benefits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2730/all en-US Three of the Toughest Decisions You'll Face in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_thave_a_breakfast_at_cafe.jpg" alt="Senior couple thave a breakfast at cafe" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After spending a lifetime saving for retirement, you might think (or hope) the tough financial work is over. But in reality, retirement will bring several <em>new</em> financial challenges. Here are three of the key questions you'll need to address along with some recommendations.</p> <h2>1. When should I take Social Security?</h2> <p>There are many options here, especially when coordinating benefits with a spouse. Understanding the rules around three important age milestones can help you think through the best choice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a>)</p> <h3>Age 62</h3> <p>This is when you first become eligible to receive Social Security benefits. If you opt to take them this early, you'll get the smallest monthly benefit. While it's true that you may end up collecting benefits for the longest period of time by starting at age 62, if you can afford to do so, it's generally best to wait at least until your full retirement age (FRA). At that point, your monthly benefit will increase by 30 percent.</p> <p>If you're planning to continue working to some degree in your early to mid 60s, this may be another reason to wait. Claiming Social Security benefits before your FRA will trigger an &quot;earnings test.&quot; After you earn a certain amount (about $17,000 in 2017), for every two dollars of income, your Social Security benefits will be reduced by one dollar.</p> <p>You can learn more about the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/rtea.html" target="_blank">earnings test</a> on the Social Security Administration's website.</p> <h3>Full retirement age</h3> <p>If you were born in 1960 or later, your <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html" target="_blank">full retirement age is 67</a>. That's the age at which you become eligible to receive what the Social Security Administration deems to be your &quot;full&quot; benefit.</p> <p>An important consideration related to your FRA has to do with spousal benefits. If you earned significantly more than your spouse over your careers, his or her spousal benefit (half your full retirement age benefit) may be larger than his or her own benefit. While your spouse could file for spousal benefits as early as age 62, he or she will get the maximum amount only if you <em>both</em> wait until your full retirement ages before claiming benefits.</p> <h3>Age 70</h3> <p>While it may sound as if full retirement age is when you'll qualify for your maximum benefit, waiting until age 70 will actually give you more. When I checked my benefits on the Social Security Administration website, I found that waiting until age 70 would boost my monthly benefit amount by nearly <em>28 percent </em>versus claiming it at my FRA of 67.</p> <p>In addition to qualifying for this higher monthly benefit, another important reason to consider waiting this long has to do with the potential impact on your spouse. Let's say you're the husband and have been the higher earner. When you pass away, your wife will be able to trade her benefit for your larger benefit, which she will receive for the rest of her life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>2. How much of my nest egg can I withdraw?</h2> <p>A long-standing rule of thumb is that you can safely withdraw 4 percent of your nest egg each year, bumping that amount up by the rate of inflation each year, without having to worry about depleting your savings before you die.</p> <p>However, there are many moving parts to this equation. Your cost of living will probably vary throughout retirement, and so will the stock market's performance.</p> <p>So, instead of adhering to a fixed formula, rerun the numbers each year using what some planners call a <em>dynamic withdrawal strategy</em>: Determine how much to withdraw based on the performance of your portfolio and your spending needs.</p> <h2>3. Which nest egg funds should I tap first?</h2> <p>If you have money in various accounts, such as a taxable account, a tax-deferred account (traditional IRA/401(k)), and a tax-free account (Roth IRA/401(k)), here's a recommended path for greatest tax efficiency.</p> <p>Generally, it's best to use money in your <em>taxable </em>accounts first, which allows funds in tax-advantaged accounts to continue growing on a tax-deferred or tax-free basis.</p> <p>Next, use money from your traditional IRA or 401(k) accounts. In fact, you <em>have to </em>start taking money from these accounts beginning at age 70&frac12;. That's when required minimum distribution (RMD) rules kick in. If you don't withdraw at least a specific minimum amount, you'll owe stiff penalties to the IRS.</p> <p>One factor to keep in mind is that if you have substantial balances in traditional IRA or 401(k) accounts, waiting to tap any of this money until age 70&frac12; may make your RMDs so large that they'll push you into a higher tax bracket. If that's the case, you may want to start taking some withdrawals from these accounts earlier than age 70&frac12;.</p> <p>It's usually best to save your Roth IRA money for last since they are not subject to RMD rules. If you don't need the money, you can let it continue growing tax-free.</p> <h2>Stay in the game</h2> <p>While retirement may be a time when you want to step away from some of the many responsibilities you had during your working years, it's important that you stay proactive with regard to your finances. Making well thought out decisions in the three areas discussed above will go a long way toward helping you enjoy financial peace of mind in your later years.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthree-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThree%2520of%2520the%2520Toughest%2520Decisions%2520You%2527ll%2520Face%2520in%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=Three%20of%20the%20Toughest%20Decisions%20You'll%20Face%20in%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Three%20of%20the%20Toughest%20Decisions%20You%27ll%20Face%20in%20Retirement.jpg" alt="Three of the Toughest Decisions You'll Face in Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-its-time-to-retire">8 Signs It&#039;s Time to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) benefits decisions full retirement age IRA questions required minimum distributions social security withdrawals Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Matt Bell 2025922 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Now's the Right Time to Jumpstart Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/why-nows-the-right-time-to-jumpstart-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-nows-the-right-time-to-jumpstart-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-629805626.jpg" alt="now&#039;s the time to improve your career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' has shown an interesting trend in the years since the Great Recession: More Americans are quitting their jobs than ever.</p> <p>The Bureau's Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) reports show some surprising numbers. In July 2014, <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/jolts_09092014.pdf" target="_blank">2.5 million Americans</a> voluntarily left their jobs, leaving the national quit rate at 1.8 percent. Compared to 2017, those numbers have increased dramatically: <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/jolts_09122017.pdf" target="_blank">3.2 million people</a> quit their jobs this past July, at a rate of 2.2 percent.</p> <p>You may be wondering why people are leaving their jobs in such droves. It's good news. The trend indicates that workers are finding new, better jobs, and the JOLTS data shows that more job openings and opportunities are available than in years past. How can you take advantage of this employment trend? By bettering your career path. Here's your game plan.</p> <h2>1. Request better workplace benefits</h2> <p>According to Glassdoor, three out of five people report benefits and perks as being among the top deciding factors in accepting a new job. And <a href="http://www.frac.tl/employee-benefits-study/" target="_blank">88 percent of respondents</a> to a 2017 Fractl survey reported that they would even give &quot;some&quot; or &quot;heavy&quot; consideration to a lower-paying job with better health, dental, and vision insurance compared to a higher-paying job with less impressive health benefits.</p> <p>It doesn't end at health insurance, however. Job-seekers are increasingly interested in other benefits such as flexible working hours, student loan repayment, more vacation time, additional fund options in retirement plans, and free day care. As employers are competing more fiercely to attract and retain qualified workers from a shrinking pool of talent, you have a stronger case for asking for additional benefits. Generally, it's cheaper for employers to provide a benefit to an existing employee rather than hiring someone new, so the economics are on your side.</p> <h2>2. Seek education and development options</h2> <p>A college degree can boost your lifetime income by a matter of millions. The problem is that the average graduate from the class of 2016 owed $37,172 in student loans, up 6 percent from the year before. And that number keeps growing. This is why today, we're seeing more and more employers offering student loan repayment as a benefit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan</a>)</p> <p>Even better, many employers are going one step beyond student debt reduction and are looking to prevent it in the first place:</p> <ul> <li>AT&amp;T pays employees up to $3,500 per year for approved courses.</li> <li>Fidelity Investments reimburses employees 90 percent of qualifying education costs (up to $10,000 per year).</li> <li>Nvidia reimburses employees up to $5,250 each year for qualified job-related educational expenses.</li> <li>Smuckers reimburses up to 100 percent of tuition costs for approved college courses.</li> </ul> <p>Completing a degree on your company's dollar empowers you to improve your career path within your current employer &mdash; and future ones.</p> <h2>3. Work on soft skills</h2> <p>The idea of the ultimate expert working in a dark corner is long gone. Even in the fields of engineering or programming, employers value people who get on well with others and can work as part of a team. Knowing how to get along and communicate with your peers is key for your career growth, wherever that path may take you.</p> <p>Cat got your tongue? Work on your communication, public speaking, and leadership skills with Toastmasters International for about $110 for the first year. And then practice those skills every day on the job. When the next big career opportunity comes knocking, you'll have a leg up on the competition. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less" target="_blank">10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less</a>)</p> <h2>4. Become a thought leader</h2> <p>Information is power, but so is the ability to deliver that information in a meaningful way. Companies are always looking for subject matter experts who can make presentations, serve on discussion panels, or contribute to industry journals or publications. Depending on your company policies, you may be able to receive additional income for these activities or just the reimbursement of eligible expenses involved with those activities.</p> <p>The true value of becoming the face of your organization is that you're increasing both your value to the company and building your own personal brand. Both of which may come quite handy for the next time that you ask for a raise, receive an offer from another employer, or decide to set up your own shop.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-nows-the-right-time-to-jumpstart-your-career&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Now%2527s%2520the%2520Right%2520Time%2520to%2520Jumpstart%2520Your%2520Career.