Can workers get tax-free funds from IRAs and 401(k)s?

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Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

Don’t waste one of the biggest benefits of the tax law
Many taxpayers can expect lower tax liability under the new law this year, and should consider adjusting their withholding to put the extra money to good use, according to this article on CNBC. They can use the savings to pay off student loans and other variable-rate debt, increase their mortgage payment and add to their retirement plan contributions. "So many people reach retirement and still have a mortgage. Having any kind of serious mortgage in retirement really cripples your ability to do other fun stuff," says an expert.

Can you get tax-free funds from your IRA and 401(k)?
Clients should consider limiting their traditional 401(k) savings, as the plans provide taxable distributions that can boost their tax bill in retirement, according to this article from Forbes. Their Social Security benefits will also be subject to tax if their provisional income reaches a certain threshold. One way to limit their tax liability in retirement and avoid taxation on Social Security is to direct some of their retirement savings to a Roth 401(k) and/or 10-pay distributions, which are tax-free and excluded from calculating the provisional income.

Here's why the "Social Security at 62 or 70" debate is a total crapshoot
Waiting until age 70 to file for Social Security benefits can result in a bigger payout but this is not always the best option for some retirees, according to this article on personal finance website Motley Fool. For example, this strategy is recommended to higher-income spouses but not to their lower-earning counterparts. Delaying the benefit is also not recommended to those who have a limited earning capacity.

How to best leave an IRA to charity
Naming a charity as an IRA beneficiary may not be a good move, as the IRA provider may require the charity to open an inherited account with them to receive the inheritance, according to this article on Morningstar. Opening an inherited IRA can be complicated for charitable organizations. Instead, clients should open a donor-advised fund as a beneficiary of the IRA and identify the charities that will be recipients of the fund after they die.

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Retirement income Tax planning 401(k) IRAs