What are some tips for creating a home inventory?

Imagine having to remember and describe every item in your home, especially after you’ve been the victim of a fire, theft, or natural disaster. Rather than relying on your memory, you may want to prepare a home inventory — a detailed record of all your personal property. This record can help substantiate an insurance claim, …

Grandparents Can Help Bridge the College Cost Gap

For many families, a college education is a significant financial burden that is increasingly hard to meet with savings, current income, and a manageable amount of loans. For some, the ace in the hole might be grandparents, whose added funds can help bridge the gap. If you’re a grandparent who would like to help fund …

Spring Cleaning Your Finances

The arrival of spring often signifies a time of renewal, a reminder to dust off the cobwebs and get rid of the dirt and grime that have built up throughout the winter season. And while most spring cleaning projects are likely focused on your home, you could take this time to evaluate and clean up …

Four Ways to Double the Power of Your Tax Refund

The IRS expects that more than 70% of taxpayers will receive a refund in 2017.¹ What you do with a tax refund is up to you, but here are some ideas that may make your refund twice as valuable. Double your savings Perhaps you’d like to use your tax refund to start an education fund …

Do I need to file a gift tax return?

If you transfer money or property to anyone in any year without receiving something of at least equal value in return, you may need to file a federal gift tax return (Form 709) by the April tax filing deadline. If you live in one of the few states that also impose a gift tax, you …

Will I owe income taxes when I sell my home?

In general, when you sell your home, any amount you receive over your cost basis (what you paid for the home, plus capital improvements, plus the costs of selling the home) is subject to capital gains taxes. However, if you owned and used the home as your principal residence for a total of two out …

Why Diversification Matters

When investing, particularly for long-term goals, there is one concept you will likely hear about over and over again — diversification. Why is diversification so important? The simple reason is that it helps ensure that your risk of loss is spread among a number of different investments. The theory is that if some of the …

Table: Federal Student Loans for College

Many families rely on federal student loans to help pay for college. This table describes features of the most common federal loans.   Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan Perkins Loan Direct PLUS Loan (Parent/Grad) Description A federal student loan available to students regardless of financial need A federal student loan available only …

Due Date Approaches for 2016 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 last year’s 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 …

What’s the difference between a direct and indirect rollover?

If you’re eligible to receive a taxable distribution from an employer-sponsored retirement plan [like a 401(k)], you can avoid current taxation by instructing your employer to roll the distribution directly over to another employer plan or IRA. With a direct rollover, you never actually receive the funds. You can also avoid current taxation by actually …