Personal Banking E-Newsletter - December 2012

Your Year-End Financial Cheat Sheet

It's not as if you don't have enough to do this time of year. Unless you're one of those people who finishes her holiday shopping in June (the rest of us hate you, you know), you're probably gasping at all that lies ahead -- the gifts, the decorating, the entertaining, the travel.

Still, some important financial deadlines are looming; plus, it's a good time of year to take stock. Make some time for these key financial tasks, and you could have a richer 2013:

Take inventory

To get to where you want to be, you have to know where you are now. Among the things you should check:

Your net worth. This is what you own, minus what you owe. You'll find net worth calculators all over the Web. If you use an account aggregation site, your net worth is tracked automatically. Compare your net worth now with what it was last year at this time. Are you happy with your progress, or do you need to make some changes? You can boost your net worth by paying down debt, increasing your assets or both.

Your investment performance. Check how your retirement accounts and other investments have performed compared with relevant benchmarks. Your brokerage, mutual fund company or 401k provider may make this easy by providing built-in benchmarks (look for the "performance" tab or link on their sites). To give you one benchmark: A typical balanced fund invested 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds returned about 20% between Sept. 30, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2012. If your portfolio significantly lagged that benchmark, or hasn't kept up with its peers for several years in a row, it might be time to make some changes.

Your progress toward retirement. A Money Calculator can help you play with the numbers to see when you might be able to quit working. It may be time to step up those retirement contributions.

Stuff money into an IRA. Individual retirement accounts are a nifty way to save for retirement, either as a supplement to a workplace plan such as a 401k or as a substitute if your employer doesn't offer retirement accounts. If you don't have a workplace retirement plan, you can deduct your contributions to an IRA when doing your taxes. Even if you do have a plan at work, you're allowed to contribute to an IRA, although you can deduct the contribution on your taxes only if your income is below certain limits. You can contribute up to $5,000 a year ($6,000 if you're 50 or older).

If you can't deduct your contribution, consider putting the money into a Roth IRA. Roth contributions aren't deductible upfront, but the money comes out tax-free in retirement. If your income exceeds the limits for making a direct Roth contribution, you can contribute the "back door" way -- by putting the money first into a traditional IRA and then converting it to a Roth. You could owe taxes on this conversion if you've previously made deductible contributions to a non-Roth IRA, so consult a tax professional first.

Use up your flexible spending account. The pretax money you set aside in your company's FSA to pay for medical expenses or child care is "use it or lose it" -- if the money you contributed is not spent before the end of the plan year, you lose it for good. Many plan years end on Dec. 31, but some extend to March 15, 2013. You can no longer use FSA money to pay for over-the-counter medicines without a prescription, but you have plenty of other ways to spend it. Among them: Opt for a new pair of glasses, get dental work done, visit a chiropractor, see a nutritionist or start a smoking-cessation program. If you have money left in a dependent-care FSA, you could spend it on day camps or other child care during school holidays while you work.

Have big medical bills this year? Incur more. Right now, if your medical expenses total more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you can deduct the amount above that 7.5% level. Next year, though, that limit rises to 10% for most people under 65. (The old 7.5% limit still applies in tax years 2013 through 2016 if either spouse is 65 or older.)

If you're close to the limit, consider incurring some additional medical expenses before Dec. 31. Dental work, elective surgeries and other medical procedures could push you over the threshold.

Tax target? Talk to a pro. Traditional year-end tax advice says it's a good idea to "accelerate" deductions into the current year while delaying income into the next year. Another common tip: Sell losing investments to offset winners and to lower overall taxes.

The prospect of the so-called fiscal cliff has set the traditional advice on its ear. If Congress fails to reach a compromise and tax rates rise dramatically next year, it would make sense to accelerate income into this year and delay deductions instead. The prospect of higher capital gains rates, plus a 3.8% surcharge on net investment gains for singles with modified adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 and couples with AGIs above $250,000, makes selling winning investments before Dec. 31 a more attractive idea.

Be aware of senior deadlines. Two important deadlines lurk at year's end if you're an older American. Open enrollment for Medicare ends Dec. 7, and people who are above 70 1/2 need to take their required minimum distributions from their IRAs by Dec. 31. Failure to take those distributions can incur a 50% penalty. Ouch.

Make a plan for big bills in 2013. Open a calendar and think about any major, non-monthly expenses you're likely to face next year.

