Debra L. Morrison

Retirement, Investing, Lifestage Based Planning
“Debra L. Morrison, President of Empowered Retirement, Inc. has over 38 years of experience in empowering pre-retirees and retirees with money saving ideas. Her commitment to helping individuals face and conquer their fears to attain financial security stems from her genuine care for her clients - not just their money, but their well-being, happiness, and fulfillment in life.”

Empowered Retirement, Inc.

Job Title:

Founder & President


Debra L. Morrison, CFP®, MS, AEP, is a 38-year, fee-only seasoned wealth manager with her Master’s Degree in Retirement Planning. Her firm, Empowered Retirement, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), held to strict fiduciary standards which coincides with how Debra and her firm have always provided service: the client's interests are not only primary, the client's interest are Empowered Retirement's objective, period.  

Debra has helped hundreds of clients face and conquer their money fears and attain financial security.  She uses humor and every-day analogies as well as her financial prowess in breaking down complex financial concepts into bit-sized nuggets. In short, she is committed to cutting through the 'financial noise' to distill what is important for her clients to know in building their investment portfolios.

Armed with over 3 decades of experience working with couples & singles nearing retirement, she has authored 3 books, Ms. Morrison's Dictionary of Useful Financial Investment Terms, Common Sense Money Guide For Women, and My Husband Died, Now What? A Widow's Guide to Grief Recovery & Smart Financial Decisions, the latter of which garnered her Amazon's Best Seller author status. 

Debra's been featured on CNN, ABC, MSG's Metro Money and CNNfn and is widely quoted, including The Wall Street Journal, Investment News, The New York Times, Business Week, Ladies Home Journal, USA Today, Journal of Financial Planning, Huffington Post, Business Week, Nation’s Business and Reader's Digest - the latter of which her Mom is most proud. She is listed in Marquis' Who's Who in Finance & Industry & Who's Who of American Women as well as Nationwide Register's Who's Who in Executives and Business.

In addition to working hard, Debra plays hard at golf, tennis & scuba diving.


BS, Business Administration, Messiah College
Ms, Retirement Planning, College for Financial Planning

Assets Under Management:

$56 million

Fee Structure:


CRD Number:



The answers provided are strictly general in nature, and should not be construed as investment , legal, tax or financial planning advice due to the inability to properly assess the risk tolerance and complete financial profile of any one questionner as well as changing tax laws beyond the advisor's control.  Before effecting any strategy, please discuss with your CFP® Practitioner, Tax Accountant and/or Legal counsel.

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    Retirement, Retirement Plans
Should I take my RMD early in the year or wait until the end of the year?
83% of people found this answer helpful

While you may wish to time the receipt of your RMD to coincide with necessary cash flow to meet certain bills, you certainly do have a choice of when to take your distribution. Not sure what you mean by "take average withdrawals until the end of the year".

All other things being equal, I prefer to shelter the income and capital gains within the IRA vehicle as long as I can, thus, we often wait until the middle of December each year to push out our clients' RMDs.  This also is good timing for holiday spending, so it works well both ways.

Be sure not to wait until the last few days in December, however, as the penalty for NOT taking your RMD distribution by 12/31 of any year is a whopping 50% of the amount you should have taken. There is often a bevy of activity at year end with trades, etc. and less-than-reliable mail service, so do allow yourself a couple of weeks to accomplish this task and ENSURE that the funds are distributed from the IRA.  A word of caution here...IF you are ever close, or worried, simply ask the custodian to transfer the RMD funds into another account at that same custodian, if you have one, and that generally only takes 1-2 days.  So, for example, if you have both an IRA and a taxable investment account with TD Ameritrade, just transfer the requisite RMD funds from the TD Ameritrade IRA to your TD Ameritrade taxable account, rather than having them cut you a check.

Finally, IF you may be routing your RMD directly to a charity or charities, you MAY wish to make the distributions earlier in the year, in order to benefit the charity sooner rather than later.  So, all depends.



June 2016
    Annuities, IRAs
Should I invest my inherited IRA in a variable annuity?
67% of people found this answer helpful
June 2016
    401(k), Choosing an Advisor, IRAs
Can an SEC licensed broker-dealer transfer your 401k account into an IRA without your permission?
50% of people found this answer helpful
June 2016
    Marriage / Divorce, Personal Finance, 401(k)
What can we do if my ex-husband is trying to get his 401k to cash out from his previous employer but they are refusing to give it to him?
50% of people found this answer helpful
May 2016
    401(k), Taxes
How much will I have to pay in taxes on an inherited 401k?
33% of people found this answer helpful
May 2016