4 Reasons Why We’re Excited that Retire Secure! is Interactive on the Web!

If you haven’t made your way to www.langeretirementbook.com yet, now is the time!

Here at the Lange Financial Group, LLC, we are very excited to bring you an interactive version of Retire Secure! A Guide to Getting the Most Out of What You’ve Got.

Reason #1 – The entire book is on this website. Yes, all 420 pages of the book, including the front and back covers, all about the best strategies for retirement and estate planning.

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Reason #2 – The book is divided into chapters for ease of reading. Meaning, you don’t have to flip through 400-some pages to get to Chapter 11 – The Best Ways to Transfer Wealth and Cut Taxes for the Next Generation.

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Reason #3 – We honestly haven’t seen anything like this before. Granted, I’ve read magazines on viewers where you can flip the pages as you read. But not a website for a book that includes a viewer, as well as a forum where readers can engage with each other.

The comments are moderated by the Lange Financial Group, LLC staff and myself. One of us will reply to your comment as soon as we can. To leave a comment, all you need to do is connect with your Amazon, Facebook, or LinkedIn account. This measure is for your protection, as well as ours. We don’t want spammers posting comments or incorrect information about such an important topic.

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Reason #4 – We are hoping this interactive website encourages you to purchase the book! Retire Secure! is available from Amazon and JamesLange.com. Once you’ve read the book, feel free to return to LangeRetirementBook.com to ask questions, as well as Amazon and Goodreads to review the book for the benefit of others.

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Is It a Good Idea to Roll Over Your 401K to a Traditional or Roth IRA?

Earlier this year, President Obama announced that he wants to create new rules that give financial advisors a “fiduciary” status under the law. I welcome this wholeheartedly because a fiduciary is required to always put his clients’ interests ahead of his own. This means that a financial advisor cannot make investment recommendations based on the commission they would receive from the investment, and that they must first consider the benefits that would be received by their client. As a fee-based advisor I have always served as a fiduciary to my clients and believe that it is an immensely important role.

I find it sad that we have to pass laws to make sure that the client’s interests are protected, but think that the President is on the right track with this one. More often than not, I hear of financial advisors who are only looking for a commission telling retirees that there’s no reason to not roll their old retirement plans to an IRA. That is simply not true and, in fact, there are circumstances where a retiree will be well served by keeping all or part of his or her retirement money in the original work plan.

These scenariosare discussed in detail in Chapter 6 of the new edition of Retire Secure! If you’ve wondered if rollingyour old 401(k) to an IRA is a good idea, you may very well find that you could save yourself from making a terrible financial decision by weighing all the potential advantages and disadvantages.

Many work plans give employees the opportunity to contribute to both pre-tax and after-tax accounts. If you ultimately decide that rolling your 401(k) to an IRA is the best course of action, you should make sure that you read Chapter 6 to educate yourself about the brand new IRS ruling that applies to your after-tax contributions. This ruling gives retirees an unprecedented opportunity to roll part of your 401(k) to a Roth IRA and, if done properly, the transaction will be completely tax free.

Check back soon for the latest information on Roth conversions!

Thanks for Reading!

Jim

Jim Lange A nationally recognized IRA, Roth IRA conversion, and 401(k) expert, he is a regular speaker to both consumers and professional organizations. Jim is the creator of the Lange Cascading Beneficiary Plan™, a benchmark in retirement planning with the flexibility and control it offers the surviving spouse, and the founder of The Roth IRA Institute, created to train and educate financial advisors.

Jim’s strategies have been endorsed by The Wall Street Journal (33 times), Newsweek, Money Magazine, Smart Money, Reader’s Digest, Bottom Line, and Kiplinger’s. His articles have appeared in Bottom Line, Trusts and Estates Magazine, Financial Planning, The Tax Adviser, Journal of Retirement Planning, and The Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine.

Jim is the best-selling author of Retire Secure! (Wiley, 2006 and 2009), endorsed by Charles Schwab, Larry King, Ed Slott, Jane Bryant Quinn, Roger Ibbotson and The Roth Revolution, Pay Taxes Once and Never Again endorsed by Ed Slott, Natalie Choate and Bob Keebler.

If you’d like to be reminded as to when the book is coming out please fill out the form below.

Thank you.

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Retire Secure! Third Edition: The Rate of Return You Earn Makes a Big Difference

Retire Secure A Guide to Getting the Most Out of What You've Got, James Lange 2015

I love it when clients give me feedback, good or otherwise. When I wrote the second edition of Retire Secure!, I got a lot of complaints about the fact that our calculations assumed an investment rate of return of 8%. Our more conservative clients told me that 8% was just not realistic for them, and that our numbers must therefore be inaccurate.

Chapter 1 compares the difference between saving in pre-tax and after-tax accounts, but in order to keep those conservative clients happy, the assumed rate of return has been lowered to 6%. As expected, the difference in the two accounts was not quite as dramatic as when we used an 8% rate of return, but the results showed that it is still better to save using a pre-tax account. Then we looked at the significant reduction in the wealth accumulated by both savers and, being the number crunchers that we are, we said, “What do they have to do in order to get that wealth back?” The answer was to increase the amount contributed to the account each year and the rate of return you earn makes a big difference over the long term.

Do you want to teach your children and grandchildren the benefits of starting to save early in their lives? We introduce two new types of retirement savings plans that make it possible for low-income taxpayers such as students to contribute to a retirement account that has no fees and very low minimum contributions. There is also a new section devoted to a discussion on the growing trend of using loans against retirement plans to pay for expenses such as college education. It must be okay because it’s your own money, right? Read Chapter 1 to learn the pros and cons of this strategy.

Have you been seeing the term “underfunded pension plan” a lot lately? If you haven’t, you might want to Google that term and look at what comes up. The number of underfunded pension plans in this country has reached an alarming level, and, even if you are eligible for benefits under such a plan, you might want to consider establishing a back-up plan. Chapter 1 addresses this problem.

Check back soon, and I’ll give you can idea of what you can expect in Chapter 2!

Thanks,

Jim

Jim Lange A nationally recognized IRA, Roth IRA conversion, and 401(k) expert, he is a regular speaker to both consumers and professional organizations. Jim is the creator of the Lange Cascading Beneficiary Plan™, a benchmark in retirement planning with the flexibility and control it offers the surviving spouse, and the founder of The Roth IRA Institute, created to train and educate financial advisors.

Jim’s strategies have been endorsed by The Wall Street Journal (33 times), Newsweek, Money Magazine, Smart Money, Reader’s Digest, Bottom Line, and Kiplinger’s. His articles have appeared in Bottom Line, Trusts and Estates Magazine, Financial Planning, The Tax Adviser, Journal of Retirement Planning, and The Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine.

Jim is the best-selling author of Retire Secure! (Wiley, 2006 and 2009), endorsed by Charles Schwab, Larry King, Ed Slott, Jane Bryant Quinn, Roger Ibbotson and The Roth Revolution, Pay Taxes Once and Never Again endorsed by Ed Slott, Natalie Choate and Bob Keebler.

If you’d like to be reminded as to when the book is coming out please fill out the form below.

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Retire Secure Third Edition Coming Soon!

Retire Secure! Third Edition, A Guide To Making The Most Out Of What You've Got, James LangeNow more than ever, one question plagues millions of Americans approaching or already in retirement, “Will my money last as long as I do?”

While no one can answer these questions with complete certainty, you can do three things to significantly improve your odds—develop an appropriate portfolio, cut your taxes, and take advantage of strategies that will improve your retirement income like Social Security benefit maximization combined with timely Roth IRA conversions.

Retire Secure Third Edition

Due for release in a couple of short months this edition explains how you can use IRAs, retirement plans, Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s, Roth IRA conversions, and Social Security techniques like “Apply & Suspend” as well as other tax-favored strategies to let Uncle Sam subsidize your retirement and your family’s lifestyle for the remainder of you and your spouse’s life, and perhaps beyond.
The information and examples in this Third Edition of Retire Secure! draws from the more than thirty years’ experience James Lange has as a practicing CPA. Lange provides critical advice for all stages of IRA and retirement plan savings and distribution, covering the best strategies to accumulate wealth while you are still working as well as the best strategies to spend your IRAs and retirement plans once you are retired and doing your legacy planning. Lange explains how to maximize tax-deferred savings during the accumulation phase and reveals the most tax-efficient ways to withdrawal money from your account during retirement.

