Podcast Episode - Ask Suze & KT Anything: How Should Beneficiaries Be Set Up?

Family, Health, Investing, Retirement, Roth IRA, Saving

May 25, 2023

Listen to Podcast Episode:

On this Ask Suze and KT Anything episode, Suze answers questions about buying T-Bills, paying for a parent’s health care, maxing out ROTHs and more.

Podcast Transcript:


Music: Music (In).


KT: Good morning, Suze.


Suze: Good morning KT. It is May 25th 2023. Welcome everybody to the Women and Money podcast as well as everybody smart enough to listen.


Suze: This is the KT and Suze ask us anything.


KT: How did you sleep last night?


Suze: Why are you asking me that?


KT: You said ask us anything. How did you sleep last night?


Suze: Well, you tell me, how did I sleep?


KT: She slept pretty good.


Suze: So, since we're at, ask me anything part already, how has it been with your family?


KT: We had the best gathering and little reunion. It was so much fun because it was just a tiny gathering of Barbara and Don and Travis and Sophia. Suze and I got to really spend quality time with Travis and Sophia and catching up and learning all about their young lives and careers. But for me,


KT: I went fly fishing with my nephew. He gave me a great lesson...


Suze: Let's post pictures of that.


KT: I caught my first Bonefish. So those of you that are not big fishing fans, you'll love this bonefish, um, are very hard to catch. They're very small. They're maybe about 12 to 18 inches and they're skinny and silvery, but they move like lightning. And if you catch one, it's quite a thrill


KT: to bring it in. And as soon as you bring it in, you release it.


Suze: But she did it, on a fly fish rod, which is very, very, very difficult then a spinning rod. But I'll post pictures.


KT: She'll just, just one, just one of me and Travis holding the fish.


Suze: Oh, this is her little golden boy that she loves.


KT: Ok. Everybody. Are you ready for your first question, Suze?


Suze: Well, wait, I want to say something before we begin, which is


Suze: obviously the debt ceiling, KT is on everybody's mind.


Suze: And yesterday I listened to McCarthy give a little recap of the negotiation. So we'll see what happens. I don't know. It kind of sounds like they're going to solve this somehow. But let's just hope so, but we will keep you informed. All right, Miss Travis, what is your first question?


KT: OK, I also want to say that it was my sister Barbara's birthday


KT: and we had the best birthday ever. This is the family where we make things.


Suze: It was so much fun.


Suze: So I'll post a photo of what we made. So I'll post you the present that we made her Barbara. Right. Let's get to this ready


KT: Suze Orman. I just have to share this with you. I am in the car a lot with my kids. And that is when I listen to your podcast. I figure at worse, they may learn something. But I never really know if my kids are listening


KT: this time. I was listening to the podcast and my question came on, I sat quietly in the front seat and continued listening. Then all of a sudden from the back seat, my nine year old yells, hey mom, was that you talking about us? So, Suze, they are listening.


Suze: Now, why did you choose that?


KT: I just wanted to share with everyone some fun, you know, stories that we get in. This isn't a question. It was just a mom


KT: wanting to let Suze know that maybe her great advice will sink in one day.


Suze: But what's interesting for me, KT about that one is kids at all ages. They really listen and they do what you do. So you may not think that you're talking about money with them,


Suze: when you're talking about money in front of them or whatever you may be doing, but they are taking it in. And that is an example of that because that little nine year old knew mommy's situation that I was answering. Now, how did he know that?


Suze: Because obviously he's heard mommy talk about it anyway. Go on.


KT: Ok. Next one is a question, Suze. I'm planning on buying one month or two month treasury bills tomorrow since they're paying way over 5% right now. And it's only for a month or two. Suze, do you think they'll be safe? Is this a good idea?


