It’s that time again to examine the moves you need to make to increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2015 and beyond. It’s really important to start now and review all the opportunities that can save you money, since in most cases (for personal taxes, not business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments. Doing your year end tax planning now means you can claim these benefits when you file your return by April 15th. If you itemize your deductions, many of these actions should look familiar, so let’s begin!
We have all heard the lawyer jokes, haven’t we? Ones like “How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving!” Well, as funny as that one is, it’s not a laughing matter when you actually need an attorney to help you in real personal or business matters. Whether it’s to prepare your will, make estate plans, resolve a tax issue, handle a personal injury claim, evict a tenant, draw up a business contract, defend against a civil lawsuit, or even handle a criminal proceeding, lawyers are invaluable professionals in navigating the complex legal maze and protecting your rights.
The interesting part of needing the help of a good lawyer is that most of us really don’t know where to look or even begin. Unless you’re someone who has unfortunately dealt with lots of legal issues, you may think you can just look in the yellow pages, run a quick search on the internet or call some number you see advertised on TV. That’s probably not the best idea. But there are some ways you can find a lawyer who will meet your needs and become a real asset to you.Continue reading“How to Find the Right Lawyer for Your Needs”
Every year, Thanksgiving gives us a wonderful opportunity to sit around the table and celebrate with our family and friends by sharing the many things we have to be thankful about. It may be the fact that we can simply gather together and share the love or that we have our health or a roof over our heads and food on the table. There is always something to be thankful for! I hope for all of us it’s not just a day off from work or another day to watch football or shop for a bargain, even though for many people that may be how they spend part of the holiday. I hope it’s much more than that for you.
Having said that, I thought today on the eve before the eve before (at least here in the US), I’d look at Thanksgiving from a slightly different angle:
What was the single best financial decision or action this year for which I am most grateful? (click to tweet)
Writing about saving money is a feel-good way for me to share my knowledge with all of you. Since I’ve started, I’ve covered a number of ways that you can cut your grocery bill, home energy costs, shopping expenses and many more areas where we regularly spend our money. Some are smaller ways, and others help you to save big money, like shopping around for car insurance. But I wanted to share some other ideas with you. Each of them is different and if you make them into regular habits, you can save a substantial amount.
Bold Ways to Save Big Money
1. Give Up Your Car
The cost of a car is way expensive. You may have monthly payments in the hundreds, car insurance costs through the roof (here in NJ, it’s the highest in the country), maintenance and gasoline, plus license and registration fees. Continue reading“8 Bold Ways to Save Big Money”
It was just a few years ago that my 12-year-old nephew asked his grandmother for a CD on his birthday. She was so proud that the young man was interested in looking for ways to build his finances that she wanted to open a new CD for him right away. I had to laugh just a little when I explained to her that he wasn’t asking about an interest-bearing certificate of deposit from the bank, but rather a new compact disc just released by his favorite rock band! There’s a lesson here somewhere, but that’s for another post on another day.
Today we are talking about CD’s (certificates of deposit), the kind that can help you round out your financial portfolio and help you reach your financial goals. The strategy is called laddering, and it helps you make some decisions about the terms and interest rates. Longer terms mean higher interest rates for CD’s (in general) and shorter terms mean faster access to your money. A CD ladder strategy helps you balance higher rates with more frequent access to your funds.Continue reading“How Can a CD Ladder Strategy Help You Reach Your Goals?”
October is the time of year that my mind wanders into the macabre. I can’t help it. It’s Halloween time in just a few days and frankly, I have to admit that I love being a little bit scared. And really, don’t we all? We pay good money to watch horror, gore and grizzly scary stuff in movies and at haunted hayrides, and so it just figures that we must love being totally frightened! But there is one area that I am seriously afraid of and I try to avoid like the plague, and that’s combining scary stuff with money stuff.
Protecting my money comes in third on my short list of money priorities right after earning money and saving money. You would be horrified if you stopped for a second and considered the many ways people torture themselves making frightening and shocking decisions every day of the year. In the spirit of the season that is upon us, let me scare the living daylights out of you right now.Continue reading“9 Really Scary Things People Do With Money!”
I grew up at a perfect time to be a teenager. I was 14 in February 1964, just when the British Invasion came to America heralded by the arrival of the “Fab Four” known as the Beatles. It was their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I don’t think there’s a teenager who saw that show who doesn’t remember that night and the exciting changes that occurred across the nation as a result. 70 million people tuned in to see John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and from that day to this one, music was just never the same.
During all my teen years, the Beatles influenced everything from fashion to politics and from culture to music trends. Some 50+ years later, you can still feel the influences. Beatlemania was unlike anything before, and I doubt it will be like anything in the future.
It occurred to me when reviewing a list of Beatles songs (there are over 200 original recordings), that many of their song titles can be interpreted as encrypted messages about financial fitness and personal development. I may be taking some liberties here (alright, a LOT of liberties), but I looked through the many titles and came up with the top 12 songs that I have
twisted into interpreted as money matter themes. I admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but I wouldn’t put it past them if there were actual hidden money messages for us all! Continue reading“Hidden Money Messages in 12 Popular Beatles Songs”
As a retiree myself, the recent news regarding Social Security benefits has me worried and troubled. Not only for me, but for the millions of people who are struggling to maintain an acceptable standard of living while relying on these benefits. I write about retirement planning here on this blog, and when things like omitting the cost of living adjustment occur, it’s an emphatic reminder that we all must plan appropriately for our golden years if we want to be able to enjoy them.
Beneficiaries will not get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in January 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced this past Thursday. For seniors and others receiving benefits, this can make managing finances a more difficult experience. Continue reading“No Social Security COLA Increase in 2016”