Create Your Own Tax-Free Retirement
Is it possible to create a tax-free retirement? I recently did this for a client who was amazed that it worked. It all came down to establishing (or converting to) a Roth IRA. This works because you put in after-tax money and avoid additional taxes on any gains made. For example, if your initial $5,000 grows to $10,000 — or $50,000 or $80,000 — you won’t owe any taxes on your gains. That money is yours. Roth IRAs were developed in 1997 and are a powerful tool. A lot of people at that time were already deeply invested in whatever plan their company offered and didn’t immediately jump to the Roth IRA. Fast forward to today, and those people who didn’t contribute or perform any conversions will be paying taxes on all those gains. And to make matters worse, they may be in higher tax brackets and owe far more than they expected when they were working in the ‘90s. One of the biggest misconceptions about Roth IRAs is about how much you can contribute every year — $7,000 max for anyone over 50 for 2019. While contributing is technically limited, you can get around this by converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. There are no limits on converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Why convert? Under the new Trump tax law, you may be able to convert and avoid jumping tax brackets, even if you convert $200,000 or more. Once the money is in a Roth IRA, you can create tax-free income for the rest of your life. If you’re invested in stocks through a Roth IRA, you can create a situation in which you live off the dividends without touching the principal. The account will never go away and all dividends are tax-free. Alternatively, if you put money into an annuity, you can create a pension for yourself, with all of your payments being tax-free. If you can effectively create a pension plan within your Roth IRA, that gives you even less to worry about. Since the 1970s and ‘80s, more and more companies and municipalities have been phasing out pension plans. Instead, they’ve shifted more of the risk to their employees by offering 401(k)s or similar plans. This often leaves people with plans they don’t know how to manage. The great thing about pensions is that they are, usually, managed on behalf of the workers. In terms of setting up an annuity-based
pension through your Roth IRA, the hardest part is just setting it all up, and it’s really not that difficult. After that, there is very little you have to worry about. Now, when you convert one lump sum from a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, you will have to pay tax on the conversion amount. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid. But the benefit is that you’re paying the tax on that sum at a known rate. You don’t have to worry about paying an unknown rate in the future when you may be in a different tax bracket or if and when the IRS increases taxes. People often assume that when you make the conversion from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you have to pay tax on the gains at some point down the road, but this is not the case. Once the conversion takes place, gains remain tax-free from then on out. Keep in mind, once you turn 70 1/2 (and soon probably 72), you must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRA. It doesn’t matter if you have other income sources. The law requires you to take a certain amount out of your IRA every year, and this can complicate your tax situation. If you don’t take your RMDs, you will be hit with a major penalty: 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn but didn’t. Luckily, you do not have to take RMDs from a Roth IRA, giving you less to worry about. These days, it seems that IRAs are constantly under attack by the federal government. It used to be that once you die, your heirs could take small payments from your IRA. If the SECURE Act passes, if your beneficiaries (usually children) want to take payments from your IRA, they have to do it in under 10 years (unless it’s your spouse and a few other exceptions and that stipulation doesn’t apply). The government wants to put more and more limits on your money.
But when you establish a tax-free pension through your Roth IRA, that gives you far more freedom to manage your hard-earned money in retirement and to take the IRS out of the equation.
STORING YOUR SUMMER GEAR
Although winter seems like a distant prospect, it will be here before you know it. While many people are sad to see
in. If you’re storing dresses, skirts, or any fancy clothing, plastic or nylon garment bags will help prevent them from getting dirty and wrinkly.
their summer clothes and gadgets get stored away until next season, it’s a good idea to start planning now. Taking the time to properly pack away summer gear is beneficial and can save you from unneeded worry next year. Why It’s Important to Store Summer Gear Properly organizing and storing your summer clothes will help them last longer and prevent you from aimlessly rummaging when searching for that perfect fall sweater or blouse. Likewise, when you cover your patio furniture and tuck your bicycle and tools away, they are less likely to be damaged by animals or any harsh winter weather. Storing Summer Attire Consider purchasing plastic storage tubs or boxes to put your clothes For the past 10 years, Marvel movies have delighted families and comic book nerds alike with their memorable characters, incredible action scenes, and sprawling, interconnected storylines. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the story of the Avengers so far, told through 23 movies. Even though this year marked the end of a massive arc that Marvel Studios dubbed “The Infinity Saga,” there are still more movies coming out that will feature everyone’s favorite heroes. Here are a few films coming up next in the MCU. A Black Widow Solo Movie International assassin Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, was the first female member of the Avengers and made her debut appearance in “Iron Man 2.” She never got her own movie, but Marvel announced recently that a Black Widow movie is officially in the works for the next phase of Marvel movies. Besides the fact that they’ve started filming, there’s not much information about it yet. But for many excited fans, this movie has been a long time coming. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and the gang are all back in the third installment of this smash-hit franchise. Without getting into too much detail, “Avengers: Endgame” and the post-credits scene of the second “Guardians” movie provided some clues about the plot
Before you start piling your clothes in, be sure to wash and completely dry them. This helps prevent mold or mildew and keeps your clothes looking new when it’s time to take them out again. Also, it can be a good idea to place cedar sachets in with your clothes and around the neck of your hangers; the wood will keep away pesky insects without leaving bad smells behind. Storing Your Summer Gadgets Outdoor items are more likely to get damaged as they endure the elements. When you’re storing rakes, shovels, or any other garden tools, make sure they’re washed, dried, and sharpened before putting them into your shed or garage. Patios should be cleaned off and given a fresh coat of wax, and outdoor furniture should be dusted, cleaned, and covered to keep the frost, snow, and rain off.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MARVEL MOVIES?
