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Monday, February 19, 2024

Smart Money Podcast: Wealth Building Strategies

The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions. In this episode:

Learn investment and tax strategies to help you achieve financial security and prepare for a prosperous retirement.

How can you balance saving for emergencies and investing for the future? What strategies can you employ to maximize your tax benefits and build a secure financial future? NerdWallet’s Kim Palmer and Alana Benson discuss investment strategies and tax planning to help you understand how to navigate your financial journey effectively. They begin with a discussion of investment strategies, with tips and tricks on understanding different investment accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs, leveraging compound interest, and the importance of starting investments early. Then, Alana discusses tax planning and filing in-depth, covering the intricacies of different tax forms like W-4s and W-2s, the significance of estimated taxes for freelancers, and strategies for managing capital gains taxes.

Kim and Alana delve into retirement planning and the challenges of active versus passive investing. They provide a framework for prioritizing your finances, emphasizing the creation of an emergency fund, taking advantage of employer 401(k) matches, and understanding the role of asset allocation based on age and risk tolerance. Additionally, they tackle the decision-making process in personal finance, such as choosing between paying off debt and investing, and the pros and cons of having a financial advisor.

Check out this episode on your favorite podcast platform, including:

NerdWallet stories related to this episode:

How to Start Investing in 2024: A 5-Step Guide for Beginners ↗

Tax Extension: What It Is and How to File One ↗

Should I Pay Off Debt Or Save? ↗

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at [email protected]. To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.

Episode transcript

This transcript was generated from podcast audio by an AI tool.

Sean Pyles:

Hey listener, we’ve got a special episode in store for you today. Our investing and tax Nerds recently hosted a webinar going deep into how you can level up your investing and tax strategy. So we packaged that up into a podcast episode for you. The Nerds talk about what you need to know about different investing accounts, how to get help with your taxes and more. So here’s the webinar.

Kim Palmer:

Welcome everyone. I am Kim Palmer. I’m a personal finance writer at NerdWallet where we help people make smart decisions. One important note, we are not financial or investment advisors. This nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances. NerdWallet Inc is not an investment advisor or broker and does not provide personal financial advisory services. Today we are excited to talk to you about the basics of investing and taxes and we think we have some helpful info to share with you. You can always find more at nerdwallet.com ↗ or on the NerdWallet app ↗. Our goal today is to kick off a helpful discussion about investing and tax information and tools. Alana Benson writes about investing topics including stocks, funds, and ethical investing. And now I will hand it over to Alana.

Alana Benson:

Thanks Kim. Hi everyone. Thank you for joining us today. So before we start, I just want to say a couple of things that often get forgotten when we’re talking about investing. So first, investing usually comes second to some other goals. If you’re having a hard time paying for necessities or you don’t have an emergency fund, it’s really important to focus on those things before we even start worrying about investing. Second, instead of scrimping, try to increase your income. So I didn’t start investing until I was in my late 20s, and that’s because one, I didn’t work at NerdWallet yet, so I literally didn’t know anything. And two, I was making around $25,000 a year, so I didn’t have much expendable income. And when you don’t have extra income, it’s really hard to prioritize investing and it just might not even be a good idea to do that.

When I started making more money, it was suddenly a lot more possible for me to invest for retirement. So if it’s possible for you and you want to be investing more, look for jobs that will pay you more or look into side hustles, but cutting back on your streaming services probably will not save you enough money for retirement. And finally, if you don’t have the money to invest now, that’s totally fine. Some people have serious money anxieties and others just don’t have the cash. Whatever your reason is, don’t stress too much about it. Just keep learning and when you’re able to, you can start investing. So why do we invest? What is the point of all this? And the answer is that it’s because we like money and that’s okay. There’s no shame in admitting it, I like money, most people like money. It’s because money isn’t just money. It’s not like Scrooge McDuck diving into pools of money and buying Maseratis. It’s not that.

It’s about not being stressed about your money all the time and it’s about being able to buy everything that you need and some stuff that you want comfortably without having money stress take up all of your energy. Money allows us to thrive instead of just survive and investing helps you make more money than you could ever possibly make just by working at a job. So okay, what actually is investing? This whole process is very strange. Okay. Investing is the process of money that you already have making additional money for you. And this works through what’s called compound interest ↗. Compound interest means that your gains get a little bit bigger every year and that’s also why starting when you’re younger gives you a huge advantage and more money in the long run. So for example, you just start at that little number one in the box up there. Say you buy an investment for $100, if it goes up the average stock market return of 10%, it could then be worth $110, meaning that you’ve made $10.

Then that $10 that you earned also starts earning compound interest on top of the $100 you initially invested. That doesn’t sound like much of a profit, but imagine if you were doing it with way larger amounts of money over a way longer period of time. Now that 10% is an annualized rate, which means that you’re not going to get 10% every single year. In all likelihood, some years you’re going to finish up, some years you’ll finish down. But over the course of decades when you average all that out, you tend to get about 10%. The way you actually start investing is through an investing account. And there’s a couple of different types, but the type of investment account you have is actually really, really important because a lot of them have some pretty significant tax benefits that you want to take advantage of. So you’ve got your 401(k)s and these are offered through your employer. You add money to it and sometimes your employer matches it. So it’s basically free money. If you have a 401(k), you’ll likely choose your investments from a pre-selected list or a fund that will automatically adjust itself over time.

So this means 401(k)s are typically very hands off. IRAs on the other hand are investment accounts that you open up yourself. IRAs can be opened online through brokerages and actually at a lot of large banks, they also do that. So it’s likely you can open up an investment account just through your bank. Unlike with a 401(k), IRAs you’ll have to choose your own investments in those accounts. You may have heard about a thing called a Roth IRA or a Roth 401(k) and it’s good if you know the difference. So with a Roth, you pay taxes on your money now just like any other money that you earn and then the money you have invested inside that account grows tax-free and you can take it out tax-free in retirement. With a traditional IRA or 401(k), the money you contribute today is pre-tax.

So that is you get to deduct it from your income taxes this year. So it’s like a nice little treat this year, but then when you cash it out in retirement, you’ll owe income taxes on it. This is really, really important. I’ve seen a lot of people make this mistake. Your investment account is not an investment, so a Roth IRA, a 401(k), not an investment. So if you have a Roth IRA, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually invested in anything. So you fund your investment account and then you buy investments from there. But I’ve heard of people opening a Roth IRA, putting in a bunch of money and then wondering why it didn’t grow over the last 10 years. So you have to purchase investments for your money to actually grow and if you don’t do it, you’ll miss out on all of those years of growth, so very important.

And there’s a couple different types of investments that you can choose from once you open and fund your investment account. So you’ve got stocks, I’m sure everyone’s heard of that, these are shares of ownership in companies and the way you make money from them is if they go up in value and some pay you a cut of the company’s profits on a regular basis. Then you’ve got bonds. This is when you loan money to companies or the government and they pay you interest. Funds, now these are very exciting because they’re basically just baskets of stocks and bonds that you buy all at once. So a fund is still a stock or bond based investment depending on the type of fund that you get. And there’s a lot of different kinds such as index funds or exchange traded funds and mutual funds, but they’re all collections of investments that you buy at one time.

And I think funds are pretty awesome because if you own a stock and that company goes out of business, you lose all of your money. But if you invest in a fund that covers 100 stocks and that same stock goes out of business, your investment is buoyed up by the other 99 companies. So again, all of these investments, stocks, bonds and funds, you buy them from your investment account and then you own them in there. All right, so let’s talk about the stock market, it’s this weird nebulous term that’s hard to understand. But the stock market is just where people buy and sell investments, but now people just trade investments online. So the stock market is made up of several what are called market indexes. Now these are basically just predetermined lists of companies and the performance of that overall list can tell us a lot about the health of the US economy.

So for example, the S&P 500 ↗, something you probably have all heard of, that’s just the list of 500 of the largest publicly traded companies in the US and it includes companies like Apple and Amazon. So when we say the stock market is down today, that means that on average most of those companies aren’t doing well. And you can’t invest in the literal stock market, but you can invest in funds that include all the same investments. So these are called index funds because they track a market index. So again, if you have an S&P 500 index fund, it should perform pretty closely to how the S&P 500 itself is actually performing. The S&P 500 goes up 10% a year on average and 6.5% after inflation. And this is just an average, so some years the market goes up more, some years it goes down less, but when done well, investing can potentially mean doubling your money every few years for doing basically nothing, which is my favorite way of earning money, by doing nothing. It’s great.

So let’s talk strategy. This is all about the way that you invest, when you put your money in and when you take your money out. So passive investing is where you buy that S&P 500 index fund and you keep adding money into it until you retire. It’s very boring, but it’s effective. So it can give you that 10% return on average over the long haul, but a lot of people want to make more than that 10%, and they do so by actively buying and selling stocks, crypto options and other high risk investments. They try to predict when they’ll be low, then they buy them and then they turn around and try to sell them when they’re high. So these people are called active traders or day traders. Only 20% of active traders make money over a six-month period. That is not a lot of people.

There have been a lot of studies over the years that show that active investing is a way less lucrative fashion than boring old passive investing with that index fund. Plus active investing is a lot more work, you have to do all kinds of research and you keep an eye on the markets and you can hypothetically earn more by actively trading versus passively earning the same amount as that historical return of 10%. But most people end up making less when they actually try it, and that’s because people are really bad at predicting things. And in order to make money on the overall stock market over the long term, you have to be really good at predicting things all the time. So maybe you make it big on one stock, but the odds of that happening again and again are very low. So let’s put all of this information together, the accounts, the actual investments and the strategy.

Here’s how financial advisors suggest you prioritize your money when you’re starting to invest. So the first thing you want to do is you’re not actually going to invest at all. The first thing is that you’re going to have an emergency fund. So this is money that you won’t actually put in the stock market, and that’s because when your money is invested, its value can change day by day. So say you have $1,000 and you want to use it for an emergency fund, but you invest it, when you have to fix something on your car suddenly, you go to check your money and its value could be $600 instead of $1,000 and that’s not good. If you put it in a high yield savings account, you can access that money at any time without risking its value. Plus right now the interest rates are really high.

So your money could be earning 4 to 5% just by sitting there. So next, you want to get that 401(k) match if it’s available to you because it’s free money. After that, it’s a good idea to look into IRAs. Both IRAs and 401(k)s have what’s called a contribution limit, which is just the maximum amount of money you can put in each of them every year. If you’re able to max out an IRA, then it’s a good call to move back to your 401(k). And the reason you switch around like that is because of the way the tax benefit works. So it’s likely more beneficial to invest in an IRA over a 401(k) if you’ve already gotten your match, if you have to choose between the two. Then if you max out your 401(k), you can move to a standard brokerage account. And this is not a list of everything you have to be doing right now.

You might be thinking, “Whoa, maxing out an IRA is $6,500, I cannot afford that”, and that is totally fine. So I like to picture it as a waterfall. So when you fill up your emergency fund, then you can start working on getting that 401(k) match. Only after that bucket is full should you then move on to investing in an IRA and so on. And wherever you’re at in your bucket filling journey is okay. It’s just nice to know what to do next when you’re ready for it. So we already talked about what accounts to invest from and the investments you can buy, but then do you just start buying a bunch of index funds or stocks or bonds? How do you know how much of each investment to get? And that is all about risk tolerance. And to understand that we have to understand how risk works over time.

If you’re investing for retirement and you’re in your 20s now, that means you have a ton of time for your investments to grow and then drop dramatically and then rise back up. So financial advisors would say you can afford to take on a bit more risk, AKA invest in riskier investments, because you have time for your investments to bounce back. Now, if you’re investing for your retirement and you’re 65, you don’t want to risk all the money you’ve been investing for years and years because you’re going to actually need to use it to pay for stuff in retirement pretty soon, so you want to protect it. And figuring out how much of each investment you should have is a fancy term called asset allocation, but it just means how much of your portfolio is in which of these investments.

And age is just a number, but typically when you’re younger, you may be able to afford to take more risk because you have more time for the stock market highs and lows to even out. So stocks, and okay, remember index funds and mutual funds are often made up of stocks so those count too, but those tend to carry more risk than investments like bonds. And an example of a 20-year-old’s investment portfolio, which includes all of your accounts so your 401(k), your Roth IRA, all of that together, that could be 100% stocks. And that’s fairly risky, but those 20 year olds are not going to retire for a long time. Now, a 65-year-old might have way more bonds because they don’t want to risk all that money they’ve earned over time. And one thing some investors do to mitigate risk is to slowly shift their asset allocation from high risk investments to low risk investments over time.

And again, I’m not a financial advisor and this is not personalizedinvestment advice ↗ but how much of each investment it’s good to have will usually depend on how much risk you are willing to take. And an investment portfolio can be really simple or really complicated. So you could have that one S&P 500 index fund and you purchase it from a Roth IRA, and that’s just all you do. Just if you want to keep it really simple or you can make it more complicated. So maybe you explore several stock-based funds such as international stocks and healthcare stocks and technology stocks, and you could invest in those types through a fund. So instead of buying 30 technology stocks, you just have one technology stock fund, then a small slice in bonds, and then an even smaller slice is crypto or other high risk investments. Though financial advisors have varying opinions on the safety of crypto.

So keep in mind, this is just an example and not necessarily what you should do personally, but it is really helpful to look up asset allocation portfolios through an online brokerage and see what they recommend for your specific age and when you plan on retiring. You can also talk with a financial advisor who can help guide you through those decisions. And investing is great because it can help you earn wealth, which you could spend on a boat, but more than likely one of your biggest investing goals will be retirement. And the sad truth is that in some things like retirement, they just cost so much that you’ll probably never afford them just by putting money in a savings account. And that’s why we say we have to invest for retirement. And the truth is that most people just aren’t saving enough for retirement.

So you’ll probably have a lot of expenses and you have to pay for that in retirement and some of it’s necessary like food or housing or medical care and some of it is travel or bucket list stuff, but you may not be working anymore or at least not as much as you were. And once you factor in inflation, it’s likely that a dollar today will be worth way less when you’re in retirement. And saving for retirement has gotten even more difficult because you can’t necessarily afford to live on social security. Medicare doesn’t always pay for your health needs and pensions aren’t really as common as they used to be. And because of all this, it’s really important to start investing for retirement sooner rather than later.

And if you’re early in your career, it might seem silly to worry about retiring right now, but if you start investing sooner, you actually spend less on retirement than if you start investing later in life overall and that’s because of compound interest. So our retirement calculator shows that if you start putting away $100 per month, that could grow to nearly $400,000 in 35 years. And it’s always good to know how much you should be trying to invest. When you have a long-term goal in mind, you want to know what that number is. So a retirement calculator can be a big help to figure that out, including NerdWallet’s retirement calculator ↗. No shame, I’m going to plug it, but some financial advisors recommend saving 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement. So okay, let’s break that down. What does that look like?

So if you make $100,000 a year, again just because easy math, that would be $15,000 annually that you’re trying to save for retirement. But if you had a 5% match on your 401(k), you’d already be saving $10,000 a year between the $5,000 you make and the $5,000 your employer puts in. And then if you contributed another $5,000 to your Roth IRA, you’d already meet your target goal of saving $15,000 a year for retirement. You should also think about how much you can make during those peak earning years. If you’re younger, what career are you looking to have? You can look up what those wages tend to look like on a site like Glassdoor or ask someone in your life who is in that career path, and maybe do that tactfully because you’re asking about money. But figuring out what you want to be when you grow up may not be something you want to think about right now.

But to be honest, I studied English in college and no one told me about my job prospects. I figured that I would have to write a super famous book or be a teacher and you don’t have to have everything figured out now, but it doesn’t hurt to see how much a potential field could earn and figure out what careers are open to you. And just keep in mind that relationship between your earnings and investing like we talked about in the beginning. And if you’re later in your career, it is harder to take advantage of compound interest, but some of those investment accounts have those catch up contributions that we talked about so you’re able to contribute more after a certain age. Thank you all so much for listening to me talk very fast for a long time, and now I will hand it back over to Kim to talk about taxes. Thanks so much.

Kim Palmer:

Great, thank you so much, Alana. That was great. Someone actually asked in a pre-submitted question, “Why do I have to pay taxes?” Well, here is why. Taxes are used to pay for a lot of different things like clean water, roads, schools, healthcare, and the military. And your tax return is due every year in mid-April to the IRS. We’ll talk a little bit later about what to do if you need an extension, but in general that is the deadline. But first, let’s back up a little bit. When you file taxes, there is so much paperwork. One really important one is the W-4 ↗. That is the document that your employer asks you to fill out when you start a new job. And it plays a really big role in telling your employer how much in taxes to take out of each paycheck. It asks you things like your filing status, dependents, how much tax to withhold, and if you get a really big tax bill or a big refund, then you might want to go back and revisit your W-4 just to make sure you’re withholding enough but not too much.

There’s also the W-2 ↗, which is a document that your employer sends you to summarize how much in total they took out of your paycheck the previous year, and you’ll need to reference all those numbers when you file your tax return. If you are self-employed or you work a side hustle, then taxes won’t be automatically withheld from your paycheck, and that means you might have to pay something called estimated taxes, which is typically four times a year. In January, you’ll get something called a 1099 form that outlines how much money any company paid you, and then you’ll use that information when you file your return. And then finally, the 1040 ↗is the main form you use when you file taxes, and we’ll drop a link in the chat for more about that. Okay, so you have all of your forms set. How do you actually file your taxes?

