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Posted: 1:22 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, 2012

IRA rules are becoming more cumbersome

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Saving for retirement is unnecessarily complicated in our country.

I love the idea that George W. Bush proposed that never made it through political Washington. He said we should have a single retirement account with a simple limit on what you could contribute. You would get no tax break upfront, but your money would grow tax free and be spent tax free in retirement. Basically, a simplified Roth anybody would qualify for.

That bill was dead on arrival in D.C. I have no idea why. If the national goal is to avoid having waves of destitute seniors, we need to get on the ball. Pensions aren't there for the average worker anymore.

That's why I bemoaned seeing an article in The Wall Street Journal  about IRA rules getting trickier. Inheriting an IRA can be particularly tricky. An account can be titled incorrectly, leading to a terrible tax burden.

The rules as they exist are silly, but they are what we have for now. We need more transparency and we don't have it. So heed the following advice:

1. If you have aging parent, make sure they know their 70th birthday requires them to withdraw money from their retirement account.

2. If you inherit an IRA, hire a CPA who does tax or an enrolled agent to make sure you do everything right. Because you won't get a second chance.

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