Suze: Here's the thing. That's interesting. KT is that many, many people have been writing it in this exact same question


Suze: and they've been posting it on the Suze wall. Remember everybody there is a women and money app. You simply download it by going to Google Play or Apple Apps and look for Women and Money and free obviously. And on the Suzie Wall where we keep you updated to all kinds of things, people have been posting this question


Suze: and I see replies going, yeah, I'd like to know the answer to that. What have I said to all of you right now? Just wait and let's see what happens if I was going to be buying anything, I would absolutely lock in


Suze: the 18 month certificate of deposit at 5.15% with Alliant Credit Union. In fact, remember when we introduced the three month and the six month certificate of deposit. Well, our certificates of deposits are coming due in June. You know, it's like, what should we do with that? And I sent in and I said, let's re-up for the 18 month certificate of deposit.


Suze: But I would just wait a little bit to see what happens here because the truth of the matter is if we do default, it is possible, interest rates are going to skyrocket if we don't default. I think they're gonna stay right approximately around here


Suze: and possibly who knows, go down, go up whatever it may be. But that's when you might be looking for longer term than one or two months next KT. Ok.


KT: Hi, Suze and KT. We are currently trying to figure out a memory care facility for my 83 year old mother-in-law after my father-in-law passed away a few weeks ago, Suze, my mother-in-law now receives her husband's social security check.


KT: She has laddered CDs investment accounts, traditional Iras and a house that she shared with the love of her life for over 60 years. I know makes you sad. My question is, what is the smartest way to draw down from these assets to pay for her rent


KT: at a memory care facility which is about 12,000... $12,000 a month. The house was originally bought for $27,000. It is now well worth over half a million dollars.


Suze: So here's, here's what you need to understand, which is the very first thing that you should do is absolutely sell the house.


Suze: Why should you sell the house? Because you have a tremendous capital gain, you say in this email, it's now worth over $500,000. You bought it for 27,000 or your parents bought it for 27,000. So that's like a $480,000 capital gain.


Suze: However, because your parents lived in it as their primary residency for two out of the past five years, your mother obviously gets a $250,000 exemption.


Suze: Now, her husband has died. But guess what if she sells it now, he will also get that $250,000 exemption even though he has died. Yeah. So if you sell it now, she's not gonna have to pay anything in capital gains tax and that happens to be a big deal. However, I also just want to remind you of this


Suze: if you have less than $44,000 a year of income and you have a long term capital gain, you pay 0% tax on it anyway. So that may be true with a lot of her stocks and things like that that she may have, but just know on the house, sell it now. Next KT.


KT: Next questions from Jason.


KT: Hi, Suze and KT. Hopefully an easy and quick question. That's my man, Jason. My husband and I got married less than a month ago. We're trying to figure out what to do with our W4s. Should we be married and filing separately or jointly? We own a house together combined. We make just shy of $200,000


KT: per year and we live in Florida. So there you go, Suze. What should Jason do?


Suze: I want every single one of you who are married to listen to this. Because I have said it over and over again.


Suze: You do not want to file married fine separately. If you do and make over $10,000 a year, you won't be able to have an IRA, a ROTH IRA There are many things you will not be able to do.


Suze: So unless you see a certified public accountant and you figure all of this out and how much it might save you, if you did file married fine separately, you are to file married fine jointly. And that's how you should do it for many, many reasons. Next KT.


KT: OK, this is from Scott. Suze and KT, I may have mentioned before that my mother, a 70 year old widow has all of her assets, including her home, set up in TODs to my sisters and I, since long term care insurance will be so expensive. Should we convince her to move most of her assets into a trust?


KT: How do we convince her if it is the best option?


Suze: First of all, everybody, you need to know T O D means transfer on death, which means that upon death, she has already designated where she wants the assets to go


Suze: Therefore, they are to go to Scott as well as his sisters. So because she has designated the beneficiaries and this would be true on a life insurance policy or an IRA or retirement account. Whenever you literally designate a beneficiary, it automatically bypasses probate.


