The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma

The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma

I’ve been a bit moody the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been focusing a lot on trying to pinpoint our exact retirement date and I’ve been struggling.  The problem all stems with the Roth IRA Conversion Ladder we plan to do. First off, if you’re on the path to FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) and you’re not familiar with how a Roth IRA Conversion Ladder works, this could be important to you. It’s not the end-all-be-all solution, but the ladder is a method that many early retirees are able to use to make FIRE actually happen. You see, normally you don’t have access to your traditional 401(k) and other retirement accounts until 59½.  This is a problem for young whippersnappers trying

My Experience with a Certified Financial Planner

My Experience with a Certified Financial Planner

Recently, I decided that I wanted a second opinion on my game plan.  Although I’m pretty confident on how to make things work, I decided that this is important enough to warrant bringing in someone else to look everything over and give some unbiased input.  So I recently hired a certified financial planner. I thought this would be a great opportunity to take you through the process from start to finish to give you a better idea if this is something that you might want to pursue for yourself.   What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)? Anyone can say that they’re a financial planner or financial advisor.  There’s not really a lot of governance on this term.  However, to become a Certified

Tying Up Loose Ends…

Tying Up Loose Ends…

I recently realized that I have a number of loose ends out there from previous posts that my regular readers might be wondering about.  So I thought I would take an opportunity to put out a post following up to hopefully tie up those loose ends a bit… Switching to an Accountant This was the first year I decided not to use TurboTax and go to an accountant.  If you remember, I had three goals with this: Check over my work Get advice for how to structure things Provide help on future strategy planning I’ve since met with the accountant and I really liked the guy.  He knows his stuff and he owns a rental property of his own.  It was important for me to find someone

Why I Dumped TurboTax for an Accountant

Why I Dumped TurboTax for an Accountant

I started using TurboTax in the year 2000 and I’ve used it every year since then.  Going to a tax preparer didn’t make sense – it was expensive and TurboTax made it easy enough to do my tax returns myself.  All the TurboTax alternatives (H&R Block, TaxAct, TaxCut, etc.) are all similar in that can guide you through doing your taxes to make life smoother when doing your returns. Sure, sometimes I would stare at the screen for hours and try to figure out what the %^& they were asking me.  And sometimes it seemed easy enough that I would go through everything and submit my return pretty quickly because I was excited about my big juicy refund… only to receive a 1099-MISC about a day

Are HSA Plans the Best Bang for Your Buck?

Are HSA Plans the Best Bang for Your Buck?

I used to have a common guy problem (no not that one!) – it’s the one where I wouldn’t go to the doctor because “things will just work themselves out.”  Bad idea in general and, as I’ve grown a little older, I at least now do the annual checkup (something I never used to do).  Although never going was a bad idea, it did help me get ahead on something.  About 6 years ago, my company offered something called a Health Savings Account or, it’s more well-known acronym, the HSA.  If your company offers an HSA plan and you want to take advantage of it, the big requirement is that you have to change to a high-deductible health plan.  You can then contribute money into

I Got a Second Opinion Last Week…

I Got a Second Opinion Last Week…

So, I had been talking with one of my mentors a couple of months ago and we got on the subject of taxes… particularly taxes regarding rental property.  If you’re a regular follower of my site, you know that I currently have one rental house and I’m looking for a second so this was an important topic for me. My friend that I was talking with has five rental houses and is extremely savvy when it comes to the financial details of this arena, so I definitely listened intently.  In short, what I decided after this discussion was that I needed a second opinion on my taxes. For the past 15 years, I’ve done my taxes through TurboTax.  It started out pretty easy… just