Month: November 2023

Three Words You May Need to Know: Required. Minimum. Distribution. 

If you are of a certain age and have certain retirement accounts, you probably need to know about the annually required withdrawals from those accounts. The IRS calls them “Required Minimum Distributions”—RMDs.

One special note: Clients, many of you are already treating your retirement account like an orchard, taking out the fruit crop each year to live on. The RMD is not an “extra” amount on top of the crop: it is just a minimum. If you are already taking out 5% in monthly payments to fund your retirement, you don’t need to worry about what happens at age 73.

We’ll talk about the details here, then how it works out in practice.

People born in or before 1950 with any form of retirement account (other than Roth IRA) have already begun doing this RMD process each year (or should have). People born in 1951 or later will have to begin by the year they turn 73.

The actual amount required is a function of age and the prior year-end balance. For example, a 73-year-old has to take out a little less than 3.8%. In round numbers, this would be $3,800 per $100,000 in the account. But that fraction goes up a little every year: 80-year-olds are closer to 5%, 90-year-olds have to take out more than 8%.

Basically, the RMD needs to be calculated for each retirement account you have (except Roth IRAs). You must take out the total amount required by December 31, and you will receive a 1099-R showing taxable income.

Clients, you know we pay attention to this and strive to keep you informed about what needs to be done. But there’s one thing to be careful of: take this as an opportunity to check whether there is some account somewhere that we don’t know about, like a 401(k) from a former employer, an odd IRA balance somewhere, 457 or 403(b) plans, and so on. It happens, but it would be a pain to get yourself into some trouble over an account that’s been out of sight, out of mind.

Some people may choose to use the onset of RMDs as a time to consolidate all of their retirement funds into a single rollover IRA, to make this process simpler going forward.

One of the advantages of Roth IRAs is that they have no RMD requirement. As a matter of good planning, it may make sense to convert partial IRA balances to Roth, pay tax when you choose, and whittle down that balance that is subject to RMDs in traditional retirement accounts.

There are lots of ways to handle things! If you’d like to talk about it, we’re here for it. Email us or call.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

To determine which strategies or investments may be suitable for you, consult the appropriate qualified professional prior to making a decision.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

Traditional IRA account owners have considerations to make before performing a Roth IRA conversion. These primarily include income tax consequences on the converted amount in the year of conversion, withdrawal limitations from a Roth IRA, and income limitations for future contributions to a Roth IRA. In addition, if you are required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the year you convert, you must do so before converting to a Roth IRA.

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Are We on the Ship of Theseus? 

The legend goes like this: after the Greek hero Theseus slayed the minotaur and saved a bunch of people, he escaped on a ship. Later, to honor him, the people of Athens would take the ship out each year and sail it on a pilgrimage. 

As time passed, the people had to replace an odd plank here and there. The boards of the ship would decay or break, as boards do. It’s basic maintenance. 

But a question emerged. After generations, the ship reached a point where none of its pieces were “original,” so to speak. So… was it still the same ship? 

This is mostly a philosophical question, but it offers an interesting puzzle about the nature of things in our everyday lives. This enterprise comes to mind. When I, Mark, started Leibman Financial Services at my kitchen table in 1996, there was no telling that the business would become what it is today. 

And yet, we haven’t changed anything fundamental about what we’re doing here. I set out to build something that would let me try to help people grow their buckets. I operated with the understanding that when others are better off, I probably will be too. 

Those things still stand, today. The ship is still a ship. 

But my life looks radically different from when I first set foot on this ship. Two of my co-owners were still children at home with me. (And we wouldn’t even meet our other co-owner for another decade and a half!) 

In what ways do things change—and how do they stay the same—as they grow? The ship remains, but it is not the same. 

This type of conversation might sound familiar. We’ve enjoyed talking about similar ideas before, like how things have the potential to become greater than the sum of their parts, how “teamwork makes the dream work,” and how we never step in the same river twice. 

No matter how you think about it, it can be amazing, this whole “life” thing. It’s a privilege to be here, building something with you. 

Come by to chat about this or anything else, any time. 

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