dependents http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/19994/all en-US 5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mature_couple_meeting_with_financial_advisor.jpg" alt="Mature Couple Meeting with Financial Advisor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All financial advisers are not created equal. And all financial advice &mdash; including advice recommended by top economists and financial experts &mdash; may not be the best advice for you.</p> <p>Your financial plan should encompass your complete financial picture, including your goals and priorities. It should include planning for your children, your spouse, aging parents, long-term care, death, loss of income, and so much more. But just because these things <em>should</em> be included in your plan doesn't mean your adviser is automatically doing so.</p> <p>Here are five key things your financial adviser may ignore or omit telling you.</p> <h2>1. He or she is not a financial fiduciary</h2> <p>The term financial adviser is becoming increasingly ambiguous. Due to the complex rules that determine who can call themselves a &quot;financial adviser,&quot; many professionals who are unqualified to give financial advice are unfairly operating under this label.</p> <p>Benjamin Brandt, a North Dakota financial adviser and host of the podcast <em>Retirement Starts Today Radio</em>, recommends that you only take advice from and follow a financial plan created by a qualified fee-only financial fiduciary. Fee-only fiduciaries are paid a flat fee that ensures they don't earn commissions on investment sales. Since they don't depend on commissions from sales, you won't have to question whether a fiduciary adviser is operating with your best interest at heart.</p> <p>To ensure you are working with a true financial fiduciary, Brandt recommends checking the adviser's credentials using the Paladin Registry, which offers a <a href="http://www.paladinregistry.com/research/credentials-financial-certifications" target="_blank">database of financial adviser designations</a> that can help determine if the adviser holds a professional designation (CFP, CPA, ChFC, and CFA) versus one they may have purchased online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investment-advice-you-should-never-hear-from-your-financial-advisor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Investment Advice You Should Never Hear From Your Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your complete financial picture</h2> <p>Understanding your complete financial picture &mdash; including where you are currently and your future aspirations &mdash; is key in developing a true financial plan that is beneficial.</p> <p>According to Brandt, if a financial adviser shows you a glossy sales brochure and offers you investment products before ever looking at your budget, net worth statement, or written financial goals, you are not working with a fiduciary and should ignore his or her financial advice.</p> <p>Before sitting down with an adviser, it helps to take a good look at your finances. Things like calculating your net worth, setting your financial goals, and creating an informal budget before your first visit with an adviser can help you start off on the right foot.</p> <p>And while your calculations and budget may not be entirely accurate (hence the need for a financial adviser), you will have a better idea of where you are and what you have. It will provide your adviser with a more comprehensive financial picture. It will also allow you to discuss your liabilities and other investments that may not be profitable, as well as help to avoid duplicate investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-secrets-you-need-to-tell-your-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <h2>3. Your personal and financial goals</h2> <p>A financial adviser who fails to ask about your financial goals as it relates to your children, your spouse, and your lifestyle is doing you an injustice. An adviser who merely wants to sell and manage your investments can actually set you up to lose more money long-term than if they include your financial priorities in the plan up front.</p> <p>Take, for example, a parent who wants to send their children to school without student loans. That parent would need to explore options that help in saving specifically for college. This could be done through traditional methods or less conventional saving vehicles such as a 529 plan. There are many factors that can shape that decision and a good financial adviser should work with that parent to determine the best savings vehicle to suit the needs of that family.</p> <p>Your financial adviser should understand and respect your financial goals and find the best avenues to help you achieve those goals. Things they should know and consider are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>If you are working to reduce or eliminate debt.</p> </li> <li> <p>Your plans for one-time expenses such as paying for a wedding or taking a large vacation.</p> </li> <li> <p>Education planning for you or your children (private school, college, continuing education programs, or advanced degrees).</p> </li> <li> <p>A possible career change by you or your spouse.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you are planning to start a business.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Preparations for long-term care</h2> <p>According to LongTermCare.gov, 70 percent of people turning 65 will require long-term care services sometime in their lives. And of that number, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 18 percent will have to live in a long-term care facility.</p> <p>According to insurance firm Genworth, the average annual cost of a stay in an assisted living facility is $45,000, while a stay in a nursing home with a private room costs an average $97,455 per year. And avoiding a stay in a facility isn't necessarily the answer to saving money on long-term care; an individual receiving 44 hours of in-home health care weekly can expect to pay close to $50,000 per year.</p> <p>Long-term care services come with significant costs that often impact retirement plans, savings and assets, and the level of care one receives. If your adviser doesn't account for these expenses in your financial plan, they are putting you at risk of financial turmoil later in life.</p> <p>This means that for some, considering their age, family history, and potential health risks, a health savings account (HSA) may make more sense than a traditional IRA. With a traditional IRA, you contribute pretax dollars to the plan and the money grows tax-deferred. You pay taxes when you withdraw the money when you retire.</p> <p>To enroll in an HSA, you must have a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). With an HSA, you get the same pretax contribution benefit, but the difference is that when you withdraw money to pay for qualified health insurance premiums or medical expenses (including nursing home stays and in-home care), it comes out tax-free. And the funds rollover from year to year, so you don't lose what you don't spend.</p> <p>But again, the decision on whether or not to invest in an HSA can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. What may make sense for one situation could be detrimental in another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tax efficiency</h2> <p>Unfortunately, a lot of financial advisers fail to take the time to comb through your tax returns to check for tax efficiency. And tax efficiency is one area where a good financial adviser can be the most helpful.</p> <p>An adviser who only focuses on managing your portfolio may not have the expertise to accurately analyze your tax situation and understand how to maximize your income assets. A financial adviser who holds a CPA or CFP designation, on the other hand, would most likely be qualified to provide sound tax advice.</p> <p>Financial planner Charles Scott recently told <em>USA Today</em> that if the only tax advice your adviser gives is to put your money in tax-deferred investments such as an IRA or 401(k), you may want to get a second opinion. Because even though you'll be in a lower tax bracket when you retire than you are currently, there are so many other factors that must be considered. He advises that you diversify your tax load now <em>and </em>in the future.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Details%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Adviser%2520May%2520Be%2520Ignoring.jpg&amp;description=5%20Details%20Your%20Financial%20Adviser%20May%20Be%20Ignoring"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Details%20Your%20Financial%20Adviser%20May%20Be%20Ignoring.jpg" alt="5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-financial-planner">Do You Need a Financial Planner?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know">9 Family Money Matters Your Kids Don&#039;t Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-secrets-you-need-to-tell-your-financial-adviser">11 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Financial Adviser</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year">8 Smart Money Moves to Make in the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance children dependents fiduciary financial advisers financial goals financial planners ignoring investments long term care retirement taxes Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Denise Hill 2055199 at http://www.wisebread.com When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_property_life_and_health_insurance_concept.jpg" alt="Family property, life and health insurance concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life insurance is a crucial way to protect your family if you should suddenly pass away. The payout from a life insurance policy can help your loved ones continue to pay a mortgage and other large bills they may not otherwise be able to afford.</p> <p>Life insurance is so important that few people ever decide to terminate their policies. But are there times when canceling a life insurance policy actually makes sense?</p> <p>The surprising answer? Sure. It all depends on who continues to rely on your income and who doesn't.</p> <h2>Your children</h2> <p>When deciding whether to cancel a life insurance policy, don't focus solely on your age. Yes, the odds are higher that once you get older (past retirement age), you won't have as many people relying on the money you are making today. With fewer people depending on you financially, it might make sense to cancel your life insurance policy and save the money you are spending on premiums.</p> <p>Life insurance is most important when you are worried about providing your children with a financial safety net. When your children are young, they need the financial protection that a life insurance policy provides. After all, they won't be working or generating their own income.</p> <p>But when your children become adults, they might no longer need the payout that your life insurance would provide them if you should die. Canceling a policy designed to protect your kids is usually a sound financial move once these children become adults who are working and providing for themselves.</p> <h2>Your spouse</h2> <p>What if your life insurance policy is also a form of protection for your spouse or partner? That might change your decision to cancel, even as you get older.