“Audit” is a word that can strike fear into the hearts of taxpayers.
However, the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit aren’t that high. In 2017, the most recent statistics available, show the I.R.S. audited 0.5% of all individual tax returns.
Being audited does not necessarily imply that the I.R.S. suspects wrongdoing. The I.R.S. says that an audit is just a formal review of a tax return to ensure information is being reported according to current tax law and to verify that the information itself is accurate. (more…)
Trust deeds may seem to be a fairly straightforward form of financial investment. You may have heard of them in passing without being certain exactly what they are. It’s also referred to as a private trust deed.
What are they? At the core, these private trust deeds are sort of like mortgages that are used by real estate investors to borrow money to purchase property or finance buildings. The “sort of” part comes from the fact that these private trust deeds are not exactly like the mortgage a homeowner might take from a bank or other mortgage lender to buy a house. (more…)
As a consumer, when you purchase an expensive item, like a car or refrigerator, you expect to receive a warranty that the manufacturer will repair or replace that product if it breaks down.
A warranty makes sense for big-ticket purchases, but what about for a home? (more…)
Americans aged 45 to 54, who have credit card balances, carry an average debt of $9,096 per individual.
The wise use of credit is a critical skill in today’s world. Used unwisely, however, credit can rapidly turn from a useful tool to a crippling burden. There are several warning signs that you may be approaching credit problems: (more…)
Probate subtly reduces the value of many estates. It can take more than a year in some cases, and attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees, and court costs may eat up as much as 5% of a decedent’s assets. Probating a “routine” estate valued at $400,000 could cost as much as $20,000.
What do those fees pay for? In many instances, routine clerical work. Few estates require more than that. Heirs of small, five-figure estates may be allowed to claim property through affidavit, but this convenience isn’t extended for larger estates.
So, how canyou exempt more of your assets from probate and its costs? Here are some ideas. (more…)
Do you regularly donate to charities and other non-profit organizations? Then you may want to open a donor-advised fund.
Donor-advised funds are becoming popular. It is easy to see why. They offer potential tax perks, and in some instances, a chance to grow money set aside for charitable gifting. (more…)
Do you have to make a multimillion-dollar gift to a charity to receive immediate or future financial benefits? No. If you’re not yet a millionaire or simply a “millionaire next door,” yet want to give, consider the following options, which may bring you immediate or future tax deductions. (more…)
How healthy a retirement do you think you will have?If you can stay active as a senior and curb or avoid certain habits, you could potentially reduce one type of retirement expense.
Each year, Fidelity Investments presents an analysis of retiree health care costs. In 2019, Fidelity projected that the average 65-year-old couple would spend around $285,000 on health care during retirement, including about $11,000 in the first year. Both projections took Medicare benefits into account. (more…)
“Why is my portfolio underperforming the market?”
This question may be on your mind. It is a question that investors sometimes ask after stocks shatter records or return exceptionally well in a quarter.
The short answer is that even when Wall Street rallies, international markets and intermediate and long-term bonds may underperform and exert a drag on overall portfolio performance. A little elaboration will help explain things further. (more…)
When you think about your estate, you may think about your personal property, real estate, or investments. You also have other, less-tangible assets – and they deserve your attention as well.
Your digital assets should not disappear into a void when you die. Nor should they be stolen by thieves. You can direct that they be transferred, preserved, or destroyed per your instructions. Your digital assets may include information on your phone and computer, content that you uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, or other websites, your intellectual/creative stake in certain digital property, and records stemming from online communications. (That last category includes your emails and text messages.)
Think of it this way: each password-protected account that you have signifies a digital asset. You may feel that some of these accounts have little (more…)
Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers. Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit … Continue reading “Establishing Good Credit in College”
Financial generalizations are as old as time. Some have been around for decades, while others have only recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few common retirement assumptions. Retirement means I can stop investing. In the past, retirement was viewed as an “end” in many ways. These days though, retirement is often seen as an opportunity … Continue reading “Debunking Common Retirement Assumptions”
What is a relationship with a financial advisor worth to an investor? A 2019 study by Vanguard, one of the world’s largest money managers, attempts to answer that question. Vanguard’s whitepaper concludes that when an investor works with an advisor and receives professional investment advice, they may see a net portfolio return about 3% higher … Continue reading “Measuring the Value of a Financial Advisor”
Can your IRA be put directly into a trust? In short, no. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) cannot be put directly into a trust. What you can do, however, is name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA. The trust would inherit the IRA upon your passing, and your beneficiaries would then have access to … Continue reading “Can You Put Your IRA into a Trust?”
We all know the value of a good credit score. We all try to maintain one. Sometimes, though, life throws us a financial curveball and that score declines. What steps can we take to repair it? Reduce your credit utilization ratio. Your credit utilization ratio (CUR) is the percentage of a credit card’s debt limit … Continue reading “Ways to Repair Your Credit Score”
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