yeah. What Nick’s referencing, we talked about the earnings penalty if you start taking social security before your full retirement age. That does still apply age 60, so if you’re still working, most likely that will wipe out any social security benefit you’re going to get as a survivor.


John: Some other things to consider, and I’ll kind of give some examples of this. Survivor benefit is not available if someone remarries before age 60, okay, unless of course that marriage ends. So we’ve had situations where we were planning for clients and we were talking about doing some survivor strategies and they actually … Let’s just give an example. They were 57 and were considering getting married and actually deferred their marriage until age 61 to be safe, which I don’t think the spouse is too happy with us on that because it deferred the marriage, but it made sense because we actually get some pretty easy strategies, which we’ll talk about later, to maximize the social security.


Nick: For the widow to the eligible for those survivor benefits, they had to have been married for at least nine months. There’s a caveat to that where the death was an accident, that could come into play. So essentially, that’s pretty lenient, but it is important to understand the nine month rule as well.


John: Yeah. And we stress a lot on just understanding what your situation is. Just kind of give you an example of that, I had a client that thought she’s eligible for social security because she was married, but he passed away when they were within eight months of marriage. And she was shocked [inaudible 00:04:23] the whole time, let’s say the last seven years, she was planning on it and then didn’t qualify for it. So it was shocking, and unfortunately for her, she was hitting 62 so it made a big difference to her overall plan.


Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. So good information there. Surviving spouse’s benefit is based on what?


Nick: So essentially kind of the caveat to this is whether or not people have been collecting. So if both spouses are receiving their benefits and there is death, then the surviving spouse receives the higher of the two.


John: Not both.


Nick: Correct. Not both, which some people will be surprised about how that works. But it’s important to understand that they receive the higher of the two, not both. And one of the big factors that gets calculated into the firm calculation of the amount of money that the widow will receive takes into account when the deceased spouse originally claimed their benefit. And it gets a little bit confusing, quite frankly, for most people, but it factors in essentially whether or not they took it before or after their full retirement age. So John will walk us through an example on that. But it is important to understand how this works.


John: Yeah. Again, we like to do everything in the realm of planning. So this is where doing the social security maximization strategy is very important. Social security is a big part of someone’s retirement income. So you want to make sure that you’re making the best decisions available to you, because the last thing you is to look back 10 years ago, it’s like, “Oh, I wish I did this. I could have had X amount of dollars or really been enjoying my [inaudible 00:06:05] a little bit more.”


John: So just going to touch on an example of that. We’ll call them Jack and Jill. We talked about some survivor strategies last week, but let’s say Jack’s up for retirement benefits, 2,400. Doesn’t take it [inaudible 00:06:20] 70. Basically, Jill can jump on and actually take … Let’s increase it to 2,976 increases. That will be her new basically benefit for social security, so she gets a nice increase and that’s where we talked about really trying to protect the spouse and giving them more income for life. And if she tries to draw early, let’s say she takes it at 62, which anytime you draw early, you get reduction of benefit or a reduction based off of now the higher amount that he deferred, which is a nice little caveat. We have to really do some planning for a spouse.


Nick: And one of the things too from a comparison standpoint is when we discuss the spousal benefits and how the spousal benefits do not grow past full retirement age, the death benefits does, or the widow benefit, survivor benefit does grow past [inaudible 00:07:15] age, so another reason why that’s really a big factor.


John: Yeah. And one thing that we’ll always do, if we’re incorporating strategies, you always typically want to delay the higher benefit. So if you’re looking at an opportunity to take a widow’s benefit or my own, rule of thumb, and everyone’s different, but rule of thumb is defer the higher ones. I’ll give my family as an example. My father-in-law, his wife passed away young and basically age 60, he was able to actually draw her social security benefit at 60, which a reduced amount. Most of his income is from real estate and investment income, so an earnings penalty didn’t apply to him. So the plan is he’s taking the widow benefit at 60 and he’s deferring his, and then at full retirement age, he’s going to switch over to his and get his full retirement benefit. So from 60 to 66, he was actually able to get some type of benefit and then at 66, will jump to his own and he gets the full amount.


Speaker 1: Yeah. So there’s some good strategies, some good things to think about, good information here when we’re talking about these survivor benefits. So a couple of final key points or key takeaways, guys, just to think about?


John: Things to consider is a reminder that basically when the person passes away, their social security benefits stop. And if the surviving spouse is going to take one, they’ll take either their own or the deceased spouse, whatever one’s higher, just making sure that it’s important to plan and make sure the strategy is best for you based on your situation. Social security … This is everything, not just survivors … it’s very confusing, and there’s a lot of different things you can do, so if you’re working with an advisor, just make sure that they have the capabilities to stress test your decisions, to make sure you’re making the correct decision based on your situation and not your neighbors or as Nick likes to say, up north, his clients, they’ve talked to their plumber.


Nick: Yeah. Everybody likes to get an opinion from somebody else. We will talk about opinions. But so anyways, I think the biggest kind of overlying thing, and we talk about it a lot, but we can’t emphasize it enough, and even when we do overemphasize it, people still ask, but this is not a decision to be made in a vacuum. So many other factors tie into this decision.


Nick: And even when we plan … As an example, I was walking somebody through a plan this week, and they are three or four years out from retirement, and even though we have a strategy set up for social security in the plan on what we plan to do from a baseline standpoint, they asked and I really had to emphasize that realistically this decision doesn’t really get made until maybe three, six months before their retirement.


Nick: So we may plan for a certain strategy for four or five years, but the importance of planning and updating your plan every single year cannot be understated, because especially with social security, if we’re in the midst of a recession, if we’re in the midst of a 2008, we’re not going to have somebody take a bunch of money out of their nest egg even though over the last five years we planned to do that. We’re probably going to have at least one of them take social security, protect the value of the nest egg, give it time to bounce back and then adjust accordingly. The planning is via kind of a living, breathing thing and we always have to adapt and adjust.


Speaker 1: Nope, I think that’s a great point. We’ve said that many times here on the podcast that you’ve got to have a plan and then you have to realize that that plan needs to evolve much like your life’s going to. A lot of times we kind of get a collection of things. We have some investments, we have some insurance vehicles, we think about social security. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a pension and you say, “Okay. Well, I’ve got this collection of things. I’m good to go. I have a retirement plan.” No, you have a collection of things. So pulling them all together in a full retirement plan is really important.


Speaker 1: That’s what John and Nick do every day at PFG Private Wealth, so give them a call if you’ve got questions or concerns. Get on the calendar at 813-286-7776. That’s 813-286-7776. Don’t forget to go to the website, PFGPrivateWealth.com. You can always subscribe to the podcast and get new episodes, check out past episodes, things of that nature on Apple or Google or Spotify. So check them out online as well@pfgprivatewealth.com and also share the podcast with folks that you think might benefit from it as well.


Speaker 1: This has been Retirement Planning Redefined. Thanks so much for staying tuned into the show. John. Nick, thanks for your time, as always. I hope you have a happy and safe holiday and we’ll talk actually I think in 2020.


Nick: Sounds good.


John: All right.


Speaker 1: You guys-


Nick: Thank you.

Speaker 1: Yeah, absolutely. Take care and enjoy the holidays, everybody, and we’ll see you next time right here on Retirement Planning Redefined.