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Book Review: Nutshells – Planning Strategies for a Tax-Free, High-Income Retirement

Review of a book by Jasen Dahm, CFA, CPA, on the concepts involved in structuring a tax-free, high-income retirement income stream.

Year-End Planning

As the year comes to an end there are some things you may want to consider before 2021 arrives in just a few weeks. Increase your retirement savings. The maximum amounts allowed to 401k and IRA retirement plans remains unchanged for 2021 at $19,500 ($26,000 if over 50) and $6,000 ($7,000 if over 50) respectively. Consider saving as a percentage versus a dollar amount. Some 401k plans allow you to increase your percentage savings automatically every year. Replenish your emergency fund if necessary. Three to six months of living expenses is a good idea. If you found yourself using more during the pandemic, consider an emergency fund of six to nine months. Consider lowering your debt. Reducing and eliminating debt could mean making extra payments on your mortgage or vehicles. It may also necessitate refinancing your mortgage. With current rates as low as they are, it may be wise to […]

Up to 41% of “miscellaneous” denied Social Security benefits not being reviewed

When the “miscellaneous” code is applied to a denied Social Security benefit, up to 41% of the time, the case is not followed-up on, per audit.

Inherit an IRA? Don’t forget to name a beneficiary!

If you’ve inherited an IRA, you have a task to take care of: designating a beneficiary. It doesn’t take long and can resolve problems.

College Costs Increase for 2014/2015

Background Every year, the College Board releases  its Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports that highlight current college costs and trends in financial aid. While costs can vary significantly depending on the region and college, the College Board publishes average cost figures, which are based on its survey of nearly 4,000 colleges across the country. Following are cost highlights. Total cost figures include tuition and fees, room and board, and a sum for books, transportation, and personal expenses. Together, these expenditures are officially referred to as the “total cost of attendance.”

See How 1% More Can Benefit You

We have a project going to encourage people to increase personal savings by at least 1% more this month.  This means that you would add 1% more of your income to your savings rate – so if you earn $75,000 per year in your household and you currently save around $2,250 per year, that’s 3%.  Adding 1% more would bring that total to $3,000 for the year, which works out to an increase of only $62.50 per month.  Give it a shot! Below is the list of my fellow bloggers who have written articles showing ways that you can start to increase your savings rate, as well as showing what the benefits can be.  Thanks to everyone who has participated so far – and watch for more articles in the weeks to come! The 1% Mindset – Transformation Beyond Money by Neal Frankle, @NealFrankle Are You Part of The 1%? by […]

November is “Add 1% More to Your Savings” Month

That’s right, we unofficially declared November to be “Add 1% More to Your Savings” month.  So you can add that to the month-long observances like: No-shave November International Drum Month Sweet Potato Awareness Month and many more (see the list at Wikipedia) In November we encourage folks to increase their retirement savings rate by at least 1% more than the current rate.  It’s a small step, but it will pay off for you in the long run. Below is the list of my fellow bloggers who have written articles showing ways that you can start to increase your savings rate, as well as showing what the benefits can be.  Thanks to everyone who has participated so far – and watch for more articles in the weeks to come! The 1 Percent Solution by John Davis, @MentorCapitalMg Friday Financial Tidbit-What increasing your retirement contributions 1% can do for your retirement account by Jonathan White, […]

2013 IRA MAGI Limits – Married Filing Separately

Note: for the purposes of IRA MAGI qualification, a person filing as Married Filing Separately, who did not live with his or her spouse during the tax year, is considered Single and will use the information on that page to determine eligibility. For a Traditional IRA (Filing Status Married Filing Separately): If you are not covered by a retirement plan at your job and your spouse is not covered by a retirement plan, there is no MAGI limitation on your deductible contributions. If you are covered by a retirement plan at your job and your MAGI is less than $10,000, you are entitled to a partial deduction, reduced by 50% for every dollar (or 60% if over age 50), and rounded up to the nearest $10.  If the amount works out to less than $200, you are allowed to contribute at least $200. If you are covered by a retirement […]

A Dozen Ways to Increase Your Savings Rate

United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A baker’s dozen bloggers have now published articles encouraging all Americans to commit at least 1% more to retirement savings this year. We have several more bloggers who are going to put their posts up soon. See the original post for details on how to join the action: Calling All Bloggers! Listed below are the articles in our movement so far (newest are at the top): From Emily Guy Birken: Increase your savings rate by 1% From Jonathan White: Ways to increase your retirement contributions 1% in 2013 From Alan Moore: Financial Challenge – Should You Choose To Accept It From Ann Minnium: Gifts That Matter From Laura Scharr: In Crisis: Personal Savings- Here Are Six Steps to Improve Your Retirement Security From yours truly: Add Your First 1% to Your 401(k) From Steve Stewart: Seriously. What’s 1 percent gonna do? From Theresa Chen Wan: […]

Smoke, Mirrors, and Alphabet Soup

In an environment of Ponzi schemes and financial scandals many Americans have lost trust and confidence in the financial profession; seems like there are some financial advisers that have been helping themselves, more than their clients. To fight back against this trend of lost trust and skepticism, advisors are being more creative with credentials, some of which can be earned with minimal or no study and can be bought with a couple hundred dollars. A quick look at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s web site (FINRA) ( shows over one hundred and twenty different credentials being used by advisors to build creditability and trust.  I’m sure there are many more not tracked by FINRA. Professional certifications arose decades ago as a way for people in various industries to identify qualified practitioners. It’s always good to know that our doctor has an MD or our account is a CPA. In the […]