Dave Ramsey peas: Question for you

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Posted 1/23/2013 by busypea in NSBR Board
 

busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 10:59:22 AM
I don't subscribe to Dave Ramsey's philosophy, but I do think I have a basic understanding of his recommendations. During a conversation this weekend, someone said they are planning to liquidate an IRA they just inherited in order to pay off their mortgage, because that is what Dave Ramsey would recommend.

That is not actually what he recommends, is it? The tax consequences are quite significant in the short term and the long term. We aren't talking about any consumer debt here - this is strictly paying off a 4ish% mortgage on a house that is easily afforded, not underwater, etc..

If you are familiar with his recommendation on this subject, I'd love it if you could point to to where it's discussed. The spouse of the person who wants to liquidate is not too keen on the idea and would like to be able to show that it's not actually Ramsey's recommendation to do that.

wendy.merrill
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:11:40 AM
I'm not sure on that one. I know that Dave is against paying any sort of interest or penalties, so that does seem off.
But I do remember his steps, and after paying off CC and car debt, paying off the house was next. Before any sort of extra investments.
I think it would be so comforting to have my house paid off. Then you have all that extra money each month to put into IRAs, etc.
But not sure exactly what DR recommends.

peaname
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:12:49 AM
No, only to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy.


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busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:23:42 AM

But I do remember his steps, and after paying off CC and car debt, paying off the house was next. Before any sort of extra investments

I am pretty sure he recommends 15% retirement savings before paying off the house.

Burning Feather
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:26:15 AM
His advice isn't to cash out a retirement account, but it is - under LIMITED circumstances - to scale back or discontinue retirement contributions if you have CREDIT CARD debt. (I believe it is under the criteria if you can pay it off in a year by discontinuing the retirement contribution)



Carla




Luvspaper
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:28:20 AM
DR does state you should pay off certain debts before putting money into 401k/IRA retirement savings. (He ignores the lost employer match that many people get on employer 401ks)

But I agree with the others that if you already have money in retirement savings, it is foolish to pull it out due to penalties and taxes (10% early withdrawal fee if you are younger than a certain age plus federal and state withholding). And I don't think DR would tell you to do so unless it was the only way to keep a roof over your head and your last possible choice. At minimum it will cost you 10% of the funds....max can be 40%+.....not a wise move.

Especially with a low interest rate on the mortgage.

But there are a few times where DR's advice goes against what I think...so I could be wrong about what HE would say.

eta: I just saw the word "inherited". In that case, it would depend on the penalties and taxes. It could be that the penalty goes away and that it doesn't count as income, but falls under inheritance taxes. If so, it might not be a terrible move. But I would talk with a tax advisor/attorney (not an IRA/mutual fund person) prior to taking the distribution.


Gsquaredmom

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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:33:10 AM
Not DR, but that is just plain stupid from a fund-building standpoint. The strength of long-term investing is just that---the years to build it. If you destroy that fund, you cannot get those years back and it will take awhile to rebuild the fund. And the tax consequences? Whoa!!

I don't think DR is stupid, even if he does have some strange ideas, but I also don't think he would advocate that as a routine measure.



busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:35:48 AM

Not DR, but that is just plain stupid from a fund-building standpoint. The strength of long-term investing is just that---the years to build it. If you destroy that fund, you cannot get those years back and it will take awhile to rebuild the fund. And the tax consequences? Whoa!!

That is my thinking as well. I don't agree with Dave Ramsey on a number of things, but even I don't think he'd be irresponsible enough to recommend liquidating that to pay off a mortgage in normal circumstances.

If they were going to lose their house, yes. But just to pay off a low interest rate, low payment mortgage? Ridiculous!

divinghkns
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:40:06 AM
Dave Ramsey aside, another thing I would be looking at is would the costs/benefits of either side and see which is more.

For example, the cost of liquidating that IRA now will be a certain amount of taxes and penalties.

The cost of not liquidating will be paying interest for however much longer.

The benefits: IRA will gain interest at a faster rate if left alone. And they will continue to be allowed a tax deduction on federal taxes if they are paying mortgage, right?

