What’s Your Check Out Date?

If I only knew one’s check out date (DOD) it would be so much easier recommending when and how to claim one’s Social Security benefits!  Since that option is not currently available the only thing we can do is make an educated guess based upon life expectancy tables, current health and family history for both spouses.  As you are quite well aware this is definitely not an exact science and entails a great deal of guess work and I’m positive most of you can appreciate Continue reading →

A New Decade

  Seems like only yesterday we were all worried about Y2K, hard to believe it’s been 20 years!  Time goes fast when you’re having fun! What’s New in 2020 Amount of Earnings Subject to the FICA tax – in 2020 it will be $137,700 – in 2000 it was $76,200 the good news is that the percentage tax amount remained constant at 6.2% but the amount withheld will be $8,537 vs $4,724 in 2000. Self employed however will have a maximum withholding tax in 2020 Continue reading →

Social Security – Bananas

As I write my last newsletter for the year, I struggle to capture any specific topic, so I’ll call this my potpourri newsletter:  Things to consider for our clients and ourselves: DIVORCE HAPPENS – I received an email from a CPA in Dallas this morning regarding a client of his.  She recently got divorced after 10+ years of marriage and is in her mid 50’s, during the marriage SHE had a small Sch C business that she operated out of their home.  For whatever reason Continue reading →

The End of Retirement

Each month when I sit down to consider the topic for my monthly newsletter, I pretty much let the topic come to me and see where it leads me.  This month several sources pointed me to this month’s topic.  On Saturday I spoke with my brother in law and he told me they just got back from a wedding in Maine for one of their friend’s daughters, and the father of the bride and another friend discussed their recent retirements.  They shared that after an Continue reading →

Cover the Nut?

2006 “‘cover your nut’ is an accounting term meaning to sell enough goods or services to meet your expenses. The term originally came from the Old West, he said. When a peddler came into a hotel and needed a room but didn’t have any money, the hotelkeeper would take their hub, or ‘nut,’ from the wagon wheel as a deposit. If the peddler sold enough, the nut was covered.”—Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 6 August> I was recently hired by one of the largest car dealers in Continue reading →

Survivorship and Widows Benefit Options

  Lately I’ve had several cases pertaining to divorce or survivorship benefits, this can be an extremely confusing due to Social Security law changes that took place back in 2015. Divorced Claiming Options Must have been married for at least 10 consecutive years to the same person Must be currently unmarried If you claim benefits prior to FRA (Full Retirement Age) and are still working, you are subject to the Earning Test (lose $1 for every $2 you earn above $17,640 per year) If you Continue reading →

Do You Drag Chips?

A couple of weeks ago I was up in Ruidoso, NM escaping the Texas heat and we decided to go over to Inn of the Mountain Gods for dinner.  While there I took the opportunity to sneak into the casino to play a little Blackjack.  Now when I play Blackjack I have a predetermined amount of money I’m willing to lose, but I also drag chips if I’m on a winning streak.  Dragging chips means I take chips off the table and put them into Continue reading →


A just released study using Government statistics, published by United Income called “The Retirement Solution Hiding in Plain Sight” highlighted the fact that American’s have lost and are losing $3.4 Trillion or $111,000 per household in Social Security benefits by claiming benefits incorrectly!  Claiming benefits too early is the cause of this loss in lifetime benefits! 40% claim benefits at age 62, while only 4% wait until the optimal age of 70. So why is that so many people make this mistake?  It is my Continue reading →

Taxes and Social Security Benefits

A recent reader asked me to write on the taxation of Social Security benefits, so here goes.  Social Security can be non taxed or partially taxed based upon their income in that year.  The IRS calculation is based upon one’s Provisional Income and includes 1) Adjusted gross income (AGI) without the Social Security income, plus 2) one-half of their Social Security income + tax-exempt bond interest. The first step is to see if Social Security income is taxed by comparing Provisional Income to the attached Continue reading →

How Old Are You?

What’s your date of birth is the first question always asked when I run a Social Security analysis, but is it the right question to ask?  Your chronological age is used to determine when is the earliest you claim, your FRA (Full Retirement Age) allows you to claim without worrying about the Earnings Test and if you delay until age 70 you receive maximum benefits.  But is using one’s Birthday the best or most important parameter as to when to claim benefits? What’s your check Continue reading →