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Now's%20the%20Right%20Time%20to%20Jumpstart%20Your%20Career"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20Now%27s%20the%20Right%20Time%20to%20Jumpstart%20Your%20Career.jpg" alt="Why Now's the Right Time to Jumpstart Your Career" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-nows-the-right-time-to-jumpstart-your-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview">8 Questions You Should Always Ask in an Exit Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-its-never-too-late-for-a-career-change">6 Reasons It&#039;s Never Too Late for a Career Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had">The 15 Coolest Silicon Valley Job Perks You Wish You Had</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-perks-you-should-be-demanding-from-your-employer">6 Perks You Should Be Demanding From Your Employer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-careers-you-can-have-with-a-liberal-arts-degree">10 Great Careers You Can Have With a Liberal Arts Degree</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income benefits education job hunting opportunities perks quitting skills unemployment rate Tue, 26 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Damian Davila 2026862 at http://www.wisebread.com Beyond Silicon Valley: 7 Side Benefits Your Job Could Offer Soon http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-silicon-valley-7-side-benefits-your-job-could-offer-soon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyond-silicon-valley-7-side-benefits-your-job-could-offer-soon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/creative_business_team_having_meal.jpg" alt="Creative business team having meal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Jobs usually come with an array of benefits. Depending on the size and generosity of the company, those benefits can be huge. Corporations know the value of getting and retaining good employees, and attractive benefits are one way to do that.</p> <p>But what will those benefits look like in the near future? Here are some possibilities that may be coming your way sooner than you think.</p> <h2>1. Long-term paid maternity and paternity leave</h2> <p>Sadly, the United States is at the bottom of the class when it comes to maternity and paternity leave. The U.S. has no mandated paid time off for new parents, but that could soon change. Some companies, like Amazon, Google, Starbucks, and Etsy are leading the charge by giving their employees a generous amount of paid time off when welcoming a new baby to the family. Many companies are also expanding these benefits to employees who adopt or use a surrogate. With such big name brands setting the example, we may be seeing these benefits become much more common in the near future.</p> <h2>2. A self-driving company car</h2> <p>Make no mistake, self-driving cars are going to be a mainstay of everyday life. So why wouldn't employers embrace them as benefits? Think about the upsides: For starters, self-driving cars are considered safer and more reliable. They also give you time to work or read to and from the office, which means greater productivity for the company paying your salary. Your insurance rates will go down, which adds an additional benefit that the company doesn't have to pay for. You'll never get a speeding ticket, and your chances of being in a collision go down dramatically. If your future employer wants to attract the best and brightest talent, offering a self-driving company car is a no brainer.</p> <h2>3. Identity theft protection</h2> <p>Identity theft is here, and now. It affects millions of people every year, and costs the economy billions of dollars. It's no surprise that employers around the world are already starting to offer identity theft protection as an employee benefit. When someone is a victim of ID theft, it can turn their life upside-down. There is additional stress and pressure on the employee, and that spells bad business for companies. If your employer can cover you for a small cost, it's in their best interest to do so. It's estimated that around <a href="http://thirdcertainty.com/featured-story/more-employers-offer-identity-theft-protection-as-part-of-benefits-package/" target="_blank">70 percent of employers</a> will offer this benefit by 2018. By 2020, it could be standard, just like health insurance and sick time.</p> <h2>4. Student loan assistance</h2> <p>The average college graduate leaves university carrying over $37,000 in debt. That's a heavy burden for someone just entering the workforce, and it's one that future employers might be willing to take on for the right candidate. Several companies are already helping their employees <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay down their student loans</a>, including Nvidia ($6,000 annually), PricewaterhouseCoopers ($1,200 annually), and Fidelity Investments ($2,000 annually). As the acquisition of the best and brightest minds heats up, we might see large corporations start to cover the entirety of the student loan burden for qualified employees.</p> <h2>5. Free health care for healthy employees</h2> <p>Few employers would offer completely free health care to every member of staff. But, if the employee could prove they were in the peak of health, free health care would be a generous reward. How could this happen? Well, some companies are already instigating large health care discounts in return for employees taking physicals, getting skin cancer screenings, and reporting weekly exercise routines. A healthy, fit employee is far better for the employer than one who is unhealthy and takes more sick days.</p> <h2>6. A home office</h2> <p>As each year passes, more companies are giving employees the option to telecommute. It makes good financial sense, and also saves time and effort. A long commute wastes gas, leaves the employee feeling frazzled and rushed, and eats up time that could be spent doing other things. So, it will behoove companies of the future to furnish their employees with everything they need to work from home. From a computer and smartphone, to a videoconferencing system and mail station, employees of the future may increasingly be offered an office away from the office &mdash; all at the expense of the company.</p> <h2>7. Catered meals</h2> <p>Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Companies of tomorrow could encourage this practice by offering free catered meals to every employee. This will, of course, mean that your employer will have a say in what you eat, but having two of your three meals provided free of charge, Monday to Friday, is not only saving the employee money, but the time taken to go out and get meals or prepare them at home. Some companies, like Twitter, already do catered meals for their employees. Expect this trend to catch on as employers look for out-of-the-box ways to entice top talent and encourage healthy living.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fbeyond-silicon-valley-7-side-benefits-your-job-could-offer-soon&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBeyond%2520Silicon%2520Valley-%25207%2520Side%2520Benefits%2520Your%2520Job%2520Could%2520Offer%2520Soon.jpg&amp;description=Beyond%20Silicon%20Valley%3A%207%20Side%20Benefits%20Your%20Job%20Could%20Offer%20Soon"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Beyond%20Silicon%20Valley-%207%20Side%20Benefits%20Your%20Job%20Could%20Offer%20Soon.jpg" alt="Beyond Silicon Valley: 7 Side Benefits Your Job Could Offer Soon" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-silicon-valley-7-side-benefits-your-job-could-offer-soon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-nows-the-right-time-to-jumpstart-your-career">Why Now&#039;s the Right Time to Jumpstart Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card">Don&#039;t Carry a Balance? Here&#039;s Why You Still Need a Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-work-from-home-jobs-for-people-who-hate-talking-on-the-phone">7 Work-From-Home Jobs for People Who Hate Talking on the Phone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-more-money-by-demanding-it">Earn More Money by Demanding It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building benefits free health care identity theft protection maternity leave paternity leave perks self driving cars student loan assistance work from home Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Paul Michael 2017866 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Carry a Balance? Here's Why You Still Need a Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_have_been_shopping_for_all_the_best_deals.jpg" alt="I&#039;ve been shopping for all the best deals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anybody can go into debt, quickly. Giving into impulse buys is only a swipe away with plastic in your pocket. It's easy to lose track of how much you're spending, which can spiral out of control before you know it.</p> <p>For these reasons, maybe you avoid credit cards or feel they aren't worth the hassle. That's one way to stay out of trouble, of course, but even if you're committed to limiting your amount of personal debt and you refuse to carry a balance, there's a case to be made for using credit cards. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. You'll build or maintain a good credit score</h2> <p>If you're interested in building a credit history, owning and using a credit card is often necessary. The trick, of course, is managing the account responsibly.</p> <p>The way a credit card impacts your credit score and personal finances has everything to do with the way you handle the account. Just because one person you know had a bad experience with credit doesn't mean you'll have the same experience, especially if you stay on top of things.</p> <p>Paying off your balance every month or making timely minimum payments adds positive activity to your credit report. This is essential to establishing credit. And if you already have a credit history, periodically using a credit card keeps your account active and helps build an even stronger credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>2. You can receive rewards based on usage</h2> <p>Another reason to use a credit card is the opportunity to earn rewards for every purchase &mdash; because who doesn't love a good freebie? Your rewards can come in the form of points, miles, or cash back redeemable for a check, statement credit, airline tickets, hotel stays, gift cards, or merchandise. The more you use the card, the more free or discounted stuff you can score.</p> <p>The downside is that reward credit cards tend to have slightly higher interest rates than non-reward cards. But if you're disciplined enough to pay off your balance in full every month, you don't have to feel guilty because there won't be any interest to worry about. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>3. It'll help you survive an emergency</h2> <p>It doesn't matter how responsible you are with money: Most people go through a rough patch at some point in life. If you hit a financial low or deal with a string of unexpected expenses, a credit card can function as a short-term loan providing cash for urgent situations. You'll pay interest on these charges if you carry a balance, but this option is cheaper than a short-term cash advance loan, and you'll maintain your privacy since you won't have to borrow from friends or family. Just make sure to prioritize paying off this balance when your emergency is handled.</p> <h2>4. It's safer than cash</h2> <p>Using a credit card is also safer than cash, especially when traveling. If you lose or have your wallet stolen, you can't replace the cash inside. But if your credit cards are lost or stolen, your bank can issue a replacement card and remove fraudulent charges from your account.</p> <p>Since bank debit cards are linked to your bank account, credit cards are sometimes safer than these cards. If someone uses your debit card fraudulently, this person can drain your bank account, resulting in overdraft fees. Your bank will reimburse your money &mdash; not all is lost &mdash; but it can take up to 10 days to sort through the mess and get your money back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a>)</p> <h2>5. It'll help you keep accurate expense records</h2> <p>Credit cards also are useful for keeping track of spending for business and tax purposes, especially if you're not the best at saving receipts. Since credit card statements include a record of your purchases, use your credit card for business-related purchases, and then refer to your statement when recording business expenses. For this to work, keep a close eye on how much you're spending throughout the month to avoid going overboard and getting into long-term debt.</p> <h2>6. It buys extra protection</h2> <p>A credit card isn't only practical during an emergency or when you're looking to earn reward points, it also buys extra protection when used for certain purchases. For example, some credit cards offer rental car coverage at no additional cost, which means you can decline a car rental company's optional coverage when booking your reservation.</p> <p>Some credit cards have an extended warranty policy on select purchases too, giving you an extra year of protection after a manufacturer's warranty expires. Other credit cards may include travel insurance protection which compensates card members for costs incurred due to trip cancellation, lost luggage, travel accidents, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p>Benefits vary by card, so contact your credit card company for information on member perks.