Investing 101 Seminar: Recap

Stick figure holding a piece of a puzzle

We recently hosted an educational seminar to address the basics of investing and how people can get started. Katharine Perry, associate financial consultant at Fort Pitt, gave a presentation that touched on different types of investments, market volatility, how to best meet your financial goals, and more. If you missed out, we pulled together a list of questions from our audience members:

Is there a penalty for taking money out of a Roth IRA early?
Withdrawals of your contributions, at any time, from a Roth IRA are tax and penalty-free. Although, you may have to pay taxes and penalties on earnings. If you withdraw from your Roth IRA early (before 59 ½) and before the account is open and funded for five years, the earnings may be subject to taxes and penalties. Otherwise, if you’ve had the account longer than five years and withdraw before 59 ½, your earnings may not be subject to taxes dependent upon whether you meet certain conditions. For example, you earnings will not be subject to taxes if you use the withdrawal to pay for qualified education expenses or first time purchase of a primary residence.

Is it better to start a Roth IRA or 529 plan for college planning?
In our opinion, a 529 plan is best when the money is being saved solely for college education. Some advantages of a 529 plan include a state tax deduction in more than 30 states (including PA), high limits for annual contribution, the ability to rollover the account into a different 529 plan every 12 months without tax or penalty, and eligibility for people of all income levels to contribute to the plan.  Beneficiaries can also easily be changed if one child or grandchild decides not to attend a post-secondary education.  It is also a great vehicle that allows other family members to help with education funding, if they so choose.

What are the Roth IRA contribution limits?
For 2016, the maximum contribution is $5,500 for anyone under age 50 and $6,500 for anyone over age 50, as long as your income is below the IRS limits.

When do you get paid on bonds?
Interest payments on most bonds are usually paid semi-annually, but keep in mind that when the bond reaches the date of maturity, the company pays the principal as well.

Can a Roth IRA be passed on tax-free to my beneficiary?
Yes, it can be passed on to your beneficiary tax-free, but it will be included in your taxable estate. The beneficiary may be required to take distributions, but they will not pay an early distribution penalty in most cases and they will be able to withdraw earnings tax-free as long as the account has been open and funded for five years.

Stay tuned for information on our next Investing 101 Seminar scheduled for October.

Investing101_4