Suze: So, probate here is not going to be mama's problem at all or really, Scott and the sister's problem. Next, Scott says since long term care insurance will be so expensive. Should we convince her to move most of her assets into a trust? One has nothing to do with the other? The trust is not going to protect your mama


Suze: from having to pay if she needs to go into a facility of any kind later on. All right. So just know that if you want long term care will help pay for those expenses, putting her money and trust again is not going to have her avoid that.


Suze: So that's something that you should know. So when you say, how do we convince her what the best option is, is that you first have to know what the best option is and mommy, whether you know it or not did fabulous setting everything up as a T O D account. Here is the problem and the right reason if you should convince her to put everything in a revocable trust,


Suze: everything is fine right now because mommy is fine. All of a sudden, mommy becomes incapacitated. Mommy falls and has a stroke or whatever it may be,


Suze: who's going to pay her bills for her,


Suze: who's going to take care of her money. For her, a transfer on death account only takes care of business after her death. Your question that has to be answered is who's going to take care of her business while she's still alive but not able to take care of her business. That's where a revocable trust that's set up while she is alive. When she transfers all of her assets into it


Suze: will then simply designate a successor trustee.


Suze: So when you set up a revocable trust, your mama would be the trustor, the person who sets it up, she would also be the trustee and she would make all decisions on it while she was alive. It would be held for her benefit while she's alive and your benefit and your sister's benefit on her death while she is the trustee,


Suze: like I said, she makes all the decisions. Now all of a sudden she can't make decisions, she's become sick, whatever, then somebody that's named already in the trust will step in as the successor trustee


Suze: and make all the decisions with the money. That is the reason you really want a trust. So that is what you need to explain to your mom.


KT: You know, Suze, it's funny and a lot of emails we get are from,


KT: you know, adult kids that are now in that position to take care of their, their parents or their single parent. And going back to that question about the family that has to put the mom in a memory care center. I want to ask. I'm a little confused. I never heard that question or the answer that you're allowed to deduct


KT: money for the sale of your home, for your husband who's passed. Like, how long is that good for?


Suze: Two years, KT. So, for instance, the two of us own a property in joint tenancy. Each one of us gets a $250,000 exemption


Suze: when we go to sell it. So if we bought the house for $24,000 as they did in that example, they lived in that house for two out of the past five years as their primary residency, which they did. Ok, then


Suze: we would be able to sell that house for at least $500,000 without having to pay one penny of capital gains tax because we each got a $250,000 exemption. You die. I'm always killing you off.


Suze: Please don't do that. Please don't do that. But you die, KT. And within two years of your death,


Suze: then I go to sell that home.


Suze: Now, all $500,000 gets to be written off still because I still get to take my $250,000 exemption and your $250,000 exemption right now, obviously, just so, you know, upon your death, I would get a step up in basis on that house because this is actually important for all of you to know. So if the house is worth $500,000


Suze: upon KT's death.


Suze: All right, I keep my cost basis in the house, which would be half of the $24,000 that we bought it at. So my cost basis is 12,000. But now I get a step up in basis on KT's half to $250,000 which is half the value of what it's currently worth. So that means my cost basis is $262,000.


Suze: If I wanted to. And let's say all of a sudden real estate skyrocketed, I'd be able to sell that house within two years of your death for $762,000 and not pay any income tax on it what so ever.


KT: How come the realtors don't ever really explain that?


Suze: Oh, no, many of them do, KT, we've just never bought and sold houses like that or died yet.


KT: All right. Next question, Suze. If I'm a long term investor and I'm taking income from my retirement accounts, would it make sense to take profits from a mutual fund that is up? And if you were my financial advisor and I ask you that question, how would you reply


KT: the reason is listen to this? She said, I'm wondering because I was shocked at how my financial advisor replied to me. Suze, thank you for taking the time to read and hopefully answer this question. Then the, then, then we go on to say, wishing you and KT a great holiday weekend.


