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How can I get a tax break for child care?

More than 60% of children under age six in the United States have two parents in the workforce.1 Many of these working parents must spend a burdensome share of their earnings on child care, especially if they don’t have relatives who are willing and able to help out. The following tax benefits may help you offset some of the costs paid for a nanny, babysitter, day care, preschool, or day camp, but only if the services are used so…

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Four Reasons Your Parents Might Be in Financial Trouble

As your parents age, they will probably need more help from you. But it may be difficult to provide the help they need, especially if they’re experiencing financial trouble. Money can be a sensitive subject to discuss, but you’ll need to talk to your parents about it in order to get to the root of their problems and come up with a solution. Before you start the conversation, consider the following four scenarios as signs that your parents might…

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Quiz: How Much Have You Thought About Health and Health-Care Costs in Retirement?

When planning for retirement, it’s important to consider a wide variety of factors. One of the most important is health and its associated costs. Thinking about your future health and the rising cost of health care can help you better plan for retirement in terms of both your finances and overall well-being. This quiz can help you assess your current knowledge of health and health-care costs in retirement. Questions 1. Health-care costs typically rise faster than the rate of…

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Due Date Approaches for 2018 Federal Income Tax Returns

Tax filing season is here again. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to start pulling things together — that includes getting your hands on a copy of your 2017 tax return and gathering W-2s, 1099s, and deduction records. You’ll need these records whether you’re preparing your own return or paying someone else to prepare your tax return for you. Don’t procrastinate The filing deadline for most individuals is Monday, April 15, 2019. Residents of Maine and Massachusetts have…

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Is a vehicle subscription service in your future?

Automakers and start-up companies are betting that today’s generation of drivers will embrace a new model of temporary ownership called a vehicle subscription service. A vehicle subscription service offers an alternative to buying or leasing. You don’t have to sign a long-term contract or commit to just one vehicle. Once you join, you typically pay an all-inclusive monthly or sometimes weekly fee that covers the cost of using the vehicle you choose, including insurance, routine maintenance, roadside assistance, and…

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How can you lower the costs of owning a vehicle?

Vehicle expenses can take a big bite out of your budget. According to a AAA report, the average annual total cost of owning and operating a new vehicle in 2018 was $8,849. Fortunately, you may be able to save money by reducing three costs. Depreciation: The loss of a vehicle’s value over time was the largest expense associated with buying a vehicle, according to the AAA report. Depreciation accounts for almost 40% of the cost of owning a new…

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Know Your Mutual Funds

Almost 100 million Americans, representing about 44% of U.S. households, owned mutual funds in 2018. Saving for retirement was the primary goal for 73% of investors; other goals included saving for college or a house, building an emergency fund, or providing current income.1 Mutual funds offer a convenient way to participate in a broad range of market activity that would be difficult for most investors to achieve by purchasing individual securities. With almost 8,000 funds available on the U.S….

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Tax Scams to Watch Out For

While tax scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. As a result, it’s in your best interest to always be vigilant so you don’t end up becoming the victim of a fraudulent tax scheme. Here are some of the more common scams to watch out for. Phishing Phishing scams usually involve unsolicited emails or fake websites that pose as legitimate IRS sites to convince you to provide personal or financial…

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Hidden Gem: HSAs in Retirement

When saving for retirement, you’re probably aware of the benefits of using tax-preferred accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. But you may not be aware of another type of tax-preferred account that may prove very useful, not only during your working years but also in retirement: the health savings account (HSA). HSA in a nutshell An HSA is a tax-advantaged account that’s paired with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). You can’t establish or contribute to an HSA unless you…

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Can a flexible work schedule help you stay in the workforce after having children?

Yes, it just might be the key. Your job is the foundation for general financial security, including retirement. In addition to providing you with a steady salary and valuable employee benefits, it typically brings with it the ability to save in a tax-advantaged employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k), and if you’re lucky, a pension. It also allows you to start qualifying for Social Security retirement benefits. Women and men may start out on relatively equal financial footing in…

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