Roth IRA Basics in 2013

Authored by Jim Guynan

Eligibility: (2013)

Single taxpayers with adjusted gross income of up to $112,000 or married couples filing jointly with adjusted gross income of up to $178,000 are eligible to contribute the full $5,500 annually to a Roth IRA in 2013. Workers who are age 50 or older may contribute an additional $1,000 to a Roth IRA in 2013, for a total of $6,500.

The contribution amount in 2013 is gradually reduced to zero for adjusted gross income levels between $112,000 and $127,000 for single taxpayers, and between $178,000 and $188,000 for couples.

Unlike regular IRAs, contributions to a Roth IRA can be made even after age 70-1/2.


Contributions to a Roth IRA are non-deductible. Instead, the tax advantages of a Roth IRA are “backloaded.” Earnings on Roth IRA contributions accumulate without tax and distributions may be received tax free.

Qualified Distributions:

Qualified distributions from a Roth IRA are not included in gross income and are not subject to the additional 10% penalty tax for premature distributions. To be a tax-free qualified distribution:

  • The distribution must occur more than five years after the individual first contributed to the Roth IRA; and
  • The individual must be at least 59-1/2 years old, disabled, deceased or the funds must be used to purchase a first home ($10,000 lifetime limit).

Converting from a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA:

Income taxes must be paid on the amount that is converted from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, but there is no premature distribution penalty tax.

Sales & Marketing

Get “in the business”

Authored by David Corwin Are you “in the business” or do you just have an insurance license? Here are some indicators to tell you where you are:
  • Do you have a business plan? Crafting a meaningful business plan takes a lot of thought and time. Set out the strategy for your business – particularly your marketing strategy. Set targets and objectives, including sales and financial goals so that you can monitor business performance.
  • Are you actively looking for new prospects (referrals and warm market) or just replacing the business you wrote in the past?  It really should be a 60/40 split. Sixty percent of your marketing efforts should be spent on referrals and warm marketing. Forty percent should be reviewing clients that you’ve written before, both fostering the relationship built as well as looking for new business.
  • Are you running enough appointments throughout every week to get the results you want?  The old numbers game.  It only makes sense that if you have enough lines in the water the more fish you will catch. The more successful agents run between 10-15 appointments per week.  If you’re running less than that… more. It’s as simple as that.
  • On your appointments do you implement a fact finder to obtain material facts that allow for cross selling opportunities?  If you don’t, well then you’re probably an order taker and if you don’t have what they want then you’ll go back to your office without the business.  Last I checked, an insurance license allows you to sell Life Insurance, Annuities, Health Insurance, Long Term Care and Disability Insurance.  If you don’t use one, then you just have an insurance license.
  • Are you furthering your education through industry leading programs like CLU, ChFC, CFP?  Furthering your education makes you better informed to assist with the variety of unique requirements that individuals, professionals, and business owners may have with respect to their estate planning, wealth transfer, income replacement and risk management needs. Holders of these designations increase their sales by up to 51%.
Sales & Marketing

Bring Social Media Into Your Marketing Plan

Authored by John Schraut Any insurance industry publication you look at now has ways to use social media.  So my question to you, do you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account for your business? If not, you are losing out on ways to connect with other professionals and potential clients.  Best of all – it’s FREE! In a recent survey I saw, it said; More than 60% of advisors have used LinkedIn to gain new clients.  75% said it has improved their effectiveness of their referral network. So how many clients have you gained from your social media marketing plan?
Life Insurance

Beating a Sales Slump

Authored by Gary Peterson After the Holidays, it’s easy to find yourself looking for business because your clients are giving you excuses. Does this sound familiar?
  • You hear a lot more “No’s”.
  • Cases that seemed a sure bet don’t happen.
  • A nice application is withdrawn or declined.
  • Your most recent referral stands you up.
  • Nothing seems to go right.
That is when it is easy to lose confidence. But, the best of the best have all experienced slumps and survived to let us know the secrets to getting back on track. I have attached a great article that describes the keys to breaking out of a slump – or preventing one from starting. Beating a Sales Slump

Be the “Quarterback Advisor”

Authored by Justin Reeves Many agents love sports analogies when talking about business – I know I do.   Well, here is one that you might relate to. We have all heard to be all things to our clients.  Many have tried, only some have succeeded.  Still others may wonder what does this mean.  Have you ever been the “Quarterback Advisor”? In football, all offensive plays run through the quarterback (QB).  He doesn’t necessarily make all the plays; sometimes he hands off to the running back or throws it to the receiver.   All calls from the coaches run through the QB and he is a part of everything.  In most cases, the games are perceived to be won or lost due to the QB’s efforts. Let’s examine how this works in the insurance/advisor business.  You want your clients to think of you every time they have a financial or business need.  If they need law advice and don’t know where to turn – they call you.  If they need a CPA to assist on taxes – you hope they call you.  Business insurance, financial planning and the list goes on and on – do your part so that they think of you.  Being the “Quarterback Advisor” means you are a connection maker.  You know all the best people for the job for your client even if it isn’t you.  Always strive to be the one they think of first.  These are the types of qualities that go beyond just the sales part.  It will pay huge dividends.