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2019 IRS Limits Affecting Qualified Plans and IRA’s

IRS Limit Changes

Do you have a retirement or pension plan established for your company? Are you part of your employer’s retirement plan? Do you contribute to an IRA? Do you pay into the social security system? Chances are, unless you are retired, you answered yes to at least one of these questions and you will want to know about changes taking place in 2019.

On an annual basis the IRS will review changes in the Consumer Price Index and make adjustments to the amount that can be contributed to qualified plans, individual retirement accounts, the income limitations for contributing, as well as social security taxable wage base.

On November 1, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost-of-living adjustments, based on changes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for the 2019 tax year. Many of the pension plan limits are increasing for the 2019 plan year due to Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases.

We are providing you with an overview of the updates to the 2019 IRS limits and how they will change from 2018. You can find a complete overview of the changes by visiting the IRS Notice 2018-83.

 2019 IRS Limits Affecting Qualified Plans & IRA's

PLAN LIMITS

2019

2018

Traditional/Roth IRA Limit

$6,000

$5,500

Traditional/Roth IRA Catch-Up Contribution Limit

$1,000

$1,000

SIMPLE Maximum Annual Elective Deferral Limit

$13,000

$12,500

SIMPLE 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA Catch-Up Contribution Limit

$3,000

$3,000

401(k)/403(b) Elective Deferral Limit

$19,000

$18,500

401(k)/403(b)/Catch-up Limit

$6,000

$6,000

Defined Benefit Plan Dollar Limit

$225,000

$220,000

Defined Contribution Plan Limit

$56,000

$55,000

Annual Compensation Limit

$280,000

$275,000

Highly-Compensated Employee Limit

$125,000

(HCEs in 2020)

$120,000

(HCEs in 2019)

Key Employee Officer Limit

$180,000

$175,000

Social Security Taxable Wage Base

$132,900

$128,400

 

We have some key takeaways that should be reviewed. You may benefit by increasing your contributions for 2019.

  • The Traditional and Roth IRA deferral limits have been increased to $6,000. Be sure to contact your advisor if you are contributing to your account on a periodic basis. You may need to adjust those amounts to coincide with the new limits in order to max out the contribution. The increase from $5,500 was the first time since 2013 that we have seen the contribution limit change.
  • There were no changes to the catch-up contributions for IRA’s, it remains at $1,000.
  • The 401(k) elective deferral limit was raised to $19,000. Be sure, if your intention is to max out, that you have the correct deferral percentage elected.
  • Keep in mind that catch-up contribution limits for employees 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal governments Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6000.
  • The SIMPLE maximum has been increased from $12,500 to $13,000.
  • Catch-up contribution limits for employees 50 and over who participate in a SIMPLE 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA remains unchanged at $3,000.
  • Those that maintain or participate in a Defined Contribution or Defined Benefit plan will want to be familiar with the new dollar, plan, annual compensation, highly compensated employee and key employee limits.
  • The social security wage base has been increased from $128,400 to $132,900. People who earn more than $128,400 will be contributing more to social security than they have in the past. Those beneath that threshold will not see any change in the coming year.

Be sure to discuss these changes with your financial professional and CPA. You may need to make some adjustments to your deferral strategy based upon the new limits released for 2019. It is important to make sure, especially if your intentions are to maximize your contributions, that you are contributing what you need to on an ongoing basis in order to max out your allowable contributions.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding these changes and how they may impact you. In addition, we would be happy to discuss the benefits of implementing a retirement plan for your business or a retirement account for you personally. Feel free to contact us, Mitlin Financial, at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 if you or someone you know needs assistance in this area.

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

5 Habits You Should Start in the New Year

5 Habits Checklist

 

The New Year is underway, the holidays are behind us, and your financial situation is stabilizing now that you have paid all the bills.  Now it is time to begin to think about how you are going to help your financial future.  The New Year is always a good time to start new habits- realize I did not say “make resolutions”.  As a firm, we find that people who make resolutions typically end up retreating on them within 1 to 8 weeks of making them.  Habits, however, once started and continued will become a part of your daily life, and they tend to stick around for the long term.  Depending on the person, habits may take 21 to 60 days to become a part of your daily life.

There are five habits you should start today that will help you in reaching and attaining both your short term and long term goals.

1) Create a Budget

Take stock of how much income you have coming into your household each month and what expenses your income is paying each month.  You can do this by simply putting pen to paper or utilizing an online tool that will track this for you.  Each month, review the expenses and see if there are items that can be reduced or eliminated.  For instance, you may have forgotten about automatic monthly payments set up for services you no longer use.  This will put you in a position to review each expense and make sure it is a necessary one for your household.  In addition, you will have an excellent view of whether or not you are cash flow positive (having more income than expenses each month) or cash flow negative (having more expenses than income each month).

