Dear Friends,

As promised, I am letting you know about potential changes as we receive them. Note that it is clearly stated in the article below: “If the ruling passes as proposed”. In other words, this is not yet etched in stone but at least the government is thinking of things to make IRA’s more consumer friendly as we age. We will keep you posted on updates as they come to us from the powers that be.

If you have questions or we can help in any way, please call (850) 437-3127 or (251) 607-7070 and set up a time for us to talk.


Annalee Leonard

SECURE Act Retirement Bill Passes House 417-3

By: Ed Slott and Company, LLC

Today, the House of Representatives approved the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) by 417-3 – a significant bipartisan effort – leading many to speculate that the Senate may be poised to pass this bill (most likely with some revisions), as they are also focusing on retirement savings and their own version called The Retirement Security and Savings Act (RESA).

While, RESA includes provisions very different than the SECURE Act, it seems both the House and Senate are making great strides in a unified effort.

A few notable highlights if the SECURE Act continues as-is:

Two biggest changes:

1) Repealing the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions

  • Eliminating the age restriction is a good move that will open the window for more back-door Roth IRA conversions, and more spousal IRA contributions.

2) Raising the age for required minimum distributions (RMDs) from 70½ to 72

  • We believe there are additional steps the government could take to help further simplify RMDs, but getting rid of that dreaded ½ year is a step in the right direction.

Biggest potential revenue loser:

Reducing the stretch IRA to 10 years for most beneficiaries. We do not believe this will be an effective revenue raiser as they claim in the bill. Many beneficiaries do not hold the funds as long as Congress projects. Plus, those who wish to have beneficiaries receive funds over many years will find other more tax efficient vehicles, like life insurance that can simulate the stretch IRA and do it tax free with no RMD complexities. Life insurance is also a more tax friendly and flexible asset to leave to a trust. This provision will drive more people to do better estate planning, leaving Congress without the revenue they think will pay for the rest of this bill.

Potential Tax Trap for Parents:

Penalty-free withdrawals for birth or adoption from retirement accounts. This might be helpful, but the taxes will still be owed and could put new parents in tax trouble the following year. Also, this Bill is about saving more for retirement, not ways to access funds early.

Read More About the SECURE Act from the Wall Street Journal (and How It Compares to RESA)


If you love boating and have a dog, odds are you would like to share your hobby with man’s best friend. You should! Dogs are capable swimmers and many boat owners bring their dogs with them out to sea. Just make sure that you take proper precautions ahead of time to provide for your dog’s safety and comfort.

Here are a few articles we recommend that you read before setting sail:

Remember, your safety is just as important as your pet’s safety. Have a life jacket on board for every 2 legged or 4 legged friend!

Teriyaki Shish Kabobs


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 pounds beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 to 3 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1/2 pound medium fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large green or sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple


  1. For marinade, mix first five ingredients. Place beef and half of the marinade in a large resealable plastic bag; seal bag and turn to coat. Cover and reserve remaining marinade. Refrigerate beef and marinade overnight.
  2. On metal or soaked wooden skewers, thread vegetables and, on separate skewers, thread beef with pineapple. Discard remaining marinade in bag. Grill, covered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender and beef reaches desired doneness, 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring reserved marinade to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook 1 minute. Remove vegetables, pineapple and beef from skewers before serving. Serve with sauce.

Two Popular QCD Questions

By Sarah Brenner, JD | IRA Analyst

In the wake of tax reform, more IRA owners are making use of the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) strategy. This is a side effect of fewer people choosing to itemize and instead going with the larger standard deduction. If you are not itemizing, you cannot claim a tax deduction for your charitable contribution. To get a tax break for money given to charity, many savvy IRA owners are increasingly turning to the QCD. With the number of QCDs rapidly increasing, so are the questions as to how this tax break works. Here are two QCD questions we are hearing a lot these days.

1. Can an IRA beneficiary do a QCD? The answer to this question is an emphatic yes. QCDs are available to IRA beneficiaries. But watch out! There are some areas of confusion. To be eligible for a QCD, the beneficiary must be age 70 ½. The age of the IRA owner does not matter.

Example: JoAnn, age 75, leaves her IRA to both her older sister, Clara, age 80, and her daughter, Brenda, age 50. Older sister Clara can do a QCD to satisfy her required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year because she is over age 70 ½. Brenda cannot because she is only age 50. The fact that she inherited the IRA from her mother who was 75 does not allow Brenda to do a QCD.

2. Is the amount of the QCD limited to the amount of the RMD for the year? No. The amount of the RMD has nothing to do with how much can be taken as a QCD. The annual QCD limit is $100,000 for everyone who is eligible. It does not matter if their RMD is smaller.

Example: Joaquin, age 78, has an RMD of $80,000 for 2019. Joaquin would like to do a $100,000 QCD to his favorite charity. He can transfer $100,000 to the charity tax-free as a QCD even though his RMD is only $80,000. The transfer will satisfy his RMD, and the amount exceeding it still counts as a QCD.