Extra Income Taxes – How I Messed Mine Up and What You Can Do to Get It Right

Extra Income Taxes

Even financial bloggers don’t always get everything right. This year I found out there is a dark side to earning a decent amount of passive income.  While making money outside your job is absolutely great, you have to remember that at some point you have to report it all to the IRS.  And that means paying a whole lot of extra income taxes! While the concept of having to paying taxes on your earnings is no secret to anyone, the way you have to go about it is a little bit more complicated than simply waiting until February and then paying in a thousand bucks one time.  In fact because of … [Read more...]

Our Ultimate Plan to Retire at 45 – December 2014 Update

money plan

If you have any aspirations to retire early some day, then this is the post you’ve been waiting for.  It’s my annual update to our plan for financial freedom. Trust me – you’re not going to find another plan like this anywhere else. For some time now I’ve been saying that my wife and I plan to retire when I turn 45 years old.  How do we plan to pull off such an ambitious goal?  That’s what this plan is all about.  We put numbers to paper and actually see what our cash flow will look like all throughout the future.  Hence the name of the blog, this is our “money design”. If you have … [Read more...]

Can the Experts Help Us Find Good Stocks?  9 Month Update

find good stocks

Welcome to another quarterly update of how my stock portfolio is doing and whether or not the experts were able to us find good stocks to invest in.  Every year I invest a small portion of my portfolio into individual stocks to gain experience with them as well as attempt to increase my wealth.  My long term goal is to build a stable portfolio of dividend yielding stocks that will eventually provide me a steady stream of income. If you’ll remember: The last time I bought stocks back in January, I noticed that each of the major financial websites had their own “analyst opinion” section that … [Read more...]

Should I Go for a Pension Purchase Option or Invest the Money? – A Reader Question

Pension Purchase Option

A few weeks ago I receive a really great question from a friend of mine (we’ll call him LJ) regarding whether or not he should take a pension purchase option that his employer is offering him.  Here’s the email he sent me: I'm thinking about buying 5 years of generic pension service time. Seems like a no brainer, right? Not quite. I've had the actuarial done and it will cost me $37,800. A good chunk. I have the money in a 457 account and can roll it over to my pension administrator. I plan to retire in 22 years at 60 when I am eligible to draw the pension. I have 13.5 years of service … [Read more...]

2015 Maximum 401k Contribution Increases to $18,000 – How You Can Get There

2015 Maximum 401k Contribution

If you’re one of those people who are really good at saving their money diligently for retirement, then the IRS has some good news for you next year:  The 2015 maximum 401k contribution has just been increased to $18,000 (up $500 from 2014). For those people 50 and older, the $5,500 catch-up limit was also bumped up to $6,000. I’ve personally been saving up to the 401k maximum for a while now and am looking forward to bumping up my contributions.  By saving so much I know that I’m not only helping my family to get closer to reaching financial freedom, but we’re also taking advantage of a … [Read more...]

How Much Should I Put in My 401k Plan? My Surprising Answer

save money for retirement

It’s one of the most commonly asked questions of employees when they start saving for retirement: How much should I put in my 401k?  5%?  10%?  15%? Especially when you’re young (in your 20’s and 30’s) and just starting out, retirement can feel like such a long ways away.  You know that you should be contributing, but at the same time you want to enjoy your earnings and save towards other goals like a house and family needs too. To simply answer this question with “save as much as you can afford” feels too much like an easy-out.  I’ve recommended that advice to friends in the past only … [Read more...]

Should I Do a 401k to IRA Rollover?  The Benefits and Drawbacks

401k to ira rollover

Recently during a discussion with my money coach client there was a very important question that came up:  “I have an old 401k with a former employer that is still sitting right where I left it.  I’m wondering if I should make a 401k to IRA rollover or simply leave the money right where it is?” That’s a really good question. I’m sure for a lot of people (myself included) that the money you have in your 401k account is probably the largest percentage of your wealth you have saved up – anywhere!  Even if you’ve got nothing more than the average 401k balance of $81,000 as reported by … [Read more...]

What is the Minimum Retirement Savings You Could Comfortably Live On?

minimum retirement savings

One of the hallmarks of a solid early retirement plan is thinning out your expenses as much as possible. To a lot of people they will probably interpret this to mean shaving a few hundred bucks off by not eating out every night or scaling back on their trips to the mall.  Those kinds of things are good, but we’re talking about going a whole lot further.  For someone who wants to retire early really, really badly, part of what they’ll do is clip back their expenses to the point of virtual non-existence. Why would they do this?  Simple.  The fewer expenses you have means you’ll only need … [Read more...]