March 2014 Posts

  • Practical Tips for Special Needs Planning

    In honor of “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month,” proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in March 1987, this month’s issue of The ElderCounselor™ examines the unique planning requirements of families who have loved ones with special needs. Understanding the pitfalls associated with special needs planning is a must for all who assist families with children, grandchildren or other loved ones (such as parents) with special needs. ...
  • Spring Cleaning Your Debt

    It's springtime--time for you to take stock of your surroundings and get rid of the dirt and clutter that you've accumulated during this past year. In addition to typical spring cleaning tasks, you may want to take this time to focus on your finances. In particular, now may be as good a time as ever to evaluate your debt situation and try to reduce and/or eliminate any debt obligations you may have. The following are some tips to get you started. ...
  • Saving through Your Retirement Plan at Work? Don't Let These Five Risks Derail Your Progress

    As a participant in your work-sponsored retirement savings plan, you've made a very important commitment to yourself and your family: to prepare for your future. Congratulations! Making that commitment is an important first step in your pursuit of a successful retirement. Now it's important to stay focused--and be aware of a few key risks that could derail your progress along the way. ...
  • Is there a new way to calculate my home office deduction?

    Yes, but first it's important to understand what hasn't changed. To qualify for an income tax deduction for home office expenses, the IRS still requires that you meet two tests--the place of business test and the exclusive and regular use test....
  • How do I figure the tax on the sale of my home?

    In general, when you sell your home any amount you receive over your cost basis (what you paid for the home, plus capital improvements, plus the costs of selling the home) is subject to capital gains taxes. However, if you owned and used the home as your principal residence for a total of two out of the five years before the sale (the two years do not have to be consecutive), you may be able to exclude from federal income tax up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 if you're married and file a joint return) of the capital gain when you sell your home. You can use this exclusion only once every two years, and the exclusion does not apply to vacation homes and pure investment properties....
  • The Fed's Great Unwind and Your Portfolio

    After more than five years of unprecedented support for the economy, the Federal Reserve Board has begun to reduce its purchases of bonds. And though the Fed has said interest rates may stay low even after unemployment has fallen to 6.5%, higher rates increasingly seem to be a question of timing. Both of those actions can affect your portfolio....
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