Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jordan Curnutt

You have myriad options to be saving for your future financial success. Find out how to maximize the potential of your investments.

As the owner of your real estate business, you are very familiar with the tax implications that come with success. 

The same is true when it comes to investing and building your wealth. The more you save, the more important it becomes to capitalize on the tax-advantaged investment accounts that are available to you.

Here are seven tax-advantaged accounts every real estate agent needs to consider as part of their investment plan to ensure you are not overpaying the IRS.

Traditional IRA

One could argue the Traditional IRA is the most basic of tax-advantaged retirement accounts. The concept is rather simple: To entice individuals to save for retirement, the IRS grants a deduction against your income for the amount that you contribute.
For example, if you earned $225,000 in Schedule C net income in your business and make a $6,000 Traditional IRA contribution (the 2022 maximum contribution amount), you will only be taxed as if you earned $219,000.

At that income level, you are likely in the 24 percent tax bracket, resulting in a $1,440 savings on your tax bill.
Not too bad.

Roth IRA

Conversely, the Roth IRA takes the tax benefit of the Traditional IRA and flips it upside down. When you contribute to a Roth IRA you forgo the deduction today, in exchange for tax-free growth of your investment into retirement.

For example, you invest $6,000 today into a Roth IRA and 10 years later in retirement (assuming you are over age 59.5), your original $6,000 has grown to $11,000. 

At this time, you take out the full $11,000, both what you put in plus all of the growth, 100 percent tax-free. 

Now imagine you do this every year over the course of an entire real estate career. That’s a lot of tax-free growth!

SEP IRA

As you may have noticed, the amounts invested in the above-listed accounts were rather small, and quite frankly, do not allow for enough investment each year to fully fund your retirement goals.

That’s where small business retirement plans step in.

The SEP IRA allows for a small business owner to contribute 25 percent of net income capped at $61,000 per year into a tax-deductible retirement account.

Solo 401k

With some quick math, you can see it takes $244,000 of Schedule C net income in your business to max out a SEP IRA. But what if you are structured as an S Corp and your W2 wages are not nearly that high?

Let me introduce you to the Solo 401k.

This small business retirement account allows you to contribute as both the employee of your business and the employer. Although the overall limit is still $61,000, you are able to get there much quicker with a Solo 401k as compared to the SEP.

Plus, your Solo 401k can allow for up to $20,500 of Roth contributions, a feature not available with a SEP IRA.

SIMPLE IRA

This is the least frequently implemented retirement account we see for real estate agents, with the biggest reason being the limited contribution amount of $14,000 per year.

That said, the place where this plan does fit is when the business owner has W2 employees. 

If you have a desire to provide a retirement benefit, including a matching program for your team, this could be the small business retirement plan for you.

That is the sweet spot for the SIMPLE IRA.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

While most have heard of an HSA, many are unaware that this money can be invested and comes with the greatest tax benefits of all the accounts on our list.

Here is the triple threat of tax benefits you receive in an HSA account:

• When you contribute to your HSA, you get a deduction on your taxes for the amount you put in.
• When you invest the dollars in your HSA, all of the dividends and capital gains that occur within the account happen tax-deferred.
• When you make a withdrawal from your HSA for qualified health care expenses, everything comes out 100 percent tax-free.

Do not sleep on your HSA.

529 College Savings Plan

Saving for kids’ college expenses is routinely one of the bigger financial life events we need to plan for.

With that in mind, the 529 college savings plan allows you to accumulate for this goal on a tax-free basis.

Think of this account like a Roth IRA, except instead of being used for your retirement, it pays for the kids’ education.

Remember, the advantage of using the 529 account is tax-free growth. This means the longer the contributions have to grow, the more tax benefit you will receive.

My advice? Invest early and often.

As you can see, you have a myriad of options to be saving for your future financial success. This list only scrapes the surface of when each account might be the right fit for you. Before selecting an account, be sure to consult your financial adviser and CPA to ensure you are making the right call.

Jordan Curnutt, CFP, is a Certified Financial Planner professional for top-producing real estate professionals who want to strategically manage their wealth, optimize variable income, build a balanced net worth, and mitigate what is likely their biggest personal expense, taxes.

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