4 Tips For Financial Planning

When it comes to taking an early retirement, there are a number of tips that may help you accomplish this goal. Being able to do what you want to every day, rather than spending time at work is typically top of the to-do list for many. Knowing specific tips that can help you reach your retirement goal sooner, rather than later, are ideal in this situation.

Tip #1: Create a budget

Make a list of your monthly bills each month and make certain these get paid on time. This will allow you to know the total amount of your monthly expense and will ensure you maintain a high credit score by getting bills paid.

You can set aside a certain amount of money each month to invest in your  savings once you fully understand how much it will cost you to live. It is recommended by many financial experts to place at least 10% of your gross earnings aside each pay period to help you effectively plan for retirement.

Tip #2:  Pay off credit cards

One of the biggest ways to waste your money is by paying huge interest fees. These are typically associated with credit cards and the higher your balance is, the greater amount of fees you will be required to pay.

Tip #3: Invest in a 401K plan

If your employer offers a retirement plan where you work, this can allow you to build up a significant amount of savings. In most cases, your employer will match your contributions up to a certain amount and this can help your account grow quickly.

Additionally, you may be able to qualify for a number of tax deductions because of contributing your money to a 401K account.

Tip #4: Create a Last Will of Testament

Regardless of how little or how much you own, you should have a will in place. This will identify who you want to inherit your assets once you are deceased.

This can help your remaining family members enjoy the efforts you put into financial planning without the possibility of this money going to the state.

Finally, taking the necessary amount of time to set a course of action for you to follow is critical in your being able to have success with retiring early and taking care of your estate. Be sure to consult with a financial planner, such as Vahanian & Associates Financial Planning Inc, who can provide you with all the steps you will need to reach your goals.

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Three Great Uses For A Home Equity Loan

With the current economic situation, many homeowners are turning to home equity loans to get out of debt and pay for necessary expenses. One of the great things about a home equity loan is that the money is yours to spend however you see fit. You do not need to inform the lender what you want the money for. While you can use the money for whatever you like, remember that you must pay back the entire loan plus interest so spending it wisely is important. There are three great uses for a home equity loan including home repairs, college tuition, and paying off debt.

Home Repairs

What good is your house if it is falling apart? If you are looking at costly repairs to your home and have enough equity to cover the repairs, a home equity loan may be the perfect solution. Before you take out the loan, you should get a number of estimates on the repairs that need to be made. This will allow you to borrow only what you need rather than the full amount of equity in your home. The reason that home improvements are a great use for your home equity loan is because they will add more value and equity to your home upon completion.

It is important to only make improvements that increase the fair-market value of your home. This is especially true if you are remodeling in an attempt to sell your home. Keep in mind that your sale price must be enough to cover both your mortgage and the equity loans you have taken out.

College Tuition

If you have looked at the rising cost of college and wonder how you will ever be able to send your kids to college, there is a solution. Many families apply for grants and scholarships to help cover the cost of a college education. This is a great option but in some cases, families make too much money to qualify for grants or the amount of tuition exceeds the amount of the grant. This will leave you with two options, a costly student loan or a home equity loan.

Consolidate Debts

If you are like millions of Americans, you likely owe thousands in debt to a variety of different lenders. Many people have at least two or three credit cards that they use on a daily basis. Each card carries its own fees and interest rates. A home equity loan can help you pay off your miscellaneous debts in a more efficient manner. You will use the equity loan amount to pay each of your creditors and then make one monthly payment toward your equity loan until it is paid off.

Talk to places like Union State Bank for more information.

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How To Find The Best Tax Preparation Service

Nobody wants to leave cash on the table, especially when that money comes from your hard-earned paycheck. Yet millions of people get smaller tax refunds that they should, or the even pay tax when they actually qualify for a refund. You need to find the best tax preparation service.


There is a big difference in the qualifications of the people that prepare your taxes. Accountants are at the top of the spectrum. They have spent at least 4 years studying tax law, passed a rigorous examination to become certified public accountants, and equally important, they will represent you at an IRS audit to defend the tax return.

Accountants have another bonus that is not available to the general public. They have highly sophisticated computer programs that scan tax returns for the lesser known deductions. Congress changes the rules almost every year but professional accounting software keeps up with the latest developments.


Sometimes attorneys, especially those with specialties in tax law, prepare their clients’ tax returns. While they might not have the accounting expertise to tell business owners if their books have errors or omissions, they can use the figures you provide to prepare a return. Moreover, they will advise you whether to submit documentation when making an unusual claim. It can help to prevent an exhaustive audit.

Some individuals have complicated financial circumstances and prefer the advice of an attorney when claiming income and deductions. For example, you might have worked outside of the country for part of the year and paid tax to another government. Or you might have assets in several countries, each with different tax laws. A tax lawyer can sort through the paperwork and prepare your return. The IRS allows attorneys to represent you during an audit.

Unlicensed Employee

Thousands of people earn extra money during tax season by moonlighting as unlicensed employees of a tax preparation service. They attend classes, usually the previous autumn, to learn the basics of preparing different kinds of tax returns. They do not study tax law or have any accounting training, but they can provide a valuable service to cash-strapped individuals.

If your income is only from wages, pensions, or interest, then you would most likely file one or two schedules, if any, with Form 1040. Most people fall into this category. If you haven’t done any unusual transactions during the year, then you will save money by having an unlicensed person prepare your return. Unfortunately, unlicensed tax preparers are not permitted to represent you at an IRS audit. If they make an error on your return, you are responsible for the unpaid tax, penalties, and interest.

