Education Center

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Zig Ziglar

Quick tips and resources to help further your financial growth.


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5 Questions to Consider around Social Security

This month I wanted to talk about another concern families have: Social Security. Whether you are taking your benefits now, expect to be starting in the near future, or are ...
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IRS Quick Links

Included below are various links to the IRS Website. The IRS site has some invaluable resources which can help you both throughout the year and while you are waiting for ...
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General Education

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This month I wanted to talk about another concern families have: Social Security. Whether you are taking your benefits now, expect to be starting in the near future, or are still early on in your career, understanding Social Security and what it will mean for you is important. While this can become a very complex and personal topic, knowing even the basics can help you to get a great jump start into some of the decisions you may need to make in the future. Enjoy! And as always, if you have any questions or if something strikes you that you’d like more information on, please let me know. 5 Questions to Consider around Social Security 1. How are my Benefits ...
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Calendar with Make it Happen! Written on it
I hope your August is going well and your summer is rounding out to be great! I want to talk about planning this month. Planning can come up in every instance of your life: planning for your day or week, a trip, a new job, or my favorite, for your taxes and finances. In honor of a month of planning, I have included below some of the best steps you can take to be successful in your planning – not only from a financial and tax perspective, but for life in general. Enjoy! And as always, if you have any questions or if something strikes you that you’d like more information on, please let me know. 5 Steps to Successful ...
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Shredded Papers
Welcome to the end of another tax season! Now, as everyone continues to enjoy our spring weather and we move toward a hopefully relaxing and enjoyable summer, I thought I’d take some time to talk about my 5 tips to spring-clean and maintain your financial records. This is a very popular question, especially when it comes to the amount of time suggested to keep certain documents before throwing them away, so I tried to touch on a few of the most popular documents I get questions on. I also included a summary at the end of other documents which may help when the time comes for you to clean out your papers. Enjoy! And as always, if you have any ...
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With so many people working from home, finding a scanner is often times a difficult task. Lucky for us, both the iPhone and most non-iPhones now have a scanning option. iPhone Users: For iPhone Users, the notes app can be used. The app is designed to make clean edges and single or multi-page PDF files which can then be sent to wherever needed. As shown in the video, within notes, begin by taking a picture inside of a new note and chose the scan feature. Follow the steps of the video to add pages or save the documents as they are scanned in. For my tax clients, documents can be uploaded right into the SmartVault app from your scan: Follow ...
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Clock on desk next to laptop and pens in holder - showing time running out on year for article about things to do before year end
It’s been a crazy year and 2020 is quickly coming to an end. Even though we only have a few weeks left, there are still some important actions you can take in preparing your 2020 tax return filing. 1. Take your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD): If you have reached 70½ years old (72 years old if your 70th birthday is July 1, 2019 or later), the IRS requires you to start taking withdrawals from your retirement accounts, with the RMD calculated based on all established retirement accounts. Without this distribution, you risk being taxed at a 50% penalty rate! Once RMDs are withdrawn, they will also impact your tax bracket based on your total earnings for the year. It is ...
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Money Management

Gifts labeled Just for you
Summer starts in just 5 days and if you’re anything like me, you’re very excited for this time of year. In my life, summer involves spending time by the pool, BBQs with friends and family and basically spending as much time outside as I possibly can. It also often means new projects on my home, planning for vacations and dreaming up what the rest of my year entails (my new years resolutions often get pushed back until after the end of tax season). If you’re anything like me, sometimes summertime can also mean crunch time for your finances. All the items that I look to do and dream about cost money, and sometimes it feels like planning for those expenses ...
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March 15th! Best known for the Ides of March, the due date of select business tax returns … and also this month’s newsletter. Feeding off my newsletter last month where I went through the 5 questions you should be asking your tax advisor, I decided that this month should focus on your financial planner and advisor. For some people this is the same person who does your taxes, for some, they are completely different. From my experience though, it is best if you can have people who work hand in hand so that if you make decisions on your finances, you are prepared for what that will look like on your taxes. Enjoy! And as always, if you have any ...
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Resolution: noun A firm decision to do or not to do something As we go into a new year, there are so many areas in which you can resolve to do better … health, self-care, organization. In fact, when I searched for the most popular resolutions, almost all sites agree that people’s resolutions have to do with either health or their money. With my newsletter this month, I wanted to see if I could help guide you in at least one of these areas … your Finances 5 Financial Resolutions to make for 2021 1. Find “Your” budget I’ve been talking a lot about this lately in my recent webinars and as a part of this month’s Financial 15, but ...
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Organizing money while tracking expenses for budgeting review
Take some time to learn about 5 of the main types of budgeting. As you hear about the different budget types, start to decide which one will work best for you! ...
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Stacks of money and a phone showing someone working to calculate allocating their money towards expenses such as loans and taxes
Figuring out your Net Cash Flow is an important tool when making financial goals. Until you determine if you come out net positive or net negative at the end of the week, month, and year, you can't truly start to work towards achieving your goals. Using a cash flow tool is a great start to figuring out where you are right now on the road to where you want to go. Click below to download my free Cash Flow Worksheet template. Cash-Flow-WorksheetDownload After you determine your net cash flow, take some time to figure out how you would like to allocate your remaining income. The tool also provides some initial ideas of how to allocate your discretionary monthly income (example ...
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List of goals to make for the new year
With the new year comes a time of setting new goals for yourself, not only on a personal level but also on a financial level. Have some fun filling in the 4 promises you want to make to yourself. If you want a starting point, take a look at the example! Goals should be Measurable and Time-Bound so make sure your promises have as much detail as possible! Continue to set a date each month when you evaluate the progress you've made towards your promises. I'd love to see what you can come up with! ...
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Taxes

I hope you are enjoying your summer! With July 15th being the day that many families will receive their first advanced payment of the Child Tax Credit, I thought it was an important time to discuss both this credit, as well as some of the larger tax proposals currently being debated in government. To start, I will first walk you through the American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credits, and then I will provide further details on some of the upcoming tax proposals which are part of the American Families Plan ...
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Clock with Tax Time Writing
When I thought about what to write for this month’s newsletter, I was originally going to write Happy April 15th - Tax Day! I was going to talk all about the things that can be learned from this tax season and used in the upcoming months. Unfortunately, tax season isn’t over just yet and won’t be until May 17th for most filings, so I’ve changed my tune. Last week I spent 4 days on a radio show, LI in the AM on WRIV 103.9 FM, talking all about taxes, planning, ...
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Hands writing to show someone preparing for tax meetings
February is here! Which means Tax Season is here! With the IRS officially opening for the season February 12, 2021, I decided to dedicate my February newsletter to talking about the tax preparer. There are many different ways to prepare your taxes – self preparation, H&R Block, hire an Enrolled Agent, your cousin / sister / brother, etc. or work with a CPA. While all options have different advantages and disadvantages, today I decided to focus not on how you get your taxes done, but on the questions you should ...
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tax review documents stacked in a pile
Everyone’s life is different, and similarly, everyone’s tax return is different. To perform a tax review, the first step is to determine why the review is being performed.  If a tax review is needed because you were unhappy with last year's outcome and your current year has not changed, then an analysis of withholdings throughout the year is necessary.  If a tax review is needed due to a change during the year, then a more detailed review can be performed in a specific situation.   As a starting point, the following ...
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Why do I need a tax review? Cartoon thinking
A tax review can be useful for a variety of reasons. The following situations could cause a taxpayer to consider performing a tax review: You constantly owe money year after year and are tired of paying You constantly get a large refund, but have trouble making ends meet throughout the yearYou went through a major life event – Marriage, Divorce, Having a Child, RetirementYou have a significant change in income – Unexpected Bonus, New Job, Lost JobYou would like to make or already made a change to your investments – ...
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tax review and coffee
To understand how a tax review works, we need to first recognize what it means to file your taxes in general. Every year millions of taxpayers sit down between the months of January and April to prepare their taxes based on the prior year. Understanding Your Taxes Simply put, a tax return is a summary of the income earned throughout the year, less any deductions or credits eligible for the specific tax payer. Once the taxable portion of income is calculated, it is then compared to the tax brackets for ...
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Contribution Limit Changes
Every year the IRS has the option of applying cost‑of‑living adjustments to the dollar limitations for retirement-related items, the social security wage base and HSA contributions. I've summarized some of the changes between 2020 and 2021 in the table below ...
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Quotation bubble which says "What is my Filing Status?" inside
There are 5 filing status options on a tax return: SingleMarried Filing JointlyMarried Filing SeparatelyHead of HouseholdQualifying Widower To determine how you should file, consider what your status was as of 12/31. Even if your status changed throughout the year, the IRS is asking about a tax payer's status as of the last day of the year. If you're still not sure, talk to your CPA or give the IRS tool a shot: What is my Filing Status? ...
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Top right corner of a Form 1040 tax return
This is the time of year when companies will be sending tax forms to their customers and employees.  According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms are due starting February 1st, with some extensions until the end of February and mid-March for more complex forms, such as K-1s or Consolidated 1099s.  Some of the important forms to look for include: W-2 Wage Statements 1099-MISC Miscellaneous Income (Rental Income, Other Income, etc.) 1099-NEC (Nonemployee Compensation / Independent Contractor Work)1099-B Brokerage Statement Brokerage Statements could also be mailed separately as: 1099-INT Interest Statement 1099-DIV Dividend ...
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Picture of a leprechaun searching for clues with text "When will I get my refund?"
One of the most common questions for a tax preparer is "When will I get my refund?" The Factors Some factors which impact the timing of your refund: - When did you file this year? - Did you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC)? - Did you e-file your return or send it to the IRS by mail? - Do you have any outstanding debts with the federal government? Estimated Refund Dates Although the IRS does not guarantee dates of refunds, you can typically ...
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