</p> <p>Say you die at the age of 65. Would a payout from a life insurance policy provide that extra bit of financial protection to your spouse or partner? Would it help ensure that this person won't struggle with finances after you die?</p> <p>If the answer is yes, canceling your life insurance policy may not be the right move. You may want to hold onto that policy, even as you inch closer to retirement age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a>)</p> <h2>Getting a better plan</h2> <p>There are other reasons to cancel your life insurance. Say you are no longer happy with your current plan; maybe the monthly premiums seem too high.</p> <p>If you shop around and can find a plan that provides enough coverage at a lower price, canceling your existing policy is not only OK, it ranks as a smart financial move.</p> <p>Just be sure to compare your existing policy with your potential new one carefully. Yes, a new policy might be cheaper &mdash; but it might also not provide the same amount of coverage. Make sure to do your research before canceling any life insurance policy.</p> <h2>You've already paid for your biggest expenses</h2> <p>Life insurance is supposed to be a financial safety net for your loved ones in case you suddenly die. But what if you've already paid off your mortgage? Your spouse or partner won't need a payout from your life insurance policy to cover that bill. What if you've already paid for sending your children to college? Life insurance isn't necessary to help cover this big expense, either. So why not cancel your policy if those big expenses are already in your past?</p> <p>You can take the money you were spending on life insurance premiums and save it for retirement, add it to your emergency fund savings, or invest in the stock market.</p> <p>Of course, this type of plan only works if you actually will take the money you were spending and do something financially savvy with it. But canceling a life insurance policy when the big bills are paid can be an effective way of putting your dollars to better use.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhen-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhen%2520Dropping%2520Your%2520Life%2520Insurance%2520Is%2520the%2520Right%2520Decision.jpg&amp;description=When%20Dropping%20Your%20Life%20Insurance%20Is%20the%20Right%20Decision"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/When%20Dropping%20Your%20Life%20Insurance%20Is%20the%20Right%20Decision.jpg" alt="When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries canceling children dependents estate planning expenses life insurance mortgages Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:31:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2051050 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-520005424.jpg" alt="Couple finding out how taxes change after having a kid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no question that having a kid will change your life financially. Introducing a new child to your household adds a slew of new costs, but the good news is that the American tax code is written to help families with some of these expenses.</p> <p>The IRS &mdash; yes, that benevolent organization &mdash; offers a variety of tax credits, deductions, and other incentives that could lead to a smaller tax bill when you have a child. But this also makes your taxes more complicated. So here's a review of what your new baby might mean as you file this year's return.</p> <h2>You get to claim an exemption just for having a kid</h2> <p>When you have a child, you can claim an exemption that will reduce your taxable income by $4,050. And for each child you have, you get to claim another exemption. (So four kids represents $16,200 deducted from your taxable income.)</p> <h2>You can also claim the child tax credit</h2> <p>Yes, you get an additional break on your taxes just by adding a member to your family. You can reduce your tax bill by $1,000 for every dependent in your household. This usually includes any family member 17 or under that lives with you, including adopted children, foster children, and even nieces and nephews if you are their primary caregiver. The benefit is reduced once you hit $110,000 gross income if filing jointly, or $75,000 if filing alone.</p> <h2>You can reduce your taxable income by saving for college</h2> <p>The second you have a child, you can begin saving for college and get some nice tax breaks for doing it. The most popular vehicle is called a 529 college savings plan, and many states allow you to deduct contributions from your taxable income. Gains on the investments in a 529 plan also are not taxed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <p>You may save money when you eventually send your child to school. As of 2016, it was possible to get a $2,000 Lifetime Learning Credit each year for qualified education expenses, or a $2,500 American Opportunity Credit. There are <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ar02.html#en_US_2016_publink1000255787" target="_blank">some subtle differences</a> between the two credits, which you can learn more about <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch03.html" target="_blank">at the IRS website. </a></p> <h2>You might take advantage of a health savings account</h2> <p>You and your partner might not worry about health care expenses, but they become more of an issue when you have kids. Many employers offer health savings accounts (HSAs), which allow you to divert some money into an account to pay for health care expenses you might accrue. Any money placed in an HSA is deducted from your taxable income. You may find it's worth contributing to an HSA if your child has health challenges, or if you have a health insurance plan with a high deductible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>You might save less for retirement &mdash; and thus pay more tax</h2> <p>Are you planning to dial back your retirement savings in order to meet the financial demands of a new child? If so, it's important to know how that impacts your tax bill. Any contributions you place in a 401(k) or traditional IRA are deducted from your taxable income, so if you are putting less aside, your tax bill may be higher. Ideally, you'll be able to save at the same rate as always, but if not, be sure to anticipate paying more in tax.</p> <h2>You may pay less tax if you stop working</h2> <p>Many families find that their gross income goes down after having a kid because one parent stops working full-time or altogether. Lower income means lower taxes, and you may even move into a lower tax bracket. (Moving from $80,000 to $60,000 in earned income, for example, means you pay 15 percent in tax instead of 25 percent when filing jointly.) This lower tax helps take the sting out of having less income overall, and in some cases, you may even end up with more take-home pay.</p> <h2>If you pay for child care, you might get a tax break</h2> <p>The IRS allows parents to save money on their taxes if they pay someone to care for their children. This is a great thing for working parents. The child and dependent tax credit offers up to $1,050 for one person receiving care, or $2,100 for two or more. Poorer families can get 35 percent back of any qualifying child care costs.</p> <p>Many parents may save more on their taxes by instead utilizing a dependent care flexible savings account. If your employer offers such an account, you can set aside as much as $5,000 of your paycheck to cover child care costs. Contributions to this account are deducted from your taxable income, thus reducing your tax liability.</p> <h2>If you employ a nanny, your taxes could get complicated</h2> <p>In most cases like the situations above, there are tax breaks to help offset the cost of child care. But if you directly hire a nanny &mdash; as opposed to hiring one through an agency &mdash; you may be considered an employer in the eyes of the IRS. That means a boatload of paperwork, and you're on the hook for things like Social Security, unemployment, and Medicare taxes. So be sure to take all of this into account when researching child care options.</p> <h2>Expanding your home may have tax advantages</h2> <p>When you have a child, you may realize you need to expand your home with a new family room, bedrooms, or other space. The bad news here is that you can't claim the cost of home improvements on your taxes. But, any home upgrades will be added to the cost basis of your home. Thus, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate capital gains taxes when you sell.</p> <p>If you do make upgrades, you can deduct the cost of things to make the home more energy-efficient, such as Energy Star rated windows and appliances.</p> <h2>Adopting a child comes with a big tax break</h2> <p>If you adopt a child, you get some significant tax breaks in addition to the ones listed above. The Federal Adoption Tax Credit gives families a maximum of $13,460 to offset qualified adoption expenses. This can include adoption fees, court fees, travel costs, and attorney fees, among other costs. Parents who adopt a child may also receive additional tax credits from their state.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Don&#039;t Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Taxes adoption american opportunity credit child care children deductions dependents exemptions kids lifetime learning credit parents tax credits Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1913753 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-158851087.jpg" alt="Making money moves before remarrying" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, about three per 1,000 Americans <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm" target="_blank">divorce from their spouse</a>. Since about seven per 1,000 Americans marry every year, there is a chance that some divorcees will eventually tie the knot again with a new partner.</p> <p>But before you remarry, you should evaluate your finances. Let's review eight money moves that will set you both up for financial safety and success.</p> <h2>1. Make Amendments to Your Will (or Make One!)</h2> <p>The joy of finding love again can make you look at everything through a rosy filter. While no one likes thinking about their mortality, especially close to a big wedding day, the reality is that not updating your will could leave your new partner (and potential dependents) with a messy court battle for your estate. Review your current will and update it as necessary. For example, you may redistribute your estate to include your new dependents and choose a different executor &mdash; a person who will manage your estate and carry out the orders in your will.</p> <p>If you don't have a will, then setting one up should become the top priority of all money moves before you remarry. In the absence of a will, a judge will appoint an administrator who will execute your estate according to your state's probate laws. What is legal may not be the ideal situation for your loved ones, so plan ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Update Beneficiaries Listed on Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>Even after setting up or updating your will, you still need to update the list of beneficiaries listed for your retirement accounts. This is particularly important for 401K plan holders. The Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) stipulates that a defined contribution plan, such as a 401K, must provide a <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/qdro-drafting" target="_blank">death benefit to the spouse</a> of the plan holder.