Posts Tagged ‘Retirement’

Is Investing in Real Estate for your IRA?

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Real estate is definitely one of the more lucrative, and sought-after investment types. The reason it’s so sought-after is that the possibility of return on real estate investment is higher than other types. Plus it’s familiar, right? The question though is whether or not it’s right for you, and your IRA.

First thing’s first

You first need an IRA that’s held by the custodian and administrator of your choice. The custodian reports to the IRS on deposits, withdrawals, and year-end balances. Custodians hold your real estate IRA funds like a bank, so that your investments are IRS-compliant; because one of the easiest ways to get your IRA disqualified by the IRS is if it’s found to be in violation of IRS rules. So, to avoid that, choose a custodian wisely.

Speaking of rules, here are some more:

  • The IRA owner isn’t allowed to work on the investment themselves. Say you bought a fixer-upper through your IRA, it will need lots of work, right? You’re actually not allowed to do the work yourself, you will need to hire a contractor to take care of that for you.
  • All costs associated with the property must come from your IRA, and any income earned from that same property must also funnel back into your IRA.
  • You cannot live on the property that’s funded by your real estate IRA. It must be used as an investment property only.

Direct benefits and use

To expound upon what we mean by you’re only allowed to use your new property only as an investment property, and not for personal use, is simple. Since the property is legally owned by your IRA, it cannot be used as a vacation home for you or your family. Period. You also cannot use it as a rental home for your family. So no vacations, and no renting to your own family.

It may not be for you

There are a lot of technical and legal loopholes to jump through when you own real estate. It only gets more complicated when it’s an investment property. And even more so when it’s an investment property through your IRA. For those reasons, a seasoned real estate investor will catch on quickly, while a novice will have not only the real estate biz to study but also the real estate IRA world.

By no means is this suppose to discourage anyone from seeking real estate as an investment, you just have to know what you’re getting yourself into. It may be hard work at times, but the promise of rewards makes it worth it.

Warning Signs that Your Retirement Savings are off Track

Monday, April 16th, 2018

warning signs

You know that little voice in your head that’s been bothering you lately? It’s telling you that you may not have enough for retirement, right? Well, you’re not alone. Here in America, 75% of us that are over 40 actually are significantly behind on our retirement savings. So how can you tell that you’re off course? We’ve got you covered.

1. You’re only saving through a 401K

If you’re lucky enough to have an employer that offers a 401K, and even luckier to be able to make monthly contributions, then you’d think you’d be in the clear, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A 401K is not meant to be your only means of retirement saving, it’s only meant to be one tool for savers. Opening an IRA may be the right option for you in order to be fully prepared for your retirement, it allows your money to grow tax-deferred if in a traditional IRA, and tax-free if in a Roth.

2. You aren’t matching contributions

Now, if you have a 401K, and your employer has a match program, but you’re not taking full advantage of it, you have to reevaluate your contributions. That’s free money that you’re missing out on. The average employer contribution is around 6%, up to a certain amount. Get in touch with your company’s HR team, and make sure that you’re contributing enough.

3. You’re unsure of how much to save

One reason this is such an issue is that the amount that one person will need at retirement is different from another person, and also depends on when you start saving. If you started saving in your 20’s, 10% of your gross income is standard, but if you’re 30+, 15%-25% is ideal. Calculate the end total of what you will need based on your income with the Social Security Quick Calculator.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to saving for retirement is just to save. Save. Save. And Save. And contact us today if you want to open an IRA.

Rules and Limitations for Owning Real Estate Through an IRA

Monday, April 9th, 2018

real estate and IRA long

Buying real estate through your IRA is a lucrative and competitive business. It can substantially increase the return on your IRA’s investment, and make for a big, cushiony retirement nest egg. One of the biggest reasons that more people don’t take advantage of owning a real estate IRA is all the rules and confusion that comes along with it. It can be a meticulous task, but well worth it.

Self-Directed Real Estate IRA

Although IRS rules permit IRA funds to be invested in real estate, IRS rules do not require an IRA trustee to offer real estate as an investment option. Most trustees who offer traditional IRA investments, such as depository banks, do not allow an IRA owner to invest in real estate because of the extra administrative burden of real estate management. As a result, if you want to invest your IRA funds in real estate, you will most likely have to convert your traditional IRA to a self-directed IRA, which is an IRA that requires you to decide what investments to make, such as real estate.

