Retirement Feed

Taxes are about dollar amounts and dates. April 15 obviously is the biggie. But Dec. 31 is almost as important. The end of a tax year is, for the most part, the last time you can make tax moves that could help lower your coming tax bill. While we all wish we could have Homer Simpson's to-do list, when it comes to taxes, most of us need to take care of some potentially money saving tax tasks by Dec. 31. With the days rapidly dwindling (the countdown clock over there in the ol' blog's right column is tracking them), here... Read more →


Welcome to Part 3 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments. You can find links to all 2017 inflation posts in the first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Today we look at changes to retirement and pension plans. Note: The 2017 figures apply to 2017 returns that are due in 2018. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2016 amounts to be used in filing 2016 returns due next April. Save early, save often to create an overflowing nest egg. Even in a contentious election year, there's one thing everyone in all political parties can agree on: retirement... Read more →


October is one of my favorite months, as it ushers in crisp, cooler temperatures. This time of year has two names, fall and autumn. October also is a key month for some important tax moves. And there are many names for taxes, too, although not all printable in the ol' blog. I know it's tempting to rant about taxes instead of thinking about or actually acting on the, especially this time of year. I, too, want to be outside enjoying the arrival of fall. But first I have to take care of a couple of tax tasks. Here are four... Read more →


Saving is the key to the kind of retirement you want. The earlier you start, the better. Among the goals posted during this year's FinCon, an annual gathering of creators (including me!) of various personal finance material and advice, is to, as a couple of participants noted, retire soon. Retirement savings that receive special tax code treatment can help folks put away money for their post-work years. In fact, a recent survey by Harris Poll for Scottrade found that nearly half of investors (46 percent) wish they had started saving earlier. More than a third (38 percent) wish they had... Read more →


On lazy Sunday afternoons, my thoughts -- after I'm through cursing the idiotic plays my Dallas Cowboys make -- often turn to retirement. Retired couple enjoying a lazy day outdoors. (Photo by Pug50 courtesy Flickr CC) The hubby and I have been saving for a long time with the goal of making all our days like Sundays, without, of course, the 'Boys' frustrations. The tax code offers many ways to help us save for what we hope will be our golden years. Sen. Ron Wyden, however, thinks Uncle Sam needs to revise some of the retirement related tax provisions. The... Read more →


A workplace retirement plan, where, in most cases, employees automatically put in some pre-tax money each pay period, is the largest -- or only -- savings many folks have. Louisiana flood victims can now access their retirement money more easily to help with their recovery efforts in flooded areas, like Port Vincent shown in this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) photo. Click the image to see more NOAA aerial before-and-after shots of Louisiana flood areas. And as the name indicates, retirement plans are for your post-work years. Sometimes, though, you need that money before you leave the workforce. In... Read more →


The United States of America tomorrow will celebrate 240 years since independence was declared. Here's wishing all my fellow Americans a safe and fun July 4, especially since our break from Britain was based in large part on the battle cry that "Taxation without representation is tyranny." But another important date arrived just a few days earlier. On July 1, the first of the Baby Boomers turned 70½. Judging by this cake's flames, this guy looks to be a bit older than 70½. That half birthday date is crucial because it means owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts like traditional IRAs... Read more →


Happy Mother's Day! There's no better Mother's Day gift for mom than a homemade "<3 U Mommy" message. (Photo by Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr) Whether you are a mom, have a mom, are planning to become a mom, or are married to a mom, chances are you're taking part in a special celebration this Sunday. Enjoy! Millions of magnificent moms: While mothers often feel like they're all alone when it comes to their kids, some data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that all types of mothers have lots of company. Overall, there are 43.5 million women between the... Read more →


One way to survive working on your tax return with a deadline looming -- April 18 this year -- is to make sure you don't make any easily avoidable filing mistakes. Similarly, you don't want to overlook any tax breaks. I guess that technically omitting a tax claim could be considered a mistake, but for the sake of keeping things clear -- and for providing an added blog post topic! -- I've separated them. Searching for tax breaks? Below are 18. (James Corden GIF via CBS.com/Corden) And to save you time in your search for ways to cut your tax... Read more →


Tax Day 2016 is a week away. That's seven days to take care of your annual tax duty. It also means you have seven days to complete some other tax-related tasks that have an April 18 deadline, too. Here are eight tax tasks to take care of in this final filing week. The Beatles' most famous tax-related song is Tax Man, but for this post, Eight Days a Week works, too. Click image to watch the YouTube video of the more-than-a-week-long song. 1. File your 2015 tax year federal tax return. If you miss this deadline by more than 60... Read more →


The hubby and I took a day trip today to check out a cool exhibit of a William Shakespeare First Folio. The book, produced in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death, includes 36 of his plays, 18 of which had never been before published. Title page of the First Folio collection of Shakespeare's works, courtesy Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. It was a great spring day, so we were treated to gorgeous wildflowers on the drive to and from College Station, where the Folio was on display at Texas A&M University. Plus we topped it off with a great Tex-Mex... Read more →


Welcome to the last week of 2015. The end of the calendar year is important not just for your New Year's Eve party planning purposes, but also because when it comes to most tax moves, Dec. 31 is a critical and firm deadline. So with the soon-to-be-old year rapidly winding down, here are 10 tax moves to make by Dec. 31. 1. Take your retirement account distribution. Most owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts who are age 70½ or older must take a specific amount out of their nest eggs by the end of the year or face stiff penalties. This... Read more →


For the last few months, the standing joke in our house has been that the first words the hubby and I say to each other every morning is, "Can we retire today?" Beach? Mountain cabin? A cruise? Traveling across Europe? What's your retirement dream? Start planning now to achieve it. OK. Maybe we don't ask that question first thing in the morning, but that's mainly because the hubby is not a morning person. But we have been paying closer attention to our retirement stash, as well as checking on what we can one day expect from Social Security. Calculating retirement... Read more →


October is here, finally bringing with it colorful leaves and cooler Fall weather. OK, not so much here in Central Texas, where temperatures insist on hovering in the mid-90s, around 10 degrees above normal. Photo of a colorful park in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada by Paul Bica courtesy Flickr Creative Commons. Much more certain than the weather during this first full month of Autumn is the key tax deadline of Oct. 15. That date is, of course, when procrastinators must finally send in their prior year's tax return. It's also the due date for other important, and tax-related, retirement moves. Here's... Read more →


Stop me if you're heard this before. And before. And before. Yep, I'm talking, again, about tax extenders legislation. These 50+ temporary tax laws must be renewed periodically, with the one to two year extensions, sometimes retroactively, giving them their name. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Minority Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), left, and SFC Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will guide their tax-writing colleagues today in examining tax provisions that expired at the end of the 2014 tax year. (Official Senate Finance Committee photo) The current batch of extenders expired on Dec. 31, 2014, after being given new life retroactively for... Read more →


April 15 is for more than just filing last year's taxes. There are six other individual tax-related tasks that are due today. Ready. Set. Go. 1. Open and/or contribute to an IRA The April filing deadline is the last chance you get to make a contribution to your traditional or Roth IRA and have it count as if you put the money in by last Dec. 31. For some filers, that prior year traditional IRA contribution could count as an above-the-line deduction on Form 1040 or 1040A. And that could help lower their tax bills. 2. Pay your estimated taxes... Read more →


The economy is picking up, but mostly for folks who already are doing OK. Others, however, find that their low-wage jobs don't provide income sufficient to make ends meet. To help ease some of this income inequality within their borders, 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted earned income tax credits. Like the federal EITC, the state versions offer assistance to individuals with jobs. Working families with children earning up to about $39,000 to $52,000 (depending on marital status and the number of children in the family) generally can qualify for a state EITC, according to the Center... Read more →


We're two weeks away from the annual tax return filing deadline. For most of us, that means we're stuck tax-wise with what we've got. The chance to make tax-saving moves ended, in most cases, last Dec. 31. But there is one last tax move you can make now that could affect your current tax filing: contribute to an individual retirement arrangement (or account, as most of us say). You have up until the April 15 filing deadline to put money into a Roth or traditional IRA and designate that money as a prior year -- 2014 in this case --... Read more →


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was ready to take a break from tax season. I'm now at that point where I'm beyond wanting a vacation. I'm thinking retirement. When will the hubby and I be able to join this group of happy retirees? Soon we hope! This cycle is not unusual, for me or other folks in jobs where the intensity ramps up to a certain deadline. Things get crazy and you get crazier and some days you just want to chuck it all. This too will pass. Or not. Retirement ruminations: No, it's not that... Read more →


The official name of the politically volatile health care reform law is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That's usually shortened to the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. And it's popularly known as Obamacare. That nickname came from opponents of the president's first-term legislative landmark. Later, however, ACA advocates, including the commander in chief himself, embraced the moniker. Bothered by Bush tax cuts name: Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, found his name appended to the tax laws he ushered through in his first term, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) and Jobs and Growth... Read more →