Watch Out for Apartment Rental Rip-Offs

Planning to move? As you scan apartment listings on Craigslist, you spy a great deal. The rental unit comes with amenities galore and lease payments well below market rates. You’re in a time crunch, so you make an appointment to tour the apartment. Unbeknownst to you, the “landlord” (AKA the guy who’s leading you on […]

Lost Pet? Don’t Become a Fraud Target

When a pet disappears, owners can become distraught, calling animal shelters, advertising in local papers, posting photos on every telephone pole and fence post all in the hope of hearing news of their lost animal. At such times, pet owners are also more vulnerable to fraud. Consider the following scenarios: The truck passerby: You get […]

The Nine Basic Rules of Investing

There is no magic to making money by investing. It requires discipline, determination, perseverance, and hard work. In deciding what investments are suitable for you, you must first understand the nine basic rules of investing. 1. Risk versus return. The greater the risk that you will lose not only the return on your investment but […]

Avoid Tax Traps in Loans to Friends and Family

Lending to friends and relatives is a tricky business, and not only because of the stress it can place on your relationships. There are tax issues involved as well. If you have to lend money to someone close, here are some tips to do it right in the eyes of the tax code. Charge interest […]

Avoid the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty

It is one thing to be taxed on retirement contributions and their related earnings when you withdraw funds from your Traditional IRA, it is quite another when you pay the tax PLUS a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. Need funds prior to retirement and want to avoid the early withdrawal penalty? There are cases when […]

How to Protect Your Business from Employee Theft

Employee theft happens frequently enough for it to be a concern of every business. It makes no difference whether your business is a one-employee medical office or a forty-employee retail outlet. Absentee business owners should be even more alert to the problem of employee theft. Busy managers find it easy to turn the record keeping […]

Consider Donating Appreciated Stock & Mutual Funds

One way to reduce your tax bill this year is to donate appreciated stock to a charity of your choice versus writing a check. This part of the tax code provides a tax benefit to you in two ways: Higher deduction. Your charitable gift deduction is the higher Fair Market Value of the appreciated stock […]

Is a Section 529 plan the right college savings plan for you?

There are many ways to save for college, but one thing is certain: it is never too early to start. One way to save for college is with a “Section 529” plan. These plans offer a way to pay for college expenses with some nice tax advantages. What are they? Section 529 plans allow you […]

Financial Basics: Buy the Right Insurance

To keep your insurance costs down, don’t buy insurance to pay for every small medical bill, auto repair, or financial loss. Build a savings account to handle life’s small financial inconveniences. Think of insurance as protection against catastrophes. You can lower your insurance premiums significantly by taking larger deductibles. Also, look for comprehensive insurance, not […]

Parents, Children and Taxes

Being a parent brings tremendous rewards, but also the challenge and responsibility of supporting and educating your child. Fortunately, the tax code has many ways to help ease a parent’s financial burden. Here’s an overview of the many ways that taxes can affect your decisions as a parent. Exemptions and credits Most parents can claim […]