Suze: Yeah baby. So, here's the thing about questions when you write them,


Suze: there are so many things that go into answering a question as to whether or not you should sell this mutual fund just because it's up or not because I don't know, the type of mutual fund you have, maybe you have a mutual fund that's known as a B share fund and that if you were to get out of that fund or sell it before the surrender charge is up,


Suze: then you possibly could get rid of all the gains that would be on that mutual fund. So again, I will do a podcast on A shares, B shares and C share mutual funds. So I don't know what kind of mutual fund that you have. And so that would go into it also. I don't know the type of mutual fund that you have.


KT: Ok. So here's what we're gonna do. This is a to be continued question and answer. So let's put this in the next round next Thursday. I'm gonna ask the question again, but we need to get more information.


Suze: All right, Sosweet05...


KT: This is from the wall, the wall right in and let us know answer more of Suze's questions and then we'll get that down next. This is from


KT: Claudia. She said, dear Suze and my sweet KT...


Suze: Wait, KT. So hundreds of you wrote in on the wall, thousands of you wrote in on the email at Suze podcast at gmail dot com.


Suze: And everyone said, how much they loved you, how sweet you are, how much joy you bring to the podcast. But they also said, KT, they really love their Suze School, even though they know for the next few weeks they're not gonna have Suze School because Robert is going to see that... Deadheads or whatever.


KT: The Grateful Dead.


Suze: No, they've got a new name now. No, they're not the Dead. They forgot what they are. He told me what they were but I forget. Right. The Dead..., I don't know. And I don't care. Right. But anyway, so I just want you to know they all refer to...


KT: As sweet KT,  but no one wants me to feel bad


Suze: Because you are sweet. But in all of those responses, I'm the one now who feels bad. Not one? Not one of the thousands said that I was sweet or that I was nice or all that. You know, all you do is learn from me but it's not as if they think I'm sweet. Tell them KT.


KT: Well. there's some truth to their assumption. Suze's a slap down kind of gal. But not, no, not to me. She's absolutely loving, sweet caring,


KT: but still I get my slap to share. Slap down. All right, let me do this. This is a great question...


Suze: Did you all notice how she skipped over that


KT: I did... Dear Suze and Sweet KT, is putting a freeze on your Equifax Transunion and experience the same as locking down your credit. Right. So Claudia, yes, it is. I can answer that one without Suze school.


KT: All right. So next question. Hello. My name is Erin. I have a question and concern regarding my father's lack of legal documentation for his estate. See what I mean, Suze, we're getting all these adult kids concerned about their parents. Wow,


KT: he is in very fragile health. So my sense of urgency has increased in recent months. He is married to a second wife who is also not in great health. The only document he has is a will I foresee two scenarios neither are favorable for my two siblings and myself. Scenario one is his wife survives him. She gets everything.


KT: I'm... I'm concerned that she'll sell the house, leave town and take everything with her. Scenario two is that he survives her, but his estate will go to probate. He still has a hefty mortgage on his home. And if all his assets are inaccessible throughout the probate process, my siblings and I will be responsible for covering his expenses. I would be so grateful Suze to hear your input.


KT: First of all, Suze is Erin correct on the second part about her dad?


Suze: Uh possibly it just depends what else he has. I don't know. Does he have any other assets, like where he set it up as transfer on death or pay on death to take care of that? We don't know, Erin, the first thing I want to say to you, is that


Suze: what bothers me a little bit, tiny, tiny bit about this email is you're concerned more for the money and you and your siblings than possibly what your dad really wants to do with this money.


Suze: So I think you now are old enough to sit down with him and his current wife


Suze: and rather than pitching them and pitching her against you and upon his death, she's gonna take all of this money and sell it and run away. What is that about? So the only way to really, really deal with this is to make finances of family a fair and not to let money get in between the love that hopefully you and your siblings have for your dad.


