2020 return tax changes and extensions

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on March 02, 2021

The Internal Revenue is now accepting individual tax returns for 2020. Here are some key numbers and changes to be aware of: —The new standard deduction for singles is $12,400; for married joint filers it is $24,800. For heads of household, it’s $18,650. —The contribution limits for IRAs, traditional or Roth, have not changed. The limit is $6,000, with an additional $1,000 for... READ MORE

Consumer rights when planning funerals

By Joshua Slocum
Posted on February 23, 2021

Few of us know our rights when making funeral arrangements. According to an online survey of 2,009 Americans commissioned in November by the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA), only one-quarter of respondents know that funeral homes must provide a quote on the phone and an itemized price list in person. To better inform consumers about their funeral ... READ MORE

Put financial survivor’s guilt to good use

By Liz Weston
Posted on February 22, 2021

Financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin of Ann Arbor, Michigan, specializes in helping people deal with their anxieties about money. But since the pandemic started, Bryan-Podvin has been hearing more about guilt than fear. Several people who still have jobs and financial security feel guilty about having been spared while others suffered, said Bryan-Podvin, author of The Financial... READ MORE

Thinking of divorce? Take this step first

By Tonya Graser Smith
Posted on February 19, 2021

Thinking about divorce? You wouldn’t be alone in 2021 — the pandemic has caused divorces to spike — or any year, as many couples opt to start a new year fresh by splitting up. But maybe you’re not ready for your marriage to become another COVID-19 victim. There is an intermediate step you could take before you invest time, money and energy in getting divorced. Instead, you... READ MORE

Dividing your estate around black sheep

By Kara Duckworth
Posted on February 18, 2021

Every family faces a unique set of circumstances when it comes to wealth, financial planning and thinking about the future. But no matter the situation — whether you have many children or none, whether you’re married or divorced — it is essential to consider your specific beneficiaries’ circumstances when it comes to estate planning. Perhaps you are worried about substance... READ MORE

Uh-oh. You just got a letter from the IRS

By Bruce Willey
Posted on February 17, 2021

You’re flipping through your mail, and the return address on one letter makes your heart rate quicken — and not in a good way. It’s from the Internal Revenue Service, and they want to audit your return. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. The IRS seems to have gotten back to work after a lull, and I’ve recently gotten several frantic calls from clients who have received... READ MORE

Your quick guide to key dates this year

By Kiplinger Consumer News Service
Posted on February 04, 2021

Planning is everything. Financial strategies can take years to put in motion and even longer to bear fruit. The last thing you want is to sabotage yourself by missing an important financial deadline, like any one of these dates in 2021. Use this guide as a checklist and reminder of what you will need to do. January: A new year is your cue to take stock of your retirement savings.... READ MORE

Get the best healthcare at the right price

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on February 02, 2021

As we all know, the U.S. healthcare system is very complex. No matter what stage of life you are in, it is crucial to understand your options to obtain the best care in the most cost-effective way. Philip Moeller, author of the popular Get What’s Yours series, has a new book that will prove invaluable. Get What’s Yours for Health Care: How to Get the Best Care at the Right Price... READ MORE

Why would you donate points to charity?

By Erin Hurd
Posted on January 26, 2021

If you’re looking to give to charity this year but don’t want to dip into your bank account, donating unused credit card rewards, hotel points and airline miles can be a helpful alternative. In some cases, the charity can use the rewards for travel needs, and in other cases, the issuer can convert them to cash for the charity. And nonprofits’ needs are skyrocketing amid the... READ MORE

Fund your IRA by April to cut your taxes

By Sandra Block
Posted on January 14, 2021

Make sure you haven’t overlooked one of the best ways to cut your 2020 tax bill (even in the new year) and secure your future: funding a traditional IRA. (Note: There is no upfront tax break for funding a Roth IRA.) You can make an IRA contribution for the 2020 tax year up until the time you file your tax return, which is due April 15, 2021, and still be able to deduct your IRA... READ MORE