You can do it yourself through the IRS. You can use an online tax prep software or you can use a tax professional like an accountant or a tax preparer. If you do it on your own, you can either use paper forms or get access to brand name tax prep software through an IRS service called Free File. But it’s important to know that only people who make below a certain income qualify for the Free File program. If you use tax software like TurboTax, H&R Block or NerdWallet Taxes ↗powered by Column Tax, many of these providers use a Q&A style to help you do your taxes and some even offer paid upgrades that connect you directly to a tax professional. If your finances are really complicated and you want some extra help, then you can also work with a tax preparer such as a certified public accountant.

You do want to make sure to ask them lots of questions and check their credentials before you agree to share your financial information. And you also want to check to see if they have a prepared tax identification number, which is an ID that’s required for anyone who files tax returns for compensation. The US does not have a flat tax system, and that means that portions of your income can be taxed at different rates. There are currently seven tax rates for federal income taxes that run from 10% to 37%. And which tax rate applies to you depends on your income and your filing status. So you might hear people say, “I’m in the 12% bracket” or “I’m in the 22% bracket”, but being in a tax bracket doesn’t mean you pay that tax rate on everything you make. And in reality, people’s income can fall into several different tax brackets depending on how much they make.

Portions or chunks of your income are taxed at different rates and some of those different taxes are then added together. So for example, some of your income could be taxed at a rate of 10%, another chunk could be at 12%. The more you make, the higher the tax rate might be on some of your income. And depending on the state where you pay your income taxes, you might pay a flat rate or a progressive rate similar to the federal structure. A small handful of states have no state income tax. If you want to pay less, you can look for tax breaks. Tax credits and tax deductions are two tools that can help you potentially minimize your tax bill, but they do work in different ways. Tax deductions reduce your taxable income. As a simplified example, a $25,000 tax deduction on $100,000 of taxable income means that only $75,000 of that income will get taxed.

Tax credits directly reduce your tax bill by the value of their credit. So this means if you owe $2,000 in taxes and you’re eligible for a $1,000 tax credit, you’ll end up owing $1,000. Tax credits tend to be more valuable because they have the potential to pack a bigger punch, so you definitely want to try to take all the tax credits you qualify for, and you could even get money back if a credit is refundable. Common tax credits include the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, the lifetime learning credit, and the American opportunity credit and savers credit.

All right, I alluded to this at the beginning, but what happens if you’re not going to be ready by mid-April? What do you do? If you know you won’t be able to file on time before tax day, you can file for a free extension with the IRS and that gives you until mid-October to file your return. But you want to make sure that at least 90% of what you think you’ll owe in April is covered by an estimated tax payment or your withholdings. Otherwise, the IRS can hit you with a penalty for late payment. The failure to pay penalty is really no joke. It’s 0.5% of your unpaid taxes each month your payment is late plus interest. If you file late and you did not file an extension, you could also get hit with a failure to file penalty, which is 5% of your unpaid taxes each month that your payment is late. There is some good-ish news, if you file late but you don’t owe anything, you won’t get penalized but that doesn’t mean you’re not still obligated to file.

If you don’t, the IRS could file a return on your behalf and you might miss out on a refund if you’re owed one. And if your tax bill is so high that you can’t pay it off, you do have options. You can set up a long-term or short-term payment plan with the IRS.

I know that was a whole lot of information and taxes can seem scary, but we break down lots of popular tax questions and terms on nerdwallet.com ↗. We have some time to address some pre-submitted questions from the audience ranging from about Roth IRAs to the pros and cons of having a financial advisor. And I do want to give a reminder here as we answer these questions that we are not tax or investing advisors. We are writers who focus on these fields and what we say is not investing or tax advice. So with that said, let’s dive into these questions. A question that came to us in an email was: how do you choose between paying off credit card debt and investing in saving for emergencies?

