1   From divorce to financial planning (plus college financial aid), personal finances to a few notes on caring for elderly parents; plus a few fun spots; this site can provide the answers you need.
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Financial Planning / College Financial Aid
Eldercare
Personal Finances
Not necessarily business
Retirement Planning
Insurance
Save Money
Taxes - Individual
Back to business web smart stops


Retirement Planning & Financial Planning

Pay yourself first! Wise advice from a client who retired at age 53:
 " the first 10% of every paycheck is deposited into my retirement savings, its my gift to me"
Your Social Security Benefits at retirement Request a statement of your summary of the estimated benefits you will receive or use the online calculators to estimate using different scenarios of your future income.  Top
Who are the best stock pickers? Rate analysts and professional stock-pickers Top
Myths about Retirement Plans Some good points about what individuals should know about their retirement plans (IRA, 401K, Pensions, etc).   Top
Can You Retire? Met Life Calculator that takes under two minutes to help you determine if you have saved enough to retire
The Social Security website has a payment calculator to help you determine when to start taking Social Security  Benefits.
My Accounting Portal.com Offers detailed financial guides for retirement issues, estate issues  Top
The Secrets of financial Aid An article for parents with students younger than 10th grade.  Learn early what it takes to get through college. Top
Order your free credit reports There are three major companies that are in the business of collecting and distributing credit histories.  Obtaining them directly from the source shouldn't cost any more than ten dollars. You can order your reports from:
Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241; phone 800-685-1111 Experian, P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013; phone 800-682-7654
Trans Union, P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022; phone 800-851-2674   Top
Relearn the stock market Does the Stock Market give you the willies?  This game site gives you $10,000 of Fantasy money to trade stocks listed on the New York, NASDAQ, and other US Stock Exchanges. Top
Mapping out your financial future AARP provides the ABC's of how to organize, set-up and follow a financial plan. Easy reading for those not financially savvy.   Top
Buy US Treasury Bonds Direct Avoid broker fees  Top
Roth IRAs Get all the facts in the Complete Guide to the Roth.  See our limits chart  for the amount that may be contributed.  Roth IRA contributions may be made at any age even if over 70 1/5.  Roth IRA's are not tax deductible but the contribution and earnings may be withdrawn tax free after age 59 1/2.  You are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for unmarried taxpayers is under $117,000 (2016), ($112,000 in 2013) and ($110,000 in 2012) (Phase out between $117,000-$132,000- for tax year 2016, $112,000-$127,000 - for tax year 2013 and $110,000- $125,000 for tax year 2012) and for married taxpayers AGI is under $184,000 in 2016 (phase out between $184,000 to $194,000), $178,000 in 2013 (phase out between $178,000 to $188,000) and for 2012 AGI Under $173,000 (Phase out between $173,000- $183,000)  Married taxpayers filing separate returns should check with their tax preparer but the nuts and bolts basically disallow a Roth IRA contribution.  Top
Traditional and nondeductible IRA's A Traditional IRA is the term for a regular IRA available to those under age 70 1/2 who have earned income (i.e., job compensation). Earnings within the traditional IRA grow tax-deferred until withdrawal. Withdrawals must begin, and will be taxed, when the owner reaches age 70 1/2. If required distributions are not taken at that age, a 50% penalty will be assessed on the amount not taken. 

2016 Contribution Limit to Traditional IRA, nondeductible IRA, or Roth IRA.    
$  5,500 + over age 50 catch up ( 2016)
$ 1,000  IRA Catch up Deferral (over age 50)(2016)

Tax Deductions for IRA's

  • A full deduction is available on your tax returns if neither you nor your spouse is an active participant in an employer sponsored plan.
  • If your spouse participates in an employer pension plan but you do not (even if you are a nonworking spouse), a deduction is available up to the point where your joint tax returns AGI is $184,000 . A phase out of the deduction begins at $184,000 (2016), $178,000 (2013) and $173,000 (2012) and no deduction is available for AGI's over $194,000 (2016),         $188,000 (2013) and $183,000(2012) . (see our limits chart
  •  For a individual  covered by an employer plan,  the deduction contribution begins to decrease (phase out) when modified adjusted gross income reaches $61,000 and is fully phased out at $71,000:
     
