Displaying 41 - 50 of 105 Forum PostsPrev 3 4 5 6 7 Next
  • Oct 06, 2017 03:06 PM
    Last: 7mo
    2.9k

    Recently a White House adviser on cyber security has pushed to phase out the age old Social Security number. Plenty of clout has been raised in the past couple of days about it. So I decided to dig into. Here is an article from ABC covering it.

    How did we get our numbers to begin with?:

    I'm a history buff, and sometimes I come across articles such as this one. The origin of the number that identifies every American citizen, for better or worse, is the Social Security number. Most of us know how and why this started back in the FDR days when he was trying to bail us out of the depression.

    Believe it or not, it was controversial even back then. Back in the 1930's people weren't too happy about receiving a number and being tracked by the government. It started out innocently enough. It was developed by economist Edwin Witte for the Social Security Act of 1935, the numbers were created as a way to keep track of the new retirement payment system. They couldn't just use someone's name and birthday. Also it was used for only certain workers, not all citizens at first. It wasn't until 1989 that it went into full force with new laws and such.

    What started out as a retirement tracking number is now the most important form of ID. The SS is now so intertwined with our daily lives, it would be very difficult to get rid of. Just think, one cannot apply for a bank account, employment or even a cell phone without coughing up 9 numbers. They are currently looking into technologies that could change or replace the numbers. So, do you think it's a good thing, or is it just furthering us into a real life Pink Floyd video?

  • Aug 10, 2017 05:21 PM
    Last: 10mo
    2.2k
    You make many good points there. It will more than likely reform and be a shadow of its former self, and the former being not so great to begin with. Looks like we need to start burying our money.
  • Aug 10, 2017 05:21 PM
    Last: 10mo
    2.2k

    I recently stumbled upon an article that makes an argument that Social Security will probably not be disappearing any time soon. I know everyone, including myself has worried about it. I know I've said the common phrase "that's if Social Security is still around when I'm that age." These fears have been around ever since the program's creation. So there's bit of relief right there.

    The article states that many of the government's projections, especially the one where SS will run out by 2034, is full of errors. Economic changes are very possible in the near future. One for instance, Millennials outnumber the Baby Boomers. Once they reach their prime earning years, revenues supporting current retires should grow. The Social Security Administration can't take these possible economic changes into account when they run the numbers because they are using straight-line-math to project trends into the future. These projections could paint a somewhat okay picture of things to come, but they are what the article says "vastly inadequate for predicting what is likely going to happen."

    Groundbreaking Economic Developments:

    Few groundbreaking economic developments of the last few decades -- the Internet, China's rise, mobile technology -- were widely forecasted, much less by government officials. Whatever today's concerns, it is far too soon to analyze how tomorrow's unknowns will affect Social Security.

  • Jun 26, 2017 05:06 PM
    Last: 9mo
    12k
    J.K.Logic Wrote: Is a really good resource. Calculators are also good, but this gives you exact information based on your personal history of paying into the system. I signed up a few months ago. Even though I'm very far away from retirement age, it was good to know that I can see what I should expect in the future for retirement, assuming (hopefully) the program lasts long enough for that to happen.
    It's a good resource for sure. A good friend got me onto it. I'm hoping the program lasts long enough, otherwise I'm up a creek.
  • Jun 26, 2017 05:06 PM
    Last: 9mo
    12k

    Okay, so, I just registered an account. I found it would be very helpful for everyone, not just for those who are already, or about to retire. Check this link out. This government website helps you keep track of the money you have pumped into the Social Security program. I think it only took me 5 minutes to get everything going, after I clicked on the "Sign in or Create an Account" button. You will have to fill out the typical information such as name, SS number, desired username and password. Then, to further verify your identity, it will ask you as series of questions, relating to accounts you may have opened in the past. Afterward, you will be sent a security code, either by phone or email, once you input the code, you're all set up.

    Once you're able to access your new account, you will be able to see your earnings record, the estimated benefits you would be eligible for if you ever become disabled, your last reported earnings, estimates for what your SS retirement will look like, as well as benefits you are receiving if you're already retired. So there you have it, an online one-stop-shop for your personal Social Security information.

  • May 09, 2017 04:48 PM
    Last: 1yr
    1.9k
    bryce28 Wrote:

    Like most tax credits, I would wager most aren't aware of this.

