Select Page

Weekly Newsletter

“Third-party Posts”

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 1/21/2022 -Darren Leavitt, CFA It was another brutal week for investors as global markets continued to sell-off. Concerns regarding the path of global central bank policy and a lackluster start of fourth-quarter earnings weighed on...

read more

2022 Is The Year Consumers Discover Value Of Annuities

Harry N. Stout, author and podcast host at the FinancialVerse says that 2022 will be the year that consumers proactively reach out for information and advice to explore the solutions that annuity products can provide to address some of their financial challenges. Here...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 1/14/2022 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US Financial markets fell across the board as investors got a full dose of Federal Reserve rhetoric and were underwhelmed by the start of fourth-quarter earnings. The S&P 500 was also unable to bounce off...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 1/7/2022 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US financial markets fell in the first week of 2022 after the S&P 500 hit an all-time high on Monday. The release of the December Federal Open Market Committee minutes revealed a much more hawkish Fed. It...

read more

An Overview of Annuities

Understanding the various types of annuities and how they work If you are considering buying an annuity to provide steady income during retirement, it's important to understand the different types and how they work. Here's a look at the fundamentals of annuities and...

read more

HITTING THE RESET BUTTON FOR 2022 RMDS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Welcome to 2022! One of the big changes in the retirement account world this year will be the calculation of required minimum distributions (RMDs). RMDs for IRA owners and plan participants are calculated using life expectancies from IRS...

read more

December 2021 Market Review and Outlook

-Darren Leavitt, CFA US financial markets rallied in December in volatile trade. It seemed markets would take two steps forward in one week only to give up a step in the following week. The emergence of the Omicron variant rattled markets initially, but investors were...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 12/31/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Financial market action in the final week of the year was relatively muted.  A mild Santa Clause rally did ensue as seasonal factors such as rebalancing and window dressing kicked in.  Investors got a full...

read more

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst In 2021, the Slott Report produced roughly 100 diverse retirement-related articles and answered approximately 100 reader questions in our weekly Mailbag. We do our best to present topical IRA and retirement plan issues in the most...

read more

WHAT 2022 MAY MEAN FOR YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Pop the champagne! It is almost time to turn the page on the calendar to a new year. What will 2022 mean for your retirement accounts? All signs point to a very busy year ahead. Here is what we may expect for...

read more

5 IRA RULES FOR WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL IN 2021

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Thanksgiving 2021 is upon us. This is the time of the year when we gather together and express our gratitude. When it comes to our retirement accounts, we often complain about the negatives. There are restrictions...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 12/23/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA The holiday-shortened week produced another all-time high for the S&P 500 as investors looked past the ramifications of the Omicron variant and bought last week’s market dip.  Technically, the S&P 500...

read more

A LOOK BACK AT A “NORMAL” 2021

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst As 2021 draws to a close, many of us will naturally look back and try to make some sense of the past year. On the whole, it would be hard to classify 2021 as an “uneventful” year. But in the world of IRAs and workplace plans, it actually...

read more

Why Is Inflation Rising Right Now?

Inflation is here. The most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation report showed that prices rose across the board in November. By a lot. Overall, prices climbed 6.8% year-over-year, the largest increase since June 1982, and rose 0.8% over the past month. Higher...

read more

YEAR-END ESTIMATED TAX “LIFE HACK”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A “life hack” is any trick, shortcut or simple and clever technique for accomplishing a familiar task more easily and efficiently, in all walks of life. For example, tie a colorful ribbon to your luggage to make it more easily...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

-Darren Leavitt, CFA US equity markets fell across the board as global central banks moved to decrease their quantitative easing initiatives.  In the US, the Federal Reserve announced that it would double the pace of its taper to $30 billion a month and conclude its...

read more

Should COVID-19 Change Your Retirement Strategy?

What to do now, as the pandemic surges yet again in the U.S. COVID-19 is still raging throughout the U.S., and in much of the world it has never stopped doing so. Safe and highly effective vaccines are available, but not everywhere, and even where they are, not...

read more

ILLIQUID ASSETS AND RMDS

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Tis the season. Yes, it is the holiday season, and it is also the season to take RMDs. RMDs are back for 2021 after being waived by the CARES Act for 2020. With the return of RMDs come questions. One question we...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 12/10/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US equity markets rebounded nicely over the week as fears of the Omicron variant subsided.  It appears the variant, while more contagious, is less severe.  Sentiment was also bolstered by Pfizer’s preliminary...

read more

Top Retirement Savings Tips for 55-to-64-Year-Olds

There's still time to give your savings a good boost before you retire If you're between 55 and 64 years old, you still have time to boost your retirement savings. Whether you plan to retire early, late, or never ever, having an adequate amount of money saved can make...

