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Uncle Sam can be one of your key partners in your retirement saving. If you have money in a traditional IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan, then that money automatically receives tax-deferred status in the eyes of the IRS. Other accounts like SIMPLE IRAs and SEP-IRAs also benefit from this tax-favorable treatment.
Generally, your contributions to those accounts are tax-deductible. The money inside the account grows tax-deferred, or without taxes on the earnings over time, as long as withdrawals aren’t taken.
But you can’t enjoy this tax-deferred growth forever. Required minimum distributions are one way that Uncle Sam ultimately collects his tax dues.
Once you reach age 70.5, the IRS sets required minimum distributions (or RMDs) for you. You will be required to start pulling a certain amount of money out of your traditional IRAs and qualified plan balances every year. The same goes for other kinds of IRAs with pre-tax money status. And this money will be taxed at your top marginal tax bracket, regardless of how long it's been in the account.
There is no capital gains treatment available for traditional IRAs and qualified plans, save for one exception. The sale of company stock held inside a 401(k) plan can be spun off and sold separately under the Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) rule.
Retirement planning is, in many ways, a guessing game. You can’t be sure of exactly how long you will live. How much income you will need might not be clear. And you don’t know if you will need long-term care support.
Even so, prudence dictates that we have some roadmap for these unknowns. It’s better to plan for these contingencies. Otherwise, you could wind up in financial trouble at some point in your retirement years.
Here are five financial fails to avoid in retirement so you will be better prepared when you retire.
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