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDont%2520Carry%2520a%2520Balance-%2520Heres%2520Why%2520You%2520Still%2520Need%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card.jpg&amp;description=Dont%20Carry%20a%20Balance%3F%20Heres%20Why%20You%20Still%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Carry%20a%20Balance-%20Heres%20Why%20You%20Still%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card.jpg" alt="Don't Carry a Balance? Here's Why You Still Need a Credit Card" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back">12 Times Your Credit Card Has Your Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards benefits credit history credit score emergencies expenses miles perks records rewards Fri, 25 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 2007682 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/united_states_treasury_government_check.jpg" alt="United States Treasury government check" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average retired worker earns a monthly Social Security check of $1,360, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. And for most retirees, Social Security benefits are just one source of income, with many supplementing their checks with money that they've saved in 401(k) plans, IRAs, and other savings vehicles.</p> <p>This doesn't mean, though, that these Social Security dollars aren't important. The administration says that Social Security benefits represent about 34 percent of the income of the elderly. That's why it's so important for retirees to create a budget for their Social Security benefits and determine the best way to spend such a significant portion of their monthly earnings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>There's always a need for a budget</h2> <p>The first step in determining how to best spend Social Security benefits is to calculate your monthly income from all sources. Then, determine how much of this income comes from Social Security benefits alone. If Social Security accounts for 70 percent of your monthly income, you'll have to be especially careful how you spend it. If it accounts for just 20 percent, you'll have a bit more leeway.</p> <p>Once you determine how important your benefits are to your monthly income stream, it's time to calculate how much of your Social Security check you should devote to each of your main expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Ideally, you'll enter retirement without a mortgage payment. But that doesn't always happen. You might choose to rent during your retirement years. Or, maybe you'll spend your retirement years in assisted living.</p> <p>Housing often remains a significant expense for retirees, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting in March 2016 that seniors age 55 and older spend an average $16,219 a year on housing. Seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $15,838.</p> <p>If you receive the average Social Security check of $1,360 a month, you'll receive $16,320 a year. This means that the average amount that retirees spend on housing would consume most of your Social Security income each year.</p> <p>It might make sense to devote a set percentage of every Social Security check to help cover your housing expenses. How much that percentage is will depend on how much you are spending on housing. If you live in a home with a mortgage that's been paid off, you obviously won't need to spend as much of your checks on housing as you would if you were still paying a mortgage. If housing is a significant expense, though, you might consider devoting 60 percent or more of your Social Security check to covering it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $6,303 a year on food. This makes sense: You have to eat, whether you're working or not. Make sure, then, to reserve part of your Social Security check for groceries and meals out.</p> <p>You do have control over this expense, of course. You can eat out less often and cook at home more, which would reduce your food expenses. But setting aside 20 percent or so of your monthly Social Security check for food should suffice.</p> <h2>Medical expenses</h2> <p>Depending on your health, medical costs could be a significant expense as you age. The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bear this out. According to the Bureau, adults from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $5,956 a year for medical care. The Bureau says that adults 74 and older spend an average $5,708 a year on health care. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Health expenses are one cost you have little control over. Sure, you can exercise and eat well. But you might still suffer health setbacks. It's important to reserve at least some of your Social Security check to cover these sometimes unexpected costs.</p> <p>Consider saving an additional 20 percent of your Social Security benefits for medical spending.</p> <h2>Other costs</h2> <p>If you've been keeping track, those three expenses might eat up your entire Social Security check. Again, this depends on how much Social Security income you receive each month and how much you actually spend on housing, health care, and food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>If you find that these three big expenses do swallow most or all of your expenses, you'll have to dip into your retirement savings and other income vehicles to cover costs such as travel, transportation, entertainment, and any other monthly bills.</p> <p>Budgeting your Social Security check highlights just how important it is to have multiple income sources at your disposal after retirement. As you can see, Social Security doesn't go that far when it comes to covering the basic living expenses of many seniors.</p> <p>You do have options, of course. You can scale back your retirement plans, perhaps choosing to travel less and eat in more often. You can also take on a part-time job. That extra income could come in handy to cover the smaller, unexpected expenses that tend to come up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520You%2520Should%2520Budget%2520Your%2520Social%2520Security%2520Checks.jpg&amp;description=Here's%20How%20You%20Should%20Budget%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Checks"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20You%20Should%20Budget%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Checks.jpg" alt="Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement">5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Retirement beneficiaries benefits expenses food costs health care housing income medical costs social security Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2007581 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments">Bookmark This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing 401(k) Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities benefits bonds fees interest rates investment vehicles life insurance pensions stocks Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 1953940 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511524588 (1).jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before claiming social security benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a 2016 poll conducted by Gallup, 59 percent of retirees rely on Social Security payments as a major source of income. Odds are that you, too, will need Social Security benefits to cover at least <em>some </em>of your living expenses after you retire. Because of this, you'll want these benefits to be as large as possible when retirement actually arrives.</p> <p>Here are five key questions to ask before you start taking your Social Security benefits.</p> <h2>1. Are you willing to take a smaller monthly benefit for the rest of your life?</h2> <p>Taking Social Security benefits before your full retirement age will cost you in the form of a lower monthly payout. This payout will remain at this lower level for the rest of your life.</p> <p>You can determine how much of a hit you'll take claiming benefits early by visiting the Social Security Administration's <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html" target="_blank">retirement planner site</a>. As the site shows, if you start taking your Social Security payments before you hit your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be lower.</p> <p>How much lower? If your full retirement age is 67 and you start taking your benefits at 62, your monthly Social Security payment will be reduced by about 30 percent. If you start taking them at 64, they'll be lower by about 20 percent. Even if you start taking them one year earlier at 66, they'll still be lower &mdash; by about 6.7 percent a month. And remember, this is for the rest of your life.</p> <p>As you can see, claiming benefits early can significantly reduce the amount of money you receive each month. Let's say you are slated to receive $1,000 a month in Social Security benefits and your full retirement age is 67. If you started taking your benefits at age 62 &mdash; the earliest you can take them &mdash; your monthly benefit would fall to $700.</p> <h2>2. Can you continue working?</h2> <p>While retiring early reduces your monthly Social Security benefits, working past your full retirement age actually increases them.</p> <p>The Social Security Administration says that if you delay receiving your Social Security benefits until you hit 70, your monthly payment will be 32 percent higher than if you had retired at full retirement age.</p> <p>Say your full retirement age is 66, and you'd receive $1,000 from Social Security every month starting at that age. If you wait to start claiming your benefits until you turn 70, your monthly payment would rise significantly to $1,320. You'd just have to determine whether you could hold off on receiving those payments until your 70th birthday.</p> <h2>3. How much have you saved for retirement?</h2> <p>Most people can't survive on Social Security benefits alone during their retirement years. Instead, they rely on a mix of savings from different sources &mdash; everything from 401(k) plans, to IRAs, to annuities.</p> <p>How much you've saved for retirement will play a key role in how early you should take your Social Security benefits. If you've saved a significant amount of money for retirement, you might not need as large a monthly Social Security payment to meet your retirement goals. But if you haven't saved much, you might need that larger benefit payment. At the same time, working for a few extra years might help you boost your retirement nest egg, at least by a bit.</p> <h2>4. How healthy are you?</h2> <p>While there are financial upsides to waiting to claim your Social Security benefits, there are also times when this doesn't make sense. Often, this depends on your health.</p> <p>If you're not healthy, you might need to retire early for your physical wellbeing. And while it's impossible to predict how long you'll live after retiring, if you're suffering from health problems, your post-retirement life might not last as long. Retiring as early as possible, and claiming those Social Security benefits earlier, might then be the best choice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a>)</p> <h2>5. What kind of retirement do you want?</h2> <p>How do you plan to spend your retirement years? Are you looking forward to quiet days spent with your grandchildren, reading books, and pursuing a hobby? Or do you want to travel the world?</p> <p>If you're looking for a lower-key, less-costly retirement, taking your benefits early &mdash; and receiving smaller Social Security payments &mdash; might make sense. But if you want a busier, more extravagant retirement, holding off until full retirement age, or later, might be the smarter choice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement benefits early retirement full retirement age health Teaser: income social security Mon, 08 May 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1940328 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Work Perks You Can't Get as a Freelancer http://www.wisebread.com/10-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511733684.jpg" alt="Woman learning work perks she can&#039;t get as a freelancer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In some industries, the number of gig economy workers is growing faster than the number of payroll employees. Working as a freelancer certainly does have its advantages, the biggest of which are flexibility, freedom, and the ability to experience variety in your work.</p> <p>But if you find yourself staring at the walls of your cubicle, daydreaming about escaping the 9-to-5 and finding freedom as a freelancer, don't overlook the perks you could be getting at your regular job, right now. It may not be so easy to leave these things behind.</p> <h2>1. Stable income</h2> <p>One of the biggest benefits of a regular 9-to-5 job is the steady paycheck. As a salaried employee, you can plan your budget based on a stable stream of income. As a freelancer, your income can vary significantly from one month to the next. A few slow weeks can throw your finances into disarray, so you'll need to shift your entire budgeting strategy to make sure this doesn't happen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a>)</p> <h2>2. 