Retirement Feed

You're ready to file your tax return, but there's one problem. You don't have all the statements you need to complete your Form 1040 and associated schedules. Many of us, however, are just going to have to be patient for a couple more weeks. While some issuers have sent taxpayers the required statements, many don't get them out until close to, in most cases, the mandated Jan. 31 delivery date. The documents typically are snail mailed, but technology is gaining ground. Issuers of most of my annual tax statements now let me know by email the documents are ready. Then... Read more →


Now that we know the Internal Revenue Service will start processing our 2023 tax returns on Jan. 29, taxpayers are thinking about how they'll deal with this annual filing task. Many taxpayers are concerned about tax law complexity. Some are looking for the most tax breaks that will get them a big refund. Others worry about the cost of filing. And all of us just want the process completed as painlessly as possible. Regardless of your tax concerns, you have lots of filing options. Here's a quick overview. Go pro: You can hire a tax professional, either an independent tax... Read more →


Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Monika Grabkowska Happy New Year! I know, it's already two days old, so I'm a bit late. But I'm cutting myself some slack since it's the first work day of the year after a three-day holiday. I'm also cutting myself some slack when it comes to annual resolutions. I'm not making any. It's not that I'm opposed to setting goals. But I hate that annual judgy list. I'm still working on some prior year intentions, so I don't see a need to add to my tasks. If you, however, like to start off each... Read more →


Even if you're not a cat, you can appreciate Boxing Day as a way to help others by making charitable donations. Happy Boxing Day! This holiday isn't formally celebrated in the United States, but many people around the world embrace the day after Christmas as a way to keep the season of giving going a bit longer. There are many explanations as to how Boxing Day, and its name, came to be. One commonly accepted origin story is that when it began in the United Kingdom during the Victorian period, household servants were given the day after Christmas off as... Read more →


To ensure you have the type of retirement you want, you must do some calculations, including figuring how your required minimum distributions fit in, financially and tax-wise. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Retirement savings can make a big difference in how enjoyable your post-work years will be. If you have tax-deferred retirement accounts, those savings also present new tax responsibilities once you reach a certain age. Some money in a traditional IRA that's been out of the Internal Revenue Service's reach for years must be taken out as a required minimum distribution, or RMD. Uncle Sam also... Read more →


You have a lot to do, and which you'd rather be doing, this month. But also take some time to check out a few December tax moves. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Me neither. Although I love the holidays and Christmas decorating, my time and patience get shorter this time of year as my seasonal to-do list gets longer. So I understand if you are rolling your eyes right now as I suggest adding some tax moves... Read more →


Are you enjoying Thanksgiving? I hope so. And if your Turkey Day celebration extends, like it does for most of us, into Friday and the weekend, Happy Beyond Thanksgiving! But when you're ready (or forced) to get back to your regular routine, you might want to make time to consider the items in the box below: five tax turkeys and how to avoid them. A few relatively easy tax moves in these areas could help make your tax life easier. 2023's Tax Turkeys 🦃 🍗 🦃 to Avoid Not adjusting your incorrect withholding Not collecting your employer's maximum 401(k) match... Read more →


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash Taxes are all about the numbers, and this past week I've been posting inflation-adjusted figures that apply to a variety of tax provisions. Long-time readers know I parcel the numbers out in a 10-part series. But one of those posts, Part 3 on cost-of-living boosts in 2024 for tax-favored retirement savings plans, was published first because the Internal Revenue Service typically issues those adjustments first. Since that earlier Part 3 post hasn't gotten a sequential mention during this recent run of inflation series posts, I'm boosting it today. And I'm pulling out an item... Read more →


Taking advantage of these inflation-adjusted tax breaks could put more money in your pocket instead of Uncle Sam's bank account. (Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash) Each of our tax situations is unique. But every taxpayer can agree on one thing. We all want to pay the least amount of tax as possible. That universal goal can be reached by taking advantage of tax deductions, tax credits, and income exclusions. Deductions, like the standard amounts discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blogs annual tax inflation series, are a relatively easy, and popular, way to reduce a tax bill. Deductions... Read more →


Substitute a cat for the dog, and that's pretty much how the hubby and I envision retirement! (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) OK, boomer. When that catchphrase meme went viral a few years ago, it marked the end of friendly generational relations. It also could be seen as a wake-up call to retirement savers. With Social Security already facing financial challenges, many point to the added challenges that Uncle Sam's retirement program faces as even more of the Baby Boom generation retires. Congress has yet to address Social Security's future. Of course, the House and Senate seem to... Read more →


Getting your tax ducks in a row takes on a different meaning, and bird, in November. But whatever fowl you choose for the metaphor, make some time this month to complete tasks that will prevent tax turkeys. (Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni) Hello, November! We welcome cooler (but not cold!) temperatures, holiday feasts (yes, I love pumpkin pie), and seeing family and friends for the first time in, well, months. This penultimate month of the year is also a good time to tackle some tax tasks. I know, you already have a lot on your November to-do list. But check out... Read more →


Confused about your workplace benefits options during open enrollment? Your answers to the following questions could help. (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash) Millions of U.S. workers are now deciding what workplace benefits they want in 2024. Many during this annual open enrollment period simply re-up the options they chose last year. I get it. It's easy. But you could be costing yourself, both in out-of-pocket cost and tax savings. So, before you make a final decision, ask yourself the following questions. 1. Will your company help your repay your student loan? College costs and the debt that... Read more →


The coming wage base bump also means more FICA taxes for higher earners. It looks like this man got the good news that his Social Security benefit will be larger next year. However, the tax news for high earners who are still working isn't as welcome. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave 71 million benefits recipients good news today. Next year, they'll get a 3.2 percent increase in their Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. The cost-of-living (COLA) bump means that retirees will, on average in 2024, see more than... Read more →


You have a lot of responsibilities when you're self-employed. One includes making contributions to your retirement plan, which in some cases can be done as late as your filing extension deadline. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Most IRA contributions must be made by Tax Day. For the majority of taxpayers this year, that deadline was April 18. But if you're self-employed and got an extension to file your 2022 tax return, you also got an extension to contribute to your entrepreneurial endeavor's retirement plan. That deadline, in case the days have slipped by you, is this coming Monday, Oct.... Read more →


Relax! An IRS change should help those 50 and older who make catch-up contributions to their workplace retirement savings plans. (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The second version of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or SECURE 2.0, Act was lauded for its many retirement-saving positive provisions. But as often happens with tax-related legislation, especially when it becomes law at the very end of a year, there were some not so good changes. That was the case with SECURE 2.0, which was enacted on Dec. 29, 2022, as part of the much larger Consolidated Appropriations Act.... Read more →


Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash Public schools in my part of Austin will welcome students on Aug. 16. Yeah, that's next week. Many universities also will begin classes this month. That leaves a small window now for some school-related tax lessons. So here's a crash course on eight educational tax breaks. Some help cover kindergarten through high school graduation costs. Others apply only to higher education expenses. There's even some federal tax help for post-graduation folks looking to improve their work skills. Let's start with two popular tax credits, since they offer dollar-for-dollar tax savings. American Opportunity Tax Credit:... Read more →


Retirement finances are looking better for many older Americans, according to a recent investment company survey. However, they still haven't stashed the amount they say they expect to need to turn their post-work time into truly golden years. The average amount U.S. adults have saved for retirement reached $89,300, according to Northwestern Mutual's 2023 Planning & Progress Study. That's a 3 percent increase from 2022's average retirement savings level of $86,869. Survey participants, however, said they will need much, much more to retire comfortably. The amount to live like they want is $1.27 million. That was up from the $1.25... Read more →


Three years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down summer. It wasn't just recreational activities that took a hit. Lots of people lost income, even their entire jobs, as businesses closed to help slow the coronavirus spread. Several laws were enacted to help companies and individuals deal with the financial problems created by COVID and our response to it. One of the early ones was the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion relief package that took effect on March 27, 2020. Now, many people are facing a deadline in connection with one of the CARES Act's... Read more →


Grandparents attending graduation ceremonies are a wonderful family tradition. Now a coming tax law change will create another meeting of education and retirement, this time affecting two tax-free savings plans. (Photo by RDNE Stock project) Many of us face a dilemma when it comes to two of the biggest reasons for saving, retirement and education. Do we split our extra income between the two? If so, evenly or with one account getting a boost? Or do we defer one for the sake of the other? The answers will depend on your personal financial and family situations, as well as your... Read more →


Photo by Juan Ramos on Unsplash May is graduation month. It's also graduate gift giving time. Money is always tight for the new diploma recipients (and their families), regardless of whether they've completed high school or college. That's why financial gifts are always welcome. One of those graduate gifts for students looking to continue their school days is a contribution to their 529 plans. And one source of those contributions could be, for older savers, their required minimum distributions. Quick 529 overview: These savings plans, named from the Internal Revenue Code that created them, originally only covered higher education expenses.... Read more →