Read this upcoming book and make the most out of what you’ve got for your retirement and your family’s future security.

Jim LangeA nationally recognized IRA, Roth IRA conversion, and 401(k) expert, he is a regular speaker to both consumers and professional organizations. Jim is the creator of the Lange Cascading Beneficiary Plan™, a benchmark in retirement planning with the flexibility and control it offers the surviving spouse, and the founder of The Roth IRA Institute, created to train ad educate financial advisors.

Jim’s strategies have been endorsed by The Wall Street Journal (33 times), Newsweek, Money Magazine, Smart Money, Reader’s Digest, Bottom Line, and Kiplinger’s. His articles have appeared in Bottom Line, Trusts and Estates Magazine, Financial Planning, The Tax Adviser, Journal of Retirement Planning, and The Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine.

Jim is the best-selling author of Retire Secure! (Wiley, 2006 and 2009), endorsed by Charles Schwab, Larry King, Ed Slott, Jane Bryant Quinn, Roger Ibbotson and The Roth Revolution, Pay Taxes Once and Never Again endorsed by Ed Slott, Natalie Choate and Bob Keebler.

More information to come on the next blog post. Stay tuned!

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One Key to Financial Planning… a Roth IRA Conversion

Roth IRA Conversion, James Lange, Lange Financial Group, LLCIf you’re approaching retirement, you might want to consider a Roth IRA conversion. A recent change to tax laws allows for the conversion to Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b)s to gain enhanced benefits. For one, the changes made in 2010 have no income cap for Roth IRA accounts. Previously, only incomes of $100,000 were eligible for conversion.

If you’re still not sure, consider these factors that can help lead your family to financial stability.

For the most part, Roth IRAs grow incometax free. Additionally, owners are not required to take distributions at age 70 ½. Roth IRAs grow continuously as long as you or your grandchildren own it; whereas, regular IRAs are tax-deferred. The growth and investment are both taxed when money is withdrawn.

With the income cap of $100,000 gone, the Roth IRA becomes all the more appealing for retirees. At least a partial conversion is recommended, though the converted amount will require tax payment. However, as long as the conversion is strategic, your family can reap the long-term benefits. For example, converting $100,000 today can put you over $51,000 ahead in the next
20 years.

If tax rates increase, the conversion to Roth IRA sees the benefits, because conversion at a lower tax can help cut back taxable income as rates increase. While you’re planning a financial future for your loved ones, keep in mind that your living will and trust don’t necessarily establish who will inherit your IRAs, Roth IRAs, and retirement plans. Specify your IRA and retirement plan beneficiaries. For those still unconvinced, Lange Financial Group makes a limited number of free consultations available to Western PA residents. Because each case is different, it’s important to run the numbers on a case-by-case basis to find a solution that best fits you. If you want to further discuss the benefits of Roth IRA conversions, call Alice Davis, our Client Services Coordinator, at 412-521-2732 to schedule an appointment.

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Backdoor Roth IRAs: How Does the Backdoor Roth IRA Conversion Work?

The backdoor Roth conversion consists of two simple steps:

1)      You make a nondeductible contribution to your traditional IRA.

2)      Within a couple of days you convert this IRA into a Roth IRA (potentially paying little to no taxes on the conversion).

There’s one big caveat: This strategy works best tax-wise for people who don’t already have money in traditional IRAs. That’s because in conversions, earnings and previously untaxed contributions in traditional IRAs are taxed—and that tax is figured based on all your traditional IRAs, even ones you aren’t converting.

For an investor who doesn’t already hold any traditional IRAs, creating one and then quickly converting it into a Roth IRA will incur little or no tax, because after a short holding period there’s likely to be little or no appreciation or interest earned in the account.  However, if you already have money in traditional deductible IRAs, you could face a far higher tax bill on the conversion.

