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Frequently Asked Questions: Investing and Retirement

Find out answers to popular questions about investing and retirement. If you prefer to contact us differently, visit Customer Service.

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Popular Questions
  • How do I fund my account?
    You can fund your accounts by linking it to one of your Citizens Bank accounts or via check.

    If you'd like to make an additional purchase to an existing fund, please contact your Financial Consultant or contact us. If you prefer, you may mail a check ($U.S.) and a signed letter of instruction including your account number and fund information to the following address:

    Citizens Investment Services
    Mailstop: RTL135
    P.O. Box 42025
    Providence, RI 02940

    Please make your check payable to National Financial Services LLC.
    In some cases, the check will be made payable directly to the annuity carrier. Please work with your Financial Consultant or contact us.

    To wire funds to your Self-Directed Account, please have the wire addressed to:

    JP Morgan Chase Bank, NY
    One Chase Manhattan Plaza, New York City, NY
    10005
    ABA # 021000021
    F/A/O NFS
    A/C # 066-196-221
    F/B/O Customer’s Name and "NFS A/C # XXX-XXXXXX"

    For more information about funding your account, please click here.
  • Can I reinvest my dividends?
    You can reinvest dividends on any United States stock or mutual fund held in your account at no charge. This service is available on all dividend-paying stocks and mutual funds listed on any exchange and any Nasdaq issue.

    Your account will automatically be credited with cash in lieu of fractional shares. Dividend monies will be reinvested in the open market on your behalf by placing a market order prior to the opening on the dividend payable date.

    You can set-up or make changes to your dividend reinvestment for any or all securities held in your account by contacting us .
  • How do I read my account statement?
    Account statements provide information such as account value summary, realized gain (loss), account value detail, securities purchased or sold, deposits and withdrawals, dividends and interest, and other debit and credit activity.
  • What is the Automated Account Service?
    The Automated Account Service is a 24-hour automated system that allows you to use your phone to gather account information via voice recognition or by using your touch-tone keypad.

    The Automated Account Service provides:
    • Access to over 20,000 mutual funds and listed stocks on the NYSE, Amex, and Nasdaq
    • Free access to real-time market quotes for stocks, mutual funds, and market indicators
    • Total security through your confidential Password
    • The ability to place buy or sell orders, market orders, and limit orders (Day or Good ’Til Canceled ("GTC")) for stocks or mutual funds on Self-Directed Accounts
    • Ability to replace an existing order with a new order on Self-Directed Accounts
    • Fast, convenient access to your account information
    • A comprehensive demonstration program you can access at any time
    • Simple to follow menus and "prompts"
    • Immediate transfer to a customer service specialist during business hours
    Please note: that certain features are not available to all account holders.
  • How do I contact Citizens Investment Services?
    For additional information about our products and services, please contact us:

    By telephone

    Representative Assisted Accounts: 1-800-942-8300

    Self-Directed Accounts: 1-800-456-0603

    Our Investment Services Specialists are available Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. EST.

    By mail

    Citizens Investment Services
    Mailstop: RTL135
    P.O. Box 42025
    Providence, RI 02940

