Do workers need a do-over on your Roth conversion?

Register now

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

Here’s how to pull off a tiny tax rate when you earn $100,000 in retirement
Clients can bring their effective tax rate below 3% in retirement by using a combination of three strategies, according to this article on MarketWatch. First, they should opt for a standard deduction and then delay their Social Security benefits to reduce their taxable income, which creates a good opportunity to do a Roth conversion without triggering a big tax bill. Another strategy is to boost their after-tax income by holding municipal bonds and other tax-exempt investments in their taxable accounts.
Here's an IRA you can open even if you're not working
Married couples can improve their retirement prospects by opening a spousal IRA if one spouse is not receiving any wage income, according to this article on CNBC. Annual contributions to the tax-advantaged account can go as high as $5,500 or $6,500 if clients are aged 50 and older. "It's one of the biggest missed opportunities. People just don't think of it," says an expert.

How should retirees think about their "income cushion"?
An expert says that in Rule Your Retirement model, retirement savers may put three to five years' worth of expenses in bonds that make up 40% of their portfolio's asset allocation, according to this article on Motley Fool. This is called "income cushion", which is to be replenished every year except when there is a market downturn, says the expert. "[Y]ou don't replenish it, because you don't want to sell your stocks while you're down. You just live off the income cushion until stocks recover."

Ask Larry: When can I go from spousal to retirement benefits?
A spouse who is receiving Social Security spousal benefit on his wife's record can switch to his own retirement benefit once he reaches full retirement age, according to this article on Forbes. However, he will be better off waiting until he turns 70 to switch to his own record. If his Primary Insurance Amount is bigger than his wife's, she may also switch to her spousal benefit on his record to get a bigger benefit payout.

Do you need a do-over on your Roth conversion?
Investors who converted traditional IRA assets into Roth last year can still undo the conversion this year if they are going to pay more in taxes than what they were supposed to gain, according to this article on U.S. News & World Report. That's because the new tax law's provision that scraps the "re-characterization" option won't take effect until next year. Although the option will not be available next year, a Roth conversion remains a good strategy, as investors will move to a lower tax bracket and therefore will face a lower tax liability on the converted amount. "This is the time to get money into a Roth because taxes are likely to go up in the future,” says an expert.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Retirement planning Retirement income Retirement benefits IRAs Social Security benefits Roth IRAs