If you choose to, you can contribute to a non-deductible IRA for 2014 (the maximum is $5,500 or $6,500 for those age 50 or older). Remember, you must contribute to your IRAs prior to the April 15 2015 tax deadline. This non-deductible IRA can then be used for your backdoor Roth IRA conversion (please call us prior to doing so because the rules for Roth conversions can be complicated).

Want to learn more? Give us a call at 412-521-2732.

Examples of a Backdoor Roth IRA coming soon.

– James Lange

Backdoor Roth IRAs: A Potential Way for High Income Earners to Participate

The traditional contribution (“front door”) for Roth IRAs is currently not available for higher income earners. Married couples earning $191,000 or more and singles earning $129,000 or more in 2014 are still barred from contributing directly to Roth IRAs.

In 2010, Congress changed the rules and since then anyone can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. However, higher income earners are still ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA.

A Backdoor Roth IRA is a strategy for some higher income earners to participate in Roth IRAs.  It is a way for higher income earners to put money into a traditional IRA and then roll that into a Roth IRA, getting all the benefits.  While this strategy sounds simple, there are several rules that you must know and follow to make sure you do not incur unintended tax consequences.  This is where working with a knowledgeable financial or tax professional can provide some great guidance and value.

One of the primary benefits of a Roth IRA is that any money contributed grows tax-free and is withdrawn without any further income taxation. In addition, unlike a traditional IRA, Roth IRAs have no required lifetime minimum distributions. Another benefit of a Roth IRA is it can be passed on to your heirs income tax free. This allows your funds to grow and compound tax free over many years.

Want to learn more? Give us a call at 412-521-2732.

More on this subject in the coming weeks.

– James Lange

Tomorrow’s Radio Show: Supporting the Four Corners of your Financial House

Join us tomorrow evening at 7:05 pm on KQV 1410 AM. Program also streams live at www.kqv.com. Encore presentations air EVERY SUNDAY at 9:05 am.

Most people recognize that proper asset allocation is essential to the long-term financial success of their retirement planning, but too many investors fail to consider all the factors of their situation.

For perspectives on making sure all four corners of your financial house are supported with leading edge solutions, tune in tomorrow evening, Wednesday, June 18th, at 7:05 p.m. when The Lange Money Hour welcomes P.J. DiNuzzo, CPA, PFS®, AIF®, MBA, MSTx back to the show.

A nationally recognized expert in investment management, P.J. has been featured in numerous business publications and TV shows. Approved as one of the first 100 Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), he is rated a 5-Star Advisor by Paladin Registry/Investor WatchDog, ranking in the top 1% of America’s more than 800,000 investment advisors. Based in the Pittsburgh area, his firm, DiNuzzo Index Advisors, also consistently ranks among the county’s top 500 investment companies.

Among other topics, Jim and P.J. will discuss are the “Advisor Alpha” and the benefits of “one stop shopping.”

Since tomorrow’s show will be live, you can join the conversation by calling the KQV studios at 412-333-9385 after 7:05 p.m. Email questions in advance by clicking here.

In addition to being broadcast at KQV 1410 AM, the show will be simultaneously live-streamed at www.kqv.com.  KQV will also rebroadcast the show this Sunday, June 22nd, at 9:05 a.m. The audio will also be archived on our web site at www.paytaxeslater.com/radioshow.php, along with a written transcript.

Finally mark your calendar for Wednesday, July 2nd at 7:05 p.m., when Jim will welcome back Larry Kotlikoff, a nationally recognized Social Security expert, to the next new edition of The Lange Money Hour.

 

The Hazards of Naming Different Beneficiaries for Different Accounts

It is quite common in my practice for clients to say they want one particular account to go to one beneficiary and a different account to another beneficiary. The accounts might reflect the relative proportionate value that the client wants each of the different beneficiaries to receive, but I think this can turn into a nightmare.

• You will have a terrible time trying to keep track of the different
distribution schedules.