</p> <p>Your beneficiary form is so important that it can supersede your will under many circumstances. When updating your beneficiary form before you remarry, there are three best practices to follow:</p> <ul> <li>Get written consent from your previous spouse, if applicable, to make changes;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Second, designate only children who are of legal age so they can actually carry out their wishes;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Third, find out the tax implications for beneficiaries other than your spouse as a large windfall could unintentionally create a financial burden.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Consider Setting Up a Trust</h2> <p>Since we're talking about potential financial burdens, many of them could come out of an estate with lots of valuable assets being divided among many beneficiaries, many of them very young.</p> <p>When you have accumulated a lot of wealth over the years, you could be better served by a trust than by a will for several reasons, including keeping your estate out of a court-supervised probate, maintaining the privacy of your records, and allowing you to customize estate distribution. While the cost of setting up a trust can be up to three times that of setting up a will, it can be a worthwhile investment to prevent costly legal battles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Be Aware of Potential Spousal Benefits From Social Security</h2> <p>If your previous marriage ended on very unfriendly terms, you and your spouse may feel that you don't want to leave a penny to each other. Regardless of how you feel, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may still legally entitle your ex-spouse some benefits under certain circumstances.</p> <p>If your former marriage lasted at least 10 years, your previous spouse can receive benefits on your SSA's record as long as he or she:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html" target="_blank">Remains unmarried</a>;</li> <li>Is age 62 or older;</li> <li>Is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and</li> <li>Has an entitled benefit based on his or her own work that is less than the one that he or she would receive based on your work history.</li> </ul> <p>Even when you have remarried, your ex-spouse could receive a check from the SSA based on your record. This is a conversation that you should have with your new partner before you tie the knot so that you're both on the same financial page.</p> <h2>5. Set Up Mail Forwarding With USPS</h2> <p>Depending on how long ago you got divorced and whether or not you kept the same home from your previous marriage, you could still receive some correspondence addressed to your ex's name. While getting a letter from an aunt isn't a big deal, receiving a large monetary gift, important bill, or legal notice could create discussions that you don't want to have.</p> <p>To avoid such issues, spend $1 to set up <a href="https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm" target="_blank">mail forward</a> with the USPS so that all correspondence under your married name (and maiden name, if applicable) is forwarded to a new address. Chances are that your ex-spouse already did this, but it's better to be safe than sorry. This service costs $1 per name, so you would need to spend $1 for a married name, and another $1 for a maiden name.</p> <h2>6. Put Your Debts on the Table</h2> <p>Transparency is a pillar in any relationship. No matter how large your financial obligations may be, your new spouse will truly appreciate finding out now rather than when you're struggling to cover monthly bills, applying for a mortgage, or trying to finance a new car.</p> <p>Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse and go through your debt payments, such as student loans, credit card balances, mortgages, car loans, and installment plans. Going over your debts will allow you to have an idea of where the money is going every month, start talking about the potential commingling of finances, and be aware of each other's liabilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a>)</p> <h2>7. Disclose Any Alimony and Child Care Payments</h2> <p>Whether you're the issuer or recipient of court-mandated spousal support, spousal maintenance, or child care, make sure to disclose those moneys to your spouse and the corresponding expenses that they cover. Failing to help cover certain expenses while making large payments somewhere else could cause tensions between you and your new partner when not previously discussed.</p> <p>Be upfront with your partner and tell the whole story. It helps you establish clear expectations about your joint financial future.</p> <h2>8. Evaluate a Prenuptial</h2> <p>Depending on your own financial plans, you may want to fully combine your finances &mdash; or not at all. For example, you may have accumulated some serious joint credit card debts from your previous marriage and you wouldn't want to transfer that responsibility to your new spouse or start a new string of similar debts. Evaluating a prenup before tying the knot is a necessary conversation for any couple with large differences in individual net worths, levels of retirement savings, and stakes in businesses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a>)</p> <p>While thinking that your second marriage may fail like your first one did may sound a bit pessimistic, the reality is that it does happen. In 2013, four out of 10 new marriages <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/11/14/four-in-ten-couples-are-saying-i-do-again/" target="_blank">involved remarriage</a>.</p> <p>Consult with your financial adviser, lawyer, or accountant about your unique financial situation and determine whether or not you need to present a prenup agreement to your soon-to-be spouse. Keep a positive attitude, and remember that this is a time for celebration. Once you've done your homework, you'll be able to fully enjoy your marriage without any financial worries holding you back.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance beneficiaries dependents estate planning money moves prenup remarried retirement Second Marriage social security trusts will Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:00:15 +0000 Damian Davila 1906387 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons You Should File Your Taxes as Soon as Possible http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-610688960.jpg" alt="Learning reasons you should file taxes as soon as possible" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What do we want? A tax refund! When do we want it? Now!</p> <p>Here are eight reasons you should pick up the pace on your tax preparation and file well before this year's April 18 deadline.</p> <h2>1. You'll Get Your Refund Faster</h2> <p>Simple logic, folks: The sooner you file your returns, the faster you'll receive a refund (if you're owed one). The IRS says it issues nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days (sometimes less) with e-file and direct deposit. Use that money to get a head start on spring and summer home improvements, pay off debt sooner than later, or bulk up your emergency savings account.</p> <h2>2. Filing Online Is Easy</h2> <p>If your taxes aren't complicated &mdash; and they shouldn't be if you don't have multiple sources of income &mdash; filing online should be a walk in the park. Using <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12747133" target="_blank">TurboTax online</a>, for example, is almost effortless, and it will help you submit an accurate return while also saving you money. Best of all, you can do it on your own time and in the comfort of your own home.</p> <h2>3. You'll Have Extra Time to Pay the Taxes You May Owe<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Filing early doesn't mean you have to pay the taxes you may owe immediately. In fact, it'll give you a decent window to figure out how to cover that cost, especially if you don't readily have it available. If you submit your tax return in February, for example, you still have until the April deadline to come up with payment.</p> <h2>4. Your Accountant Can Spend More Quality Time on Your Return<strong> </strong></h2> <p>I'm an entrepreneur, and I own a business that requires a decent amount of accounting at tax time. Admittedly, this is not something I want to handle on my own, which is why I have a CPA. I usually schedule my annual meeting with him mid- to late-February &mdash; before he's bombarded with his other clients' returns &mdash; so he can give mine the TLC it needs. If you have a lot of components to your own taxes, this is definitely a strategy to consider. You don't want to lose out on refund money because your accountant was in a hurry.</p> <h2>5. You Can Spend More Quality Time on Your Return</h2> <p>Even if you're handling your taxes on your own, it's still wise to give yourself ample time to prepare. A lot of information goes onto a return, and you need to ensure that everything is correct. Tax mistakes can be costly, but they can also be avoided if you plan ahead instead of trying to beat the clock at the last minute. Triple-check your numbers and personal information for accuracy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a>)</p> <h2>6. You'll Reduce the Chance of Identity Theft</h2> <p>Identity theft is a major concern with regards to your finances, and even your tax return is at risk. Scammers can file fraudulent returns in unsuspecting taxpayers' names, but the chances of that happening are reduced the earlier you file. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a>)</p> <h2>7. It'll Make Your Home-Buying Process Easier</h2> <p>I've bought several homes over the years, and it's very stressful. For one, the mortgage company needs every last piece of your financial information that they can get their hands on &mdash; and then some. Your homebuying process will go much smoother this time of year if you've already filed your taxes.</p> <h2>8. You'll Have Time to Help Advise Your Working Dependent Kids<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Your working children can also make mistakes on their own returns, filing as independents when they're clearly still dependents. Have a discussion with your kids about this designation &mdash; especially important to remember if they're away at college and filing on their own &mdash; so you don't miss out on deductions that <em>you </em>deserve.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-money-sooner-by-starting-2016-tax-prep-now">Get Your Money Sooner by Starting 2016 Tax Prep Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-return-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Tax Return Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-tax-preparer-makes-a-mistake">What to Do When Your Tax Preparer Makes a Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes accounting dependents e-file home buying identity theft IRS kids refunds tax returns Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:00:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1897587 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Strategies for the Sandwich Generation http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-77931648.jpg" alt="Sandwich generation learning smart money strategies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Generation X is commonly called the sandwich generation for two reasons. First, they are sandwiched between the Millennials and the Baby Boomers, both groups that seem to hog media coverage &mdash; and marketing budgets. More importantly, many Gen Xers face the modern problem of caring for their elderly parents while still also caring for their own children. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead</a>)</p> <p>Being in the sandwich generation can be stressful and financially draining. Here are five strategies to stay financially afloat if you're caring for others.</p> <h2>1. Talk Openly About Finances</h2> <p>Whether your elderly parents live with you or not, it is important to know where they stand financially. For families that didn't grow up talking about money, this might feel awkward. However, it is important for you to be prepared to assume financial responsibility if anything were to happen.</p> <p>Of course, it is best to have this talk with a certified financial planner and estate attorney, as well. There are a lot of financial matters to discuss.</p> <ul> <li>Who has <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-power-of-attorney" target="_blank">power of attorney</a>?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Where will the funds for your parents' care come from?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Should your parents be receiving veterans' benefits or Medicaid assistance?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your parents have any investments, and are they making the best rate of return on them?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your parents have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it" target="_blank">long-term care insurance</a> or enough retirement savings to cover care costs?</li> </ul> <h2>2. Utilize Special Savings Accounts</h2> <p>Money will be tight when you are caring for your parents and children at the same time, but don't neglect saving accounts. Contribute as much as you can to your retirement account and even look into a 529 plan for future college costs.</p> <p>Many employers offer flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allow you to contribute up to $2,500 into a health account and dependent care account. If both you and your spouse are employed, then you might both be eligible to contribute $2,500, for a combined $5,000. This money can be used for your own medical costs, your kids' medical costs and care needs, and your elderly parents' medical and care needs, if they are declared as your dependents.</p> <p>An elderly parent can be financially taxing, but don't let that cause you to avoid saving for your retirement or your child's college. You don't want to be stuck in a financial black hole once your elderly loved one is gone.</p> <h2>3. Get Tax Benefits</h2> <p>If you do declare a parent as a dependent, make sure you get all of the possible tax benefits. Talk with a tax specialist about getting special deductions for medical home improvements, medical expenses, and care expenses.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize the Budget</h2> <p>Take a look at your budget and see what can be cut or put on hold. You might have to move to a more affordable area or forgo family vacations for a few years. Being in the sandwich generation will take sacrifice, but if you can survive this time without incurring debt, then you will stay financially afloat.</p> <p>If you need extra money, try to sell unwanted or unneeded items. Every little bit helps. If either your child or parent is capable of earning some money with a part-time position, this can help too. A teenager can get a job and take over their cellphone or car payments, and your parent can help contribute to the grocery budget. Even if this only adds up to an extra $100 a month, it can still create a little bit of breathing room.</p> <h2>5. Ask Other Family Members for Help</h2> <p>An aging parent shouldn't fall on the shoulders of just one person. Siblings and other able family members should help financially and physically. Have a serious talk with your other siblings and family members about contributing. If they cannot contribute financially, then they should be able to watch or care for an elderly parent at least a few hours a month to give you a break.</p> <p>Don't try to balance the weight of aging parents and children alone. Start by talking with a financial adviser, who can help put your finances in order and point you to free resources. It can also help to seek advice from peers who have gone through or are going through the same situation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-acts-of-self-care-for-the-sandwich-generation">9 Simple Acts of Self-Care for the Sandwich Generation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family aging parents baby boomers children dependents generation x household millennials money advice sandwich generation Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:00:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1884961 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516008468.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've done it &mdash; you've finally landed a job that offers amazing benefits such as free life insurance. While employer-offered life insurance (also called group life insurance) is worthwhile, it shouldn't be your only source of insurance.</p> <h2>How Do I Get Group Life Insurance?</h2> <p>Many employers will offer a free level of life insurance for employees. Depending on your place of work, this can cover anywhere from $25,000 to your base pay. Since this is a free option, all employees should sign up for the benefit. It's free money if something were to happen to you. However, don't let that be your only coverage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>Is Group Life Insurance Enough?</h2> <p>If you are single, a $25K &mdash;$50K check sounds like a nice chunk of change for your parents or other loved ones you leave behind. However, in most cases &mdash; yes, even for single people &mdash; it's simply not enough. Final expenses can be greater than you think. Funerals can range in price, but a recent survey by the National Funeral Directors Association found a median price of $7K.</p> <p>Furthermore, if your private student loans, mortgage, or car loans have a co-signer, then that co-signer will be stuck with your debt after you die. To avoid this, you can either remove co-signers from loans through refinancing, or purchase term life insurance that will cover the cost of your remaining debt.</p> <p>For healthy, young individuals that do not need much coverage, term life insurance rates are very affordable, with some policies costing less than $20 a month. But for individuals who are married and/or have children, you'll likely need more coverage, To calculate how much coverage you need, add up the following:</p> <ul> <li>Funeral cost;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cost of paying off any debt not forgiven upon death;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Time you want your loved ones to have income and not worry about work &mdash; for example, even if your spouse works full-time in a successful career, they might need several months to grieve your loss;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Future college costs or other child-rearing expenses.</li> </ul> <p>For many families, the total will be around seven to 10 times your annual paycheck.</p> <h2>Can I Get Supplemental Life Insurance Through an Employer?</h2> <p>Many employers will offer supplemental life insurance for purchase. Since you are purchasing the policy through your employer, it could be slightly cheaper than purchasing individual life insurance. However, your company technically owns the policy. Therefore, if you quit or are fired, your group life is gone, too. Some employers will give you the option to continue carrying the policy after you leave, but it will be at a higher price.</p> <h2>Individual Life Insurance Versus Group Life Insurance</h2> <p>While signing up for free group life insurance is a must, it is much better to sign up for supplemental term life insurance individually. The policy will stay with you even if you move jobs. Furthermore, you can lock in a low premium now when you are still young and healthy.</p> <p>Say you were to secure a low-cost policy with your employer's group life insurance at the young age of 25. Your rates should be quite low. Now fast forward eight years. You want to quit your job and have your own term life insurance policy. You will still get a great rate because you are under 40, but your monthly premium will be more at 33 than it was at 25.</p> <p>To sum it all up, cash in on your employer's free group life insurance perk, but also secure term life insurance when you are still young. This will allow you to lock in the best rate possible.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries benefits coverage dependents employers life insurance premiums Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1877983 at http://www.wisebread.com Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_father_hugging_88776971.jpg" alt="Family choosing between whole and term life insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need life insurance. It's a way to provide financial protection for your spouse, children, or other dependents should you unexpectedly die. But knowing that life insurance is a smart move and knowing which type of policy to take out are two different things.</p> <p>Studying up on life insurance isn't fun. Fortunately, most consumers choose between just two different types of life insurance policies &mdash; term and permanent. And if they choose permanent life insurance, they usually opt for what is known as whole life insurance.</p> <p>What's the difference between the two? And which type of insurance is best for you? Here's a crash course in the difference between term and whole life insurance.</p> <h2>Term Life Insurance &mdash; The Cheaper Choice</h2> <p>For most people, term life insurance is the smart financial choice. That's because this insurance provides solid financial protection for loved ones, while also costing far less than a whole life insurance policy.</p> <p>As the name suggests, term life insurance remains in effect for a certain period &mdash; or term &mdash; of time. You can choose the term, usually anywhere from one to 30 years. The Insurance Information Institute says that most people choose a 20-year term.</p> <p>When taking out a term life policy, you'll provide a list of beneficiaries, such as your children or spouse. Your term life insurance will pay out your death benefit to your listed beneficiaries if you die &mdash; and your death meets the requirements spelled out in your policy during this term (suicide cancels a payout, for example). After the term ends, the policy ends, too, unless you pay to extend it. Your annual premium will usually remain the same during the term.