Will you be taking vacations? Arranging summer camps for your kids? Facing property tax or insurance bills? Making a down payment on a home or a car? Paying tuition bills? Celebrating the holidays again next year?

Estimate the costs and set up individual savings accounts earmarked for each expense at an online bank that doesn't require minimum balances or charge account fees. Then arrange regular transfers from your checking account to the appropriate savings account. For example, if you expect to spend $2,400 on a summer vacation and $1,200 next Christmas, you'd need to transfer $400 a month between January and June to your vacation fund, plus $100 a month between January and December to your Christmas fund. Making a plan can help you have the money you need, when you need it, without sweating the cost.

Source: http://money.msn.com/personal-finance/your-year-end-financial-cheat-sheet


Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

Before crawling up on the roof to string the Christmas lights, you need to know that every year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

In addition, warns CPSC, candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss. Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage.

"Sometimes people are having such a nice time during the holidays that they forget to extinguish candles," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "Always put out lit candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Always keep burning candles within sight. Also, make sure your holiday lights bear the mark of a recognized testing lab to show they meet safety standards."

Since CPSC started monitoring holiday lights and decorations sold at stores nationwide, inspectors have prevented the import of 116,500 units of holiday lights that did not meet safety standards.

CPSC tips to make your holiday a safe one:

Trees:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

Lights:

  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights - they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.

Decorations:

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair."
  • Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Fireplaces:

  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Source: http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/blholidaysafety.htm


7 Ways to Aid Charities on the Cheap

When your own budget is tight, helping others is probably the last priority on your to-do list. But charities need more help than ever, because there are more people in need and because consumers tend to reduce their own giving by about 2.7% during long recessions, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. (The average household typically gives about $2,247 a year.)

Besides, being charitable doesn't necessarily meaning forking over cash. It also includes volunteer work, blood donation and even signing up to be an organ donor.

Here are seven ways to donate to charity, without spending more money than you are giving already:

Develop a plan. Many of us give haphazardly throughout the year, donating $30 for a friend's walkathon here and $100 at a school auction there. But Lisa Endlich, the author of "Be the Change," says that's a mistake. "It doesn't make you an effective giver. You don't know how the giving is being used, and it's not something that's integral and important to you," she says. "People do their best giving when they focus on what matters to them the most."

Instead, Endlich recommends that people focus on the one or two things matter that most to them and will affect others most. Inspiration can come from almost anywhere, including movies, a conversation with friends or a magazine article. When you give to those priorities, you won't spend any more money than you already did throughout the year -- it will just be in a way that better reflects your values.

Learn everything you can about your chosen cause. Bill Gates shared this advice for would-be philanthropists: "The key thing is to pick a cause, whether it's crops or diseases or great high schools. . . . Pick one and get some more in-depth knowledge" by traveling, reading or volunteering. Studying up on your cause doesn't need to cost much money, but it will make you a more informed -- and more effective -- giver.

Give of yourself -- literally. Gretchen Rubin, the creator of the Happiness Project blog and author of a best-selling book by the same name, says signing up to be an organ donor or giving blood can boost your own mood, especially in a recession. "If you're feeling impoverished . . . a way to counteract that feeling is to do something generous," she says. It's a way of convincing yourself that you have something to give.

Give time. Volunteering at a hospital, making dinner for a sick person and working in a soup kitchen are all ways you can donate your resources, and they don't cost much. To make it more fun -- and even more affordable -- sign up with a friend.

Make sure your money is being used wisely. If you do decide to donate money, be sure it's being spent wisely. One helpful website is Charity Navigator. Just type in the name of the organization and see what pops up.

Clean out your closet. Many nonprofits and shelters are constantly looking for used books, clothes, CDs and other items. Spending a few hours cleaning out your house could result in several bags of goodies -- and you'll have a cleaner house.

Find power in numbers. Lisa Philp, the former head of philanthropic services at JPMorgan Private Bank, says women in particular often enjoy working together to fund projects. You don't necessarily give more than you would have otherwise, but you generate more leverage. Giving circles, where people pool money as a group and jointly decide where to put it, are one way to do that. Philp participates in one such group in New York that focuses on supporting projects and organizations led by Asian-American women.

"You end up learning about more organizations than you would on your own and gain from the collective knowledge of others," Philp explains.

