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Social Security

How Social Security Credits Work

You probably already know what Social Security is about. But you may not know exactly how you and your applicable family members can actually qualify for the various benefits associated with the program. Although, in many respects, it may appear that Social Security benefits are automatic, in reality, you need to attain certain specific thresholds by accruing what the Social Security Administration calls credits in order for you and your beneficiaries to be eligible for the various benefits....(more)

Social Security Retirement Basics

According to data released by the Social Security Administration, in 2013, approximately 37 million Americans collected about $47.4 billion in retirement benefit checks. That number represents over 70 percent of the benefits paid out by the program. Since its inception in 1935, Social Security retirement benefits have become an integral part of the retirement plans for many Americans. In fact, for many, it is the only source of retirement livelihood....(more)

Are Social Security Retirement Checks Taxable?

One thing that all tax experts agree on is that the American Tax Code is an extremely complicated document. Various sources of income are taxed differently; some items of income are tax-free while others are taxed at special rates. As citizens, it is our obligation to pay the right amount of income tax on all of our taxable income. Dealing with the taxation of Social Security retirement income in particular can be quite challenging. Here are some basic things to keep in mind in that regard....(more)

Can You Collect Social Security Benefits Based on Your Ex-Spouse's Earnings?

When it comes to collecting Social Security benefits, one of the last things that most Americans would consider among the range of options is the possibility of claiming benefits based on the earnings record of an ex-spouse. The surprising fact, however, is that Social Security rules provide for such an option....(more)


Can You Take Penalty-Free Retirement Income Before You're 59-and-a-Half Years Old?

Making sure that you are saving money toward your retirement is an extremely important thing. However, that alone may not be enough in delivering the retirement of your dreams. You also need to understand certain IRS guidelines and rules pertaining to the timing of your retirement income. As a general rule, taking income from a qualified retirement account before you are 59-and-a-half years old will cost you an additional 10 percent in excise tax penalty. But, not all accounts come with this rule. Here are some ways that you can begin taking retirement income much sooner....(more)

401(k) or Traditional IRA? Questions to Consider

Is it even worth it to contribute to your employer-sponsored 401(k), or go it alone by using a traditional IRA? The fact of the matter is there is no silver bullet answer that will work out of the box without any tweaking when it comes to answering this question. You will need to consider the specifics of your situation. Here are some things to take of note should you happen to find yourself at that crossroad....(more)

Accounts that Avoid the 10 Percent Early Withdrawal Penalty

One of the significant boosts that Congress gives those accumulating money for retirement is the ability to defer paying taxes on your contributions and subsequent earnings until you begin taking withdrawals. However, this advantage comes with some strings attached, so to speak. Generally, you must wait until you are at least age 59-and-a-half to begin taking withdrawals in order to avoid being penalized with a 10 percent penalty, on top of your regular income tax. Nevertheless, there are certain types of accounts that you can access prior to this age without having to incur the extra 10 percent penalty....(more)


4 Retirement Tax Planning Myths to Avoid

Retirement is one of those things in life that we must all encounter, whether we are ready or not. An important aspect to ensuring that you will be able to keep more of the money that you have invested over the years involves having an effective tax plan. One of the first steps toward that end is to avoid certain myths that could potentially stand in the way....(more)

When Are Life Insurance Receipts Taxable?

As a general rule, compared to other investments, life insurance receipts tend to enjoy special tax advantages. However, there are certain exceptions to this general rule when your life insurance receipts will trigger income tax consequences. Obviously, familiarizing yourself with some of these instances will go a long way in helping you to prevent having to endure any unintended encounters with the tax authorities....(more)

Tax Aspects of Individual Life Insurance

When it comes to financial products, one of the things that you can almost always count on is that at some point down the road, you will have to deal with taxes. Individual life insurance is certainly not an exception to that rule. By understanding some basic rules, you will be able to make better decisions toady, as well as, prevent having to encounter any unintended tax problems later....(more)

Retirement Expert

Samuel N. Asare

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Samuel is a noted retirement planner with years of hands-on experience and dozens of successfully retired clients, author of multiple books and special reports, a regularly featured expert in several media outlets, a sought-after speaker, the principal and lead wealth advisor at the DC-area based Laser Financial Group, and a... Read More

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