The Government Wants To Limit Your Retirement Savings!

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The US government wants to limit how much money you can save across your tax-advantaged retirement accounts (401k,IRA, Roth IRA…). President Obama released his budget plan the other day and one specific proposal really caught my attention. In the name of raising $9 billion in new revenue for the government, the President wants to limit the amount you can save in your retirement accounts to $3 million. The reasoning for the $3,000,000 limit is that it’s about equal to an annuity that would pay out $205,000 per year. A “reasonable retirement” in their terms. My initial reaction to the plan was some combination of shock and anger. “How dare they tell us how much we can save in our retirement accounts!” However, after taking the time to sit down and think about it some more, I can see both side of the argument.   Not many people are affected, at all. Currently 0.3% … Continue reading

The Case For A Higher Minimum Wage

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Last week during the annual State of the Union address, President Obama laid out his case for raising the national minimum wage. He said: “…Today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher. Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families…” Raising the minimum wage always sparks an intense debate. In the days since the State of the Union address I’ve seen numerous blog … Continue reading

Everything You Need To Know About The Fiscal Cliff

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The Fiscal Cliff is coming, and only our elected officials can stop it. You can argue among yourselves which part of that sentence is the scariest, but on December 31st of this year the United States is set to head over the “Fiscal Cliff”. Here is what you need to know about it: What is the “Fiscal Cliff”? The term “Fiscal Cliff” – coined by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke – is basically an economic version of Hurricane Sandy, where all the right stars align to make an already powerful and damaging force all that much more destructive. The forces combining to create the fiscal cliff are numerous: 1. The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire on December 31st of this year. If they are not extended income tax rates will rise by ~3% across the board. The 10% tax bracket will also disappear.  In addition the child tax credit will be … Continue reading

Do 47% of Americans Really Pay No Taxes?

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Taxes. As the saying goes, “the only things you can count on in life are death, and taxes.” They’re just one of life’s necessary evils and we all have to pay them….or do we? A common  argument, and one that’s getting a lot of attention right now is the argument that 47% of Americans don’t pay any taxes and are just living life completely dependent on government support. It’s convenient that this is making headlines right now, because it touches on one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to talking taxes: people only focus on income taxes. I’m going to try to stay away from all the political stuff and focus on the core of the argument: Do 47% of Americans really pay no tax? If so, who are they? “The 47%”: True or False? Do 47% of American’s pay no federal taxes? Sort of. It is true that about 47% … Continue reading

Are We Better Off Today Than We Were Four Years Ago?

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Election season is in full swing, so naturally a question you’re hearing a lot is: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” I’ve had numerous discussions and debates on this point already, and I’ve read a few good posts on the topic as well. The more I read about, and talk about this topic the more I’ve started to realize I may have a unique perspective on things. Four years ago I was at the epicenter of it all. I was in my first job out of college, an entry-level accounting position at Citigroup. The day I started at Citi the company stock price closed just above $53 per share ($492/share to accurately compare it to today’s price due to a reverse split).  By now you know the story, the financial industry exploded, the stock market crashed and all hell broke loose… From the outside the … Continue reading

Think You Know About Health Care Reform? Prove It!

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As most of you probably know, last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” as my Republican friends know it.) was constitutional and shall be upheld as law. It seems everyone has a strong viewpoint one way or the other on the ruling, but how much do you actually know about the law?  Well, here’s your chance to find out. The Kaiser Family Foundation has published a basic 10 question quiz on what the law will and will not do. So before your next debate on the topic, take the quiz and make sure you at least have the basics right!     TAKE THE TEST!          The test is relatively simple and straightforward, which is why I was shocked when I saw my results. Less than 1/2 of 1% of people taking the test got all 10 questions right?! Things get more interesting if you … Continue reading