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IRA - All posts tagged IRA

  • Oct 16, 2012
    6:18 PM ET

    States Try the Retirement-Plan Business

    It’s a major fiscal problem: More than 50% of working-age Americans have no retirement plan coverage at work. For years, policy makers have been searching for ways to address the problem by enticing small businesses to offer their employees 401(k)-style retirement plans.

    Now, legislators in a few states are taking a different tack, backing new initiatives that would shift the responsibility for setting up the retirement plan – and picking investment options – to the government.

  • Feb 21, 2012
    11:56 AM ET

    Penalty-Free Ways to Raid a 401(k)

    Thinking about raiding your retirement funds? There are ways to do so without triggering the dreaded 10% penalty on early withdrawals.

    First a little background. When you save in a tax-deferred 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account, Uncle Sam lets you contribute money on a tax-deferred basis. You don’t have to pay income taxes until the money is withdrawn. To encourage people to save for retirement, the IRS imposes a 10% penalty on those who break into these accounts before reaching age 59 1/2.

  • Aug 29, 2011
    11:12 AM ET

    What’s Going On With IRAs?


    Alicia Munnell, the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, is a weekly contributor to “Encore.”

    Retirement needs are increasing as people live longer and face skyrocketing health care costs.  Meanwhile, retirement resources are declining as Social Security will replace less of pre-retirement earnings even under current law, employer-sponsored plans are increasingly 401(k) plans with modest balances, and people save little on their own.  As a result, retirees will have a hard time making ends meet once they stop working.

    Appropriately, policymakers want to make the retirement system work better, and their focus is on 401(k) plans.  The Pension Protection Act eliminated barriers and introduced safe harbors to encourage automatic enrollment in 401(k)s.  The legislation also recognized that the inertia that makes automatic enrollment effective for participation can lock people into low levels of contributions.  To combat this problem, the legislation encouraged automatic increases in the default deferral percentage.

  • Aug 9, 2011
    2:20 PM ET

    As Market Tumbles, Time to Convert Traditional IRA to Roth?


    There’s one way for people saving for retirement to use the market’s tumble as a force for good: Convert battered assets in your traditional individual retirement account to a Roth IRA.

    Roths, you may recall, are retirement accounts in which you invest after-tax dollars and get tax-free withdrawals – and you don’t have to take them on a mandatory schedule, as you do with a traditional IRA. As of last year, there’s no income limit for moving money to a Roth from a traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan.

  • Jul 20, 2011
    10:30 AM ET

    New Tips for Early IRA Withdrawals


    If you’re thinking about taking an early IRA withdrawal, watch out. Unless you meet certain requirements, you could wind up paying about half of it back to the IRS.

    Fortunately, there’s new guidance this year that spells out the rules.

  • Jun 30, 2011
    10:33 AM ET

    Husband vs. Wife: Will Your Spouse Derail Your Retirement?


    It’s easy to talk to your spouse about where to go on vacation, what color to paint the living room or how the kids are enjoying the car you bought them. But when it comes to talking about planning and saving for retirement, many couples are staying mum, a new survey by Fidelity reveals. And it’s no wonder: Money ranks as the third most likely topic to spark a fight between a couple, according to a survey of 3,000 couples by home insurance company Esure.

    But even at the risk of a tiff, it may be time to rethink your tight-lipped policy on talking about retirement, the survey reveals. That’s because most couples are not on the same page when it comes to when, where and how they’ll retire – a fact that can create both emotional and financial strains ranging from arguments and mistrust to savings shortfalls and ineffective retirement income plans, experts say.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.