Tax Carnival Ecstasy – December 17, 2013

Welcome to the December 17, 2013 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. We start with some information on filing your taxes at the end of the year for the 2013 tax season. We have a TradeKing review from John Schmoll. And finally Mark Wang looks at assets that you can own that create passive income. Make sure to bookmark the carnival on social sites, like on Facebook, Tweet, and share with all your friends.

filing

Bill Smith presents Important Dates For Filing Your 2013 Tax Return Forms posted at 2011 Taxes, saying, “As the year comes to an end, it is important to start thinking about filing your 2013 taxes.”

A Granny Smith apple
A Granny Smith apple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill Smith presents The TurboTax ItsDeductible App posted at 2010 Tax, saying, “Intuit Inc. announced on December 3, 2013 its new TurboTax ItsDeductible app, had become available for use on the iPhone.”

retirement

John Schmoll presents TradeKing Review: An Online Brokerage Worth Considering posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Investing in the stock market is vital to building wealth and with the variety of options available of where to invest it can be confusing. Choosing a good brokerage that has good offering and low fees can be a great way to help grow your retirement portfolio and get your investing on the right foot.”

John Schmoll presents My Retirement Dream: to Keep Working! posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Many want to follow the traditional retirement dream of working until 65 and then leaving the workforce completely. My retirement dream is different – to continue working. With frugal living and an aggressive investing strategy I believe many can pursue that dream and eventually work for yourself in retirement.”

taxes

Bill Smith presents IRS Forms To File Back Taxes posted at 2008 Taxes, saying, “Even if one is certain there are no mistakes in the forms when following federal tax procedures, a little shiver goes down a taxpayers spine at the very thought of a letter arriving from the IRS.”

Bill Smith presents How To Survive The Holidays posted at 2012 Taxes – Free Tax Filing Options, saying, “The holiday season can be fun yet challenging. Everyone wants to share in showing appreciation and love for those they love.”

Bill Smith presents Voting For Big Game’s Final Four In Last Days posted at 2014 Taxes, saying, “On Feb. 2, 2014, Intuit, the home company of TurboTax Canada, will make one small business a star in the biggest commercial game of the year.”

tips

Bill Smith presents Twitter IPO Vs. Facebook – FastSwings.com posted at FastSwings, saying, “At first glance, it would seem Twitter had no intentions of posting such a high IPO, but their current policy of growth says otherwise.”

Bill Smith presents Burger King Worldwide 2013 Third Quarter Results posted at FastSwings, saying, “Over the years, Burger King have been steadily going from strength to strength, so it comes as no surprise that the third quarter results are so impressive.”

Bill Smith presents Halliburton Profit Jumps 17% posted at FastSwings, saying, “Halliburton beat its earnings expectations with a seventeen percent profit jump this week, owing largely to its operations on a global scale”

Mark Wang presents Which assets produce passive income? posted at The Money MailThe Money Mail, saying, “When it comes to taxes, passive income assets can be completed as in how much they are taxed, how is the income treated and what accounts as income from tax purposes. Let us take a look at the various passive income producing assets in this article.”

Bill Smith presents How Secured Loans Can Help posted at Debt Consolidation, saying, “Consumers who need to rebuild their credit histories can take secured loans to start the process. A secured loan is an advance that a lender gives to a person who is willing to offer some type of collateral.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Home Business, Yay or Nay?

While the old American dream was once to land a steady job with good benefits and an early retirement, the updated version often entails becoming an entrepreneur and being your own boss. There are many challenges in steering your own ship, and yep many rewards as well. One advantage to working for yourself is that you know that you’ve got at least one person on board that really genuinely cares. As your own boss you can also guarantee that your opinions will be heard. But before making that big jump, you should really make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Here are some often overlooked changes you will experience…

Taxes

If you once were able to file a 1040EZ those days will soon be ones of the past. Taxes for your business will be involved, to say the least. And your personal taxes will doubtless be affected as well. Then you’ve got the cross-over items and the difficulty of trying to decide what can legitimately be itemized and for which. As an entrepreneur you will want to keep an eye on mileage costs and keep receipts for any business-related transactions.

Also be sure to check into any specific licensing or certifications you may require for your business and keep up to date on any registration renewals, if any.

Home Office?

A home office can obviously cut down on fuel costs and time spent going to and fro. Working from home can also keep you more connected with loved ones and may even get you tax breaks, if set up correctly. Though if you business is customer or client-based you may be required to have specific permits for such and to also carry extra liability insurance, should anything happen to someone on your property.

Another thing to consider is if you feel you can truly be productive while working at home. The Internet is distracting enough, what happens when you’re groggy all day and the bed is just a few feet away? Do you actually have enough space to specifically dedicate to an office? Will you and your family be able to agree on some kind of ground rules for specific hours of operation? These things and more should be considered before taking the plunge.

Insurance

As mentioned, if you have a home office you’ll most likely need extra insurance but don’t forget medical insurance and disability as well. An old 9 to 5 might have taken care of that for you but now that you’re the boss you do have to have a backup plan, should anything go wrong.

These are just a few of the I’s to dot and T’s to cross, there’s so much more. However, it’s a pretty terrific time to go into business for yourself – provided you think ahead, plan accordingly, and prepare yourself for the worst so that the worst never comes to call.

Written by Erin Nolan. Hurt yourself at someone’s business? Make a claim: www.accidentclaims.org

Planning For Early Retirement

Retirement planning is something that people usually do to prepare for old age. But did you know that it’s also something that you can do early on? Early retirement is an option for some but not many fully grasp its concept. Even though it seems impossible, do note that many have made this happen. Expatriates are among those that have retired early and are now enjoying life.

Before you opt for early retirement, think hard and ask yourself – do I really want to retire at an early age? For those of you who find it impossible to achieve given your circumstances in life, don’t push it. Maybe early retirement isn’t for you and you can always retire at an early age anyway, like most people do. But if you feel like it’s right for you and that it’s achievable at the same time, you can consider it as an option.

Once you have set your mind for early retirement, the next thing you have to do is plan for it. Early dream retirement planning starts with managing your finances properly. Try to live a minimalistic life and only buy what you need. Do not indulge too much on things that you want because that would be detrimental to your plans of retiring early. Living a minimalist life doesn’t mean taking your health for granted though. You must try to keep your body fit and healthy at all times to prevent most illnesses associated with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. The last thing you want to happen is waste away all the money you saved for retirement on medical care.

If you have kids, instill in them the value of saving money and being independent early on. Along with early retirement, save money for their education as well. If you want to retire early, your kids should also develop a sense of personal responsibility and independence at an early age. Besides, you will be more at peace with yourself if you are able to raise kids that aren’t too dependent on you finance-wise.

Also part of early retirement planning is deciding what you’ll do by the time you retire. Decide whether you’re staying in your home country. Most early retirees, however, leave their country and migrate to countries with lower costs of living and have higher value for the money they saved. There, they can set up their own businesses or simply enjoy the rest of their lives free of burden.

4 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Retirement Budget

As medical technology advances, society becomes safer and health knowledge becomes more mainstream, the life expectancy of humans tends to increase. In 1950, the average lifespan was 68 years. Today, that figure has risen to 78. While people are excited about living longer, quality of life is also an important part of retiring comfortably. Finding ways to stretch your retirement budget will allow you to retire at a normal age without having to sacrifice the hobbies and adventures you enjoy. Here are 4 ways to get the most out of your retirement budget:

1. Create a Financial Strategy

Getting the most out of your retirement starts with knowing the limits of your finances. Start by breaking down your current annual expenses and how those will change as the years progress. For example, each year your expenses will grow roughly 3% due to inflation alone. Although you may pay off a mortgage, or save money on business clothes and transportation, the cost of medicine and treatment may replace those expenses. Mapping out your financial obligations year by year will help you determine your financial readiness and how much flexibility you have.

Once you have a budget, every decision you make can be justified by working within the confines of that budget. For example, you can fund a more luxurious lifestyle by downsizing your home, or moving to a more tax friendly region. If you want to spend a particular year traveling, you can eschew another vice such as eating at restaurants for that specific year. There are plenty of creative ways to do what you want without having to blow up your initial projections by tacking on an additional expense.