2) Start and Maintain an Emergency Fund

Years ago, our parents and grandparents frequently spoke about saving money for a rainy day.  The modern day term is an emergency fund.  Depending on your employment status, whether you are an employee or own your own business, and your level of comfort will dictate what size emergency fund you should maintain.  Each person is different, and we have recommended anywhere between a 6 month to 18 month emergency fund for clients.  This is money that should be kept in a separate account from the account by which you pay your monthly bills.  This account should be liquid, meaning you can use the money on a moment’s notice if needed.  A savings or money market account will work well for these monies.  You will want to determine what size your emergency fund should be and begin to accumulate funds until you reach that amount.  Once you reach the desired amount you should only use these monies for an emergency.  Things that may warrant you tapping into these funds may be the loss of a job or income, unexpected home or car repair, or simply any unexpected expense.  After the emergency is paid for, you will want to replenish this account at your earliest convenience.

3) Pay Yourself First

Ideally you want to pay yourself first each time you get paid, and then learn to live on the monies that are left.  There are a few ways to pay yourself first depending on your type of employment.  As an employee, you will want to take part in your company’s 401(k) or retirement plan.  A small business owner or independent contractor may want to consider setting up a retirement plan if they do not have one.  The last option would be for those that do not have, or cannot set up, a retirement plan and they would have to use either an IRA or brokerage account.  A good target would be to try and pay yourself 10% of your pre-tax earnings if you are deferring to a retirement account, which is preferred.  You may need to adjust this a bit if you are contributing after tax.

4) Review Beneficiary Designations Annually

We all face critical financial and life events that will impact us during the course of a given year.  You certainly would not want your assets to end up going to beneficiaries which you did not intend them to go.  Beneficiary designations should be reviewed at least annually, or if you experience a major life event or change.  Examples of times that you would want to review these designations would be: the birth of a child or grandchild, marriage, divorce, death, disability, or job change.  Whether you are digital or analog, place a reminder on your calendar to review this each year.

5) Rebalance Your Portfolio Annually

Rebalancing is something you will want to make sure you review at least annually; whether you manage your portfolio yourself or use an advisor.  Typically rebalancing has a tendency to get forgotten when markets are going up because people tend to get complacent and think there may be no risk in waiting.  Rebalancing will help you maintain your portfolio allocation and risk with its intended targets.  You may recall back in the late 1990’s, when technology investments were booming, the technology bust.  There were many investors that saw their portfolios assets allocation change from 10% allocation to technology stocks to 70% in a relatively short period of time.  In many cases this large allocation to technology was a huge overweight, meaning more money was allocated to that sector than you initially intended.  This was great while those securities were doing well, but what these investors did not realize was the risk they were imposing on their assets.  When the technology sector busted they had 70% of their portfolio at risk instead of the original 10%.  Had they rebalanced along the way, a good deal for this risk could have been avoided.

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Beneficiary Designation Review

Beneficiary designations are an important, yet often overlooked, planning item that should be reviewed on a regular basis. Having the correct, and most up to date, beneficiaries named on your various accounts could mean the difference in having your assets going to the right people or the wrong ones.

Does It Matter When I Start Saving for Retirement? Yes, it does…

Save Early It Matters

 

Many investors are curious as to when they should begin to invest for their retirement. You will often hear people saying that you should start as early as possible, but what does that mean and how will that help? I wanted to take the opportunity to explain when you should begin saving, if you can, and what the effects can be if you do not.

We would recommend that you start saving for your retirement as soon as you have an income. Income does not necessarily mean a full time job. You could be receiving income as early as you are able to get your working papers. Starting this early will help instill a number of great values in our kids: it will expose our children to the fact that they need to plan for their future, the benefits of investing, tax deferred or tax free growth, and a discipline to live below their incomes. These are all great life lessons that some learn too late.

In order to outline this, let’s look at a real life example. Let’s assume that you have two children; Jane and John. Jane will begin to save at the age of 25, and John will begin at the age of 35. Jane and John will each begin to contribute $5500 per year from their beginning age until the age of 70 and invest it in a way that will compound at an annual rate of 6%. So what would Jane and John have accumulated by the age of 70? Jane’s account would be over $1,200,000 and John’s account would be just shy of $650,000.

