I have helped multiple tax payers get started with an IRA by showing them how they could get a larger tax refund or save thousands of dollars on their Federal Tax obligation. I have drafted a letter about saving for retirement, which over ten people took action and either opened an IRA or re-started their annual contributions.
One fellow, age 67, is a tour host at the Biltmore Estate, his income from W2, Sch E, and tobacco subsidy payments and Social Security left him with a $2700+ Fed tax owed and $500 owed the State of NC. When I suggested what a $1000 IRA contribution would do, he responded that he would soon be 70 1/2 and then have to turn around and pay taxes on his 2014 contribution. I sent him to BankRate.com for a RMDQ calculation to show him only a small portion of the 2014 contributions would be needed to be withdrawn and pay taxes on.
After two weeks, he reported that he had made a $6500 contribution and his Fed amount owed was reduced to $314 and his NC tax was now just $72. Plus we did 1040x's for 2011, 12, and 13 to adjust his Sch E for depreciation that was overlooked by the CPA firm that did his taxes for over ten years (he brought in those returns).
Two years ago, a couple owed over $6000 in taxes due to an inheritance of nearly $100K. One worked and one was collecting retirement, but under age 65. I said because of the spouse's earnings, they both could open an IRA and fund it with perhaps $5500 each at that time. They followed thru and the wife contributed the maximum and the husband decided about $4500 was right for him and I reduced their Federal amount owed to under $2000.
It is quiet simple to show them the 1040 results and then plug in IRA amounts....for younger people I do $300 and $500, for middle class I start with $500 and then go to $1000. Many of them have savings account that little pay little or nothing in interest.
For certain clients - when inputting the 1099B accounts when they leave me their tax work - I will chart out on BigCharts.com the graphs of their major mutual fund holdings... and then compare this to the S&P 500 performance. When their prime holding is under-performing, I suggest they contact their financial advisor and discuss portfolio realignment.
I get a lot of "thank you-s" for this service.