Fear is contagious. Natural selection has wired us to sense fear in our surroundings and make it our own. Zebras might not get ulcers from chronic stress but those that fail to activate their acute stress response when others around them are stressed are more likely to miss cues of
How Did The Government Waste Your Tax Dollars In 2014? Separating Fact From Fiction The federal government expects to collect nearly $2.8 trillion in individual, corporate, payroll, estate and gift taxes in 2014. This number is considerably higher than only two years prior, because as you may recall, starting January 1, 2013, four changes to the taw law took effect that increased taxes on the "wealthy:"
A rise in the top rate from 35% to 39.6%,
An increase in the top rate on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends from 15% to 20%,
A return of the phase-out of itemized deductions, and
The new 3.8% surtax on net-investment income.
Multitasking Can Damage Your Brain, Your Career, And Maybe Your Retirement, Too By doing less, you’ll accomplish more, says a recent Stanford study.
I read this in “Multitasking Damages Your Brain And Your Career” an article by Forbes contributor Travis Bradberry. I said out loud (to no one in particular), “It can also damage your retirement!”
In the study, Stanford researchers were trying to figure out where high multitaskers had an edge over those who focus on one thing at a time. Unfortunately for serial task-switchers, they found that there is actually no advantage to multitasking — in fact, multitaskers performed more poorly than singularly-focused people on tests of their memory and focus (ability to filter out irrelevant information).
According to the study, those who had a singular focus — doing less — accomplished more.
We can take this revelation and apply it to our retirement planning. Many people find themselves with a long list of retirement and investment accounts at different financial institutions and with former employers. When the time comes to do a simple investment review, the task can be overwhelming when it really doesn’t need to be.
Overwhelm and lack of focus can cause mistakes and oversights, which can hurt you in the long run. Here are some simple solutions to simplify your finances, which in turn can improve your retirement planning:
Pare down your retirement accounts to five or less.
In general you should be able to count your dedicated retirement accounts on one hand. Five accounts seems like a number you can easily work with.
You have your 401(k) or retirement plan with your current employer — this may include pre-tax traditional funds and/or a Roth 401(k) component. Then you might have an IRA and/or a Roth IRA with a bank or brokerage firm. Beyond that, you might have some kind of outlier, such as a cash-balance pension plan or something that doesn’t fit in either the 401(k) or the IRA buckets.
Consolidate like accounts. If you have a 401(k) with a former employer, unless you have a compelling reason to keep it there, consider rolling it into your current plan (if your employer allows incoming transfers) or rolling it into an IRA.
One advantage of moving a former employer’s dormant 401(k) plan to your current employer’s plan is that 401(k) plans (and some other ERISA qualified plans) may allow earlier access for people who want to retire before 59 ½.
With a 401(k), if you retire or leave your job, you can take out your funds after age 59 ½ without incurring a 10% penalty for early withdrawal - the same age as your traditional IRA. (Unless you follow a complex formula using IRS code 72t.) Your current employer’s 401(k) may have an exception to his rule, however. The early withdrawal penalty tax may not apply if you retire or separate from service in or after the year you turn 55.
11 Ways To Tap Retirement Cash Early Congress, in its wisdom, has seen fit to create more than a dozen different tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts, each with its own rules on contributions, loans, and when you can take money out without paying a 10% “early withdrawal” penalty on the distribution.
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