Prohibited Transactions

IRS rules require the IRA-owned real estate to be for investment purposes only. This requirement places several prohibitions on how the real estate can be purchased and used, the key to understanding the prohibitions is the term “disqualified persons”. This term is used in the IRS rules regarding IRA-owned real estate to refer to the IRA owner and related persons–that is, the IRA owner and spouse, ancestors (mother, father, grandparents) and descendants (children, grandchildren, and their spouses). The term disqualified person also includes the IRAs investment advisers, including a trustee of the IRA funds, and any business in which a disqualified person has a 50 percent or greater interest. IRS rules prohibit the use of IRA funds to purchase real estate from a disqualified person, the rules also prohibit a disqualified person from using any real estate IRA purchased with IRA funds, either as a home or business. These rules even preclude you from purchasing a vacation home that is only partly for personal use and otherwise rented to others.

Tax Consequences

If you violate the IRS rules regarding prohibited transactions, the IRS will consider the IRA funds used in the transaction as a distribution of your IRA. You will be taxed on the funds from the first year in which the transaction occurred, with penalties and interest included. Depending on your age, you may also incur an additional penalty for taking an early distribution.

IRA Rollover Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make

Monday, March 19th, 2018

IRA Rollover Mistakes

There are times when having an IRA can be trickier than anticipated. There are a lot of rules to follow, there are papers that need to be signed, certain accounts that have to be opened, and sometimes it can be intimidating. This is one reason why having an experienced administrator and custodian on your side is so imperative, to help you steer through the (sometimes) bureaucratic ins and outs.

One unexpected trip up that we’re going to be talking about today is rolling over an IRA. Seems like it should be simple, but there are mistakes that could be made that can cause some serious headaches as some of you might already know. And when it comes to IRAs, we are not talking small potatoes; IRAs accounted for about 28% of all U.S. retirement assets, which totaled $19.5 trillion at the end of 2012. And this market is only going to get bigger, because, at the end of 2017, Americans rolled an estimated $451 billion into IRAs, making this an $8 trillion marketplace. This is part of the reason that there’s a lot of red tape. This is also why it takes time and patience and know-how. The best way to avoid the headaches is to avoid the potholes, to begin with.

The 60 Day Rule

The 60-day rule is one that you will want to be aware of well before you go through an IRA rollover. If you set up the IRA rollover to go through your hands before it goes to another brokerage, then you will be subject to this time limit. If you get the check for the full amount of money and do not get it to the next IRA account within 60 days, it will be treated the same as a cash-out. This means that you will have to pay a penalty of 10% then pay income taxes on the amount. The solution to this is to be sure to make sure that you get the money to your new broker within 60 days to avoid this mistake.

Leaving Assets in a Former Employer’s Retirement Plan

When you leave an employer, you typically have the right to roll over your entire vested balance into an IRA. A few reasons that you should is that you may gain access to a much wider array of investment options through your new employer, or administrator, they may offer attractive services like a gold-backed IRA, or a self-directed IRA, which help to diversify. Also, your beneficiaries may be able to take distributions over their lifetimes, which allows for a longer period of tax deferral that could extend even after your death, and you can avoid the 20% mandatory withholding for distributions if you rollover your retirement plan to an IRA.

Taking the Cash

When you cash out an IRA too early, you will be subject to some serious penalties. For one thing, you will have to pay a 10% early distribution penalty right off the top, then, on top of that, you will also have to pay income taxes on the entire amount. Depending on what tax bracket you’re in, this could be a pretty substantial amount of money that you lose to the government. There is a process for rolling over your IRA without paying taxes, so you should not just tell your IRA provider to send you the cash and you will later find a new IRA to deposit into. You need to have everything planned out ahead of time, this way you can avoid the fees and keep the full amount of your retirement money.

One Year Waiting Period

Another rule that everyone needs to be aware of is the one-year waiting period, it applies to making multiple rollovers from the same account. So for example, let’s say that you have an IRA and you decide you are going to open another IRA account, and you then rollover part of the money to the new account. Then later that year, you decide that you wanted to open a third IRA account, but if you try to fund the third account from the first account, you would be in violation of the rules, because you have to wait at least one year before you can rollover for a second time from the same account. The solution is to make sure that you wait at least a year before trying to rollover your account again.

Navigating the retirement waters can be a bit tough at times, but with an experienced administrator, like Accuplan, at your side, there’s very little that we cannot handle together.