Retirement Planning - Redefined

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Ep 14: Traditional IRA 101

March 5, 2020

We cover the basics on the traditional IRA. John and Nick will break down what this investment vehicle is for and how it may be able to benefit you.

Helpful Information:

PFG Website: https://www.pfgprivatewealth.com/

Contact: 813-286-7776

Email: info@pfgprivatewealth.com

For a transcript of today's show, visit the blog related to this episode at https://www.pfgprivatewealth.com/podcast/

Transcript of Today's Show:

Speaker 1: Hey everybody, welcome into this edition of Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick here with me, talking about investing finance and retirement. From their office, their PFG Private Wealth in Tampa Bay guys, what's going on? How are you this week, John?

John: I'm good. How are you doing?

Speaker 1: I'm hanging in there. Amidst the goofiness of the world, I'm doing all right. How about you, Nick? You doing okay?

Nick: Yep, yep. Pretty good. We finished up the retirement classes that we teach recently, so just meeting with a lot of people after that class.

Speaker 1: Okay. Those went pretty well?

Nick: Yeah. Yeah, always good. Always fun.

Speaker 1: Okay, well, very good. Listen, I got a little bit of a kind of a class idea for us to run through here. I wanted to talk this week about IRAs, really just an IRA 101, if you will, and then we'll follow it up with our next podcast coming up after this one. We'll follow up with the Roth side of the coin. Let's jump into here just a little bit and talk about this and get rocking and rolling. Just do us a favor. Just assume that we don't all have the same knowledge base. What is an IRA? Give us just a quick 101 on that.

John: So yeah, good question. Especially with a tax season coming up, because I know a lot of people when they're doing their taxes, and whether it's TurboTax or working with an accountant, at the end of it it says you might want contribute to an IRA and maybe save some taxes this year. Or maybe get [inaudible 00:01:22] taxable income down the road. But you brought this topic up. So when I raise an individual retirement account on the personal side, a lot of people have their employer sponsored plans, but the IRA is for the individual. Really, there's a lot of tax benefits to it to provide for saving for retirement. One of the biggest questions that Nick and I get, or I guess assumptions, is that most people think an IRA is an actual investment, and it's really not. I explain it as imagine a tax shell, a tax shell you can invest in a lot of different things, and you have some tax benefits within the shell.

Speaker 1: Okay. So it's like a turtle shell, if you want to look out that way. It's a wrapper really, right? So it's what your Snicker bar comes in. It's the wrapper. Then inside there you can put all sorts of different stuff. So who can contribute to IRAs?

John: Well, there's two main types, and Nick will jump into that. But there's your traditional IRA and then a Roth IRA.

Speaker 1: Okay.

Nick: From the standpoint of how those break down, how those work, we're going to focus on traditional IRAs today. The number one determination on whether or not you can contribute to an IRA is if there is earned income in the household. So if it's a single person household, they have to have earned income. That does not include pension income, social security income, rental income. It's earned income. You receive some sort of wage for doing a job. So that's the first rule. You can contribute for 2019 and for 2020 essentially, if you're under 50, you can contribute $6,000. If you're over 50, you can take part in what's called a catch-up, which is an additional $1,000 for a total of $7,000.

Nick: So as an example, let say that it's a two-person household. One person is working, one person is not, and the person that's working has a least $14,000 of income. Then as long as they satisfy a couple other rules that we'll talk about, they can make a contribution for themself for the $7,000 and for the spouse for the $7,000. So earned income doesn't have to be for both people. It has to be for one, and then the amount ties in the amount of earned income.

Speaker 1: Oh, okay.

John: One thing to jump into that, and I've seen some people, not our clients, but others, make some mistakes where they think that, we talked about the two different kinds, traditional and Roth, where they think they can make, let's say, $7,000 into one and $7,000 in the other. It's actually $7,000 total between the two of them.

Speaker 1: Oh, that's a good point. Yeah. So, okay, so those are good to know. Whenever you're talking about just the contribution, the base set up of them. So let's stick with the traditional IRA and talk about it. What are some key things to think about like as an investment vehicle, as a machine here? These are pre-taxed, right?

