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7 Simple Ways to Save Money on Taxes This Year

It’s officially tax time – a time to look back over the previous year with an eye toward maximizing deductions and tax credits and lowering your tax burden. Do you find yourself cringing at how much you pay in taxes each year though? You’re definitely not the only one who feels knots in their stomach when reviewing how much in taxes comes out of your paycheck each month. Taxes are unavoidable, but you can minimize the impact they have on your bottom line. While every scenario is different, one thing is universally true, and that is that planning is the key to get the most out of taxes. If you don’t plan, then you’re not going to get anywhere. The good news is there are simple ways you can start planning right now to save on your taxes this year. Taking action now can make a big difference in the…

6 Steps to Achieve Anything on Your Bucket List

Lean in closer, as I would like to introduce you to something that’s a good friend to millions of people from around the globe. The List. Also referred to as The “Stuff I Want to Do Before I Die.” A life list. Most call it a bucket list. What’s on The List? The short answer is: whatever your heart desires. Want to be trilingual? Published in an international magazine? Jump from the side of a cliff? Fly a plane? Shake the President of Canada’s hand? Visit every continent on the planet? Visit outer-space? Eat local for 6 months? Own your own business? Sing jazz in a club or do stand-up comedy? Graduate from law school? Adopt a child? Be debt-free? The best part of the bucket list is that it’s completely up to you. It’s unique to each person. People all over the world use the bucket list as a…

6 Big Tax Insights Independent Contractors Need to Know

There are countless benefits for those who freelance or operate as an independent contractor. You control your own time, can be your own boss and have the ability to say yes or no to work based on your overall interest and availability. In addition, the Internet age makes being an independent contractor easier and in more demand than ever. What are we getting at? Many independent contractors fear tax time as it can be complicated. It doesn’t have to be though. Here are six tips for making tax season as painless and stress-free as possible when you’re an independent contractor. Know What to Expect If you’re paid $600 or more by an individual client, you should receive a 1099-MISC from that client. Typically, you include Schedule C with your tax return to report any self-employed income – along with any deductions for business expenses. If your net earnings from self-employment…

3 Work Life Insurance Drawbacks: Is It Enough?

Is the life insurance you’re getting through your employer enough to take care of your family? And are you paying too much for that coverage? While basic employer-provided life insurance is low-cost or free, your policy’s face value still may not be high enough. If your premature death would be a financial burden to your spouse and/or children, you may need coverage worth five to eight times your annual salary. Some experts have recommended getting coverage worth 10 to 12 times your annual salary. Both millennials and seasoned professionals alike commonly mistake work life insurance as enough life insurance for their needs, but there are some drawbacks to employer-provided life insurance that you should be aware of. Basic Policies Have Low Limits Life insurance from work typically has a low policy value. Sometimes those life insurance policies are capped at around $100,000. Think about it for a minute. If you pass away, is $100,000…

3 Apps to Make Automated Savings Easy

Americans are generally lackluster savers. Forty-one percent of households lack liquid savings to cover an unexpected $2,000 expense, according to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also found that a lack of saving is a top financial worry – even among families with higher incomes. Also, one in three American families reports having no savings, including 1 in 10 of those with annual incomes greater than $100,000. Recent Federal data show the overall personal savings rate in the United States is about 5 percent, and an analysis by Moody’s Analytics finds that Americans under 35 actually have a negative savings rate, meaning they are spending more than they earn. Why is it so hard to save money? For one thing, our consumer culture is designed to encourage spending. Think about it, every coffee shop wants you to buy another cup of coffee, and the technology used today is making…

5 Tips for Improving Work Life Balance

A good work ethic is not only important, it’s vital. Always doing your best and having a positive, proactive attitude will take you far in the workplace, and nothing reinforces a healthy sense of self-worth like a job well done. But with smartphones facilitating around-the-clock accessibility, office hours are starting to extend well past the traditional nine to five, and finding work-life balance is becoming more difficult. While putting in extra hours here and there is inevitable, devoting too much time to work can lead to exhaustion, reduced productivity and compromised job performance. It can also lead to feelings of resentment and neglect on the parts of our families and those closest to us. These five tips can help you strike a balance between your work and your personal life – no matter how busy you are! Prioritize There are only so many hours in a day. To ensure you…

12 Insurance Blogs You Can't Afford to Ignore

Insurance is a personal finance cornerstone. It ensures your savings and investments are not wiped out due to an unexpected illness, injury or other worst-case scenarios. There is so much to learn about insurance, and it is tough to find everything you are looking for in one place.  Also, writing engaging blog articles on a topic that isn’t considered to be the most exciting can be tough, but there are some organizations out there making it happen with their insurance blogs. Get a cup of tea, find a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy these 12 websites that boast arguably the best insurance-related blogs out there. The Insurance Word Blog From Life Happens Life Happens is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people take responsibility for their personal finances, with a focus on life insurance and related products like disability insurance. The blog is a great resource, and you can also…

7 Big Money Secrets the Financial Industry Doesn't Want You to Know

The finance industry is about making money. However, unlike most industries, you can use knowledge of banking and personal finance to save yourself a boatload of cash. Instead of handing your hard-earned cash over to wealthy bank executives, have a good understanding of these seven money secrets so you can keep as much of your money as possible. Stock Brokers Want You To Trade According to famed investor Warren Buffett, most of us are better off investing only in low-fee index funds like the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF or mutual funds. It is extremely difficult to beat the markets consistently. Even professional fund managers often underperform the S&P 500. If investment professionals can’t beat the market, people who don’t spend eight to twelve hours per day learning about stocks and the stock market will perform even worse when picking stocks and investments. Keep in mind, that is exactly what your…

2017 Money Expert Cheat Sheet: 6 Steps to Achieving Financial Freedom

Here are the rules:  We’ve all been at zero and even below zero several times, we’ve battled back a few times, and then we did it again and believe or not, again.  We’ve all started new jobs and new careers. Sometimes because of our interests and what we thought we wanted to be changed. A few times because all bridges had been burned beyond repair and almost always because we desperately needed money. People who knew you back in those days, don’t know you at all today. And so it goes. Here we are again, saying goodbye to one year and starting a new year, which is the perfect time to change and become a new person financially.  A critical first step is to increase your financial knowledge and get your personal finances on track. Whether you feel like you are on track to meet your goals or need a…

Year-End Financial Checklist: 8 Must Haves

New Year’s is just a few days away and it’s always a good idea to assess your financial situation before the year is up. With a new presidency on the horizon as well, it’s also a good time to start thinking about how new reforms could affect your taxable income and finances over the coming months and years. By using a year-end financial checklist, you can ensure your 2017 will start off on the right foot. Here’s a simple year-end financial checklist you can tackle before December 31st to help get your financial life in order. Review Your  Insurance Policies, and Don’t Miss Open Enrollment Your HR department has probably been sending around reminders about open enrollment. Don’t delay! Set aside some time to tally up how much you’ve spent on premiums, claims and out of pocket expenses over the last few years to help you determine if you should…

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