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What are Household Expenses?

Household expenses are sometimes also called a family budget. In some cases this can be limited to items purchased such as food and clothing, and services paid for such as utility bills, which only have to do with the livability of the home and the health of the family. This can be extended to included all out of pocket expenses for a family, from health insurance to school tuition. Household expenses are things that people feel that they must pay for to maintain their standard of living, for themselves and their family. You may not have to pay for natural gas to get heat and hot water, but you most likely do, and this is a household expense. The same goes for food and other necessities. Continue reading...

What is the Income of the Average American?

This is a simple question, but one that varies almost exclusively based on geographical location (cost of living). According to the US Census Bureau, in 2008, the Median Household Income for the state of Mississippi was $37,818, while the figure for Maryland was $70,482. In California, the average was at $61,017, and in Arkansas it was $38,820. Since the cost of living is drastically different in various states, counties, and even cities, the figure changes drastically. In San Francisco, California, for example, the median income for 2008 was $71,957, while in Billings, Montana, the figure was $35,147 (less than half as much). Continue reading...

When Can I Access Money in My Roth IRA?

Roth IRAs have some interesting provisions that make them a little more liquid than other retirement accounts. Roth IRAs contain after-tax contributions that actually remain accessible to you at any time, without tax or penalty. The stipulations on withdrawals are only concerned with earnings in the account, not the principal amount. In order to withdraw earnings without paying a 10% penalty and income taxes, you must be at least 59½ and five years must have passed since you first began contributing. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My SEP IRA?

SEP IRAs are subject to the same withdrawal rules as Traditional IRAs. SEP IRA contributions and earnings may be withdrawn at any time, but there are penalties that may apply, using the same rules as those applied to Traditional IRA withdrawals. If you are under the age of 59½, you must pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on your withdrawal. Of course, there are certain exceptions to the penalties: first time home-buyers expenses up to $10,000, medical bills, educational expenses, and a few others. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE IRAs have the same withdrawal rules as Traditional IRAs, with one notable exception. SIMPLE IRA contributions and earnings may be withdrawn at any time, but there are certain penalties that apply. If you are under the age of 59½, you must pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on your withdrawal. If the early withdrawal occurs within two years of receiving your first employer contribution, the 10% penalty is increased to 25%. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Keogh Plan?

Withdrawal rules for Keoghs will be essentially the same as rules for IRAs and 401(k)s. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw, similar to a traditional IRA. If you decide to withdraw money before age 59½, you may have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions. One exception for most qualified plans is for employees who separate from service at or after age 55: this is the early retirement exception, and the 10% penalty will not apply. Keoghs will technically use the early withdrawal rules for 401(k)s and not IRAs, which differ slightly. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Withdraw Money from My Roth IRA?

Roth IRAs are not subject to RMDs, which means you aren’t forced to make withdrawals. In most retirement accounts, Required Minimum Distributions will be mandatory once the account holder turns 70 ½ years old. This does not apply to Roth IRAs. They are basically the only tax-advantaged retirement account that does not have to take RMDs. This is partially because the IRS wants to make sure they get some of the taxes out of the money that was invested on a pretax basis. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Money Purchase or Profit Sharing Plan?

The standard withdrawal rules for 401(k) accounts apply to these plans. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw. If you decide to take out money before age 59½, you will have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions that would allow you to avoid this early withdrawal fee. Continue reading...

When Do I Have to Start Taking Money Out of My IRA?

The IRS requires IRA owners to take distributions starting at age 70 ½. By April 1st of the year following the year you turn 70 ½, the IRS needs to see a distribution from your IRA that satisfies the Required Minimum Distribution rule. The RMD is calculated using a table published by the IRS, and each age is assigned a different “factor.” The factor is a number, and you divide the balance of your IRA or 401(k) by that number to reveal the amount that will satisfy your RMD obligation. The factor decreases incrementally as the ages increase. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules From My Self-Employed 401(k)?

Individual 401(k)s will have the same withdrawal rules as regular 401(k)s. The withdrawal rules for a Self-Employed 401(k) are identical to the rules for a traditional 401(k). If you want to avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty, you’ll need to keep the money in your account until you reach age 59½, but if you separate from service after 55 you may be able to make withdrawals penalty-free. If you really need the money early, certain exceptions for disability, medical expenses, 72(t) annuitized distributions, and plan loans can allow you to sidestep the penalty. Withdrawals for any other reason, including hardships, are still subject to the penalty. Continue reading...

