Archives For Investing

Contribution Limits

       The maximum amount you can contribute to a 403(b) plan depends on your age and years of service. These are the correct 403(b) plan contribution limits for 2009 and 2010. This limit can be split between multiple qualified retirement plans (401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE, or SEP), but the combined total of your contributions cannot exceed this limit. You cannot contribute more than 100% of your compensation.

  • Under age 49 at the end of the year: $16,500
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  • Age 50 or older by the end of the year: $22,000

15 Year Rule

       If you have 15 years of service with a qualified organization, you may be eligible to contribute up to an additional $3,000 per year to your 403(b) plan. However, the rules for this can get tricky, so you should speak with the human resources department at work and read the IRS explanation of the 15 year rule.

Deadline for Contributions

       Elective contributions are generally made from your paycheck, so you need to have your contributions set up within the year. You can choose to contribute everything at the beginning of the year if your plan allows it, or you can just contribute a certain amount or percentage from each paycheck.

Tax Deduction for Contributions

       Your contributions to a 403(b) plan reduce your taxable income, so you do not need to claim a tax deduction on your return. However, you may be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit.

401(k) Plan Contribution Limits

Corey —  March 31, 2010 — 2 Comments

Contribution Limits

       The maximum amount you can contribute to a 401(k) plan depends on your age. These are the correct 401(k) plan contribution limits for 2009 and 2010. This limit can be split between multiple qualified retirement plans (401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE, or SEP), but the combined total of your contributions cannot exceed this limit. You cannot contribute more than 100% of your compensation.

  • Under age 49 at the end of the year: $16,500
  •  

  • Age 50 or older by the end of the year: $22,000 (only if your plan permits catch-up contributions)

Deadline for Contributions

       Elective contributions are generally made from your paycheck, so you need to have your contributions set up within the year. You can choose to contribute everything at the beginning of the year if your plan allows it, or you can just contribute a certain amount or percentage from each paycheck.

Tax Deduction for Contributions

       Your contributions to a 401(k) plan reduce your taxable income, so you do not need to claim a tax deduction on your return. However, you may be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit.

       If you’ve made any IRA contributions, you’ll want to keep a record of those in case you ever need to prove it to the IRS. The best record you can have for an IRA contribution is a Form 5498. The custodian of your IRA is required to file this form with the IRS and send you a copy as well. Form 5498 will show any contributions or conversions you’ve made as well as the required minimum distribution (RMD) if applicable. You should receive this form in May or June.

       By keeping a copy of your Forms 5498, you’ll have a record of your IRA contributions. This is especially handy if you ever take an early distribution from a Roth IRA, convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, or make any nondeductible contributions. If the IRS ever questions the information you file when you do one of those actions, you’ll be able to back up your data with those Forms 5498.

       If you lose a Form 5498 or never receive it, simply contact the custodian of your IRA. They should be able to send you a copy for any year they maintained your IRA. While it’s nice to know that, don’t count on your custodian to always have the information you need. You’re best off keeping the records yourself (in an organized manner…) than relying on your custodian to have them for you.

       So that’s what you need to keep if you make any IRA contributions. It may sound trivial, but it can save you from future headaches. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Contribution Limits

       The maximum amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA depends on your age and income. These are the correct Roth IRA contribution limits for 2009 and 2010. This limit can be split between a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA, but the combined total of your contributions to your Traditional and Roth IRAs cannot exceed this limit.

  • Under age 49 at the end of the year: $5,000
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  • Age 50 or older by the end of the year: $6,000

Income Limits

       You are only eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA if your adjusted gross income (AGI) falls under certain limits. These limits depend on your tax filing status.

  • Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er): You can make a full contribution if your AGI is less than $166,000 (or $167,000 in 2010). If your AGI is more than $176,000 (or $177,000 in 2010), you cannot make a contribution to a Roth IRA. If your AGI is between $166,000 and $176,000 (or between $167,000 and $177,000 in 2010), then the amount you can contribute is reduced proportionately.
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  • Married Filing Separately but you lived with your spouse at any time during the year: If your AGI is more than $10,000 (same in 2010), you cannot make a contribution to a Roth IRA. If your AGI is between $0 and $10,000 (same in 2010), then the amount you can contribute is reduced proportionately.
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  • Single, Head of Household, or Married Filing Separately and you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year: You can make a full contribution if your AGI is less than $105,000 (same in 2010). If your AGI is more than $120,000 (same in 2010), you cannot make a contribution to a Roth IRA. If your AGI is between $105,000 and $120,000 (same in 2010), then the amount you can contribute is reduced proportionately.

