Money Monday

posted by Brian Thomas - 

MONEY MONDAY 7/30/18

 

 

TOPIC 1A

For the fourth straight year, Ohio is having a “sales tax holiday"… and it's THIS weekend! This means that from this Friday, August 3th through Sunday, August 5th, if you shop in Ohio you won’t have to pay any sales tax on the following items:

• Clothing priced at $75 per item or less

• School supplies priced at $20 per item or less

• School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less

For more info: go to www.tax.ohio.gov 

Ohio is just one of 16 states offering a sales tax holiday this year, and neither Kentucky nor Indiana are participating. But if you live in either of these states, you can still take part by shopping at Ohio stores.

And even if you're not back-to-school shopping, that's ok! For instance, if you buy new jeans for yourself you won't pay sales tax! (assuming they're less than $75/pair)

To put the savings in perspective: if your family plans on spending $500 on school supplies this weekend, you’ll save about $35 (assuming you live in Hamilton County with its 7% sales tax rate). So, not a TON of money… but SOMETHING.

Each county's sales tax is different (Ohio's base sales tax is 5.75%)

This holiday also applies to online purchases: as long as you order the qualifying items between Friday and Sunday at midnight and have them shipped to an Ohio address

Interestingly, according to the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center, the tax-free weekend collectively saved Ohioans about $3.3 million in sales tax in 2015.

TOPIC 2A

It may be summer, but fraudsters are not hanging out on the beach--- they are making calls, pretending to be from the Social Security Administration. This is you Simply Money early-warning consumer alert!

Robocall Pirates: In one version of the scam, the call says your Social Security Number "has been suspended for suspicion of illegal activity." They warn if you do not call back to a specific number, they will freeze your assets/benefits.

How to deal with the calls

1) If the recording asks you to hit a button to stop getting calls-- just hang up. Scammers want to see if you respond. 

2) Do not respond to any questions that can be responded to with "yes." Even if it's "Can you hear me?" Scammers can use your "yes" to impersonate you on further scams. 

3) When in doubt, assume it's a scam.

HERE'S THE SIMPLY MONEY POINT

Remember, the Social Security Administration usually doesn't ask for personal information over the phone! If you have older parents, make sure you share these tips so they don't become victims!


 

 

#2: Enquirer

Every Sunday, Simply Money is answering your money questions in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Craig in Mariemont: Please, be honest. Do I really need a financial advisor? Can’t I just invest in some low-cost index funds and save my money on all the advisory fees?


 

 

#3: Retirement

There are plenty of questions we get about retirement and financial planning at Simply Money, but the number 1 question we get from people close to retirement, is "Do I have enough?" And unfortunately the answer is not simple. 

The magic $1 million: That nice 7-figure sum was seen as the magic number for retirement. This benchmark is also from a different era, with pensions and shorter life expectancies.

A millionaire below the poverty line: A 67-year-old retiring today with $1 million, could have a $40,000 annual income by withdrawing 4%. However, a 42-year-old aiming for $1 million by age 67 could count on the equivalent of $19,000 a year because of inflation. A 32-year-old planning planning to retire at age 67 with $1 million would live below the poverty line.

Keep in mind, we are using very general numbers. The amount you plan to withdraw will change based on your personal financial goals, your withdrawal strategy, and variable expenses (like health-care). This is something a Certified Financial Planner or a Chartered Financial Consultant will walk you through in a financial plan.

The two biggest expenses for your retirement savings: Healthcare and housing. Simply Money's rule of thumb, the average couple retiring today should have $350,000 saved for healthcare. We recommend you save in a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account. 96% of people keep their HSA savings only in cash. Invest that money so you can use it to pay for future healthcare expenses!

And when we talk about housing, we also mean assisted-living. In 2015, the median cost of a private room in assisted living was $8,100. Nursing homes are not fun to talk about, but you need to plan for them.

One of the scariest unknowns in the questions: What's your life expectancy? Underestimating means you risk running out of money and greatly overestimating means your heirs and charities cash in, but you could deprive yourself.

The bigger question: What are you doing today to save aggressively and put yourself on track for a secure, sustainable financial future?

You could have a good amount of money saved but are you diversified? Are you taking advantage of different avenues like a Roth IRA and taxable accounts?

HERE'S THE SIMPLY MONEY POINT

How much you need to save for retirement is based on your personal financial goals, your health history, and your retirement plans.


 

 

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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