Nick: Yeah. When we talk about, and this is where the confusion really sets in for many people, when we talk about traditional IRAs, we really like to have conversations with people to make sure that they understand that there can be both a tax deductible or pretax traditional IRA, and there can be non-deductible traditional IRAs. So the logistics are dependent upon, really, a couple of different things whether or not they're active in an employer's plan. Then there are income limits that will determine whether or not somebody can participate in the tax deductible side of a traditional IRA. So that can be a little confusing. We usually have people consult with their tax prepare or and/or their software so that they can fully understand.

Nick: But part of the reason that we bring that up is a real-world scenario is, what [inaudible 00:05:17] this client, worked at a company for 10 years, and she contributed to the 401k on a pretax basis. She left the company, rolled her 401k into a rollover IRA, and she's no longer working, but her spouse is working and wants to make IRA contributions for them. But he has a plan at work and makes too much money. They might have to do a non-deductible IRA. So usually what we will tell them to do is to open a second IRA, and when they make the contribution, they're going to account for it on their taxes as they made it. They're not going to deduct it. So we try not to commingle those dollars together. So a nondeductible IRA, we would like you to be separate from a rollover IRA. Otherwise, they have to keep track of the cost basis and their tax basis on nondeductible proportion commingled, and we're really just [inaudible 00:06:16] nightmare.

John: Yeah, that's never fun to try and keep track of and never easy. One thing with with the pretax, just give an example of what that means is, let's say someone's taxable income in a given year is $100,000, and doing their taxes, it says, you might want to make a deductible contribution to an IRA. If they were to put $5,000 into the IRA, their taxable income for that given year would be $95,000. So that's where people look at the pretax as a benefit versus a nondeductible. That same example, $100,000 of income, you put $5,000 into a nondeductible IRA, your taxable income stays at that $100,000.

Speaker 1: Okay. So what are the factors that determine if it's deductible or not?

Nick: The answer is that it's fairly complicated. The first factor is, if we talk about an individual, they're going to look at do you have a plan at work that you're able to contribute to? So that's the first test. The second test is an income test. The tricky part with the income test is that there is a test for your income, and then there's also tests for household income. So usually we revert to the charts and advisors. We work together with the tax preparers to help make sure that we're in compliance with all of the rules. It should be much less complicated than it actually is. But it's really, honestly, a pain. I will say that if you do not have a plan at work that you can contribute to, your ability to contribute in [inaudible 00:07:56] to an IRA, a traditional IRA is much easier.

Speaker 1: Okay. Gotcha. All right. So if that's some of the determining factors in there, what are some other important things for us to take away from a traditional IRA standpoint?

John: Yeah, one of the biggest benefits to investing in an IRA versus, let's say, outside of it, is and if the account grows tax-deferred. So let's say you had money outside of an IRA and you get some growth on it, I say typically, because nothing's ever absolute. But you can really get it [inaudible 00:08:28] every single year and the gains and the dividends and things like that. Within the IRA shell, going back to that, it just continues to grow tax-deferred. So really help the compounding growth of it.

Speaker 1: Okay. So when we're talking about some of these important pieces and the different things with the traditional, what are some other, I know a lot of times we know that it's the 59 and a half, right? All that kind of stuff. Give us some other things to think about just so that we're aware of the gist of it. Now, there was some changes to the Secure Act, which also makes them some of these numbers a little bit different now. The 59 and a half is still there, but now it's gone from 70 and a half to 72, right?

John: Yeah. With good things like tax deferral and pre-tax, we do have some nice rules that the IRS/government basically hands down to us. One of them is as far as access to the account, you cannot fully access the account without any penalties until 59 and a half. After you're 59 and a half, you do get access to your account. If you access it before that, there is a 10% penalty on top of a whatever you draw. So that's basically deter to pull out early. There are some special circumstances as far as pulling out before 59 and a half, which could be any type of hardships financially, health wise, and also first time home purchases. We get that quite a bit sometimes where people say, I'm looking to buy a house and I want to go ahead and pull out of my IRA. Can I do so and avoid the penalty? The answer is yes, up to $10,000.

John: Some of the changes with the Secure Act where they used to be after 70 and a half, you can no longer contribute to an IRA, even if you have earned income. That's actually gone, which is a nice feature when we're doing planning for clients above 70 and a half, where we can now make a deductible contribution to an IRA, where before we couldn't. Nick's the expert in RMD, so he can jump in and take that.

