Smarter Tax and Financial Planning

This educational website provides basic financial and tax planning tips and strategies to help you manage your personal finances and pay the least amount of tax allowed by law. If you find this information useful, please share it with your family and friends so they can make smarter financial planning decisions.

Latest Personal Finance Tips

Is College Worth the Price of Admission?

Is College Worth the Price of Admission?

The total cost of an undergraduate college education can range from $100,000 to $200,000 per student, and the average 2014 college graduate takes on about $33,000 in student debt. That, coupled with the difficulties of finding a suitable job after graduation, may make you wonder if getting a college education is a good investment. It […]

Credit Reports

Possible Relief for Low Credit Scores Due to Medical Debt

Changes to a widely used credit score may make it easier for consumers struggling with low scores to obtain loans. Fair Isaac Corporation’s newest FICO® credit scoring model will change certain aspects of how it computes the information on an individual’s credit report. The changes come in the wake of discussions with lenders and regulators […]

Market Crash

Is the Stock Market Really Going to Crash?

Yes…and no. While it may be fun to discuss what the market might do next at your neighborhood barbecue, don’t kid yourself. Most of what we think we know is based on hype generated by and for the media. Just to prove my point, the financial headlines or August 25th, 2014 read as follows: “U.S. […]

Mortgage regulations

New Mortgage Rules Take Effect on January 10th, 2014

After the housing crisis in 2008, the rise in home foreclosures was viewed by many as the result of substandard mortgage lending practices. Subsequently, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and set forth a number of financial industry regulations aimed at protecting consumers, including some pertaining to […]

Latest Tax Tips

IRS2GO Refund Status

Where’s your 2013 tax refund?

It’s that time again, and if you planned right, you’re expecting a tax refund this year. It’s now easy to get up-to-date refund information from the IRS by using their online service Where’s My Refund? or IRS2GO, their multi-purpose mobile app. According to the IRS, your refund status is updated once every 24 hours, usually […]

Using car for business

New Standard Mileage Rates for 2014

The IRS will let you deduct your auto mileage when using your personal vehicle for the following reasons: Business use of your car or truck Medical transportation Moving related to a job change Charitable purposes When deducting these expenses, you have the option to deduct your actual expenses or the “Standard Mileage Rate”, whichever produces […]

IRS office

IRS issues inflation adjusted amounts for 2014

  Last week the IRS issued their annual inflation adjustments for 2014. There were over 40 changes in all. The complete list of changes can be found in Rev. Proc. 2013-35, but some of the more relevant changes include: The personal exemption increased from $3,900 to $3,950. The standard deduction for married filing jointly increased […]

Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare taxes are up, benefits not so much

  This week the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that Social Security taxes will not be collected on wages over $117,000 in 2014. This is a 2.8% increase, up from $113,700 in 2013. The SSA also announced a paltry 1.5% cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients. The Medicare tax rate remains at 1.45% and has […]

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