How Long After Switching Formula Should I See A Difference 5 Stupid Ways to Lose Money to Those You Dislike and Simple Solutions to Stop it From Happening

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5 Stupid Ways to Lose Money to Those You Dislike and Simple Solutions to Stop it From Happening

1. WASTE OF TAX MONEY – Taxes are the biggest expense among us and the problem is more than likely going to get worse. Tax laws are complex things that change every year. While most people who work and have a couple of bank statements and/or brokerage accounts can get away with preparing their taxes with one of the many tax software packages on the market, complex returns need to be completed with a comprehensive or depreciation items should almost always use a tax pro.

THE SOLUTION. Have a tax profile filed every few years, even if you don’t need it. If you have something you’ve been missing, it may be worth the one-time expense if you use the savings to capitalize over the years. For those who receive property tax on a regular basis, do you file appeals when necessary? Here in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, their appraisal method involves taking pictures of the front of the property and going over the land that has already been recorded. A new client’s mother was recently assessed for a creek that ran through her property. When his son (my client) brought this to the attention of the Board of Appeals, the tax was undoubtedly reduced.

2. USER INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES WILL NOT EXIST OR CHANGE WHEN MONEY IS MADE.

John and Mary divorced three years ago. John and Mary can’t stand each other, the mere mention of the other’s name causes bile to flow up the other party’s esophagus. Last year, John remarried to Linda. John and Linda are very much in love. Today, John was killed in a traffic accident on the highway. Today Mary is a multi-millionaire thanks to John and Linda is stuck paying huge closing costs from joint bank and investment accounts? Why did this happen? John didn’t bother to notify his insurance agent and HR at his job of the big change in his life or fill out the proper paperwork that changed the beneficiary from Mary to Linda.

I know firsthand that this happens not only as an insurance professional, but also because I spent 3 years as the Vice President of my volunteer fire company and the “online” job involved managing insurance beneficiary information. During my term as Vice President, one member died of a fire-related death. One of the many things the State of Palestine did when they came to walk us through the Line of Duty Death process was tell us to put the membership file in a drawer. sealed until further notice. NO ONE could add or subtract new information from that file until I was told otherwise. After re-enabling access, several members suddenly remembered the changes that needed to be made. Thank God nothing else happened in the meantime

SOLUTION: Check your life insurance policies for beneficiary information regularly, but no less often than every two years or when there is a major life change, including marriage, divorce, birth of children, etc. Special Note: If you leave money to minors, there must be a guardian of the money, as the court system does not usually release hundreds or thousands of dollars for the children to use as they see fit. If you do not appoint someone of your choice, the court will appoint a guardian for money, who may or may not be a person of your choice. This may or may not be the person you chose to care for your offspring on a daily basis.

3. YOUR IRAS BENEFICIARY INFORMATION IS NOT OR WILL NOT CHANGE

Insurance policies and IRAs have one very important thing in common, in most cases they are affected by laws outside of probate and probate. I say most cases because if you have cash value life insurance (permanent insurance, not term insurance), that value may qualify you to pay federal estate taxes if your estate is large enough. It is NOT good if it happened to you. IRA funds may be subject to estate law if you name your estate as a beneficiary rather than an individual. While it won’t cost you anything if you die, if you don’t name a beneficiary, it could cost your loved ones millions. That’s because IRAs inherited by an individual can benefit from what’s known as an IRA stretch.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of Stretch. Let’s say you’re at an age when you retire that you need to take a required minimum distribution (RMD), which means you’re over 70 1/2. Let’s also say you leave your IRA to your 35-year-old son or daughter. If you’ve inherited an IRA from your son or daughter because they’re smart, go to Halas Consulting to learn how to best get hold of your new wealth. The good folks at Halas Consulting recommend that your son or daughter set up a Beneficiary IRA. Basically what happens is if ownership is properly transferred, your son or daughter still has to continue taking RMDs, but they do so based on their younger age, not your older age. This means that less is distributed for taxation if the IRA is a traditional IRA as opposed to a Roth IRA, which may never be taxed. If they ask Halas Consulting to manage the money as well, and it’s set up in the right asset allocation model, that money can grow very large (we’re talking millions here) on a tax-advantaged basis, with only smaller amounts of money coming in. out each year until your child reaches about the half-century mark to satisfy the RMD. That’s a good thing.