So I guess I would get the actual numbers for these different costs and benefits and add them up and see which is better.


benem
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:41:30 AM
God no he would tell that person they are STUPID.

You never, ever touch your retirement funds. Never. Even if you will "pay it back" you are still going to lose all the money you would have made on the investments.



benem
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Posted: 1/23/2013 11:46:08 AM
His steps include - to stop all retirement investment in baby steps 1-3. Therefore you do not save for retirement when

1) you are in debt AND
2) you have NO savings

Once you have a small emergency fund you spend all your extra money on getting out of CONSUMER debt (not your mortgage).

Once you are out of debt you save every penny to build a substantial emergency fund.

Then you do 3 steps in conjunction with each other

1) save for retirement AND
2) save for the kids' college AND
3) pay off the house early

You don't do these steps until you are out of debt and have significant cash savings.

You would never ever, in his plan, deplete retirement savings to pay off a house. An earlier poster said it - you only cash out your retirement to save yourself from foreclosure.

Because there is a huge tax penalty involved in cashing out an IRA. It's a stupid move, and if you do his plan, your entire income is available to you bc you have no other debt and have large cash savings put aside "just in case".



busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 12:13:12 PM
If anyone knows where, in any of his books, Ramsey might address this specifically (what to do with inherited assets, preferably inherited retirement assets), I would greatly appreciate it. That's what I really need.

I think this plan is stupid. I ran the numbers for them. They come out so much further ahead by holding the IRA - OF COURSE. But BIL is CONVINCED that this is what DR would do, it will be better in the long run, and that I'm just doing the numbers wrong. SIL is not on board with him and is looking for help to convince him not to cash it out.

It would be really really helpful if SIL could find DR's recommendation on the subject - in print (couldn't find anything on his website, or at least not in public content). Hopefully BIL would come around if she can prove that holding on to the IRA would actually be DR's recommendation.

writermom1
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Posted: 1/23/2013 12:22:05 PM
No he would not.

Manageable mortgage debt is just about the only debt he is okay with.



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peapermint
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Posted: 1/23/2013 12:23:48 PM
Have them call the DR show; he'll tell them it's stupid.

I don't follow DR lockstep, but I did take the FPU class and we do a lot of what he recommends and there's no way even he, with all his quirks, would say this is OK.

hendersn
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Posted: 1/23/2013 1:01:14 PM
Dave's main advice with inheritances is not to act rashly. I think that is good advice in this case.

This is a complicated situation that doesn't have a pat answer. It could depend on the type of IRA inherited, the size of the inheritance, and the financial situation of the inheritors. There are different tax treatments for different types of IRAs and there are different rules regarding withdrawals. Different people have different priorities with regard to debt.

I have heard Dave on the radio recommend using an inheritance to pay off a mortgage. I have heard him say never cash out your own retirement unless you are in dire circumstances like foreclosure, or to avoid being jailed due to owing the IRS, or bankruptcy. But I have never heard him discuss a specific situation using an inherited IRA to pay off a mortgage. I think you should have your friend call the show.

Sue


divinghkns
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Posted: 1/23/2013 1:40:48 PM
I found these two links, but neither deal with IRA's (they deal with 401k's) and as the poster above me mentioned, these situations deal with people's own retirement monies, not inherited retirement monies.

Here's the links, for what it's worth...

DR Link 1

DR Link 2

I hope that helps!

pennyring
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:00:49 PM
I think the questions should be, in this order:

* What does he say about INHERITANCES. This is an inheritance.

Then...

* What does he say about investments/retirements.

It may vary, but when my Dad died, we were allowed access to all of his money and didn't have to pay any outrages fees. All of those were null because he was deceased. We were just allowed access to all of the money, no strings attached. He didn't have an IRA, but did have other accounts with penalties for early withdrawal.

Basically, I think it's like... death makes the contract null because the person who signed it is gone.

