General Investing Tips Articles

  Dividends and Capital Gains Taxes

For most tax payers, dividend and long-term capital gains tax rates will remain unchanged from 2015-2016.  As in the past investors in the 10% and 15% brackets will pay nothing on qualified dividends and long term capital gains, and those in the 25%, 28%,33% and 35% tax brackets will pay 15% on their qualified dividend income and long term capital gains. Those in the 39.6% tax bracket in 2016, that single filers with income greater than $415,050 and joint fliers with income greater than $466,950 will pay a 20% tax rate on qualified dividends and long term capital gains.  Those earning more than $200,000 single filer and more than $250,000 joint filer may also have to pay an additional 3.8%.

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  Saving for Health Care

Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are traditionally use-it-or-lose-it plans. You can save pre-tax dollars to pay for health care expenses, but they must be used within a plan year.  As of 2016, you are allowed to rollover $500 from an FSA into the next plan year. Now there is another change.

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  Organizing Your Financial Records

Having an organized approach to financial records can remove much of the stress associated with living. We all play many roles, each with a trail of paper attached.

What to keep
Knowing what to keep by separating your papers by your need to use them, keeping short-term items together and a longer term items together.

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  Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

social-security-cardTheft and unauthorized use of your personal information can destroy your credit and ruin your reputation. Here are some tips to help safeguard your identity:

  1. Shred financial documents and mailings with personal information before tossing them in your garbage. The garbage is a great source of information for identity thieves.

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  Reduced Student Loan Brings Big Tax Bill

If a lender allows a graduate to pay less than the full amount of a loan, that entire discount is considered taxable income by the IRS. Example: A lender agreed to reduce a student’s loan by $28,000 – so the IRS said that the student had $28,000 in taxable income. A court agreed with the IRS positions. What to do: Discuss any loan forgiveness or other changes in debt status with a knowledgeable financial advisor. Be aware the discount is not considered taxable income if the graduate works in certain professions for set periods in specified areas (such as a teacher in an inner city).

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  When to Sell Savings Bonds

savings-bondSavings bonds are not necessarily the most glamourous of investments. However, they can certainly provide a stable return in a volatile market. But when should you consider redeeming a savings bond?

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  Small Savings Turn Into A Big Nest Egg

egg-nestIt’s never too early to start saving. And, its never too late either. Even relatively small savings can grow significantIy over time.

For example, $100 a month in savings at 10% accumulates to almost $76,000 in 20 years. Over 40 years, that same $100 balloons to $632,000.

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