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Asset Location? Understanding Qualified and Non-Qualified Investment Accounts

Updated: May 16, 2023

How well do you understand where and how your money, your investments or assets are located? What about how or why they should be located a certain way?

It really only matters when it comes time to pay taxes on your investments. This is the “WHY” of how your investments should be positioned, so that they can maintain a more optimum tax efficiency.

I would love to share with you some information with you about Asset Location and understanding the difference between a Qualified and Non-Qualified account.

Many of you are familiar with the notion of Asset Allocation. Basically, it’s a method of allocating investments by a certain portion or percentage of your investments. The investments are portioned like a pie!

Asset Location is an important concept to understand, in terms of how an asset will be taxed. Having an understanding can help improve efficiency of your assets performance, in terms of the tax treatment for gains or losses.

How much of your investment pie do you want to keep? Do you want to share your investment pie with people you don’t know? I hope you're thinking you want to keep as much of your investment pie as possible!

Your investments whether, its real estate, mutual funds, ETF’s, Stock or cryptocurrency can be taxed at some point.

Having a strategy to understand, understanding the positioning of your investments, should be top of mind to help you protect your hard earned money.

As a foundation, understanding how investments are looked at by the tax regulators or even creditors to an extent, involves its titled placement. Investments can be located in one of two forms being Qualified or Non-Qualified.

Let’s look at Non-qualified first: This could be any asset that you own, such as real estate, stocks that don’t necessarily receive any special tax treatment. It can be pretty plain vanilla.

Think of a bank accounts, such as checking or savings you own, maybe

Real estate holding or investments that you purchase through an exchange or broker.. brokerage account.

Look at this type of asset as something you purchased with money that you earned and paid taxes on it. The tax part comes in if there is an increased or even a decrease in value of that asset. How an asset is tax depends on several factors, such as for how long you owned it before you sold it. Depending on the asset there are a multitude of things to consider, such as the cost basis, depreciation or tax laws that change how some investments are treated.

Let's look at Qualified Investments. These are types of investments that receive special tax treatment. The growth of these types of accounts are considered tax-deferred, meaning they get taxed later in most cases. These types of accounts are generally creditor protected. Think of retirement accounts.

As an example an Employer retirement accounts, like 401k, SIMPLE IRA or a SEP

Individuals can open individual retirement accounts that also receive special treatment, these are IRA’s, ROTH IRA, 529 college savings plans to name a few.

There are some other special types of accounts that also receive this tax treatment, these types of accounts are generally in insurance type products such as annuities.

In closing, your investments can be held in any of these two types of account or classifications. Which is why the asset location strategy is important. How your investments are treated for tax purposes matter if you want to keep more of your investment pie for yourself or those that matter to you most.

If this stuff seems confusing and could use some help, schedule a complimentary consultation, I’d love to help you out.

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And remember to keep you money working for you all day every day!

Thank you!

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