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What are required minimum distributions (RMDs)?

Traditional IRAs and employer retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s offer several tax advantages, including the ability to defer income taxes on both contributions and earnings until they're distributed from the plan.

But, unfortunately, you can't keep your money in these retirement accounts forever. The law requires that you begin taking distributions, called "required minimum distributions" or RMDs, when you reach age 70½ (or in some cases, when you retire), whether you need the money or not. (Minimum distributions are not required from Roth IRAs during your lifetime.)

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Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 included a section titled "Closure of Unintended Loopholes" that ends two Social Security claiming strategies that have become increasingly popular over the last several years. These two strategies, known as "file and suspend" and "restricted application" for a spousal benefit, have often been used to optimize Social Security income for married couples.

If you have not yet filed for Social Security, it's important to understand how these new rules could affect your retirement strategy. Depending on your age, you may still be able to take advantage of the expiring claiming options. The changes should not affect current Social Security beneficiaries and do not apply to survivor benefits.

Enjoy the Journey Art Gallery Highlights Upcoming Classes and Events

Enjoy the Journey Art Gallery Highlights Upcoming Classes and Events

Eden artist John Merlino’s solo exhibit, “Universal Meditations,” will open at Enjoy the Journey Art Gallery in West Seneca from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 6. This exhibit taps into the artist’s creative, expressive, abstract, collage and mixed media expressions. His artwork is bold, makes statements and creates dialogue!  

A Pottery Workshop with artist Sara Goldhawk of Goldhawk Pottery, using the Sgraffito technique, will be offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11. Sgraffito is defined as “a form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color.” Similar to working on scratch board, you’ll make a black-and-white piece as you will be scratching black slip from white clay. More details can be found on the gallery’s website, and the cost is $45.

Young Audiences WNY Bringing Three Fun-filled Events to Dog Ears Bookstore

Young Audiences WNY Bringing Three Fun-filled Events to Dog Ears Bookstore

Dog Ears Bookstore & Café and Young Audiences Western New York are teaming up to offer three exciting educational events at the bookstore during May. Dog Ears Bookstore is located at 688 Abbott Road in South Buffalo.

Kicking off the events will be “In Jest with Nels Ross” from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, May 14. Ross’ gravity-defying arts-in-education programs promote character education, wellness, math, science, reading and fun!

A kite-making workshop with Meg Robinson-Albers will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 21. Robinson-Albers is a self-professed “kite-maven,” bringing the joy of kite making and the science of flying to students in all grade levels.

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Erie County Clerk, AAAWCNY, AT&T, Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day

Erie County Clerk, AAAWCNY, AT&T, Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day

County Clerk Chris Jacobs and AAA Western and Central New York teamed up with AT&T, Erie County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police to raise awareness for AAA’s 100 Deadliest Days for Drivers - the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities historically climb, the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign and state distracted driving laws. Distracted Driving Awareness Day in Western New York was hosted May 3 at the Erie County Auto Bureau in the Town of Tonawanda, where young drivers, parents and all those that visited the auto bureau were educated about the dangers of distracted driving.

Exhibition Features Children’s Works Inspired by Street Photographer

Exhibition Features Children’s Works Inspired by Street Photographer

Elementary and middle school students from South Buffalo’s Seneca Babcock community displayed their “street photography” skills at a Daemen College exhibition that was inspired by the works of American street photographer Vivian Maier.

The photographs shown in the April 21 exhibition, “Seneca Babcock Through the Eyes, Hearts and Art of Children: Part III,” resulted from a community art project overseen by Dr. Mary Wolf, Daemen associate professor of art education, and art education major Samantha Lora of Manchester.

What's the best way to back up my digital information?

In writing or speaking, redundancy is typically not recommended unless you're really trying to drive a point home. When it comes to your digital life, however, redundancy is not only recommended, it's critical.

Redundancy is the term used to refer to data backups. If you have digital assets that you don't want to risk losing forever--including photos, videos, original recordings, financial documents, and other materials--you'll want to be sure to back them up regularly. And it's not just materials on your personal computer, but your mobile devices as well. Depending on how much you use your devices, you may want to back them up as frequently as every few days.

A good rule to follow is the 3-2-1 rule. This rule helps reduce the risk that any one event--such as a fire, theft, or hack--will destroy or compromise both your primary data and all your backups.