    You're right. It's out there in the stacks of vague and jargon-filled information, with every other tax credit.

  • Mar 27, 2017 01:43 PM
    Last: 1yr
    6.7k
    I can't agree with you more on that one. They make it a mess on purpose to discourage anyone interested in government help. It's sad, really.
  • Apr 05, 2017 05:23 PM
    Last: 1yr
    2k

    There you have it, folks. The Taxman cometh with the aid of little helpers, private debt collectors. Are you as shocked as I am? Like this article from the Chicago Tribune says, such a thing is being deployed during a time in our country where Americans are being victimized by con artists, posing as the IRS, threatening jail and garnished wages. It's bad timing if you ask me, which makes me wonder what kind of difficult times has the IRS found itself in for it to turn to one of America's public enemies, telephone debt collectors.

    Congress passed a law back in 2015 requiring the IRS to start up the program, even after the IRS stopped using private debt collectors in 2009. The IRS was certain that their own employees could do a better job. Apparently congress doesn't agree.

    Soon, the IRS will begin turning over the accounts of 100 taxpayers a week to four different debt collecting agencies. It will later increase to 1,000 accounts a week for each agency, as early as the end of summer. Each agency is allowed to keep up to 25% of what they collect.

    So how is the IRS going to win the fraud game, you ask? They are going to send letters. Yep, letters. I can't remember receiving actual mail that didn't go directly into the trash with the coupons and lawn care flyers. The debt collectors will send their own letters, following those from the IRS.

    Honestly, I don't see how that will deter any scammer from continuing to rob people of their hard-earned money. If anything, the IRS just opened up the playing field, broadening the scope, giving scammers more tools for their tool box. Since 2013, more than 1.9 million people have been called by fake government agents. Over 10,300 victims have paid more than $55 million to scammers.

    Three guidelines to go by:

    1. You won't be contacted unless you have unpaid taxes which go back several years, as well as having a history of calls from the IRS.

    2. All payments will and should be made to the U.S Treasury.

    3. They will never call and threaten to bring police to your house, or have you arrested.

    Do you think this is a good idea? I can only see this get uglier as it goes on.

    Here's a video of hundreds of scammers being busted by the U.S in India.

  • Mar 28, 2017 05:52 PM
    Last: 6mo
    77k
    Why am I not surprised? It'll be into the 70's by the time I begin thinking of retirement because of "lengthening life expectancies". This is definitely a reminder to younger generations not to rely solely on Social Security, partially, or maybe at all.
  • Mar 27, 2017 01:43 PM
    Last: 1yr
    6.7k

    This little guide shed shed some light on a topic that is infamously vague. One could say it is done on purpose. I've said it before and I'll say it again, knowledge is power when it comes to the U.S Government and you money. We have to sometimes fight tooth and nail to hold on to every cent.

    A quick overview of key tax deductions:

    Remember, significant savings can be had when tax breaks are combined.

    Home owner deductions - This includes mortgage interest, property taxes, mortgage points, and PMI premiums.

    Traditional IRA Contributions - Your deduction depends on your income, coupled with whether or not you have a sponsored retirement plan with an employer.

    Donations - This one is dead simple, cash and non-cash contributions count.

    Medical Expenses - This is if expenses exceed 10% of you adjusted gross income.

    Moving Expenses - Yes, this too, say you move for a job that increases your commute by 50 miles or so, this can be deducted.

    Job search costs - If the costs exceed 2% of your gross income while you're searching for a job. This doesn't count for newbie job seekers.

    Student loan interest - It cancels out at higher income brackets, but it's a good one if you can get it.

    Tax Credits:

    Earned Income - According to the article, this one could be worth up to $6,318, depending on how many children you have in your household.

    Child Tax Credit - This one could be worth up to $1,000 per child under 17.

    Child and Dependent Credit - This gives higher earners who pay for child care a piece of their costs back.

    American Opportunity Tax Credit - This one is worth up to $2,500 per student in your household who has higher education expenses.

    Lifetime Learning Credit - This one is worth up to $2,000 per student.

    Saver's Credit - Worth up to $2,000 per filer for contributing money to a retirement savings account.

    Don't get discouraged by the mountains of information out there. According to the IRS, 20% of American tax payers miss out on a tax break worth up to $6,269. Now that is something to think about.