Weekly business rail, with IRA tips, BBB advice on choosing a wedding photographer and more.

Tip of the Week


The two things that everyone could use more of are time and money. One way to help free up some of both is by rolling over your existing retirement assets into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). An IRA rollover may give you greater control of assets spread across multiple accounts and potentially offers improved diversification, flexibility, guidance and service. This could save you money in fees and other costs from different accounts as well as cut down on financial paperwork and other headaches from dealing with multiple assets. Here are some basics from Thrivent Financial regarding what you need to know about rolling over to an IRA.


- What is an IRA rollover? An IRA rollover is the act of funding an IRA with assets moved from an existing tax-qualified retirement account, a pension plan, a profit sharing plan, 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan or another IRA (with the exception of a Roth IRA, which can only be rolled into another Roth IRA) without penalty or tax withholding, for continued tax-deferred growth potential.


- Who can open a rollover IRA? You can roll over money from a former employer's retirement plan (profit sharing, 401(k), 403(b), Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b), etc.) to an IRA if you experience one of the following triggering events as permitted by the plan:


- Change of employer


- Termination of an employer's existing plan


- Retirement


- Reaching age 59 1/2


- Disability


- Divorce


- Death


You may also roll over or transfer assets from most traditional, Roth, SIMPLE and SEP IRAs into an IRA. The assets in the old plan or account are "rolled over" into an IRA and retain their tax-deferred growth potential.


- Why move funds into a rollover IRA? There are potentially four primary benefits in rolling tax-qualified retirement savings over to an IRA. These include:


1. Easier management of retirement assets. Consolidating multiple tax-qualified workplace retirement accounts into a single IRA may make it easier for you to manage your retirement assets. Instead of piecing together multiple statements to find your overall investment performance and balance, just one statement does the trick.


2. Increased investment options. Rolling over to an IRA may offer more investment options than your employer and plan custodian. More options may help you better diversify your investments or better align your accounts with your risk tolerance. Remember, while diversification can help reduce market risk, it does not eliminate it.


3. Potential tax-deferred compounding. IRA rollovers may offer continued tax-deferred treatment of retirement assets. There are two ways to accomplish an IRA rollover. Request a "direct" IRA rollover from your former employer or an "indirect" rollover.


4. Simplified calculation of required minimum distributions (RMDs). Required minimum distributions (RMDs) - the minimum amounts that a retirement account owner must withdraw annually starting with the year that he or she reaches age 70 1/2 or, if later, the year in which he or she retires - must be calculated for a combination of all your tax-qualified retirement accounts. Consolidating retirement accounts into one rollover IRA simplifies the calculation of a required minimum distribution. (Required minimum distributions cannot be included in a rollover IRA.)       


- ARA


BBB Watch


Wedding season is upon us, and the bride and groom rely on the wedding photographer to provide lasting memories of their special day. Sadly, some wedding photographers do not deliver what was promised to newlyweds. The Better Business Bureau offers the following suggestions to prospective brides and grooms:


- Check with the BBB for Business Reviews and listings of photographers and videographers you are considering at www.bbb.org. 


- Schedule interviews with two or three to get a feel for the types of services they offer, the quality of their work and related fees. 


- Ask for references and talk to previous clients. 


- Ask the photographer if he/she is the one who will be photographing your wedding. If so, that should be stated in the contract. If not, request to meet personally with the photographer who will be shooting your wedding and review photos from several events before making a decision. 


- Is the photo package fixed or customized? How many photos are included and what about reprints, enlargements and albums?


- What is the time frame for delivery of proofs and other products? Is there a website to view your images? Can you keep the proofs or negatives?


- What is the payment schedule? Is a deposit required; if so, how much and by when? This information should be included in the contract.


For more information on wedding photography and to find photographers you can trust, go to www.bbb.org.


The List


According to Forbes, here are the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S.:


1. John Hammergren of McKesson


2. Ralph Lauren of Ralph Lauren


3. Michael Fascitelli of Vornado Realty


4. Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan


5. David Cote of Honeywell


Number to Know


$60: Price of a new state-of-the-art light bulb by Philips. The expensive bulb, however, is supposed to last 20 years.


Tech Talk


According to a study published in Public Relations Journal, 60 percent of Wikipedia pages on businesses contained errors.


GateHouse News Service