Tag Archives: personal finance

Money Monday: 3 Ways to Cut Taxes

Nobody likes to pay more in taxes than they absolutely have to. By the time you start preparing your return, it’s too late to use some of the smartest tactics to control the size of your tax bill. Instead, you have to plan in advance to make sure your refund is as big as possible.

Read them here: “3 simple ways to cut your taxes.”

Money Monday: File your tax return

If your return is fairly simple and you’re up for the challenge, preparing your taxes solo could save you a bit of money. In fact, an estimated 33% of Americans file their own taxes each year, so if you’re ready to join their ranks, here are a few tips for getting through the process.

1. Prepare your return early

2. Figure out whether you’ll be itemizing this year

3. File electronically

Read more about filing your taxes yourself here on CNN’s article: “3 tax-filing tips to make preparing your tax return easier.”

Money Monday: Financial Milestones

How do your financial milestones compare with the average consumer’s?

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCATION OF REALTORS averaged consumers’ answers to when they:

  • Started saving for retirement
  • Attained a good credit score over 700
  • Saved $10,000
  • Paid off student loans
  • Purchased first home

average consumer financial milestones

This infographic is from CAR.org.

Money Monday: Americans aren’t checking their credit report 

“It’s been almost six months since Equifax announced a massive data breach that exposed personal information for as many as 145 million Americans.Cyber thieves could use that data to open up credit cards, take out loans, or carry out a medical theft.

“But many Americans aren’t being proactive to protect their financial well being. Half of adults in the U.S. haven’t checked their credit report or score in the last six months, according to a survey from CreditCards.com…”

Read the rest of this article: “Americans still aren’t checking their credit reports.”

Money Monday: How to avoid wire fraud

You have to be extra vigilant with your money nowadays. When buying real estate, don’t fall victim to wire fraud with these three steps:

  1. Pay attention to how wire instructions are sent (in other word — only accept instructions that are secure and encrypted).
  2. Before wiring funds, call to verify the wire instructions with the title company.
  3. Be careful of any changes — real instructions rarely change.

Wirefraud Money Monday - John Silva blog

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS at CAR.org.

Money Monday: Why you should retire early

“Time is one of the most valuable assets at your disposal. Unfortunately, many people spend 40 hours a week for 40 or 50 years trading their time for this thing we call money.

retirement

“The great news is that there’s a corollary to that fact: If people are willing to give you money for your time, you can spend money to buy your time back.

“That’s what we call retirement.”

Here’s 3 reasons to retire as early as you can.

Money Monday: Should you upgrade from a smaller to a larger home?

Buying a house instead of renting is, depending where in the country you live, often more cost-effective. But upgrading from a smaller home to a larger home and mortgage? Probably not.

small house to mansion

“There are solid reasons to upgrade your home. For many, it was always the plan. You buy a starter home, and upgrade to a larger one once your family expands. Or your income expands, and you finally move into your dream home. Regardless of your reason, the typical first step is determining what you can afford. A standard rule for lenders is that your monthly housing payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) should not take up more than 28% of your income before taxes. A quick and dirty way to check how much you can afford is through calculators like myFico calculator.

“Lenders asses your monthly income, debt, credit score and a variety of other factors to determine how much you can “afford”. However, they don’t look at how your expenses will grow after upgrading to a bigger and better house. (“Forbes.com, “Upgrading to a bigger home? Beware of 6 expenses that will increase.”)

Read Forbes’ article on the 6 things that will increase with a larger place here.

Money Monday: The predicted 2018 housing market

Home buyers aren’t going to catch much of a break this year. According to CNN, that is. Here’s a brief blurb from their recent article ‘Is 2018 the year to buy a house?‘”

real estate market update for July 2017Sellers will remain in the driver’s seat as buyers continue to face affordability issues thanks to low housing supply.

“The challenges for buyers in the market haven’t changed that much from last year” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage website HSH.com.

What’s more, home loans are expected to get more expensive as the year progresses.

Here’s what home buyers and sellers can expect from the housing market this year”:

Homes will remain in tight supply

Home prices will slow

Loans will get more expensive

Read CNN’s article in its entirety here: “Is 2018 the year to buy a house?