What Women Need To Rethink About Their Money After Divorce

  Have you ever heard that term ‘they traded in for a new model’ when it comes to discussion around a divorce?   While divorce is never emotionally easy, the more challenging part especially for women is thinking about how to get their finances set after the divorce is finalized.  Many women don’t build a financial plan to recalculate their own goals and objectives, nor do they always fully understand the implications of child support, alimony, or how to best get the assets set up that they took over after the divorce.  Here are five important consideration every woman should rethink after the divorce. Your Home – The last thing in the world you want to do is to sell the house that your kids are used to or move to a new school district. Just the thought of making new friends, new neighbors, and navigating a new school traffic pattern in the morning can be daunting.  However, many women take ...

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10 Questions To Ask Your CPA

If you are hiring an accounting or tax and business firm, it should go without saying that you have a CPA involved in looking over all of the work.   However, not all accounting firms are created equal.     Some accountants are aggressive, some are conservative, and some care about nothing more than just preparing your taxes.   With the tax bomb right coming right around the corner over the next decade, isn’t it time you asked your CPA these important questions? Question #1: Do you believe I’m paying too much, too little, or just the right amount of tax? Beyond simply preparing tax forms, an accountant should be involved in business planning throughout the year. Typically, you should be planning a tax review in the beginning of the year to ensure you create the most efficient tax strategy possible.   If your CPA just gives you the “we are doing great” speech, it could be time for a move Question #2: Do you ...

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5 Tax Tips Before You File

It’s the beginning of February and your tax documents will be piling up by the day as a new mail from your mortgage companies, banks, and investment companies are sent out to you.   As you begin to stack up your pile of information to bring to the CPA or accountant, did you ever wonder if there are still ways you can save money on your 2013 income taxes before you hit the SEND button to the IRS?   Here are my 5 smart money moves on tax tips before your file away for another year. Contribute To An IRA- Whether this is a Traditional IRA or for small business owners/freelancers a SEP-IRA, these types of IRA contributions could still potentially be tax deductible for the 2013 calendar year even though the contributions and accounts were opened in 2014.   The biggest mistake individuals make is not investigating how these vehicles work or the adjusted gross income limits that would make things like ...

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Why Are You Mad At Your Accountant?

Here is a question to ask yourself after tax season is over.  What really happens during a typical tax season for a family or business? I have been doing this for over 20 years, and so let me describe to you the typical outcomes. The first thing that we see is that most people cross their fingers and say three Hail Mary’s hoping for a refund.  Does this sound like you?  You gather all of these documents that you get from your employer, your investment companies, and real estate you own, then you hand them over to somebody (an accountant or CPA) and pray that they’re going to get you some money back so you can go on that vacation or remodel your house.  Most individuals that we meet who get a federal refund during tax time think that their CPA is the bomb.  They are assumed to be the smartest, brightest, and most unbelievable individuals in the world.  It’s ...

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IRS Announces Tax Changes For 2013

It’s that time of year where if you haven’t done some year end tax planning, you are sure to be behind the eight ball when it comes to saving as much money as you can with smart overall financial strategies.   Every year about this time, the IRS puts out changes that will affect what happens when the new year begins.   Here are some of the key things that you will want to know especially as you go through open enrollment season and assess your payroll deductions for the year ahead. 401(k)’s The IRS has increased the limitation on the maximum amount you can put away in 401(k), 403(b), and other types of retirement plans from $17,000 to $17,500. Depending on your marginal income tax rate (and where tax rates ultimately settle for 2013), this could save you several hundred dollars just by adjusting your percentage slightly up in your paycheck.  If you are over 50 or turn 50 in 2013, ...

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5 ‘Back To School’ Ways To Save Money

It’s hard to believe that we are almost back to school.    I know some of you don’t have to start the end of summer ritual until Labor Day comes, but in Atlanta school starts in the middle of August and is just a few weeks today.   This means it is time to be a smart shopper and take inventory of everything you have in your house from last season.  Did the kids outgrow their clothes?   Is it time for a new backpack? What supplies are lurking in the back of drawer that got deposited there at the end of school last year?  While we are all trying to save a few bucks, here are some smart ideas to stretch your dollar during the back to school season. Run it through the business – If you have kids that meet the requirements to be able to work in your business, you might want to consider buying all and any of the ...

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Are My Withholdings For Taxes Correct?

Since tax season has just passed, you are probably in one of two states of minds.   Either a) you love your CPA because you got a big refund, or b) you hate your CPA because you owed money.   It generally falls into one of those two camps when returns are filed.   Remember, if you get a tax refund that means you essentially gave an interest free loan to the Government.    Some people see this as an effective way to force savings during the year, but you really lose out on the opportunity cost of having these resources in your hands during the course of the year. As of April 27, the Internal Revenue Service had authorized more than 99.1 million refunds for the 2011 tax year—up about 1% a year earlier. It also represents more than three-fourths of all the individual income-tax returns processed by the IRS by that date. The total dollar amount of refunds this year was about ...

