What are non-qualified and qualified accounts?

A qualified plan is simply one that is described in Section 401(a) of the Tax Code. The most common types of qualified plans are profit-sharing plans (including 401(k) plans), defined benefit plans, and money purchase pension plans. In general, your contributions are not taxed until you withdraw money from the plan.

In a nonqualified plan, there are no deductions, but the principal is never taxed twice. Instead, the interest is taxed once withdrawn.

What is an IRA, a Roth IRA, and a 401(k)? What is the difference?

IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. It’s a savings account that you can use to put away money for retirement, and potentially grow your funds through investment; there are tax breaks associated with an IRA. 

  • One of the basic differences between an IRA and a Roth IRA accounts is in when you pay taxes. With an IRA, you pay taxes at the time you take a distribution.
  • In a Roth IRA, you pay taxes before contributing to the Roth. 
  • An IRA and a 401k are similar in many ways. Their biggest difference is in how much you can contribute. 
  • A 401(k) is a qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan into which eligible employees may make salary-deferral contributions on a post-tax and/or pretax basis. Earnings in a 401(k) plan accrue on a tax-deferred basis.

What is an RMD?

A required minimum distribution is the amount that traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA owners and qualified plan participants must begin withdrawing from their retirement accounts by April 1 following the year they reach age 70½.

What is a Roth Conversion?

When you convert from a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, a process also known as creating a “backdoor” Roth IRA, you generally pay income tax on the contributions. The taxable amount that is converted is added to your income taxes and your regular income rate is applied to your total income.