Thursday, March 31, 2011

Understanding the Minimum Distribution Rules for Your Retirement Plans

At some point you will have to take distributions from your retirement accounts -- our personal finance colleagues in Extension have been getting a lot of questions on the topic (especially in December!). If people don’t take the first distribution of their money at age 70 ½, they have until April 1 of the following year to take it…or there are fees to pay. Here are a couple resources are a great read to better understand what people will need to consider when it comes time to withdraw the RMD (required minimum distribution) out of IRAs.

Rules for Taking Distributions from Tax-Deferred Retirement Savings Plans, University of Illinois publication:

Distribution table link:

There are also a number of FAQs on the topic at Just search "RMD."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Make Tax Credit Extension Work for You

You may have noticed a little more money in your paycheck this year. Federal legislation signed into law in December extended a couple of things affecting net pay: a temporary 2 percent reduction in the FICA tax (for Social Security), and a two-year extension of all tax rates.

A worker with an income of about $50,000 can expect to get a take home pay boost of $1,000 over the course of the year, which comes out to approximately $83 per month.

What should you do with an extra $1,000?

A few prudent things include

· Building up your emergency fund. Could you cover several months of living expenses if something happened to you or you needed money quickly?

· Pay down debt -- especially credit card debt. Make sure any high interest debt is reduced. Then put the rest toward an extra payment on your car loan or house mortgage.

· Save for retirement. Invest in your long term financial security by putting the money in a tax-deferred retirement plan, like an IRA.

· Reward yourself. If you're covered, it's okay to treat yourself. But shop around for good deals.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Check Facebook Security Settings

While on Facebook, look at your URL address; if you see "http:" instead of "https:" then you do NOT have a secure session and you risk getting hacked and your personal information may be at risk. Go to AccountAccount SettingsAccount Security and click Change. FB defaults to the non-secure setting.

It's also worthwhile to take a look at the other settings that FB may have as a default.