read more

EXCEPTIONS TO THE PRO-RATA RULE – WAYS TO “ISOLATE BASIS”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst My November 29 Slott Report entry was titled “The Pro-Rata Rule Explained – You are Not Getting Taxed Twice.” I closed that article by stating there are exceptions to the pro-rata rule and ways to clean up an IRA that contains a...

read more

PROCEED WITH CAUTION WHEN INVESTING YOUR IRA IN GOLD

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education In volatile times like these, when inflation is looming, retirement savers may look to invest their IRAs in gold. Advertisements on the internet and cable tv make it look easy, but that is not the full story. The...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 12/3/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Markets continued to be volatile in the first week of December.  Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen struck a more hawkish tone during their semiannual testimony in front of Congress....

read more

Budgeting for the 4 Financial Phases of Retirement

Different phases call for different strategies If you’re physically healthy and financially prepared, your retirement could last for decades. During that time, it may go through several distinct phases, with changing levels of income and expenses that require...

read more

Retirement: The Best Timing Strategies for Couples

Staggering your retirement date from your spouse may benefit you both Many working couples dream of the day when they can retire and sail off into the sunset together. However, couples should consider whether retiring at the same time is the wise choice. There are...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 11/26/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA The holiday-shortened week turned into a wild ride for investors as a new variant of Covid upended the reflation trade, which sent volatility through the roof.  The new variant called Omicron was first...

read more

12/31/21 DEADLINE MAY LOOM FOR STARTING NEW SOLO 401(K) PLAN

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Are you considering opening up a new solo 401(k) and looking to maximize your 2021 contribution? If so, you may need to act quickly. There is a December 31, 2021 deadline for establishing a new plan if you want to make 2021 elective...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 11/19/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US financial markets ended the week mixed.  Mega-cap Growth stocks pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to another set of all-time highs while cyclical issues and small caps lagged, hindering the Dow and Russell...

read more

RMD RULES AND ROTH CONVERSIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Can someone take an in-service withdrawal from their 401(k) and directly transfer it to their IRA, then take a QCD from the IRA to satisfy the RMD amount attributed to the 401(k)? I am 72 years old and I...

read more

Your 2022 Tax Brackets vs. 2021 Tax Brackets

The income ranges, adjusted annually for inflation, determine which tax rates apply to you You may be making plans for filing your 2021 income taxes, but in a few short weeks you'll be living in tax year 2022, and tax year 2022 will differ substantially from 2021....

read more

RESTORATIVE PAYMENTS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As we careen into the holiday season, there remains a deceitful underbelly of dirtbags operating their typical scams. Giant inflatable Christmas decorations in front of your home or a menorah in the window will not dissuade...

read more

BIGGER 401(K) CONTRIBUTIONS COMING IN 2022

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The IRS has released the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retirement accounts for 2022. As expected, due to inflation in the economy, many of the dollar limit restrictions on retirement accounts will increase...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 11/12/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US financial markets fell from record-high levels as increases in inflation continued to weigh on investor sentiment.  The tape was full of corporate news highlighted by the break-ups of General Electric and...

read more

Planning for Retirement: Four Factors to Consider

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to prepare for a comfortable retirement. From keeping track of your savings to adopting strategies for generating income, a thoughtful approach can help you sustain your lifestyle as you move into the next phase of your life....

read more

THE 401(K) HARDSHIP WITHDRAWAL RULES IN A NUTSHELL

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The September 29, 2021 Slott Report summarized the rules for taking non-hardship withdrawals from 401(k) plans. This article will focus on the hardship withdrawal rules. Most company savings plans allow you to pull out your funds to take...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 11/5/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Wow-what a week on Wall Street!  US equity indices hit another set of all-time closing highs. Market sentiment was bolstered on several different fronts.  3rd quarter corporate earnings continued to impress,...

read more

CLARIFYING SOME ROTH CONVERSION MISCONCEPTIONS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As Roth IRA conversions become more popular, questions and misconceptions abound. In no particular order, here are a dozen Roth IRA conversion facts to be aware of: 1. Anyone with an IRA can do a Roth conversion. There are no...

read more

5 Mistakes Couples Make When Planning for Retirement

Steps you can take to avoid disagreements over spending and much more You've looked forward to retirement for decades — the chance to slow down the pace, to live in a different place, to see parts of the world you've only dreamed of, to spoil the grandkids just a bit....

read more

ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO DO A SPOUSAL ROLLOVER

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst As discussed in the October 18 Slott Report, spousal beneficiaries of IRAs can take advantage of certain payout rules that aren’t available to non-spouse beneficiaries. For example, a surviving spouse who remains a beneficiary can defer...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 10/29/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Wall Street faced a deluge of corporate earnings in the final week of October.  Generally, reports were better than expected but tempered by management concerns related to the current state of the global...

read more

Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE)

What Is Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE)? Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) is a movement of people devoted to a program of extreme savings and investment that aims to allow them to retire far earlier than traditional budgets and retirement plans...

read more

PERSEVERE, CHARLIE BROWN!

