2013 Year-End Tax Planning Tips

So, as you put the final touches on your financial planning for the year, here are 9 links to year-end tax planning information you may want to review, that could impact your bottom line, from MSN Money, About.com, Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, CNBC, 360 Degree's of Financial Literacy, Wall Street Journal's Market Watch and Turbo Tax.    
  1. MSN Money’s 8 Year- end tax moves to make now
  2. About.com 's 2013 Year End Tax Planning by Income and Age
  3. Morgan Stanley's 2013 Year End Tax Planning Checklist
  4. Charles Schwab's Year-end Tax Tips
  5. CNBC's Year End Tax Planning Info
  6. 360 Degree's of Financial Literacy's 2013 Year End Planning Considerations
  7. CNBC's Five Tips for Year-end Tax Planning
  8. The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch - Year-end Tax Planning Ideas for U.S. Individual Taxpayers, Tax Planners, and Tax Preparer's
  9. Turbo Tax’s  Start Tax Planning Early: 8 Great Year-End Tax Tips

Please review this information with your own tax advisor or financial advisor to determine how it applies to your own financial situation.



Apps to track Your Gift Cards

So, a number of people notified me and stated that they would be more likely to remember to use their gift cards if there was an app with features such as 1) ability to track their cards instead of pen and paper, and 2) the ability to store the actual gift card information on their phone.   Of course, having the gift card with you when you are out shopping is paramount.  Well, I practice what I preach so I have actually used up my gift cards, but I have found a few apps that may provide you with the features you need.   I have not tested any of these apps, however, so you will need to evaluate them and use them at your own risk.  Some are free and some have a nominal charge.

Gift Card-Balance Tracker - (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)  App Store .99
Gift Cards   (Windows Phone) Free
My Gift Cards   (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)  App Store .99
Tango Card   (iPhone)  iTunes App Store
Wildcard (iPhone) Free - This app states that it allows you to transfer your balances to someone else –  sounds like an easy way to re-gift.    

And finally, I came across this article that shows how to send iTunes gift cards and Individual Apps from your iOS device . 

If you have used any of these apps, or have a favorite app that solves this issue, would love to hear about it, so would you please leave me a comment on the comment link below.   Thank you.


Gift Cards... Put Them To Good Use!

So, you have identified a gap in your budget, and you are trying to figure out how to fill that gap.  One way is to take a few minutes to round up all those gift cards that you have received and have not yet used.   Even if your budget isn't stretched, there is no reason to have all that money just laying around in your house, pocket or purse.

So, put down whatever you are doing, unless you are at work of course, its time to go on an excavation dig, so empty those bed-side table drawers,

America over the next decade. A Forbes perspective.

An interesting look at America over the next decade - from  the Forbes. perspective.


If you are Self-employed are you withholding your taxes?

So you are self-employed, and, your income is not being reported to the IRS on a W2 but on a 1099-MISC form, which means that neither federal income tax or self-employment taxes are being withheld from your checks, and it also means that you are responsible for getting those funds over to the IRS on a regular basis, quarterly in fact.  Basically, you are required to pay


When is a loan not quite a loan?

So you took a loan from your 401K, because after all, if you were going to pay interest, you wanted to pay it to yourself, and there is some validity in that.  However, you hadn't bargained on losing your job before you repaid the loan.   You borrowed $20,000, repaid $5,000 and had an outstanding loan of $15,000.   If you get terminated with a 401K loan outstanding, you are required to pay the entire remainder in a very short time period, back to your company.  If  you are unable to do so,  then the loan morphs into a taxable distribution.  Now that $15,000 is added to your income and you will


Can your College Freshman manage a credit card?

Some questions that need to be answered to decide whether your student will be able to manage a credit card are:

Are they accustomed to paying bills on a regular basis? Will they be able to maintain a bill paying routine when they are under the stress of exams, or sorority/fraternity rush?
If not, late fees will probably accrue and interest rates could be increased. If they do not have a bill paying routine or if they are disorganized, the stressors of college life could cause them to


Where did 2% of Your Income go?

So I keep seeing articles and reports on how the payroll tax has been hiked by 2%, and I wonder why it is being reported as such, because it isn't a tax hike, it is a return to the rate that we had before.   The rate for payroll taxes has been 6.2 % for many years, since 1990.  The decrease to 4.2% was a temporary measure for 2011 and 2012.   The administration in an effort to increase workers take home pay, during a weak economy, reduced the payroll tax by 2%, so instead of those funds going towards social security which is where they normally go, they came home with you. 
"No matter who you are, making informed decisions about what you do with your money, will help build a more stable financial future for you and your family." Alan Greenspan