Early Retirement

The Master Archive!

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How to Protect Yourself From the Coming Tax Increase

By Keith Taxguy / February 17, 2020 /

Two major tax increases are about to crush middle class Americans. The first tax increase has already been passed into law and will soon go into effect. The second massive tax increase is more sinister. The amount of the increase has yet to be determined, but we can get a good idea how much will be pried from your wallet if you don’t take steps to defend your wealth.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) lowered taxes for the vast majority of individuals and regular corporations. There were a few losers. Taxpayers with high state and local taxes (SALT) found their deductions declining faster than rates fell causing a sharp pain behind their left eye on April 15th.

Other taxpayers feeling the pain of a tax increase include truckers, sales people, artists and others with work related expenses. Unreimbursed employee business expenses were eliminated. Truckers (and others) no longer can deduct their work expenses. The TCJA hurt a large number of hard working Americans. Even the mortgage interest deduction was slightly curtailed. Not as many felt that sting, but all the same, the TCJA was uneven in reducing taxpayer liabilities.

Regular corporations saw the biggest benefit. Corporations now have a flat 21% tax rate. Except for corporations with less than $50,000 in profits, this was a tax cut.

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Should You Have a Financial Planner?

By Keith Taxguy / January 21, 2020 /

In 1968 Nick Murray had to sell investments the hard way. He met most clients in their home. The tool of choice was the mutual fund. Most people he sat with were hard working people, but unsophisticated  investors. Fee-based advisors were rare in those days for the small accounts families had. Fees were high and people were risk adverse. To top it off, the market was having bouts of volatility, suffering a noticeable decline even to those who didn’t follow the market on a regular basis.

It was in this environment Nick Murray had to convince his clients and potential clients the best course of action for them. Investing in mutual funds came at a steep cost. Loads (aka sales fees) were as high as 8.75%. 91.25% of your money went to work right out of the gate trying to get back to the even water mark.

Young families had to consider equities for at least a portion of their portfolio if they were ever to have enough money for a comfortable retirement, and Nick Murray knew it. The high fees were one issue; the market another. The question was always the same:

“Do you think the market will go up?”

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What the Bible Teaches Us About Money and Success

By Keith Taxguy / December 16, 2019 /

Perhaps the most important financial advice in the Bible comes from 1 Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is the root of all evil. (KJV)

Money is not bad; greed is. Working to have money is of vital importance and God places money and wealth front and center. I see so many people suffering financially because they believe “money” is the root of all evil, when that is the furthest thing from the truth. It is the “love” of money that is the problem. Avoid that and you are golden.

There is so much more financial advice than that just in the four gospels and Proverbs. Of course, if you are serious about wealth, you might want to read the entire Bible as Living Literature. The stories still resonate and for good reason. They are archetypal stories dripping with significance. Virtually every bestselling novel and movie can be traced back to some story in the Bible. You just didn’t know it.

Money and wealth are important. And yes, God wants you to be rich. Really rich! Not just in financial terms, but in physical, mental and spiritual terms as well. 

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The 8th Deadly Sin is Destroying Your Retirement Plans

By Keith Taxguy / December 9, 2019 /

Greed is frugality gone too far. We see this with bloggers preaching the good news of early retirement by extreme poverty. It becomes a sickness which frequently leads to envy. Greed goes too far when there is no room for charity. Greed goes too far when it comes at the expense of you and your family’s well-being. 

We are all different. The virtue we most admire is one we might need to focus on. A through examination of our-self might reveal a vice harming us and those around us. 

Benjamin Franklin worked on the virtues every day of his adult life. He would check off each virtue he held true to that day. He failed often and admitted it.  Perfection was not the goal. Perfectionism is akin to pride. The goal was to improve each day and do so in an honest manner.

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How Women are Changing the FIRE Community and the World

By Keith Taxguy / December 3, 2019 /

The challenges facing women are far from complete. It is hard to balance the pay scale when we don’t have control. It is hard to balance the pay scale when women are different than men. Maternity leave is a major contributor to the pay gap. Mothers definitely are paid less than male and non-parent female counterparts. And neither you nor I can fix that problem in whole.

But there is an issue women do have control over. Sunday The Motley Fool had an article by Maurie Backman on the gap in male and female retirement savings. The difference is incredible, or “astounding”, using Backman’s word for the gap. While the same issues are in play — maternity leave, medical issues and family time — there is at least some control women can take to close this gap. 

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When Should You Kick Your Kids Out of the House?

By Keith Taxguy / November 25, 2019 /

Yes, you will miss the kids when they move out, but you will adjust to your new freedom. And odds are they will come back often, seeking your advice and for companionship.

However, you must insist the kids move out at a certain point or you will harm them, perhaps irreparably. They can’t truly grow up until they are on their own.

You bounce better when you are young. Struggle is a natural part of growing up, moving out and finding your way in the world. There will be scars. That is the natural order of things.

It hurts. Life hurts! You fought through the difficulties when you were young. It is how you got where you are. A bird never learns to fly sitting around in the nest.

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Get $100,000 Tax-Free Annually in Retirement

By Keith Taxguy / November 18, 2019 /

Some tax strategies are so common most people know about them. Why is it then almost nobody is using the strategy?

A large part of my tax practice is consulting. There isn’t much room for more tax preparation clients. However, I love helping people reduce their taxes, so I spend considerable time outside tax season working with good people designing strategies tailored to their personal needs.

The past several months I have repeated the tax break in question countless times. It is missed nearly 100% of the time. Of my regular tax clients, the ones using this strategy did so at my encouragement. 

It started earlier this year when I published this post on traditional retirement accounts and how they have an implied interest rate on the tax savings. Before that I published this post because I was seeing consulting clients who had rather large retirement accounts at a young age.

It is to be expected in a community of savers and investors to have large retirement accounts at an early age. My lament was about how big those accounts were going to get and the loss of control over tax issues in the future as a result. 

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Cashing in at Camp Accountant

By Keith Taxguy / October 31, 2019 /

Camp Accountant is officially in the books and there was money to be made and taxes to be cut. There were lots of smiling faces and new friends made. It goes to prove you do not have to be a tax professional to enjoy this stuff. (Anything that keeps money in your pocket automatically generates…

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