But don't take my word for it. That was just my experience.



busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:09:22 PM
pennyring - That is definitely not the case when inheriting any tax-deferred assets like an IRA or 401(k). There are significant tax consequences to taking distributions. It is true that there is not an early withdrawal penalty in this particular case, but there definitely is a huge tax bill that comes along with taking a distribution, plus the loss of future asset growth.

moveablefeast
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:18:46 PM
Since it is inheritance and not savings, I would think it was a simple analysis of the cost of cashing it out vs. the cost of paying mortgage interest for however many years.

Obviously I would not cash out my 401(k) or my IRA except in an emergency, but depending on how my retirement accounts were funded and depending on the actual dollars in question, i would certainly consider making an inherited account liquid in order to pay down debt.

Especially considering the sometimes abysmal rate of return on some types of investments these days. There are many moving pieces to this one.

I would have a financial planner on it pronto.

Runner5
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:36:11 PM
I sped through this thread and hope I didn't overlook anything.

He recommends that any retirement money (401K, IRA, etc.) be left in place unless you are facing bankruptcy. Even then a distinction is made between avoiding bankruptcy or just putting it off. If you're just putting off certain bankruptcy, then you keep your hands out of your retirement funds.

I really struggled wanting to get into my IRA to pay off our mortgage as the payroll tax hikes were going to stretch our budget to the max. He doesn't post on the DR forums but all the advice I was given was to absolutely not touch that money. It goes along with what's in his books (TMMO and Financial Peace).

In the case of an inheritance, you just put it towards whatever baby step you're working on. Baby step 2 (paying off credit card debt) also goes hand in hand with good budgeting. You know that means looking ahead for known expenses that are coming like buying tires for your car, a reasonable Christmas, etc. People are advised on the DR boards to make sure they set up funds for things like that too if they get a windfall while they're still paying down debt.

There's a huge debate about whether or not to put contributing to your retirement while you're still in BS1 or BS2. I think most people continue making contributions up to their employer match even while they're still paying off their credit card debt.

The thing he says that makes the most sense to me is that personal finance is more about behavior than it is about math. Most of us will handle a business decision differently than we'd handle a decision with our own finances. His ideas address behavior and that's why they worked so well for us. We've made more progress in the few years we've followed his plan than in the previous 25 years of our marriage. Both of us were planners and savers and I read about personal finance all the time. Nothing else gave us the traction that Financial Peace University gave us.


Mary




guzismom
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:37:03 PM
If this is an INHERITED retirement account, plain old inheritance taxes should apply; no penalties for early withdrawl. Of course, I would consult my attorney and/or financial advisor to be sure.

I would use it to pay down my debt since it's not MY retirement savings being used. If it is a significant amount of money, I would probably split it toward early mortgage payoff (our only debt) and savings.


Marilyn (now in New Mexico!!)
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Runner5
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:39:55 PM
When one inherits an IRA, are there any additional taxes or penalties associated with liquidating it?



Mary




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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:43:11 PM
This is beside the point really but I didn't realize that when one inherited a retirement account that it remains a retirement account - I thought it was handled as a cash distribution inheritance (subject to inheritance taxes but not retirement distribution taxes)

So if I died, my retirement account (assuming no DH) would go to my heir (DD) and she would have to hold it as retirement also or face penalties?

Because my answer for a retirement account with penalties is much different than my answer for inherited funds.


Carla




busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:43:25 PM
Mary,

Not sure in all cases, but in my experience there are not penalties beyond normal income taxes (and estate taxes, if applicable). That is definitely the case in this situation.

SDeven
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:47:35 PM
I have been listening to Dave on the radio for more than 12 years and I feel comfortable saying "no, that's not something Dave would recommend."

The only time he recommends cashing out an IRA is if it's the only way to avoid foreclosure.

I don't follow DR blindly or 100 percent but he has made some things more understandable and more doable for me.






busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:50:00 PM
BF,

There are a lot of complicated rules around inheriting retirement assets. In some cases, you do need to take a lump sum distribution but not all.

In the case of an inherited IRA, it can stay an iRA, but more contributions cannot be made to the account and annual distribtions are required (amount varies on the age of the beneficiary, but is required even if the beneficiary is not of retirement age).

It can vary more with 401(k)s because I believe that options are partly dependent on how the plan is designed. When I inherited my dad's 401(k), I had a few options including rolling it over into an IRA. If it passed through my hands, I would have owed income taxes. Since I did a direct rollover, it was not a taxable event and I won't owe taxes until I retire and draw on the account.

divinghkns
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Posted: 1/23/2013 2:54:51 PM

His steps include - to stop all retirement investment in baby steps 1-3. Therefore you do not save for retirement when

1) you are in debt AND
2) you have NO savings


My instructor for FPU said that you should contribute to your 401k up to the amount your company matches because that is free money and you shouldn't turn it down.

But yes, otherwise, cut your retirement contributions during BS1,2,3

hendersn
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Posted: 1/23/2013 3:11:18 PM
I'm not an expert, but the amount of taxes you have to pay on an inherited IRA depends on what kind of IRA it is and if the IRA was funded with pre-tax dollars or after-tax dollars. If you don't get a lump sum payout immediately, you will have to take regular distributions, again the rules are complicated and different for each type of account you inherit. Rules are different depending on your relationship to the person who passed away.

Here's a link to an AARP article explaining some of the rules for inherited IRAs:

Understanding Inherited IRAs

Runner5
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Posted: 1/23/2013 3:14:07 PM

Mary,

Not sure in all cases, but in my experience there are not penalties beyond normal income taxes (and estate taxes, if applicable). That is definitely the case in this situation.


I know the other big stipulation (as Sue said) is he always recommends waiting a year after receiving an inheritance to make any financial decisions. I've heard this over and over on the pod casts.

I remember a young widow calling in to thank him as she and her husband had been working Dave's plan for several years. Her husband drowned when they were vacationing and she said she had been left in great shape financially thanks to Dave. Her question was should she pay off the house with part of the insurance proceeds since they had been doing that united as a couple? He told her she needed to park the money and wait a year. He stressed that you can't make good decisions while grieving the loss of a loved one.

It was really something to listen to - the compassion he had and the story this young mom related. It still gets linked to quite a bit on the DR forums.

He also tells people they need a financial adviser by the time they get their consumer debt paid and they've saved up 3-6 months of living expenses. The next step would be to save 15% of their income for retirement and it makes perfect sense that you'd need an adviser then.

I've got to run out but I'll check my books for a source on that. That would be the best course for your BIL and it's probably what you recommended. Cool your heels and get a good adviser.

His plan works because you get so focused and intense on one step at a time. It can also backfire (there was a recent article on the paid part of the site saying this exact thing) because you get so focused and intense that you forget to do the other things you're supposed to do with money. The article stressed that you can't get obsessed to the point that all you do is live and breathe your spreadsheets and that one step you're working on. You still have to feed your family, buy shoes when you need them, and get out to play with the kids!



Mary




PlanningPea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 3:16:40 PM
You need to know more about the IRA. This could be a Roth IRA with no withdrawal limits or penalties (for example). In that case, I absolutely believe he would say to cash out at least enough to get rid of any debt. This is not your IRA. Apples are being compared to oranges.


Dawn

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Runner5
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Posted: 1/23/2013 3:26:47 PM
"Ask Dave" Overwhelming Inheritance

This example may be extreme (the caller inherited over $40 million) but you'll hear him tell her she needs to wait and she needs professional advice. I don't know why it would be any different for a lesser amount.

I know every time I meet with our CPA, his fee is more than made up with the money we save by following his advice.


Mary




benem
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Posted: 1/23/2013 4:02:28 PM

My instructor for FPU said that you should contribute to your 401k up to the amount your company matches because that is free money and you shouldn't turn it down.


And your instructor is giving out their personal opinion, not Dave's plan. I listen to his show every day and I've done FPU three times and gone to see him live. He is insistent that you don't contribute short term.

That said, I do contribute to mine bc I put in 3% and my company puts in 7%, and I am in my mid 40s so I need to do this now. But I know that is contrary to what DR teaches. Oh well!



