Thanksgiving has come and gone, Black Friday made for some interesting stories and Cyber Monday continued to put strain on our bank accounts. Tis the season!!! While spending lots of time with those we love is a big part of the holidays, so is spending money! For me this is one of my favorite times of year and it isn't just because I get to be with those I love and care about. I love it so much because while it can be so stressful we tend to be more willing to wait in lines, more willing to forgive and much more willing to give. The time truly is just a bit happier because we do our best at this time of year to think of others more than ourselves.
Tis the season of giving! I am sure by now you are heavily thinking about what to get your children, parents, family members and friends or perhaps Black Friday and Cyber monday have already got you in the buying mood. While this holiday season is upon us I thought it would be great to give you a few tips to switch up this holiday time and make it one to remember and one that will bring lasting happiness.
Give To Yourself And Those You Love
Rarely do we start to think about ourselves during this time but now is the time to take a moment and give back to yourself. Give to your retirement accounts because it is a gift that will eventually be like giving back to your loved ones regardless if you leave an inheritance or not. If you don't leave an inheritance than hopefully your retirement account/nest egg will be enough that your loved ones won't have to support you financially. That is why giving to your retirement accounts this Christmas is a wise decision because it is the gift that will keep on giving years down the road.
If you haven't contributed to your IRA or 401k this year then now is the time and if you have, have you maxed out your contribution? According to the IRS website, the following are your IRA and 401k contribution limits.
For 2014 and 2015, your total contributions to all of your traditional and Roth IRAs cannot be more than:
- $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re age 50 or older), or
- your taxable compensation for the year, if your compensation was less than this dollar limit.
The IRA contribution limit does not apply to:
- Rollover contributions
- Qualified reservist repayments
Compensation and contribution limits for 401ks are subject to annual cost-of-living adjustments. The annual limits for 401ks are:
- salary deferrals – $17,500 in 2014 and $18,000 in 2015, plus $5,500 in 2014 and $6,000 in 2015 if the employee is age 50 or older (IRC Sections 402(g) and 414(v))
- annual compensation – $260,000 in 2014 and $265,000 in 2015 (IRC Section 401(a)(17))
- total employee and employer contributions (including forfeitures) – the lesser of 100% of an employee’s compensation or $52,000 for 2014 and $53,000 for 2015 (not including "catch-up" elective deferrals of $5,500 in 2014 and $6,000 in 2015 for employees age 50 or older) (IRC section 415(c))
For your own specific situation and contribution limits make sure you talk to a tax attorney or tax accountant. That way you get the most accurate info for your situation. If you have already maxed out your investment or just want to further your retirement along the next thing you can do is to diversify your retirement by investing in hard assets like real estate and gold through a self-directed IRA. With a self-directed IRA you have the ability to invest in hard assets and really just about whatever you want. Contact us for more information about self-directed IRAs
Give To A Cause Or Those In Need
I know you are already gifting to those you love and that is great but take it one step farther. Either give to a certain charity/cause or to someone you may know who is in need. It can be in the form of a specific gift or just a money donation either way if you do this your happiness will go up this Christmas and you will really feel the true spirit of Christmas. If you are a bit leery that your happiness goes up by gifting to others then you must know that there have been multiple amounts of research done to prove that buying for others gives you more lasting happiness than buying for yourself.
In one survey statistical analyses revealed personal spending had no link with a person's happiness, while spending on others and charity was significantly related to a boost in happiness.
"Regardless of how much income each person made," Dunn said, "those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not."
Go ahead and get into the fun spirit of Christmas, it will make you happier and if you need help choosing a charity this site can help http://www.charitynavigator.org/
These are just two things that I am focusing on this Christmas and I hope that you'll look at implementing these into your Christmas this year because your retirement and your happiness deserve it.
Author: Nick Barker