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If You Love Money, You'll Love Traditional IRAs

In this edition of our Motley Fool Conversations series, Fool personal finance expert Dayana Yochim and retirement planning analyst Dan Caplinger discuss the pros and cons of traditional IRAs. The most immediate benefit of using a traditional IRA is the up-front tax deduction that you get for the money you contribute, which can save you thousands in taxes on your current tax return. But that big benefit comes with a long-term trade-off: having to pay taxes on withdrawals after you retire.

Dan and Dayana go through strategies to use and rules to follow in making the most of your IRA. In addition, Dan makes some specific recommendations for stocks and other investments that fit best in an IRA, with a particular focus on high-dividend stocks and high-yielding bonds that will take best advantage of the tax benefits that these retirement accounts offer.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 06, 2013, at 4:29 PM, jaybird1226 wrote:

    re: traditional i.r.a.. one thing that is always missing on i.r.a. reporting is inheritance. first from spouse to spouse and then from parent to adult child. i would like to clarification on these issues. thank you.

  • Report this Comment On February 06, 2013, at 9:59 PM, Daveoffv wrote:

    Why do you continually interupt your articles with advertisements for other Motley Fool products?

  • Report this Comment On February 06, 2013, at 10:58 PM, maazzoo69 wrote:

    More videos Dan ! Thanks !

  • Report this Comment On February 07, 2013, at 3:32 AM, dgmennie wrote:

    The end of the video suggests putting "high interest bonds" (aka junk bonds) into your IRA. Of course nothing is provided here (or even hinted at) that would help any investor find a high interest bond worth considering as opposed to those that might look tempting but will most likely default and become near worthless. A couple such mis-steps and you can kiss your IRA and your retirement goodbye (ditto for many overhyped stocks).

    So how about it MF experts? Don't casually mention junk bonds without providing an unbiased grounding (or at least a link) to good information about how to locate value in these shark-infested waters. (I don't want to hear BS from high-commission bond salesmen.)

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2013, at 1:29 PM, TMFGalagan wrote:

    @dgmennie - My favorite resource for information about corporate bonds, especially high-yield bonds, is the Fool's free community discussion board:

    You'll get plenty of contentious debate there about the pros and cons of high-yield bond investing.


    dan (TMF Galagan)

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2013, at 12:00 AM, stevec5792 wrote:

    Dan, the more education about IRAs and Roth IRAs, the better, in my opinion. Good job here, but....

    We all know taxes will increase since they are at historic lows (Fed, State, Local for some). I personally advocate using Roths to shield future taxes. The real beauty of Roths is there is no required minimum distributions, all withdrawals are tax-free and any amount left in them is passed on tax-free to heirs with the same tax-free withdrawal rules.

    To me, it's especially wise for younger people to use the Roth vehicle because their tax rate is typically lower. However, even at 55, I am still converting partial Traditional to a Roth. It still makes sense financially (at least for a few more years).

    Careful tax planning is required, too, for Traditional IRAs. If your current tax rate on Qualified Dividends is 15% or less but you expect your tax rates to be higher in retirement, then this is not as good a deal as it seems as every penny of Traditional IRA distributions is taxed at your then tax rate.

    Just as an aside, not all IRAs allow the flexibility you describe in the video. Some, mostly banks, only allow investments in bank CDs or a very limited number of mutual funds....just like a 401(k) plan. And, many 401(k) plans now have brokerage windows to buy/sell individual securities although they tend to be fantastically expensive.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2013, at 9:15 AM, enthuskeptic wrote:

    The love of money is the root of all - no prizes for knowing, guessing or googling - evil. A lack of emotion should be a requirement for handling any amount of money.

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