Figuring Your Taxes Without All of Your Tax Forms

Every year around this time, I receive messages from readers who are anxious to file file their tax returns. This is especially true if they’re due a refund. And who can blame them? If you’re owed money by the government, you should try to get it back as quickly as possible. A common question is […]

Be on the Lookout for Credit Card Fees

Consider yourself warned… Starting tomorrow (Sunday, January 27th) merchants are free to start applying a surcharge for credit card purchases. We’ve talked in the past about credit card surcharges, and how the major card networks didn’t allow them. Well, that all changed this past summer when Visa and MasterCard agreed to allow merchants to pass […]

Education, Occupation, Gender, Race, and Earnings

Ever wonder where your earnings stack up vs. those of a typical American? Well, wonder no more… CNN/Money has compiled an interesting set of earnings statistics from BLS data. For starters, the median weekly income for in the United States for “wage and salary workers” in 2012 was $775. That works out to $40, 300/year. […]

Poor Service and Cutting Your Losses

Last night my wife stopped at a well known fast food joint to pick up dinner. I’m not naming names, but there was a red-haired, yellow-suited clown and some arches involved… I’m sure you can figure it out. Anyway, she went through the drive through, ordered, and got our food. They almost forgot one entire […]

The 4% Rule, Revisited

In talking about drawing income from a retirement portfolio, I’ve often referred to the 4% rule. This rule holds that, if you withdraw an inflation-adjusted 4% from a balanced stock/bond portfolio, there would be a high likelihood of your money lasting 30 years. However, the 4% rule dates back to academic research that was published […]

Convert to the Discover it Card

In case you haven’t heard, Discover is spotlighting their newest card, known as Discover it. Notably, they have re-worked the rewards structure associated with this card. While they’re still offering 5% cash back on rotating categories, subject to enrollment and quarterly maximum spend, they’ve dropped the spending tiers for non-bonus purchases, meaning that you’ll get […]

Interest Rates, Inflation, and ‘Real’ Wages

Are you tired of uber-low interest rates on your savings account? Well, you can thank Federal Reserve policy for that. And it’s not likely to change anytime soon. About a month ago, the Fed gave a clear indication of what it will take before they’ll start letting interest rates rise. They saying that, as long […]

Supplement Your Nest Egg with Sweat

Over the holidays, I ran across a nice article by Philip Brewer over at Wisebread. In it, he talked about how much you’ll need for retirement in the context of safe withdrawal rates, using the 4% rule as an example. In other words, if you assume that you can safely withdraw 4%/year from your retirement […]

Buying Your Way Around Roth IRA Contribution Limits?

Here’s a thought exercise for you… One of the main reasons to choose a Roth IRA over a traditional IRA is that you can pay taxes now in return for tax-free distributions later. This is also good from the Federal Government’s perspective, as it allows them to collect taxes right now vs. sometime down the […]

IRS to Begin Processing Returns on January 30th

This is just a quick note to let you know that, due to the eleventh hour fiscal cliff drama, the IRS will not begin processing individual tax returns until January 30th. From their press release: Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service […]