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 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.
5 tips for financing your next DIY home improvement project
(BPT) – Whether it’s transforming a fixer-upper into your dream home or just giving a makeover to your kitchen or bathroom, DIY home improvement projects are on the minds of many new homeowners across the country.
While many things about renovating your home are flexible, your budget might not be. In general, not a single floor-board is laid, or a new countertop installed without money, which is why every home renovation project should begin with careful financial planning.
To help homeowners with their renovation projects, Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R) is working with home renovation expert, JoJo Fletcher, to share her budget-friendly home renovation tips.
“Think about small changes you can make if you don’t have the time to take on a big project right now, like freshening up any kitchen by refinishing your cabinets with a bright white coat of paint,” said JoJo Fletcher, ambassador for Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R). “When it comes to financing View full post…
The most common causes of a homeowner insurance claim
(BPT) – The value of a homeowner insurance policy is often thrust into the national spotlight when natural disasters happen. The devastation and financial loss they can cause reinforces the importance of making sure you have adequate insurance coverage to rebuild if disaster strikes your home. In 2017 alone, the U.S. was struck by 16 separate billion-dollar disaster events, resulting in a record-breaking $300 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Thankfully, most Americans don’t experience large-scale natural catastrophes, but millions of homeowners do experience some kind of property loss each year and need to make an insurance claim. The most commonly reported homeowner insurance claims are actually the result of events that can occur at any time, so it’s important for homeowners to be prepared for these potential risks. View full post…
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
6 other college expenses (and opportunities) to consider when the financial aid letter arrives
(BPT) – The last year of high school is a whirl of activity, and it’s no different when it comes to the final leg of college selection. Once the acceptance notifications arrive, it will soon be time to sit down with a different stack of mail: financial aid letters and other college expenses to consider.
As you undoubtedly know, the cost of college is no small investment. In the 2017-18 academic year, the average tuition and fees for four-year public colleges is $25,620, while for private colleges, the costs are $33,520, and public two-year colleges cost $3,570, according to the College Board.
At the same time, the College Board reports that more than 70 percent of students receive grants to help pay for college. Hopefully, those financial letters contain some good news.
For most families, analyzing the letters is a process of uncovering the college that can offer the best education at the best value for your student. One way to get there is to parse the details of the letter itself so you understand the net cost of your student’s education. Still, it’s critical View full post…
(BPT) – From millennials who have been grinding away in the workplace for a few years to Gen Xers looking to move out of their cube, many have been intrigued by the possibility of becoming a freelance entrepreneur.
It means the freedom to set your own hours, to work closely with clients, to be your own boss and have greater control over your career.
According to Forbes, there are 53 million freelancers in America today, and by 2020, it’s estimated that half of the workforce will be doing freelance work, whether full time, as a part-time gig or as their side hustle.
Unlike a traditional job, where you generally don’t need to bring more than a packed lunch to work, a freelance entrepreneur requires a few essential tricks and tools to succeed. Whether you’re looking to start out or refresh your personal brand, homeworking View full post…
(BPT) – If you love the idea of being a landlord and don’t mind being on duty around the clock, buying investment property may be the wealth-building option for you.
Property values have enjoyed a steady increase over the decades. That’s why real estate has earned its reputation as a sound investment that builds wealth and credit.
Most people, however, don’t have the quantity of cash on hand to purchase a house or apartment building outright. Still, if becoming a landlord means taking out a 30-year mortgage, the monthly payments from the tenants should be enough to service the loan and build equity for you, while leaving some cash flow so you can maintain the property.
If buying investment property sounds like a step you’d like to take, here are some credit considerations every investor needs to know.
1. Be mindful of the inquiry stage
Once you decide to purchase an investment property, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure your credit score stays as high as possible until the loan is approved and signed. Your goal is to land the best possible interest rate because View full post…
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 able to manage your money better.
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.
Some Important Small Business Tips for an Annual Checkup
There are many challenges that an entrepreneur faces daily, and one of the major ones is improving cash flow. Practically every small business owner looks for ways to cut expenses and to collect money that is owed to them. Working capital is needed no matter if it happens to be in a slow period or a time of expansion. Here are a few small business tips for your annual checkup.
Getting all of your financial records together for your accountant to file your annual business tax return takes some time, but it will give you the information needed for a review. This is a good time to take stock of your business operations for the past year. You have what you need to make sure that it is operating as efficiently as it can.
Your accountant can be a big help in pointing out areas that need to be reviewed. If certain expenses appear to be out of line, he can steer you in that direction to see why. In conjunction with the preparation of the business tax returns, we offer the following small business tips that may help you increase your cash flow for the new year.
Review your business plan – You do have one, don’t you? Many View full post…
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