5 Ways To Manage Your Money Better

5 Ways to Manage Your Money Better & Take Charge of Your Finances

Learn how to manage your moneyDo 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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Tax Reform and Baby Boomers

Tax Reform and Its Effect on Baby Boomers

tax reform and baby boomersThe new Tax Cuts & Job Act (TCJA) has been a hot topic most of this year, both in social and financial circles. Tax reform will have different effects on many taxpayers in different situations.

Previous articles have discussed how millennials are affected by the TCJA tax reform, and now another group is in the spot light. Baby Boomers it’s now your turn.

To assist you in visualizing just how tax reform will affect various individuals in the baby boomer generation, we’ve provided a Tax Reform Calculator. Check out the different scenarios and create your own to give you an idea where you stand.

As you hear the drum roll in the background, we are about to reveal the parts of the TCJA that will mostly affect baby boomers.

  • The standard deduction has almost doubled
    For each filing status, the new standard deduction has almost doubled. What this means is that many taxpayers who have been itemizing their deductions in the past on a Schedule A will have no need to do it on 2018 taxes.

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File Your Taxes on the New Form 1040 Post Card Size

The IRS New Post Card Size Form 1040

By now, most of you have either seen the new Form 1040, or have read a lot of comments on the Internet. Is it really the size of a post card? Can you file your taxes using just this new form?

Pretty much. (See the front and back below)

Some may. Probably not for most.

What is the Form 1040?

This form was first introduced over a hundred years ago as the primary summary form for individual tax returns. In the beginning, all Form 1040 returns were done by hand. Eventually when computers came upon the scene, a few outside vendors were preparing tax returns for accounting firms.

These returns, however, had to be mailed in by the taxpayer. Then in 1986, e-filing was introduced by the IRS, and this was the point that forever changed the method you could file your taxes. View full post…

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Moving Expenses Deduction * Form 1040

 How to Use Moving Expenses Deduction to Lower Your Taxes

 Deduct the moving expenses deductionThere are a number of tests that the IRS says you must satisfy to qualify for the moving expenses deduction. The primary test is that your move must be work related in order to deduct any relocation costs. There’s also tests for time and distance that will be explained shortly.

To claim the relocation expenses deduction, you’ll have to use the long Form 1040, but there is no requirement for you to itemize any other deductions on a Schedule A. The IRS Form 3903 is used to list the various allowable expenses, and it’s quite easy to complete.

Once that is done, the total is transferred to the front of the Form 1040, and listed as an adjustment (subtraction) from your gross income. View full post…

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Hobby or a Business?

Hobby or a Business – The IRS is Watching You!

Income from a hobby may be taxable incomeDid you know that if you earn income from your favorite hobby, you’re required to report it on your tax return? I didn’t think so. Most individuals aren’t aware of this and fail to report this income on their tax returns.

There are literally millions of American taxpayers that enjoy a hobby. Most of them, including myself, have only expenses connected with our hobbies. However, many others are able to generate a net profit.

As an example, let’s look at a coin collector. They may be fortunate and come across a rare coin they acquired at a very low cost. They sell the coin to another collector at a high price and this results in a net profit in their favorite pastime for the year.

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