I WROTE MY ESSAY for My Money Journey 14 months ago. Since then, our family’s journey has continued apace—including rethinking where we live.
The highlight of the past 14 months was the addition of another grandchild. We now have four grandsons, ranging in age from five months to 10 years old. Last summer, our younger son and his wife purchased a home in Monmouth County, New Jersey, roughly an 80-minute drive north of us.
MANY RETIREMENT savers fund tax-deferred accounts—with good reason: The money we contribute pre-tax to an IRA or 401(k) reduces our taxable income, plus that money grows tax-deferred until withdrawn.
But there are two lesser-known benefits that are worth keeping in mind. First, with IRAs and solo 401(k)s, you can contribute for last year right up until the tax-filing deadline in April of the following year. That means you can calculate your tax bill, make an IRA contribution that’s credited to last year—and voila—cut the tab you owe Uncle Sam.
RICHARD NIXON IS best known for the infamous Watergate scandal. But how many of us remember that, prior to Watergate, he got caught up in another scandal over a suspect tax deduction?
In 1969, Nixon donated more than 1,000 boxes of his official papers to his presidential library and attempted to claim a $576,000 charitable deduction. This caused an uproar, and served to start turning much of the nation against the president.
Congress got involved,
SERIES I SAVINGS bonds have garnered a lot of press over the past year. Thanks to higher inflation, these bonds have become a lot more attractive. Although savings bonds have historically been a go-to gift for birthdays, baptisms and bar mitzvahs, they’re more complicated than you might think. I bonds have a number of features that can confuse the average investor, me included.
Series I savings bonds, or I bonds, are designed to protect an investor from losing money to inflation.
RECENT HUMBLEDOLLAR articles have addressed issues of aging, including defrauding the elderly, end-of-life considerations and preparing our homes to age in place. It must be the season for worrying about the elderly because I’ve also had their welfare on my mind, thanks to several recent events.
First, a friend’s 93-year-old mother fell down a flight of steps in her home. A faulty handle came loose from a door at the top of a staircase,
THIS IS MY FIFTH year providing income-tax preparation as part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. This year, my colleagues and I have seen something new. We’ve had numerous retired taxpayers who have received IRS Form 1099-K for the sale of personal property. They’d never received one before and found it confusing.
What triggered these 1099-Ks? Many retirees find ways to supplement their income—including selling items on the internet. This is the modern version of yard sales and flea markets.
JOINT REPLACEMENT surgery is a rite of passage for many retirees. I’d be willing to wager that a majority of HumbleDollar readers have either had one themselves or know someone who has.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says hip and knee replacements are the most common types of total joint replacement. From 2012 to 2021, 2.55 million of these procedures were performed, according to the American Joint Replacement Registry, which is the academy’s data repository.
I ENJOY WRITING for HumbleDollar—but I often feel I get more from the thoughtful reader comments than whatever insights I provided. For instance, in a recent article, I discussed some year-end financial decisions I was considering. Two readers made comments that caused me to review my decisions, while also delivering a few dollars’ worth of humility.
The first comment identified an error in my spreadsheet analysis. I noted that my marginal New Jersey state income-tax rate was 8.97%.
HERE ARE MY TEN favorite articles that I’ve written over the three-plus years I’ve been a part of the HumbleDollar community. Although I write my share of technical and analytical articles, the ones I like the most have a human element.
As my wife will attest, I’m a bit of a softy, and care deeply about my family and friends. I like happy endings and want to see people succeed, especially the generations to come.
INCOME SHOULD BE ONE of the simplest concepts in financial planning—and yet it turns out to be one of the most confusing, thanks to the multiple ways it’s calculated depending upon whether it applies to income taxes, Social Security and so on. My goal today: Help you sort out income’s shifting definition across the U.S. tax code.
Gross income. This is the granddaddy—income from all sources, before almost any taxes or deductions.
SOME PROFESSIONAL investors make a living through arbitrage, exploiting small, short-term differences in the price of stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies. For the average investor, such trades can seem far too complicated. Still, I often look for opportunities for what I call “everyday arbitrage”—situations where I can take advantage of a difference in, say, tax rates or a product’s price.
Here’s an example: In a recent article, I wrote about how 2022’s higher interest rates will significantly reduce the payouts that some retirees will receive from the 2023 lump-sum option on their pension.
I RECENTLY WROTE about things we can do to protect our finances in the event we suffer cognitive decline. This may not be anybody’s favorite subject, but it’s an important one.
Many of us have first-hand experience with the ravages of dementia. It can upend a carefully crafted retirement plan and necessitate costly medical care. Like many of my friends and colleagues, I’d like to know if there are things I can do to prevent or forestall the onset of mental decline.
THE HOLIDAY SEASON is upon us. Our thoughts—or mine at least—turn to family, friends, wine, decorations, gifts, wine, food, fun and wine. But before I ring in the new year, I have a few financial questions I need to resolve.
Our 2022 income hasn’t been what I expected. I earn consulting income in two ways. I’m a part-time employee of a small engineering consulting firm. In this role, I’m an hourly employee with no benefits.
MY WIFE AND I JUST returned from our annual Thanksgiving vacation on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This is a yearly outing for our immediate family, my wife’s four siblings and their families. This year we numbered 43, representing three generations of siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, along with significant others.
I wrote an article about this family tradition three years ago. It started in 1995, and has been held 25 times since. We’ve only missed two years—one because of a family wedding in California and another due to COVID-19.
MUTUAL FUNDS ARE about to send their shareholders some dubious holiday gifts—in the guise of capital gains distributions. These distributions usually occur mid-December and they represent a taxable event for investors who hold funds in a taxable account.
Even in a down year for stocks and bonds, a mutual fund may realize capital gains, which are then passed on to shareholders. These could come as a nasty surprise to investors already smarting from 2022’s steep losses.