Thursday, September 3, 2015

Life Insurance - Why Now?

This is the award winning video created by Jeffrey Schweitzer of NFS-Northeast Financial Strategies for Life Insurance Awareness Month back in September 2011.





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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Think Life Insurance


We can help you get the coverage you need - contact us today to get started.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why Now Is The Best Time to Buy Life Insurance



The sluggish economy continues to put financial strain on many of us. So it just makes sense to examine our budgets and look for ways to trim the fat from our monthly expenses and put more into savings, if possible.

That’s a great way to help stabilize your finances, but it’s also important that you have a financial safety net in place in case something were to happen to you. Life insurance is one of the few guarantees your family could rely on to maintain their quality of life if you were no longer there to provide for them.

There are 95 million adult Americans without life insurance, according to LIMRA, an insurance industry research group. The fact is, the vast majority of Americans need life insurance and, sadly, most people either have none or not enough. If someone depends on you financially, you need life insurance. It’s that simple.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to take stock of your life insurance needs. And there are three additional reasons why now is the best time to look into getting life insurance.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Paying off Debt the Smart Way

Between mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and student loans, most people are in debt. While being debt-free is a worthwhile goal, most people need to focus on managing their debt first since it's likely to be there for most of their life.

Handled wisely, that debt won't be an albatross around your neck. You don't need to shell out your hard-earned money because of exorbitant interest rates or always feel like you're on the verge of bankruptcy. You can pay off debt the smart way, while at the same time saving money to pay it off even faster.

Assess the Situation

First, assess the depth of your debt. Write it down using pencil and paper or use a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel. You can also use a bookkeeping program such as Quicken. Include every instance you can think of where a company has given you something in advance of payment, including your mortgage, car payment(s), credit cards, tax liens, student loans, and payments on electronics or other household items through a store.

Record the day the debt began and when it will end (if possible), the interest rate you're paying, and what your payments typically are. Next, add it all up--as painful as that might be. Try not to be discouraged! Remember, you're going to break this down into manageable chunks while finding extra money to help pay it down.

Identify High-Cost Debt

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tips on Travel While Giving to Charity

Do you plan to donate your services to charity this summer? Will you travel as part of the service? If so, some travel expenses may help lower your taxes when you file your tax return next year. Here are five tax tips you should know if you travel while giving your services to charity.

1. You can’t deduct the value of your services that you give to charity. But you may be able to deduct some out-of-pocket costs you pay to give your services. This can include the cost of travel. All out-of pocket costs must be:

  • unreimbursed,
  • directly connected with the services,
  • expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and
  • not personal, living or family expenses.

2. Your volunteer work must be for a qualified charity. Most groups other than churches and governments must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Ask the group about its IRS status before you donate. You can also use the Select Check tool on IRS.gov to check the group’s status.

3. Some types of travel do not qualify for a tax deduction. For example, you can’t deduct your costs if a significant part of the trip involves recreation or a vacation. For more on these rules see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Social Security Trust Fund Reserve Gains One Year for Projected Depletion Date

By now, you’ve probably heard that this year marks the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act.  In case you didn’t know, this year is also the 75th anniversary of the payment of the first monthly benefits.

And, today, the Social Security Board of Trustees released the 75th annual report to Congress on the financial status of the Social Security trust funds.

As a quick refresher: The Social Security trust funds include the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) fund. Benefits to retired workers and their families, and to families of deceased workers, are paid from the OASI trust fund. Benefits to disabled workers and their families are paid from the DI trust fund.

The report shows that, combined, the funds now have an additional year – from 2033 to 2034 – before their reserves are depleted. The Old Age and Survivors fund alone also gets an extra year from 2034 to 2035.

Some factors that led to this improvement include (1) faster growth in average wages in the future, because of slower growth in employees’ private health insurance cost – due at least in part to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and (2) improvements in how we project the earnings of American workers by age.

The DI fund is still projected to deplete its reserves late in 2016. After that, the income collected through taxes will be enough to pay only 81 percent of the scheduled benefits. So, an adjustment to maintain full disability benefits is needed soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Five Basic Tax Tips for New Businesses

If you start a business, one key to success is to know about your federal tax obligations. You may need to know not only about income taxes but also about payroll taxes. Here are five basic tax tips that can help get your business off to a good start.


  1. Business Structure.  As you start out, you’ll need to choose the structure of your business. Some common types include sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. You may also choose to be an S corporation or Limited Liability Company. You’ll report your business activity using the IRS forms which are right for your business type.
  2. Business Taxes.  There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. The type of taxes your business pays usually depends on which type of business you choose to set up. You may need to pay your taxes by making estimated tax payments.
  3. Employer Identification Number.  You may need to get an EIN for federal tax purposes. If you do need one, we can help you apply for it the correct way.
  4. Accounting Method.  An accounting method is a set of rules that determine when to report income and expenses. Your business must use a consistent method. The two that are most common are the cash method and the accrual method. Under the cash method, you normally report income in the year that you receive it and deduct expenses in the year that you pay them. Under the accrual method, you generally report income in the year that you earn it and deduct expenses in the year that you incur them. This is true even if you receive the income or pay the expenses in a future year.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Top Ten Tax Facts if You Sell Your Home

Do you know that if you sell your home and make a profit, the gain may not be taxable? That’s just
one key tax rule that you should know. Here are ten facts to keep in mind if you sell your home this year.



1. If you have a capital gain on the sale of your home, you may be able to exclude your gain from tax. This rule may apply if you owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.

2. There are exceptions to the ownership and use rules. Some exceptions apply to persons with a disability. Some apply to certain members of the military and certain government and Peace Corps workers.

3. The most gain you can exclude is $250,000. This limit is $500,000 for joint returns. The Net Investment Income Tax will not apply to the excluded gain.

4. If the gain is not taxable, you may not need to report the sale to the IRS on your tax return.

5. You must report the sale on your tax return if you can’t exclude all or part of the gain. And you must report the sale if you choose not to claim the exclusion. That’s also true if you get Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions. If you report the sale you should review the Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Tax on IRS.gov.

6. Generally, you can exclude the gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years.