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Will My Pension Payments Affect My Social Security Payments?

Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but the answer may be yes. Generally speaking, the answer is no. Your Social Security payments depend on two factors only: the age you started to receive Social Security benefits, and the amount of contributions you made to Social Security over the years. Your pension comes from your employer, and Social Security comes from the government. However, your tax liabilities might depend on the combination of your pension and Social Security benefits, and you social security benefits can actually be taxed. In one of the few calculations that has not been indexed for inflation lately, if your retirement income is over a certain number, up to 85% of your social security may be subject to tax as income. Continue reading...

Do I Need Life Insurance if I have an Annuity?

If an annuity or pension will pay your spouse a survivor’s benefit that is adequate to support his or her lifestyle, then you may not need to a life insurance policy to cover this need. Annuities are seen as longevity insurance which protect against outliving money, while life insurance protects beneficiaries if the insured person dies younger than expected. If something happens to you and you have an annuity, your surviving spouse would either continue to receive periodic benefits or take a lump-sum distribution, depending on what kind of payout option you chose when you signed the contract. In the case of the lump sum it may only be for the amount of principal that had not been paid out yet in annuity payments. Continue reading...

What Should I Do With a Lump-Sum Distribution From My Pension Plan?

We encourage you to be responsible and keep the future in mind. The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s very easy to spend a lump sum right away without thinking about the consequences. While the monthly payment option protects your money from overspending, a lump sum should be handled with frugality and practicality in mind. A large portion of this amount should be invested safely and wisely, particularly if you are very near to your own retirement age, and you do not have time to ride out market fluctuations. When investing, you should consider a conservative estimate of you and your spouse’s life expectancies weighed against your annual income needs, adjusted for rising healthcare costs. Continue reading...

What is Variable Universal Life Insurance?

Variable Life Insurance is a permanent universal life policy that has a death benefit as long as the cash value and premiums are sufficient to pay the increasing cost per-thousand, while the premiums and cash value have the option of being invested in separate accounts which behave much like mutual funds. Often the policy-owner has a choice of many investment options, and can construct an entire portfolio within the policy. Continue reading...

What are Required Minimum Distributions?

RMDs are withdrawals that are mandatory for an individual to take from an IRA or 401(k) after the person has reached 70 ½. The government created laws that help and encourage people to save for their retirement by deferring taxes on the growth on certain qualified retirement investment accounts. On Traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts, they are only waiting to get the tax revenue from distributions/withdrawals that are fully taxable as income. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax?

Income tax is paid to the government based on the amount of income earned. There are federal income taxes, and some states have their own income taxes, too. As an employee for a company, income taxes will be withheld from paychecks using the company’s best estimation of your annual earnings. At the end of the year it may turn out that they withheld too much, and the government may give you a tax refund for what was overpaid. Continue reading...

What is Acquisition Accounting?

Also known as Business Combination Accounting, there are specific guidelines and bits of information that must be documented on the books during an acquisition. Acquisition Accounting is a standardized way to account for the assets and liabilities of companies who are part of a merger or acquisition. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) stipulate that even in a merger where a new company is formed, one company must play the role of acquirer and the other of acquiree, but that rule really only applies outside of the US. 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 Tax Payable?

Income Tax Payable is an account on a company’s ledger where they reserve amounts that will be used to pay the tax liability in the current quarter or year. This account tends to be separate from payroll taxes and sales taxes. This account will typically be empty at the end of the fiscal year. Corporations must pay income taxes based on their gross income, and the funds to pay them are held in the Income Tax Payable account on their company ledger. Continue reading...

What is a Lifetime Payout Annuity?

Lifetime income annuities provide a guaranteed payout over the life of the annuitant. “Payout” is not a term used officially, but it denotes that the principal amount invested in the annuity is designed to be paid out and depleted over the life expectancy of the annuitant. The payout rate is competitive with other sources of retirement income. Life insurance companies created annuity products as a way to guarantee a client never runs completely out of money. Statistically, according to some surveys, elderly people are more afraid of outliving their money than of nearly anything else. Today medicine can keep people alive longer and longer but not functioning at full capacity, and certainly not able to generate more income in most cases. Continue reading...