    Please be sure to include your name, address, account number, telephone number, and signature/date on all correspondence.
  • What are my estate planning options?
    Estate Planning typically has three stages: Accumulation, Preservation and Distribution. Generally speaking, the accumulation phase usually is considered your working years where you are building your estate, the preservation stage is your retirement years and you are living off your assets and the third stage involves distributing your estate to your heirs. It is recommended you engage an attorney who can draft the legal documents you may need like a will, power of attorney and trusts to address your goals.
  • What is a Traditional IRA?
    A Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a retirement account created for individuals to set aside money each year for retirement. The earnings are tax-deferred until they're able to make withdrawals at 59½ years of age or older, and is then taxed as regular income.
  • What are the benefits of an IRA?
    There are many benefits to opening an IRA, including potential tax-deductible contributions, deferred taxes on earnings until you start making withdrawals, and the option to use your IRA to withdraw money (up to $10,000 penalty free) for a first-home down payment. Other penalty-free withdrawals include, but are not limited to, qualified higher education expenses, qualified first-home purchase (lifetime limit of $10,000), certain major medical expenses, certain long-term unemployment expenses, and disability or substantially equal periodic payments.
  • Are there different types of annuities?
    There are generally three types of annuities. A Fixed Rate annuity is typically more conservative and offers predictable returns, an Index Annuity offers a combination of potential growth and downside protection, while a Variable Annuity offers an array of investment choices and is typically for investors with a higher risk tolerance.
  • What are the advantages of owning a 529 plan?
    Some advantages may include:
    • No federal income tax on any investment earnings.
    • Tax-free withdrawals for qualified education purposes.
    • Typically the parent or grandparent is the account owner, not the child.
    • Tax-deferred earnings.
    • Contributions may be partially or fully deductible — up to $2,000 — from some state taxes. Check with your Financial Consultant to see if your state participates in this particular tax deduction.
    • Anyone can contribute to the accounts.
  • What is an UGMA/UTMA account?
    The UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) and the UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act) offers parents, family members, and guardians a way to give minors some type of property such as cash, stocks, a car, a piece of art or property, etc., but only grant them access to it until they are of legal age — 18 years for an UGMA and 21 years for an UTMA.
  • When will I receive my Form 1099, Form 5498, or average cost basis? Why are they generated?
    Most tax forms are mailed by February 25th; however, due to extensions filed with the IRS by our clearing firm NFS this timeframe may be extended. If you don't receive your tax document or if your feel there is an error on it, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

    For a guide to information on returns, please click here. Average cost basis is an accounting method used when an investor has made multiple purchases at different prices of the same security. The method averages the purchase prices to calculate an investor's cost basis in shares being liquidated. The difference between the average cost basis and the selling price determines the investor's tax liability.


    Average cost information will appear on your account statement. Please note that these statements are generally produced for funds that originated with us. If you transferred an account to us from another broker that had cost basis records, the resigning broker may not have provided the average cost basis to us depending on when the transfer was processed. You may, however, contact us. to request a form to add the average cost basis to your account.
  • What do I do if I don't receive a tax document or there's an error on it?
    If you don't receive your tax document or if there's an error on it, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
  • How do I change or correct the tax identification number on my account?
    To change the tax identification number on your account, please download a Form W-8 (for non-resident alien) or a Form W-9 (for U.S. residents and resident alien) from irs.gov.

    Once completed, please mail the form to:

    Citizens Investment Services
    Mailstop: RTL135
    P.O. Box 42025
    Providence, RI 02940
  • How do I contact Citizens Investment Services?
    For additional information about our products and services, please contact us:

    By telephone

    Representative Assisted Accounts: 1-800-942-8300

    Self-Directed Accounts: 1-800-456-0603

    Our Investment Services Specialists are available Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. EST.

    By mail

    Citizens Investment Services
    Mailstop: RTL135
    P.O. Box 42025
    Providence, RI 02940

    Please be sure to include your name, address, account number, telephone number, and signature/date on all correspondence.
  • Where can I view Citizens Investment Services' Privacy Policy?

    To view the Citizens Investment Services Privacy Policy, please click here.

     

