Consumers may get a small shock when they get their first paycheck on the 15th this year. Why? The social security tax increase was not included in the fiscal cliff negotiations and will take a bite out of their net take-home pay, causing the amount they receive to be less than the amount received in their 2012 paychecks.
Designed to help stimulate the economy by giving tax payers more disposable income in their regular paychecks, the social security payroll tax holiday cut social security taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. The two percent tax cut amounted to an annual income boost of $1,000 for a family earning $50,000 per year and an increase of approximately $2,200 for a family earning $110,100. The law was passed in 2011 and was extended to the end of 2012 by Congress.
Consumers should reassess their budgets and avoid falling into the trap of supplementing their income with credit cards or tapping into the equity of their home.
They should also consider re-evaluating the payments and interest rates on their loans. If their credit score has improved since they last took out a loan it may be time to re-evaluate. The chances are that they can save on lower interest now (visit Credit Sesame to find out and double check for free). In this lower interest rate environment, refinancing can save consumers thousands of dollars, which they can use to supplement their income or put towards paying down their credit card, student loan or other debt.