This Is the Time to Fund Tax-Preferred Accounts
There's a sale going on...
Yes it's time to invest, but in my opinion, it's always time to invest.
I'm not saying it's time to make clever tactical asset allocation moves, or pick stocks, or time the market.
But with markets notably down, it's time to realign chess pieces in a way that can complement almost any investment, tax, and wealth management plan. In down markets you can strategically deploy your plan at a better price.
Think of these moves as a way to make certain aspects of your plan more efficient.
- Contribute to Tax-Preferred Accounts Like HSAs, IRAs, and 529 Plans
Any account that offers tax-deferred or tax-free growth is a great option right now. Contributions to these accounts are annual recurring items within many financial plans, but often occur in lump sums toward the end of the calendar year. These are generally accounts with a long time horizon (retirement, college). Investing cash into these accounts now, while markets are low, will allow you to get in at a good price and capture more tax-preferred upside.
If your plan calls for an annual contribution to a 529 or HSA account, consider doing that now rather than later in the year. Or at least averaging in with the markets having been punished.
- Convert High Growth Assets to Roth At A Low Valuation
I’ve outlined two popular Roth conversion strategies in prior posts. The first is the backdoor Roth conversion for high-earners, and the second is a series of Roth conversions during early retirement when income is low to minimize future mandatory withdrawals.
With the markets, down, it’s a great time to make Roth conversions now.
Suppose you have a traditional IRA account with $100,000 in equities just a few months ago. That position may have decreased to around $75,000. If you had a planned to do $50,000 in Roth conversion, now is the time to execute with markets down over 20%.
Think of it this way: you’re simply moving “future growth” from taxable (traditional IRA) to tax free (Roth).
Sure, it hurts to sell equities within an IRA at a loss, but it’s not a true loss if you keep it invested. You’re going to immediately buy back into the investment, keep exposure, and ride the markets back up tax free.
Remember the other benefits of Roth accounts are:
- No required minimum distributions at age 72
- No inheritance tax or forced withdrawals for account beneficiaries
The change in circumstances causes some reshuffling of priorities and actions, but it doesn’t cause a stray in the core of your investment or financial plan.