In the past I’ve written about stocks, bonds mutual funds and ETFs. However, there are other types of investment instruments that I haven’t written about. In this post I’ll cover some of the basics regarding annuities.
Improving your finances is a long-term process–it’s a marathon, not a sprint, people! The process also depends on where you’re starting from. Some of us are younger and just getting started. Others are restarting after getting in way too deep. With student loans the way they are these days, it’s even possible to be in both situations! Here are five baby steps that you can take today to improve your finances.
Prioritize your Goals
Deciding what is important helps you create a realistic action plan with specific next steps. Take a look at every aspect of your finances–your savings, debt, investments, etc. What are your most important long-term and short-term goals? Maybe you plan to get married in the near future or buy a house. Or maybe you just started working and need to save up for emergencies. Here is a list of common goals and tips to help you prioritize.
Is There a Black Hole in YOUR Budget? – Is there an expense that’s derailing your saving efforts? Even the best budgeters can have one. This post from Budgets Are Sexy discusses how to create a solid budget that works for your lifestyle.
Don’t forget to take the student loan interest deduction when you file your taxes – Paying off student loans? Don’t forget to deduct your student loan interest–you can do this even if you’re not itemizing! Debt BLAG has the details.
Tax season is fast approaching, and April 15th will be here before we know it. In an effort to help you prepare, I’d like to answer the following question: When can you file taxes on your own and when should you consider hiring a tax professional? Also, what should you look for when hiring a tax professional?
If your situation is straightforward…
For instance, you’re single, without children, don’t own a home, have W-2 income, and you’re comfortable doing your own taxes then go for it! You’ll probably save money and file your own taxes efficiently using online software.
If your situation is more complex…
If you own a house, have investment real estate, own your own business, or have other complexities or simply don’t feel comfortable filing on your own, then consider hiring a tax professional. Also, ask yourself the following: Is your marital status changing? Are children now in the picture? Have you moved to a new state?
LaTisha Styles started Young Finances in December 2010. She had just graduated with a degree in Finance, but found herself without a job. When she can’t get what she wanted, Styles created the opportunity. She couldn’t find a job right out of college, so she started a blog as a way to earn an income. Styles put her Finance degree to work and gained valuable experience that she could later leverage. Early the next year Styles found a full time position in her field. She started building her career in Finance, already a successful blogger.
The approach of a new year has me thinking about goals and resolutions. Goal setting is an ongoing process that I’m continually addressing with clients throughout the year. However, I think this is a unique time to reflect on goals you set this past year (both financial and otherwise) in addition to creating goals for 2014.
Now is the time to consider what was effective and what can be improved. Did you accomplish your goals? Perhaps it’s hard to know. We want to take the time to revise our goals in order to be effective next year. One common pitfall is being too general. Our goal might be to “spend less” or “pay off my debt.” Instead, be specific: “I will cut $200 from my budget each week,” or “I will pay off $500 on my highest interest rate credit card each month.”
In years past I’ve written about end of year tax tips. Many of those tips still apply, so they are worth a review. Just be sure to check updated information at irs.gov. This year I thought I’d take a different approach and examine one year-end question in particular: “Should I convert my IRA (individual retirement account) into a Roth IRA?” You’d have to act fast to implement this change before the end of 2013. However, for some of you Roth conversion could mean big savings.
A while back I wrote an article explaining the difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA in case you need a refresher. Below are some items to consider so that you can determine if converting to a Roth IRA is best for you.
There has been non-stop media coverage about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. As we approach the December 23rd enrollment deadline, here are a few ways these changes may affect your personal finances and steps you should take before choosing your plan.
For an end of the year overview of your finances or inspiration for your 2014 financial goals, take a look at this comprehensive list from Good Financial Cents on managing your money the right way.
Is Your Partner a Financial Bully? – Arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce across all household income ranges. Matters can be even more difficult if your partner or spouse is a financial bully. Credit Karma has a quiz as well as other helpful info.
It can be tempting to focus on investment results disproportionately in comparison to the rest of your finances. This is the “sexy” part of personal finance where we get to brag about the money we made in the Twitter IPO. However, I try to steer clients clear of this kind of thinking. Over the long run it doesn’t serve us well to chase returns. Instead think about these concepts: