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Ask the Financial Expert


When do I have to start taking money out of my IRA?

The IRS requires that you begin taking money out of your IRA in the year you turn 70 ½. This amount is referred to as the RMD or required minimum distribution. The RMD is determined by taking the year end value of the previous year. So, a 2018 IRA RMD uses the December 31, 2017 account value. This amount is divided by your joint life expectancy, your age and the standard IRS table makes your beneficiary 10 years younger. If your spouse is more than ten years younger, special mortality tables are used.

The IRA RMD needs to be taken by December 31st of the year. A 50% penalty is assessed for not taking your IRA RMD, so make sure you take your distribution. As in all IRS rules there are exceptions and variables that apply to this rule. Make sure to consult your tax preparer for how the rule applies to you.

The IRS only cares that you take this distribution, they don’t care what you do with the money. If clients need the money it serves as a retirement income supplement. If not needed, the funds can be added to non-qualified investments. If you are still working, you could add it to a Roth IRA.

The funds could also be used to fund grandchildren’s 529 education plans.

As you can see there are a lot of options. If you are confused, ask your financial advisor for help.

Greg Wagoner CFP®,
Financial Advisor at Wagoner,
Wagoner & Associates
5954 Renaissance Pl Ste D.,

Do I need Medicare Part A or Part B
if I am still working?

The answer depends on your situation. If you’ve worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) under Medicare-covered employment and paid Medicare taxes during that time, you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A and will be automatically enrolled at age 65 even if you’re still working. If your spouse has enough employment quarters, you can also qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A based on his or her work history.

If not, you can decide to delay enrollment if you already have health coverage through an employer or union (or through your own work or your spouse’s employer). Medicare Part B always carries a monthly premium, so you may similarly choose to delay your Part B enrollment if you or your spouse are still working and have employer-based group coverage.

Remember, if you don’t sign up for Medicare when you’re first eligible and don’t have other coverage based on current employment, you could have to pay a late-enrollment penalty later when you do enroll. The late-enrollment penalty applies to Medicare Part B (and Part A, if you have to pay a premium for it).
One factor to consider is that even if you have health coverage through your employment, Medicare may help pay for some of the costs not covered by your group health plan, so you should consult with your employer or union benefits administrator for specifics.
If you have questions, call Beacon experts to get you medicare questions answered.

Rhonda L. Wise
Co-Founder and Vice President of
Beacon Associates

My Financial Institution keeps having credit card breaches, what is a data breach and how does it happen?

It can be overwhelming with the seemingly endless reports of data breaches, cyber-attacks and fraud. A data breach is when someone infiltrates a merchant’s network and steals customer information. This can include name, address, social security number, card number, and various other types of personal information. The list of companies involved in data breaches is continuing to grow and there’s a lot of differing information out there.

So how do data breaches occur? When you use your credit or debit card at a merchant, most have a system or program that enables them to process your payment. These systems then store the transaction information in an encrypted file for the purpose of records, verification, fraud claims, invoicing, etc.

What we call a “data breach” occurs when these systems are hacked or stolen. When this happens, the purpose is often to decrypt and obtain the stored card data. This information is then used to generate counterfeit cards or to make purchases online.
It’s important to keep in mind that these types of card breaches happen at the merchant level – not at your financial institution. Your financial institution system has not been breached, a 3rd party merchant did not have sufficient protections in place to secure their network.

The best way to protect yourself when a data breach happens is to get a new card number as soon as possible and keep a close watch on the activity of your account.

Directions Credit Union
11 regional branches.
419-841-9838. directionscu.org

What do I need to know about income tax when I lose a spouse?

Uncertainty about income tax issues can add to the stress experienced from the death of a spouse. You should meet with your family attorney and/or tax advisor as soon as possible to review your particular tax and estate circumstances. Bring a detailed list of your questions to the meeting.

If you do not have an attorney or tax advisor, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 for answers to specific tax questions.

Is there financial help if I need it?

There are a number of options available, including:

  • Determine if the deceased person qualifies for any entitlements. Check with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and with your State Fund. Many people are entitled to get financial assistance with their funeral costs from these agencies if they qualify.
  • Review all insurance policies the deceased person has, including life insurance. Some life insurance policies have coverage clauses for funeral related costs.
  • Find local charities providing financial help for funeral expenses. Search for non profit organizations and for churches in your area.
  • Talk to your funeral director about cremation options – these can be much less expensive depending on your choices.

David J. Czerniak
Funeral Director, Manager
Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home
2426 N. Reynolds Rd.,
Toll Free: 800-533-0018,

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