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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Republicans in Congress have been saying for months that they are working on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare in the Trump era. Now we have the outline of that plan, and it looks as if it would redirect federal support away from poorer Americans and toward people who are wealthier. read more


The Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure designed to bring anti-gay segregation -- under the guise of "religious liberty" -- to the already deep-red state. The bill ... will now easily pass the Republican Senate and be signed into law by the Republican governor. The result will mark Kansas as the first state, though certainly not the last, to legalize segregation of gay and straight people in virtually every arena of life.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

The bill would remove parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate and minimum standards for care. It would also provide a two-year window for people with preexisting conditions to sign up for care. It also includes new provisions such as an expanded ability for insurers to sell plans in multiple states and a $5,000 tax credit that people can put toward a health savings account. read more


Monday, January 16, 2017

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman left a regularly scheduled meeting early on Saturday, leaving more than 100 frustrated constituents waiting at the Aurora Public Library in Colorado to talk about his party's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Coffman, who serves Colorado's Sixth Congressional District, had scheduled a room a the library for 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to NBC affiliate 9News. Coffman on Friday joined two other Republican lawmakers to write an op-ed in the Denver Post urging for the repeal of the health-care law. According to social-media posts from constituents who showed up to the meeting Coffman only allowed them in four people at a time.


Thursday, January 05, 2017

This week, congressional Republicans gave themselves the power to slash the annual salary of any individual federal worker to as low as $1 -- and the budget of any individual federal program right down to zero. They executed this attack on the independence of the civil service by reviving an obscure provision enacted by Congress in 1876: The Holman Rule, named after the Indiana congressman who devised it, empowers any member of Congress to submit an amendment to an appropriations bill that targets the funding of a specific government program or employee.


Comments

"A 401k plan is a type of pension plan. A ------ one, but one none the less."

Whoa, hold on. I'm not sure I'd call a 401k "------".

While not being as secure as a pension plan (or what's known as a defined benefit plan), it can offer a lot more than just a regular IRA. For one, contribution limits are higher: $18K vs $5.5K, and $23K vs $6.5K if you're 50 or older in the year. For another, it's protected under ERISA rules, meaning it can't be attached for any reason, civil or criminal. It's why, for example, OJ Simpson could live a fine lifestyle: no one could touch is NFL pension, his SAG pension, his AFTRA pension, or his Social Security. Protection for IRAs is $1MM on the federal level, and vary by state.

In addition, 401k plans sometimes offer matches, which has been called "the crown jewel of employee benefits". In a 15% Fed/5% State bracket, a match is the equivalent of a one-time, overnight return of 150%. In the 25%/5% bracket, the one-time return is the real-world equivalent of a 185% return. Saving via a 401k match program is light years ahead of everything else, and if anyone has a lovely benefit like that, I've boiled it down to one question to the payroll folks: Am I maxing out my employer's possible contributions? Don't stop until the answer is yes.

As long as the 401k offers a broad enough set of choices, and you pick the appropriate one(s) for your age, you should be okay. And if security is what you want at retirement, the funds can be moved to annuities, bonds, or other (usually) safer investments.

Last factoid: a 401k, rolled over into a self-directed IRA, retains its ERISA protections, as long as you never add non-ERISA money to that account. If you do, it pollutes the entire rollover, and protections drop to the IRA limits.

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