My how things have changed.

30 years ago my husband and I bought our first home. We bought a 1200sq. ft. townhouse for $44,000 and were lucky to only have a 10% interest rate on the mortgage. Today, my daughter and her husband are looking for their first home. A home ranging between 1300 -1500 sq. ft. Will cost about $240,000 or more. What a change.
The benefit of having me as her mother is, they are very prepared to purchase their first home. Here are the things they have done to be able to act quickly in the crazy real estate market.
They hired a professional realtor to help them find the perfect home. This is not a job for a homebuyer to pursue online if they have no experience.
They have reviewed the credit profiles with all of the rating service. If you were to find something incorrect, or that need addressing in your credit file, the time to do this is before trying to buy a home.
They have been saving for two years to build up as close to 20% for a down payment as they could.
They have been pre-qualified for a mortgage. If you get pre-qualified, once you find the home you love, you can start negotiations right away.

Buying a home has changed A LOT in 30 years, make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you start looking for your home.

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Our Shred – a – thon was such a success!

Every year our shred-a-thon is more and more successful. We have been able to help countless Central Floridians free up space in their homes. While purging those old papers feels great, there are some items you should think about before you shred.
Personal papers: These documents—including birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, and military records—are used in different ways to verify your identity and are required to receive a driver’s license and passport. The originals should be kept forever in a secure location. If you are required to show these documents, usually a copy is sufficient.
Loan records: From mortgages to student and car loans, loan records should be kept indefinitely as proof that your loan is paid off. Keeping proof of loan payoff is important in the event that there is an issue with the records of a creditor—a cause for concern given that financial service entities frequently sell loans to loan servicing firms.
Insurance documents: Retain for up to six years after the policy has been canceled, which will protect you from any issues that may arise down the road concerning a claim.

Don’t let the cleaning bug bite you, be careful before you shred.

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

Do you suffer from “lifestyle inflation”?

I just read about “lifestyle inflation” in the recent issue of Money Magazines’ professional issue, and it bears sharing.
Often when people get a new, higher pay job, or a raise, their first thought is “now I can afford”,,, my first thought for my clients is, you need to increase your 401(k) contributions. Taking a vacation, buying an expensive item, or whatever that “want vs need” item is may be fun. The lifestyle inflation you subject yourself to now will hurt you in the future.
When you have an increase in income, I am challenging you to put yourself on a one year moratorium from lifestyle inflation. Resist the bigger vacation, new car, or expensive watch – instead, increase your 401(k). At the end of that year, you can look back and see how much bigger your retirement savings has grown.
Time is the biggest benefit you have right now to make sure you have a secure retirement. Please don’t give in to the “lifestyle inflation.”

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

Wednesday is the first day of spring – time to spring clean your finances.

Spring cleaning usually means we go through our closets and garages to get rid of the stuff that has just been hanging around. This can also be a great time for new beginnings and positive changes. Here are a few spring cleaning suggestions to freshen up your finances:
Fine-tune your budget
A budget is a plan for your money, but even the best laid plans have a tendency to go awry. A regular budget check can help you stay on top of your spending behavior and make any necessary tweaks.
Check your savings account & come up with a savings plan
The target for liquid emergency savings is generally three to six months’ worth of household expenses, dividing the amount you need by the next 12 months. This will give you a manageable amount, like $100 to $150, that you can set aside monthly until you reach your goal.
Bump up your retirement contributions
Spring is a great time to reassess and potentially boost your contributions for the rest of the year. Don’t forget to take into account any promotions or bonuses when thinking of ways to increase your contributions.

If you can add these spring cleaning tips into your life, you will be much happier for years to come.

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

Its paper generating time – how long do I have to keep this stuff?

