You probably know that the IRS requires you to start taking mandatory distributions from your IRA when you turn 70 1/2, even if you don’t actually need the money. But can you do a Roth conversion at that late date, and thereby defer distributions forever?
In case you missed it, the contribution limits to your 401(k) plan, IRA and Roth IRA—set by the government each year based on the inflation rate—will not go up in 2017. Just like this year, you will be able to defer up to $18,000 of your paycheck to your 401(k), and individuals over age 50 will still be able to make a “catch-up” contribution of an additional $6,000. (The same limits apply to 403(b) plans and the federal government’s new Thrift Savings Plan.) Your IRA and Roth IRA contributions will continue to max out at $5,500, plus a $1,000 “catch-up” contribution for persons 50 or older.
By now, most voters have made up their mind about who they want to serve as their next President. But what can they look forward to, from an investment and tax standpoint, if their candidate wins or loses? How will the election affect their portfolio and future net worth?
If you think taxes are higher than their historical rates, well, it depends on how far back in history you’re comparing them to. Take a look at the accompanying chart, which shows tax revenue as a percent of total national income for four countries—France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.—since 1868. The chart ends in 2008, and is taken from research by tax policy analyst Thomas Piketty.
You can go to Las Vegas and bet on the U.S. election, or make a side bet with your friends. Or you can buy an ETF.
What is a dollar worth?
If you answered that it’s worth a dollar, you must be living in Illinois. A research report by U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the prices for a particular basket of goods and services—food, transportation, housing and education—are higher in some states than others. Illinois came in at almost exactly the average; a $100 bill will buy $100.70 worth of the items. People living in the District of Columbia, the nation’s most expensive area, would have to pay, on average, $118.10 for the same basket of items.
The world of money market funds changed forever back in 2008, when an investment vehicle called the Reserve Primary Fund loaded up on loan obligations backed by Lehman Brothers. Lehman famously went under, and the fund “broke the buck,” meaning that when Lehman was unable to pay back its loans, the value of a share of the Reserve Primary Fund dipped under $1.