Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Life Insurance Awareness Month Comes to an End



As we have presented this September, life insurance can do some pretty amazing things for people. It can buy loved ones time to grieve. It can pay off debts and loans, providing surviving family members with the chance to move on with a clean slate. It can keep families in their homes and pre-fund a child’s college education. It can keep a family business in the family. It can provide a stream of income for a family to live on for a period of time. Life insurance can do all of these wonderful things for your family…there’s just one small catch. You need to own life insurance.

There’s a growing crisis of too many Americans not having adequate life insurance protection. According to the industry research group LIMRA, 30 percent of US households have no life insurance whatsoever. Today there are 11 million fewer American households covered by life insurance compared with six years ago. Here’s the bottom line: A majority of families either have no life insurance or not enough, leaving them one accident or terminal illness away from a financial catastrophe for their loved ones.

What if you were suddenly gone and your family had to manage on their own? When was the last time you did the math to make sure your loved ones would be OK financially? Have you checked with your employer to find out what kind of life insurance benefit you have through work and whether you have the option to increase your coverage? When was the last time you had your life insurance needs reviewed by an insurance professional? Northeast Financial Strategies is here to help!





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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Are You Ready to be a First Time Home Buyer?


Now, more than ever, is a great time to be a first time home buyer. Housing costs are low, interest rates are at a record low, and you don’t own a home that you have to worry about selling and most likely lose a profit. However, just because it is an ideal time to make that next step, you need to ensure that buying a home is the right choice for you and your current situation.

Buying a home can be fun, exciting, liberating, and a great investment, but it comes with great responsibility, is labor intensive, and a large financial commitment. Once a purchase is made, you are responsible for anything that goes wrong in the house. A new roof, plumbing, new appliances, cutting the lawn, and snow removal now lay in your hands, not a landlord’s.

A few steps to take to figure out if you are ready to be a first time home buyer include:

  • Check selling prices in the area you want to live. This will give you some good insight as to how much you will have to pay for the size house that you will need to accommodate you and your lifestyle. Zillow is a great site to see for how much homes in the area have recently sold.
  • See how much you can afford. A great tool to use is a mortgage calculator. This allows you to enter the price of the home, the interest rate, the loan term, as well as the property taxes. This will give you a good idea as to how much your monthly housing expenses will be and if it is something you can or cannot afford.
  • Get an idea as to how much you will pay in closing costs. This area gets confusing for most. You will see a lot of banks advertise: “No points, no closing costs.” If this is the case, you are paying a slightly higher rate, so that the loan officer gets paid more, so that he or she can use that extra money to pay your closing costs. If you don’t want to pay a chunk of money out of pocket, this may be a good option for you. Otherwise, you can choose to receive the lowest interest rate possible and pay the closing costs out of pocket. The fees that are included in closing costs are: Origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowner’s insurance or homeowner’s association fees.
  • Look at your budget. Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs.
  • Pick up the phone. Make some calls to your local banks and see who is offering the lowest interest rate. Most will be in the same range, but a few points can make a big difference. Ask questions.
  • Make sure your credit is in good standing. One of the largest factors of getting a good interest rate is having good credit. The better the credit score, the lower the rate. The worse your credit score is the higher rate you will receive. In some cases if your credit is so bad, you won’t qualify for a loan at all.
  • Inquire about different loan programs. There are several programs out there now that help you to qualify for a home loan. A few include: Mass Housing, FHA, and Veteran’s loans. These are all great programs if you qualify and may more affordable than a conventional loan.

If you follow these basic guidelines then you should successfully be on your way to being a first time home buyer. Here at Northeast Financial Strategies, Inc., we have seamlessly guided thousands of home owners and business people through the buying and selling process. We work with a great local network of realtors, mortgage advisors, closing attorneys and home inspectors. Check out our Events Page to register for our next First Time Home Buyer Seminar happening tomorrow Wednesday 09/30/2015. If you have any questions regarding the purchase of your first home or would like us to guide you through, please feel free to contact us at: 800-560-4637.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Changing Jobs? Don't Forget your 401(k)

One of the most important questions you face when changing job is what to do with the money in your 401(k). Making the wrong move could cost you thousands of dollars or more in taxes and lower returns.

Let's say you put in five years at your current job. For most of those years, you've had the company take a set percentage of your pre-tax salary and put it into your 401(k) plan.

Now that you're leaving, what should you do? The first rule of thumb is to leave it alone because you have 60 days to decide whether to roll it over or leave it in the account.

