Saving

Don’t Overpay for Your Taxes

Did you know that you could file your taxes for free? There are loads of options and we're chatting about them all with Liz Weston from NerdWallet.

Free Tax Filing…Say What?

More than 1 in 3 U.S. taxpayers whose household income is less than $50,000 a year hired a tax professional or a national tax preparation company last year even though they may have qualified for free tax software filing, a new NerdWallet survey shows.

Perhaps they paid for help because Americans lack a basic understanding of federal tax rules: The survey also finds most taxpayers get failing marks for their tax knowledge. Out of eight questions about IRS rules for common deductions, retirement, and education savings plans, taxpayers as a group correctly answered 25% of the questions.

Nearly half of taxpayers (46%) don’t know what tax bracket they’re in — or even what a “tax bracket” is, according to the online survey commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted by Harris Poll among more than 1,800 U.S. adults who filed income taxes last year and who plan to file taxes this year.

“Knowing your bracket can help you determine the value of any deductions you take and whether a tax-advantaged investment is worthwhile,” says Liz Weston, NerdWallet columnist, and certified financial planner. “When you pay a dollar in mortgage interest, for example, your bracket determines whether you can save 10 cents or 39.6 cents.”

Find our your tax bracket here.

On This Podcast Episode:

  • I’m chatting with Liz about the NerdWallet survey findings
  • Dishing how you can file your taxes for free
  • Why researching your CPA/accountant is a good idea
  • What exactly is a tax extension
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Secrets to Save for College for Your Child

When should you start saving for college? How much should you save for college? There are so many questions around saving for college, so I'm dishing a few tips to get you started when your child is young.

Secrets to Save for College

Congrats, you’ve had a baby, and now the terror of thinking about how expensive college will cost when your bundle of joy is 18 is causing a panic attack. Not to fear, you still have plenty of time to save for college.

You can’t get a loan for retirement but you can get one for college. Too many young parents overlook their own financial security and get in a rush to start to save for college. You want to make sure you’ve got a good emergency fund and that you’re contributing each month to your own retirement.

The 529 Way to Save for College

A 529 plan is a popular way to start to save for college and can be started at any time. Like an IRA, you can invest funds and enjoy tax-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses.

There are 34 states that currently offer full or partial tax credit for your contributions – which is a real bonus to starting a 529 plan in your own state.You can also open a 529 plan in any state, not just your own.

Other Ways to Save for College

On this podcast episode, I’ll chat about the pros and cons of 529 plans and a few other options to consider when saving for college. No matter what you choose, remember that you’ve got to take care of yourself first. College loans aren’t a great option, but they’re a lot better than you not having any money available in retirement.

 

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Sneaky Ways to Lower Taxes Like a Millionaire

Millionaires know one thing - how to be savvy with their money and limit the amount of taxes they pay. Check out some of their secrets to lowering your taxes and get yourself one step closer to the millionaire mark.

Lower Your Taxes Like a Millionaire

Millionaires know a couple of “secrets” and one is that the key to the million dollar mark is being savvy with your money.

It’s staying within a budget and committing every month to saving money. It’s knowing your numbers like a pro so you have power over your finances. It’s setting goals and incorporating those into your budget. Finally, it’s lowering your tax base when you can so you can put more money into your pocket.

I’m not talk about cheating anything. You need to pay the taxes that you owe, plain and simple. What I’m talking about is being smart with your finances.

On This Episode of the Podcast Learn About:

  • Positioning your side hustles in an efficient way so you keep more money
  • Using Health Savings Accounts as a savings booster
  • Holding the right assets in the right accounts
  • Knowing how much you’re paying in your retirement accounts
  • Always knowing your numbers

Got any sneaky tips up your sleeve? Let us know in the comments or over on social media.

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Why Women Need to Save More…A Lot More

Women get the short end of the stick when it comes to saving for retirement. Simply put, women need to save more…a lot more than men and the trend is that women actually end up saving less instead. According to a recent NerdWallet data analysis, the average American woman must save $1.25 for ever $1 a man invests in retirement savings to build an equivalent nest egg.