Source: http://money.msn.com/how-to-budget/7-ways-to-aid-charities-on-the-cheap


10 Online-Shopping Traps That Catch Even Smart Shoppers

Doing your holiday shopping online can be a great way to avoid the crowds, compare prices and find deals. But shopping online can also put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft if you don’t take the proper precautions. To keep your personal information safe, avoid doing these ten things.

Blindly Clicking Into Unfamiliar Sites

If you’re looking for a particular item, go to a well-known price-comparison site, such as Amazon.com or PriceGrabber.com. Don’t let a search engine pick a site for you because hackers seed search results with fraudulent sites, says Jon Heimerl, director of strategic security for security-services company Solutionary. Even if you're using a site that you think is legitimate, look for security labels, such as VeriSign and Cybertrust, and for https:// to appear in the URL on pages that prompt you to enter personal information.

Assuming You Have the Same Protections With Debit as Credit

If a hacker steals your debit-card information and raids your bank account, you must report any misuse within two days to get the same $50 limited liability as you would with a credit card. Miss that deadline but report your loss within 60 days and you could be liable for up to $500. After 60 days, your liability is unlimited. If you don't like using credit cards, consider using WU Pay to make secure cash payments when shopping online.

Not Monitoring Your Accounts

If you do a lot of shopping online, review your credit-card statements regularly to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized purchases. Heimerl recommends that you print out your receipts or put e-mail receipts into a separate folder so you can check your credit-card statements against your receipts. He uses one credit card for online purchases only and was able to catch an unauthorized purchase quickly when one of his other credit cards was used for an online purchase.

Shopping from a Public Wi-Fi Connection

Hackers can tap into Wi-Fi connections at hotspots, such as coffee shops, airports and hotels, to capture your personal information. That’s why you should never shop online using a public Wi-Fi connection. Also, never use a public computer to shop or check accounts online.

Downloading Access-Greedy Apps

Smart phone applications make it easy to compare prices and redeem coupons in stores. But before you download shopping apps, check what sort of access they want to your phone, Heimerl says. Opt for ones that require fewer permissions so you're not giving broad access to your personal information, such as your contact list, to a third party.

Wiring Money to Pay for an Item

If you purchase an item from an online and the seller asks you to wire your payment, don’t do it. Heimerl says wiring money is inviting yourself to a fraud situation -- you have no way to get your money back if the item you purchase never arrives. Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you don’t get what you paid for.

Falling for Too-Good-to-Be-True Deals

If a Web site or individual offers a deal that's too good to be true, demands a direct transfer of funds and won't accept credit cards, it's probably a scam. A common one: Someone claims he’s selling a vehicle at a low price because he needs the money fast (he lost a job or is a soldier going overseas, for example).

Clicking Links in Unsolicited E-Mails

Don’t ever click on a link in an unsolicited e-mail to go shopping, even if the e-mail looks as if it came from a legitimate retailer, Heimerl says. You’re safer going directly to a retailer’s site to see whether it’s having a sale rather than clicking on a link that could take you to a fraudulent site.

Clicking URLs on Social-Networking Sites

Using Twitter and Facebook can be smart ways to stay on top of deals, but you have to make sure the deals are legit. The URLs on Twitter (and sometimes Facebook) are often shortened, so you don’t know whether you’re going to land on a legitimate retailer’s site by clicking the link. Heimerl says to use a deal notification you see on Twitter as a tip, then find sales on your own.

Assuming an Escrow Service Is Always Safe

If the seller is pushing you to use a particular escrow company to handle a transaction, be suspicious because it might be part of a scam. You can verify a company's legitimacy by checking with state regulators, or ask to use an escrow company of your choosing, such as Escrow.com.

Source: http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/10_online_shopping_traps/1.html


13 Things That Waste Money During the Holidays

The holidays can put a big dent in anyone's bank account. In fact, consumers are expected to spend nearly $750, on average, this year on gifts, decorations, greeting cards, food, candy and more, according to the National Retail Federation. That's not small change.

Sure, it's the season of giving, and you might feel compelled to spend more than you do during the rest of the year to spread holiday joy. But if you use the holidays as an excuse to abandon good financial habits, you can easily spend too much. Here are 13 holiday money wasters to avoid:

1. Not Setting a Budget

Take some time to write down all the extra things you'll be paying for -- such as the restaurant meals you'll eat while out shopping, ingredients for holiday goodies that you'll make for friends and family, postage for holiday cards, cab rides home for late-night parties, and the list goes on. Set a spending limit and keep tabs so that you don't exceed it and end up without enough cash in your account to pay bills.

