Money Management Articles
Tax credits that can help lower college costs
Are you looking for ways to minimize the costs of higher education? The
average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year college education can
range from about $40,000 for in-state students at a public college to
nearly $135,000 at a private one, according to College Board data.
Fortunately, there are some tax laws that can help lower your outlays.
The tax advantages of home ownership
If you own your own home, there are some significant tax advantages that can make the prospect more affordable. As a result of the uncertain economy, the federal government has also recently extended a popular tax credit through June of this year and broadened the number of people who qualify.
Three things to know about reverse mortgages
One of the retirement planning resources that has gained interest in
recent years is the reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage allows you to
convert part of the equity in your home into cash without paying
additional monthly bills. If you're 62 or older -- and want money to pay
off your mortgage, or pay for other expenses -- you may consider a
Small business owners beware: Not reporting income paid to vendors can be costly
If you are a small-business owner, know that you, too, must send 1099s
to nonemployees paid in the course of doing business. The Minnesota
Society of CPAs (MNCPA) warns that many small-business owners do not
understand the requirements for issuing 1099s, and they can receive
hefty fines and costly IRS audits if not complied with properly.
5 steps to boost your home's value
If you're planning on putting your house on the market, you'll want to
get the best price possible. There are steps you can take to enhance how
much you make on the sale, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs
Business or hobby? Why the difference matters
Were you aware that there are tax implications when you earn money from a
hobby? If not, or if you're unsure of all the rules, the Minnesota
Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these insights on why the distinctions
between hobbies and businesses matter and what you need to know if your
hobby becomes a business.
Finding ways to cut your phone budget
When looking for ways to save, consider rethinking your phone bills. The
Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers this advice on how to become a
savvy consumer when it comes to budgeting your phone service.
Being financially prepared for college
Many parents consider sending a child to college an important financial
objective. The College Board reports for a public in-state four-year
college, the average tuition for 2014-15 was $9,139. If room and board
was included, the average annual education cost was $18,942.
Don't fight over finances!
When couples argue, what are they most likely to fight about? You might
not be surprised to learn that, according to a Harris Interactive survey
on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs, money is the top reason
for a marital spat, one that causes disagreements far more frequently
than other critical issues.
Get out of debt (and stay out)
On average, American households have about $15,000 of credit card debt,
according to NerdWallet. If you're struggling to pay off your
outstanding balances, or if you're tired of high interest costs, the
Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) explains the best ways to get out from
under those bills.
Who's teaching your kids about money?
If you think your children aren't learning about money because you're
not teaching it, think again. While savvy marketers are telling our
kindergartners that they need a certain toy to be happy, credit card
companies are peddling instant gratification to our teens.
Adding a teen to auto insurance? Be prepared
If adding a young driver to your policy is in your future, you need to be ready for the added costs. While policies vary based on a multitude of factors, financial experts
advise being prepared for the unavoidable expense of a teen driver
addition. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these ways to
save some money on their protection.
5 tips to quickly pay off student loan debt
Struggling with student loans? You're not alone.
Fraud prevention for seniors
While seniors make up 11 percent of the population, they represent 30
percent of consumer fraud and 50 percent of telephone fraud. The
Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following fraud prevention
tips for seniors.
Don't let unexpected costs ruin your retirement!
How much do you need to save for retirement? Determining how much you'll
spend on housing, food and other fixed expenses may seem relatively
easy, but how about the costs that come out of the blue?
Tips for couples on managing Social Security benefits
About 59 million people receive Social Security benefits, according to
the Social Security Administration. Were you aware that there are many
options for married couples on deciding how and when to take their
Resolving financial concerns for stepfamilies
Roughly 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day, according to the
Stepfamily Foundation. And, 41 percent of all Americans have at least
one step relative, based on Pew Research Center findings.
IRA early withdrawal exceptions
Choosing an early withdrawal from your IRA can be a costly move, often
resulting in unfavorable consequences such as tax penalties and loss of
The ins and outs of filing a tax extension
Sometimes April 15 rolls around faster than expected. Despite best
intentions, extenuating circumstances could mean that filing your taxes
on time just isn't an option. If this scenario sounds familiar, filing
an extension may be the best course of action.
Appealing an IRS decision
What happens if you disagree with an Internal Revenue Service
determination about your taxes? There are options available to you if
you'd like to plead your case.
Planning for retirement has many taxing issues
Individuals today have much greater responsibility in funding their
retirement plans -- a responsibility that can become overwhelming as the
life expectancy continues to climb.
10 ways to maximize Social Security benefits
For most Americans, Social Security retirement benefits typically
represent 30 to 60 percent of their retirement income and, yet,
according to the National Social Security Association,,LLC, more than 90
percent of Social Security recipients receive less money than to which
they are entitled.
Answers to tax questions for the self-employed
Will 2015 be the year when you take the leap into self-employment? Even
if you're going to start out small with an office in a spare bedroom,
there are some important tax issues you should keep in mind before you
take the plunge.
Tax solutions for baby boomers
The baby boom generation, the children born in the post-World War II
years between 1946 and 1964, includes about 76 million people. Now that
generation is heading into retirement, with roughly 10,000 boomers
expected to retire every day between now and 2030.
Five tax deductions you should not overlook
Did you run up expenses searching for a new job in 2014? Or did you use
your car while helping out at a soup kitchen? Are you a self-employed
person who paid Medicare premiums out of your own pocket? If so, you may
be eligible for one of the many tax deductions that people often fail
Top tips for organizing your tax records
With less than two months until the April 15 tax deadline, now is a
great time to start maintaining and securing records of your personal
information for next year's tax filing -- or to get your financial house
in order before filing this year.