Resist the temptation to cash out. The worst thing an employee can do when leaving a job is to withdraw the money from their 401(k) plans and put it in his or her bank account. Here's why:

If you decide to have your distribution paid to you, the plan administrator will withhold 20 percent of your total for federal income taxes, so if you had $100,000 in your account and you wanted to cash it out, you're already down to $80,000.

Furthermore, if you're younger than 59 1/2, you'll face a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal come tax time. Now you're down another 10 percent from the original amount of $100,000 to $70,000.

Also, because distributions are taxed as ordinary income, at the end of the year, you'll have to pay the difference between your tax bracket and the 20 percent already taken out. For example, if you're in the 33 percent tax bracket, you'll still owe 13 percent, or $13,000. This lowers the amount of your cash distribution to $57,000.

But that's not all. You might also have to pay state and local taxes. Between taxes and penalties, you could end up with little over half of what you had saved up, short-changing your retirement savings significantly.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Financial Priorities: Are They Out of Sync?

Here are some interesting info tidbits on the perceived cost of insurance:


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Think Life Insurance


Do you want your family to have enough funds to survive without you? Contact our office today to make sure you have enough coverage.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

IRS Tax Tips for Starting a Business

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

1. Business Structure.  An early choice you need to make is to decide on the type of structure for your business. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership and corporation. The type of business you choose will determine which tax forms you will file. We can help you to choose the right entity for your situation.

2. Business Taxes.  There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax your business pays depends on the type of business structure you set up. You may need to make estimated tax payments. If you do, use IRS Direct Pay to pay them. It’s the fast, easy and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account. We can set up all of these tax payment systems for you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Home-Based Business: Basics to Consider

More than 52 percent of businesses today are home-based. Every day, people are striking out and achieving economic and creative independence by turning their skills into dollars. Garages, basements, and attics are being transformed into the corporate headquarters of the newest entrepreneurs--home-based businesspeople.

And, with technological advances in smartphones, tablets, and iPads as well as a rising demand for "service-oriented" businesses, the opportunities seem to be endless.

Is a Home-Based Business Right for You?

Choosing a home business is like choosing a spouse or partner: Think carefully before starting the business. Instead of plunging right in, take the time to learn as much about the market for any product or service as you can. Before you invest any time, effort, or money take a few moments to answer the following questions:

  • Can you describe in detail the business you plan on establishing?
  • What will be your product or service?
  • Is there a demand for your product or service?
  • Can you identify the target market for your product or service?
  • Do you have the talent and expertise needed to compete successfully?

Before you dive head first into a home-based business, it's essential that you know why you are doing it and how you will do it. To succeed, your business must be based on something greater than a desire to be your own boss, and involves an honest assessment of your own personality, an understanding of what's involved, and a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to plan ahead and make improvements and adjustments along the way.

Friday, September 18, 2015

3 Life Changing Events That May Change Your Insurance Needs

Your life insurance coverage should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure you have adequate coverage, but a major life change is a particularly important time to assess your life insurance needs. Here are three life events when you should review your life insurance policy:

1) A change in family situation: Did you get married, divorced, have a baby, adopt children, or change jobs? Any of these life events are likely to change the amount of life insurance coverage you need.

2) An upward change in your income: A big promotion or a raise may be a good reason to review your coverage. Life insurance is often purchased to replace the income of the breadwinner in a family. If your income increases, you may need to review the face value (the amount paid to beneficiaries at the policyholder's death) of your life insurance policy.

3) Retirement: If retirement is just around the corner, it may be time to assess your life insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), life insurance can keep surviving spouses from receiving reduced Social Security benefits. For example, those who begin collecting

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Think Life Insurance


Life Insurance isn't as expensive as you think - contact us today to find out how much coverage is for you.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Life Happens



No one knows what the future holds. Hopefully, only good things are in store for you.

But realistically, bad things will happen too.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a cautious person, you take little steps every day to improve the odds that good things will happen and guard against the possibility of bad things happening.

You wear seat belts.

You lock your doors when you leave home.

You try to eat well and exercise.

In other words, you may not be able to control the future, but you can stand up to it. You don’t have to get wet when it rains. You can carry an umbrella.

True, it’s easy to take these little steps. The bigger steps, though, can require contemplating some pretty unpleasant things.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Business Tax Filing Deadline for 09/15

If you run a corporation or partnership and took an extension to file income tax returns, you have until today, September 15, to file. The due date applies to any business the fiscal year of which is also the calendar year.

