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1
Recharacterizing a Roth Conversion
2
Expanding the Need For a Fudiciary Standard
3
Financial Regulatory Reform Likely Not Enough
4
What To Do About Current Economic Turmoil
5
What If I’ve Failed To Plan For Retirement?

Recharacterizing a Roth Conversion

When a traditional IRA is converted into a Roth account, the transaction is treated as a taxable distribution from the traditional IRA, followed by a contribution of the distributed amount to a Roth IRA. Such a conversion triggers an income-tax bill based on the traditional IRA’s value on the conversion date.

If a conversion took place in early 2008, the resulting Roth IRA is now most likely worth considerably less than than it was on the conversion date. However, the tax bill is based on the value of the assets when the conversion took place, which means a tax liability …

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Expanding the Need For a Fudiciary Standard

Yesterday I noted that the Treasury Department has posted the Obama administration’s proposals for financial regulatory reform. In the midst of all the information that’s there, I missed an important detail. The administration’s white paper, Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation, calls for the fiduciary standard to be applied to broker-dealers. This would be a landmark change from current practice.

Page fifteen of the report states that “The SEC should be given new tools to increase fairness for investors by establishing a fiduciary duty for broker-dealers offering investment advice and harmonizing the regulation of investment advisers and broker-dealers.” Back …

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Financial Regulatory Reform Likely Not Enough

At the height of the credit market crisis last year, there were loud calls for dramatic changes in the regulation of financial institutions. Now that the sturm und drang has ceased, the reforms that will be realized will be much tamer.

Today the Treasury Department released a small torrent of information on the proposed changes to the financial regulatory landscape.  Although there are some helpful reforms, overall it isn’t the sort of sweeping, Rooseveltian change that felt like it might be in the offing six months ago.  Presumably, the proposal has been made less radical to help it slip …

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What To Do About Current Economic Turmoil

I generally don’t like to watch many of the financial news networks.  For my tastes, they tend to focus a bit too much on the exciting short play and not quite enough on prudent long term personal financial issues.  But late last week I couldn’t help but overhear a commentator (who’s name I unfortunately missed – I’d like to write him a fan letter) say that the current market is being fueled by fear, not facts.  Bravo!

Let’s look at a non-financial example of how this works.  Think of some of the tragic injuries and deaths associated with fires.  A …

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What If I’ve Failed To Plan For Retirement?

The most common retirement planning mistake is a sin of omission: often, people just don’t make a plan, perhaps because thinking about doing it is overwhelming. A recent Bankrate, Inc. poll showed that only 28 percent of respondents expect to be able to retire comfortably. In last year’s version of the poll, 44% of those polled indicated that they were saving 5% or less of their gross income for retirement. This year’s stock market collapse and depressed economy will be especially punishing to those close to retirement who were under-prepared.

The National Endowment for Financial Education has created

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