Entries by Pat

5 Ways to Protect Yourself Financially

These days, financial planning is more complicated than ever. Between the rise of self-directed retirement accounts and the numerous financial products out there, it’s easy to get confused and feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there – not to mention the scale of your financial responsibilities.

That’s why it’s so important to get the basics right. A solid financial foundation can help protect you from the most common personal finance pitfalls and can give you a feeling of greater mastery and control when it comes to all the financial decisions you need to make in your everyday life.

These five critical areas will help you get started.

How to Use Debt – Properly!

Is debt worth it?

This is the essential question when it comes to financing expenditures – not just for consumers, but for businesses and even governments. While debt can help to finance important investments and build wealth, it can also become an unmanageably expensive burden. That’s why choosing which type of debt to use and when is so important.

Read on to learn how to distinguish practical from dangerous debt, and how to make the most of both.

What is an HSA – And How Do You Use One?

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) go hand-in-hand with high-deductible health insurance plans. These days, they’re increasingly common – one study found that nearly 30% of plans fall under the “high deductible” categorization, which means you might be increasingly likely to have one.

So how do these plans (and their HSAs) work, and how can you make the most of them?

The Secret to Getting the Best Property Tax Rate

Are you getting ready for a formal property assessment? It may not be a typical way to spend your afternoon, but depending on where you live, many homeowners go through it at some point or another. We would all like our homes to appreciate in value, but the results of an in-home assessment can end up having a big impact on your final tax rate (not to mention that of your neighbors).

So what can you do to help lower the bill?

5 Commonly Overlooked Tax Breaks

If you’re gearing up for tax-time, it’s a good time to take stock of some of the major credits, deductions, and other tax advantages available. But with so many intricacies in the tax code, it can be easy to overlook something – and even your tax software or accountant might not know to ask!

Don’t leave money on the table: read on to find out about the most commonly overlooked tax breaks available.

How to Save a Little More on Your 2016 Taxes

Are you hoping to lower your tax bill come April? While there’s not a lot you can do in terms of income and expenses at this point, you still have one very powerful option available: contribute to your Traditional IRA.

These retirement savings accounts can be incredibly powerful – not just for taxes, but for your future. Here’s how.

What Are Itemized Deductions?

You’ve probably heard the term, but that doesn’t make itemized deductions any less confusing. What are they, and how can you use them?

Itemized deductions are expenses that you can claim back on your federal tax return. They

effectively reduce your taxable income, which in turn lowers your tax bill. This makes itemized

deductions a great way to aid in tax planning – but they don’t always make sense.

Read on to learn the basics and find out whether itemized deductions are right for you.

Don’t Forget to Take a Break

If you’re the lynchpin in your family, providing balance, support, and even financial assistance to parents, children, grandchildren, or others, you’ve probably experienced one thing in abundance: exhaustion.

Even though many Sandwich Generation members find a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their role, there’s no denying that it’s an intensive one. Factor in a job and the usual day-to-day responsibilities of a grown up, and you’ve got a recipe for overload.

So what do you do?

The Secret to Helping Your Family: Help Yourself

We’ve all heard the old yarn: if you want to help others, you need to help yourself first. But that doesn’t make it easier – particularly if you have several generations worth of family members to worry about!

But financial prioritization, especially when it comes to your own future, is critical. In this article, we’ll show you how sticking to your retirement savings plan can make a big difference, and what you can do to make the task of sticking with it with it a little easier.