Financially Simple

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October 10, 2017

Reminders for Taxpayers Filing Their 2016 Tax Returns

Seven Reminders for Taxpayers Filing Their 2016 Tax Returns by Oct. 16 Every year, millions of taxpayers ask for an extra six months to file their taxes. These taxpayers should have paid the tax they owed by the April deadline, but those who requested an extension should mark Monday, Oct. 16 as the extension deadline for 2017. While the deadline normally falls on Oct. 15, that date falls on a Sunday this year so the due date is moved to the next business day. Here are seven reminders for taxpayers who have not yet filed: Try IRS Free File or e-file. Taxpayers can e-file their tax return for free through IRS Free File. The program is available on through Oct. 16. IRS e-file is easy, safe and the most accurate way to file your taxes. File by Oct. 16. Taxpayers with extensions should file their tax returns by Oct. 16. If they owe, they should pay as much as possible to reduce interest and penalties. IRS Direct Pay allows individuals to securely pay from their checking or savings accounts. These taxpayers can consider an installment agreement, which allows them to pay over time. More Time for the Military. Military members and those serving in a combat zone generally get more time to file. If this applies […]
October 9, 2017

Credit Card Myths: What is the Truth?

If you are like most Americans, you probably have three to four credit cards you can pull out of your wallet at any time. Credit has become a way of life. The convenience is like no other, and with the ever-increasing threat of identity theft, the fraud protection they offer is typically unbeatable. The reward programs aren’t too shabby either. At this time 38% of all households in America carry some credit card debt. Having said that, credit cards are an excellent resource for Americans as well. However, credit cards get a bad rap thanks to consumer debt continually rising. With that reputation are a few myths that just simply aren’t true. Here are seven credit card myths that you need to kick to the curb. 1. There is no need for a credit card. Many people’s favorite financial guru is a huge proponent of this statement. Dave Ramsey has built an empire on this myth and is the king of cutting credit cards up. While he has great intentions, his audience is probably one of the reasons this statement exists. Typically we spend more when we pull out a credit card. If you’re down to your last $10, you […]
October 8, 2017
helping in times of need

Helping in Times of Need

With Hurricane Nate making landfall just yesterday, the US is dealing with its third hurricane this season. Hurricane Harvey just devastated the fourth largest city in the United States in August. September brought Irma and a trail destruction in her path. In recent months, Americans have battled hurricanes and wildfires, so massive homes are being engulfed. With so many natural disasters, Americans are doing precisely what they are known for doing—helping in times of need. Because we are such a philanthropic country, it is not uncommon for many organizations to take the initiative and start collecting donations. Whether the contributions are money or other items, American people are generous and rise to the call. With that said, it’s also not uncommon for many to end up being taken advantage of in these circumstances as well. Unfortunately, these disasters not only showcase the good but evil as well with many fraudulent charities popping up. They prey on the benevolence and emotions of those that actually want to sacrifice for the greater good. So if you are like me and want to share your blessings so that others might be blessed, what can you do to prevent being scammed at times like […]
October 6, 2017

Would You Invest Your Money the Way You Are Going to Invest Mine?

Job interviews can be one of the most nerve-racking experiences anyone faces. It is like playing 20 questions with someone you barely know. Obviously, the point is to get to know them thoroughly and find out if they will be a good fit for a company. The same process goes into hiring a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. Each prospective client we talk with typically brings a myriad of questions for us to answer. Being a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Knoxville, TN doesn’t mean I just get interviewed by local individuals. I actually have clients all over the country, and one question that is almost always asked is this: “Justin, would you invest your money the way you are going to invest mine?” While that seems to be a fair question on the surface, it really is not. Here’s why. I completely understand where the inquiry is coming from. They want to know if I, in fact, take my own advice when it comes to investing. Am I using investments, planning strategies, or a product mix that will offer me a better return than what I will provide them? They want to know if I’m doing what’s in their best interest or […]
October 6, 2017

The Millionaire Club

There’s a study I like to read every year it’s done by the Spectrum Group Research Group, and they provide some fascinating information concerning millionaires in this particular study. It’s a survey of American millionaires. I’m going to working hard to be part of the millionaire club!  See I want to be a millionaire. I mean I really, really, really, really, want to be a millionaire. They surveyed millionaires from across the United States about how they spend and invest their money. When we can see how they what, they are doing and if we want to be like somebody then we need to emulate what they did to reach that status, right? So here are some facts for you. Currently, there are 11.3 million individuals in the United States that have a net worth between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000. Of those 11.3 million individuals the average age is 62, with 67% of them being male and 33% are female. Also, 76% of them are married. When I first started looking at the case, I’m thinking, these are doctors and lawyers and such to be able to reach that much money and be a millionaire. However, that simply was not the case. The […]
October 4, 2017

Beware of Vehicles Flooded During Recent Hurricanes

With hurricane season almost behind us, many coastal residents might be breathing a sigh of relief. Three major hurricanes pummeled the U.S. this season, wreaking havoc on Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Just because that time of year is almost over doesn’t mean we will be out of the woods just yet though. The effects from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria will be felt long after hurricane season ends; and not only in those regions. Buyer Beware It is estimated that half a million cars ended up underwater with Hurricane Harvey. When you factor in Irma’s damage too, the amount of cars flooded will climb to more than a million; and those cars could possibly be headed to a lot near you. We saw a similar situation happen right after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Here’s how it will work. Owners turn their waterlogged cars over to the insurance companies to total out as losses. Which insurance companies then send out checks to cover those losses. However, afterward, those vehicles go to the wholesale market to recoup some of the money the insurance company just paid out. At that point, efforts begin to clean it up and make it shine again; […]
October 4, 2017

How Should I Pay for a New Car?

With car sales hitting record highs, a common question I seem to keep answering is, “Justin, how should I pay for a new car?” While meeting with a client recently, he asked this very question. He actually had a few options he was looking at utilizing for the purchase and wanted my take on what I felt would work best. So with so many others asking as well, I decided to analyze each of the methods he considered. Perhaps a few of them are options you are exploring as well. Financing The first and most obvious option is financing. Whether it’s through a local bank or credit union, many people choose this route when purchasing a new car. Outside of paying cash, this alternative would be my favorite. However, there are a few caveats to consider; interest rates being the most important. Typically when buying a car, interest rates are pretty low. Many times you can even get 0% interest loans from the dealers. So it makes sense to choose this option if it allows you maintain a cash position for other investments. For example, if the stock market dropped allowing you to buy in at a low position, you […]
October 3, 2017

Tax Tip: Check Out College Tax Benefits

Reminder for Parents, Students: Check Out College Tax Benefits With back-to-school season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service reminds parents and students about tax benefits that can help with the expense of higher education. Two college tax credits apply to students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school. Eligible students include the taxpayer, their spouse, and dependents. American Opportunity Tax Credit The American Opportunity Tax Credit, (AOTC) can be worth a maximum annual benefit of $2,500 per eligible student. The credit is only available for the first four years at an eligible college or vocational school for students pursuing a degree or another recognized education credential. Taxpayers can claim the AOTC for a student enrolled in the first three months of 2018 as long as they paid qualified expenses in 2017. Lifetime Learning Credit The Lifetime Learning Credit, (LLC) can have a maximum benefit of up to $2,000 per tax return for both graduate and undergraduate students. Unlike the AOTC, the limit on the LLC applies to each tax return rather than to each student. The course of study must be either part of a post-secondary degree program or taken by the student to maintain or improve job […]