401(k) match</h2> <p>Many traditional employers offer matching contributions to 401(k) plans. In other words, when you make a contribution to your retirement fund out of each paycheck, your employer will also contribute something. This is free money, and can total thousands of dollars each year. In the gig economy, you won't get this kind of assistance building your retirement fund. You'll need to make efforts to save for retirement all on your own, such as with an IRA or solo 401(k). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Simple Guide to Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed</a>)</p> <h2>3. Retirement counseling</h2> <p>Employers frequently offer training or educational programs to help workers plan their retirement investment strategy. Often, they'll even provide free access to financial planners to answer questions. Freelancers are on their own to figure out the road to retirement, and consulting with financial pros will have to come out of your own pocket.</p> <h2>4. Health Savings Account</h2> <p>A valuable benefit that many people miss out on is participating in a health savings account. Every paycheck, you can contribute pretax dollars to be used for health-related expenses. Some health savings accounts allow the funds to be placed in investments where the money can grow until it is needed. As a freelancer, you may be able to set up your own health savings account, but you will need to do a lot more research than someone who simply signs up for an established program through their 9-to-5. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Paid vacation and holidays</h2> <p>Paid time off is an undisputed benefit of a regular 9-to-5. As a freelancer, you don't earn a paycheck while on vacation or holiday. If you want time off, you take time off from earning any income, too. This can certainly put a damper on enjoying your down time.</p> <h2>6. Making connections</h2> <p>As a 9-to-5 employee, you'll have opportunity to build relationships with the coworkers and senior-level staff you see every day. These connections can give you a special level of access to approach and meet other influential people in your company. Plus, it never hurts to have a few people to chat with as you pass the day. Freelancers can still find plenty of opportunity to network, but they'll need to go out of their way to make it happen. It won't be as simple as showing up to work.</p> <h2>7. Tech support and replacement</h2> <p>I have thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment sitting on my desk. It gets supported, maintained, and upgraded by my employer. As a freelancer, you are on your own to buy and support your technology needs. Do you need a special monitor? You'll need to shell out for one. Is your computer too old to do the job? The replacement comes out of your pocket. If something breaks? The repairman will be billing you directly.</p> <h2>8. Training, certification, and professional development</h2> <p>Companies often invest in their employees by providing training or certification programs to help them be better workers. Staying up-to-date on skills, technology, and industry trends is incredibly useful to the employees as well, and makes them more valuable in the marketplace. Freelancers will need to find, purchase, and commit to their own training. It can be very easy to rest on your laurels and let your skills become outdated, especially with no boss insisting you keep learning.</p> <h2>9. Awards and recognition opportunities</h2> <p>It looks great on a resume to list awards and other work honors that you have received. Many employers have some form of &quot;employee of the month&quot; or similar recognition. You may not be able to stock your resume with such accolades if you go out on your own. At the very least, you'll have to seek out and apply for awards, where you'll likely be up against a much larger pool of talent.</p> <h2>10. Employee discount programs</h2> <p>Another perk that businesses offer their employees is discounts on products and services. These can range from cellphone plans, to personal computer purchases, to fitness club memberships &mdash; even discounts on concert and amusement park tickets. As a freelancer, you'll miss out on these discounts.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview">8 Questions You Should Always Ask in an Exit Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career">8 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-lucrative-side-hustles-for-city-dwellers">15 Lucrative Side Hustles for City Dwellers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/they-offered-you-a-promotion-and-no-pay-raise-now-what">They Offered You a Promotion and No Pay Raise. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job">How to Get Work Experience Without Having a Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income 9-to-5 benefits employment freelancing gig economy pros and cons self employment side jobs work perks Mon, 08 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1940327 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Times Your Credit Card Has Your Back http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-635966572.jpg" alt="Woman learning times her credit card has her back" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many of us view credit cards as much more than just a way to pay for things. They can help us accrue miles and status in rewards programs, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal" target="_blank">get us into airport lounges</a>, and even help us snag hard-to-get theater reservations.</p> <p>But did you know that calling your credit card company can be like calling your dad when things go wrong? Glitzy perks like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-do-the-concierge-services-from-credit-cards-really-provide?ref=internal" target="_blank">concierge service</a> get most of the attention, but the perks that kick in when things go wrong may actually be the most valuable. Let's look at services some credit cards offer when you're in an accident, have a problem with a purchase, or are facing other dire straits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p>(As you might imagine, credit cards place restrictions on all of these benefits, such as per-claim and per-year reimbursement ceilings. If you need access to one of these benefits, consult your card agreement and/or call customer service.)</p> <h2>1. Return protection</h2> <p>You buy a beautiful rug. When you get it home, you realize it's way too big for your room. Now the retailer won't take it back. What do you do?</p> <p>If you're using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-return-items-through-your-credit-card-if-the-store-refuses?ref=internal" target="_blank">card with return protection</a>, you can file a claim and get reimbursed for some or all of the purchase. One typical limitation: no holiday decorations (so don't even think about returning your Christmas tree in January).</p> <h2>2. Extended warranty</h2> <p>You buy a grandfather clock with a one-year warranty. As your luck would have it, 53 weeks later, the thing stops working. If you purchased it with a card that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">offers extended warranty coverage</a>, any repairs covered under the original warranty may now be paid for by your credit card's extended protection. Make sure to call the card issuer before you pay for any repairs.</p> <h2>3. Purchase security</h2> <p>You buy a new bike, and the next day, it's stolen! Your homeowners insurance won't help, since the cost of a replacement is lower than your deductible. Are you out of luck? Maybe not.</p> <p>If you bought the bike with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft?ref=internal" target="_blank">card that offers purchase security</a>, and you submit all the required documentation, you could get reimbursed for the stolen bike. Besides theft, purchase security can cover damage due to fires, plumbing leaks, vandalism, and a number of other threats. Most cards require you to file the claim within a certain window &mdash; generally within 90 days of the incident.</p> <h2>4. Price protection</h2> <p>This has got to be one of the most underutilized protections that credit cards offer. Make a mental note to save all of your receipts and try it this year!</p> <p>You splurge on new TV. A month later, you see the same TV advertised for hundreds of dollars less. Instead of throwing the remote at the screen, call up the credit card you used to buy it and ask if they offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-price-match-through-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">price protection</a>, which could get you a full or partial refund of the price difference, subject to per-item and annual limits. One typical restriction is that the lower price must appear in a printed ad, not just online.</p> <h2>5. Travel insurance</h2> <p>You are planning to fly your family to Paris, but your daughter breaks her leg and you have to cancel at the last minute. The tickets are nonrefundable. If you purchased them with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">card offering travel insurance</a>, the policy might reimburse you for the flights you can't use.</p> <p>The same policies might also provide a lump-sum payment if you are injured (or killed) on the trip, as well as also cover the expense of buying new clothes or belongings if your bag arrives a few days later than you do. Some policies will even replace baggage that's permanently lost.</p> <p>Restrictions abound. I recently tried to use this coverage when I had to cancel an Airbnb stay due to an Amtrak delay (which was in turn due to flooding). The agent at my credit card company told me their policy would only cover airline tickets or fees, not lodging. However, other cards state that they cover the cost of lost tours and lodging as well as airfare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Premium Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Roadside assistance</h2> <p>Like with AAA, a card that offers this benefit may dispatch someone to your house to jump start your car, or they may tow you from the side of the highway to the nearest repair shop. Check the fine print; there may be limitations on how far they will tow you or how many times a year you can use the service for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-road-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Road Trips</a>)</p> <h2>7. Rental car damage waiver</h2> <p>Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards offer rental car insurance</a>. If you're paying for a rental in full using one of these credit cards, you can decline the damage waiver offered by the rental company.</p> <p>With this perk, your credit card's rental coverage is secondary to your personal auto insurance. For example, let's say you are in such a hurry to get on the road in your rented PT Cruiser that you accidentally drive right through the exit gate, causing thousands of dollars in damage to the car. If you used a card that offers a collision damage waiver, you'll first need to file a claim with your auto insurer. From there, your card may cover the deductible as well as any fees the rental car company charged. Your auto insurance will pay the rest.</p> <p>If you don't have personal auto insurance, any credit card that offers secondary coverage will become primary, and should cover the whole cost of an accident. It's extra important to note restrictions in this case, since the out-of-pocket costs for anything the service doesn't cover could be really high. There may be limits on how long of a rental period this covers, as well as on the kind of vehicle it covers or even the countries you are covered in. Most importantly, these policies don't cover personal injury or liability, so you'll need to purchase some kind of liability coverage as well.</p> <h2>8. Primary rental car insurance</h2> <p>A few cards offer this benefit, which is better than the standard collision damage waiver because it acts as a primary auto insurance policy for your rental car. This means that if you swerve to avoid a wombat on your Australian vacation and accidentally total the Holden Caprice you rented, you don't have to file a claim with your auto insurance. This could save you on rates in the future.</p> <h2>9. Airline fee credits</h2> <p>I've made some very expensive mistakes booking air travel. One time, when calling an airline to ask if I could change a flight because I'd booked the wrong day, I found out that the change fee was more than the cost of the ticket. If I had booked the flight using a card that reimburses me for airline fees, the ticket might have been salvageable. Instead, I had to abandon it and buy a new, more expensive ticket.