and possible main villain. Though details are slim, “Vol. 3” is sure to be another rollicking ride through the cosmos. ‘Black Panther 2’ “Black Panther” was immensely popular (it earned nearly $700 billion domestically), and its success removed all doubt that there would be a sequel. Audiences will journey back to Wakanda and see the newest adventures of King T’Challa and crew, although not much is known about the plot or the release date as of now. But you can rest assured that the creative minds behind the sequel are taking their time to make it as good as the first.
The future storyline of the MCU is up in the air, but, if the previous movies are any indicator, families, fans, and audiences everywhere have a lot to look forward to.
ManCave Apartment/ Airplane Hangar Geneva, Florida
When Airbnb was founded a little over a decade ago, the developers hoped to provide an alternative to traditional travel accommodations. Today, with annual revenue in the billions, the service is an industry unto itself. While most people use Airbnb to “live like a local” while traveling, you can find some truly wacky lodging options if you spend some time searching the platform. Here are just a few of the many contenders for the title of “Weirdest Airbnb in the U.S.” For ease of searching, the listings here have the same titles as they do on Airbnb. Brand New Studio Earthship Taos, New Mexico Earthships, houses run by clean energy and featuring reused materials, are a fixture of the Taos area. This one, which looks almost like a crashing wave with a living space in its undertow, combines the rustic charm of truly getting away from it all with modern amenities like Wi-Fi and in-home laundry. It’s a truly unique living space surrounded by pristine nature and not far from the historic Taos Pueblo.
Airbnb super hosts Dan and Deborah have no shortage of quirky properties for rent — including yurts and treehouses — but their apartment fashioned out of an airplane hangar surely takes the cake. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a theme restaurant featuring eclectic aviation. Memorabilia lines the walls with a bar front and center, and the bed is in a loft high above the ground. Dog Bark Park Inn B&B Cottonwood, Idaho As you approach the Dog Bark Park Inn, you won’t have to guess if you’re in the right place. After all, how many buildings are shaped like beagles? When describing the space on Airbnb, the hosts make no bones about who this rental is aimed for. “Stay in a giant dog!” they say. In addition to being inside a massive wooden dog, you’ll find canine-themed games, books, and more. Talk about ruffing it.
AMERICA’S WEIRDEST AIRBNBS
Roasted Corn Salsa
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine.
2 medium ears of corn, shucked 1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, seeded and thinly sliced
• • •
1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, sliced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 red onion, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet to high. Char corn, turning occasionally, for 10–14 minutes, until they begin to blacken in spots. 2. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from cobs and transfer to a large mixing bowl. 3. With a wooden spoon or potato masher,
gently crush corn to release starch and juices. 4. Add jalapeño, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Mix to combine. 5. Top with lime juice and season with salt. 6. Serve alongside your favorite tortilla chips. 3 248.785.3734
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
74 WEST LONG LAKE STE.203 BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI 48304
INSIDE This Issue
Create Your Own Tax-Free Retirement
Preparing Your Gear for Winter The Next Phase of Marvel Movies Not Your Average Vacation Lodgings Roasted Corn Salsa
The Art of Stargazing
Modern humans are stuck in a routine of expected and constant industriousness. But with all this rushing, people often drag themselves home at night with no energy left to enjoy the most splendid show nature has to offer: the wondrous night sky. Most people go through life looking straight ahead, but if they would stop and peer skyward, they’d bear witness to a massive, unexplored frontier made up of the moon in all its phases, burning stars sailing through the sky, constellations with epic origin stories, and meteor showers bright enough to warrant sunglasses. If you’re looking for a hobby to help you slow down and appreciate the world around you, stargazing is a great option. Here are some tips to get you started. The Higher, the Better If you’re a city dweller, meander a little way out of town or try to find a tall building to keep the light pollution to a minimum. Extra Set of Eyes While novice stargazers often want to immediately throw their money at a new telescope, astronomy experts recommend starting with binoculars instead. You’ll need to
identify several anchor planets or constellations to help you navigate the sky before using a telescope. Utilize Assets Put your phone to good use by downloading apps like Stellarium, Starwalk, and Google Sky Map. Each of these apps offers a unique benefit for aspiring stargazers. For example, Starwalk lets you point your phone at the sky to see stars, constellations, and planets in real time based on your location. Mark Your Calendar In 1972, beloved singer-songwriter John Denver wrote about a meteor shower he witnessed during a camping trip in Colorado. He describes the scene by singing, “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.” The “fire” he recounted was actually the Perseids meteor shower, the most recognized shower on Earth. This astrological wonder takes place every year from July 17 to Aug. 24. During this time, viewers should be able to see shooting stars associated with the Perseids, but the shower reaches its maximum rate of activity on Aug. 12–13 this year. Grab some friends and family, and head outdoors to put your newfound stargazing knowledge to work.
The Art of Stargazing
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