</p> <p>If you take out a term life insurance policy, you'll have to decide how long you want your policy to remain active. Most people choose a term that will last until their dependents no longer need their financial assistance. They might take out a term policy that lasts until their children will have left their home and started their own careers, for instance. Others might choose a policy that ends only after they know they will have paid off their home and built up a significant amount of savings.</p> <p>How much you pay for term life insurance depends on many factors, including your age, health, the amount of coverage you want, and the length of your policy. TrustedChoice.com, a website that helps consumers find independent insurance agents, says that a healthy 35-year-old male nonsmoker who takes out a 20-year term life insurance policy with a value of $500,000 will pay an average of about $35 a month for a policy. A 35-year-old healthy female nonsmoker would pay about $61 a month for $1 million worth of life insurance with a 20-year term.</p> <p>That comes out to $420 a year for the male and $732 for the female taking out the more valuable policy.</p> <h2>Whole Life Insurance</h2> <p>Whole life insurance is a more complicated product. That's because it is really two different financial products in one. It provides life insurance benefits like a term life policy, but also comes with an investment component known as a cash value.</p> <p>Part of every payment you make goes toward growing this cash value on a tax-deferred basis, meaning that you won't pay taxes on any of these cash gains while they are growing. You can borrow against your life insurance account or surrender it at any time to take the cash that has grown in it.</p> <p>You will, though, have to repay any loans you make against your whole life policy, with interest.</p> <p>Whole life also lasts, as its name suggests, for your entire life. No matter when you die, a whole life policy will pay out its death benefits to your listed beneficiaries, as long as the cause of your death is covered under the policy. Your premiums will remain the same until you either cancel the policy or you die.</p> <p>Because it comes with an investment component and lasts for your entire life, whole life insurance is considerably more expensive. TrustedChoice.com says that a healthy 35-year-old male who does not smoke would pay an average of $98.50 a month or $1,119 a year for a whole life insurance policy with death benefits valued at $250,000. A 35-year-old healthy female who doesn't smoke would pay an average of $82 a month or $960 a year for the same policy.</p> <h2>Which Is Right for You?</h2> <p>Which type of insurance is right for you? If you simply want to provide protection for your loved ones until they are financially independent, a term life insurance policy is usually the better choice thanks to their lower costs.</p> <p>If you want a life insurance policy that also generates cash value, then you might consider the whole life version. Whole life might make sense, too, if you need to provide financial protection for a loved one who will be dependent on you for your entire life, such as a child with special needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn&#039;t Just for Old People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-parents-give-you-a-whole-life-insurance-policy-heres-what-to-do-with-it">Did Your Parents Give You a Whole Life Insurance Policy? Here&#039;s What to Do With It.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries cash value dependents family life insurance payouts term whole life Thu, 03 Nov 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1825853 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/old_couple_retirement_78209735.jpg" alt="Couple boosting their social security payout before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">84% of U.S. workers</a> expect their Social Security benefit to be a significant source income during retirement. So, let's plan ahead with these six smart ways to boost that monthly Social Security check before retirement:</p> <h2>1. Check Reported Earnings on Your Social Security Statements</h2> <p>In September 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing Social Security Statements to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 and over, who aren't yet receiving Social Security benefits and don't have a <em>my Social Security</em> account. You should receive those statements about three months before your birthday at each one of those ages.</p> <p>Once you receive one, check your reported earnings for each year to make sure they match your W-2 forms. The SSA uses your average earnings over your lifetime to calculate your benefit amount, so any errors on reported earnings may alter the benefit to which you're entitled. Since you may have many employers during your lifetime, you're the only person who can look at your earnings history and know whether it's complete and correct.</p> <p>If any earnings before the previous year are missing or shown incorrectly, contact the SSA right away at 1-800-772-1213 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on your local time). Have your W-2 or tax return for those years available when you call.</p> <h2>2. Sign Up for a my Social Security Account</h2> <p>There's no need to wait five years before getting your next Social Security Statement. By creating you're my Social Security account at <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount">www.ssa.gov/myaccount</a>, you'll be able to check your reported earnings once a year to verify that those posted amounts are correct.</p> <p>Additionally, you'll receive updated estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. If you meet certain requirements, you'll also be able to request a replacement Social Security card through the my Social Security online portal.</p> <h2>3. Reach Full Retirement Age</h2> <p>When you have earned the necessary 40 credits (individuals with disabilities, recipients of survivor benefits, and some minors may need fewer credits) to qualify for retirement benefits, you can start receiving those benefits as early as age 62. Whether you receive a digital or paper copy of your Social Security statement, you'll receive an estimated benefit of your retirement benefits at age 62.</p> <p>You'll quickly realize that the estimated benefit at age 62 is much lower than the one at your full retirement age. For example, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age would be 66. If you were to start getting retirement benefits at age 62, they would be <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/1943.html">reduced to 75%</a> of what they would be four years later. For every month that you delay retirement past age 62, you would gain an additional 0.4% in retirement benefits until you reach your full retirement age. Depending on your birth year, your full retirement age ranges from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">65 to 67</a>.</p> <h2>4. Obtain Delayed Retirement Credits</h2> <p>According to estimates from the SSA, about <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html">one out of every four</a> 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95. If you have a family history of longevity, consider delaying retirement until age 70.</p> <p>Individuals born 1943 or later receive an extra <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">2/3 of 1% increase</a> on their retirement benefits for every month that they delay retirement past full retirement age. If your full retirement age were 67, you would increase your retirement benefit to 132% by waiting until age 70. You can only gain delayed retirement credits until age 70.</p> <h2>5. Evaluate Spousal Benefits</h2> <p>Spouses can claim retirement benefits based on their own earnings record or receive up to 50% of the higher earner's benefit, whichever is higher. For example, if your own retirement benefit and your spouse's were $600 and $1,800, respectively, you would receive $900 (50% of $1,800).</p> <p>However, taking the spousal benefit as early as age 62 reduces your payout. A spousal benefit is reduced 25/36 of 1% for each month before full retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of 1% per month. For those born 1960 or later, a $900 spousal benefit would be reduced to $585 when taking it at age 62.</p> <p>If you're divorced from a marriage <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html">lasting 10 years or longer</a>, remain unmarried, and have a retirement benefit smaller than the one you would receive from your ex-spouse, then you can receive spousal benefits on your ex-spouse's record even if he or she has remarried. However, you'll only be able to keep collecting benefits if you keep single. To learn more details about spousal benefits for divorced spouses, consult the SSA website.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead With Your Dependents</h2> <p>Talking about relationship updates later on in life, keep in mind that you can receive additional Social Security payments when you have dependent children <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourchildren.html">under age 19</a> living with you during retirement.</p> <p>As long as your biological child, adopted child, stepchild, or dependent grandchild is unmarried and under age 18, then he or she can receive up to one half of your monthly retirement benefit. The benefit can extend until graduation date or two months after the 19th birthday of a dependent who is a full-time student (no higher than grade 12), whichever is earlier.</p> <p>While each one of your qualifying dependent children can receive a benefit, generally the total amount you and your family can receive is about <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourchildren.html">150% to 180%</a> of your full retirement benefit. Depending on your child's age, you may find it advantageous to retire earlier than you originally planned to take advantage of a higher total family benefit.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Smart%2520Ways%2520to%2520Boost%2520Your%2520Social%2520Security%2520Payout%2520Before%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=6%20Smart%20Ways%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Payout%20Before%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Smart%20Ways%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Payout%20Before%20Retirement.jpg" alt="6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn&#039;t Panic Over</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement benefits dependents full retirement age marriage payout social security spouses ssa Wed, 12 Oct 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1810488 at http://www.wisebread.com Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes? http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calculator_bills_17400550.jpg" alt="Couple learning if a spouse can be added as a dependent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a common scenario: One person in a relationship brings home a much higher salary than the other. For couples in this situation, the higher earner typically handles the majority of the expenses.</p> <p>To lower their tax burden, some may want to claim their lower-earning spouse as a dependent. In other situations, the earner's spouse is disabled and unable to contribute to the family's income. However, while you might think that labeling a spouse as a dependent is a smart decision, it's actually not allowed by the IRS.