Are you as amazed as I am at the amount of paper generated by doing our taxes? Keeping receipts, statements, payments made, and all other manner of tax documentation can create a small mountain each year. So how long do you need to keep all of your tax return documents? Here are some tips:
Most taxpayers: Three years
The statute of limitations for an IRS audit expires after three years. That means most taxpayers should keep their tax records for three years after the date they filed their return, or two years after they paid tax – whichever is later.
There are three exceptions to the IRS audit time limit.
The agency can go back six years for an audit if you under-reported your gross income by 25 percent or more.
The IRS can also audit returns that claim a capital loss on worthless securities or take a deduction for bad debt, up to seven years after the return was filed.
If you didn’t file a tax return or filed a fraudulent one, there is no statute of limitations for an IRS audit. In these cases, keep all your records indefinitely.
The IRS also recommends taxpayers hold onto employment tax records for at least four years after the date that the tax is due or paid – whichever is later.
With stocks, bonds or property, maintain records until you sell the asset. For instance, you may need this documentation to determine depreciation or amortization as well as calculating a gain or loss after the sale.

Our shred-a-thon is March 30th from 8:00-12:00, at our offices at 1111 Douglas Ave. Altamonte Springs, Fl. Limit two banker’s boxes per person please.

https://financialgroup.com/event/2019-shredding-event/

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

I love to buy on sale – part 2!

You know me, I love a bargain. With spring upon us, there are a number of things that are great to buy right now, and some that are not. Here are my favorites:
Buy:
March is Frozen Food Month, so manufacturers and grocers pump up promotions.
Ski and snowboard season is coming to a close, so take advantage of retailers’ need to clear out old merchandise and make room for the new.
Now that snowbirds have returned and winter travel season is over, it’s time to replace that old suitcase. Consumers will find luggage bargains in March.

Wait to buy these items:
In general, March is not the best time to buy electronics. With the Super Bowl long gone and the holiday rush a distant memory, bargains are scarce on TVs. Buys these in February.
Gym memberships are also a bust in March. Gyms are still packed with clients trying to meet their New Year’s resolutions while getting ready for bathing suit season.
The vacuum industry is well aware that consumers are raring to start spring cleaning in March. Turns out, the best time to score a vacuum deal is November.

So have fun shopping, but if you buy off-season items, you will have more to save for your retirement.

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

Be sure to check your 1099’s carefully.

I have never had this happen before, but I was just issued an incorrect 1099. I don’t want to pay any extra on tax that I do not rightfully owe, so what is the remedy?
How to fix an incorrect 1099;
Getting a 1099 form corrected isn’t always an ordeal, but the key is to act quickly once you discover a mistake. Though issuers generally have until the end of February to file 1099s with the IRS, that deadline is extended to March 31 for forms that are filed electronically. So if you act quickly enough, you might manage to catch the issuer before that form reaches the IRS in the first place.
When preparing your tax return, please check your documents carefully as well as checking your math.

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

Max it out now!

Many people think they cannot afford to max out their 401(k) contributions. Many others do not think about contributing to their own account beyond what their company will match. I am asking you to reconsider these decisions. One way or another, the funds are coming out of your paycheck, either it is going into your 401(k), or it is going to the IRA in the form of payroll tax. Let me suggest a way you can afford to increase your contribution.
By maxing out pre-tax 401(k) savings at $19,000, a dual-income married couple can reduce their taxable income by $38,000. At the 25% tax bracket, that equates to a rough estimate of $9,500 in tax savings. 401(k) investors, of course, will have to pay taxes when they start withdrawing their 401(k) savings at retirement. And, seniors still employed can save $25,000 each.
The bottom line: the more you save in your 401(k), the more you save on your taxes.

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31

Max it out now!

Many people think they cannot afford to max out their 401(k) contributions. Many others do not think about contributing to their own account beyond what their company will match. I am asking you to reconsider these decisions. One way or another, the funds are coming out of your paycheck, either it is going into your 401(k), or it is going to the IRA in the form of payroll tax. Let me show you that you can afford to increase your contribution.
By maxing out pre-tax 401(k) savings at $19,000, a dual-income married couple can reduce their taxable income by $38,000. At the 25% tax bracket, that equates to a rough estimate of $9,500 in tax savings. 401(k) investors, of course, will have to pay taxes when they start withdrawing their 401(k) savings at retirement.

The bottom line: the more you save in your 401(k), the more you save on your taxes.

disclosures:http://www.hechteffect.net/?page_id=31