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When to and Not to Do a Roth Conversion

Personal factors, your tax bracket, expected future income and when you plan on retiring all play a role. The answer isn’t as simple as playing the tax bracket game (convert be low a certain tax bracket only).

Other considerations can affect you taxes down the road. Even Medicare premiums are an issue. A high required minimum distribution (RMD)(currently starts at age 72, but pending legislation will gradually raise that to 75, if passed) can cost more than just a tax bill. It can also increase your cost for Medicare.

The best way to handle a Roth conversion discussion is to break it into two parts: the conversion phase and the retirement phase.

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Profit from Inflation

It has been a long time since developed nations have tasted serious inflation. Unless you are near 60 or older you will not have experienced the last time inflation was a serious issue in the 1970s into the early 1980s. 

Coupled with low inflation is low interest rates. It is hard to miss the pattern of interest rates since 1982. Each increase in interest rates was followed by a new low in interest rates until we bumped against zero and stayed there for much of the past decade. 

The stock market loves low interest rates. The constantly declining interest rates gave us a stock market that has relentlessly climbed. In the early 1980s the price/earnings (p/e) ratio for large capitalization stocks was in the single digits and the dividend yield was in the 6% vicinity. Now the p/e multiple is closer to 30 and the dividend yield is below 2%. 

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The Way to Wealth

A government would be considered intolerable if it taxed people 10% of their time in service of the government. Yet idleness taxes many of us much more if we consider all the time spent checking email, our phone, social media and news feeds. All these activities add nothing of value to our lives or to those around us and is no worse than the government taxing you a percent of your time.

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10-Step Map for an Early Retirement Plan

Retirement is the one universal goal. Some plan for a traditional retirement while others dream of cutting their own trail sooner. Early retirement is a worthy goal and achievable with a modest amount of planning.

There are 10 things to consider before you submit your resignation. If you cover each issue properly early retirement will fulfill your dreams. Poor planning could put you back into the workforce.

The map below is a handy guide for your journey. Click on the map to enlarge and print. This map, along with the information below, can have you enjoying early retirement in record time.

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Self-Sabotage: The Biggest Risk Once You Have Money

Having money can change you, and not always in good ways. The risk is greatest for those who start out poor. For those lucky people, they have an additional challenge before them. If they fail they go all the way back into the swamp. 

Money doesn’t make you a better person; it makes the kind of person you are more pronounced. If you are a kind and generous person, money will tend to make you more kind and generous. And if you are a a-hole, money will make you a much larger one. 

Today I will share with you three stories: two personal and the other from a client. My hope is that you, kind readers, will learn from these lessons rather experience them personally.

I work hard sharing ideas on building wealth and lowering taxes. These are worthy goals that make the world a better place. What I don’t talk about often is the risks people face once they make it. There is no greater thrill than to watch someone born in poverty finding their way to an abundant life. All too often this is the moment they destroy their lives. Usually it is temporary; sometimes not. These lessons can help you avoid the same fate.

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