</p> <p>This benefit typically comes with cards that have higher annual fees, and has an annual limit, such as $200 in fee reimbursements each year. Besides change fees, they're typically good for other costs, such as baggage fees, airline lounge passes, and upgrades to seats with extra legroom. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>10. Identity theft hotline</h2> <p>If your credit card offers this service, you can call for help if you're ever a victim of this obnoxious crime. Typical services include sending you the form you need to file with the credit bureaus, having the credit bureaus place an alert on your account, and providing you with form letters you can use to cancel checks or other accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards that Offer Free Credit Scores</a>)</p> <h2>11. Assistance in a travel emergency</h2> <p>You're in another country. You don't speak the language. You wake up in the middle of the night with unbearable stomach pains. What do you do?</p> <p>If you hold a card that offers travel assistance, you can call their international hotline, where they may direct you to the nearest appropriate hospital, and get a translator or U.S. doctor on the phone if necessary. They may even arrange for money to be wired to you, or send messages home to your family. If the emergency is of a legal nature, they can connect you to a lawyer &mdash; or a bail bond provider, if necessary. They're not going to pay for your doctor or lawyer or post your bail, but they can make the connection.</p> <h2>12. Trip delay reimbursement</h2> <p>The first leg of your international trip goes fine, but when you arrive at the gate in Taipei, you find out that your flight to Beijing is canceled until tomorrow. The airline offers no hotel vouchers. Where are you supposed to stay, on the terminal floor?</p> <p>Good news: If you booked the trip with a card that offers trip delay coverage, your hotel and meals may be a reimbursable expense.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card">Don&#039;t Carry a Balance? Here&#039;s Why You Still Need a Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card">4 Surprising Reasons to Always Use Your Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards">How Families Can Earn and Use Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards benefits extended warranty identity theft miles perks price match protections purchase protection reimbursements rewards travel insurance Fri, 05 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1940326 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-639428420.jpg" alt="Learning social security facts you shouldn&#039;t panic over" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people tend not to think about Social Security until they are in a position to collect benefits. Unfortunately, letting Social Security be something you worry about &quot;later&quot; can cause costly problems &mdash; both for you as a beneficiary, and for the program as a whole.</p> <p>Here are five sobering facts about Social Security that you should know now so that you will be prepared for potential issues in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>1. The Social Security Trust Fund may be entirely depleted by 2034</h2> <p>Social Security is set up as a direct transfer of funds from current workers to current beneficiaries. However, when the taxes coming in to pay for Social Security exceed the expenses for the program, the surplus is placed in the Social Security Trust Fund, where it earns interest. As of 2010, Social Security expenses have exceeded the tax revenue, and the Social Security Administration has had to dip into the Trust Fund in order to pay out all promised benefits. As of 2013, the Trust Fund began losing value, and it is projected to be <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/" target="_blank">entirely depleted by the year 2034</a>.</p> <p>When the Trust Fund runs out of money, the projected tax revenue will cover only 79 percent of promised benefits. This means anyone who is entitled to a $1,500 monthly benefit will only receive $1,185.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>While the coming depletion of the Social Security Trust Fund is troubling, the problem is neither new nor imminent. It's also important to note that the United States is the only country in the world that attempts to predict the 75-year longevity of its social insurance funds, which means we are in a position to do something about the anticipated shortfall. Over the next couple of decades, it is likely that our government will make relatively small changes to the Social Security program in order to make up the 21 percent anticipated shortfall that will occur once the Trust Fund has run dry.</p> <p>However, it is smart for current workers to recognize that Social Security should not be heavily relied upon for a financially secure retirement.</p> <h2>2. The average Social Security retirement benefit is $1,360 per month</h2> <p>As of January, 2017, the average benefit for a retired beneficiary is <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2017.pdf" target="_blank">$1,360 per month</a>, which doesn't go very far if that is your only source of income. In addition, beneficiaries who are signed up for Medicare Part B (which is the Medicare medical insurance) will see $134 deducted from their Social Security benefit check for the Part B premium.</p> <p>While very few retirees live solely on their Social Security benefits, these benefits do constitute at least half the income of 71 percent of single seniors and 48 percent of couples. And for a whopping 43 percent of singles and 21 percent of married couples, Social Security benefits represent 90 percent or more of total income.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>What you need to remember is that you have a great deal of control over how much of your budget your Social Security benefit will represent. If you diligently save for retirement, then receiving an &quot;average&quot; benefit of $1,360 will provide a nice financial cushion on top of your retirement portfolio. While $1,360 is tough to live on by itself, having it available on top of your necessary expenditures would be a wonderful supplement.</p> <h2>3. Cuts to Social Security benefits may be coming</h2> <p>President Trump promised during his campaign that there would be no cuts to current payments for Social Security or Medicare beneficiaries. However, although the White House has made it clear that current beneficiaries' payments are safe, it will not rule out the possibility of making cuts that will affect future beneficiaries. Some of the changes that have been proposed include:</p> <ul> <li>Raise the full retirement age for workers who reach age 62 in 2023, gradually increasing it from the current age of 66 to age 69.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Change the formula for calculating benefits for retirees becoming newly eligible in 2023 in phases over 10 years. The changes would slightly increase benefits for below-average earners and slightly decrease benefits for above-average earners.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Beginning December 2018, change the calculation of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to a chained consumer price index (CPI) calculation, which will reduce the amount of money beneficiaries receive in their annual COLA. The current formula for determining the COLA uses something called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W is a useful index for tracking the inflation of all goods, but it does not take into account the fact that many consumers make substitutions when prices go up. (For instance, if the price of beef rises, many consumers will buy chicken or pork instead.) A chained CPI calculation takes these sorts of substitutions into account, so its inflation rate is calculated at approximately 0.3 percentage points lower than the CPI-W rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Eliminate the earnings test beginning in January 2019. This test reduces benefits for beneficiaries who are younger than Social Security's full retirement age (currently age 66), are currently receiving Social Security benefit payments, and have income from wages or self-employment that exceed $16,920 per year in 2017.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Eliminate federal income taxation of Social Security retirement benefits as of 2054 and later, phased in from 2045 to 2053.</li> </ul> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>Although making cuts to future beneficiaries' payments is hardly something to cheer about, we do need to recognize that it is much more important to protect the benefits of current beneficiaries. Since current beneficiaries generally cannot go back to work or cut expenses, they are much more vulnerable to cuts in payments than current workers are. In fact, the proposed switch to a chained CPI calculation for COLA may be burdensome to current beneficiaries, since it has been proposed for December 2018, thereby affecting those who have already retired.</p> <p>What current workers need to do is plan for their Social Security to be an addition to their retirement savings. Then, if these changes and cuts do come to pass, you will not be worried about losing important income.</p> <h2>4. High earners don't pay as much into Social Security</h2> <p>Social Security is paid for through a payroll tax of 6.2 percent for workers and 6.2 percent for their employers, making the total tax contribution 12.4 percent of gross income. However, workers and their employers do not pay Social Security taxes on earnings above $127,200.</p> <p>While $127,200 is a pretty significant chunk of change, it does mean that very high earners get a break once they are earning that amount. The reasoning behind this earnings cap is to maintain the connection between contributions paid in and benefits received. Since Social Security benefits are paid progressively, lower-income beneficiaries receive a higher percentage of their pre-retirement income in benefits than do high-income beneficiaries. The more money that high-income earners pay into Social Security, the less of a return they see on their contributions.</p> <p>The progressive nature of Social Security benefits is the reason why it is unlikely that there will ever be a complete elimination of this earnings cap, even though the program could certainly use the funds that such a cap elimination would represent. However, even if we were to increase the earnings cap to $229,500 &mdash; which would return taxation to the same level it was in the early 1980s &mdash; we could make a major dent in the coming benefits shortfall.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>Although raising taxes is never popular, there is some indication that our government is working to bring the earnings cap closer to early 1980s levels. In 2016, the earnings cap was set at $118,500, which was the same as the 2015 earnings cap. Raising it to $127,200 represents a 7 percent increase.</p> <h2>5. 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day</h2> <p>Social Security works pretty well when the ratio of workers to retirees is balanced. Unfortunately, the extra-big generation known as the baby boomers is putting the program out of whack. The 76 million members of that generation began reaching age 62 (the earliest you may take Social Security benefits) as of 2008, and they are just going to keep retiring &mdash; at a rate of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/07/24/do-10000-baby-boomers-retire-every-day/?utm_term=.56b6dff4374c" target="_blank">10,000 per day</a>.</p> <p>This huge retirement boom could potentially put an enormous burden on our Social Security program, especially considering the increased life expectancy of this generation as compared to their parents and grandparents.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>While it's true that approximately 10,000 baby boomers are going to be retiring every day until 2034 (when the last of the boomers will reach age 70, which is the latest you would want to start taking Social Security benefits), there is more to this story than just their retirement.</p> <p>First, it's important to remember that we've known the boomers would be retiring en masse for quite some time. Policymakers began to plan as early as 1983, when Congress raised the full retirement age.</p> <p>Second, the boomers are the workers who built up the Social Security Trust Fund, so they will be beneficiaries of the money they themselves contributed through taxes.</p> <p>Finally, as of 2015, <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/" target="_blank">millennials had overtaken the boomers</a> as the largest living generation in the U.S. With such a large group of young workers in the workforce, we should be able to handle the financial cost of 10,000 boomers retiring each day.