Deadline for Contributions

       Contributions for a year can be made any time that year or until the due date of your tax return for that year. Contributions for 2009 must be made between January 1, 2009 and April 15, 2010. Contributions for 2010 must be made between January 1, 2010 and April 15, 2011. You can designate for which year (current or previous) you are making contributions if you contribute between January 1 and April 15.

Tax Deduction for Contributions

       There is no tax deduction for Roth IRA contributions. However, you may be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit.

Contribution Limits

       The maximum amount you can contribute to a Traditional IRA depends on your age. These are the correct Traditional IRA contribution limits for 2009 and 2010. This limit can be split between a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA, but the combined total of your contributions to your Traditional and Roth IRAs cannot exceed this limit.

  • Under age 49 at the end of the year: $5,000
  •  

  • Age 50 or older by the end of the year: $6,000

Deadline for Contributions

       Contributions for a year can be made any time that year or until the due date of your tax return for that year. Contributions for 2009 must be made between January 1, 2009 and April 15, 2010. Contributions for 2010 must be made between January 1, 2010 and April 15, 2011. You can designate for which year (current or previous) you are making contributions if you contribute between January 1 and April 15.

Tax Deduction for Contributions

       How much of this contribution you can deduct on your tax return depends on your adjusted gross income and whether or not you are covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan at work.

       You may also be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit.

       In our last Investing Basics article, we talked about securities and what that term includes. The next few articles in this series will focus on the specific types of securities available. We’ll look at stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures, and short-term savings options. Today, we’re going to talk about stocks.

What Is a Stock?

       As I explained in the post about securities, a stock represents ownership. Stocks are also referred to as equities, which simply means they represent an ongoing ownership interest in a business. Each share of a company’s stock represents a piece of ownership interest in that company. When you own a share of stock, you own a part of a company.

       The return you get from owning a stock comes in one of two ways: dividends or capital gains/losses. Dividends are payments the company makes to its shareholders (owners) from its earnings. If a company declares a dividend of $1.00 per share and you own 100 shares, you’ll get $100 in dividends.

       Capital gains or losses result from changes in the price of the stock. If the stock’s price goes up from where you bought it, you’ll have a capital gain when you sell it. If the stock’s price goes down, you’ll have a capital loss when you sell.

       Stocks are considered riskier investments than bonds because of what happens when a company liquidates or goes bankrupt. Stockholders are the last people to be paid when a company goes belly-up. Bondholders get paid before stockholders, so there’s less risk. If there’s no money left when it comes time to pay the stockholders, then they get absolutely nothing.

       Finally, there are two main types of stocks: common stock and preferred stock. The biggest difference between the two is in how dividends are paid out. Common stock comes with no dividend guarantees. Preferred stock comes with a stated dividend rate (either a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the stock’s par value – the face value). Also, preferred stocks have priority over common stocks when dividends are paid. That means that dividends owed to preferred stockholders must be paid out before common stockholders receive anything. They’re a little more complicated than that, but that’s the basic difference.

       In the next article, we’ll look at bonds. Make sure you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you want to learn more!

       Once you understand what an investment is, you can begin to learn about the different types of investments available. We’ll start by looking at the broadest types of investments first, and then later we’ll narrow it down by looking at more specific types of investments.

What Is a Security?

       There are two main types of investments – securities and property. We’re going to look at securities today.

       I’m sure you’ve read about the securities markets in the newspapers or heard about them on TV. But what does that mean exactly? A security is any kind of investment that represents debt, ownership, or the legal right to buy or sell a security.

       Bonds are an investment that represent debt. When you invest in a bond, you’re basically loaning money to the person who issued the bond.

       Stocks are investments that represent ownership. When you invest in a company’s stock, you are becoming an owner of that company.

       Finally, options are investments that represent a legal right to buy or sell a security. An option is basically a contract that you purchase to give you the right to buy or sell a certain amount of a security at a certain price for a certain amount of time (until the contract expires). The person who sells you the option is legally obligated to sell that security to you or buy that security from you at the specified price whenever you choose to use your rights.

       So when you hear someone talking about securities (or the securities market) they’re talking about stocks, bonds, and options. Securities would also include mutual funds, which are simply a portfolio (a collection) of securities. These are very basic things in the investment world, so it is important you understand what they mean.

       As I continue this series on investing basics, we’ll go into more depth about all of these types of investments so you’ll understand what they are and how they work. Make sure you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you want to learn more! You can also enter your email address below to get free updates in your email: (Don’t worry, I’ll never share nor sell your email address.)

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