    Traditional IRA Deductions Limits for Tax Year 2016 (2013, 2012)
    If neither you nor your spouse participates
    in a company retirement plan:
      You can deduct 100% of your IRA contribution
    If you participate in a company retirement plan:
    Tax Filing Status Adjusted Gross Income You Can Deduct
    Single Up to $61,000 (2016)
    Up to $59.000 (2013)
    Up to $58,000 (2012)
    100% of your contribution
    $61,000 -  71,000 (2016)
    $59,000  -  69,000 (2013)
    $58,000  -  68,000 (2012)
    Less than $5,000
    Over $71,000 (2016)
    Over $69,000 (2013)
    Over $68,000 (2012)
    No deduction allowed
      Adjusted Gross Income You Can Deduct
    Married, filing jointly Up to $98,000 (2016)
    Up to $95,000 (2013)
    100% of your contribution
    $98,000 - $118,000 (2016)
    $95,000 - $115,000 (2013)
    $92,000 - $112,000 (2012)
    Less than $5,000
    Over $118,000 (2016)
    Over $115,000 (2013)
    Over $112,000 (2012)
    No deduction allowed
    If your spouse participates in a company retirement plan,
    but you do not
      Adjusted Gross Income You Can Deduct
      Up to $184,000 in 2016
    Up to $178,000 in 2013
    Up to $173,000 in 2012
    100% of your contribution
      $184,000 - $194,000 in 2016
    $178,000 - $188,000 in 2013
    $173,000 - $183,000 in 2012
    Less than $5,000
      Over $194,000 (2016)
    Over $188,000 (2013)
    Over $183,000 (2012)
    No deduction allowed
 

 Read all about IRA rules in the IRS publication 590 which may be downloaded free from http://www.irs.gov/

Calculating your 1st REQUIRED distribution from your IRA when you reach 70 1/2

  1. What year to start? The year you turn  70 years old PLUS 6 months. Start your distribution in this year.  The rules say you can begin as late as April 1st in the year following age 70 PLUS 6 months BUT it is not generally prudent to wait until 4/1 to take the first distribution.  If you wait until 4/1 to begin, you will still need to take a 2nd distribution by December 31 of the same year pushing you into a higher tax bracket.
  2. Determine your IRA balance. Add up all of  your IRAs into a single lump sum. Your first distribution is based on your total IRA balances as of Dec. 31/ prior year (prior year to the distribution)
  3. Look up your life expectancy on the IRS Uniform Lifetime Table (Joint Life expectancy table if your spouse is 10 years younger than you)  based on the age that you turn on your birthday during the first distribution year. " If your birthday falls between July & December, you will reach age 71 in the  year you reach 70 PLUS 6 months.  If your birthday falls between Jan - June, you will reach age 70 in the year you reach 70 PLUS 6 months. 
  4. Divide the account balance you figured in step 2,  by your life expectancy value you looked up in step 3. The result is the amount of money you must withdraw from your IRA (S) by the date determined in step 1.   If you have multiple IRAs, you can take the distribution from any one of them, or from a combination.

IRA common mistakes - do your housekeeping to avoid penalties and high taxes .    Top

Keep this information on your 401k and IRA documents and discard the rest when it no longer becomes useful to you.

Keep those statements that show your contributions and withdrawals to/from a 401K or an IRA and throw out the rest when they are no longer useful in helping you manage your money. Most brokerages or funds provide a year end statement summarizing activity (including your contributions). Set up one separate folder to house the these year end statements into so they do not get lost.  Many taxpayers will hand these year end statements over to your CPA to prepare your tax return. Make a copy first and make sure they get bound into your permanent folder.  Keep any 8606 forms on which you reported nondeductible contributions to traditional IRAs and bind them into this file as well.  When you begin withdrawing from a 401K or an IRA keep a copy of the Form 1099-R with the year end statements and 8606 forms. Then if there is ever a question regarding the taxability of the funds, all the data is in one place!

Save Money

Find the best telephone rates Searches the web for the best rates based on your current usage Top
Internet access for salesmen Pay as low as 4.5 cents per minute for internet access using a toll free number. Do you pay for dial-up service for your salesmen? $20 per month? Translate the 4.5 cents into the $20 and that equates to over 7.5 hours of service. Use less, pay less ! Plus NO long distance call costs when your employee's are traveling on business.   Top
Print coupons Save on grocery & household products.  Just print those that interest you. Takes no time at all  Top

Not necessarily business

The Original Tipping Page Tips on how much to tip for barbers, skycaps, deliveries, children parties, just to name a few. Browse through the site for recommended tips in other countries.
Free E-Tips From Dummies.Com  receive free tips via e-mail on software you are learning, website design, or on health, pets, garden, etc.   Top
Dictionary YourDictionary.com provides  comprehensive products  for language services on the web with more than 1800 dictionaries with more than 250 languages.   Includes dictionaries on business, computing, finance & law and a thesaurus    Top
National Do Not Call Registry Most telemarketers cannot call your telephone number if it is in the National Do Not Call Registry.
ECards     Funny
 Music ( different!)
Great cards but pay attention to the windows asking if you want to receive free newletters, info and the like   Top
US News e-learning Has a site devoted to E-Learning   Top
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
 
