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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Transferring Roth to TIAA-Cref

If you want to get more bang out of your Roth IRA buck and add to your retirement money investment options, you might want to check out transferring your money to a TIAA-Cref Retirement Fund

ING Direct was only paying me 1% or so of interest on my Roth IRAs and I didn't have options like Treasury Inflation Protected Funds (TIPS) or Index Funds in my 403 B, so I checked out TIAA-Cref.  Its reputation is stellar and it's a non-profit organization that servers other non-profits like schools and hospitals.  Nice to know their movitation considering what's happening with the greedy-guts on Wall Street.

It was a tiny pain to transfer the funds (took about 2 weeks to make sure the paperwork and money changed hands so I wouldn't have to pay taxes or penalities).  But the guys on the phone really helped and I'm happy with my returns already.  Next step is to transfer the funds out of AIG-VALIC.  It's only a few grand, but I don't want anything to do with that company.  No bonuses for me?  Then no bonuses for them!  Not a penny supporting the arrogance of those CEOs.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bye Bye Schedule A Itemizing, Hello Bigger Standard Deduction

Confession:  I didn't file Schedule A a few years ago because it was just so darn hard to do.  And I had paid real estate taxes at the time!  Double shame on me.

The good news this year is that the IRS has actually smoothed the way for people like me, and maybe you.  The Standard Deductions this year are:
$5,450 - single or married filing separately
$10,900 - married filing jointly, or qualifying widower
$8,000 - head of household

AND, if you paid real estate taxes last year, you can enter them into the Standard Deduction Worksheet without having to fill out Schedule A, up to $500 for singles and $1,000 for MFJs.

Example, I am head of household, and paid $1100 in real estate taxes last year, then my new HOH standard deduction is $8,500.

There are other additions to the Standard Deduction that I might want to take, such as being over 65 years of age, being blind, or having a disaster loss.  I live in a hurricane-prone state, we tend to do a lot of that type of entry.

But don't take my word for it, you know where the forms are -- or your local library.  And you can always go to H&R; Block or Jackson Hewitt to get tax help.