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement beneficiaries benefits facts full retirement age government social security ssa supplemental income taxes trust fund Thu, 04 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1938308 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions You Should Always Ask in an Exit Interview http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_work_discussion_516896268.jpg" alt="Woman asking questions during her exit interview" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Exit interviews are common when someone is leaving a job. And usually, the onus is on the employer to ask the questions. If you're taking a new job offer, they may want to know why you're leaving, or what they could have done to keep you around. If you're being let go, they'll want to make sure you know everything about the package you're receiving, and your legal options.</p> <p>Rarely do people talk about the questions <em>you</em> should ask in your exit interview. Here are eight that can provide invaluable answers.</p> <h2>1. Will my feedback be anonymous?</h2> <p>If you have some important issues to get off your chest, this is a very important question to ask beforehand. You don't want to tear into an awful boss or coworker, only to find out that it has gotten back to them. You may even want to consider if it's worth the risk at all; if you work in similar fields, your paths may cross again in the future.</p> <p>Despite this, you may feel a moral obligation to tell HR all about the problems that certain coworkers caused, for the sake of the people who are left behind. If you must spill the beans, ask this question before you say anything negative or controversial about anyone. You may even want to write something down that can go on record &mdash; minus your name, of course.</p> <h2>2. What did I do well during my time here?</h2> <p>You can phrase this question however you feel most comfortable, but what you're looking for here is feedback on your strengths. What did you do that made a difference to the company? Were you a rock star at certain things? Were you highly prized in areas you didn't even consider?</p> <p>All of this can be great information to take with you to your next job. You may have thought that speaking up in meetings about potential issues with a project was a cause for grief. But it turns out that people really valued you asking those &quot;Devil's Advocate&quot; questions, as it helped with the development of otherwise unconsidered issues. This kind of feedback can really bolster your performance in your next position.</p> <h2>3. Do I have the option to come back here one day?</h2> <p>It may seem like an odd question to ask &mdash; after all, you're probably leaving the company for very good reason. However, &quot;boomerang&quot; employees can be common in some industries, especially if you're leaving to relocate out of state and may one day return. If you're leaving on good terms, this probably won't be an issue. If you're leaving because things went sour with certain people, it may be tricky to return until they, too, have left. If you're being laid off, you should be given the option to apply for other job openings that match your skill-set in the future.</p> <h2>4. What could I have done better?</h2> <p>No one is perfect. Even an employee that is being begged to stay will still have some areas that could use improvement. Now is the time to find out what those shortcomings are, as this will help you become an even better employee for your next company.</p> <p>Don't take any of this feedback personally. You asked the question, and you need to be an adult about the answers you get. Even if things take a turn, and you suddenly find out someone you respected was constantly complaining about you behind your back, just take it in stride. Fix what you think needs fixing, and ignore the petty stuff.</p> <h2>5. Can I use you as a reference in the future?</h2> <p>It may seem like a no-brainer that they'll say yes, especially if you were a good employee, but many companies frown on their staff providing references for ex-employees. If someone from that company provides a glowing reference for a person who turns out to be unreliable, a thief, a sexual predator, or anything else negative, it can come back on the business and bite them.</p> <p>The HR department's job in any company is to look out for the business, not the people who work there. So, if you think you may want to use them as a future reference, ask before you put their name down. Otherwise, they'll typically verify your dates of employment, and that's about it.</p> <h2>6. When can I expect my final paycheck, and how much will it be?</h2> <p>Your final paycheck may not be issued to you on a regular pay period. It may also include unused vacation days, and depending on your company, unused personal days, sick time (although that's rare), and a portion of the annual bonus you were set to receive.</p> <p>Not only do you want to ask about the final total, but when you can expect to receive that amount, and whether it will be a live check or a bank deposit. If the numbers don't add up, say something now. If they don't have final totals yet, make sure you have the phone number of the person in the payroll department.</p> <h2>7. Is there any kind of noncompete in place?</h2> <p>If you were given an employee handbook when you first started, this may be covered in there. But, roles and responsibilities within an organization vary greatly between departments, so now is a good time to clarify. It's possible that you will be asked not to have any contact with your current clients or vendors for at least a year or two, especially if you will be looking to poach current accounts from your company.</p> <p>Legally, you may not have anything to worry about, as this is typically more of a courtesy. How you handle this, of course, is entirely up to you. At the end of the day, you have to do what's right for you and your family, and if there's nothing in writing to stop you approaching people, it's your call. And of course, if they approach you without any prompting, that's another ballgame entirely.</p> <h2>8. What about a severance package and health benefits?</h2> <p>If you're being laid off, your company may have a set severance package in place. Many businesses offer two weeks of pay for every year of service, up to a cap of their choosing. Others give you a set figure (anywhere from a week to a year) regardless of your time there.</p> <p>You'll also need to know what's happening with your health benefits. Unlike most other countries, health benefits are tied to employment in the U.S. and losing coverage can be costly (or even deadly). Will the company continue covering your health insurance, and if so, for how long? What about COBRA? These are important questions to ask, and if they won't continue coverage, ask for more money in your severance to help cover the costs.</p> <p>If you are planning to leave your company soon, make sure you have at least some of these questions ready for your exit interview. And if you suffer a layoff, please remember to ask about your severance and benefits. Good luck!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-nows-the-right-time-to-jumpstart-your-career">Why Now&#039;s the Right Time to Jumpstart Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-leave-your-job">10 Fun Ways to Leave Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-when-you-hate-your-new-job">How to Deal When You Hate Your New Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-keys-to-quitting-a-job-like-a-professional">8 Keys to Quitting a Job Like a Professional</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-financial-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-fired">11 Financial Moves to Make the Moment You Get Fired</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income benefits employment exit interview feedback human resources job hunting Job Interview layoffs quitting severance Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:31:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1936196 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-175261184.jpg" alt="Learning why Tax Day is on April 15" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>April is one of the finest months of the year. The sun breaks through the clouds, the cherry blossoms bloom, and the promise of warm weather beckons.</p> <p>So of course, the IRS, in its infinite wisdom, decided to place Tax Day right smack dab in the middle of all of this riotous spring beauty.</p> <p>Though I have always believed that the placement of Tax Day in mid-April is proof of the federal government's grim sense of humor, there is actually some method to their madness &mdash; both for this, and all other seemingly arbitrary financial dates and deadlines.</p> <p>Here are the reasons behind some of the most head-scratching financial dates in the United States.</p> <h2>Why is Tax Day on April 15?</h2> <p>Paying federal income taxes is actually a relatively new phenomenon in American history. The first time an income tax was levied on Americans was in 1861 in order to help pay for the Civil War. In 1872, the law surrounding the tax was repealed after opponents successfully argued that federal income tax was unconstitutional.</p> <p>Fast forward to February 3, 1913, when Congress adopted the 16th amendment to the constitution, which allows for federal income tax. Congress also determined the first due date for filing 1913 taxes would be March 1, 1914 &mdash; one year and a couple of weeks later. March 1 offered an easy-to-remember due date that gave citizens just over a full year to get used to being taxpayers, gather up their receipts into the early 20th century version of a shoe box, and file their first returns.</p> <p>Then in 1918, the due date was moved to March 15, for reasons that no one in Congress saw fit to explain or write down.</p> <p>Congress again moved the filing due date in 1955, this time to the now-familiar date of April 15. According to the IRS, the date change helped to spread out the tax season workload for IRS employees.</p> <p>However, there may be a slightly more mercenary reason for the date change: According to Ed McCaffery, a University of Southern California law professor and tax guru, by the mid 1950s, the income tax was applying to increasing numbers of middle class workers, which meant the government had to issue more refunds. &quot;Pushing the deadline back gives the government more time to hold on to the money,&quot; McCaffery claimed in Fortune magazine. And the longer the government holds onto taxes that have been withheld but are destined to be refunded, the more interest it earns on the money.</p> <h3>Okay, so why is Tax Day on April 18 this year?</h3> <p>If you look at an April calendar for 2017, you'll see that April 15 falls on a Saturday this year, which means we get a little extension, since Tax Day can't fall on a weekend. However, you might be confused as to why we get an extension to Tuesday, April 18, instead of Monday, April 17.</p> <p>The reason for our extra day is a Washington, D.C. holiday known as Emancipation Day. Though only Washington, D.C. observes this holiday, a federal statute enacted decades ago states that holidays observed in our nation's capital have a nationwide impact.</p> <h2>Why was 65 chosen as full retirement age for Social Security?</h2> <p>When the Social Security Act was officially adopted in 1935, the age of 65 was chosen as the standard retirement age for beneficiaries. Why was that age chosen as the proper time for full retirement? Why not 63 or 67 or 70?</p> <p>There are a couple of persistent myths out there about this choice, but they are nothing more than misconceptions:</p> <h3>Myth #1: People would die before collecting</h3> <p>The age of 65 was chosen so that people would not live long enough to collect benefits. According to life expectancy actuarial tables from 1930, the average life span was 58 for men and 62 for women, which would make it seem as if Social Security was designed to never make a payout to beneficiaries. However, this myth stems from an unfamiliarity with actuarial tables, which offer an average of <em>all </em>life spans, starting from birth. High infant mortality in the 1930s lowered the overall rate of life expectancy, but anyone who made it to adulthood had a much better chance of reaching age 65 and collecting benefits.</p> <h3>Myth #2: Bismarck was 65</h3> <p>The age of 65 was chosen because Otto von Bismarck &mdash; the author of the world's first old-age social insurance program upon which our Social Security program was partially based &mdash; was 65 when Germany adopted his program. This myth is false on several counts. Bismarck was actually 74 when the German system was adopted, and Germany initially set the retirement age at 70. Germany's retirement age was not lowered to 65 until 1916, at which point Bismarck had been dead for nearly two decades.