Retirement Feed

Rep. John Larson speaking at a press conference announcing his latest Social Security bill. Joining Larson were his Democratic colleagues (in masks behind him left to right) Reps. Terri Sewell of Alabama, Steven Horsford of Nevada, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. (Photo courtesy Office of Rep. John Larson) If you're like me, closer to your retirement date than when you started your first full-time job, you keep a close eye on Social Security. For, well, it seems like forever, we've been hearing that Social Security is going broke. The federal retirement benefits doomsday date is a bit like those... Read more →


One of our neighbors made sure we all knew they had a new, cool graduate. (Photo by Kay Bell) I swear, my nieces and nephews were just in kindergarten. And wasn't that neighbor kid trick-or-treating as a dinosaur a couple of years ago? So how am I getting high school and college graduation announcements for these young people? Most of them will get a nice, actual paper congratulations card. A few will find a gift card tucked inside. However, a couple of these newly minted young adults will get actual gifts. But they won't be items that have to wrapped.... Read more →


Tax things are sort of back to normal. It's April, the traditional month in which our returns are due. And while today's Tax Day is a few a few days late thanks to the Emancipation Day holiday, it's here. So now what? Here are some things to do to take care of your 2021 tax return, and more, on Tax Day 2022. Ultimate tax procrastinators: It's not unusual for millions to wait to file. Last year, more than 21 percent of people who ultimately filed a return did so in the last week before Tax Day, which was delayed until... Read more →


Photo by 401k2012 via Flickr CC April 18 isn't just the day you must file your 2021 tax return and pay any tax due. This fast-approaching Tax Day also the deadline to make a 2021 tax year contribution to your individual retirement arrangement (IRA), either a traditional or Roth account. For 2021, you can contribute up to $6,000 to your traditional or Roth IRA. If you're age 50 or older, you can add another $1,000 as a catch-up contribution. If you have the cash, or expect to get a refund that could replace the money you use for your IRA,... Read more →


Did you turn 72 in the last half of 2021? Happy belated birthday, from me and the Internal Revenue Service. My late wishes are because I'm a nice person. The IRS' greetings, which also might be as sincere, also are because your septuagenarian milestone could mean money for the U.S. Treasury. That birthday is the deadline for taking a required minimum distribution, or RMD, from certain tax-deferred retirement savings accounts. And if you celebrated that momentous day in the last half of last year, but didn't take an RMD in 2021, then you have just a few more days to... Read more →


Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction amounts, even more people have chosen to use that filing method. IRS data indicate that close to 90 percent of us have opted not to mess with itemizing. But dumping the Schedule A doesn't mean you give up all deductions. On tax year 2021 returns, you can claim some of your cash charitable deductions directly on Form 1040. And if you take a look at Schedule 1, one of the documents that the Internal Revenue Service created to accompany Form 1040 when the TCJA took... Read more →


Scenic overlooks, like this view of the Austin skyline from my suburban neighborhood, can be lovely. But when it comes to taxes, you don't want to overlook tax breaks. (Photo by Kay Bell) If you're like most taxpayers, when you finally decide to do your taxes, you want to get it over with as soon as possible. But don't pay a price for you haste. If you rush through filling out your Form 1040, you could cheat yourself out of some tax savings. It happens every year. Folks overlook deductions, whether they itemize on Schedule A or claim above-the-line breaks... Read more →


Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels Sure, taxes are due on April 18 (this year), but March is big tax month. Today is the start of the final full month before your 2021 return — and, if you owe, any tax — is due. That means there's still time to take some steps to help shave some off that possible tax bill. Here are five March tax moves, mostly retirement related, to consider. 1. Open or add to your traditional IRA. You can put money into any IRA, traditional or Roth, by Tax Day and designate it as applying to... Read more →


I got my first tax statement today, a 1099 for some freelance work I did last year. That's just one of the documents that millions of taxpayers are awaiting so they can file their tax year 2021 returns. In addition to income statements, such as the 1099-NEC I got, 1099s with details on investment earnings, and W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, there are beau coup documents reporting tax-related transactions. Among the most common are forms detailing home related mortgage interest and taxes paid from escrow accounts, retirement account distributions, prize and gambling winnings, and in some cases, health... Read more →


You made it through the hectic December holidays. Congratulations. But don't slow down now. You still have to accomplish a few final year-end tax tasks. I know, not how you want to spend the last few days of the year. But these 6 year-end tax moves could save you some money, either when you file your 2021 return next year or down the tax road. 1. Don't miss the RMD deadline. You're enjoying your well-deserved retirement thanks to all those years of savings. Don't mess things up now by missing your required minimum distribution (RMD). This withdrawal from tax-deferred retirement... Read more →


Running the retirement, and IRA, numbers. The Biden White House's Build Back Better (BBB) plan and its tax changes are, at best, in limbo right now. UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. EST, Dec. 16, 2021: BBB will not be taken up by the Senate this year. But there's one tax move some might want to consider by year's end regardless of what eventually happens to BBB — converting a traditional IRA to a Roth account. Roth conversion changes ahead…maybe: As Congress continues to explore ways to pay for myriad programs, owners of large retirement funds are a popular target. The BBB act... Read more →


To keep yourself and Uncle Sam happy, don't ignore the annual required minimum distribution from your tax-deferred retirement accounts. Retirement accounts, such as traditional IRAs and workplace 401(k) plans, are great ways for many to save for their post-work years. These tax-deferred plans offer a variety of benefits, ranging from reduced taxes on work earnings to a potential tax deduction for some IRA owners to the added Saver's Tax credit for eligible filers. But these tax-deferred retirement accounts also come with a big drawback. At some point the Internal Revenue Service demands you take out at least some of the... Read more →


A close-up of some of our Christmas tree ornaments, including the newest one showcasing Austin icon El Arroyo's sign wisdom. (Photo by Kay Bell) Ho, Ho, Ho! The jolly month of December is here, bringing the official start of winter, Christmas and other holidays, and taxes. Yeah, that last December item might harsh your holidays. But the tax moves you make over the next 31 days could make your 2021 and 2022 tax situations happy and bright. Here's a look at 6 December tax moves you at least want to consider. 1. Keep an eye on Congress. Yeah, too often... Read more →


There's one thing that every taxpayer, regardless of their financial situation, can agree on. We all want to pay the least amount of taxes to Uncle Sam as possible. The key way to get our taxable income to the lowest possible level is by claiming deductions, either the standard option by itemizing as discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blog's annual inflation adjustment series. Either option helps lower your taxable income. But there are additional deductions we should check out at filing time, like the above-the-line deductions anyone can claim. Then there are tax credits, which are a better... Read more →


Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels Investments have dominated recent money talk, on Capitol Hill and in the broader tax and financial communities. First there was the Congressional proposal to tax billionaires' unrealized gains. This approach is a change from the usual capital gains tax applied on profits when assets actually are sold. The idea was dropped (for now) during negotiations among Democrats to find agreement on their spending plan. Then the markets decided to go wild last week, with the three major stock indexes — the Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ — all ending on Friday, Nov. 5, at all-time... Read more →


This could be you in a few (or more) years. Make sure your retirement days truly turn into golden years by saving for them now. And by using tax-advantaged accounts to their fullest. If you're younger than I am, you need to be thinking about retirement. Actually, especially if you're younger than I am, you need to be thinking — and doing something — about your future retirement. You've got more time than I do (natch!) to build up your nest egg so you can retire the way you want. Being in control of your retirement is especially important nowadays.... Read more →


UPDATE, Nov. 2, 2021: OK, #1 in this list now is moot. But the 5 remaining November tax moves still apply. Autumn leaves in our backyard stream. (Photo by Kay Bell) You can stop staring at your calendar. October is gone, apparently roaring through 2021. Today really is the first day of November. Once you regain your temporal composure, it's time to get busy. Even though some of us started dealing with upcoming year-end festivities last month (guilty!), it's now officially holiday season. And we have to adjust to the time change. And vote. And, of course, deal with our... Read more →


Millions of Americans rely on their workplace benefits to cover then health care and other needs. Most of them also are paying even more attention to those job-based benefits this year in light of the persistent COVID-19 pandemic. Medical insurance is a top priority. But other benefits also are getting added attention during this annual fall period, during which many U.S. companies allow workers to enroll in or change their benefits for the coming coverage year. Many of the office-based benefits also offer some tax advantages. Here are five questions with an Internal Revenue Service-inspired perspective to ask yourself as... Read more →


Free tax-preparation and filing help is offered ever tax season through groups community groups nationwide, like this Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program run by the Summit-Medina, Ohio, United Way. As the COVID-compromised 2020 and 2021 tax filing seasons demonstrated, most taxpayers needed some help to make sure they got all the tax breaks they were entitled to, as well as just file their annual returns. That need for tax assistance isn't going away, even if we do (fingers and toes tightly crossed) get to a more normal tax season next year. And volunteers who've received the Internal Revenue Service... Read more →


The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave retirees and other recipients of the program's payments good news this week. Next year, they'll bet the biggest benefits bump in decades. Some higher earners, however, aren't so happy. That government benefits announcement also noted that the amount of income subject to payroll taxes also is going up in 2022. This amount, known as the Social Security wage base, is the maximum earnings, by both salaried workers and the self-employed, that are subject to that retirement portion of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. In 2021, the wage base is $142,800. On Jan.... Read more →


Many Social Security recipients are celebrating the announcement that their benefits will increase in 2022. But if you get other income to help you enjoy your retirement, you could owe tax on your government benefits. There's some good news for the around 72 million people who receive Social Security benefits, either as retirees or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients (or both). The Social Security Administration announced* on Wednesday, Oct. 13, that they will see a 5.9 percent increase in their benefit checks in 2022. It's the largest increase to the government benefits, which primarily go to retirees, in nearly four... Read more →