Performance Review Time

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. My annual performance review has come and gone this year. I always seem to be harder on myself than my boss.  This is a good thing, as he thought I performed well over the past year.  There were a couple of areas he thought I should work on and I don’t disagree with his assessment.  Overall he liked my contributions to the team and hoped for more of the same in the coming year.  In conjunction with the performance review is the compensation review.  The money is tied to performance, so the better you perform, in theory the more money you can earn.  This is all subject to the company’s overall performance.  The money is broken into 2 pieces, salary and bonus.  Naturally, I’m going to give you a peak into how much I received and what I am planning on doing with it. The Salary In my opinion, I would almost always rather have … Read more

Tax Comparison

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Tax time has come and gone, thankfully. I wouldn’t say that I dread it.  Since I plan accordingly for it throughout the previous year, it usually is a non-event.  It is more of a time annoyance than anything else.  I did receive a small refund from both the federal and state governments.  What is more interesting to me, is comparing the return this year with my returns from previous years, and looking at the tax return as a window into my financial year.  I know complete surprise from the numbers guy. Wages It was not my best year ever, but it was close, 2014 was the best. Looking at the wages line on my federal return, does not quite tell the whole story.  The reason for this is all of my health benefits and 401k contributions are removed from my wages and only the net number is reported.  On a gross basis, I had total … Read more

Tax Time

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I finally got around to filing my taxes.  I wasn’t procrastinating because I owed money; on the contrary, I was receiving refunds from both the federal and state government.  It just took me awhile to find a solid 2 hour block of time to get them done.  When I was finished, the tax program that I use gave me a comparison to the previous year’s taxes as a way to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  I found it far more useful to see how my finances changed over the past year and since I’m writing about it, that means you get to take a look with me. Wages The first item of comparison is wages and only shows a difference of $1,900.  This doesn’t quite tell the entire story.  To satisfy my own curiosity, I looked at my gross pay for 2013 and 2014.  In 2013, I was paid a total of $106,000 between … Read more

Woohoo!!! It’s Annual Bonus Time!!!

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I am happy to report that I received my annual bonus for the work I did in 2013.  It actually ended up being the highest bonus I have ever received, so I was surprised.  The bonus was $20K which is about 21% of my annual salary.  The company for which I work had a good year; as a result, the bonus pool was larger than it has been in recent years.  Once I received the actual bonus paycheck, I realized three things.   The first thing was that taxes are really annoying.  The second thing was my annual compensation for the year would put me close to the Social Security earnings cap.  Lastly, it is still important to save. Those Annoying Taxes Since a bonus paycheck is different from a normal paycheck the taxes are handled differently.  The first one you will notice is your federal withholdings.  This is normally a blend of your marginal tax … Read more

Roth 401K versus Traditional 401K

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  MikeS is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I am happy to say that I am increasing my retirement contributions starting in January.  As I outlined previously, I was changing my company benefits for next year.  With those changes, I also analyzed how my take-home pay was going to be impacted and whether I needed to adjust my federal income-tax withholdings.  Since, I was setting aside a larger amount of money pre-tax via the HSA; I was able to increase my deduction number. This has enabled me to increase my retirement plan contributions so I can afford to retire quicker or use my accounts for something like annuities in the future.  My first thought was simply to increase my 401k contribution by 1%.  But then I realized that I had another option, I could contribute to my Roth 401k.  So which one to choose?  This presented a problem, a nice problem to have for sure. The Difference Between a Roth 401k and Traditional … Read more