</p> <h2>What the IRS Says About Dependent Spouses</h2> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf">IRS Publication 17</a>, your spouse can never be claimed as a dependent. Other people, such as siblings, children, or other relatives can be dependents, but no matter the circumstance, your spouse cannot.</p> <p>In the IRS' eyes, a dependent is defined as a child or qualifying relative. The person does not have to be related by blood &mdash; they just had to live with you for the year and not have gross income.</p> <h2>Spousal Exemptions</h2> <p>While a spouse cannot be a dependent, you may be able to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/can-i-claim-my-personal-and-or-spousal-exemption">claim an exemption</a> for your spouse, thereby lowering your tax burden. You can go this route if you are married, and your partner has no gross income to report.</p> <p>If your spouse is physically challenged, you may be able to claim credit for expenses related to the care of your spouse. This option would be a possibility if you needed to hire help to care for your spouse so you could go to work or search for employment.</p> <h2>Marriage and Taxes</h2> <p>To minimize how much you owe on your taxes, it often makes the most sense to file jointly, rather than separately. To encourage couples to file together, the IRS gives joint filers some of the largest standard deductions, allowing them to deduct a big amount from their taxable income.</p> <p>Joint filers can typically claim two exemptions and more easily qualify for other tax credits, including:</p> <ul> <li>Earned Income Tax Credit</li> <li>Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit</li> <li>American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Education Credit</li> </ul> <p>If you file jointly, there is also a higher threshold for taxes and deductions, meaning you can qualify for more credit and tax breaks for a higher income than if you filed separately.</p> <h2>When It Makes Sense to File Separately</h2> <p>Filing separately only makes sense in very specific circumstances, such as in the case of large out-of-pocket medical expenses. Because the IRS only allows you to deduct 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), filing separately can help you save more money.</p> <p>While you may hear some professionals recommend claiming your spouse as a dependent, it is not permissible by the IRS. Instead, you can claim your partner as a personal exemption in particular circumstances. To lower your tax burden, consult with a tax professional to make sure filing jointly makes the most financial sense for your situation and get all of the deductions and tax breaks you are entitled to.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-marriage">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes deductions dependents exemptions filing jointly filing separately marriage spouses tax credits Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Kat Tretina 1796981 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_carrying_boxes_27414930.jpg" alt="Parents making money moves after kids move out" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have your kids recently flown the coop? Huzzah &mdash; it's time to celebrate, empty nester! Shed a few tears so you don't look completely insensitive, but then get down to business. You've put in 18 years (or, God help you, even more), and now it's time to concentrate on you and your future. Thus, here are six money moves you should make as soon as your little kids strike out on their own.</p> <h2>1. Cut Your Children Off as Financial Dependents</h2> <p>Cutting your kids off the financial gravy train doesn't mean you can't help them out when they're in a tight spot, but they're adults now and they need to start acting like it. Start handing over the bills to their cellphones, car insurance, and whatever other payments you're taking care of on their behalf.</p> <p>Similarly, this also is the time to start reversing the mindset that they can call Mom and Dad whenever they need money. If you've facilitated this kind of reliance in your children, it's time to help them learn to stand on their own.</p> <h2>2. Increase Contributions to Your Retirement Fund</h2> <p>Now that you've freed up a good chunk of your disposable income, you can start concentrating on yourself again &mdash; and right now that means retirement.</p> <p>&quot;Once you have an empty nest, it's time to make sure you're on track for your retirement,&quot; says retirement-savings expert Patty Cathey. &quot;I recommend putting away 15% of your salary into a 401K or IRA. If you can put more away &mdash; do it. You may have some ground to make up if you've been prioritizing you kids over retirement.&quot;</p> <p>CFP Scott Hanson, who owns a financial advising firm in California, offers an additional tip on how to play catch-up on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea" target="_blank">your retirement savings</a>.</p> <p>&quot;You can contribute as much as $24,000 into a 401K plan if you are age 50 or older. Too few of us ever reach that milestone, but from my experience, those that have contributed the most to their employer's 401K or 403B are in the best financial position at retirement time.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Make Improvements to Increase the Value of Your Home</h2> <p>If your home has been neglected for a few years (or more) because you've been paying for your high schooler's academic, athletic, and artistic needs (and then exponentially more during college), now's the time to start directing some of that money back into your tangible investments. Fix what needs fixing and give the joint a cosmetic face-lift where necessary to increase its value. Just be careful that you're not making expensive improvements that won't pay off in the long run. Concentrate on what's key to buyers and leave the rest for them.</p> <h2>4. Develop a Strategy to Pay Off Your Home</h2> <p>If you're nearing retirement age, chances are you're well into paying off your mortgage, if not approaching total payoff. You'll put yourself in the best financial position if you can develop a strategy to eliminate that mortgage debt altogether.</p> <p>&quot;Calculate how much you should pay each month so that your home is paid off by the time you reach retirement age,&quot; Hanson advises. &quot;For example, if you are age 52 and want to retire at age 65, you'll want to adjust your payments so that your home is paid off in 13 years. There are many online calculators that can help you figure this out.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Offer Your Kid's Room to a Rent-Paying Boarder</h2> <p>You'll find help in paying off your mortgage faster or putting more money toward your retirement plan if you can monetize the extra space in your house. If your kid doesn't have any plans to return (or you've changed the locks so they can't &mdash; and high-five for that!), consider turning their bedroom into a short or long-term rental.</p> <p>There are pros and cons to both situations.</p> <p>On the short-term side, there's potential to make much more money per month if you live in a well-traveled area, and you have the pleasure of welcoming new guests on a regular basis (if you like that sort of thing), while avoiding the annoyance of a full-time tenant. If you prefer a more long-term situation, you can count on steady income, though it may net less than a short-term setup, and you won't have to continually greet new guests and clean up after them.</p> <p>Either way, my philosophy is that if your empty room isn't making you money, it's costing you money &mdash; and when you look at it that way, it's easy to discern which is the better solution for your savings goals.</p> <h2>6. Consider Downsizing to a Smaller Home</h2> <p>If you're not keen on renting your extra room(s) to short-term vacationers or a long-term tenant, consider downsizing altogether if you have more space than you really need. At this stage, there's no point in paying for a three or four-bedroom mortgage when you may be able to buy a new one-bedroom condo outright with the money you make from the sale of your existing home. Cutting your mortgage way down will help also you put the excess savings toward retirement.</p> <p>&quot;You'll not only save money on the mortgage, but you can save on utility bills, maintenance costs, and taxes,&quot; Cathey adds. &quot;Not to mention, you may be able to ease some of the home maintenance burdens, freeing up time spent on cleaning, lawn care, and shoveling.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Look at Other Areas in Your Life That You Can Downsize</h2> <p>Driving a gas guzzler? Look into an inexpensive, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Keeping services, memberships, and subscriptions that you don't really use? Cancel them. Energy costs eating up a good portion of your budget? Research ways to cut back and go a little greener. There are likely plenty of areas you can shave money off your bills here and there by reducing what you're using. The amount may seem insignificant singularly, but combined they'll add up fast.</p> <p><em>Did you kids recently move out? What have you done to put more money back in your pocket instead of theirs? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know">9 Family Money Matters Your Kids Don&#039;t Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family dependents empty nesters home kids moving out retirement teenagers young adults Thu, 07 Jul 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1745836 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_playing_toys_88157727.jpg" alt="Finding easy way to pay for child care" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of people are aware that they can sock money into their employer's Health Care Flexible Savings Account program to be ready for the next root canal or other medical expense. But not everyone realizes that there is another kind of FSA &mdash; the Dependent Care FSA &mdash; that can be an even better benefit to stressed families.</p> <p>Families who make the most of their employer's Dependent Care FSA can save $1,500 or more, says Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at <a href="https://www.wageworks.com/">WageWorks</a>, one of the companies that administrates FSAs. This is based on the annual $5,000 contribution limit, and her estimate that most families save 30% to 40% in taxes by participating.</p> <p>&quot;You could pay for your family's summer vacation by participating in a Dependent Care Flex Spending Account,&quot; Dietel says.</p> <p>Like Health Care FSAs, Dependent Care FSAs are offered as part of employer benefit packages. Both kinds of FSA allow workers to set aside a certain amount of their pay, free of state, federal, and Social Security taxes, to apply to qualifying expenses. For the dependent care FSA, qualifying expenses are for day care for your dependents while you work or look for work.</p> <p>Sounds good, right? And yet, Dietel says, many workers whose employers offer these plans never sign up for them. Here's why you should not let this opportunity pass you by:</p> <h2>1. Day Care Is Expensive, But Predictable</h2> <p>While you may put aside a lot of money for medical expenses and then not end up needing it, most families with young kids will easily spend the $5,000 contribution limit. In fact, sending an infant to a child care center costs between <a href="http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Parents-and-the-High-Cost-of-Child-Care-2015-FINAL.pdf">$10,000 and $20,000 a year</a>. And unlike a root canal, you typically know at the beginning of the year that you're going to need day care.