Nick: One of the biggest things to keep in mind from the standpoint of traditional IRAs are that they do have required minimum distributions. The good thing is that those required minimum distributions are now required at age 72 versus 70 and a half. So that makes things a little bit easier for people. And again, that's kind of a big differentiator from the standpoint of a Roth IRA does not have an RMD, a traditional IRA does have an RMD.

Speaker 1: Right, and with the RMDs, it's money that basically the government says, we're tired of waiting. Where's our tax revenue? Is there any basic things there just to think about when we're thinking about having to pull this out? Is there a figure attached to it?

Nick: I would say we try to give people an idea, because sometimes there's uncertainty on any sort of concept of how much they have to take out. But on average it's about 3.6% in the first year. I would say though, that probably one of the biggest, or I should say one of the most misunderstood portions about it are that the RMD amount that has to come out, it's based on the prior years and balance of all of the pretax accounts. So you may have multiple accounts, you don't have to take an RMD out of each account. You just need to make sure that you take out the amount that is due, and you have the ability to be able to pick which account you want to take that out of, which really, at first thought that can seem more complicated. But if you're working with somebody it helps increase the ability to strategize and ladder your investments and use a bucket strategy where you can use short-term, mid-term, long-term strategies on your money, and have a little bit more flexibility on which account you're going to take money out of when.

John: To jump on that, we went through that paycheck series when we talked about having a long-term bucket, and in some strategies that's where by being able to choose what IRA you draw from, you can just let that long-term bucket just continue to build up and not worrying about pulling out of it.

Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. All right. So that gives us a good rundown, I think, through the traditional side of it, and gives us some basic class, if you will, on what these are. Of course, as the guys mentioned, they teach classes all the time. So if there's things you want to learn more about the IRA, the traditional IRA, and how you might be able to be using it or better using it as part of an investment vehicle, then always reach out to the team and have a conversation about that specifically. Because again, we just covered some basics and general things that apply to just about everybody here. But when you want to see how it works for your situation specifically, you always have to have those conversations one-on-one. So reach out to them, let them know if you want to chat about the traditional IRA, or how you can better use the vehicle, or change, or whatever it is that you're looking to do.

Speaker 1: (813) 286-7776 is the number you call to have a conversation with them. You simply let them know that you want to come in. They'll get you scheduled and set up for a time that works well for you. That's (813) 286-7776. They are financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth in the Tampa Bay area. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, whatever platform of choice you like to use. You can simply download the app onto your smartphone and search Retirement Planning Redefined on the app for the podcast. Or you could just simply go to their website at pfgprivatewealth.com. That's pfgprivatewealth.com. Guys, thanks for spending a few minutes with me this week talking about IRAs. So let's, next podcast, talk about the Roth side. We'll flip over to the cousins, okay?

John: One more thing I want to mention before we go is withdrawing from the accounts of, let's say someone goes to retire above 59 and a half, and it's time to really start using this money as income. So it's just important to understand that whatever amount that you withdraw out of the IRA, assuming everything was pre-tax that went into it, it adds to your taxable income. So for example, if someone's pulling $50,000 out of their IRA, their taxable income goes up by $50,000 in a given year. So we just want to point that out, because as people are putting money into it, we sometimes do get questions of, when I take it out am I actually taxed on this, the answer is yes, if it was pretax put into it.

Speaker 1: Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, great point. Thanks for bringing that up as well. So I appreciate that. And again, folks, the nice thing about a podcast is you can always pause it, and you can always rewind it, replay it. If you're learning, trying to learn something useful, or get a new nugget of information here, that's a great thing about it. That's also why subscribing is fantastic. You can hear new episodes that come out, as well as go back and check on something that you were thinking about, and that way when you come to have that conversation, you can say, listen, I want to understand more about how withdrawals with my traditional IRA is going to affect me, or whatever your question might be. So again, guys, thanks for your time this week. I'll let you get back to work and we'll talk again soon.

John: Thanks.

Nick: Thanks.

Speaker 1: We'll catch you next time here, folks, on the podcast. Again, go subscribe. We'd appreciate it on Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth.