To curb retirement tax breaks for the rich or not

Here is a CNN Money article that asks if President Obama is trying to curb retirement savings tax breaks for the "rich". I have to agree with the writer when she speaks about the purpose of the myRA accounts that President Obama is currently pushing. As I wrote about in this article, most everybody is eligible and can open up their own accounts with no minimums aside from perhaps a small value like $5 or so.
I took it upon myself to enhance the graph that they had on the page by the rate that the benefit gave them vs the amount of income that they earned. Continue reading

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The lowdown on MYRA accounts

The current POTUS has signed legislation for "lower income" families to be able to put some of their hard earned money into a new type of account called a MYRA account. The primary goal of the MYRA account is a very noble goal indeed, since it is designed to let those that have lower incomes put small sums of money … “as low as $5″ … into the account, and also is supposed to be limited on the downside to be no less than the individual has put into the account. Continue reading

Posted in 401k, IRA, MYRA, Retirement Savings, Roth IRA | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Feds increase minimum wage again

It seems that every so often in the current administration, that they keep wanting to increase minimum wage again. This time is no different.

I believe that there would be benefits to increasing it, but only if certain conditions would occur: Continue reading

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Net worth as of Dec 2013

Since this is a personal finance site, I figure I should divulge some bits of person financial information such as net worth. This is the first post of my net worth and I will try to post this every quarter as time permits, or every month if I am able.
I just checked our net worth and this is what I found:

  • growth by 121% from the same time 1 year ago (I chose Dec 31st)
  • growth by 13.8% from 6 months prior
  • growth by 30.6% from 3 months prior
  • growth by 6.3% from the previous month due in part to our 6 month car insurance bill having to be paid

If the yearly growth is positive, and especially by anywhere near 50%+, I couldn’t be any happier! :-) Obviously, that is going to be very, very difficult to continue following such increases as our net worth grows.

Now keep in mind that this net worth that I’m talking about is limited in scope to the financial accounts for retirement, checking, savings, and any non-mortgage related debt only. It does NOT include house appraisal or the mortgage, the 2 vehicles that we have – even though they are older, or the overall contents of our house, such as furniture or audio/video equipment or other electronics.
I could easily but don’t like to include the house/mortgage as part of net worth, simply because we have to live somewhere.

Edited to correct the numbers to properly represent all of the growth and no shrinking from the previous month.

Posted in 401k, Financial Arsenal, financial directive, networth, Retirement Savings, Roth IRA | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unemployment extension suggestion

I doubt that any of the legislators will ever read this, but why not set a limitation on the unemployment extension permanently? I was reading this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/us/politics/unemployment-benefits.html), and the following thoughts came to mind.
The thought I have would be to limit unemployment benefits to no more than twice the amount that they put in or possibly tier based on the number of years of work. For instance, how is it fair that someone who works for say 2-3 years and put money into the unemployment fund is able to have 99 or more weeks of paid unemployment, compared to say someone who worked for 25 years and rarely or never drew on the unemployment benefits and they are now limited to only 99 weeks of unemployment. This could solve the from ever having to extend unemployment benefits again.
I know this may sound overly simplistic, but I also believe that the legislators — yes ALL of them — should consider using the KISS rule more often.

Does this sound like a good idea to you, or do you have another thought that might benefit our illustrious legislators?

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Having to adjust for overspending

Prior to Christmas, my wife went out to get a few items for our 4 children for Christmas and because she didn’t have the cash on hand, she found herself having to adjust her own budget to fit within the confines of the same amount I was going to give her for groceries and clothing, since a few of the Christmas items ended up on the Jan. bill instead of the Feb. bill as she was hoping.
We both went grocery shopping like we usually do at Aldi's, and managed to keep our spending to $200, which filled the shopping cart tightly as usual. We didn’t get quite as many meats as we usually do, but the cart was filled above the edge and that included filling the front seat with some chips/pretzels/eggs. She could have spent a little more if she wanted, but that would require that the entire Kohl's charge to not be paid off so that no interest was paid. Remember that the $200 that we spent was for 2 weeks since that is how I am compensated, and that the $200 will be used to feed 6 people for 14 days until I am paid again. That works out to $2.38/person/day for this pay period! Yes, we will be eating 3 square meals every day with snacks in between since there were cookies/chips/pretzels/yogurt/fruit/vegetables … and 5 containers of ice cream. Continue reading

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Pullback from the market

It's always a difficult stance to take, whether one should pullback from the market. After all, after the drop in the first quarter of 2013 and subsequent drive up of the market by the end of the year, one could easily say how smart they were for staying in the market, or during a down market how smart they were to be out of the market.
I'll be honest when I say that I was about 95% invested in the market during most of 2013, although 7%-8% of the 95% was in bond funds through my 401k at work. After increasing my overall portfolio by 39% in 2013 I have decided to cut back my involvement in the market to about 70% for up to the first quarter and will reassess after some earnings come in. Luckily for me (and yes I consider this pullback luck), I shifted back just prior to the drop since I moved some funds back into a high yield fund on Dec 31st that achieved 6.81% for last year by the end of the year. Continue reading

Posted in 401k, Goals, Growth, IRA, Retirement Savings, Roth IRA | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tax year 2014 tax limit guidelines

There are always limits that the IRS places on various items in your financial arsenal, and this post is meant to be a brief summary of the 2014 tax limit guidelines. The list below is only meant to be brief and is far from complete, but these are some of the basic numbers that most people should be aware of in order to help guide their financial futures in a more effective way. Continue reading

Posted in 401k, Financial Arsenal, Income or Pay, Income Tax, IRA, Roth IRA, Social Security, Tax guidelines | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tax season quickly approaches, have you checked your situation out

Now that we’re winding down the year, it’s getting closer to tax season. So in honor of that upcoming event, I thought I’d write an article regarding your W-4 and whether you may want to adjust it accordingly. That is to say, if you want more money back at the end of the year, or if you are on the opposite side of the fence where you don’t mind owing a little bit back. This is article is intended to provide a way to provide a more in-depth analysis for your own personal situation.
If you would like to adjust your W-4, you could read this post to determine if you are eligible to adjust your W-4 and by how much.
There’s also a brief calculator on this page and if you would like to use it for you own website, I can provide a link and information on how to use it. The basic math is based off of the premise that you haven’t had a drastic change in your taxable amount from the previous year. With that in mind, you can figure out how close you are to either getting money back or whether you’ll be owing money. Continue reading

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Fill out your W4 Withholding Allowance Certificate

Can you claim more allowances when you fill out your W4 Withholding paperwork than you do on April 15th? The answer is yes. Can that result in an increase in the money you get back during the year? Again the answer is yes. Can it result in you owing money at the end of the tax year? Absolutely yes, if you aren’t careful enough.
Here’s a link for the current W4 that is on file on the IRS website: W-4 Withholding Allowance
Continue reading

Posted in financial directive, Income or Pay, Income Tax, Retirement Savings, spending plan | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments