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Review Category : Retirement

Did You Just Get A 6.2% Raise At Work?

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people still don’t understand our payroll tax system.  When you work as a W-2 for an employer, both you and your employer are going to pay certain payroll taxes.  The two main types of taxes are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Medicare tax.   Both you and your employer pay 6.2% into FICA up to $132,900 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  Depending on your pay grade and what bonuses you have earned, you may have already received a raise in your paycheck and don’t even know it. The reason is, once you hit the $132,900 limit, you will no longer be paying into Social Security. Unfortunately, since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $132,900 in a particular calendar year, your HR department won’t send you a notice that you now have an extra 6.2% in ...

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Five Money Moves To Make When You Turn 50

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience something really special.  Several of my college roommates were turning 50 years old, and there was a multiple person birthday gathering in Washington, D.C. that I attended.  As we reminisced about the good old days in college and I watched their children run around (most of them six to eight years old), it occurred to me that my very own friends are going to be starting down the backstretch towards retirement.  It’s hard to imagine that for some of them they will be 65 years old when their kids either get into college or graduate college, so does this mean they will take a different path to retirement? Either way, there are smart money moves you should be making when you turn 50.  I know this first hand because the two co-founders of oXYGen Financial (Kile Lewis and myself) both turn the age of 50 this year.   While we started oXYGen Financial to ...

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Mortgage Rates The Lowest In One Year: Is It Time For You To Consider A Refinance?

With the Fed recently raising interest rates, people have already started to write and call me about whether or not it is still a good time to refinance.  You will likely see more offers from your current mortgage company, broker, or bank looking to get you locked in before the Fed raises rates again in 2019.  Here are my smart money moves for three key points to know when you make a final decision about whether a refinance is good for your property. There Is NO Rule Of Thumb – I love these random articles out there that say your mortgage rates need to be down by a certain percentage for a refinance to make sense. In fact, Investopedia recently wrote, “The typical rule of thumb is that if you can reduce your current interest rate by 0.75-1%.” This makes very little sense to me as this is going to be a math equation, because all refinancing costs money.   What you are ultimately ...

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The Biggest Changes To The U.S. Retirement System In 10 Years

This hasn’t become law yet, but in a sweeping house bill known as SECURE (Setting Every Community Up For Retirement), new legislation is coming that will be the most sweeping changes we have ever had to our retirement system in more than a decade.  The house passed the vote recently 417-3, and it doesn’t look like there is much impeding the process from the Senate or even President Trump.  So, what do these changes mean to your wallet? Annuities May Hit Your 401(k) Soon Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen pensions offered by companies dwindle down to a microscopic level.   While more and more baby boomers and Gen X’ers worry about saving enough for retirement, there is no real great option in 401(k)’s to guarantee someone a lifetime income.  Target funds were designed to help make it easier to choose simple investments in your 401(k), but this legislation would now allow 401(k) providers to offer an annuity as an ...

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How Will The Tariffs Affect Your Every Day Wallet?

The stock markets continue to see increased volatility as the tariff and trade war between the United States and China continues to heat up. We’ve quickly realized that one tweet, media story, or heightened news coverage can send the markets soaring or spiraling in a day.  Here’s a recent example of a tweet: The reality is that these negotiations are extremely difficult, and nobody really likes to see them be prolongated.  Think about the most difficult negotiations you have probably done in your lifetime which is the buying or selling of a home and how your emotions ran high over $10,000 or $20,000 of negotiations when someone asked you to repair a cracked window or a lock that didn’t work. We are in an unprecented $420 billion-dollar trade gap right now which really means we buy a lot more stuff from China than they buy from us.  The tariffs (which really are a tax) act as a way for us ...

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Opportunity Investing

There are many successful investing strategies.  Warren Buffett likes to buy-and-hold.  For Jimmy Buffett, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.  Some people say diversify (don’t put all your eggs in one basket) to reduce risk.  Others look for opportunities that lead to tremendous growth. Let’s take a closer look at “opportunity investing”.  There are always Investment opportunities.  They come and go, some are good and some are bad.  If you’re old enough to be reading this while drinking your morning Starbucks Green Tea Crème Frappuccino®, then you probably remember the dotcom boom in the late 1990s, or the real estate boom in the mid-2000s.  Presently, there are several investing themes that have people excited, including:  cannabis, genomic revolution, blockchain (bitcoin), eSports, sports betting, and 5G. One opportunity we believe will have a tremendous and long-lasting impact is 5G.  PC Magazine says “5G is an investment for the next decade”.  So, “What is 5G” you may ask?  Let’s take a look. 1G ...

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Invest 2% Of Your Income In You

When we think about investments, we often direct our attention to categories such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.   What we don’t think about often is our most valuable asset, which is our ability to earn an income and how we can grow that income faster.  Almost 20 years ago, I met an extremely successful business owner who gave me a simple lesson: Invest 2% of everything you earn back into your ability to grow your income. So, what does this mean exactly? Investing in you is like diversifying your portfolio investments.  It means that you might take a chance and invest in that side hustle you think could be a business.  It means investing in a training course or advanced education that could further your current career.  It means investing in a personal coach who could improve your business performance.  It could also mean investing in an exercise or nutrition program that could give you more stamina every day ...

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The Three Most Important Letters In Retirement R M D

What is a required minimum distribution? (*) You’ll sometimes hear that you have important financial decisions to make when you turn the age of 70 ½.  The IRS has never seen a nickel of tax revenue on account you may have started in your early 20’s, so now they are wanting to get their due.  An RMD or required minimum distribution is the amount that the tax laws require you to take out of certain types of retirement accounts once you reach the age of 70 ½. If you have a traditional IRA, a 401(k) account, 403(b), or other types of retirement plans, then you’ll generally have to start taking RMDs once the provisions of the law kick in. The rules apply to certain inherited retirement accounts as well, so be very careful when you inherit an IRA. Required minimum distributions must be made in cash, and you’re generally required to complete the withdrawal by the end of the calendar ...

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Four Ways Your Kids Can Ruin Your Retirement

Retirement generally only happens one time in our life.  It is that transition period where we hope our work, parental, and personal responsibilities dissipate to the point where we only have to worry about ourselves.  It is a time in our lives where we don’t have to be on a time clock, don’t have to worry about checking e-mail, and there are no meetings that we have to be at on the schedule of someone else. Nobody really tells you what kinds of responsibilities come with having children until you actually have a child.  You work hard to raise your child the right way, and you hope one day that they will be a fully self-sufficient individual.  Your greatest fear may be your own children’s failure to launch.  Here are four ways your children can ruin your retirement: Their Debt Becomes Your Guilt Many parents believe it is their responsibility to make sure their child graduates college with no debt.  ...

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Four Bizarre Tax Deductions You May Have Never Seen Before

It’s no secret that people come into the office all the time asking the question, “Can I Take This As A Tax Deduction?”  It’s important to get a high-quality CPA on your side as they will be the person who can give you the ultimate yay or nay, but in order to even suggest a tax idea, you have to understand the nature of being creative.  In 2018, many small tax deductions vaporized, but for those that own side hustles or small businesses, there are still opportunities to potentially use bizarre type tax deductions. 1.            Can you deduct plastic surgery? – This year, one important tax deduction is completely gone. It is form 2016, which is for unreimbursed employee expenses normally reported in the itemized deductions Schedule A of your tax return.  That means all of the salespeople and executives who took deductions for mileage, meals, and entertainment not allowed by their employer are now officially out of luck.  However, ...

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