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Charlie Brown, wearing a ghost costume full of too many eye holes cut in all the wrong spots, famously peered into his trick-or-treat bag and said, “I got a rock.” One of the best parts of Halloween remains. It is the moment at the...

read more

RETIREMENT PLANNING FOR THE SELF EMPLOYED

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Not everyone has a boss. In an economy upended by COVID, individuals, sometimes by choice and sometimes not, are striking out on their own and starting new businesses or becoming part of the gig economy. A critical...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 10/22/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US financial markets rallied throughout most of the week, with the S&P 500 touching a new intraday high and the Dow closing at a new all-time high.  Corporate earnings dominated the headlines and were, for...

read more

ARE YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS PROTECTED FROM CREDITORS?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst One question that continues to come up is whether company retirement plan dollars are protected from creditors. This becomes an issue if you are forced to declare bankruptcy or you owe money after a legal action is brought against you. If...

read more

SPOUSE AS IRA BENEFICIARY

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When a married IRA owner dies, the surviving spouse is oftentimes the beneficiary. Of course, there are instances where a trust might be named as IRA beneficiary, or the children or a charity or someone else is listed. Regardless,...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 10/15/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US Financial markets rallied across the board on a solid start to the 3rd quarter corporate earnings season.  The Consumer Discretionary sector led gains with a 3.6% advance off of much better than expected...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 10/15/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US Financial markets rallied across the board on a solid start to the 3rd quarter corporate earnings season.  The Consumer Discretionary sector led gains with a 3.6% advance off of much better than expected...

read more

Financial Health

What Is Financial Health? Financial health is a term used to describe the state of one's personal monetary affairs. There are many dimensions to financial health, including the amount of savings you have, how much you’re putting away for retirement, and how much of...

read more

TIME TO SIMPLIFY YOUR RETIREMENT

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education As you approach your golden years, you may be looking to simplify your life to wring the most out of retirement. It may be time to right size and move from a larger house with an abundance of maintenance to a...

read more

A POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO THE “MEGA IRA” RESTRICTIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The Build Back Better Act of 2021, recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, includes a number of retirement plan provisions.  They were summarized in the September 22, 2021 Slott Report. Two of those provisions are targeted...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 10/8/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Markets started the week lower but were able to recover losses and make slight gains by the end of the week.  Concerns regarding the debt ceiling, the static state of the infrastructure bill, raw materials...

read more

Why Financial Literacy Is So Important

Few are prepared as financial decision-making grows more complex Many consumers have little understanding of finances, how credit works, and the potential hit to financial well-being that poor financial decisions can create for many, many years. In fact, a lack of...

read more

EARNINGS ARE EARNINGS WITHIN A TRADITIONAL IRA

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When it comes to taxes and the 10% early distribution penalty, do not allow the underlying investments within a Traditional IRA to confuse what is applicable. Earnings within an IRA are just earnings. It does not matter if those...

read more

WHAT THE NEW TAX PROPOSALS MEAN FOR ROTH CONVERSIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education It’s hard to keep up with the news out of Washington these days! We have been getting a ton of questions on how the new tax proposals recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee would impact Roth...

read more

Should COVID-19 Change Your Retirement Strategy?

What to do now, as the pandemic surges yet again in the U.S. COVID-19 is once again raging throughout the U.S., and in much of the world it has never stopped doing so. Safe and highly effective vaccines are available, but not everywhere, and even where they are, not...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 10/1/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Financial markets took a step back in the final week of the third quarter.  Increased inflation expectations pushed US Treasury yields higher, which induced valuation concerns on large-cap growth stocks. Rising...

read more

Monthly Market Review for September 2021

-Darren Leavitt, CFA September proved again to be a difficult month for financial assets.  A narrative that the growth of global economies has peaked was evident during the month.  Market sentiment was further dampened by fears that inflation has become persistent...

read more

INHERITED IRAS AND 2021 RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Good morning, I have an inherited IRA. I took a manual withdrawal from it in late August. I thought I had deleted my auto withdrawal on the custodian’s website. I just noticed today that another distribution was taken on...