I really love this question because I think it speaks to some of the biggest challenges of personal finance, navigating these choices. And the answer is it’s really up to you. Many financial advisors say that the first step is to create a starter emergency fund, and you can read more in our article that we’ll link to, Should I Pay Off Debt Or Save? ↗ And you’ll see most people think about saving $500 to $1,000 first and then after that to consider contributing enough to a workplace retirement plan if they have access to one, and then contributing 3% to 5% of income to an IRA or a Roth IRA. And then financial advisors say people can consider focusing on paying off high interest debt and amp up investing efforts once they have paid that off. And now Alana, I’ll turn over to you. Perhaps you can answer the questions about Roth IRAs.

Alana Benson:

Absolutely. So a couple folks were wondering, before we went over everything, what a Roth IRA is and how does it work and when is it worth it to open one? So we already covered this a little bit, but again, it’s an individual retirement account and it lets you contribute money that you’ve already paid taxes on. So think about when you get your paycheck. That money has already had taxes taken out of it. So once you hit age 59 and a half and you have held the Roth IRA for at least five years, you can withdraw your contributions and any earnings, which is a fancy word for money that you earn from investing, without paying taxes again. And whether it’s worth it is up to you, especially if you’re trying to decide between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA because it’s about when you pay those taxes and if you have a traditional IRA, you do get that tax break right now.

So that’s a personal decision. But you can also take out money tax-free from your Roth IRA later in life. So if that’s something that you are really trying to parse out, it might be good to talk to a financial advisor because they can help you with that question. We had two other questions. The first one is: how do you calculate how much money to put in your Roth IRA if you make over the maximum amount? So we didn’t actually cover this, so Roth IRAs do have income limits, but there is something called a Backdoor Roth that lets you contribute money first to a traditional IRA, pay taxes on it and then roll that money into a Roth IRA. And then our last question is: what are the pros and cons of having a financial advisor and how do you find one?

This is such a good question. The pros and cons really depend on your situation. The catchall term ‘financial advisor’ is used to describe a wide variety of people and services, including investment managers, financial consultants, financial planners. First and foremost, you always want to verify a financial professional because financial advisor doesn’t require people to be vetted. Certain things like a certified financial planner or a CFP, those actually have a very high level of education and have a certification that you can verify online. So anyone that you are talking about money with, you want to make sure that you are vetting them. And some of these people can just talk to you about your finances and some of them can actually manage your investments for you if you want that. Financial advisors, depending on the kind that you choose, can be pretty expensive. A robo-advisor is like an AI version of a financial advisor.

You just set up an account for one and then they charge you a pretty modest fee. And based on your age and your risk tolerance, it will manage your investments for you. An online financial advisor can offer more services and you can actually talk to a human being, but those do tend to cost a little bit more. And then you could go to an in-person financial advisor, depending on their credentials, that might cost even more, but sometimes it’s really nice to talk to somebody that you know and you can grow that relationship with them over time.

Kim Palmer:

Great. Thank you, Alana. And I think, actually, I can squeeze in one more question that we received. How do taxes work with investment accounts? How much do we set aside so we aren’t surprised by a tax bill? Which is a great question. If you’re selling stocks from a brokerage investment account, then you should be aware of three words, capital gains taxes. Those are the taxes you’ll pay when you sell assets for profit. Assets that you have owned for more than a year are subject to long-term capital gains tax, and the capital gains tax rate is 0%, 15% or 20% on most assets. Capital gains taxes on assets held for a year or less are subject to short-term capital gains. If you regularly trade stocks or other investments, you might be subject to short-term capital gains.

Those profits are taxed as ordinary income based on your tax brackets, which we went over before. Your final tax bill depends on a number of different factors. If you don’t want to be surprised, estimate what you’ll owe using tools such as a tax calculator or IRS worksheets. If needed, consider setting aside enough to cover the tax bill or paying estimated taxes and as always, your specific situation will differ and we are not tax professionals. We hope that you enjoyed this webinar and learned something today. If you’d like to get even more clarity on your finances and continue learning with NerdWallet, consider signing up for an account with us at nerdwallet.com ↗. Thank you so much for joining us.

Sean Pyles: And that’s all we have for this episode. To send the Nerds your money questions, call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That’s 901-730-NERD. You can also email us at [email protected]. Here’s our brief disclaimer. We are not financial or investment advisors. This nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances. This webinar episode was produced by Alikay Wood, Sheri Gordon, and me. We had editing help from Liz Weston, Sara Brink mixed our audio, and a big thank you to NerdWallet’s editors for all their help. And with that said, until next time, turn the Nerds.

The article Smart Money Podcast: Wealth Building Strategies- Investing and Tax Tips for Financial Success originally appeared on NerdWallet.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

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