</p> <h2>2. If Your Needs Change, You Can Change Your Contribution</h2> <p>Although <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer" target="_blank">child care expenses</a> are relatively predictable, things happen. You may change providers, or change the number of hours you work. Such things are qualifying events that allow you to change the amount you contribute to the FSA or stop contributing altogether, Dietel says.</p> <p>&quot;Let's say your mother comes to spend three months with you during the summer (to care for your children). You could stop your day care flexible spending contributions,&quot; she explains.</p> <h2>3. It's Not Just for Kids</h2> <p>Most people only think of these plans for child care, but they can actually be used to pay for the care of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/personalfinance/lifeevents/benefits/dependentFSAs.php">any dependent or household member</a> who can't care for themselves. For example, if your spouse becomes disabled, or you become responsible for your parents' care, you can use FSA funds to pay for that.</p> <p>&quot;More people now are taking care of elderly parents,&quot; Dietel says.</p> <h2>4. You Can Use It to Pay for Classes and Day Camps</h2> <p>Dependent care FSAs are not just for day care centers or baby sitters. You can also use it send your kid to an after-school gymnastics class or a summer day camp &mdash; as long as the primary purpose of the camp or class is to provide supervision while you work or look for a job. This provision can be a lifesaver for the summer months, when paying for activities while kids are out of school strains family budgets.</p> <p>The only caveats: You can't pay for sleep-away camp with FSA funds, and the primary purpose of the day camp should be care, not learning a skill.</p> <h2>5. Even If You Don't Spend Every Dime, You May Still Come Out Ahead</h2> <p>Some workers are scared away from FSAs by the use-it-or-lose-it aspect &mdash; if you have unspent funds left at the end of the year, you forfeit them. But you shouldn't let that fear keep you from taking advantage of this benefit. First of all, Dietel points out, even when the calendar year ends, many employers now offer grace periods in which to spend any unused funds. And even when the time has truly run out, many families are able to claim any remaining funds by looking through their records and submitting receipts that they had overlooked.</p> <p>But even if you have a few bucks you can't claim, don't despair. As Dietel puts it, if you saved $1,500 over the course of the year, leaving $25 or $50 unclaimed is not a net loss.</p> <h2>6. FSAs Are Usually a Better Deal Than the Dependent Care Tax Credit</h2> <p>When filing your taxes, you have the option to deduct some of your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.probenefits.com/participants/learn/articles/dependent-care-fsa-or-tax-credit">annual child care expenses</a>. You can't double dip &mdash; that is, you can't take a tax credit on care you paid for through your FSA. The FSA is usually the better deal, Dietel says, because it exempts you from state taxes and Social Security, not just federal taxes.</p> <p>Although you can't double dip, you may not have to choose. Dietel points out that if you have enough child care expenses to satisfy the IRS requirements for the Dependent Care Tax Credit and use up your FSA separately, you can use both, applying each to different expenses. Consult an accountant or the IRS for more details on how to do that legally.</p> <h2>7. It's Easier to Use Than You Think</h2> <p>In the past, workers had to fax or scan in and upload paper receipts to get reimbursed from FSAs. But if you haven't had one for a while, you might not know that a lot of administrators now offer more convenient options, like mobile apps that allow your care provider to sign right on your phone.</p> <p><em>Are you using an FSA to help pay for child care?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance">How to Manage a Family Member&#039;s Finances Long Distance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family caregivers child care dependents flexible spending accounts FSA tax credits Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1745831 at http://www.wisebread.com When Should Single People Get Life Insurance? http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_looking_up_29810428.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if single people should get life insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know the typical market for life insurance: People with families to protect. When these people die, their life insurance policies make payments to their beneficiaries, whether that be their children or their spouse.</p> <p>But what if you're single without children? Is buying a life insurance policy ever a smart move?</p> <p>In most cases, no, you won't need life insurance if you don't have a spouse or any children who count on your income to pay for their daily living expenses. But as with most financial matters, there are exceptions.</p> <p>Here are some of the most common reasons why a single adult without children might consider buying life insurance:</p> <h2>Policies Are Cheaper When You're Younger and Healthier</h2> <p>If you are a healthy and a nonsmoker, you'll pay less for life insurance when you are 24 than you will when you are 30, 35, or older. That's because you're at more of a risk to die.</p> <p>According to Trusted Choice, an independent insurance agent, a 20-year-old male nonsmoker at a healthy weight would pay about $32.53 a month for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. That cost rises to $35.69 a month for that same healthy male at 35-years-old. And it soars to $111.38 a month when this same male reaches 50.</p> <p>So, it might make financial sense to buy a life insurance policy when you are in your 20s. Then, when you do get married and have kids, you can change the beneficiaries on your policy to your spouse and children.</p> <h2>You Owe Money With Someone Else</h2> <p>Have your parents co-signed on an auto loan with you? Maybe they've co-signed for that mortgage loan that you are paying off each month. What happens to that debt if you should suddenly die? Your parents will be responsible for paying it off.</p> <p>However, if you have a life insurance policy with your parents named as the beneficiary, they could use the payout from the policy to pay off the debt that they owed with you. Taking out life insurance in this case would serve as a form of protection for whoever was generous enough to take on the risk of co-signing a loan with you.</p> <h2>You're Providing Financial Support to Others</h2> <p>Just because you're not married and you don't have children, doesn't mean that you are not providing financial support to someone. Maybe an elderly parent lives with you and counts on your financial support each month. If you should unexpectedly die, what would happen to that parent? By naming that parent as a beneficiary, you can make sure that they are financially protected.</p> <p>You might even be providing financial support to siblings, nieces, or nephews. The right life insurance policy can make sure that this support continues even after your death.</p> <h2>You Want to Leave a Gift</h2> <p>Maybe you simply want to leave a financial gift to someone who holds a special place in your life, even if this person doesn't really need your financial support. By naming that special person as a beneficiary &mdash; it could be a niece, nephew, partner, or friend &mdash; you'll be leaving behind something of great value should you die.</p> <h2>Term or Whole Life?</h2> <p>Once you've decided that you do want a life insurance policy, it's time to determine what kind of policy you want and how large of a policy you need. There are two main <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people" target="_blank">types of life insurance policies</a>: the cheaper term life, and the more expensive whole life.</p> <p>Term life insurance provides coverage for just a set period of time &mdash; usually 20 years &mdash; but can be bought for as little as one year, or as many as 30. Your premium will usually remain the same during the entire term. Whole life insurance instead lasts, as the name suggests, until you die. Whole life premiums also include an investment component, what is known as the policy's cash value. The cash value will grow during the life of your policy.</p> <p>It's best to meet with a financial planner to determine which type of policy makes the most sense for you. A planner can provide recommendations, too, on how much insurance you should take out to meet your financial goals and how best to structure your policy so that you can provide the most financial protection to your beneficiaries if you should die.</p> <p><em>Do you have life insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries dependents estate planning Health life insurance policies single unmarried Tue, 05 Jul 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1741536 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Your Kid Need an IRA? http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-your-kid-need-an-ira" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_piggy_bank_000073782665.jpg" alt="Child needs an IRA and here&#039;s how to set one up" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a big day when you open a savings account for your child, but opening an investment account on their behalf takes the financial conversation to a whole new level &mdash; especially when you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k" target="_blank">invest through a Roth IRA</a>. Here are a few reasons why your kid needs one.</p> <h2>1. They'll Learn About Investing &mdash; And More</h2> <p>Investing is arguably the most complicated and intimidating aspect of money management, so the earlier you get your kids acclimated to the process, the better.</p> <p>You could open a plain old investment account for them, but investing through a Roth IRA provides powerful additional benefits by teaching them about (and saving them) taxes.</p> <h2>2. They Start Saving for Big Purchases &mdash; Like College or a House</h2> <p>A Roth IRA is a flexible, tax-efficient way to invest. Contributions can be withdrawn at any time without taxes or penalties. Earnings can be withdrawn on the same basis as well if the account has been open for at least five years and the money is used for qualified college expenses or a first-time home purchase (up to $10,000).</p> <p>Of course, the Roth really shines as a retirement savings vehicle. All of the money &mdash; contributions and earnings &mdash; can be withdrawn tax- and penalty-free after age 59&frac12;, and the benefit of those tax-free earnings really adds up over time. So, if your child has another way to pay for college and a house, all the better to keep adding to the account and let it build for later life. But it's nice to have the flexibility to pull money out earlier if needed for college or a house.