Tips for Surviving an IRS Audit: It’s Never Too Early to Plan

They are the words that no tax-paying American wants to hear: “You’re being audited.” Paying taxes and preparing your tax return every year can be frustrating enough. However, if the IRS chooses to audit you, it can be a dreadful experience.

Even if you feel confident that you covered every detail and all of your deductions are accurate and legitimate, it’s still very easy to second guess yourself and worry about what an audit might uncover.… [Read more]

The True Cost of Cashing out Your 401(k) – And Some Better Options

A leaky roof, a damaged septic system, a child getting ready to go to college—if you are facing any of these expensive propositions, you may be thinking about taking money out of your 401(k). Before you call your HR rep, check out the true cost of tapping your retirement account and these valuable alternatives.

You’ll Pay Penalties

If you are under the age of 59.5, you can withdraw money from your 401(k) for hardship distributions.… [Read more]

Five Tax Tips for the Unemployed

With just over 8% of the American work force currently unemployed, with no projected change in the next year and a half, I thought it might be a good time to review the tax implications of unemployment.

  1. Yes, you do have to claim unemployment benefits as taxable income.  You should receive a 1099-G form which will show the total amount of unemployment benefits received at the end of the year.  
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Debt Decisions

So, you’ve set an intention to get yourself out of debt. Noble, my friend. Studies have shown that the average American has over $10,000 in debt, most of which is credit-card debt. Yikes. But then you’re staring at your pile of bills, or your Mint.com account, and wondering — where do I start? Which debt do I tackle first?… [Read more]

Mid-year Financial Health Checkup

We are at the midpoint of 2012.  If you believe in the ancient Mayan prophecy, this means we really only have 5 1/2 months to live, so feel free to go ahead and spend up! But, if you’re skeptical about the Mayans, or perhaps believe that you CAN take it with you, let me ask you a few questions.… [Read more]

Money, Credit, and Our Kids

I remember going to work with my mom when I was a little girl. Her boss would often reach into his pocket, hand me whatever change he had floating around in there, and hand it to me, calling it “pig food” (as in, food for my piggy bank). I was obsessed with coins. (Guess they should have known I would end up sitting for the CPA exam many years later.) I remember holding them in my hands until they warmed up, separating them into stacks of pennies, nickels, dimes,… [Read more]

Quarterly Taxes—Who, When, and Why?

I get questions fairly frequently about quarterly taxes.  Who is required to file them?  And why?  Since the second quarter filing is coming up and I’m busy helping my clients get these done, I’ll make this short and sweet.

In general, if you either owed more than $1,000 last year in taxes, or expect to owe more than $1,000 this year, you are required to file quarterlies.… [Read more]

Mid-Year Tax Update

Okay, so it’s not quite mid-year yet, but with the second quarter coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about taxes (if you ever stopped).  Here are some tips to ensure that your tax bill is right where you want it to be next April.… [Read more]

Retirement Planning In A Nutshell

Fifty years ago, there was one type of retirement plan: a pension.  And once you retired from your company with 25 years of service and a gold watch, you received a steady paycheck for the rest of your life.  Today, there is a dizzying array of choices, and let’s be honest — very few of us are retiring with 25 years of service from anywhere.… [Read more]

How The Rich Are Increasing Your Student Loan Debt

If you’re one of President Obama’s fifteen million Twitter followers, you may have seen his #dontdoublemyrates tweets lately. The controversy stems from the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, which, among other things, reduced the fixed interest rates on newly originated subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduate students only, from 6.8% in 2007 down a sliding scale until they hit 3.4% in the 2011-2012 school year.… [Read more]

Making Your Money Matter –Part 4 of 4

This is part four of a four-part series on aligning your personal finances with your values.  Find parts one, two, and three here. 

The final step in aligning your personal finances with your life values? Follow through, and follow up.

Follow through.  Last week you set some very specific goals. Make them happen. Then set more goals.… [Read more]

Making Your Money Matter — Part 3 of 4

This is part three of a four-part series on aligning your personal finances with your values.  Find parts one and two here. 

Okay, now we get to the fun stuff. And by “fun”, I mean “the part where you actually have to face your realities and how that may or may not be in line with what you think.”  Don’t be afraid; I’m here to hold your hand, and I promise I’ve heard it all before.… [Read more]

Making Your Money Matter: Part 2 of 4

This is part two of a four-part series on aligning your personal finances with your values.  Click here for part one.

Last week we talked about the first step in aligning your personal finances with your values, which was identifying your life values in the first place. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, you won’t be able to make your money work for you.… [Read more]

Making Your Money Matter: Part 1 of 4

This is part one of a four-part series on aligning your personal finances with your values.

There are a million resources out there for managing personal finances — everything from debt-free living to investing wisely to balancing your checkbooks. This series is not going to be about that. It’s going to be about how to align your personal finances with the rest of your life.… [Read more]

An Open Letter To The Black Church

*Editor’s Note: We believe that this article, written by Ryan C. Mack* is fitting in honour of Black History Month. Effective education and economic empowerment have been described by some as the last Civil Rights frontiers.

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We need you to step up!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey in the year of 2008 calculated the average annual contribution of Black households to religious organizations was $683. … [Read more]