Research on Money and Finance

Not Too Late To Make 2005 IRA Contribution

Many Americans make annual contributions to individual retirement accounts. If you haven’t done so for the 2005 tax year, you still can.

Not To Late To Make 2005 IRA Contribution

Contributing to individual retirement accounts just makes sense. Most don’t believe social security is going to survive for long. Even if it does, one has to wonder how small the distributions are going to be. With the baby boomer generation about to put significant strain on the system, distributions in ten or twenty years are going to be paltry.

If you failed to contribute to your individual retirement account in 2005, you have until April 15, 2006 to do so. This is also true if you contributed during 2005, but failed to deposit the maximum amount allowed under law.

The contribution limits for individual retirement accounts went up in 2005. You can generally contribute up to $4,000. If you are older than 50 years of age, the limit bumps up another $500 to $4,500. When making contributions, just make sure you note on the deposit slip that it is for the 2005 year, not 2006.

Although there are variations, individual retirement accounts come in two general forms. The traditional independent retirement account is a pre-tax contribution vehicle. If you meet salary and filing requirements, the money you contribute from your earning is excluded from your adjusted gross tax calculations. If you are looking for extra deductions for 2005, catching up on your individual retirement account contribution can create a healthy reduction of your reported earnings. The downside, of course, is distributions from traditional IRAs are taxable when you hit the relevant age limit.

The Roth IRA represents a different approach to the individual retirement savings conundrum. Essentially, the Roth IRA shifts the tax burden to the beginning of the savings cycle. In human terms, this means you get no deduction for contributing to a Roth IRA. If you don’t get a deduction, why would you use a Roth? The huge advantage to the Roth is found in the distributions. Simply put, distributions are tax-free when you reach the appropriate retirement age. If you are young, say under 40, Roth IRAs typically present a better return than traditional IRAs. This is because the money invested has more time to compound and grow.

Regardless of your choice, socking away money for retirement makes sense. Fortunately, you can still do so for 2005.

One Stop_Shopping Now_Available_At_Your_Local_Bank_Branch

In today's fast-paced culture, convenience is king. Consumers are becoming less satisfied with establishments that offer only one product or service, and "one-stop shopping" venues are gaining popularity for the time and effort they can save.

The convenience trend has changed the face of many types of businesses, and financial services is no exception. In the past, customers visited local bank branches to cash checks and make deposits and were content with these limited services. Today, customers expect more from their banking relationship-they look to their local bank to help them effectively manage all of their financial activities.

Banks of all sizes-from national institutions to community banks-now offer a wide array of financial services and products, including annuities, life insurance and financial planning. Customers can obtain these services in the same convenient location where they have conducted every-day bank transactions for years.

While most banks offer some type of financial planning and investment services, the scope of these programs varies greatly from one institution to the next. Customers should carefully examine their bank's offerings and determine whether they are receiving the level of assistance they require and deserve. Many institutions claim to be committed to empowering clients, but fail to actively reach out to customers and provide the support they need.

In the U.S. retirement market, investors face a number of significant financial challenges-rising health care costs, dwindling Social Security and increased longevity mean that many people are in danger of running out of money in retirement. Furthermore, most Americans are not taking the necessary actions to ensure a secure financial future. Financial institutions should proactively engage their clients to make them aware of these risks and provide effective solutions.

More than ever, financial advisors are choosing to set up practices in bank branches and banks are recruiting experienced professionals. The expert advice and comprehensive services that today's customers demand are available in a growing number of banks. If your current financial institution doesn't provide what you're looking for, maybe it's time to find a new banking relationship that can meet all of your financial needs.

Since 1985, Investment Centers of America, Inc. (ICA) (member NASD, SIPC and a Registered Investment Advisor) has been a leader in offering investment and insurance products through non-affiliated banks. Securities and insurance products offered through ICA and affiliated insurance agencies may lose value, carry no bank guarantee and are not FDIC insured.