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Want To Improve Your Credit Score? Try A Payday Loan

There is a lot of confusion about taking out a payday loan. While it is true that you can get caught up in a cycle of debt with them, that can happen with any type of revolving credit. The important thing with any type of credit is to use it wisely and never take out more than you can comfortably pay back when it is due. If you have had a bit of trouble in the past and need to find a way to improve your credit score, a payday advance loan can be just the answer. Here are a few ways they help you:

Reporting to the Credit Companies

Though not all payday loans report to the big credit reporting agencies, some of them do. Look for a loan company that does report to the agencies and take out a small loan. You do not even need to wait until it is due to pay it back, just wait a few days and then go and pay it off. In a month, check to see how it affected your score. You can then do it again if you still need to improve your credit rating.

Stay Current on Credit Cards

Paying your credit cards on time is a sure way to improve your credit score. If you have a bill that is due before you will be paid, take out a payday loan and make the payment on time. As soon as you do get paid, make sure you pay off the loan. While it will cost you a bit of money in interest, the fact that you are keeping a good credit rating will prove to be important over time.

Maintaining Good Relations with Your Landlord

Many people do not realize that when you are late on your rent payments, it can be reported to the credit bureaus. This will not only lower your rating, but can keep you from being able to rent a house in the future. In many cases, the late fees you would pay to the landlord will not be as much as the interest rate on a payday loan. Of course, if the loan interest is more, it will still be beneficial to spend a bit extra to keep a good relationship with the homeowner.

Do not be put off by any bad propaganda about payday loans. Do your own research and find out which company can serve your needs best. Make sure you understand the terms of the loan and pay it back with your next paycheck. They are called payday loans for a reason. When used properly they can be a big help to you financially.

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Bring History To Life With Ancient Coins

History can be a very dry subject. Many children find it boring. Reading about ancient civilizations in a textbook is not exactly a thrilling experience. This is one reason that schools organize trips to museums. Seeing artifacts from ancient civilizations makes the history come to life for children.

You can take it one step further and purchase ancient coins. You can’t obviously take home ancient vases or ruins, but you can own coins that were used in the past. If your child has the opportunity to hold the coins and look at them, then they might become more interested in ancient cultures. Here are some types of coins you can buy and bring home:

Ancient Roman Coins

Roman coins are an excellent introduction to the Ancient world. One reason is that many of the coins feature the images of different Roman leaders. If you buy one of these coins, for example, a denarius, your child will get to look at a coin that was passed around during the height of the Roman Empire. They will also see the face of a famous leader. You can then teach them about the person, be it Marcus Aurelius or Vespasian. This discussion can include tidbits about daily Roman life.

Ancient Greek Coins

Greek coins are not as available as Roman coins, but you can find some good deals online. One of the great things about Greek coins is that they can help you discuss the impact and power of Greece during the Hellenistic period. During this time period, the coins spread out across the empire.

You could also buy a tetradrachm online that has a depiction of Alexander the Great. You can use this to talk about the expansion of Greece under this world famous leader.

Ancient Coins From Biblical Times

If you are interested in teaching the New Testament to your child, then there is a coin that would be perfect. It is known as the “Widow’s Mite.” This comes from a story in the Gospel of Mark. In the story, Jesus speaks about the donations that a poor woman makes. Even though she only has a “mite,” it is said to be worth more than the larger donations of the rich due to it being all that she possesses.

Mites were bronze, and minted in Judea around the time of Christ. There are many places online where you can purchase them. Imagine how amazed your child will be when they are holding something that was used during the time of Christ. Visit Harlan J Berk, Ltd. for deals on ancient coins for sale.

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How FHA Loans Can Help Your Dreams of Home Ownership Come True

Owning a home is a goal shared by many people. According to a Gallup poll, only 11 percent of Americans don’t have any plans to become a homeowner. However, for many people, getting approval on a home loan is challenging. Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, loans can help these people reach their goal of owning a home.

What Is an FHA Loan?

The most important thing to understand about an FHA loan is that its not a traditional mortgage. Instead, this type of loan is meant to be used alongside a traditional home mortgage loan. In the simplest of terms, Federal Housing Administration loans have been insured, or guaranteed, by the federal government.

The borrower applies for a loan from an FHA approved lender such as Western Ohio Mortgage and then the FHA loan is added on. The idea is that by insuring the loan, the risk of loss for the lender is drastically reduced. For an individual who is having a difficult time getting a home loan, this extra layer of protection makes it easier.

How Do You Qualify?

Qualifying for an FHA loan is similar to a traditional loan approval process. One of the most important criteria examined is your credit history. In order to qualify for this loan your credit should reflect a history of timely payments. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need a good payment history.

Your debt-to-income ratio is also examined. Although the federal government is insuring your loan to minimize the risk of default for the lender, they want to be sure you can actually afford the home. Your debt-to-income ratio is examined to ensure you will have enough money to pay the loan back.

Special Considerations

Loan limits—FHA loans come with loan limit criteria that traditional loans don’t have. The maximum amount you qualify for is based on the type of home you are trying to buy and the state and county where it is located. This requirement is independent of your debt-to-income ratio.

Appraisals—These loans also require that you have the house appraised by an appraiser approved by the FHA. With a traditional loan, you generally have the option to purchase whatever type of home you want, regardless of its condition. An FHA loan requires the property is in good physical condition and that its cost matches its market value.

If you have a dream of home ownership and are having a difficult time, an FHA loan may be able to help you. Examine your finances and research lenders to see what your options are.

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