This large difference is predominately due to John’s late start. He was affected by the fact that he was not able to contribute as much money and therefore lost the benefit of the extra 10 years of compounding. Both these concepts significantly impacted his long term balance. Jane would have contributed $247,500 over the 45 years she invested, and John invested $192,500 (a $55,000 difference). The key here is that starting early really benefitted Jane and will benefit you too.

Keep in mind that our example does not account for fees, taxes or inflation. I would also like to point out that the likelihood of receiving a 6% return every year is somewhat unlikely and it is more likely that you would have a different rate of return each year.

As you, your children, or grandchildren begin to work (even on a part time basis), be sure to have the conversation about having them “pay” themselves first and begin to think about their future. Setting up a Roth IRA will really benefit them if they are younger and in a lower tax bracket.

In order to illustrate that I practice what I preach, I would like to share a personal example with you: my 14 year old son works for me during the summer months in order to have spending money for the summer and school year. We sat down and discussed what he would be earning and devised a plan that would provide him with the spending money he wanted and funded a Roth IRA as well. Think about how your financial position may be different if you began saving at the age of 14. Not only has this put him in a position to be ahead when planning for retirement, but it has taught him the value of saving and how to manage money. We discussed how to invest the money and he has the ability to monitor his account and see how it is performing. We need to get ourselves, our kids and grandkids retirement ready and this will surely help.

We are here to help you instill these concepts within your own family. Feel free to contact us, Mitlin Financial, at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 if you or someone in your family needs assistance getting started saving today.

 

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Last Minute IRA Contributions: Traditional & Roth IRAs

We at Mitlin Financial hope that you had a healthy and successful 2016. As we move full steam ahead into 2017 and into tax season, we want to make sure that you are all set when it comes to saving for your retirement. Contributing to an Individual Retirement Account, better known as an IRA, can be a powerful retirement saving tool. It is important to understand your time and contribution constraints for making last minute contributions. In addition to the inherent benefits of contributing to your IRA, staying informed of the correct contribution limits and deadlines can be the difference between contributing to your account correctly and incurring unwanted penalties or fees.

Mitlin Minute: Beneficiary Designation Review

In this edition of Mitlin Minute we discuss beneficiary designations and the importance of reviewing them on a regular basis.
When was the last time you updated or reviewed the beneficiaries on your accounts.  This is something that is often overlooked, but is crucial to review.
 
 

 
 Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Mitlin Minute: Market Update October 11, 2018

In this edition of Mitlin Minute we discuss the recent market selloff and what you should be thinking about and how to appraoch the recent events.

These are times where it is important that your advisor is communicating with you.   Be sure to share this Mitlin Minute with your network.  They can feel free to contact us if they are not hearing from their advisor for a free no obligation consultaion.  Many times minor adjustments can lead to major improvements.

 Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Tax Planning Is a Year Round Concern

 Tax Planning Is A Year Round Concern

 

Income tax planning is something you need to be aware of year-round and should continuously evaluate.  Although your tax returns are not due until April 15th each year, without extensions, it is important to make sure you are aware of your tax situation all year.  Decisions made over the course of the year that have a financial impact could hinder or improve your tax liability and a little extra work during the year can save you hours of review and alleviate your tax burden too.

When it comes to taxes, it is important to have the right financial team in place. You need to have your wealth management firm, CPA and other advisors on the same page working in your best interest. While you are in the process of, or shortly after, filing your most recent tax return there are several things you can review to make sure you are making the most tax efficient use of your investable assets.

One of the easiest ways for you to alleviate your income tax burden would be to take advantage of investment accounts that can provide a tax deduction. It is easy to see from your previous year’s W-2 how much you took advantage of your company’s retirement plan, be sure to read2019 IRS Limits Affecting Qualified Plans and IRA’s for specific limits. It may make sense for you to consider increasing your contributions in order to lower your income tax liability and concurrently help you increase your retirement savings. Should your company not have a 401(k) or company retirement plan be sure to explore the possibility of using an IRA in a similar manner.

Utilizing different types of retirement savings vehicles would make sense too. It is important for you to understand that all of the money that is being saved on a tax-deferred basis towards retirement will be taxable in the future when you withdraw it. It may make sense for you to utilize a Roth 401(k) option, if available, or a Roth IRA which would enable access to funds in retirement that would not be taxable. By taking advantage of both forms of savings, it will allow you flexibility down the road to have more control over your income taxes.

In addition to retirement accounts, it is also important to have investment accounts that will allow you access to your money at any time without penalty, unlike most of the retirement accounts mentioned thus far. Investment accounts can generate different forms of taxable income, such as dividend income, short term capital gains and long-term capital gains, and you should have a basic understanding of what they are and how they work. Simple things like holding investments for at least 12 months and one day will turn a short term capital gain into a long one, which can mean a significant tax savings. Have you ever sold an investment only a few days prior to the one-year mark only to pay short term capital gains instead of long term, when there was no imminent need to sell? Mutual Funds should be reviewed carefully as they can produce taxable income and capital gains. It is especially important to know when mutual funds will be distributing their capital gains. We have seen clients purchase funds in early November, only to receive a significant capital gain distribution after only owning it for a few weeks. In these cases, it may make sense to wait to make the purchase or purchase an equivalent investment that has no distribution scheduled.

You will also want to make sure that you have the right investments in the right accounts. It would be ideal for you to place investments that would have the highest tax implications in your tax deferred accounts. Simply placing the highest income producing investments or those you plan to hold short term in the most ideal accounts could save you quite a bit in taxes. When making investments, it is best to place them in the type of account that will help your tax situation based upon their propensity to produce taxable income.

Lastly, you should be reviewing your accounts on an annual basis, around November, to see if there are any opportunities to harvest tax losses. As the end of the year approaches it is important to see if there are ways to mitigate your income tax liability for the year. We know most people do not necessarily like taking losses, but many times it will make sense to take the loss and reduce your tax liability. Should you feel really convicted about the holding, you can always double up the position thirty plus days before the end of the year and on day thirty one sell the initial lot for the loss. This will provide you the opportunity to capture the loss and still own the position, while participating in the upside potential of the holding.

This type of planning is how we assist our clients regularly. In many cases we will coordinate with their CPA to make sure everyone is on the same page and the portfolio changes will indeed be of help to the client. Having an open dialogue between your financial team is important to make sure everything is being done to put you in the best position possible.

Please feel free to contact us, Mitlin Financial, at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 if you or someone you know has encountered tax issues with regards to their investments or simply does not feel their CPA and advisor are on the same page. We look forward to helping you, and them, make the decision that is best for all.

 

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

To Rollover or Not Rollover, That is The Question

To Rollover or Not Rollover That Is The Question

 

There are many decisions that need to be made when changing employers or retiring. One of the key decisions that you may need to make is whether or not to rollover your retirement plan, 401(k), from the previous employer. As mentioned in Top Five Things to Review Before Changing Jobs, you have several options when separating from service and it is important to do a careful review upon your departure.

Depending on your account balance you may not have any choice and may be required to take a distribution. It is important that you read your company’s summary plan description to see if there is a minimum level, such as $5000, where they force you to take a distribution. It is common for companies to impose this minimum so they are not burdened with maintaining what is needed for many smaller accounts for employees that are no longer with the company. When faced with this distribution, you will have the option to roll over the assets to your own IRA, your new employer’s 401(k) or simply have a check cut to you. Be aware of the tax consequences of simply taking the check. The options and consequences are very similar to those that are not forced to rollover, so keep reading.

Assuming that you are not going to be forced to take a distribution, you will be presented with several options for your 401(k) assets and we will discuss each of them here:

  • You will be able to maintain your 401(k) account with the current provider at your previous employer. This would not require any changes and your account would continue to be managed as it was previously, by you. The main difference would be that you would no longer have any contributions being deposited into the account.
  • Rolling over your 401(k) to a current (or newly opened) Individual Retirement Account or IRA. This would be a non-taxable event as long as you perform the movement of monies as a direct rollover. This would then allow you to take over management of the assets or hire a wealth management firm or advisor to assist you with investing these funds. You would not be limited to the investment menu presented by your previous company and now would have the ability to invest the funds however you see fit.
  • Another option you may have, depending on the plan provisions for your new employer, would be to roll the assets over into your new employer’s retirement plan. Like rolling it over to your own IRA, this would be a non-taxable event if you handle it as a direct rollover. You would still be in a position to manage these assets on your own and would be limited to whatever investments the new employer offers in their plan.
  • The last option you would have is taking a distribution. This would be a taxable event and depending on the size of the 401(k) could cost you a considerable amount in taxes. A distribution or withdrawal would be taxable as ordinary income in the year you take the distribution. When taking this type of withdrawal there is a 20% mandatory federal tax withholding by the plan. This is used to offset your tax liability for the year. Essentially, if your 401(k) at the time of distribution is worth $100,000 you would only receive a check in the amount of $80,000. The $20,000 would be sent in as a Federal tax withholding to offset your liability for the year. Keep in mind, this does not mean that this is all the tax you owe. Depending on your tax bracket for that given year, you may owe more or you may end up getting a refund because you withheld too much over the course of the year. Before exercising this option it is very important to consult with your tax advisor to make certain there are not any unintended consequences down the road.

