Marginal Tax Rate VS Effective Tax Rate – Why You Need to Know the Difference

Marginal vs effective tax rates

Most of us have no idea what either our marginal or effective income tax rates are.

They only seem to matter at income tax filing time, usually appearing as supplemental numbers in a computer generated income tax return.

One of the reasons we tend not to track these numbers is because they’re calculations, which for the most part, have no immediate relevance to us, but also because of complications in calculating them.

Because we have a progressive income tax system — tax rates rise with income — and because there are multiple taxes, the actual numbers can be difficult to calculate.  In addition, each rate can change from one year to the next or from complications in the tax code.

We have two tax rate classifications then, marginal tax rate and effective tax rate.

What is the marginal tax rate and the effective tax rate and how and when do they apply?

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Betterment.com: Investing in Stocks and Bonds Made Simple – Review

Betterment portfolio screen

Have you been wanting to invest your money but haven’t been sure how to go about it?

Let’s face it, there are lots of choices out there when it comes to investing.  Even if you choose a couple of funds to cover everything you need to know which ones and find a brokerage to invest with.

There may be a simpler, easier way to do it for those who those who want to invest but don’t know where to start or think it is too difficult for them.

That answer may be Betterment.

Follow along in our review

What is Betterment?

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Don’t Forget Your 401(k) When You Leave Your Job! Here’s What You Can Do With It

What to do with your 401(k) when you leave your job.

A 401(k) plan is an awesome vehicle to save for retirement!  

You get to lower your tax basis (the income you get taxed on).  You might get a great company match… What’s not to like?

But what do you do with your 401(k) if you leave your job? 

Do you take the 401(k) with you?  Where do you put it?  Should you leave it?

You have some choices for your 401(k) which I’ll outline for you below:

Choices For Your 401(k) When You Leave Your Job

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Grow Your Dough Throwdown Update – February End – It’s Growing!

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It’s awesome when you see your investments going up!

It’s the kind of feeling that makes you feel powerful; invincible even.

And when your investments go down you feel a pit of despair in your stomach.  “Please go back up some so I can sell and I’ll never invest like that again,” you plead to the investment deities.

Of course this is all good reason you should carefully invest.  It’s not hard to do but if you don’t have the stomach to see your investments fall in value then you’re better off investing in broad sectors (like the S&P 500 or all stocks).  Honestly, most people aren’t that great at picking stocks so your best long-term plan is to stick to sector funds and ETFs.  And even then you might not want to look at your picks too often.

About a month and a half ago I jumped into the Grow Your Dough investment challenge.

This challenge pits a growing number of personal finance writers against each other for a year to invest $1,000 and see whose investments would come out on top.

I chose to pick individual stocks.

If you take a look at the other people in the competition you’ll see a number of different investing strategies.  It’s pretty cool to see how everyone interpreted the challenge.
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How to Spend Your Income Tax Refund – 25 Ideas

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Are you getting a big IRS income tax refund?

It’s always nice to get a nice chunk of change coming back to you, isn’t it?

But what will you be doing with your income tax refund?

I’m not always fond of looking forward to a large refund but they do happen and I know some people love getting them.  If you are getting a large income tax refund then at least put some thought into how you are going to use that money.

Having money in the bank is a great thing and when it’s a sizable amount you can really make some differences with your finances.

I came up with some ideas for a large income tax refund.  I’ve broken it out into different sections to make it easier for you to find something of interest.  Make sure to read through to the end and add your suggestion in the comments!

25 Ideas for Your Income Tax Refund

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Don’t Be Late! Federal Income Tax Due Dates to File Taxes for 2014

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We’re now into that time the year that accountants and other tax preparers refer to as “tax season.”

For the rest of us it’s panic season.

We scramble to get together our tax documents and hope that we won’t have to pay taxes.

How many of you have filed your return the day it was due?  I’m raising my hand (not easy to type like that).

Stressful, isn’t it?

Add to the stress the fact that not everyone files taxes the same.  Some are individual filers while others file as self-employed.  Corporations file taxes too (and they have a different due date).

But the tax deadlines aren’t all the same in every case.  It’s enough to make your head spin, wondering “when are the tax due dates for my taxes?”

Below you will find Federal Income Tax deadlines for 2014.  Use these due dates to your advantage and plan enough time to prepare your taxes before they are due. Continue Reading

Why Getting a Large Tax Refund is Bad

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The stress of doing your taxes is over.

You filed all of your forms and to your joy you’re getting back a tax refund.  And it’s a nice sized one too!

It’s awesome, right?

Not so fast.

Getting a lump sum payout after filing your taxes feels great.  But I’m going to show you that it may not be as great as you think.  There are better ways you can use your money (and it is your money).

Read on as I tell you why a large tax refund is bad. Continue Reading

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