The IRS said it continues to see strong growth in corporations and partnerships shifting from paper returns to e-filing. As of August 30, more than 6 million corporations and partnerships e-filed returns this year, almost an 8 percent overall increase from the prior year. The IRS had received 78,762 e-filed returns from large partnerships, an 11 percent jump over the same time in 2014.

Most large corporations and partnerships already e-file: Corporations with $10 million or more in total assets are generally required to e-file Forms 1120 and 1120S. Partnerships with more than 100 partners are also generally required to e-file their returns.

E-filing has also shown strong growth this year among businesses not required to use it, the IRS said, adding that it expects to receive millions more e-filed returns by the deadline.

Please contact our office you need to get your corporation filed today.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Life Insurance: Why Do I Need It? What Does It Do?

So, why do you need life insurance?

What often comes to mind when thinking about life insurance is that you can use it to pay final expenses. You've seen the commercials: Funeral expenses, burial costs and medical bills can add up to a hefty amount. The last thing you want is for your loved ones to shoulder this extra burden. Life insurance can be used to plan for these final expenses. Permanent life insurance is available in various amounts, so you can pick a death benefit that meets your needs.

But there are other considerations to keep in mind. You can use life insurance …

As mortgage protection. Whether you live by yourself, with a spouse or significant other, you may want to buy life insurance as mortgage protection. Think about it: You don’t want the person you live with to be homeless if you die unexpectedly, do you? Term life insurance can be used to pay off an outstanding mortgage balance. Just select a term that matches the length of your mortgage payment period. Some companies even offer decreasing term insurance, which means the death benefit decreases along with your mortgage balance.

For income replacement. You and your significant other may have planned for a future based on two incomes, but what if one of you passes away unexpectedly? Life insurance can be used to replace the lost income so the survivor can maintain the same standard of living.

Friday, September 11, 2015

NFS Remembers 09/11/01



September 11th, 2001 changed the lives of many. Never forget that terrible day when we lost over 3000 of our family and friends in the tragic events.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Key Tax Tips on the Tax Effects of Divorce or Separation

Income tax may be the last thing on your mind after a divorce or separation. However, these events can have a big impact on your taxes. Alimony and a name change are just a few items you may need to consider. Here are some key tax tips to keep in mind if you get divorced or separated.

  • Child Support.  If you pay child support, you can’t deduct it on your tax return. If you receive child support, the amount you receive is not taxable.
  • Alimony Paid.  If you make payments under a divorce or separate maintenance decree or written separation agreement you may be able to deduct them as alimony. This applies only if the payments qualify as alimony for federal tax purposes. If the decree or agreement does not require the payments, they do not qualify as alimony.
  • Alimony Received.  If you get alimony from your spouse or former spouse, it is taxable in the year you get it. Alimony is not subject to tax withholding so you may need to increase the tax you pay during the year to avoid a penalty. To do this, you can make estimated tax payments or increase the amount of tax withheld from your wages.
  • Spousal IRA.  If you get a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of your tax year, you can’t deduct contributions you make to your former spouse's traditional IRA. You may be able to deduct contributions you make to your own traditional IRA.
  • Name Changes.  If you change your name after your divorce, notify the Social Security Administration of the change. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on SSA.gov or call 800-772-1213 to order it. The name on your tax return must match SSA records. A name mismatch can delay your refund. 

Health Care Law Considerations

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Think Life Insurance


Do you have enough coverage? Contact us today for your FREE analysis and find out!


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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why People Buy Life Insurance

If you are asking yourself why you should buy life insurance, here are some reasons why some of our other clients have bought life insurance....

For the Death Benefit:

  • To replace earning power at death
  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death

As a Disciplined Savings Program*:

  • To help pay for educational costs
  • To supplement retirement income
  • To take advantage of business opportunities
  • For Financial Emergencies

Because of the Risk of Waiting:

  • To replace earning power at death
  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death

For the Tax Advantages:

  • Death proceeds are received free of income tax
  • Cash value accumulations are tax deferred
  • Cash value loans or withdrawals* are free of tax, as long as the policy stays in force
  • Accelerated death benefits are received free of income tax

In Recognition of Personal Responsibility to:

  • Family
  • Banker
  • Mortgage company

For the Flexibility:

  • Benefits may be available regardless of whether the policyowner lives, quits, dies or becomes disabled
  • Life insurance is portable; benefits are not lost due to job changes


* Withdrawals and loans will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value available for use.

Please contact us here at Northeast Financial Strategies for an appointment if we can assist in evaluating your life insurance needs. Remember, September is LIFE INSURANCE AWARENESS MONTH!



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Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day From NFS


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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.