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Obama’s ‘myRA’ Accounts This Fall May Alter Your Retirement Plans


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3 Factors to Consider When Planning for an IRA

Important changes are coming this fall for what’s become one of the biggest concerns of the era: affording retirement.

Those who are saving for retirement and meticulously troubleshooting tax obstacles may want to restructure their plans. While members of Congress continue to battle over the budget, the Obama administration is preparing to roll out “myRA” savings accounts – IRA accounts – for those who do not currently have access to one.

When the “myRA” account reaches a certain amount, fledgling savers can roll it into a regular IRA account; different states will have their own guidelines. However, some of the benefits of existing savings options could be in peril, says financial advisor Jake Lowrey, president of Lowrey Financial Group, (www.lowreyfinancial.com).

Those include some of the tax advantages of retirement accounts currently enjoyed by higher-income workers. Some Roth IRA owners may also lose their exemption from required minimum distributions, or RMDs, while IRAs totaling less than six figures could see RMDs disappear.  

“There will be many people who’ll be unhappy about the changes and that’s understandable, but some may help our country avoid an avalanche of retirees facing poverty,” Lowrey says.

In just 15 years – 2030 – the last of the baby boomers will have reached 65. That means one of every five Americans will be of retirement age, according to the Pew Research Center’s population projections.

“Most people simply don’t know how to plan for retirement, and that’s made even more challenging with the changing government policies,” says Lowrey.

He offers guidance on choosing between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA as a retirement savings vehicle.

•  Traditional IRAs and Deductibility: For either traditional or Roth IRAs, it’s all a matter of how one prefers to be taxed. Generally speaking, the money you deposit in a traditional IRA isn’t taxed that year, and whatever earnings you have on your contributions won’t be taxed until you withdraw that money as a retiree.  So, if you earn $40,000 in one year and put $3,000 of it in an IRA, your taxable income drops to $37,000. The deposit will grow tax-free through the years. If you withdraw any before age 59½, you’ll face a penalty. After that, you can withdraw and the money will be taxed as earned income.

•  Roth IRAs, Exemptions and No RMDs: Roth IRA contributions are never deductible. You pay taxes on the money when you earn it, just like any other income. The benefit of a Roth is that when the owners decide to withdraw from it after age 59½, they will not be faced with any taxes. In other words, the Roth offers tax-exempt rather than tax-deferred savings. Also, traditional IRA rules include required minimum distributions (RMDs). With a traditional IRA, you must begin to take RMDs by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70.5, but that isn’t the case with a Roth IRA.

•  The Best of Both Worlds? Naturally, IRA owners want to chart a path in which they’re penalized with taxes the least. It may be possible to cushion one’s retirement savings against future tax increases by converting some of an IRA to a Roth and earn tax-free gains going forward.

“Converting to a Roth will make sense for many people, and if you’re eligible to contribute to both types of IRAs, you may divide contributions between a Roth and traditional IRA,” Lowrey says. “But the total contributions to both must not surpass the limit for that tax year.”

About Jake Lowrey

Jake Lowrey is a financial consultant and president of Lowery Financial Group, (www.lowreyfinancial.com), an ethical and professional firm that guides clients to retirement success, including planning for long-term care needs. As a relationship-driven organization, Lowrey and his team educate clients about the newest, most progressive retirement and long-term care planning strategies to assure a brighter financial future.

 

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Wanelo founder got rejected 40 times before success of her mobile mall service

The UpTake: Imagine going through your startup pitch 40 times for potential investors, without a penny to show for it. Deena Varshavskaya, whose addictive shopping app Wanelo stands for “want, need, love,” doesn’t have to, but rejection didn’t stop her from building an immensely popular shopping experience.
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by Teresa Novellino -

