Posts Tagged ‘Personal Savings’
One of the lesser noticed features of the “Bush tax cuts” were two provision that allowed higher annual contributions to Coverdell, Education Savings, accounts and their use for pre-college education expenses. These provisions are set to expire on December 31 unless Congress extends these tax measures. Contribution limits will revert to $500 from $,2000 currently, and the use of funds will be strictly for college. Advice: if you intend to continue funding an ESA, take advantage of the higher limits before this year-end. And if you are using the account to fund secondary school, you may want to use it this year.
See this Morningstar article for more information.
One of the biggest challenge for a financial planner is “longevity risk.” Simply put, we generally do not know how long we will live. The typical response of most individuals when told they could easily live into their 90s, “Oh, I won’t live that long.” But the truth is more and more of us are living that long and this possibility can have a major impact on the financial choices one makes earlier in life. For those readers who may be underestimating their potential for longevity, I recommend taking this 10-minute quiz at Living To 100. (Note: I recommend using a dummy or rarely-used email address for the required sign-up as the site will send a fair amount of age related email solicitation.)
Five leading economists, spanning the political spectrum from the libertarian Russ Roberts to the liberal Robert Frank, were polled by the team at Planet Money to come up with an economics platform they could all support. Surprisingly, they were able to agree on a radical overhaul of the US tax system, one of the most dysfunctional parts of Federal government.
Six major policy proposals to “fix” our economy – sounds like a bi-partisan winner to me. Read on and you will instantly understand why none is likely to see the light of day in Washington DC anytime soon.
- Eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction
- End the deduction that corporations get for paying for employee health insurance
- Eliminate the corporate income tax altogether
- Eliminate all personal income and payroll taxes
- Replace Federal tax income with a progressive national consumption tax and additional taxes on activities that cause environmental damage such as energy use.
- Legalize drugs
Before you dismiss these politically unfeasible notions out of hand, read the summary arguments, or give the full 26 minute podcast a listen. One day we will have a thoughtful and respectful public discussion of the serious economic issues facing our country. Judging by the increasingly banal media coverage of politics and the associated pandering to the public by those running for office, that day does not yet appear to be at hand.
I recommend that anyone considering divorce after the kids have gone read this short Morningstar article (registration required) first, before taking the plunge.
Clients who are living fairly comfortably in retirement may have a hard time adjusting to the idea that they cannot continue the same lifestyle. … when you’re on a fixed income, with no prospect of generating future earnings from work, the likelihood of having to significantly trim back is very real.
US five cent coins contain over 7 cents worth of raw material, mostly copper and of course, nickel.
So writes the oddly-named blog United We Bland. Nickels are, to use market lingo, “in the money.” They will always be worth at least 5 cents, so there is no downside. And they offer upside return potential in the event of further commodity inflation
The blog also points out that an investment in Forever stamps from the USPS at original issue in April 2007 would have “returned 7% as of today. An investment in the S&P 500 index over that same time frame would have lost 2%.
That frightening statistic, reported in the current issue of Financial Planning Magazine, comes from the Employment Benefits Research Institute. Given this meager level of personal retirement savings, and concerns about the future of Social Security and Medicare, to say that “America is facing a retirement crisis,” as the article does, would seem to be something of an understatement.
“US five cent coins contain over 7 cents worth of raw material as of this afternoon, mostly copper and of course, nickel.” So writes the oddly-named blog United We Bland which adds that, given the next-to-zero interest paid on savings at your local bank, nickels may be an attractive savings option. Nickels are, to use market lingo, “in the money.” They will always be worth at least 5 cents, so there is no downside. And they offer upside return potential in the event of further commodity inflation
The blog also points out that an investment in Forever stamps from the USPS at original issue in April 2007 would have returned 7% as of today. An investment in the S&P 500 index over that same time frame would have lost 2%.