The choices here are not easy ones to make and should be considered very carefully. It is important to speak with a fiduciary advisor that can outline and walk you through the pros and cons of each option. As an example, one of the tremendous benefits of rolling the assets into your own IRA would be the freedom and flexibility of the investments you can choose. In addition, it would provide you with the ability to have an advisor assist you with the investments as well. These two benefits may come with a cost and it is important to understand what the cost/benefit is of making this transition. You want to make sure that you are making a change for the right reasons and the decision will ultimately benefit you and your family in the end.

This decision making process is something we have walked many clients through before and we are confident we can help you as well. Please feel free to contact us, Mitlin Financial, at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 if you or someone you know has changed jobs recently, plans to change jobs, retire or simply has a 401(k) plan with a previous employer. We look forward to helping you, and them, make the decision that is best for all.

 

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Top Five Things to Review Before Changing Jobs

Top Five Things to Review Before Changing Jobs

 

The days of working for a company for 40 plus years, being handed a gold watch for your tenure, and collecting a pension for the remainder of your life is long gone. It is more likely that today’s workers will hold ten to fifteen jobs, spending less than five years at each employer according to a recent report from theBureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the stress and anxiety associated with finding a new job, there are important financial aspects that should be reviewed with each change. 

  • Do you have a financial plan in place? It would make sense that you should have a financial plan in place, especially if you are looking to make a job change. Using the plan, you could easily determine how the employment change will ultimately affect your financial situation-whether positive or negative. Although you may not be changing jobs for financial reasons, it would be a good idea to know going in what the effects will be. 
  • How are you protecting yourself, and your family, from death or disability? You need to evaluate how you are covered for life and disability insurance. Often times we see younger employees, even older ones, only having group coverage through their employer. Many times this coverage is not portable and cannot come with you when you separate from service. It is a good idea to research if your new employer has these coverages available for you. Whether they make it available or not, it may make sense for you to explore obtaining your own individual coverage that is yours to have regardless of your employer. This is especially worthwhile if you plan on having the number of employers mentioned in the report above. 
  • What are you going to do with your retirement monies at your previous employer? It would not make too much sense to have ten to fifteen different retirement accounts when you finally look to retire. You may create a job just to keep track of where all your assets are, how they are invested and how they are performing. Upon leaving an employer, you usually have the ability to maintain the account where it is, unless you do not satisfy certain minimums and they force you to move it or roll it over. Typically you would want to roll these assets over and that can be done by rolling them into your new employer’s retirement plan, if the plan provisions allow, or into your own IRA. There are several things to consider when trying to determine which method to use when rolling over your assets. We will review this particular topic in a future post, as this is a topic of its own. 
  • Are you contributing to your 401(k) and changing jobs mid-year? It is important to note that there is a maximum, for 2019 it is $19,000 for those under 50 years of age and $25,000 for those over, that you can contribute to your 401(k) on an annual basis. You will want to make sure that you do not violate these thresholds if you contribute to both the old and new employers’ retirement plan. This amount is not a maximum per employer, but actually a maximum on the amount you can defer annually from your earnings. Putting too much in over the course of the year will give you extra work to unwind what was done and remove the excess amount. 
  • Are you in the process of looking for a new home and would need a mortgage to purchase it? Looking for a new home is a great experience and also a stressful one. Buying a new home ranks up there with looking for a new job, so you may not want to try doing both of these at the same time. In addition to saving yourself stress, you may not want to do both of these at the same time due to your need of a mortgage. It will be important that the mortgage company see stability in your work history and they certainly will want to make sure you are with your employer for a specific period of time. The time period they are looking for will be dependent upon the type of loan you would be looking to secure. It would be wise to consult with a mortgage consultant prior to making any job changes while in the home buying process. You certainly will want to make sure you are with your employer when you are about to close because the mortgage company will call them around the closing to verify you are still employed. You will not want to risk your home purchase over a job change, so it is important that you research this in advance. 

Changing jobs brings a certain level of stress with it and there are certainly ways to mitigate it. Ideally you would want to have a financial plan in place, in advance of any change, and this will put you ahead of your fellow job changers. The advisor who helped you develop the plan will be in the unique position to walk you through these top five things you should review, as well as others not mentioned here. Having the right advisor on your side, that is a good fit, will alleviate much stress and make the transition go much smoother.

We have helped many clients through this process and would welcome the opportunity to help you or someone you know. Please feel free to contact us, Mitlin Financial, at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 if you or someone you know has plans of changing jobs in the foreseeable future or they simply want to put a plan in place. We look forward to helping you, and them, make this a smooth transition.

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.