</p> <h3>The truth behind 65</h3> <p>The actual reason why 65 was chosen as the initial full retirement age for Social Security is pretty boring. The Committee on Economic Security, which Franklin D. Roosevelt created to propose Social Security legislation, conducted a comprehensive analysis of actuarial studies, domestic private pension systems in America, and the social insurance experience in other countries. Based upon that research, the committee recommended 65 as the standard retirement age for Social Security.</p> <h2>Why is 59&frac12; the minimum age to take distributions from tax-deferred retirement accounts?</h2> <p>When it comes to tax-deferred accounts like 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, you are not allowed to take distributions until you have reached the magical age of 59&frac12;. Otherwise, you will owe a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on the amount you withdraw, in addition to the ordinary income tax you'll owe whenever you take a distribution.</p> <p>So why is the IRS asking you to celebrate half-birthdays when you're nearly 60 years old? Congress used the age of 59&frac12; as the earliest withdrawal age because life insurance actuarial tables consider you to be 60 years old once you have reached the age of 59 and six months &mdash; and at the time that the rules were put in place, 60 was a relatively common age for retirement.</p> <h2>Why must you begin taking required minimum distributions from tax-deferred retirement accounts at age 70&frac12;?</h2> <p>Of course, the IRS is not just about picking random minimum ages for when you <em>can </em>take distributions from tax-deferred retirement accounts &mdash; they also have a random age for when you <em>must </em>take distributions from those accounts.</p> <p>Since the money in your tax-deferred account was placed there before you paid taxes on it, Uncle Sam does want you to eventually pull the money out again so he can get his cut of the money in the form of taxes. That means the IRS requires each account holder to begin withdrawing money during the year that they reach age 70&frac12;. This is called the required minimum distribution (RMD).</p> <p>But unlike the 59&frac12; rule, 70&frac12; does not actually mean your half-birthday. The IRS makes a distinction between those individuals born in the first half of the year and those born in the second half. If your birthday falls between January 1 and June 30, you have to take your first RMD during the calendar year you turn 70. But if your birthday falls between July 1 and December 31, then you don't officially have to take your first RMD until the calendar year you turn 71.</p> <p>Describing this year as being when you are 70&frac12; is actually shorthand, since some folks will be taking their first RMD the year they turn 70, and some will be taking their first RMD the year they turn 71.</p> <h2>Why does Social Security think New Year's babies were born in the previous year?</h2> <p>Unless you happen to have a January 1 birthday, you might not know about this odd piece of Social Security dating. But according to the Social Security Administration, individuals born on the first of the year are considered to have birthdays in the previous year. So Social Security will group someone with a January 1, 1954 birthday with beneficiaries who were born in 1953.</p> <p>This can actually make a big difference when it comes to some Social Security benefits, particularly when those benefits are eliminated. For instance, in 2015 Congress ended the restricted application strategy for any beneficiary born after 1953. The restricted application let applicants specify which Social Security benefits they did <em>not</em> want to apply for, even if they were eligible for all of them. So, for example, beneficiaries who reached full retirement age could claim a spousal benefit while continuing to let their own grow. Beneficiaries who were born on January 1, 1954 were grouped with those with 1953 births &mdash; which means anyone born on January 2, 1954 had rotten luck in terms of using the restricted application.</p> <p>Why does Social Security extend a year 24 hours past the time the rest of us do? This odd birth year dating occurs because the Social Security Administration groups beneficiaries who have birthdays on the first of the month with beneficiaries born in the previous month. This grouping allows first-of-the-month babies to have a little more leeway when it comes to deadlines and other requirements. In order to be completely fair with the first-of-the-month grouping, January 1 babies are then considered to have been born in the previous year.</p> <h2>The government is not entirely lacking in sweet rhyme and pure reason</h2> <p>The financial dates that we all must adhere to may seem like ridiculous and arbitrary decisions, but there was some thought put into them. Those thoughts might only make sense to the people that made the decisions, but at least we know they weren't throwing darts at a calendar.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes 401(k) ages benefits dates distributions finance facts full retirement age IRA IRS social security tax day trivia Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:00:22 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1914689 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508211721.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When most people dream about their retirement, they focus on the places they'd like to travel, the hobbies they'd like to spend time on, and the people they will see more of. Pondering how to deal with taxes in retirement generally does not enter into these sorts of reveries.</p> <p>While everyone should plan for the good stuff in retirement, it's also important to recognize the less fun aspects of retiring &mdash; like taxes. If you are prepared for the financial side of retirement, then you'll be better able to enjoy your time.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about how your taxes will be different post-retirement.</p> <h2>Understanding Your Tax Bracket</h2> <p>Before discussing how your taxes change in retirement, it's a good idea to understand both what your tax bracket is and what that means for the amount of money you owe. As of 2017, these are the federal tax brackets for ordinary income:</p> <p><strong>Tax Rate &nbsp; &nbsp; Married Filing Jointly &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Most Single Filers</strong><br /> 10% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $0&ndash;$18,650 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$0&ndash;$9,325<br /> 15% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $18,651&ndash;$75,900 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$9,326&ndash;$37,950<br /> 25% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $75,901&ndash;$153,100 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$37,951&ndash;$91,900<br /> 28% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $153,101&ndash;$233,350 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$91,901&ndash;$191,650<br /> 33% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $233,351&ndash;$416,700 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$191,651&ndash;$416,700<br /> 35% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $416,701&ndash;$470,700 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$416,701&ndash;$418,400<br /> 39.6% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$470,701+ &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $418,401+</p> <p>What these tax brackets describe is your marginal tax rate, which is the rate you pay on the highest portion of your income. For instance, if you are single and fall in the 25% tax bracket, you are not taxed 25% on all of your income. You are taxed 25% on any income above $37,950, you are taxed 15% on any income between $9,326 and $37,950, and you are taxed 10% on any income below $9,325.</p> <h2>The Tax You Will No Longer Pay in Retirement</h2> <p>Let's start with the good news. There is one type of federal tax that retirement income and Social Security income are both exempt from. That's the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare.</p> <p>Employed individuals see 6.2% of their gross earnings taxed for Social Security through FICA (and their employers also kick in 6.2%, making the total tax contribution 12.4% of each earner's gross income). In addition to Social Security, FICA also collects 1.45% of your gross income for Medicare Part A.</p> <p>Once you retire and you are no longer earning income from employment, then all of your income will be exempt from FICA &mdash; even any income you take from tax deferred accounts, such as 401K accounts or traditional IRA accounts. That's because your contributions to these accounts were already subject to FICA taxes, even if you funded the account with pre-tax dollars.</p> <h2>The Taxes You Will Owe on Tax-Deferred Accounts</h2> <p>Tax-deferred accounts, like 401Ks and traditional IRAs, allow workers to set money aside before Uncle Sam takes any income tax (although FICA taxes are deducted before the money is placed in such accounts). That money grows tax-free, and once the account holder reaches age 59&frac12;, they can take distributions from it without any penalty.</p> <p>However, the money will then be considered ordinary income and taxed accordingly. So that means a single retiree's $30,000 distribution from their IRA will place them in the 15% tax bracket, and they will owe $4,033.75:</p> <p>10% of $9,325 = $932.50</p> <p>15% of $20,675 = $3,101.25 ($30,000 - $9,325 = $20,675)</p> <p>$932.50 + $3,101.25 = 4,033.75</p> <p>The other important thing to remember about tax-deferred accounts is that you will have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) once you reach age 70&frac12;. That's because the IRS does not want you to hold onto the money, tax-free, forever. Once you reach 70&frac12;, you must take the RMD amount every year, or owe the IRS 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn. The RMD is calculated based on your date of birth, the balance of each tax-deferred account as of December 31 of the previous year, and one of three <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets" target="_blank">IRS distribution tables</a>, and it is taxed as ordinary income.</p> <h2>No Taxes on Roth IRA and Roth 401K Distributions</h2> <p>The Roth versions of IRAs and 401Ks are also tax-advantaged, but the tax burden is front-loaded. That means you invest after-tax dollars into your Roth account, the money grows tax-free, and any distributions taken after you have reached age 59&frac12; and have held the account for at least five years are completely tax-free.</p> <p>This is one of the reasons why many retirement experts recommend investing in both traditional and Roth tax-advantaged accounts, because it offers you tax-savings both during your career and once you reach retirement.</p> <h2>Capital Gains Taxes</h2> <p>Any investments you have made outside of tax-advantaged accounts &mdash; such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate &mdash; are taxed as capital gains, which is great news for many investors.</p> <p>That's because long-term capital gains tax rates, which apply to assets you have held for a year or longer, are quite low. For any investor in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, long-term capital gains taxes are a very favorable 0%. Investors in the 25% through 35% tax bracket will only owe 15% on long-term capital gains, while those in the 39.6% tax bracket owe 20% on long-term capital gains.</p> <p>Short-term capital gains, on the other hand, are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate, as is the interest on your savings account and CDs, as well as dividends paid by your money market mutual funds.</p> <h2>Taxes on Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>Up to 85% of your Social Security benefits may be subject to income tax in retirement. The higher your non-Social Security income in retirement, the more likely it is that you'll owe taxes on your Social Security benefit.</p> <p>The way the IRS determines whether your benefits are taxable is by calculating something known as provisional income. The formula for determining the provisional income is: one-half of your Social Security benefits, plus all your other income, including tax-exempt interest. (While tax-exempt interest is included in this calculation, tax-free distributions from a Roth IRA are not.)</p> <p>This means that the more money you take from your retirement accounts, the more of your Social Security benefits are considered taxable.</p> <h2>Taxes on Pensions and Annuities</h2> <p>Pensions from both private companies and the government tend to be taxed as ordinary income, unless you also contributed after-tax dollars to your pension.</p> <p>As for annuities, the tax on your annuity will depend partly on how you purchased it. For instance, if you used pre-tax dollars (like from an IRA) to purchase your annuity, then your annuity payments will be taxed as ordinary income. However, if you purchased the annuity with after-tax dollars, then you will only be taxed on interest earned. With each annuity check you receive, a portion will be considered non-taxable principal, and a portion will be interest that is taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.