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There are many different types of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). For ease of this discussion we will focus on the type that would be a good option to supplement your retirement Thrift Savings Plan. A Roth IRA is a very popular plan that is a good choice after you have enrolled and contributing to a TSP. The reason is, a Roth IRA investment plan uses after tax dollars, which means you contribute to a Roth IRA from your Net Income, after your pay has been taxed. The benefit is when you withdraw your investment at retirement age, earliest at 59 ½ for this discussion. *The money will come out tax free, not counted as income, which is a huge financial benefit. Where else can you get tax free money-outside of your parents or grandma at Christmas. Unlike the TSP, a Roth IRA doesn’t have pre-arranged investment choices. Most Roth IRAs are selfdirected, or managed (unless you hire a professional) by you the owner. Which means you must pick the investments for your portfolio. This will take research, time, and knowing your risk tolerance.

Many of the online discount brokerage houses offer detailed education and free help for individuals who want to take hands-on approach with their investment portfolio. With a little work, like a TSP, a Roth IRA can be set-up on auto-pilot. To open a Roth IRA account it will take between $50 to $2000, depending where you go and what you plan to invest in. IRAs have a many rules and regulations, income limits, contribution limits which can change each year. We recommend you do research to lean more about IRAs, especially a Roth IRA.

A few of the many Roth IRA Benefits:
  • *Your investment has tax deferred growth with tax free withdrawals.
  • *Access to withdraw your contributions, (minus investment gains) money you put into the Roth IRA at any time, without creating a taxable event.
  • No minimum required distribution (MRD) after the age of 70 ½
  • IRAs are better protected from law-suits and legal actions versus other retirement accounts.
As you can see the Roth IRA may be a good supplement as an addition to a Thrift Savings Plan. Make sure you qualify for a Roth IRA before you open an account. Our intent is to give a brief overview to motivate and influence you to take action.

Keys for starting your Roth IRA:
  • Know the three keys for financial success, which is in our books. Values, Goals, Sacrifices. This would mean you know your long-term goals, which has your short-term goals leading to your long-term goals.
  • Have a written monthly or weekly spending plan (Budget) in place and in use.
  • Have your household savings accounts in place and allotted for. #1 Revolving savings fully funded, which is 20% of your monthly gross income in your passbook savings, #2 Emergency savings started, at least one-month gross income in your emergency account, placed in a liquid higher interest savings account, such as ING Orange, or HSBC, which are FDIC insured.
  • Have your debt reduction plan in place, using a balanced approach. Debt paydown and savings is not an all or nothing scenario. Balance is a priority to succeed with your finances. Our goal for any financial plan is keep it very simple. Using a Debt Snowball plan (In our Book) is simple and very effective for a balanced debt pay-down attack.
  • Start your Roth IRA with a small amount, reaffirm your monthly spending plan, saving and debt pay-down goals. Once you have been in the plan for several months and feel the impact on your budget, you can increase the monthly contributions. Make sure you are using a balanced approach then go for it.
  • Remember, the Roth IRA is not savings used for emergencies, or for a new car, this is an investment. Taking loans or early withdraws from your Roth IRA may be very costly if not done within the guidelines. The Roth IRA is a commitment for your future and will take maturity and discipline to manage.
To learn more details about a Roth IRA than you would ever want to know, go to www.irs.gov/ and see publication 590 or type Roth IRA in the search window.

Like I always say: “It’s simple to become a millionaire but not easy”, President, Phillip E. Day
* Always consult a “qualified” tax expert for complete details.

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