  • How do I determine a withdrawal strategy?
    There are multiple factors that need to be considered when designing a retirement withdrawal strategy including; projected income needs, the types and amount of retirement assets, longevity and taxes. If you are looking to generate a guaranteed lifetime income, consider an annuity.
  • What are RMDs?
    The IRS requires that all individuals that have non-Roth tax advantaged retirement accounts like 401(k)s and traditional IRA's start taking a minimum withdrawal based on the value of all the qualified accounts by April 1 of the year after the individual turns 70 1/2. If the withdrawal is not taken by that date, the IRS imposes a 50% penalty tax on the amount that should have been distributed.
  • What are my estate planning options?
    Estate Planning typically has three stages: Accumulation, Preservation and Distribution. Generally speaking, the accumulation phase usually is considered your working years where you are building your estate, the preservation stage is your retirement years and you are living off your assets and the third stage involves distributing your estate to your heirs. It is recommended you engage an attorney who can draft the legal documents you may need like a will, power of attorney and trusts to address your goals.
  • How do I open an account?
    A Financial Consultant from Citizens Investment Services can help you set up an account and will speak to you about the many investment options available to help you through the Retirement Income Planning process.
  • Are there different types of IRAs?
    Yes. Citizens Investment Services offers Traditional IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, and allows customers to rollover an IRA.
  • What is a Traditional IRA?
    A Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a retirement account created for individuals to set aside money each year for retirement. The earnings are tax-deferred until they're able to make withdrawals at 59½ years of age or older, and is then taxed as regular income.
  • What options are there for self-employed individuals or business owners?
    A SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) plan may be the best option. To obtain detailed information, call our Retirement Services department at 1-800-948-7200 (phone number only available in English).
  • What are the benefits of an IRA?
    There are many benefits to opening an IRA, including potential tax-deductible contributions, deferred taxes on earnings until you start making withdrawals, and the option to use your IRA to withdraw money (up to $10,000 penalty free) for a first-home down payment. Other penalty-free withdrawals include, but are not limited to, qualified higher education expenses, qualified first-home purchase (lifetime limit of $10,000), certain major medical expenses, certain long-term unemployment expenses, and disability or substantially equal periodic payments.
  • What is the benefit of opening an IRA with Citizens Investment Services?
    The most important benefit of opening an IRA with Citizens Investment Services is the personalized guidance we provide.
  • What are the benefits of rolling over an IRA to Citizens Investment Services?
    In addition to putting you in a position where you’re in complete control of your retirement, a Citizens Investment Services Rollover IRA may increase your investment options, consolidates your assets for easier management, keeps your assets growing tax-deferred, and transfers funds tax-free and penalty-free from other retirement plans. For more information contact a Citizens Investment Services Financial Consultant.
  • How much can I contribute to my IRA?
    Although the amounts generally change annually due to inflation, contribution limits for 2017 and 2018 is $5,500 if you are under 50 years of age (calendar year) and $6,500 if you are 50 years of age (calendar year) and older.
  • What is the deadline for making a contribution?
    The date your income taxes are due for that tax year is generally April 15 of the following calendar year.
  • Can I make an IRA contribution for my spouse?
    Yes, if you are married and filing a joint tax return and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) equals or exceeds the combined contribution amount for you and your spouse.
  • When can I make withdrawals from my IRA account?
    At any time, but the taxable portion of your withdrawal will become part of your income for the year. In most cases, if funds are withdrawn before age 59½, a 10% IRS tax penalty will be applied on the taxable portion of your withdrawal. Certain exemptions may apply, such as the purchase of a first home (up to $10,000), higher education expenses, or disability. Roth IRA accounts must remain open for at least five years and meet one of the exemptions in order to avoid tax penalties.
  • What are the distribution requirements for my Traditional IRA account?
    Once you reach age 70½, you are responsible for a required minimum distribution (RMD) each year. We will not make a withdrawal from your account unless you make a specific request. We offer services to schedule your payment automatically. Consult with a Citizens financial representative to obtain more information.
  • I’ve changed jobs. Can I move my 401(k) account over to an IRA?
    Yes. A Citizens Investment Services Rollover IRA is ideal for this type of transfer. If you’ve recently changed jobs or received a lump-sum distribution from a company-sponsored retirement plan, a Rollover IRA will allow you to easily transfer your current retirement assets directly into a new account avoiding taxes in the process.
  • How can I move my IRA account to Citizens Investment Services?
    A Financial Consultant can help you easily transfer your current IRA into a Citizens Investment Services IRA account that’s suitable for you. Contact a Financial Consultant today.
  • What is an annuity?
    An annuity allows you to accumulate tax-deferred funds for retirement and receive a guaranteed retirement income, which can be either payable for life or for a specified period of time — usually a term of five or ten years.
  • Are there different types of annuities?
    There are generally three types of annuities. A Fixed Rate annuity is typically more conservative and offers predictable returns, an Index Annuity offers a combination of potential growth and downside protection, while a Variable Annuity offers an array of investment choices and is typically for investors with a higher risk tolerance.
  • What are the benefits of owning an annuity?
    An annuity can be an excellent complement to a well-rounded retirement portfolio because you can invest an unlimited amount of money typically without paying any current taxes as your invested money grows until you begin to make withdrawals. Also, when you invest in an annuity, you decide how long you want to receive income payments, how frequently you are paid, your risk tolerance of investing, and whether or not you want to provide income and benefits to loved ones.
  • Why would a Financial Consultant recommend an annuity?
    If you have already contributed the maximum to your company's retirement plan or your IRA and you have additional funds to invest, an annuity is a way to supplement your retirement. You can also use an annuity as a funding vehicle for an IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, SEP IRA, or other retirement plan, if suitable.
  • How can I move my annuity to Citizens Investment Services?
    A Financial Consultant can discuss the benefits of moving your existing annuity to Citizens Investment Services and help you understand if this makes sense. Contact a Financial Consultant at your local Citizens Bank branch.
  • What are the benefits of getting a second look of my existing annuity?
    Lately, many people are choosing annuities because of the tax-deferred features and income guarantees. Although an annuity can be a good investment vehicle, there are pros and cons to this particular type of investment. It's good to talk with a Financial Consultant to find out if an annuity is an option for you. Contact a Financial Consultant.
  • Why would I come to Citizens Investment Services for a 529 account?
    By opening a 529 account with Citizens Investment Services you’ll receive one-on-one financial guidance and attention from a local Citizens Financial Consultant. Even if you have a relationship with another investment firm, have already started saving, need to discuss a possible student loan, or want to roll over your current 529 to Citizens Investment Services, a Financial Consultant can offer you a second look at your current plan to help ensure you are on track with your education planning goals.
  • I have a 529 account from another plan. How can I move it to Citizens Investment Services?
    It's easy to roll over your current 529 plan to Citizens Investment Services. A Financial Consultant will walk you through the process, and also offer you a second look at your plan, decide if a 529 plan is suitable for your current financial situation, and help ensure you're on track with your education planning goals.
  • What is a 529 plan?
    A 529 is a state sponsored investment plan that allows you to pay for qualified higher education expenses at eligible institutions.
  • What are the advantages of owning a 529 plan?
    Some advantages may include:
    • No federal income tax on any investment earnings.
    • Tax-free withdrawals for qualified education purposes.
    • Typically the parent or grandparent is the account owner, not the child.
    • Tax-deferred earnings.
    • Contributions may be partially or fully deductible — up to $2,000 — from some state taxes. Check with your Financial Consultant to see if your state participates in this particular tax deduction.
    • Anyone can contribute to the accounts.
  • What are the contribution limits to 529 plans?
    Contributions to 529 plans vary by state. Please contact a Financial Consultant from Citizens Investment Services to get the most up to date information.
  • Can I move money from another type of account into a 529 plan?
    Yes. Although specific rules vary by state, most 529 plans allow for a transfer from another account, tax-deferred, as long as the amount of the withdrawal is not more than the designated beneficiary's qualified education expenses.
  • What happens if my child decides not to go to college?
    If the money is withdrawn for qualifying higher education expenses, the income is tax-free. If the money is withdrawn for reasons other than education expenses, the income is susceptible to federal and state income tax. However, the owner of the account can change the beneficiary to another member of the beneficiary's family — which is convenient if one child decides not to go to college.
  • Are there different investment options to choose from for a 529 plan?
    A 529 Prepaid Tuition Plan allows you to buy all or part of a public in-state education at present-day prices. A 529 College Savings Plan allows you to set aside money for your child’s education and let it grow tax-deferred.
  • Can I change investment options periodically?
    Investment options can only be changed once per year with two exceptions: when you change beneficiaries or move the money to a different state’s plan.

    *One should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing in municipal fund securities. More information about municipal fund securities is available in the issuer's official statement. The official statement should be read carefully before investing.