Protecting the Elderly From Scams & Financial Abuse

You hear the story over and over again: an elderly person scammed out of their retirement by a family member or acquaintance. As one of our more vulnerable groups, the elderly are constantly targeted by the predators of our society because they’re lonely or easy to confuse. It’s a sad state of affairs, especially among a people so easy to manipulate.… [Read more]

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]