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.

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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.

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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.

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Can the markets be accurately forecasted?

As we start a new year with many changes to our Government, many investors want to know what direction the markets will move. Economic forecasting has been around for ages, but to what level can it be taken seriously. The Guardian recently reported:
While accepting the Nobel Prize for economics, Friedrich Hayek made an astonishing admission. Not only were economists unsure about their predictions, he noted, but their tendency to present their findings with the certainty of the language of science was misleading and “may have deplorable effects”.
I think that it is important to read forecasts from many different sources to help guide your investment decisions. I think it is equally important to know your risk tolerances, time horizons, and with the help of a Certified Financial Planner Professional™, you pick quality investments that with regular review and rebalancing, keeps you on track for retirement.

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It’s free and you should take advantage.

My Daughter and Son-in-law are getting ready to buy their first house. Being my Daughter, she is getting her ducks in a row. She called yesterday to ask where she can go to check their credit scores. There are a number of places to do that, but be cautious as not all “free” sites are truly free. Here are a few places to look that I am comfortable with:
Each year you can check your credit for free with the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreort.com. Make sure you are at the site offered through the Federal Government, otherwise it will not be the free site.
www.creditkarma.com is another site that is free and I have tested it. The site is comprehensive and private.
Many credit card companies now offer a free credit score with your account. Check your card service to make sure their service is truly free.

Being informed as to your credit rating is important, so know yours before you buy.

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The best Christmas gift ever!

It’s the best time of the year! It can also be the most stressful and expensive time of the year. I want you to have a wonderful, less stressful holiday by following these tips:
Make a budget. I know you are sick of me talking about budgets, but they work. Decide before you shop how much you will spend on each person on your list, then stick to that budget. This has proven to be the biggest stress reducer during the holidays.
Look for deals in travel. Many people go to their hometowns for the holidays, others use the time for family vacations. Plan now for next year’s trip, then set up alerts to track airfare and hotel pricing.
Plan for tips. Many of us have people in our lives that make them move along like well-oiled machines. Your lawn people, the house cleaner, a personal trainer, maybe even a pool person. Each of these people provide a needed service to you and should receive a holiday tip. When putting together your holiday spending budget, please remember the tips for those who keep your life humming along.

These are all simple things that can make your holidays, and epically the months afterwards, much more enjoyable and less stressful.

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Stop it! Stop it now!

Stop procrastinating your savings goals right now. There truly is no time like the present to start your emergency fund, here are a few reasons why:
Interest rates have been going up and that makes borrowing even more expensive. If you think you can just put an expense on your credit card and pay it later, you will pay more. Never charge more than you can pay off as soon as you get the bill. During times of rising interest rates, it will take longer to pay off a balance and this will cost you more in the end.
You never know where the next emergency will come from. G-d forbid you are in an accident and out of work for a while – how will you cover your basic monthly expenses if you don’t have savings? Try to plan for at least six months of fixed expenses for your emergency fund, then do not touch that account unless an emergency arises.
The tax man will come. April 15th is closer than you think. You still have time to max out your retirement accounts, or harvest taxable losses against taxable gains to make them non-taxable. Please make sure that you match long term gains against long term losses, as well as short term gains against short term losses.

Once you have gotten into the habit of building up your savings, you will never stop. There is no greater piece of mind than having a cash reserve.

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Are you ready for 2019!

2018 is not over yet, and we have not even filed our returns under the new tax laws, but there are changes for 2019 for you to pay attention to.
The standard deduction for 2019 has been increased by $200 per tax filer.
Head of household filers will get an increase of $350.
401(k) and 403(b) contribution limits have been increased by $500, with the $6000 over age 50 additional contribution amount remaining the same.
The individual mandate penalty for not having qualifying health insurance will go away.
The lifetime gift and estate tax exclusion has been changed to $11.4 million vs. the current exclusion of $5.49 million.
While you are preparing for your 2018 tax return, keep in mind that 2019 will bring more benefits.

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