read more

RESTRICTIONS ON 401(K) IN-SERVICE WITHDRAWALS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Congress designed 401(k) plans as retirement savings vehicles – not as checking accounts. So, there are restrictions on when employees can make “in-service withdrawals” (i.e., withdrawals  while still working). It’s important to remember...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 9/24/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Financial markets had a rollercoaster ride over the week that started on fears that one of China’s largest land developers would default on their debt which stoked rhetoric of a systematic breakdown in the...

read more

CONGRESS LOOKS TO ELIMINATE BACK-DOOR ROTH STRATEGIES

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The House Ways and Means Committee has released a draft of proposed changes to retirement accounts, including adding income limits for conversions and eliminating the back-door Roth conversion strategy. These...

read more

FIXING A 60-DAY ROLLOVER ERROR

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Are you moving assets between IRAs or from a company plan to an IRA (or vice-versa)? You should know that using a direct transfer is a much better idea than doing a 60-day rollover. Direct transfers avoid all of the possible issues which...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 9/17/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA US financial markets endured another week of losses that ended with the S&P 500 closing below its 50-day moving average on a quadruple witch expiration.  Although investors were treated to better than...

read more

YEAR-OF-DEATH RMDS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When an IRA owner taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) dies before removing his annual RMD, that year-of-death RMD (or whatever portion remains) must still be withdrawn. Upon passing, the year-of-death RMD immediately...

read more

RETIREMENT ACCOUNT RELIEF FOR DISASTER VICTIMS

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education President Biden has declared September to be National Preparedness Month. The goal is to encourage Americans to be more prepared for natural disasters. Unfortunately, from flooding on the east coast to fires on the...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 9/10/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA The holiday-shortened week produced negative returns across the board for US equity indices.  The month of September has historically been a tough month for equities, and given the outsized moves we have seen...

read more

HOW DO REVOCATION-ON-DIVORCE LAWS WORK WITH ERISA PLANS?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst What if you have an IRA with your spouse as primary beneficiary, get divorced without changing your beneficiary and then die? Who inherits your IRA benefits. If you live in one of the 26 states (as of June 2018) that have...

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 9/3/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA Mega-cap technology issues pushed markets to another set of all-time highs in front of the Labor Day weekend holiday as traders rotated out of issues tied to the reflation trade.  Ironically, growth issues...

read more

What Will Long-Term Care Cost You?

Most people over 65 will eventually need some form of paid care. Here are some ways to plan ahead. Many people are frightened of long-term care costs — for good reason. Most people over 65 eventually will need help with daily living tasks, such as bathing, eating or...

read more

REAL ESTATE IN AN IRA – AVOIDING A “NUISANCE PROPERTY”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Yes, you are allowed to own real estate in an IRA. Of course, not every IRA custodian will accommodate such an investment, but that doesn’t mean it is forbidden. If you want to own a beach house in your IRA, or a commercial...

read more

Monthly Market Review for August 2021

-Darren Leavitt, CFA Global markets rallied in August as economic data revealed strength across the globe.  However, delta variant infection rates soared during the month, especially in unvaccinated populations, which dampened sentiment and global growth...

read more

STRATEGIES WHEN YOUR IRA CONTRIBUTION CANNOT BE DEDUCTED

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The other day an advisor called us with an issue that comes up frequently, especially in these tumultuous times. His client had made an IRA contribution for 2021 and was planning on deducting that contribution....

read more

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary - 8/27/2021 -Darren Leavitt, CFA It was a hectic news week. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ hit a set of new all-time highs as Wall Street and global central banks focused on Federal Reserve rhetoric from the virtual economic symposium at Jackson...

read more

4 ways to save enough now to retire in 10 years

If you want to retire in the next 10 years, lower your spending and increase your income. Paying off debt can give you more money to save and invest, and free up your budget later. Increasing your income with a raise or side hustle could give you more money to save....

read more

AGGREGATING RMDS – WHAT IS (AND WHAT IS NOT) ALLOWED

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Recently, I had a conversation with an advisor who wanted a second opinion. He disagreed with how a 401(k) custodian was handling his client’s required minimum distribution (RMD). To arm himself with facts, the advisor contacted us...

read more

Your Wealth Must Reside Somewhere!

Your wealth must reside somewhere! It must have a permanent place of residence. You must own, control, and have use your money, or you haven’t built any wealth, you just stashed some money away. About 90 % of Americans keep their wealth in either taxable, unavailable, and/or volatile residences that limit what you can do with their money. If what you thought was true about your money, wasn’t true about your money, when would you want to know? I first heard this question from Don Blanton, a fine southern gentleman with a distinct southern Georgia drawl, and I’ve been unable to “unhear” it, since.