W anelo founder Deena Varshavskaya has gotten a lot of cold shoulders from investors, but that hasn’t stopped her.
Two years ago, using her own money, she launched mobile shopping app and website Wanelo — a word that stands for “want,” “need,” and “love” — which aims to make shopping social. It’s now the fastest growing social network dedicated to shopping, with 11 million mostly young women posting favorite items to Wanelo’s app or website. Without selling a thing, the San Francisco-based startup gets affiliate fees as a platform for 14 million products in 350,000 stores.
Sounds like easy money but investors must either not have bought the concept or the Siberian native behind it.
“When I went out to raise funding, it took more than 40 rejections to even close my very first seed round,” Varshavskaya told CBSNews.com Monday. “It was hard, for sure, but that’s part of what I really love about what I do, is that the start-up essentially is my foundation for personal growth, and I absolutely love that I’m being pushed to the limit.”
Wanelo recently announced a deal with Nordstrom, which is putting Wanelo content in 117 of its stores where it will be featured on screens in the junior’s sections.
It’s now got $14 million in venture capital backing, including an $11 million round last March from undisclosed investors.
After getting an MA in journalism from Syracuse University, Teresa worked as a general assignment newspaper reporter—general on purpose because besides the usual city hall and police articles, there was the chance to fly an F-18 with the Blue Angels and tag along with bounty hunters on a stakeout—all good preparation for covering entrepreneurs.

 

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Carl Icahn: PayPal must eat or be eaten to survive in payments

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by Cromwell Shubarth – Carl Icahn: PayPal must eat or be eaten to survive in payments. Carl Icahn, the activist shareholder who earlier this year pushed eBay to split off PayPal, called the company’s decision to do so, announced today, a “no brainer” — and said more must be done.

“The payments industry, of which PayPal is an important part, must be consolidated — either through acquisitions made by PayPal or a merger between PayPal and another strong player in the industry,” Icahn said in a statement on his blog .
Icahn and eBay CEO John Donahoe fought for months over the proposal to split off PayPal, which the investor said came “perhaps a little later than they should have, but earlier than we expected.”

Apple Inc.’s plans to get into the payments industry make the split — and additional strategic moves by PayPal — imperative, Icahn said Tuesday.
“In light of the development of strong competition such as the advent of Apple Pay, the sooner these consolidations take place, the better,” he wrote.
As a major shareholder in eBay, Icahn said he plans to discuss the situation with Donahoe. “As I have said in the past and continue to believe, (he) has the interest of enhancing value for all shareholders as his major concern.”
San Jose-based EBay’s stock rose nearly 8 percent at around $57 on Tuesday after news of the pending split-off of PayPal, but was trading short of its 52-week high of $59.20 earlier this year.

 

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Risky Business: 6 Tips Helping Professionals Take Those Leaps of Faith

Scott Petinga HI

By Scott Petinga

As a former Marine, cancer survivor and highly successful serial entrepreneur, I’ve learned a thing or two about risk. If you’re happy languishing in a gelatinous pool of indifference and stagnation then, by all means, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re ready to take a leap and change things for the better, here’s some wisdom to get you started:

  1. Realize you take risks every day. Getting up, answering the phone, and heading out the door are all risks, albeit minor ones. However, every time you do those things you’re putting yourself out there—you’re even risking rejection daily in your professional and personal life. You do these things every day and survive. Trust me, it won’t kill you. You are very capable of risk taking. Now it’s time to ramp it up. You’ve already got a toe in the water so jumping in the rest of the way isn’t as big a shock. Taking risks is a state of mind. Knowing you can do it on a small scale makes it a lot easier to start taking risks on a larger one.

  2. Find comfort in the uncomfortable.
    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You don’t have to go sky diving or base jumping—although you certainly can if you want—but you do have to go beyond doing what you’re used to doing and stretch out into new territory. Learn where you’re most comfortable, most skilled, and most proficient – and then step right past that to a place where you feel the most uncomfortable, the most uncertain, and the most unsure of yourself. That’s where the real progress begins. Consider any world class athlete, artist, or entrepreneur. No matter what their area of expertise, they put in the hours and continually push the limits to achieve beyond what anyone thought possible. You don’t break world records – or break out of ruts – without making that push.

  3. Risk it right now.
    At this very moment you have everything you need. Sound impossible? It happens to be true, you just may not appreciate it. Do you have food, clothing and shelter? Then you have everything you need and, once you live by this simple philosophy, taking risks becomes far easier.  The most important part of this notion is that most business opportunities don’t wait around, so take action now. Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along to make taking that leap of faith more viable. “Perfect timing” is a fallacy—there are few if any such moments in life. Don’t wait so long that you can’t take a risk even when you want to, only to be consumed with remorse for what “could have been.”  Now is the time to capitalize on opportunities that present.  Make it so.