That’s not good news! (But we can fix it)

Women earn less than men in most careers and that can have a serious impact on our lifestyle in retirement. Here are some tips to boost your savings now to catch up.

Let’s be real here…on average our total retirement savings rate is just not that great, regardless of sex. According to the National Retirement Risk Index, just over half of U.S. families aren’t saving enough to maintain their standard of living once they’ve retired.

I see this time and time again working with clients and couples. There are so many reasons why this is happening, but at the end of the day it just means we all have to be super saving at knowing our numbers and finding ways to save, invest, and grow our money regardless of sex and the ridiculous pay gap.

On This Podcast Episode:

  • We’re dishing about the recent NerdWallet survey and their findings
  • Which states NerdWallet says women are gaining the most ground when it comes to closing the pay gap and equalizing savings
  • Strategies and tips women can use to in light of the savings shortage
  • Discuss why you should be retirement “double dipping”
  • Find the best IRA Providers & the best online brokers

Million Dollar Roadmap – Max Out Your 401(k)

Your 401(k) was never designed to provide all of your income in retirement but unfortunately, it’s become the predominant choice to do so. This year Congress has decided to leave the 401(k) contribution at $18,000 citing only small changes in CPI (Consumer Price Index) as the cause. If you want to reach that million dollar mark (or more) in your retirement savings you’ve got to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Your 401(k) was never set up to take care of you fully in retirement. Here are some tips to score a million dollars or more in your retirement savings account.

Maximize Your Allocation

There’s a number that most people don’t talk about – $54,000. That is 2017’s maximum allocation that you can contribute to ALL retirement plans combined – 401(k), IRA, ROTH, SEP, SIMPLE IRA, etc. This number (and a good strategy) can help you save millions of dollars in your retirement plan.

The more money you save = the more lifestyle options you have down the road.

In this podcast episode, I’ll be dishing about what you need to know to head down the million dollar road with your retirement savings and why the maximum allocation number is so important to remember.

If you’re looking for a great tool to help you figure out your retirement savings, I suggest you head over to my friends at Nerdwallet and check out their retirement savings calculator.

 

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Best Of: Saving Money Secrets

The Saving Money Secret

For the end of the year, we decided to play some throwback episodes from earlier this year. It seems every time I do a podcast episode on saving money you seem to really resonate with the message.

There are so many ways to save money but one of my favorite tips is simply to know your numbers. Find out all my saving money secrets in this best of episode.

The truth is, the easiest way to save money, which really isn’t a secret at all but it just seems like everyone overlooks this, is to know your numbers.

Know how much your spending each month on everything – eating out, groceries, shopping, ATM, Uber fees, etc.

The Power of Numbers

When you truly know your numbers you can find easy ways to create savings that are hiding right in your bank account just waiting for you to find them.

Trust me…there is money right now in your bank account just waiting to be found.

Enjoy this best of podcast episode and let it inspire you to find some creative ways to start saving money.

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3 Reasons to Care About the Interest Rate Hike

All the Fuss With Interest Rate Hikes

You’ve probably gotten through life thus far not really caring about what the Federal Reserve does when it meets a few times each year and couldn’t care less about the Fed Funds Rate. You might’ve heard rumblings on the news about interest rates going up and thought, “Well, I don’t really care about that.” I’m here to tell you that you should care or at least know what the heck it means when the Fed raises the rates.

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates again and as millennials you should pay attention. There are three key areas that could hit your wallet hard - credit card interest rates, car and home loans, and student loan refinancing rates.

On This Podcast

We’re going to dish about three reasons why you should care about the interest rate hike. This is a not so subtle hint that raising the interest rates actually does matter to you and your wallet. The Fed raises the rates to stabilize the economy but what ends up happening is any of your loans tied to variable interest rates will go up.