Opportunities to chat, discuss topics, listen to lectures, and find additional resources. The shows will be both televised live and broadcast over the Internet, and you will be able to participate via e-mail or by calling in to ask the experts questions.
Used to bring programming to anyone interested in learning in retirement.
Enroll in a free course Site not working for the past 2 weeks, but I'm hoping it will come back, so I'm leaving it up  for a bit.
Free education on the Internet.  No diploma's offered here, just knowledge you can take to the bank.  Just discovered today, in my search for interesting sites, I plan on taking a course in HTML Wait a while and ask me my views.    Top
Download mp3 music All music types   Top
Do it yourself network DIY answers the call for more how-to projects with easy step-by-step directions Top
How stuff works A website filled with lots of tidbits that answer questions you have never formulated but are nonetheless very interesting. The Stuffatorium is the place to come for cool, amazing products. Nowhere else will you find such a fascinating assortment of such unbelievable stuff!  The Gadget archive should not be missed  Top
Nobodyhere.com Can't explain it.   Top
World Atlas Click anywhere on a globe and you have instant access to country names, times, holidays etc.  Top
Dilbert.com Get a lift and visit for 5 minutes Top
Gazettenet.com The last 14 days of Cathy, Doonsebury and more. Top
Movie Reviews Movie review query engine searches the net for all reviewsTop
E-Book Downloads See if reading a book off the net is for you.   Top

Personal Finances

My accounting portal .com Family Credit  Buying, Selling, Mortgages       Top
What to do if you suspect someone has stolen your identity: The FTC estimates there are nearly 10 million cases of identity theft each year at a cost of $53 billion to consumers and businesses.

If you're believe your personal information has been compromised, experts offer these suggestions:
* Contact one of the three companies that track credit histories: Equifax, (800) 525-6285; Experian, (888) 397-3742; and Trans Union, (800) 680-7289 and flag your file with a fraud alert. The phone systems are automated.

* Request and review your credit reports for accounts or activity you don't recognize. Request reports every year.

* If you find questionable items on the report, call the credit bureau to review the report. If the activity cannot be explained, report the crime to local police and call creditors involved.

Divorce

Divorce Basics Smart Money.com - Property settlement calculator, Deductible alimony calculator, articles on splitting up the assets, business owners concerns.
A-Z about divorce Main Issues, divorce laws, alimony, property, children, survival guide
Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers To the point articles on the divorce process
Divorce financial checklist What information your lawyer will need from you
Is divorce mediation an option? Article with helpful information
Divorce FAQ Answers based upon the state you live in

Child Custody

Child Custody:
Building Parenting Agreements that work

by Mimi E. Lyster

 

Taxes - Individual

Refund Hotline
Get refund status at any time
800-829-1954
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/index.html
Need SSN, filing status & refund amount   Top
Forms and Publications 800-829-3676 or list of websites for state and federal forms   Top
Valuation Guide for Donated Items http://www.funwithtaxes.com/ValuationTable.htm   Top
Change of address Notify the IRS of your move   Top
IRA See pensions above.  IRA's defined and  the do's and don'ts in the world of IRA's.   Top
Tax tips Msn has easy to understand articles on tax saving strategies  Top
Tax -business List of articles, publications, website for business taxes  Top
Tax tips Top ten overlooked deductions
Charitable deductions Interesting court case about the deductibility of charitable contributions
I just read this court case which denied a charitable deduction for failure
to produce a contemporaneous receipt that describes the contribution and
says there are no goods or services provided by done organization
Business use of home You may depreciate the portion used for business or rental purposes.    Since the tax law changed in 1997,  if you qualify for excluding the gain on your personal residence because you have met the ownership and use tests,  you also may  exclude  gain of the % allocated to business/rent use from tax.   It is not required to report the sale of the business or rental part on Form 4797. This is true whether or not depreciation deductions were taken.. However, you may not exclude the part of any gain equal to any depreciation deductions allowed or allowable after May 6, 1997.

Eldercare

Reverse mortgages A reverse mortgage is a loan against your home that you do not have to pay back for as long as you live there. It can be paid to you all at once, as a regular monthly advance, or at times and in amounts that you choose.  To qualify, you have to be at least 62 and own your home.  You retain the title and continue  to pay taxes, maintenance and repairs. When you sell the house or die, the loan is paid off with the proceeds of the sale of the house or with a new mortgage taken out by your heirs.   It cost money to take out a reverse mortgage including closing costs, application fees and the interest, which builds throughout the loan.  If you do need the money to cover medical expenses or to take a dream trip around the world, it can make sense. Talk with your heirs first, though.  More articles  Top
CareGuide Read about everything from respite care to safe bathroom design to whether you need an elder law attorney. Print out the helpful checklists in the Living Alternatives section and take them with you when you tour assisted living facilities, hospice programs or adult day care in your area.  Top
Carepathways One-stop shopping for eldercare products and information. Ask sections allow you to post questions to experts regarding long-term care, nursing home care and long-term care insurance, from how to deal with bed sores to under which circumstances Medicare will pay for an oxygen concentrator.  Top
AARP The site has in-depth sections on health, eldercare policy, money, computers and more  Top

Insurance

Filing Insurance Claims This link provides common-sense guidelines about  how the claim settlement process can work for you.

Do you have an written inventory of your household effects? From carpet to clothing? Kept in a safe place off premises?  Don't delay,  use the forms on pages 23-41 within the disaster recover guide (pdf file- requires adobe reader)  to speed your way through this critical task.  (by the way, this site takes a minute to load- so be patient)

 
 
 
 
 

 


 
 
 

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