  4. Do your own thing and do it your way.
    The concept of going your own way and doing your own thing is not new. The problem is, most people don’t do it because it bucks tradition and goes against the grain, and frankly, it scares the s#%! out of most people. But on the other hand, it can provide you with a hell of a lot of freedom, and provide you a life-long exemption from blindly or reluctantly following protocol. Mavericks live according to their own agenda and goals and, even in the corporate world, there is more latitude to blaze new trails in business than you might think. The key is to look at each task for the opportunities they present. Sure, there may be a “perfectly fine” or traditional way of doing something to achieve a good result. But, when you have a better approach or process in mind that can achieve an even more desirable result, it may just be time to go rogue. In today’s cut-throat culture, originality is perhaps your greatest gift. Use it.

  5. Fail. Don’t just give yourself permission to fail. Actually fail. Go out there and fall on your face. It’s the only way you’re really going to learn anything. The lessons you learn from those failures will be the ones that propel you to success. Here’s an idea: try living life like a two year old. In other words, fall down often, screw up repeatedly and occasionally be defiant. Children are extremely resilient and, as adults, we lose this enviable quality. Throughout our career we proverbially fall down, get bruised and even skin our knees. We might even literally shed a few tears. But, perseverance and tenacity, honed with hindsight-based perspective so as to not repeat the same mistakes, are key to staying the course up the ladder of achievement.

  6. Repeat.
    Taking risks is not a “one and done” proposition. It takes tenacity, the ability to keep forging ahead, trying new things, and pushing past obstacles to achieve results. Tenacity determines how hard we fight for our dreams. A tenacious person never has to look back at all the missed opportunities. Once you take that first dive off the edge of the cliff, subsequent dives become a lot easier. In fact, they become a way of life. After experiencing the exhilaration and ROI of risk taking, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

 

Scott Petinga is Chairman and CEO of The Scott Petinga Group. He is a pioneer in developing businesses with lasting impact in the fields of communications, sustainable real estate, business acceleration and philanthropy. Through his flagship company AKQURACY—a full-service, data-fueled communications agency—he earned a spot on the prestigious 2012 Inc. magazine list of fastest-growing private companies. He may be reached online at www.ScottPetinga.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When a dog “hugs” you, they might just be trying to stay alive.

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A few weeks ago we noticed irregular breathing, and certain listlessness when our Lab puppy is playing.  I happen to suffer from an occasional bout of Atrial Fibrillation, ( a form of arrhythmia)   so was convinced that it might be the case in our pup.  My wife and I grew very concerned and had her “Lexie” checked out.  Nurse couldn’t hear anything.

Last night, we heard it again. Wife was freaked out, and I sat down and really listened.  “A-fib” is an almost random contraction of the Atria of a human heart and can yield some pretty wild syncopated rhythms .  That is not what I heard last night.  The beat was irregular, but it was ON beat.  What they call Serial in heart terms. I did some research and found this posting:

Q. My 1-year-old dog has an odd heart rhythm. It goes thump… thump, thump, thump…thump. I am so very worried. What should I do?

A. You have done an excellent job of recording your dog’s heart rhythm. Your description of the thumping almost perfectly describes a sinus arrhythmia, a normal heart rhythm which can sound alarming at first. During sinus arrhythmia, the heart rate increases when your dog breathes in, and then slows down while he is breathing out. As long as this variation is regular, it is completely normal. You may want to listen a little longer to make sure this is true.

Did you know that an EKG (heart rhythm test) will change if there is another heart within 10 inches of the one being measured? The energy put out by one heart will affect the energy of the other heart. This is the reason you should hug your loved ones often, human or dog. Let them feel your love.

This explains lots.  When Lexie sleeps in our bed, she always nuzzles her back into my chest so that she can feel my heart.  In the morning , when I first sit down on my easy chair to begin working on my laptop, she will stand up on it and drape herself over me so that our chests are pressing against each other.  I never knew this, but she is feeling my heart beat.  The first time she  did that, I WAS in A-FIB and I swear she picked up on it.  That was the first time my wife noticed her irregular heart beat.

When i am “normal” or sinus, now, I think she uses my heart to help regulate her own, much like they do their mothers hearts when they are in the pack as little ones.  I wont be so quick to push her away because I am busy, or have to pee and she is standing on my bladder.  A little human time might just be what she needs to keep her heart healthy!

 

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My coworkers made me use Mac OS 9 for their (and your) amusement

If you want to appreciate the present, try living in the past for a few days.