  • Find out what the Fed is and why interest rates go up
  • How the raising interest rates affect your bank account
  • What you can do to counteract the higher interest rates
  • Why higher interest rates are good news for savers who want to take advantage of higher interest rates on high-yield savings accounts

Make Money and Do Good While You’re Holiday Shopping

Meet Goodshop

On today’s podcast, we’re chatting with Goodshop co-founder, JJ Ramberg. JJ in her own right is kind of a big deal. She’s host of MSNBC’s show, “Your Business,” and the longest running female host at MSNBC. That’s right, she’s pretty awesome.

Goodshop is offering you the perfect solution to shopping - save money and do good at the same time.

She started Goodshop 11 years ago with her brother as a company known for its “coupons for good” shopping model and just launched the world’s first “shopfunding” site called Goodshop Give.

Goodshop allows you to make all your holiday purchases online (while saving a ton of money using Goodshop’s coupons) while raising money for a cause that you care about. With their new Goodshop deals button that you can install on your browser, you can be shopping, giving back and saving money all at the same time.

With their new Goodshop deals button that you can install on your browser, you can be shopping, giving back and saving money all at the same time.

Whether you have a heart for the American Red Cross of a local school or organization, you can choose who you want to support. The best, it doesn’t cost you anything extra to both save money with Goodshop’s coupons and to give back!

On this podcast episode

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Earn More Rewards From Your Credit Cards

Credit Card Rewards, Reward You

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know how valuable credit card points and rewards are. I understand not wanting to have a bunch of credit cards that tempt you to spend money but using debit cards versus credit cards means you are missing out on a lot of amazing perks.

These perks are worth real money to you and can translate into free hotel stays, free flights, free car rental, gift certificates, and even just plain good ole’ cash back.Are you maximizing your rewards from credit cards? You should be...rewards are worth real money in your pocket!

Meet Birch

I’m always on the hunt to discover new products and mobile apps that I think will radically help you financially. Birch was a fantastic find, and I had a chance to talk to their CEO, Alex Cohen, for this podcast episode.

Birch is your answer to finding the best strategy for your credit cards so you can maximize all of those awesome perks. It’s like putting money right back in your pocket – and the best part – it’s FREE to set up an account and start maximizing your rewards.

Use a Credit Card Wisely

I just can’t say this enough. If you use a credit card wisely, like a debit card and pay the balance off each month, you’re in the money so to speak. Credit card companies are competing feverously to offer better and better perks and rewards.

I simply won’t accept that you can’t use a credit card responsibly. Self-discipline is one of the core principals to smart financial planning and it will take you a long way towards achieving your goals. There are simply way too many perks with credit cards to pass them by.

 

Are You Part of Generation Stress? How to Avoid Money Stress Once and For All

Millennials are called "generation stress" because of high student loans, unemployment, credit cards debt and low savings rates. Here are some tips to avoid money stress once and for all. Millennials are Generation Stress

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 18 to 35-year-olds are the most stressed out generation ever—earning ourselves the nickname “Generation Stress.”

I got this question recently from a listener who is definitely feeling the stress. “We have two degrees in marketing, with over $75,000 combined student loan debt making it paycheck to paycheck in what should be an exciting life filled with going out, buying new cars and saving for a home. How can we possibly save money when we’re living in a small apartment just getting by? It wasn’t supposed to be like this for sure!

My friends are all in the same situation – good jobs – not great, but good. Loads of student loan debt, some credit card debt in there, daydreaming through social media and living vicariously through everyone else that has either figured out a secret we don’t know or are going even more in debt each month. Is there a solution to this madness?”

On this Podcast Episode

  • I’m sharing my tips to battle money stress once and for all
  • Understand how you can get to the bottom of your money stress
  • Work through an exercise to help you deal with your stress
  • I’ll share my own money stress stories too and how I use the app Headspace to counteract my stress

Millennials and Stress

I know stress isn’t easy. It can pop up at any moment in time and leave you breathless. One of the best things I’ve learned over the years is to not freak out whenever something happens money-wise. You can’t think straight when you’re stress and it’s much easier to make a small money mistake turn into a large one when you’re busy stressing out.

 

 

 

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