Major Mistakes People Make With Their IRAs

If you are like most people, your IRAs hold a significant amount of your retirement assets. Incurring unnecessary penalties or not minimizing taxes becomes a costly affair affecting your security for a quality life during your retirement.

Some of the most common mistakes people make with their IRAs can be avoided:

  1. Not contributing

The worst mistake you can make with your IRA is to stop making your annual contributions to your retirement account. Having a short-sighted perspective on life means that you squander all your income, and in your future, you will not have an adequate source of revenue. If you are part of this group, start making your contributions today, as it could save you days of agony later on when you retire.

  1. Contributing too much

Most people assume that they can contribute to their IRAs as much as they want. However, IRAs have annual contribution limits for individuals and couples, determined by the contributor’s income bracket and taxable income. The excess contribution could attract taxes and other penalties.

  1. Flouting timelines

Making early withdrawals triggers tax and penalties that eat into your retirement funds. Other activities are also time conscious and require fulfillment within the stipulated timeframe, e.g. the mandatory required minimum distribution (RMD). Most people, probably out of sheer ignorance, still forget that missing such important timelines will negatively affect their retirement account.

  1. Not updating your beneficiaries

Families grow and change, and these alterations should reflect in your IRA beneficiaries’ details. For example, most people forget that a divorcee who is listed as a beneficiary can legally lay claim to your IRA. When you remarry, or divorce or add/remove any other member in your family, make sure that you update this information in your IRA to avoid confusion and unnecessary legal processes in future.

  1. Entrusting your IRA

Turning over your IRA to a trust is a costly mistake that people make. This move attracts direct taxation, and if you are below 59½, a 10% tax penalty applies. These costs and charges are avoidable and unnecessary losses.

Consequently, once the Trustee assumes administration rights of the IRA, the contributor’s beneficiaries, including the spouse, automatically loses the capacity to rollover the IRA without attracting punitive tax consequences (the owner’s death notwithstanding).


  1. Not diversifying IRA accounts

Most people assume that a 401k or any other employer-sponsored retirement plan is all they can have, or it’s all that they need. However, having only one retirement account impedes you from maximizing your revenue streams in your retirement.

Contributing an extra $5,500 to either IRA (traditional and Roth) guarantees you a much more comfortable retirement.

Besides, the two accounts have distinct systems of taxation. The traditional IRA is tax-deferred, and therefore you will only pay taxes after you make a withdrawal for your expenditures. On the other hand, Roth IRAs allow tax-free withdrawals since contributions are tax deductible.

Also, traditional and Roth IRAs have different withdrawal rules, providing you with an opportunity to minimize on taxation because of the flexible withdrawal options.

Register for a free tax planning event near you to learn and understand more about common mistakes people make with their IRAs.

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