August 24, 2016

Back-to-College Tax Tips – Financially Simple

“Back-to-College Tax Tips”If you, your spouse, or a dependent is heading off to college, there are some important tax-saving tips you should know about. Here’s what the IRS says: Back-to-College Tax Tips You can claim only one type of education credit per student on your tax return each year. If you have multiple eligible students, you could claim a different credit for each student. To qualify, education expenses must be for tuition, fees, and “related expenses” for an eligible student. Expenses must be paid for attendance at eligible higher education institutions, including most colleges and universities. Ask the school whether they are an eligible institution or check the school’s accreditation status in the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation Database. The American Opportunity Tax Credit: The AOTC is worth up to $2,500 per year, per eligible student. You may claim this credit only for the first four years of higher education. 40% of the AOTC is refundable, which means if you are eligible, you can get up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund, even if you do not owe any taxes. The Lifetime Learning Credit: The LLC is worth up to $2,000 on your tax return. There is no […]
June 20, 2016

Retirement, College, Weddings: Can I Save/Pay for it All?

“If I only had more money then I’d be able to do this”. That’s a misnomer. The truth is you’ll never have enough money, and that’s on all income levels, if you don’t have a plan. Perhaps you went online and used a retirement calculator and now you’re thinking, “I need to save this much for retirement and I need to save this much for my kids college and my daughter’s going to get married and I have to put some money away for that and I need to put some money back for insurance and forget going on vacation!” You’re basically just overwhelmed like most people are. They ask, “How in the world can I save enough money for everything all at once?” My answer is simply this…the same way you would eat an elephant…one bite at a time. The problem when it comes to saving for all the various life events is this, people start, but they aren’t discipline enough to see it through. It’s just like the same New Year’s Resolution you’ve made for the past 20 years…when it gets to be too much you just quit. The task is so daunting and we’re not prepared to tackle […]
June 8, 2016

When should I start saving for college?

“When should I start saving for college?”, As a father of three, I’ve asked myself at what point makes the most sense for me to start saving for my kids college. With dollars flying out faster than they’re coming in, where do I find the extra income in my budget…especially when life just happens. However, my kids are rapidly approaching the college years, with my oldest just seven years away from beginning her higher education journey.  Coincidentally my kids will be in college for 12 consecutive years! So I’ve got to make a plan to cover what will be close to equivalent of a whole other mortgage payment or more. So I understand this question and the obvious answer is the sooner the better. Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t start saving when we should. The way I look at saving for college is this, get your financial house in order and then start. Before you take this task on, it’s imperative that you have a few things taken care of. What exactly do I mean when I say have your financial house in order? First have your emergency fund in place…that means 3-6 months of living expenses. You […]
March 15, 2016
How Much Life Insurance Do I Really Need

How Much Life Insurance Do I Really Need?

How Much Life Insurance Do I Really Need? When it comes to preparing for the future, most people are ready to make a plan for retirement, but 4 out of 10 Americans fail to even think about life insurance. While no one wants to plan for their demise, it’s just as important as retirement. What will financially happen to those you leave behind? Will they be left with a solid future or scrambling to make ends meet while also trying to pick up the pieces of their life? Even if you have made the effort to implement some sort of arrangements for those you cherish most, is it enough? Can you really know how much life insurance you need? There’s a few ways to look at it. First, let’s look at a couple that perhaps one spouse is the only breadwinner and they have three kids. The  immediate thing you’ll need to do is analyze your debt. How much debt do you have? Next, you have to look at whether you’re going to want spouse to have to pick up the mantle and start bringing home an income if you were to pass. Most likely you’d want them to be […]