2. Diversify Your Portfolio

Just as inflation can eat into your retirement portfolio, earning interest can replenish your coffers. The problem is that many high interest products come with the caveat of increased risk, something older investors are generally less likely to tolerate. However, many financial experts are shifting away from the traditional model and are recommending a more diverse model of risk for their retired customers. As much of your nest egg is not intended to be utilized for decades, there is no reason that a small portion of your funds can’t be invested in higher risk products, if you are willing to ride out the occasional bear market.

3. Determine Your Strategy for Social Security and Pension Payments

The government allows you to take out Social Security benefits starting at age 62. However, doing so will permanently reduce the amount of your benefits. This amounts to a 25 to 30 percent drop in benefits as opposed to waiting until age 66. On the other hand, if you have no other income, or suffer from health issues, it may be wiser to take a reduced check now than wait for a bigger check down the line.

Another decision many workers must consider is whether to take their pension via a lump sum or an annuity payment. As the advantages vary depending on your personal finances, it is best to consult a financial planner about which choice is right for you. Traditional annuities have the advantage of guaranteeing a steady income throughout the life of you and your spouse, whereas a lump sum provides more flexibility and purchasing power.

4. Start Slow

The first five years are the most critical when it comes to retirement. Unfortunately, it is common for many couples to overextend themselves during these years, depleting their savings and compromising their ability to spend in the future. Being conservative early in your retirement has two advantages. First, it allows the bulk of your nest egg to earn interest for another five years. Second, it gives you a realistic portrait of how sustainable your budget is over the breadth of your retirement. From there you can gradually take a more aggressive approach and spend your retirement without worry of outliving it.

Carl Edwards writes for EquityRelease.net covering a wide range of retirement finance topics.

5 Retirement Planning Myths You Should Be Aware Of

Retirement planning is difficult for everyone. It is even more difficult if you don’t plan accordingly or you lack the right information. Unless you are fabulously wealthy, there is no sure-fire plan that works perfectly. However, you can make your retirement planning a lot easier by avoiding these common myths.

You’ll Have Less Expenses

Even if you pay off your home and cars by the time you retire, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll spend less money comparatively speaking. Remember, you’ll also likely be living on less income than you earned while you were working. So, you may have fewer bills, but you are also likely to have less extra money to deal unexpected expenses. Things like home and car repairs are inevitable, so it’s a good idea to have some kind of financial cushion.

You Can Relocate

Many retirees have a dream that they’ll sell their home and relocate to an area where the cost of living is lower and/or the climate is better. You can’t possibly predict what the housing market will be like when you retire. You may get far less for your house than you anticipated or the kind of home you want in your new location may be beyond your means. Another problem is that retirees who move away often stretch their budgets frequently traveling home to see friends and family.

Medicare Will Help

Medicare coverage changes on a yearly basis. It’s inevitable that your health care costs will go up as you age and you can’t count on the fact that Medicare will cover everything. Even now, there are routine things like eye exams that Medicare doesn’t cover. There are also many expensive prescription drugs that Medicare doesn’t pay for as well.

There is No Perfect Number

No matter how good your financial advisor is, there’s no guarantee that he or she will be able to help you predict the exact amount of you money you’ll need to live to a certain age. For one thing, financial advisors can’t predict inflation. Secondly, people often underestimate how much money they actually spend. The best idea is to save as much for retirement as you can possibly afford.

It Can Wait

Many people put off retirement planning because they don’t think they’ll live that long or they feel like they need the money more now than they will later. This is a slippery slope. The earlier you start planning for your retirement, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your golden years. Experts universally agree that the later you wait to start saving for retirement, the more likely it is that you’ll encounter serious financial difficulties when you get older.

The best plan for saving for your retirement is to start early and save as much as you can. There’s no way to predict the future. Even if you have to make modest cutbacks in your budget now, it will be worth it to know that you’ll have some security when you get older and have less earning potential.

 

 

About the Author: Tony Smith is a full-time writer with a great understanding of the need for early retirement planning. He enjoys writing about personal finance, credit repair, and tips for getting bad credit loans for those with poor financial histories.