5 retirement questions to ask before ‘How much should I save?’
(BPT) – How do I plan for a comfortable retirement? This question is top of mind for many Americans. Yet how to afford that dream retirement remains a mystery to most. According to The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 42% of working-age people have tried to calculate just how much they need to save to live comfortably in retirement.
But “how much money you need to retire” is not the only question you should be asking — and not even the initial one. There are a few key questions you should consider first to help determine what “retirement” means to you, which will help paint a clearer picture of that magic savings number. Before you pull out your calculator, consider these View full post…
Posted: December 2, 2019 Under: Retirement By: Gust Lenglet
Stepped-Up Cost Basis – Very Important Tax Benefit
Practically all married couples have their home and other assets titled jointly with a right of survivorship. What that means is that when one spouse passes away, their ownership of the home or other asset passes on to the surviving spouse. This triggers a tax benefit called stepped-up cost basis.
This arrangement works very well for married couples who have a modest estate and want all of their assets to pass on to the surviving spouse. In most situations, these assets will pass to the surviving spouse without any federal or state death taxes. Plus, there is no need to get involved with lengthy and complicated estate or probate procedures.
What often happens though, the surviving spouse and/or inexperienced executors overlook a very important tax benefit that the survivor is qualified for. Perhaps because the joint ownership rules are so simple, this fact doesn’t surface.
A home, for instance, may have been purchased by the couple at very low cost many years ago. Over the years, it may have increased in value substantially, and at the date of death of the first spouse, may View full post…
Posted: November 26, 2019 Under: Income Tax By: Gust Lenglet
Creating a Financial Plan Yourself Isn’t Difficult
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn how to create a personal financial plan. Our tips will show how to do it for free.
A 2019 survey by a respected financial firm, revealed some interesting statistics. The survey pointed out that about 75% of individuals who had a financial plan in place paid their bills on time.
In contrast, about 35% without a plan paid their bills on time. In addition, about 65% who had a financial plan, set up an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. About 25% of those who had no plan, created an emergency fund for future unforeseen expenses.
The Good, Bad, and Ugly of an Interest Only Mortgage
An interest only mortgage can appear to be a very attractive offer at the onset. However, it can also be a disaster waiting to happen for many borrowers who don’t completely understand what awaits them five or ten years down the road.
About ten or twelve years ago, a period known as the Great Recession caused havoc for many homeowners. One of the causes of this economic ruin was interest only mortgages held by borrowers who bought expensive homes they couldn’t afford. When the interest-only period ended and they had to begin repayment of principal also, and a higher rate of interest, they defaulted. have brought this option back for certain home buyers. The question we have is, should a home buyer View full post…
Posted: April 26, 2019 Under: Mortgages By: Gust Lenglet
5 Ways to Manage Your Money Better & Take Charge of Your Finances
Do you put off making changes to better manage your money? If you have financial fears, does the prospect of financial planning seem next to impossible? If so, you’re not alone. Almost one half of Americans find this scary, and it doesn’t have to be.
There’s no need to postpone a much-needed review of your financial situation any longer. Getting your finances back on track and knowing where your hard-earned money is going, is not that difficult. Over 80% of Americans say that they would like to be in better control of their finances.
For that reason, we offer a simple checklist of five options that you can review to fit your specific personal circumstances. By following them, you will be well on your way to being in control of your money.
First and foremost, get rid of credit card debt. Many individuals are carrying several credit cards with high balances with high fees and very high interest rates. Many are only able to pay the minimum payments required, and in doing so, will be paying on those cards into old age.
Our first recommendation is to create a workable budget and stick to it. Debt retirement should be budgeted, and any extra money needs to be applied to your debt. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then obtain a debt consolidation loan to repay every credit card in full. Going forward, stop using your cards and don’t create any more debt.
Review all of your service providers. Look at all of your monthly expenses and see if its possible to lower them by switching to a competitor. This applies to auto insurance and your cable and Internet provider.
You’ll be surprised to see just how high a cable and Internet provider can get their bill up by those impossible to refuse offers you get from them. There are ways to cut that bill practically in half without much difficulty. As you try to manage your money better, this is one area to pay particular attention.
If you’re into apps, there are some that personal finance apps that allow you to track all expenses and even to save. We also suggest that you get a good budgeting software program to setup a budget and get your finances back on track.
Be prepared for tax season. There have been some major changes to the tax law and you need to review your various benefits to see if you still qualify for them. In the past, you were able to use your home equity line of credit interest as a deduction, no matter what the purpose of the loan was.
That no longer is true, and a deduction for this interest can be done only if the loan was used to improve the property or to acquire a residence. In addition, there no longer is a personal exemption deduction. File your return early, and if you get a refund, use it to retire debt.
Take advantage of retirement contributions. If your employer offers a 401(k), try to maximize your contribution. Often times, the employer will make a matching contribution, and this will help your retirement fund to grow even more.
It’s to your advantage to begin retirement contributions as early in life as possible in order that they will have a long time to grow. Continue to explore options that will have your retirement account well-funded.
Keep your APY high. There are many types of savings options that are better than a local bank savings account. The APY, or your annual percentage yield, can be much higher with some online savings institutions. Check them out carefully and see where you can benefit the most.
Don’t postpone this very important financial review. If you want to manage your money better, see where you need to make changes. By taking advantage of the five options in this article, you can be on your way in becoming debt free and taking control of your money.
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