Can I Contribute to a Roth IRA if My Income is Too High?

Can I Contribute to a Roth IRA if My Income is Too High? – The Backdoor Roth IRA

Roth IRA’s are one of the best retirement saving tools. You can’t deduct contributions from your taxable income, but you get to withdrawal them, and the earnings, tax-free in retirement. Because of your contributions ability to grow exponentially over time, that can be a big benefit. However, not everyone is able to contribute directly to …

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Retired couple relying on dividends for retirement income

What are the Risks of Relying on Dividends for Retirement Income?

What are the risks of relying on  dividends for retirement income? Like most things used in moderation there isn’t anything wrong with dividends, or the stocks that pay them.  In fact, higher-dividend paying stocks are usually older, established, and strong companies. They can be good components of retirement income plans and help provide some diversification …

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The Hellhound of Wall Street Ferdinand Pecora

The Hellhound of Wall Street – How Ferdinand Pecora’s Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance

The Hellhound of Wall Street – How Ferdinand Pecora’s Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance provides a narrative of the Senate hearings that followed the Great Crash. It is an interesting story for it’s lively details of the personalities involved but also illustrates how far our perceptions of the financial elite have come. …

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How to protect your portfolio with a variable withdrawal strategy

How to protect your portfolio with a variable withdrawal strategy

One of the key considerations in a retirement income plan is the amount of money that you will withdraw from an investment portfolio. Your decision regarding  how much income to take from your retirement account necessitates that you strike a balance between current consumption and future account value. In simple language, this means that you …

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Man sitting at a table thinking about inflations effect on his portfolio

Inflation’s Effect on Retirement Portfolios

Retirement income is inherently dependent on many different factors. This is true because retirement income planning involves accounting for unpredictable variables over a long time horizon, and weighing them against the comfort level of the individual retiree. Inflation is one of those factors. Even for a given amount of retirement savings, different retirees can have …

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Woman calculating the five year rules

The Five Year Rules of Roth Distributions

Roth IRA’s are one of the most popular retirement accounts. Roth IRAs have many advantages over tax-deferred accounts, namely the ability to provide tax-free growth. The ability to provide tax-free growth is premised on making contributions with after-tax dollars. As I’m sure you are well aware, you must pay taxes on essentially each dollar you …

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morning coffee thinking about a bond ladder

Secure a Minimum Retirement Income with a Bond Ladder

Retirement planning is a comprehensive issue. What I mean by this is that there are a number of sub-components of retirement planning that are pretty distinct from each other. Consider the two broad phases of retirement planning. First is the accumulation phase when the investor sets aside assets as they are earned in order to …

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Bonds Chart

Bond Prices and Rising Interest Rates

Bonds are a common asset in retirement accounts. Whether held individually or through an ETF, most retirement accounts contain bonds. Bonds are most often held because of their relative safety over equities, and for income through their contractual obligations to pay interest. However, bonds still exhibit market risk that needs to be managed. Buying bonds …

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Required Minimum Distributions

If you save for retirement using tax-deferred accounts then you need to understand the rules surrounding required minimum distributions (RMDs) in order to avoid some pretty steep penalties. For some retirees, the required minimum distribution is less than they would withdraw anyway, and is therefore not much of a planning concern. For others who intend …

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Couple discussing how to maximize retirement income with efficient retirement account withdrawals

Efficient Withdrawals to Maximize Retirement Income

The purpose of accumulating retirement savings with tax-advantaged retirement accounts is to withdraw an income that will last for the duration of your retired lifetime. Considering this could be thirty or forty years, it’s important to get this right. Efficient retirement account withdrawals can help stretch your savings and achieve this goal. Clearly then, you …

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Lady thinking about the 4% rule of retirement income

The 4% Rule of Retirement Income

The most commonly cited method of withdrawing retirement income from an investment portfolio is “the 4% rule”. This rule comes from a very popular study conducted by William Bengen and published in The Journal of Financial Planning in 1994 as Determining Withdrawal Rates Using Historical Data. The short-hand version of the rule, and the basic conclusion …

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sequence of return risk calculation

Sequence of Returns Risk in Retirement

What is sequence of returns risk? We often think of investment return as an average rate over some period, such as 10, 15, or 20 years. This is especially true regarding investment returns within a retirement planning context where the investment horizon is often very long.   Anyone interested enough to be reading this knows that …

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6 Events that Can Interrupt your Retirement Plans and What You Can Do about it

C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set a new goal, or dream a new dream.” Is it possible he could have known about today’s retirement crisis? The truth is, no matter how much we prepare, sometimes, life happens. The closer we are to retirement age, the more strategy we need to employ …

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retirement planning for the self-employed

Retirement Planning for the Self-Employed: 4 Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re self-employed, the burden of saving for retirement falls entirely on you, which can be a bit daunting. At the same time, being self-employed allows you total freedom over your financial future; you can more-or-less decide how much to contribute to your retirement fund as well as what type of retirement account will best suit …

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What You Need to Know About Taxes When You’re Newly Self-Employed

Being self-employed certainly has its perks; for the most part, you get to dictate your own schedule and enjoy a large amount of independence. At the same time, there are some potential drawbacks to being your own boss. One of the biggest headaches you might encounter as you transition into a self-employed or freelancing career …

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Why are Investor’s Returns Often Different than the Investments They Hold?

The research on investor performance is clear. The average mutual fund investor tends to have worse returns than the average mutual fund. Behavioral factors have a lot do with this. People tend to be emotional, and can often react in precisely the most incorrect way possible when markets are volatile. Fear often causes investors to …

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couple discussing an inherited IRA

How to Handle an IRA Inherited from your Spouse

When someone passes away leaving money in a traditional IRA, the money will go to whomever is listed as the beneficiary of the retirement account. That is simple enough, and is accomplished by writing names in the appropriate blocks on the IRA form at opening.  When this happens, the beneficiary has an inherited IRA. However, …

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Planning for a Dynamic, Non-Traditional, Retirement

There are several key points to consider if you’re interested in a non-traditional retirement or one involving a second career. With the booming innovation economy and rapidly expanding communication technology, people are no longer restricted to one career or even location. Traditional methods of financial planning focus on wealth and capital accumulation during the working …

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socially responsible mutual funds performance chart

Do Socially Responsible Mutual Funds Perform Well?

An important consideration of any investment strategy is the ability of the strategy to provide satisfactory results. Sustainable or socially responsible mutual funds and investment strategies are not immune to this line of investigation. Arguably, most investors who choose SRI investing likely emphasize the altruistic traits of the investments themselves over investment performance. However, even …

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