The Bastard and I went to one of those ‘get a free dinner and listen to our sales pitch’ presentations tonight. And - while I’m fully aware he was selling his services and his preferred investment strategy - it was thought-provoking.

So I have a two-pronged question for financially-inclined GTers:

1. We are looking at having to pay taxes this year, for the first year in forever. (Youngest son graduated college last summer and we lost the tuition credit we’ve had over 3 kids and 3 colleges) Rather than give $$ to the IRS, we’re thinking about opening an IRA (in my name, as I have substantially less retirement money than he does). Is an IRA a dollar-for-dollar exchange? As in, if I open an IRA for $2K does that knock $2K off my tax bill?

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2. So this guy tonight was promoting Fixed Annuities. We wouldn’t be putting all our retirement money into it, but I do have an 401K from my previous job at Big Evil Bank that we could put into one. Is it as good as he says? Low risk (that’s getting important as we get older), even if it’s not stellar interest return? No fees, the broker guy gets his commission from the insurance company issuing the annuity? Really?

Any advice happily listened to, even if we decide to do something different.