One way to stick to a holiday budget is to put cash in envelopes designated for certain expenses. You'll know you've reached your spending limit when the cash from the envelope is gone.

2. Shopping Without a List

Don't go into a store without knowing what you're going to buy for friends and family this holiday season. Otherwise, you could get caught up in the excitement of the bustling stores, submit to high-pressure sales tactics or the frenzy of last-minute shopping and overspend. If you exceed your gift-giving budget, you'll have to cut back in other areas or rack up credit-card debt.

3. Shopping at the Wrong Times

Black Friday is synonymous with deals but not everything goes on sale the day after Thanksgiving. For example, you'll find the best prices on toys and name-brand TVs in December. You'll find more apparel deals at online retailers on Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), according to dealnews.com, which tracks deals.

4. Not Comparing Prices

Make sure you don't spend more than you have to on gifts by comparing prices before you make any purchases. Shopping online makes it easy to find the lowest prices for the items on your gift list.

5. Racking Up a Credit-Card Balance

You might think you're saving money by buying all your gifts and holiday items on sale. But if you charge everything to a credit card and don't pay off the balance, those savings can easily be erased by the interest you'll be paying on that balance.

6. Using Layaway

Layaway allows customers to select items they want and pay for them over a period of time. Once final payments are made, items may be picked up. This method of payment can be a good option for consumers who would otherwise use a credit card for purchases and not pay off the balance quickly (thus accruing interest).

However, there are several reasons layaway can be a money waster, such as the fees you'll have to pay.

7. Paying Too Much for Shipping

If you plan to do your shopping online, you often can avoid paying for shipping by having your purchases shipped to a retailer's brick-and-mortar store or by taking advantage of free shipping promotions. You can find free shipping codes at FreeShipping.org, or you can take advantage of Free Shipping Day on December 17, when more than 1,000 merchants will offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

You also don't want to pay too much for shipping by waiting until the last minute to send gifts to friends and family. For example, the U.S. Postal Service flat rate for shipping a medium-sized box by priority mail is $11.35 versus $39.95 for next-day express mail delivery.

8. Not Keeping an Eye On Your Airfare After You Buy

Most airlines and online travel agencies will give you a rebate -- usually in travel credits or vouchers -- if your flight’s price drops below what you paid. Yapta.com will send you alerts if the price drops on a flight you've booked. Be aware, though, that some airlines can charge hefty fees for re-booking your flight. If the fee outweighs your rebate, it's not worth it to make a change.

9. Being Too Generous with Donations

If you stuff a few dollars into the Salvation Army pot every time you go to a store or say yes to every colleague who is collecting money at the office for a special cause, your generosity could easily break your budget. Choose an organization or two that you particularly care about and an amount you're willing to give, then politely say no to other requests for money.

10. Tipping Too Much

Although tipping during the holidays shows your appreciation, you don't need to compensate everyone who provides a service. Nor should you tip too much (either because you don't know what is customary or you feel pressured to give beyond your budget).

Consider handing out year-end tips to one to three people who have given you exemplary service during the year. Some prime candidates: baby sitters, hairstylists, cleaning persons, mail carriers, newspaper deliverers and nursing-home workers.

If your budget does not permit tips or gifts this season, write a note thanking the individual for his or her service and explaining that you are not tipping because of your circumstances, not because of a lack of good service.

11. Going Overboard with Holiday Decorations

You don't need to turn into Clark Griswold from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and cover your house with lights. You can easily make your home look festive without spending big bucks on a light display and racking up a huge electric bill. Try the natural approach, instead -- fresh greenery collected for FREE from your yard or a friend's yard.

12. Buying Bad Gifts

Don't waste your money on gifts that no one wants, such as useless gadgets, tacky Christmas apparel or the infamous fruit cake. Instead, buy a gift card if you don't know exactly what to give someone on your list. Opt for all-purpose cards, such as an American Express or Visa gift card, rather than store-specific -- unless you know the person's favorite store. In that case, don't pay full price for a gift card.

13. Granting Your Kids' Every Wish

You might not view buying every item on your children's wish list as a waste of money -- especially if you cherish seeing their eyes light up every time they open a gift. But keep in mind that many of those items might end up under a bed or in the back of a closet within just a few days. Your money will be better spent on a few items (or even just one item) you know they'll really use.

