Planning for Life

3 Implications of the SECURE Act

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 14, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

SECURE ACT - 2020 - Margolis-and-Bloom

We reported on the SECURE Act when it was enacted at the end of last year. (You can read about the rules it changed here.) Since then, we and other attorneys have been parsing it and learning a lot more about how its changes work and how they may affect clients. Here's some of our new learning:

1.  Estates in Progress May Want to Disclaim

Except for eligible beneficiaries (spouses, minor children, and disabled or chronically ill individuals), those inheriting IRAs from decedents dying this year and in the future will have to withdraw and pay taxes on the inherited accounts within 10 years from the year of the original owners death. Those who inherited IRAs from people dying before this year can continue to "stretch" out the distributions through their own lifetimes.

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Topics: Retirement Planning, Special Needs Trust, Retirement Benefits, SECURE Act

What the Secure Act is All About

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 24, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

Retirement-Margolis-and-Bloom-Secure-Act

As part of the spending bill that recently passed Congress, effective January 1, 2020, new retirement plan rules will apply. They included in the Secure Act, which is an acronym standing for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement. A big part of the bill encourages small employers to band together to offer retirement plans, which is the reason for the title. But here's what may affect you and your family.

  1. Later Required Beginning Age. For those who have not already reached age 70 1/2 by the end of 2019 (meaning they were born on or before June 30, 1949), they can delay taking their required minimum distributions until the April 1st of the year they reach 72, rather than 70 1/2. If you were born after June 30, 1949, you can still choose to withdraw without penalty, other than paying taxes on the amount withdrawn, any time after age 59 1/2, you just don't have to do so quite as early.
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Topics: Retirement Planning, Retirement Benefits

If You Haven't Saved Enough for Retirement, You're Not Alone, and It's Not Your Fault

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 20, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

Margolis-Bloom-Wellesley-Retirement-401k

In her new podcast series, Reset Retirement, New School of Social Research economics professor Teresa Ghilarducci interviews Baby Boomers and others about their retirement situations, which are mostly dire, and experts about why this is the case.

Very few workers today, other than public employees, have pension plans. Instead, except for Social Security, we are all dependent on our own savings. The result is that very few Baby Boomers have enough saved for retirement, with only 15 percent having more than $500,000 in savings according to the following chart:

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Risking Old Age in America

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 17, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Almost 30 years ago, my father wrote a book titled Risking Old Age In America, which described the plight of seniors in the United States who faced severe income gaps, limited assistance for care at home and deplorable nursing homes. A lot has changed since then, but many of the same challenges persist or have gotten worse.IMG_2097.jpg

With the advent of the assisted living industry, there's an alternative to nursing homes. Home care services have expanded as has government assistance to pay for home care. Nursing homes have improved, and seniors enter them later in life when they need more care, meaning fewer are institutionalized for year after year.

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Making Charitable Contributions from Your IRA

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 14, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I've often heard that taxpayers should make their charitable contributions from their IRAs rather than from their other savings, but didn't understand why until recently. It seemed to me that any tax incurred by withdrawing funds from the IRA would be offset by the charitable deduction available for making the gift. So the result would be the same whether the taxpayer withdrew the funds from the IRA and subsequently made a charitable gift of the same amount or made the donation directly from the IRA.

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Topics: Retirement Planning, Retirement Benefits

Special Needs Trusts and Retirement Benefits: A Complicated Subject

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 5, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

older parent and child.jpgMuch of your savings may be in your 401(k)’s and IRAs.  It is important to designate the proper beneficiaries for these accounts, so that your beneficiaries do not have to pay taxes on the funds prematurely. Unfortunately when a beneficiary has special needs, it gets complicated.

If the beneficiary receives the IRAs and 401(k)’s directly, the required minimum distributions (RMDs) could prevent your child from receiving the government benefits he needs. But if you designate a special needs trust as the beneficiary of a retirement account, there could be adverse income tax consequences. 

Fortunately, with proper drafting, such tax results usually can be prevented. People have written entire books on this subject -- this is our attempt to summarize the basic issues.           

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Topics: Retirement Planning, Special Needs Trust, Retirement Benefits, Required Minimum Distributions

Is Your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary?

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 18, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

When you consult with your financial advisor or planner, does she put your interests first, or is she simply under an obligation to sell products that are "appropriate"? If you don't know, ask.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, financial planning

Are You Saving to Leave an Inheritance? Why?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 29, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Do you hope to leave your children an inheritance? If so, what sacrifices are you willing to make to assure that you do so. Are you working longer or scrimping on spending for yourself? If so, why? Haven't you raised your children and perhaps paid expensive college tuitions? Shouldn't they be able to stand on their own two feet?

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care planning, Retirement Planning

A  Long Bright Future: What Will You Do with Your Extra 30 Years?

Posted by Karen Mariscal on May 31, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

According to Stanford Professor Laura L. Carstensen Carstensen, the 20th century bequeathed us a fabulous gift:  an average of 30 more years of life!  Life expectancy at birth is now 78, whereas in the early 1900s it was only about 50.

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Does an Annuity Make Sense for Retirement Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 1, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

There are two kinds of annuities: variable and immediate. Both can be useful for retirement planning purposes and both can be misused. Variable annuities have gotten a bad reputation in recent years because they are often sold to people, especially seniors, for whom they are inappropriate. Immediate annuities, on the other hand, may be undersold.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, financial planning

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