</p> <h2>Diversifying Your Taxes</h2> <p>Most people recognize that diversifying investments is a sound strategy for growing wealth. However, it's also a good idea to diversify your taxes &mdash; that is, make sure you will not be paying all of your taxes at the same time.</p> <p>Many workers only contribute to tax-deferred retirement accounts, which means they will be facing large tax bills in retirement. It makes more sense to understand when and how you will owe taxes on your various sources of retirement income, and try to diversify the tax burden.</p> <p>Taking a small tax hit now, by investing a Roth account or making other investments with post-tax dollars, will help make sure you are not overwhelmed by your tax burden once you retire.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes 401k benefits capital gains distributions FICA IRA medicare social security tax brackets tax changes tax-deferred accounts Thu, 09 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1902767 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-622064048.jpg" alt="Learning how more money in retirement might cost you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that there is no such thing as too much money in retirement. After all, without a steady income from working, you need your retirement nest egg to last you throughout your golden years. So more money must be better, right?</p> <p>Well, as The Notorious B.I.G. once said, the more money we come across, the more problems we see &mdash; even in retirement. While I would never discourage anyone from saving as much as they can for retirement, it is a good idea to recognize what kinds of additional problems a large retirement portfolio could cause you.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about the potential pitfalls of having more money in retirement:</p> <h2>1. You Will Owe Taxes on Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2016, <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/pdf/defined-contribution-retirement-plans-who-has-them-and-what-do-they-cost.pdf" target="_blank">44% of all workers</a> were participating in a tax-deferred defined contribution plan, such as a 401K or an IRA. These types of retirement accounts allow workers to put pretax dollars aside for their retirement, where the money grows tax-free. Once you reach age 59&frac12;, you may withdraw money from such tax-deferred accounts without penalty.</p> <p>The potential trouble comes from the fact that any distribution you take from your tax-deferred account is taxable as ordinary income. This means that you will be taxed on that income in the same way you would be taxed on the same amount of income from a job. Because of the taxes you will owe on your distributions, the money in your tax-deferred retirement account is worth less than the dollar amount.</p> <p>Since many workers anticipate having a lower tax bracket in retirement than they do during their career &mdash; that is, they expect to have a much lower retirement income than career income &mdash; it makes sense to put off the taxes they will pay on the money in their 401K or IRA until after retirement. However, for anyone who manages to create a large retirement portfolio from a modest salary during their career, the tax burden in retirement will be much larger.</p> <h2>2. Required Minimum Distributions May Force You to Withdraw Money You Don't Want</h2> <p>If you put money aside into a tax-deferred account, the IRS will want to see its cut of the money eventually. For that reason, the IRS requires each account holder to begin withdrawing money during the year that he or she reaches age 70&frac12;. There is a minimum amount you must withdraw, and the IRS levies a stiff penalty for failing to do so &mdash; you will owe 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn.</p> <p>In addition, the required minimum distribution is calculated based on your date of birth, the balance of each tax-deferred account as of December 31 of the previous year, and one of three <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets" target="_blank">IRS distribution tables</a>. That means your required minimum distribution must be recalculated each year using your new end-of-year balance from the previous year and your new distribution period according to the IRS distribution table. Getting the amount wrong can be potentially costly, and if you have a great deal of money in your tax-deferred accounts, you will be required to take more money than you necessarily want to access in one year.</p> <p>Don't forget, this required minimum distribution is also taxed as regular income (as we discussed above), so in addition to potentially withdrawing money you don't want, you will also owe taxes on the amount that you are required to withdraw.</p> <h2>3. You Will Be Taxed on Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>Many people are unaware of the fact that up to 85% of their Social Security benefits may be subject to income tax in retirement. The higher a retiree's non-Social Security income, the more likely it is that they will owe taxes on their Social Security check.</p> <p>The way the IRS determines whether your benefits are taxable is by calculating something known as provisional income. The formula for determining the provisional income is: One-half of your Social Security benefits, plus all your other income, including tax-exempt interest. (While tax-exempt interest is included in this calculation, tax-free distributions from a Roth IRA are not.)</p> <p>Your provisional income is compared to an upper and lower base amount to determine how much of your Social Security benefits are taxed, if any. If you file as single, then your lower base amount is $25,000. If your provisional income is above that amount, then you owe taxes on 50% of your Social Security benefits. The upper base amount for single filers is $34,000. If your provisional income is above that amount, then you owe taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits.</p> <p>What this means is that the more money you take from your retirement accounts, the more of your Social Security benefits are considered taxable.</p> <p>For instance, if you are single and you take $38,000 from your IRA in retirement each year, then you are in the <a href="https://taxfoundation.org/2017-tax-brackets" target="_blank">25% tax bracket</a> and you owe taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits since your income is above the upper base limit. If you decide to withdraw an additional $1,000 from your IRA one year, your additional $1,000 in income will cause $850 more of your Social Security income to be considered provisional income, making it subject to taxation at your marginal tax rate of 25%. You'll owe $462.50 on your $1,000 withdrawal ($1,850 x 25% = $462.50) between your IRA taxes and your Social Security benefit taxes.</p> <h2>More Money in Retirement Is a Good Problem to Have</h2> <p>Though having a large nest egg may cause some headaches after your retirement, it's important to remember that this is a better problem to have than facing retirement <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement" target="_blank">without enough savings</a>. Just recognize that large amounts of money need to be properly managed and you need to stay on top of your financial life post-career. You can handle each of the financial problems that you may see with a larger retirement portfolio, as long as you are aware of them and prepared for them.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes 401k benefits contributions income IRA social security tax brackets tax-deferred Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1901333 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538053186.jpg" alt="Man claiming social security before retirement age" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to Social Security, the usual advice is to hold off on taking benefits as long as possible. While most people could claim benefits as early as age 62, your monthly benefit amount will grow each year that you wait up to age 70. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <p>However, there are some situations where taking benefits as soon as possible may be the better way to go. Here are three such scenarios.</p> <h2>1. You Need the Money</h2> <p>If you can't find a job, or simply don't have enough savings to live on, claiming Social Security benefits at age 62 may be your only option.</p> <p>Just keep in mind that if you do find a job, there are <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html" target="_blank">limits to how much you can earn</a> without impacting your Social Security benefits. In years when you are younger than your &quot;full retirement age&quot; (65&ndash;67, depending on when you were born), for every $2 you earn above $16,920, your Social Security benefits will be reduced by $1.</p> <h2>2. Longevity Doesn't Run in Your Family</h2> <p>One way to evaluate the impact of claiming Social Security benefits at various ages is to run what's known as a break-even analysis.</p> <p>When you claim as early as possible, your monthly benefit amount will be smaller than it would have been if you claimed later. However, the head start that early claiming provides means that if you claim benefits at a later age, even though the monthly amount is higher, it'll take a number of years before you've broken even with the total amount you would have received by claiming earlier.</p> <p>For example, here's a look at a friend's estimated monthly Social Security benefits and how they vary depending on when he claims benefits:</p> <ul> <li>$1,529 if claimed at age 62</li> <li>$2,273 if claimed at his full retirement age of 67</li> <li>$2,873 if claimed at age 70</li> </ul> <p>If he claims benefits beginning at age 62, by the end of the year that he turns 67, he will have received a total of over $100,000. If he waits until age 67 to begin taking benefits, it will take him until approximately age 78 before his accumulated benefits would overtake the total he would have received if he had started taking benefits at age 62.</p> <p>If he didn't expect to live to age 78, it would make sense to claim benefits earlier. Of course, that's a tough call. Even in families when one or both parents die early, some of their kids live far longer.</p> <p>To find out your own estimated Social Security benefits, create an account on the Social Security Administration's website.</p> <h3>Run Your Own Break-Even Analysis</h3> <p>Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to run your own break-even analysis. The Social Security Administration used to have a calculator on its site designed for this purpose, but took it down because they felt it was encouraging too many people to claim early.</p> <p>One workaround is to run various scenarios with <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/do/ins07" target="_blank">this calculator</a>. As a starting point, enter your &quot;current age&quot; as 62, enter your estimated age of death in the &quot;retirement age&quot; field, enter the annual age-62 benefit amount in the &quot;your current annual income&quot; field (the SSA website lists benefits in monthly amounts, so be sure to multiply by 12), and then use the &quot;annual salary increase&quot; field to enter an estimated inflation rate (Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation each year; use a relatively low amount &mdash; somewhere between 1% and 2%).</p> <p>Then run the same analysis, but change your &quot;current age&quot; to your full retirement age and change &quot;your current annual income&quot; to the annual amount of your full retirement age benefit.</p> <h2>3. You Have Plenty of Money Already Saved for Retirement</h2> <p>If you have enough money to live on regardless of your Social Security benefits, that may be another reason to take Social Security benefits as early as possible. You could use the money to invest, buy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=internal" target="_blank">long-term care insurance policy</a>, or buy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=internal" target="_blank">life insurance policy</a>.</p> <p>It's true that you should think very carefully before claiming Social Security benefits at age 62. There's a hefty increase in the monthly benefit amount for each year that you wait. And if you're married, keep this in mind: When you die, your spouse will be able to choose to take the higher of their benefit or your benefit. If you had been the higher earner, by waiting as long as possible before claiming your benefit, that will be very helpful to your spouse once you're gone.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement benefits full retirement age income longevity savings social security Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Matt Bell 1898659 at http://www.wisebread.com