Hot Topics

How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work- Try the “WRAP” method

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 in Behavioral Finance, Budgeting, Cash Flow, Financial Plan

I had the opportunity to hear Dan Heath, one of the authors of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Work and Life, speak about how we can avoid making poor decisions.  Dan, who is a professor at Duke University, wrote the book with his brother Chip Heath, a business professor at Stanford.  The talk was fabulous, because not only did he discuss several reasons we make bad decisions, he also offered constructive tips about how to prevent these behaviors.  Whether or not you decide to get a tattoo, eat dessert at the Cheesecake Factory, or spend time engaged in mind-numbing hobbies (think Angry Birds), you can avoid predictable destructive patterns. Read More

Implications of a Republican Congress

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 in Economy, Election, Government, Social Security, Tax

6080048121_00bf30d50e_bThe midterm election results are in and the Republicans in January will have control of both the House and the Senate.  What does this mean for policy going forward and how will it affect your finances?  At a recent NAPFA conference I had the privilege of hearing Greg Valliere and Kay Bailey Hutchison speak about the repercussions of a Republican controlled Congress.  Here are some of their viewpoints. Read More

Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2015

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 in 401Ks, IRA, Plan Retirement, Roth IRA

video-investmentsThe IRS announced the 2015 cost of living adjustments for retirement plans which are detailed below:

The following increases will be effective January 1st, 2015.

 

2014
2015
Salary Deferrals for 401K/403b/TSP/457 Plans
$17,500
$18,000
Catch-up Contribution for 401k/403b/TSP/457 Plans- age 50 and older
$5,500
$6,000
Simple Plan
Contribution Limits
$12,000
$12,500
Simple Plan Catch-up
Age 50 and older
$2,500
$3,000
Annual Contribution
limits to Defined
Contribution Plans
$52,000
$53,000
IRA and Roth IRA contribution limits
$5,500
$5,500 (unchanged)
IRA/Roth IRA Catch-up
for age 50 and older
$1,000
$1,000 (unchanged)
IRA Phase out for investors with workplace plans
Individuals $60K-$70K
Couples $96K-$116K
Individuals $61K-$71K
Couples $98K-$118K
Roth IRA Phase out for contributions
Individuals $114K-$129K
Couples $181K-$191K
Individuals $116K-$131K
Couples $183K-$193K

Social Security News

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Recent News, Social Security

thumb_militaryThe Social Security Administration has announced the cost of living adjustments for benefits as well as the wage base subject to the annual taxes for 2015.  The increase, which is based on the current Consumer Price Index (CPI), is 1.7%. This increase would reflect the sixth consecutive year of record low cost of living adjustments and would raise the average benefit by $20. The wage amount subject to payroll taxes will increase roughly $117,000, a $2,000 increase.
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B (outpatient services) will stay at $104.90 in 2015 for the third consecutive year. Read More

Critical Turning Point- Market Losing Its “Breadth”

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 in Economy, Investment

Stock Market volatility has returned along with fears of a meltdown.  If you look at the chart below, the VIX, which is a measure of volatility, is breaking to the upside while the S&P 500 index appears to breaking down. Read More

IRS Allows Tax Free Conversions of After Tax Contributions from Retirement Plans

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 in Tax

Tax Form 1040There are now new rules for taking after tax money from qualified retirement plans (such as a 401K, 403b, or 457b accounts.) If you have any after tax contributions within your plan, they can now be rolled directly into a Roth IRA upon separation from service. In the past, most people either rolled all of their funds into an IRA and paid taxes pro-rata, based on the ratio of pretax to post tax contributions, or they had the option to take a separate check for the after tax funds and roll the balance of the funds into an IRA. Now the IRS has ruled that the after tax funds can be transferred into a Roth IRA where they can grow tax free (think of this like a tax free Roth conversion). Read More