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5 Tax Mistakes Business Owners Make

Part of putting together an effective tax management strategy is gaining an understanding of what you can and cannot deduct from your tax return.   I see business owners that make mistakes every single day.  Every CPA or accountant seems to have a slightly different slant on the tax code, but here are a few that may be able to help you increase your bottom line as you grow your business. Wrong Entity Structure – If you are getting into business for the first time, it’s really important to sit down with someone qualified to discuss entity structure.    The reality is that you can set up your business as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability Corporation, S-Corporation, C-Corporation, or having multiple structures depending on how many businesses and whether real estate you own will be involved with the business.   Since these entities all work slightly different, a huge tax mistake I see owners make is having the wrong structure for the ...

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Should You Sell Your Business Now?

If you have owned a business for a long period of time and were considering selling, 2012 may be year for you find a buyer to take over your shop.   The Presidential election and many open tax patches/increases loom on the horizon in 2013 which could alter tax rates substantially.   2012 could actually prove to be a much more a favorable year to play let’s make a deal for your business.  Here are four reasons to consider selling your business now. 1.) Historically low capital gain rates –   Currently, we have long term capital gain rate of 15% on most items.    It has been very uncertain where this rate will head in 2012, but 20% at a minimum has been the number thrown about over the past year.    If that occurs in 2013, it will represent a 33.33% increase in your capital gains tax.   The Government will spin it as if it is only a 5% increase, but in really ...

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Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

These past couple of years many clients have asked about whether or not they should refinance their mortgage.    Along with people who have never refinanced, those that did even 18 months ago may be licking their chops to do the tango for another refinance in 2012.  For the week that ended December 23rd, the 30-year mortgage rate fell to 4.05% which was the lowest in 60 years according to HSH Associates which is a mortgage data firm.    The rates have gotten better in the jumbo market for those with a mortgage above $417,000 as well, but if you are below that number here are some considerations about whether a refinance is right for you. 1.) How long will you live in the home? –   One of the first questions you need to assess is how long you think you will stay at your current residence.  Or, if you leave the residence will you decide to use it as a rental ...

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Personal Finance 101 – College Education Planning – What Types Of Savings Vehicles Can You Use? —

Last week I discussed some of the assumptions you should be thinking about when it comes to planning for the goal of paying for your children’s college education.    Once you figure out the important metrics for each child on how much money you need to save monthly, the next step is to determine which of the myriad savings vehicles out there will serve you best in reaching your goal.   Since the tax laws and legal laws are different from state to state, I highly recommend you consult a financial advisor and/or a CPA before you make any final decisions as each of vehicles have tax and/or control implications down the road.    Here are few types of options that you may consider when investing your lump sum or monthly savings. 529 Plan Or Prepaid Plan – 529 Plans are usually where I get the biggest questions when it pertains to college planning.   Essentially, 529 plans are a way to save after-tax ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Who Buys The Business?

Part of any good business plan is an exit strategy if the unexpected happens.  A good Buy-Sell Agreement should anticipate certain unfortunate but foreseeable events, and make sure a plan is in place that is fair and reasonable for the owners and the business itself.  One important detail to include in any Buy-Sell Agreement is: Who has the right to buy an owner’s interest after a triggering event occurs?  There are a few main options discussed below. Redemption. In a Buy-Sell Agreement using the Redemption structure, the business agrees to purchase (“redeem”) the interest of an owner after a triggering event.  The owner agrees that he, or his estate, will sell the business interest back to the business for the agreed price.  The main advantage of the Redemption approach is that it is usually the simplest form of buy-sell transaction, and when there are many owners involved, the simplest structure can sometimes be the best. However, there are certain key ...

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Is it time to begin ‘washing’ your stock laundry?

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS® Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc. I’ve been in the business almost 18 years, and I can remember scenarios around stock losses like this back in the Internet bubble of 2000. When the Internet stocks busted, many people were asking should I hold onto these stocks, or is this time for me to consider dumping my stock and taking some losses? One of the things that I talked about at that time and recommended that clients consider is the notion of something called a “wash” sale. This is really all about the notion of you still wanting to hold the stock on a long-term basis, but be able to lock in some of your long-term losses so you can offset capital gains. As always, I recommend talking to a qualified accountant or CPA before you make any financial decisions. So what happens when the value of your stock goes down, and you ...

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Should You Convert Your Roth IRA?

Hey folks, I’ve got a news flash for you. Going into October, it isn’t just football season, it’s recharacterization season. While most of you are worried about the stock market, I hear individuals and businesses talk everyday about what they should do with their money. (i.e. should I put it in the market, should I put it in a bank account, where is the best place that I should put my money?). The reality is right now, you can’t always think about your portfolio, but also you have to start think about tax strategy. With that being said, for folks out there that make less than $100,000 adjusted gross income, you’ve got the ability to do what’s called recharacterizing your IRA. What this would give you is the ability to do if you make under $100,000 in adjusted growth income is to take your existing IRA and put it into a Roth IRA. There is a handful of legislation that ...

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