Enlarge / Welcome to 1999, friends! Everyone, buy Apple stock, trust me.
Andrew Cunningham

jonathan: perhaps AndrewC should have to use OS 9 for a day or two ;)
LeeH: omg
LeeH: that's actually a great idea

The above is a lightly edited conversation between Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson and Automotive Editor Jonathan Gitlin in the Ars staff IRC channel on July 22. Using Mac OS 9 did not initially seem like such a “great idea” to me, however.

I’m not one for misplaced nostalgia; I have fond memories of installing MS-DOS 6.2.2 on some old hand-me-down PC with a 20MB hard drive at the tender age of 11 or 12, but that doesn’t mean I’m interested in trying to do it again. I roll with whatever new software companies push out, even if it requires small changes to my workflow. In the long run it’s just easier to do that than it is to declare you won’t ever upgrade again because someone changed something in a way you didn’t like. What’s that adage—something about being flexible enough to bend when the wind blows, because being rigid means you’ll just break? That’s my approach to computing.

I have fuzzy, vaguely fond memories of running the Mac version of Oregon Trail, playing with After Dark screensavers, and using SimpleText to make the computer swear, but that was never a world I truly lived in. I only began using Macs seriously after the Intel transition, when the Mac stopped being a byword for Micro$oft-hating zealotry and started to be just, you know, a computer.

So why accept the assignment? It goes back to a phenomenon we looked at a few months back as part of our extensive Android history article. Technology of all kinds—computers, game consoles, software—moves forward, but it rarely progresses with any regard for preservation. It’s not possible today to pick up a phone running Android 1.0 and understand what using Android 1.0 was actually like—all that’s left is a faint, fossilized impression of the experience.

As someone who writes almost exclusively about technology at an exclusively digital publication, that’s sort of sobering. You can’t appreciate a classic computer or a classic piece of software in the way you could appreciate, say, a classic car, or a classic book. People who work in tech: how long will it be before no one remembers that thing you made? Or before they can’t experience it, even if they want to?

So here I am on a battered PowerBook that will barely hold a charge, playing with classic Mac OS (version 9.2.2) and trying to appreciate the work of those who developed the software in the mid-to-late ’90s (and to amuse my co-workers). We’re now 12 years past Steve Jobs’ funeral for the OS at WWDC in 2002. While some people still find uses for DOS, I’m pretty sure that even the most ardent classic Mac OS users have given up the ghost by now—finding posts on the topic any later than 2011 or 2012 is rare. So if there are any of you still out there, I think you’re all crazy… but I’m going to live with your favorite OS for a bit.

Finding hardware

Enlarge / My weapon of choice: a 2002 titanium PowerBook G4.
Andrew Cunningham

My first task was to get my hands on hardware that would actually run OS 9, after an unsuccessful poll of the staff (even we throw stuff out, eventually). I was told to find something usable, but to spend no more than $100 doing it.

You’d think it would be pretty easy to do this, given that I was digging for years-old hardware that has been completely abandoned by its manufacturer, but there were challenges. Certain well-regarded machines like the “Pismo” G3 PowerBook have held their value so well that working, well-maintained machines can still sell for several hundred dollars. Others, like the aluminum G4 PowerBooks, are too new to boot OS 9. They’ll only run older apps through the Classic compatibility layer in older versions of OS X.

I didn’t want to deal with the pain of an 800×600 display, so the clamshell G3 iBooks were out, and I never really liked the white iBooks at the time—I found their keyboards mushy and their construction a little rickety. White plastic iBooks and MacBooks were never really known for their durability. Anything with a G3 also rules out support for OS X 10.5, which I’d want to install later to actually get stuff done on this thing.

The laptop I decided to go with was the titanium PowerBook G4. While these weren’t without quality issues, they at least promised usable screen resolutions and Mac OS 9 compatibility. They also tend to fall right where we’d want them on the pricing spectrum—old enough to be cheap, but not so old or well-loved to be collectors’ items.

 

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Welcome to WWIII, lets hope we can stick with “conventional” weapons.

RAF jets in first combat mission over Iraq in support of US air strikes – as it happened

updated 4h ago
RAF Tornado GR4 fighter bombers stationed in Cyprus are on stand-by to launch Britain's first air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

RAF Tornado GR4 fighter bombers stationed in Cyprus are on stand-by to launch Britain’s first air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA
 

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