Miss. lawmaker eyeing changes in retirement system

Mississippi’s Public Employees Retirement System is sound, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Johnny Stringer says he wants to keep it that way.

Stringer, D-Montrose, said Tuesday that he’s crafting legislation to change how the state handles employees who retire and then return to work in state government as part-time or contract workers.

Currently, Stringer said neither those employees nor the agencies they work for contribute to the Public Employees Retirement System. Even though the contract and part-time workers cannot accrue more time toward retirement, Stringer wants the agencies to make a contribution to the PERS fund.

The reason: “They retire one day and come back the next as a contract worker. All these people are getting a free ride and it’s got to stop,” Stringer said.

PERS executive director Pat Robertson briefed Stringer’s committee on Tuesday. [Read the full article]

“A drop from 6.2 percent to 4.7 percent is noticeable but it’s not necessarily an indication of a renewed shift downward,” says Dorsey Farr, CFA and principal at French Wolf & Farr in Atlanta, and former chief economist at Wilmington Trust. “The two motives for savings are precautionary — to weather a storm such as we’ve just experienced, and retirement — to have a store of assets to provide income during retirement.

“Many people counted on an existing portfolio that was perhaps too small, as well as equity in their home and now they’re questioning whether they have sufficient savings, not only for the precautionary needs but also for retirement. So, our view is that this is more of a long-term trend where we’ll see renewed interest in savings at higher rates than we’ve seen so far for a sustained period of time.”

Farr says he’d like to see an aggregate personal savings rate in the 7 to 10 percent range. [Read the full article]

Nobody wants to pay Uncle Sam any more than necessary. But you also don’t want to end up on the receiving end of an IRS audit — or worse. Luckily, there are plenty of perfectly legitimate ways to make sure you don’t pay more than your fair share of income tax.

1. Pull out your old returnsTake a trip down memory lane to visit those ghosts of tax returns past. Sure, it’ll bring back memories of late nights in mid-April spent frantically trying to get everything together. But without looking at your returns for past years, you won’t know where to begin to look for ways to save. So go find those files!

2. Make the most of your incomeThe easiest way to pay no tax is not to earn any income, but we’ll assume that you don’t find that a very appetizing strategy. You can, however, pick investments where you’ll either pay no tax or qualify for reduced rates. Know the nuances and you can save yourself some serious money.

3. [Read the full article]

Many people think taxes are simply a chore, something to attend to once a year. Anyone with that attitude is probably leaving money on the table, whereas those who plan ahead to avoid paying unnecessary taxes are the real winners.

The only way you can control your tax issues is to review them throughout the year. Was your refund too large? Are you lending Uncle Sam your money interest-free? Did you have a large balance due with some penalties attached? Did you fail to take a credit or a deduction because you didn’t know about it — or, worse, didn’t maintain the appropriate records? Now is the time to look forward to next year, so you don’t make the same mistakes again. But it takes thought, planning, and attention.

Many tax-related matters are important components of any investing strategy. For example, how long you hold a stock or security makes a difference given the lower taxes on long-term gains. [Read the full article]

You may also like...