Source: http://portal.kiplinger.com/slideshow/ways-to-waste-money-holidays/1.html


5 Money-Saving, Stress-Less Holiday Shopping Tips

The Christmas shopping season kicks off with a vengeance even before you’ve had time to make that cold turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce sandwich. Don’t stress out yet—here are some tips for saving money and staying sane while navigating holiday shopping madness.

Make a List

Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips, such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. This will help you manage your holiday budget.

Start Early

Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like; it’s often when you’re not looking for something specific that you stumble across the perfect gift for Dad or your best friend Jenny. You’ll be glad that you already have some people crossed off your list come the busy shopping season. Just make sure to keep all your advance gifts in a designated (and hidden, if necessary) spot so that you don’t forget a purchase you made months in advance.

Do Online Research

If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy (for example, you want to buy your husband a digital camera but don’t know what brand or model is best), search for reputable online reviews. You’ll have to pay a small subscription fee, but Consumerreports.org has hundreds of expert reviews on everything from laptops to baby strollers to breakfast cereals. Or check sites with user reviews and ratings, such as Amazon.com or Cnet.com, to find out which products have the most positive feedback. To find the best online price, use a comparison shopping site, such as Pricegrabber.com.

Get No-Cost Holiday Shipping

Last-minute shoppers, here’s a gift for you. On December 17, 2012, more than 1,000 online merchants, like Best Buy and L.L.Bean, will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

Do It Yourself

There’s an abundance of homemade pickles, hand-knit hats, and handcrafted stationary these days, thanks to a growing obsession with all things crafty, artisanal, and homespun (just look at all the unique things for sale on Etsy.com). If you’re creatively inclined, avoid mall madness altogether and bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags, or make beautiful earrings for friends and family. If you need to learn a new skill, look into classes in your neighborhood or invest in a how-to book—there’s one for just about every craft out there.

Source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/christmas/money-saving-holiday-shopping-tips-00000000047498/index.html


Withdrawing Your Assets: Understanding RMDs

When it comes time to start withdrawing the money you've spent a lifetime accumulating in your retirement portfolio, you want to ensure that you make the right decisions. One that the government makes for you is requiring that you withdraw at least some of your funds annually, depending on the account type.

This is known as a required minimum distribution, or RMD, and it must be taken from your non-Roth retirement accounts by April 1 each year, starting the year after you turn age 70 1/2.

An RMD is generally determined using uniform life expectancy tables that take into consideration the account owner's and/or account beneficiary's age and marital status, as well as their account balance(s) as of December 31 of the year prior to the distribution year.

Here are some important considerations for those entering the "distribution phase" of their investing lives.

  • You can pick the account(s) you withdraw from ... If you have more than one of the same type of retirement account -- such as multiple traditional IRAs -- you can either take individual RMDs from each account or aggregate your total account values and withdraw this amount from one account. As long as your total RMD value is withdrawn, you will have satisfied the IRS requirement.
  • Unless they are two different types of accounts. If you own more than one type of account, such as an IRA and an employer-sponsored plan account, you'll need to calculate your RMD for both types of accounts separately and take the proper amount from each.
  • You may be able to defer if you're still working. If you are still employed at age 70 1/2, you may be able to defer taking RMDs from your employer-sponsored plan until after you retire. You'll need to check with your employer to see if this applies to you.
  • The penalties can be severe for failing to comply. If you fail to take your full RMD, the IRS may assess an excise tax of up to 50% on the amount you should have withdrawn and you'll have to take the distribution.
  • Taxes are still due upon withdrawal. You will probably face a full or partial tax bite for your distributions, depending on whether your traditional IRA was funded with nondeductible contributions. Note also that the amount you are required to withdraw may bump you up into a higher tax bracket.
  • You can donate your RMDs to charity. IRA owners can donate up to $100,000 of their annual distributions to qualified charities and have it count toward their RMD. If you've inherited an IRA, these donations are allowable as long as you are over age 70 1/2.
  • Roth accounts are exempt. If you own a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k), you don't need to take an RMD. However, note that any distributions taken from a Roth do not count toward your RMD amount and that restrictions apply to the beneficiaries of inherited Roth accounts.

For More Information

Everything you need to know about retirement account RMDs can be found in IRS Publication 590 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p590.pdf), including the life expectancy tables you'll need to figure out your RMD amount. Your financial and tax professionals can also help you determine your RMD.

Source/Disclaimer:

The information in this communication is not intended to be tax advice. Each individual's tax situation is different. You should consult with your tax professional to discuss your personal situation.

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