Suze: And I would like to think for his wife. Now, maybe there are reasons why you don't like her or things have happened. However, I think it is important that if you can't talk with all of them together


Suze: and just talk to your father and say dad here are my concerns. Is this what you really want. If you were to die and everything goes to your wife, is it all right with you? Then if she just doesn't leave any of that to us. Is that what you want? And if he says yes, sweetheart, there is not a whole lot you can do about it. If in fact, he outlives her,


Suze: you have a different concern than if he dies. All his assets then are gonna have to go through probate. Your concern is then if he gets sick, if he needs care, how are you going to be able to take care of him? Because his will isn't going to help you? A will is simply a document that says where the assets are to go upon his death.


Suze: So you need to sit down with him and have a talk just like I said a little bit ago. And one of the answers that I gave, why a revocable trust is an essential part of what I believe are the must have documents that every single one of you should have. If you're


Suze: interested in them, go to the Women and Money app, go to Suze's shop and you'll see where I have the must have documents learn about them and maybe you want to partake in them via that program that is offered there. All right.


KT: Ok, Suze, one more question again on beneficiaries and trust and wills.


KT: Hello ladies, this is from Donna. Hello ladies. I was once told that depending upon how you name your beneficiaries, meaning individual names versus a trust or will this could affect how the beneficiaries receive their money. An example I was given is that one way they will all have to take the money in the same way and in another way they can take it differently.


KT: My question is, how should beneficiaries be set up for all the different types of accounts? Roth, traditional IRAs 401ks, brokerage accounts, savings checkings, et cetera, et cetera. So Donna needs to know Suzie how to set that all up.


Suze: So Donna truthfully, it doesn't matter if it's a will or a trust, truthfully


Suze: because when they receive the assets that you are leaving for them outside of a retirement account,


Suze: usually they get a lump sum of money and they get to use it any way they want. If you have certain children that are beneficiaries that aren't quite responsible and you don't want them to get their percentage till x-date or whatever it is. Then you most likely need a revocable trust to do so. But there is no benefit whether it's a trust or will as to how


Suze: beneficiaries have to take their money. However, for retirement accounts that are dictated by the names that you have left as beneficiaries and remember when you have a named beneficiary, it overrules the wishes of your trust or will just so, you know, when it comes to retirement accounts,


Suze: remember you are the owner of that retirement account, you now have put beneficiaries names as beneficiaries on that retirement account


Suze: upon your death, that money then will be divided and go into individual inherited retirement accounts and depending on how old you are, when this happens, did you already start requiring minimum distributions or what,


Suze: whatever that will dictate how much each one of your beneficiaries will have to take out of that inherited retirement account. In most cases, they will have at least 10 years to wipe it clean. But hopefully they won't wait till the 10th year to wipe it clean because then they would be taxed if it's a traditional retirement account all at one time. So


Suze: I know that was a little bit long there. But that is the answer to your question. But KT, I want to say something


Suze: because I've been thinking this going back to everybody writing as to why they want Suze's school


Suze: and that a lot of times we joke around too much or whatever it may be on the Thursday podcast. If you listen to today's podcast via questions and answers,


Suze: you will have learned tremendous things, vital things that you need to know whether it's the $250,000 exemption that you get on a deceased spouse for a piece of real estate. Why you would want a revocable trust, whatever it may be. So, don't


Suze: put down the Thursdays, Ask KT and Suze Anything as it's just trivial. It's light, it's not a deep dive. Doesn't have to be a deep dive for it to literally be vital and change your life. KT it is quizzie time, my friend.


KT: Maybe we should call the podcast, Did you know,


KT: Instead of Ask Suze.


Suze: Did you know, did you, did you know?


KT: All right, here's my quizzie coming up everybody.


Suze: It's quizzie time. And what that means for those of you who are new to the podcast is that I ask KT a question,


Suze: but really, I'm asking all of you as well. So KT do not answer right away. All right, because it is important that you know how to answer these questions because you never know when they might be a question that you need the answer to and wouldn't it


Suze: be great. If you could answer it yourself. Hello, Suze, KT. Which should I max out first? My Roth 401k or my Roth IRA Thank you, Tracy. KT, you think about it? Everybody else think about it.


