An IRA is a personal retirement plan whereby a limited amount of annual earned income may be saved or invested in specially designated accounts, with taxes on the earnings deferred until retirement.  For some individuals, income placed in such accounts is deductible from taxable income.  There are different kinds of IRAs.

    You can contribute up to $5,000 per year into an IRA, $6000 if over age 50, as long as the amount does not exceed your compensation. The amount of this contribution that is deductible on your income tax return depends on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and whether you are covered under an employer sponsored qualified retirement plan. Thus, depending on your filing status (Single, Joint, etc), and your AGI, your contributions may range from fully deductible to totally non-deductible.

    Contributions are not deductible when the funds are contributed, but the Roth IRA earnings accumulate tax-free and remain tax-free upon distribution. To be eligible to contribute, your MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) must be below defined limits for singles and married couples.  You cannot withdraw your funds within the first 5 years after the establishment of the Roth without a penalty. Given that this 5-year testing period can successfully be addressed by proper tax planning, the establishment and at least partial funding of a Roth IRA account should be on the discussion list of the financial advisor of every taxpayer who qualifies to open such a plan.

You can also put away up to $2000 per year into a Coverdell Education Savings Account.  The money grows tax-free and has preferential tax treatment upon distribution to the beneficiary who uses it for authorized education expenses. These plans are not very common in that they are very restrictive on who can make contributions to them, the amount of total contributions allowable each year, and the limitations on what exact education expenses qualify. Your financial planner should be able to assist you in evaluating what savings plan you should undertake to prepare for higher education costs, as well as in reviewing many of the tax-sheltered savings plans now sponsored by the various states, even for benefits of non-state residents.

Each of these unique investment tools are available at RiverFall.  Always consult a seasoned financial planner when making any investment decision.  If you decide that one of these accounts is right for you, stop by any RiverFall location to get started.

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