Previews of Coming Attractions

OK, not as in movies but articles in the Quarterly. You may have noticed the content on the bottom right, before the shaded area: “Coming in Future Quarterlies.” So let’s be a little more specific. Coming in September, here’s brief synopses of three items you will see.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from tax-deferred retirement accounts. What are they? For those of you living in the U.S., the deal you made with the IRS is that you were able to invest money in a retirement plan such as an IRA, 401 K, 403 (b), 457 (IRS code provisions) and a number of others with pre-tax income. That reduced your taxable income while working and gave you a little better deal, while still working, than the Roth IRA (we’ll talk more about that in another issue). Once you reach 70 1/2 years of age, the IRS requires you to begin taking distributions from that retirement account. All of the money you must receive is then taxable. The calculation of how much you must take out is based applying a certain factor to the amount in the account at the end of each calendar year. You can take more, but not less. If you don’t take a distribution or not enough, you may be penalized 50% of the amount you should have taken out! Sounds serious AND complicated. It is. You could see a financial planner, a lawyer, an accountant or some tax professional for help. But before you do that, we’ll give you the basics and a little more so if you do need paid help you’ll be understand what they are telling you.

Travel–where we have been, where we’re going and why you might want to go there too. Alaska, for one and the Yukon. By land and by sea. This will likely never be a travel magazine, but an occasional feature on travel is a good change of pace. Especially from talking about taxes and financial planning. It’s all a part of life. Have to spend those RMDs on something! Either that or leave it all to children and grandchildren. But I digress. As for this first foray into travel writing, we’ll cover seeing Denali, Dawson City, Whitehorse, Skagway and Ketchikan. Then it’s on to Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage. We hope to avoid long lines to get through TSA airport security. (See the article on Politics, Policies and Pragmatism in this issue).

Politics, Policies and Pragmatism–part 2 of the series that started in this issue. We’ll get a littler further into the weeds with this but will keep it simple enough. With elections coming in November, you’ll have time to think about whether candidates for office are just blowing smoke or really have plans to do what should be done. No, we won’t be recommending or evaluating any of those candidates. Besides, you will be sick of politics by then anyway so we’ll keep parties and personalities out of it.

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