Suze: A Roth 401k is an employer sponsored retirement account wherever it is that Tracy may work. A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account probably at a discount brokerage firm or a credit union or someplace like that. And Roth means it's been funded with money you have already paid taxes on. Which one, KT?


KT: 401k baby!


Suze: Why would you say that?


Suze: Because the Roth 401k, because if my employer is going to be able to put in a percentage and you put in more, I'm gonna put, I'm gonna put in the match and I get more.


Suze: And then what will you do?


KT: I just have more money than in my individual.


Suze: Is that your final answer? Are you positive?


KT: Why wouldn't I want more?


KT: Why wouldn't I want to max out the more?


Suze: So you get both a ding, ding, ding, ding, ding and a (wrong answer noise).


KT: Wait a minute, you keep doing that. Why?


Suze: Because you're partly right.


KT: What's wrong?


Suze: The second part.


KT: Which was what?


Suze: So do you see what I go through again? Everybody KT you just be quiet now and listen to the right answer because she's gonna try to convince me right. That she was right. Totally. Right. So the true answer to this question depends on if you have a Roth 401k and if your employer matches your contribution, not all do KT.


Suze: So if your employer matches your contribution, meaning you put in a dollar, maybe they put in 50 cents or whatever it may be, sometimes they'll put in a dollar, but usually their match goes up to approximately 6% of your base pay. After that, they do not match anymore.


Suze: So the answer is twofold. If you have a Roth 401k that matches your contribution, you cannot pass up free money. So you would first do the Roth 401k up to the point of the match.



Suze: And then if you didn't have a whole lot more money after that, you would do a Roth IRA. If in fact, you had an employer that did not match,


Suze: then you would absolutely do a Roth Ira first before the Roth 401k. If however, you have enough money to max out the Roth 401k and the Roth IRA. Now we are doing fabulous. Both. Absolutely do both.


KT: And the most important part of that entire quizzie everybody is that their Roth retirement accounts.


Suze: Yeah, because I will say till the day that I am no longer here, the best possible retirement account, regardless of your tax bracket, I don't care what it is, is a Roth retirement account. Whether it's an IRA if, even if you have to do a back door one


Suze: or because 401ks or 403bs TSPs do not have any adjusted gross income limitations. Boy, you should be taking advantage of that. All right. KT t hat brings us to another end of an Ask KT and Suze Anything. But before we go, we can't go without paying tribute


Suze: to one of the greatest women of all times. And we lost her yesterday. Obviously, Tina Turner. Was she just... Oh my God, KT.


KT: I loved when I saw her perform in Vegas. Wow, those legs that dancing the music. But Suze, let's just say,


KT: let's leave these words with everyone. Suze. What's love got to do with it.


Suze: Well, the truth is everything. So there's one woman who really did take this year's theme song and lived it to the fullest and that was Tina Turner. So without saying anything else, Tina,


Suze: our theme song today is dedicated to you because you were truly what, KT?


KT: Unstoppable!


Music: Music (Out)

Take advantage of the Ultimate Certificates with Alliant Credit Union at: bit.ly/3kwMcjR

Get Suze’s special offers for podcast listeners at suzeorman.com/offer

Join Suze’s Women & Money Community for FREE and ASK SUZE your questions which may just end up on her podcast!

To ask Suze a question, download by following one of these links:

CLICK HERE FOR APPLE: https://apple.co/2KcAHbH

CLICK HERE FOR GOOGLE PLAY: https://bit.ly/3curfMI

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes

Suze Recommends

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes


Locking In a Guaranteed High Return

Read Now

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes

Home Ownership

Podcast Episode - Ask KT & Suze Anything: How Do I Choose a Financial Planner?

Read Now

Suze Orman Blog and Podcast Episodes


Your Ultimate Savings Opportunity Starts Now

Read Now