What are Periodic Distributions from a 401(k)?

Periodic distribution is a planned intermittent payment of cash from a 401(k). If you choose to have your money distributed periodically, you will usually have a choice between monthly, quarterly, or even annual payments. Money distributed periodically is not subject to the same 20% withholding the lump-sum payment is. The periodic payments are treated as wages, and, because plan participants taking these payments in retirement may find it easy to calculate what their income will be for the year, they can instead plan for their actual tax bracket, or opt-out of withholding if they prefer. Continue reading...

How Does Social Security Work?

Social Security uses mandatory payroll taxes to grow trust funds that are used to pay income to retirees and other qualifying persons. Any surplus that is collected in a given year and not paid out is used to purchase Treasury Bonds, which pay a guaranteed rate of interest to the trusts and allows the government to use this surplus money in the meantime. When you receive your paycheck, you’ll see a deduction for FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act), which is a “combined payroll tax” for both Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading...

How do my IRA Withdrawals Get Taxed During Retirement?

Different IRAs have different tax treatments. Traditional IRAs, as well as SEPs, SIMPLEs, and 401(k)s are all taxed as income in retirement. Roth IRAs are not taxed. Traditional IRAs and the other pretax accounts will have distributions that are also includable in the Modified Adjusted Gross Income calculations which may subject them to 3.8% Medicare surtax, as well as the income calculations which determine what portion of Social Security income may be taxable in retirement. Continue reading...

Who Pays for Medicare?

Taxes pay for the entirety of Medicare part A. For the optional or supplemental policies which fall under the Medicare moniker, a regular premium may be due, but it’s still better than what premiums would look like if there were no Medicare. The Social Security Administration (website—here), which is funded by taxes deducted from your paycheck under FICA, or as part of the “self-employment tax,” administers both Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading...

What Happens If I Withdraw Money From my Cash-Balance Plan After I Retire?

You may not be able to make non-recurring withdrawals of various amounts from a Cash Balance plan. After you retire, you’ll typically have two options: a fixed monthly payment for the rest of your life, or a lump-sum payment. Cash balance plans generally do not allow random, non-recurring withdrawals because the individual account was always a hypothetical account. The administrative work of fetching various sums for everyone and keeping up with the total pool of plan assets is not the administrator’s prerogative with these plans. Continue reading...

What is Federal Income Tax?

The Federal Government has established several ways to generate the revenue needed to pay for the operations of government agencies and capital improvements benefiting society. The primary source of these funds is through income taxes, which are assessed based on the earnings of an individual. Federal income taxes are paid by individuals in proportion to their earnings, after reducing the considered earnings by the allowable tax deductions. Continue reading...

What is Investment Income?

Also referred to as passive income, investment income is money paid to an investor from the dividends, premiums sold, or sale of assets in their portfolio. Some investors treat it like a part-time job, such that there is nothing passive about it. In retirement, investors often receive income from bonds, preferred stock, and dividend-paying common shares. Income can be pulled from several kinds of investments, including real estate, and it is likely to be taxed at ordinary income tax rates. Continue reading...

What if I Need the Money in My IRA Before Retirement?

It is possible to withdraw money from an Individual Retirement Account without incurring a penalty, but it should be used as a last resort. If you withdraw the money before age 59½, you will pay both a 10% penalty and regular income taxes on the amount you withdraw from a Traditional IRA. However, there are special circumstances that allow you to make withdrawals without being charged the 10% penalty. These circumstances might include: paying for college expenses (whether for you, your grandchildren, etc.), paying for costs associated with a disability, medical expenses (must be greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income), and first-time home purchase. Continue reading...

Where Should I Open an IRA?

IRAs can be held at many kinds of institutions, even those that you only see online. It is completely your choice! IRAs can be opened at almost any large bank or brokerage firm, giving you plenty of options. Many online services make it possible to open an IRA from your phone or computer. Be sure to compare them because there are some distinctions, such as fee structures and the investments available within the account. Some institutions will only offer their proprietary funds, while others will let you access almost any investment on the market that is allowable inside of an IRA. 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...