Archive for the ‘Winning Strategies’ Category

Credit for Your Retirement Savings Contributions

You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

A tax credit directly reduces the amount of federal income tax that you are required to pay. Example: Federal income tax liability is $600 and you’re eligible for a $200 Savers Credit. Your tax liability is decreased to $400. In this example you could receive a $200 boost in your refund or a $200 deduction in the amount you need to pay when you file your tax return.

Savers Credit Eligibility Requirements
You are eligible for the credit if you’re age 18 or older, not a full-time student, not claimed as someone’s dependent, and within the income limits.

2017 Income Limits:
-Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $31,000.

-Head of Household with income up to $46,500.

– Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $62,000.

The amount of the credit is 50%, 20% or 10% of your retirement plan or IRA contributions up to $2,000 ($4,000 if married filing jointly), depending on your adjusted gross income.

Example: Married couple and they file a joint return. Their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2017 is $55,000. (AGI is less than taxable income and is on the last line of page 1 of your 1040 tax return form).  If they contribute $1,000 to an IRA, the government will give them a $100 credit.

For more information about income limits and credit amounts visit


Should I buy it?

We are constantly bombarded with messages to buy this, that, and the other. The messages imply that if we buy “it” – we will be happy, well-liked, important, beloved by our family and friends, envied, and so on. It seems that some messages even create cravings and needs and then show us just what we need to fill our need/craving.

The “buy” messages come not only as the traditional television commercials, but also in product placements in TV/movies, in “news” stories that are actually product promotion, and with the advent of new communication & technologies – targeted promotions. I visited a web site yesterday that offered a free credit related service. Of course you had to provide your personal credit information to access the service. In the terms of use agreement it was explained that the information is used so they can send you information about products and services that might match your needs. Of course this is legal, some may say helpful, and a person can receive the free service and just say “no thanks” to the offers.

But with the advertising messages being constant, sometimes subliminal, and often very clever, it can make be hard to distinguish between needs and wants. Below are some questions you might ask your self before you buy a good or service:

  • Do I need it or am I being sold the notion that I need it?
  • Will it make me happy?
  • Why will it make me happy?
  • Will this happiness be long or short term?
  • What must I give up to have it? (every time we buy something, we are forfeiting something else)
  • Would I buy this if I had to pay cash?
  • How much do I owe on my credit card(s)?