Track Your Money (Part 3): Passive Tracking

A Passive Tracking Experiment

Passive Tracking
I’m ready to blow up this lab whenever you are!

In case you can’t tell from my title, this article is a follow-on to my previous two “Tracking Your Money” posts. In the first article, I reviewed my historical use of various software applications to track my money over the past 20 years or so. In the second, my brother (Grumpus Brotherus the Younger) reviewed the software application called You Need A Budget (YNAB).

If you did not read the first post in this series, you probably should. I don’t just say that because my brother’s post sucked (it did), and I think mine is much better (it was), or I want the extra site traffic (I do). No, I say that because I actually made a few worthwhile points in the post … if I do say so myself. However, if you’re unwilling or unable to go to the post, let me provide you a re-cap. Continue reading Track Your Money (Part 3): Passive Tracking

The Pension Series (Part 10): Geoarbitrage and Pensions

Where in the World …

… is Grumpus Maximus?

In Part 9 of the Pension Series a reader’s question prompted me to research the interplay between the U.S. Federal tax code and pensions. My reader, Mr. Yankee, wanted to know what options existed to minimize Federal taxes when pension payments started for him and his wife, Mrs. Doodle. I found a few specific instances to defray some Federal tax, but nothing major. Turns out Mr. Yankee already knew the most powerful tax options available to him. What did Mr. Yankee know? He knew that in the U.S., geography mattered when it came to taxes — specifically at the State level.

For my one non-related international reader, it may seem strange, but in the U.S. we tax income more than once. We typically tax it at the Federal and the State level, and sometimes even at the local level. Furthermore, pension payments typically count as income no matter the source. As I chronicled in Part 9 of the Pension Series, everyone who receives a pension is (typically) subjected to Federal tax. However, not every State in the Union taxes income. Nor does every State tax pension payments as income. Continue reading The Pension Series (Part 10): Geoarbitrage and Pensions

The Pension Series (Part 9): Pensions and U.S. Federal Taxes

***This is an updated article. See Post Script at the bottom***

Today’s topic comes from one of my Facebook group followers.  I recently solicited my Golden Albatross group on subjects to research and write about, and Mr. Yankee responded with the following question:

Has there been discussion of how to shelter your pension benefits from federal tax? When I retire I expect to receive about $60,000 a year from my pension I’d hate to give a large portion of it back to the government.

I told Mr. Yankee I would look into it since I’d yet to conduct an in-depth analysis of pensions and taxes. It’s a bit premature considering the fact that U.S. tax law is undergoing its first major overhaul since the 1980s. Currently, the House and the Senate are working on reconciling their two different bills into one in order to approve and send to the President for signature. However, my research only shows one proposal in the House bill with the potential to impact this conversation in any meaningful way, and I believe I can address it appropriately. If something radical happens in the reconciliation process, I will simply update this article when the dust settles. Continue reading The Pension Series (Part 9): Pensions and U.S. Federal Taxes

Work and Mental Health: Slaying the Dragon

Am I only one I know, waging my wars behind my face and above my throat?

— Twenty-One Pilots, Migraine

How Was Your Week?

Last Friday wasn’t the best day for me mentally. I don’t know if the stress of a few hectic work weeks which included a lot of travel finally caught up, or if I missed my meds the night before. Maybe it was both. Maybe it was something else entirely. Either way, I didn’t feel the most stable. I think it was fairly apparent to several of my co-workers as I lost my cool (just a wee bit) during a meeting. For a moment, it felt like the bureaucracy was going to grind my bones to grist before I could escape. As a result, several hours after the meeting the weight of the Golden Albatross still felt insurmountable. Never a good feeling.

Work and Mental Health
It got me this week.

As one of my Facebook readers once wrote, “Some days you slay the dragon, some days the dragon slays you.” Friday the dragon slew me, and it caught me off guard. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced a day like it. In fact, it might be the first day in over a year that I’ve lost my cool in a work environment. Home is a different matter, and the typical battlefield where I struggle to keep these sort of emotions in check (which of course is worse, and a different story altogether). Losing it at work, on the other hand, is an anomaly. As a result, I wasn’t ready to handle it. Continue reading Work and Mental Health: Slaying the Dragon