Burning Feather
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Posted: 1/23/2013 4:32:01 PM

He is insistent that you don't contribute short term.


I could swear that the "rule" that he goes by is that you can stop contributing only if you can pay the debt off in a year by doing so.

The reason I remember this is because we were in that situation the first time we went through FPU and we did discontinue our retirement savings for a short period and applied that money towards debt.

Now where I read/heard that specifically, I don't know for sure, but I am confident that I saw it, at the very least, in one of his question/answer sections.







Carla




divinghkns
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Posted: 1/23/2013 4:39:25 PM



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
He is insistent that you don't contribute short term.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I could swear that the "rule" that he goes by is that you can stop contributing only if you can pay the debt off in a year by doing so.

The reason I remember this is because we were in that situation the first time we went through FPU and we did discontinue our retirement savings for a short period and applied that money towards debt.

Now where I read/heard that specifically, I don't know for sure, but I am confident that I saw it, at the very least, in one of his question/answer sections.


Now that you say that, Burning Feather, I feel like I've heard that somewhere too. Maybe that's what I originally heard, but knew I wouldn't be done in less than a year, so moved on.

Regardless, my 401k charges a fee for inactivity, and in addition to that my level of employment at my firm requires me to buy a certain amount of stock in a certain amount of time and the only way we can buy stock is through the 401k so I have to keep contributing a small amount to keep buying stock and meet the criteria for keeping my account active. But I do the bare minimum so that I keep the rest of money free for my debt snowball. It may or may not be what DR would recommend for me, but it's what makes sense to me. I guess that's part of what any of these programs is about...causing you to think about you are doing and why and then make the best decision you can with the info you have & within your unique set of circumstances.

Runner5
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Posted: 1/23/2013 4:47:00 PM
I was thinking about this on my way to the pharmacy.

It's pretty awesome that BIL isn't out buying toys. So many people would be planning on a brand new luxury automobile, an incredible vacation, and a new man cave filled with a new big screen TV and a fully stocked bar.

If paying off his house is his big mistake .... oh well!

There's also something to be said for owning your home with respect to your own feelings of security. It's possible he really needs that more than the extra money he could make by staying fully invested. If he cashes in now, it will be at a high. At least he's not selling into the lows from a few years ago.

All those factors together ... can he really go wrong? (I'm assuming he's been making 15% contributions to his own retirement and will continue to do so).


Mary




busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 5:04:07 PM
Mary,

Based on average market performance, the inherited IRA should be worth about $1,000,000 by the time they retire.

Their house will never be worth that. And while they are good at saving for retirement now and have a good emergency fund, there is no way that they are going to invest what they are now paying for their mortgage if they pay it off and are mortgage free. It will go to enhancing lifestyle - and that is what he is really thinking about.

So, a big tax bill and fancier lifestyle now with no mortgage or $1,000,000 more in the bank at retirement (which yes, will be taxable at withdrawal) is really the crux of the issue. To me, it's clearcut and I would think DR would see it that way too.

Runner5
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Posted: 1/23/2013 10:02:10 PM
It must be hard to work in the banking industry (with all your experience and knowledge) and have him turn a deaf ear. I hope he's willing to listen to Dave's counsel (since he does seem to respect Dave Ramsey so much) to wait and to get a good financial adviser.

It's too bad he doesn't recognize the fact that you're giving him good advice.

ITA that using that money freed from their mortgage to just enhance their lifestyle is essentially throwing it away.



Mary




busypea
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Posted: 1/23/2013 10:14:20 PM
It's not that he's disregarding my advice that bothers me - it's that he's disregarding his wife's wishes. She asked me to help calculate the financial benefit on both sides, so she could convince him not to liquidate. He's still bound and determined to do it and is using DR as a defense, but know he's wrong about that.

I just hope SIL doesn't give in. She is the actual beneficiary, not both of them, so honestly I think she should just flat out say there is no way it is happening and be done with it. He can't do it without her. I'm keeping my trap shut about that though
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