</p> <h2>3. They'll Still Be Eligible for Financial Aid</h2> <p>Money held in an IRA, whether owned by a parent or a child, does <em>not</em> impact the financial aid calculation, at least not <em>initially. </em>By contrast, 20% of the money a student holds in a taxable investment account will reduce the financial aid they're eligible for.</p> <p>However, if money is withdrawn from an IRA to pay for college, that money <em>will </em>reduce financial aid. It's treated as income, 50% of which is considered to be available to pay for school. One workaround is to use such money only to pay for the last year of school since no aid will be required the following year.</p> <h2>How to Set Up an IRA for a Minor</h2> <p>Setting up a Roth for a kid is as straightforward as setting one up for yourself, but there are a couple of wrinkles to be aware of.</p> <h3>Qualifying for an Account</h3> <p>A child has to have earned income in order to qualify for an IRA, which can come from a job or their own self-employment efforts, such as babysitting, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, pet walking, and more.</p> <p>As long as the child meets the income qualification, they don't have to contribute their own money; parents or others could make IRA contributions on their behalf. Either way, annual deposits to the account cannot exceed the amount of income earned by the child, and is currently capped at $5,500 per year.</p> <h3>Opening an Account</h3> <p>The account must be set up as a custodial account since you need to be the &quot;age of majority&quot; (18&ndash;21, depending on your state) to have such an account in your own name. Any adult can open a custodial account on behalf of a minor &mdash; a parent, grandparent, other relative, or just a friend of the child. The assets transfer to the young person when he or she reaches the age of majority.</p> <p>Many brokers, including Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab, offer custodial IRA accounts with no or very low minimum opening balance requirements.</p> <h3>Funding an Account</h3> <p>As for specific investments to consider after opening an account, mutual funds may not be the best choice since they often require $1,000 or higher minimum investment amounts. You might consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs) instead. They can be purchased one share at a time, offer great diversification, and many brokers, including the ones mentioned above, offer plenty of commission-free ETFs.</p> <p>Opening a Roth IRA for your child is one of the best financial moves you could make. Just be sure to involve them in the process of choosing investments and understanding the tax benefits. That combination of education and hands-on experience will set them on a path toward becoming a knowledgeable, confident, successful investor.</p> <p><em>Have you opened an IRA for a child?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid&#039;s College Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Investment dependents kids retirement accounts Roth IRA saving money taxes Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Matt Bell 1693266 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Tax Tricks to Try if You're Stuck With Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_grad_cash_000049202136.jpg" alt="New grad stuck with student loans trying tax tricks " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're buried in student loan debt, it doesn't seem fair to be paying taxes. That's why it's important to get as much as you can back with your tax returns. Take advantage of deductions and credits, and if you're fortunate enough to be able to do so, use your returns to pay down a big chunk of your debt. Here's what you should be looking for while filling out your return.</p> <h2>1. Deduct Interest Paid</h2> <p>You can deduct the interest you pay on your debt. At least this way you recoup some of what you spent.</p> <p>You'll file the deduction as an adjustment to income. The maximum amount you can deduct is $2,500. If you've paid more than $600 in interest in the past year, you should receive form 1098-E from your lender. Box #1 will tell you how much interest you paid.</p> <p>If you paid less than $600, you'll have to check records to see how much to deduct. There's an income ceiling &mdash; after you make $80,000 a year, you're exempt. See the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc456.html">IRS page</a> on this topic.</p> <p>Are you still in school? I recommend not deferring your interest payment. If you do defer, your lender simply tacks that interest onto the principal of your loan. Then, you end up paying interest on the interest.</p> <h2>2. Deduct Tuition and Fees</h2> <p>This deduction adjusts the amount of income on which you're taxed. It's good for up to $4,000 per year. If you're a dependent on someone else's tax return or you are married and filing separately, you don't qualify. Like the interest deduction, if you earn a certain amount, you're exempt. Also, if you want to claim either of the education tax credits (see &quot;Stay in School&quot; below), you can't claim the <a href="https://www.taxslayer.com/support/knowledgebasearticle187.aspx">Tuition and Fees Deduction</a>.</p> <h2>3. Get the Earned Income Tax Credit</h2> <p>If you qualify for it, get it. The EITC, or EIC, is for those of us with low income. Surprisingly, only about 80% of workers who qualify for the credit claim it. If you're married, don't file separately &mdash; this will disqualify you. If you're single, to get this credit you have to make less than $14,820 in a year. If you're married and/or have kids the <a href="http://www.efile.com/what-is-the-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc-eic-eligibility-schedule-calculator/">qualification ceiling goes up</a>.</p> <h2>4. Take on Freelance Work</h2> <p>Not only will freelancing earn you more money towards paying off your debt, you'll also be able to write off a number of expenses. These deductions include work materials, such as a laptop or tablet you use exclusively for freelance writing. You can write off meals and snacks you eat in the course of your workday. You can also write off expenses related directly and indirectly to the space you use for work. Yes it's a hassle, but make sure to document your expenses if you want to qualify for deductions.</p> <h2>5. Stay in School</h2> <p>Is graduation in sight but you're nervous about your post-graduate plans? You may want to stay in school. Here's the logic behind this: College students can be eligible for some great <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/four-major-student-tax-breaks-2013-1">tax breaks</a>:</p> <ul> <li><em>American Opportunity Credit</em> &mdash; Up to $2,500 for tuition, fees, books, and other equipment<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Lifetime Learning Credit</em> &mdash; Up to $2,000 for education-related expenses</li> </ul> <p>You can only claim one of these credits. To get the American Opportunity Credit, you have to be at least a part-time student, and you can only claim it for the first four years of college. It's refundable by up to $1,000, meaning you could see that money go right back into your pocket.</p> <p>The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to the student who wants to continue for more than four years, or go to graduate school.</p> <p>Combined with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students" target="_blank">student loan interest deduction</a>, tax credits can save you a nice chunk of change to apply towards paying off your loans. Work a freelance job at the same time, get the freelancer deductions, and now you're talking tax strategy. But know you can't make more than $80,000 a year to get the American Opportunity Credit, and no more than $60,000 to get the Lifetime Learning Credit.</p> <h2>6. Look Into the Business Deduction for Work-Related Education</h2> <p>Here's a scenario. You're a writer and you're going to school to get a degree in English with some sort of writing emphasis. On the side, you do freelance writing to make a little extra cash. You can deduct your education expenses.</p> <p>Or, your employer can pay for your education and write it off on their taxes. Your degree has to go toward continuing in your employment field, and it can't be a degree toward meeting your employer's minimum educational requirements.</p> <p>Even if you're on a leave of absence from work, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513.html">still deduct educational expenses</a>.</p> <h2>7. Paying for Child Care? The Child and Dependent Care Credit</h2> <p>You can get a credit of up to $3,000 for one child/dependent, or $6,000 for two children/dependents, per year. You have to be employed or seeking employment. If you're a full-time student, you qualify as being employed. Your income will determine your credit amount, but the nice thing is there is no income ceiling. You must provide your child care provider's information, as they must be a qualifying provider (not your spouse or one of your older kids). The <a href="http://www.taxcreditsforworkingfamilies.org/child-and-dependent-care-tax-credit/">Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit</a> is a nice boost, and combined with the other credits listed here, will definitely help you out come tax time.</p> <h2>8. Get Free Tax Prep</h2> <p>All of this is a lot to take in, and doing your own taxes can be frustrating, especially if you're pressed for resources. Is there a community college in your area? Under the IRS VITA program, low to moderate-income Americans can get tax help from volunteers at community colleges and other locations. Of course there are qualifications you have to meet, and materials you have to bring. You qualify if:</p> <ul> <li>You make $54,000 a year or less<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're elderly or incapable of preparing on your own taxes due to disability<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You speak limited English</li> </ul> <p>The IRS page on this topic will provide you with a tool for finding the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers">closest VITA tax-preparer</a>, and info on <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Checklist-for-Free-Tax-Return-Preparation">what to bring</a>.</p> <p>Happy tax prep!</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of these tax breaks for students?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Tax%2520Tricks%2520to%2520Try%2520if%2520Youre%2520Stuck%2520With%2520Student%2520Loans.jpg&amp;description=8%20Tax%20Tricks%20to%20Try%20if%20Youre%20Stuck%20With%20Student%20Loans"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Tax%20Tricks%20to%20Try%20if%20Youre%20Stuck%20With%20Student%20Loans.jpg" alt="8 Tax Tricks to Try if You're Stuck With Student Loans" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-matthews">Daniel Matthews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-taking-out-student-loans">6 Questions to Ask Before Taking Out Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">A Better Way to Rank America&#039;s Colleges</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes college dependents interest student loans tax breaks tax deductions tuition Mon, 04 Apr 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Daniel Matthews 1683568 at http://www.wisebread.com