What is Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 503 covers tax deductions and filing guides for individuals who pay for childcare. It does not address the employer side of things, for those who provide childcare as a fringe benefit, which is covered in IRS 15-b. Tax deductions are available for parents who have to pay for child-care so that they can work at a job and earn income. Publication 503 describes the circumstances under which this type of deduction is allowed and the filing requirements for it. Continue reading...

How do I Calculate my Expenses?

Keeping track of your expenses is one of the most important (and basic) steps to leading a responsible financial life. It might be tempting to “eyeball” your expenses and somehow get by without a plan, but in almost all cases, such carelessness will spell financial disaster. Budgeting your money for specific categories of expenses and carefully documenting the actual spending is critical. You should add up amounts spent on monthly mortgage and car payments, rent, groceries, clothing, entertainment, utilities, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses, and try to get as close to possible to a monthly budget. Continue reading...

What is Income?

Income is a stream, series, or lump sum of cash or cash equivalents that is paid to an individual or entity based on work performed, goods sold, ownership rights, or by being a creditor to whom interest is paid. It is received when a net result is positive, and is sometimes referred to as the “bottom line.” Income can be viewed from a itemized, current perspective or as a balance sheet item for an entire accounting period, such as a year. It also might be discussed as a gross (pre-tax) or net (post-tax) amount. Continue reading...

What is Operating Income?

Operating income is essentially another term for EBIT, or earnings before interest and taxes. It is a company’s profits (revenue - COGS) minus operating expenses and depreciation. Operating income is different from net income in that it does not account for expenses such as taxes, interest from debt payments, or outside business activities. It offers a pure look at how a company effectively generates cash from internal operations. Continue reading...

What is Income Risk?

Income risk is the chance that an investment which is used for income will fluctuate in an unfavorable way if the interest rate environment or market conditions change. Some mutual funds and ETFs are branded as income funds when they use lots of corporate bonds that generate regular income payments, but they are often sensitive to interest rate changes. The Federal Reserve Board and the market can affect changes in the interest rate environment as times goes on. Continue reading...

What is residual income?

Residual income is a stream of income that persists from one work project or investment. Residual income is also known as passive income, and is income which comes from an investment of money or work in the past, where minimal or no additional money, work, or maintenance is required. Residual income could come from investments such income-generating real estate, or work completed such as a published book or acting in a commercial. Continue reading...

What is Net Income?

Net income is the amount of earnings left over once expenses have been deducted from sales. In short, it is the net amount of profit or loss. It is calculated by taking total earnings in a period (such as a quarter), and deducting all elements of the cost of doing business (labor, depreciation, fixed expenses, overhead, etc…) Net income is ultimately a measure of a company’s profitability, and its calculation should be scrutinized closely to ensure all expenses are being accounted for accurately. Continue reading...

What is Gambling Income?

IRS Link to W2-G Form — Found Here IRS Link to Form 1040 — Found Here Winnings from gambling activity must be reported as income, and they will be subject to different kinds of taxes depending on how they were won and the amount. If you win over a certain amount through a lottery, raffle, horse track, keno game, slot machine, poker tournament, or other form of gambling, it will all be taxed at a 25% rate and will have to file form W2-G. Lesser winnings will still need to be reported as income. If an individual wins over $600, less the amount of the wager, and it is over 300 times the amount of the bet, they must file a W2-G on their taxes. Continue reading...

What is Income Property?

An income property is also called an investment property, which is a piece of developed commercial or residential real estate that is used by a third party tenant who makes rental or lease payments for the use of it. Income property can be a good source of income for an individual or business. It can include single- or multi-family residential or commercial properties. Sometimes people co-own income properties together, and receive a proportionate share of the proceeds according to the amount of the start-up capital they paid in. Continue reading...

What is an Income Statement?

An income statement is a business’s financial statement that gives the income results from operations and non-operations activity. It is also called a profit and loss statement or a statement of operations. It is one of the major financial statements in the world of corporate accounting. The others are the balance sheet, the statement of cash flows, and the statement of shareholder’s equity. The income statement will included revenues and gains from investments and “secondary operations”, but it will not include cash flows in or out which may stem from other accounting periods. Continue reading...