• As the different investments go up or down, the amount going to the different heirs would also go up and down, which is probably not the intent.

• A beneficiary designation may say, “ I leave my Vanguard account to beneficiary B and my Schwab account to beneficiary A. ” If during your lifetime you switch or transfer money from Vanguard to Schwab, you have, in effect, changed who is going to get what, and that may not be your intention.

In general, I prefer one master beneficiary designation for all IRAs, retirement plans, 403(b)s, 401(k)s, and the like. In it I describe distributions as I would in a will or irrevocable or revocable trust. That way, we can avoid mistakes and simplify estate administration after the retirement plan owner dies.

I recognize that, for investment purposes, people use different accounts for different beneficiaries. For example, you might treat the investments of a grandchild beneficiary differently from those of a child or spouse. Under those circumstances I would be willing to bend and accept different beneficiaries for different accounts.

The one area where it might make sense to direct certain money to particular beneficiaries is FDIC insured deposits. At press time, the amount that the FDIC would insure rose from $ 100,000 to $ 250,000 through 2009. Assuming the money is outside the IRA (there are different protections for IRAs) one way to get more FDIC insurance is to have different beneficiaries with different paid on death designations. If you are a parent with four kids and you have four $ 250,000 CDs, you can do a pod account for each child and have the entire amount federally guaranteed. If the money was in an IRA, you are also insured up to $ 250,000 but you can ’ t get additional coverage by naming additional beneficiaries.

Retire Secure! Pay Taxes Later – The Key to Making Your Money Last, 2nd Edition, James Lange, page. 271-272 https://www.paytaxeslater.com/

New Tax Law Creates Enormous Opportunities for Millions of Employees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: JAMES LANGE, CPA
OFFICE: 412.521.2732

September 27, 2010 – The President signed a new law, effective immediately, that has an enormous impact on millions of retirement plan owners.

The new law will allow employees to convert all, or a portion, of their traditional 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan to a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b). The law is actually part of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act which has implications for small businesses, but this little known provision also has a profound impact on employees with these retirement plans who will want to make a Roth conversion.

This bill would allow 401(k), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) employees to convert their pre-tax account balances into Roth designated accounts, which is the official title for a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b). A Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b) will enjoy income tax-free growth for the lives of the plan owner, spouse, children and grandchildren. The amount of the conversion, however, would be considered taxable income. If an employer has an existing 401(k) or 403(b) plan, employees could immediately make the conversion to either a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b).

This new legislation will be extremely important to people who are still working and have substantial wealth in their employer retirement plan as it will essentially allow them to convert their traditional 401(k) or 403(b) to a Roth designated account that would still be part of their employer retirement plan. Previously, if an employee’s retirement plan was tied up in a 401(k), they would not have been eligible to make a Roth conversion while they were still working. Now, if employers have Roth designated accounts, employees can make a Roth conversion of whatever amount they wish.

Since tax rates are expected to go up in 2011, at least for upper income taxpayers, it will definitely be to their advantage to make a conversion to a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b) in 2010 while they can still pay a lower tax on the conversion.

One strategy that would be highly beneficial for middle income taxpayers who are still employed and have limited access to their retirement plan is that they will be able to make a partial conversion of their 401(k) to a Roth 401(k), since it might be too aggressive for them to convert their entire 401(k) and pay income taxes on that conversion. An even better long-term strategy for this middle income group is a series of multiple, partial conversions over a period of years of the pre-tax dollars in a 401(k) to the Roth designated account in the 401(k). Conversely, if a person is a high income employee or will likely always be in the top tax bracket, they should consider a much more substantial Roth conversion.

Another huge benefit of this law is that these new Roth designated accounts will enjoy excellent creditor protection since, for the most part, 401(k) and other retirement plans are controlled by a federal law called ERISA which offers better creditor protection than ordinary IRAs or even Roth IRAs. A good example of this is OJ Simpson, who is collecting substantial income while he is in jail because the judgments against him could not penetrate the ERISA creditor protection on his retirement plan.

Obviously, the law only covers employees who have access to Roth designated accounts at work, but it would be to an employer’s advantage