(NewsUSA) - Are you participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan? If your company has one, consider yourself fortunate. But if you've been ignoring whatever your company is offering, it's time to get the facts.
A good retirement plan will allow you to defer taxes on whatever you contribute to your 401(k) account until you begin to withdraw money, presumably in your retirement. The amount of money you contribute is deducted from your salary when Uncle Sam is tallying up your taxable income for the year. Granted, you won't see the money you contribute until you retire, but committing to a plan like this is one way of both saving on taxes and forcing yourself to save for the future.
If your company offers any kind of a "match," meaning it will throw in some money to match your contribution at a certain proportion, you are definitely leaving money on the table by not participating. For example, a company may match 50 cents on one dollar up to 4 percent of pay -- yours could be better or worse.
One primary reason a retirement account is such a good idea is compounding interest. Add earned interest to the money you are contributing, plus an employer match, deduct the amount contributed from your taxable income, and you're well ahead of the game.
Most 401(k) plans allow you to choose how to invest your money. The plan administrator provides a choice of investments, which may include cash equivalents, bonds, stocks or a mix. When choosing your investments, you can decide exactly how aggressive or conservative you wish to be.
IRS increased the contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k) plans from $17,500 in 2014 to $18,000 for tax year 2015. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k) plans increased from $5,500 to $6,000, which is motivating to many baby boomers who are behind in saving for retirement.
Sitting down with a tax professional to determine what you can do to minimize your tax burden this year and take advantage of every tax deduction and credit available to you just makes good sense. A licensed tax professional can help. Enrolled agents ("EAs") are licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury after passing a stringent three-part exam on taxation. They must complete IRS-approved continuing education to keep the license. You can locate an EA in your area using the "Find an EA" directory at www.naea.org.
BAY CITY, Texas â€“ Many of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls in rodeo make their way to Bay City every March.
Itâ€™s all because of the Matagorda County Fair & Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5-Saturday, March 7, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds. They know the opportunity is there each of the three nights to cash in and make the run of their dreams toward the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Bay City also is the weekend home of many of the greatest animal athletes the game, thanks to the livestock from Pete Carrâ€™s Classic Pro Rodeo. This past December, 27 Carr horses and bulls were a big part of the NFR, a ProRodeo record the Carr firm has held each of the past two years.
â€śPete Carr has the bucking horses and bulls that are unreal,â€ť said bareback rider Clint Cannon, a four-time NFR qualifier from nearby Waller, Texas. â€śWhen I think about Pete Carr, I think about 90-point rides, rock â€™nâ€™ roll music and fans loving it.â€ť
A year ago, there were several NFR animals that were part of the action at the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo, including five of the six animals that guided cowboys to the pay window in bareback riding. Two, Sadies Gal and Utopia, made their first trips to Las Vegas this past December, kick-starting their outstanding campaigns in this southeast Texas community.
â€śPete Carr puts on a great rodeo,â€ť said Sage Kimzey, the 2014 world champion bull rider from Strong City, Okla. â€śIâ€™m thankful he loves the sport of rodeo so much and wants it to be so great.â€ť
Kimzey isnâ€™t the only world champion who follows the Carr herd around the country. Take two-time world champion Cody Wright of Milford, Utah, the reigning Bay City champion in saddle bronc riding. He matched moves with Deuces Wild to win the title last March.
Wright utilized that momentum to qualify for the NFR for the 12th straight year, but there were several finals qualifiers who are regular qualifiers to the finale.
â€śPeteâ€™s got an eye for horses, and heâ€™s surrounded himself with people who know what theyâ€™re talking about,â€ť said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a six-time NFR from Heflin, La. â€śYou want to go to Peteâ€™s rodeos, because youâ€™re going to get on something good.â€ť
The Carr animals are a huge drawing card for contestants. That also is why fans want to be part of the Matagorda County Fair & Rodeo experience.
RODEO’S ELITE READY TO CHASE THE $100,000 PRIZE FOR THE WINNER
GUTHRIE, Okla. â€“ The incentives at the Timed Event Championship of the World are great for the worldâ€™s greatest cowboys.
From the challenges set forth through the rugged competition to the opportunity to play their game in one of the most storied arenas in rodeo, the annual championship is a destination for the elite timed-event contestants.
Add into the mix a first-time purse of $200,000 â€“ with $100,000 going to this yearâ€™s average winner â€“ and itâ€™s easy to see why 20 men who make up 39 combined gold buckles will be part of the 2015 Timed Event Championship of the World, set for noon and 7:30 p.m. Friday, noon and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
â€śAny time a cowboy can win more money, itâ€™s good,â€ť said Daniel Green, a three-time champion from Oakdale, Calif. â€śThe Timed Event is not an easy deal to win; itâ€™s really difficult. It takes so much that has to go right.
â€śMy hatâ€™s off to the owners for boosting financial support for the event. Being as tough as it is and a World Championship event, it should pay in that range.â€ť
The players compete in five go-rounds and must make runs in heading, tie-down roping, heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping in each. It is dubbed the â€śIronman of ProRodeoâ€ť because of its rugged nature. Spread over just three days, itâ€™s a test of talent, durability and endurance.
The field includes some of the brightest young stars in rodeo, including reigning champion Paul David Tierney of Oral, S.D., and the 2014 reserve champ, Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla.
Theyâ€™ll test their talent against an amazing list of top cowboys, including Green; 27-time world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, who owns 21 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association titles and a record six Timed Event crowns; five-time winner K.C. Jones of Burlington, Wyo.; two-time titlist Kyle Lockett of Visalia, Calif.; and 2010 champ Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo.
This is the one event in ProRodeo where the greatest ropers will wrestle steers and where elite bulldoggers and a Linderman Award winner will test their other skills in an action-packed weekend of world-class talent.
Official Invited Timed Event Championship of the World Contestants
Current Listing and Subject to Change
The Pete Carr animal athletes were a major part of the big winning at the San Angelo Stock Show Rodeoâ€™s Cinch Shootout on Saturday night.
Reigning PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year Dirty Jacket guided Jessy Davis to the winning 93-point ride. Spur Strap, a two-time selection to buck at the NFR, helped Jesse Wright to the saddle bronc riding title with an 87.
Meanwhile, Wes Stevenson finished second in bareback riding with a 92 on Good Time Charlie.
In the opening round, the top three bareback scores were all from Carr horses. Davis on Outa Sight and Stevenson on Scarletâ€™s Web both posted 90s, while Tanner Aus was third with an 87 on Fancy Free.
Wright won the first round in bronc riding with a 90-point ride on Big Tex, while Sam Spreadborough was fourth on Cool Runnings. In bull riding, Ty Wallace rode Hermes for 88.5 to finish first in the opening round. Josh Koschel placed second with an 86.5 on Rattler, while Trevor Kastner qualified for the final-four on time; he bucked off near the 8-second whistle.