The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Art versus Science

There are many types of financial advisors, some certified like CFPs and some more suspect like “financial professionals”.

Among the most respected advisors are “trust officers,” as they are removed from the sales process and have expertise in the mysterious world of trusts.

For years, I have agreed with that distinction, because the world of trusts is so large and fascinating.

Because trusts are so flexible and open to ingenuity, I think of trust officers as artists.

However, today there are so many types of IRAs, and they are so constricted by strict rules, that I now think of IRA experts as scientists or technicians.

There are plain IRAs and Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs and rollover IRAs, beneficiary IRAs and beneficiary Roth IRAs, “back-door” Roth IRAs, “mega-back-door” Roth IRAs, 401(k) Roth IRAs, 403(b) Roth IRAs, 457(b) Roth IRAs, Stretch IRAs, inherited IRA trusts and traditional IRA trusts, etc.

Then, there are the complicated rules for the transfer of funds between IRA types and for different types of beneficiaries.

Clearly, it is brain damage . . . and mistakes are expensive!

Make sure your financial advisor has specialized training in IRA planning, more than mere “retirement planning.”

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a Certified IRA Planner . . . and there should be!