HOWEVER (you just knew it was coming) if the IRA is set up or rolled over incorrectly, the stretch is gone FOREVER. What happens if it’s because of bad advice? In most cases the IRS says “tough beans”, there are many private letter rulings (PLR) from people who have claimed this and have lost in PLR. You can sue the person who gave the bad advice, but you may still lose, and you’ll lose the attorney’s fees in addition to losing the case. For more in-depth information on this, I recommend reading the books written by IRA expert Ed Slott. They can be found in bookstores or maybe your local library (yes, the place with all the books that most people haven’t visited since they had to write their college thesis or worse, their senior year of high school)

THE SOLUTION. In IRAs and 401ks, always name the beneficiary. Again, if you want to make the most of Stretch and name a minor. Also name an adult to whom you entrust the money to act as guardian of the money until the minor reaches an age for which you believe he or she is responsible.

4. TRANSFERRING HIGHLY APPRECIATED COMPANY STOCK FROM YOUR ESTATE TO IRA.

While this may seem like a good idea on the surface, it really isn’t. The reason is a little-known rule called “Net Unrealized Valuation,” or NUA. Here is a brief overview of how NUA works. Let’s say you had accumulated 500 shares of a company over the years. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you had the opportunity to buy this stock at $3 per share when the stock was 10 in the heyday of the late 1990s. Now that you’re retired, those shares are worth $20. If you roll those stocks into a self-directed IRA at retirement, you’ll owe income tax on those stocks whenever they’re distributed from your IRA. Your income tax can be quite high if you have a lot of pension income.

THE SOLUTION. When you take advantage of NUA properly, you sell the shares and move the money into a non-qualified (non-IRA) brokerage account. By doing this, you pay income tax on $7 per share, which is the difference between what you paid for the stock ($3) and what the stock was worth when you exercised the call option ($10). The difference between the share’s purchase price ($10) and its current value ($20), or $10 per share, is taxed at a capital gains rate that currently tops out at 15% (the highest income tax rate could be more than twice that). Once the stocks are sold and removed from the IRA, roll the remainder into an IRA for maximum flexibility and options. The cash income from the newly sold stock is no longer taxable, only the interest earned on it at cost and capital gains are taxed if you invest money held in a non-qualified brokerage account. To manage taxes effectively and not end up with big expenses, a well-researched growth stock ETF would be a good choice here. Just make sure it fits your asset allocation model.

5. NOT THINKING ABOUT YOUR CREDIT

With the recent financial crash still fresh in people’s minds, credit and debt have become four-letter words. But while credit CAN be bad if used improperly, it can also be a life saver and allow you to buy many essentials that cannot be paid for in cash upfront due to their cost. Those who consider their credit score and learn what makes their score better and what the different credit agencies are looking for will pay less money for cars, houses, home tires and credit cards. Not to be a braggart, but several months ago, when it seemed like the doom and gloom would last forever, I was sitting in my kitchen opening letter and a few offers were ready to lend me up to $50,000 in unsecured cash. because of my good credit and here were people on tv getting paid off houses with less debt.

Another area where good credit can help you with lower payments is insurance. ALL insurance companies use what is called an insurance score to calculate your insurance score. For example, when buying car insurance, it makes sense for insurance companies to look at your driving record, but what the heck does my credit score do to what kind of driver I am? May I not be unreasonable with money, but a model citizen on the road? Well, according to research done by insurance companies, you can’t. Your insurance score is basically how you live your life, and those who live a responsible life can save money. One of these components is money and your responsibility for it. Also, having a DUI on your driving record can affect your home, health and life insurance premiums, as well as your auto insurance.

THE SOLUTION – You get a free credit report every year from Annualcreditreport.com, take advantage of it. I would recommend spending about $40 every year or every other year and getting a consolidated credit report or a “triple merge” from all three companies. This aggregate report gives you much more detail than the free quote and is used by banks and mortgage brokers to decide whether to get a loan (at least until the government stepped in and told them they had to lend to Deadbeats and then the whole economy crashed. But I digress). Go through this report with a fine-toothed comb. One year I found my credit card account that I closed years ago and the bank didn’t tell the credit bureaus that it was closed. Your “face” and reputation is at stake, DON’T be ignorant of what it says.

Here are five things you can do to get started. If I think of more options, I will write a sequel to this article. In the meantime, take care of your money and it will take care of you.

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