Retirement Feed

We're just a couple of weeks into this new year, and I've received three 1099s and a donation thank-you letter. I am not alone. Official tax forms and statements are filtering into mail boxes, both curbside and electronic, across the country. The exact tax-related documents differ from taxpayer to taxpayer, but we all share one thing. We need them in order to accurately fill out annual tax returns. They include W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, 1099-NECs for freelancers, and 1099-MISC and DIV documents for those who have investment earnings. It is, after all, called an income tax. But... Read more →


The tax year is over. Long live the tax year. Taxes are, if nothing else, persistent. Sure, there are a few (or more) changes every year, even if it's only inflation adjustments. But even in years when the changes are negligible, they are back, starting to add up on the first of every January. That's why 2023 is the first By the Numbers honoree of this new year. The transition from an old to a new tax year is also the focus of this post. It's a look at six tax matters that affected or at least fascinated us in... Read more →


Don't miss out on any tax breaks as you put together your retirement plan. That includes claiming the Saver's Credit if you're eligible. Some retirement savers got an early Christmas present. On Dec. 23, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.7 trillion omnibus package that keeps the federal government running and more. Among the more was a revision of retirement provisions known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. And one of those changes is the eventual conversion of the Saver's Credit into a matching contribution tied to workplace plans and IRAs. That's a good... Read more →


Merry Monday Holiday After Christmas on Sunday. Happy Boxing Day. Joyous End-of-Year Tax Tasks to Complete Week. Yep, the start of the last week of 2022 has a lot of identities. But it's that last designation that you need to pay close attention to, since the end of the tax year is critical when it comes to many tax moves. Here are eight you need to consider and, if they apply to you, complete by Dec. 31 — or actually by Friday, Dec. 30, in some cases since it's the last business day of 2022. 1. Take your required minimum... Read more →


To ensure your golden years truly shine, you need to save now. Changes in the SECURE Act 2.0, which has been added to crucial year-end legislation, could help. (Photo by 401k2012 via Flickr CC) You might have noticed that as 2022 has been winding down, there's been an unofficial theme for the ol' blog's posts. Many of them have focused on tax laws' effects, good and bad, on retirement savings. Part of that is personal. I like what I do for a living, but with each passing day, I (and the hubby) think increasingly about retirement. We're in good shape,... Read more →


Yes, you've got a lot to think about during the holidays, but add this tax task, too, if you're older and have a tax-deferred retirement plan. Don't miss the Dec. 31 RMD deadline. If you read my December tax moves post a couple of weeks ago, thank you. Now I'm here to reiterate one of those end-of-year actions. Take your required minimum distribution. That sentence makes sense to older readers who used tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as a traditional IRA or traditional 401(k) workplace plan, to save for retirement. But Uncle Sam doesn't want to wait forever to collect on... Read more →


Photo by Pixabay Health and retirement are inextricably linked, and not just when we talk about staying in good shape in order to enjoy post-work years more fully. The link also is evident in the tax code, notably with the tax benefits of health savings accounts, or HSAs, that I blogged about last week. An HSA starts as a way for high deductible health plan enrollees to save tax-free for medical expenses, and then can morph into retirement funds when the account owner is older. In doing research for that HSA post, I ran across another retirement connection to the... Read more →


Life today demands multitasking. That includes taxes. And the champion here is the health savings account, or HSA. It offers three tax advantages. First, contributions to an HSA are made before taxes are assessed on the money. This lowers your taxable income a bit. Second, HSA funds grow tax-free. Third, when you use HSA money to pay eligible medical expenses, those withdrawals are tax-free, too. A flexible, multiple, and mobile savings option: But wait. There's more. There's no use-or-lose with an HSA. The full amount in the account simply rolls over from year to year. Plus, an HSA is quite... Read more →


Photo by Guneet Jassal on Unsplash It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Yep, tax actions need to be added to your already very long holiday to-do list. You only have 31 days to take advantage of some Internal Revenue Code provisions that could save you money. That's always a welcome gift from Uncle Sam, but especially at this time of year. Plus, if you take relevant tax steps sooner in the month, you'll also free up time for more traditional festivities. So let's get to it.... Read more →


Women are making some advances in workplaces, but still face challenges when it comes to saving for a secure retirement. (Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash) I've spent most of my professional life writing and, for the most part, I've enjoyed it. But I've also, for the most part, looked forward to tapping away at a keyboard because I want to, not because I have to. That's part of the reason I shifted to freelancing. The freedom of being an independent contractor is, (one more time) for the most part, the best thing about the arrangement. So that I... Read more →


The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become a popular donation day. The charitable boosting effort, dubbed Giving Tuesday when it was initiated in 2012, is now the unofficial kick-off of the annual end-of-year charitable season. Most people don't give to good causes because they get tax breaks. Thank goodness for that, since the 2017 tax reform bill made it more difficult to claim a charitable deduction for donations. And that brings us to the first of this post's six charitable donation tax tips. 1. Itemizing required: The only way to get a tax deduction for your donations is to claim them... Read more →


Photo by Mikkel Bergmann on Unsplash We're into the Thanksgiving weekend and still noshing on leftover turkey. (Or, in my case, pumpkin pie.) But here's a Tax Turkey you shouldn't let linger. Don't wait to look into converting, in full or partially, your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Individual retirement savings options: IRAs, or individual retirement arrangements (although most of us read the A as account), have long been a popular way for individuals, with or without a workplace retirement plan, to save for their post-work year. The original version, now known as a traditional IRA, debuted in 1975,... Read more →


Happy Thanksgiving Day! Once you retire, you might be able to spend the holiday in a different way, depending on your golden year dreams and how much money you've saved for post-work years. (Photo by sterlinglanier Lanier on Unsplash) How's your Thanksgiving morning going? It's pretty quiet at our house, since it's only the hubby and me. And aside from baking a pumpkin pie, our meal is Texas smoked brisket, sausage, and sides we picked up from a local barbecue joint yesterday afternoon. If your Turkey Day is more hectic, enjoy! When I was growing up in West Texas, my... Read more →


Is your retirement plan on target? Maybe not, thanks (no thanks!) in part to the COVID pandemic and inflation. People have been, understandably, more focused of late on meeting daily living expenses than saving for the future. Such financial concerns likely are partially responsible for the results of a new retirement savings report from Fidelity. The Boston-based investment company found that the average 401(k) balance declined for the third straight quarter. It dipped below the six-figure mark, coming in at $97,200. That's 23 percent lower than a year ago. The average individual retirement arrangement (IRA) balance also dropped. The average... Read more →


These senior citizens celebrate their shared birthday month, if not the required traditional IRA withdrawals the big days may trigger. A QCD can help avoid tax on the mandated distributions. (Photo by Kay Bell) Most of us still have a real life, old-school, snail mail box. Every November, it is the target for the most mail of the year. Yep, the holidays are here. My curbside box is jammed with two types of correspondence, catalogs and charity solicitations. I get a kick out of thumbing through the catalogs. And yes, I even order a few (too many) things. The donation... Read more →


Sifting through all the options during workplace benefits enrollment season can be confusing and frustrating. Here are some things to think about, including taxes, as you evaluate your company's offerings. (Photo by MART PRODUCTION) We're in the heart of the annual benefits enrollment season. Not only is the Affordable Care Act healthcare marketplace open for business, but older Americans are signing up for Medicare. But a big segment of American workers rely on workplace-provided benefits to cover then health care and other needs. If you're checking out your company's benefits, either to enroll for the first time or continue the... Read more →


Getting your tax ducks in a row takes on a different meaning in November. But whatever bird you choose for the metaphor, make some time this month to complete tasks that will prevent tax turkeys. (Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni) November, the eleventh and penultimate month of the year, is like everything else in life. As a deadline nears, the end of 2022 in this case, the number of tasks to tackle grows. A lot. During these next 30 days we have holidays, both official like Thanksgiving and Veterans Day, and unofficial like National Doughnut Appreciation Day on 11/5, and which... Read more →


Very few of us share the same tax circumstances. However, there is one thing every taxpayer can agree on. We all want to pay the least amount of federal tax as possible. Deductions, like the standard amounts discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blogs annual tax inflation series, are a major way of reducing our annual tax bill. But wait. There's more. There are the adjustments to income, listed on Form 1040 Schedule 1 and still known as above-the-line deductions. You can claim all of these 25 tax breaks regardless of whether you itemize or take the standard deduction.... Read more →


With some tax planning now, along with some help from tax-favored accounts, you can ensure your retirement is full of smiles, love, and flowers. (Photo by RODNAE Productions) It's always a good time to start saving for your eventual retirement. The U.S. tax code helps via a variety of tax favored retirement options. And the Internal Revenue Service helps every year by making cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments that boost the amounts you can put into your post-work accounts. The tax agency today announced how much you can stash in 2023 in tax-deferred — or tax-free — retirement accounts and pension plans.... Read more →


No person, place, or animal is left untouched after a natural disaster. Florida's cattle ranchers and other agribusinesses were slammed by Hurricane Ian. (Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash) Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida around three weeks ago. The deadly storm moved across that state, and then, after entering the Atlantic, curved into the Carolinas for a second U.S. landfall. People are still in shock. Some are dealing with property still underwater. All are worrying about how they'll recover. The federal government, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration, is offering relief programs. Some folks are looking... Read more →