Guard against tax return and other forms of ID theft
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and tax
refund fraud caused by identity theft is a major challenge facing
taxpayers. According to a Government Accountability Office report,
fraudulent tax refunds were estimated at $5.2 billion for the 2013 tax
Tax planning update for same-sex couples
Since 2013, federal tax laws for married couples have applied to
same-sex couples who are married in jurisdictions where same-sex
marriage is legal, like Minnesota, even if the couple lives in a
jurisdiction that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) addresses some of the tax planning
issues facing the growing list of couples affected by these legal
changes and offers timely advice.
Four last-minute tips to lower your taxes
Now that the New Year has begun, April 15 will be here before you know
it. Have you done all you can to minimize your tax payments and maximize
prudent financial planning? If you're not sure, there's still time to
make some smart choices before you file this year's tax return.
5 financial mistakes to avoid this year
Are you satisfied with the financial decisions you made in 2014? If
you're not so sure, this is a good time to resolve to make some changes
Beware before you buy: 6 considerations for kids' cell phones
Have your kids started asking for cell phones or mobile devices of
their own? Usage of mobile devices is growing among the younger set. In
fact, 45 percent of parents say they have already purchased or plan to
purchase mobile devices for their kids.
How to give wisely during the holidays and beyond
Have the holidays made you feel more generous? Nonprofit organizations
report receiving 41 percent of their donations between Thanksgiving and
New Year's each year, according to Charity Navigator, and their overall
charitable contributions are significant.
What you should know about timeshares
Now that the holidays are upon us, many people dream of taking a
tropical vacation or spending time near a popular attraction. If you're
shopping for a getaway, you may have considered a timeshare, an
arrangement that generally gives you the right to stay at a certain
property for a specified amount of time each year.
Low or no-cost gift ideas
With costs expected to rise this year, the MNCPA is offering shoppers some tips for saving money on gifts while still making the holidays memorable.
Don't guess when it comes to worker classifications
Classifying workers as employees or independent contractors may seem intuitive, but the reality can be much murkier. The MNCPA is shedding light on this subject
to ensure business owners comply with IRS regulations.
Tax planning tips for armed forces personnel
Those who serve our country -- and their families -- should be aware
that there are special tax benefits available to armed forces personnel. The Minnesota
Society of CPAs offers these tips on how to make the most of them.
Avoiding not-so-jolly holiday scams
It's the beginning of the holiday season, a time when family and friends come together to celebrate. The bad news is that this is also when thieves of all kinds are trying a variety of scams. To help you keep the sparkle in your holidays, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice on scams to avoid so you can keep the season merry.
College and taxes: MNCPA outlines the importance of determining who takes the dependency deduction -- parent or student?
If you or a member of your household is a college student or returned to
school for additional training in the past year, there are important tax
considerations to discuss with your CPA as you organize your state and
federal income tax return information for 2014, advises the Minnesota
Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA).
Are you ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and new credit cards with chips?
If you are like many holiday shoppers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday
may be when you buy your gifts. According to the National Retail
Federation, U.S. Black Friday retail sales for 2013 totaled $57 billion,
down from $59 billion in 2012. For 2013, this averaged to $407 per
person in spending.
How to guard against child identity theft
Your child begins to receive offers for pre-approved credit cards. It
sounds annoying, but nothing to be worried about, right? In fact, it
could be one of the warning signs that your family is the victim of
child identity theft. Nearly 3 percent of U.S. households with children
under 18 -- or one in 40 households -- has been struck by child identity
theft, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center.
How to handle an unexpected job loss
Nowadays, when it comes to longevity within the workplace, nothing is
guaranteed. How do you prepare if faced with an unexpected job loss?
What is your plan B? Consider these five tips for preparing and coping
with your financial loss.
Health care reform and your small business
What has the Affordable Care Act meant to your business so far? When it
was first passed, many small business owners were concerned about new
complexities and potential added costs and disruptions to their business
operations. Now that important provisions of the law have been in force
for a while, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers a review of some of
the highlights and some timely advice.
Don't make these common IRA mistakes!
About 40 percent of U.S. households -- nearly 50 million -- own
individual retirement accounts, which provide tax-advantaged options for
saving for your retirement years. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA)
offers the following tips on how to avoid some common mistakes people
make when managing IRAs.
Five disaster planning steps for small businesses
Could your business bounce back if a disaster occurred? A minimum of 25
percent of small to midsize businesses that close temporarily due to a
natural or other disaster ultimately never open their doors again,
according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. It is possible
to weather any type of business interruption, however, only if you're
Year-end tax planning for 2014
Where has the time gone? We are approaching the final months of 2014,
but, before you start thinking about holiday shopping, consider year-end
tax planning and preparation. With proper tax planning, you can
maximize your potential tax savings and minimize your tax liability.
Medical coverage while traveling overseas
While the summer vacation season has passed, thousands of people travel
overseas each day for business, school or pleasure. However, few
consider that their medical insurance coverage might be less than
expected or, even worse, nonexistent.
Financing a return to college
You’ve advanced on the job, but you think that finishing or enhancing your college degree would help you go further.
Financial fitness advice for freshmen
As you get ready to go away to college for the first time, this is a
good time to expand your knowledge of day-to-day money management,
including smart budgeting and debt management steps.
9 ways to trim your back-to-school budget
The National Retail Federation predicts combined spending for back to
school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion, or $669.28 per
family on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, an increase of 5
percent from last year.
Know what’s at stake before taking student loans
With student loan defaults at historic highs, students and their parents
need to understand the ramifications of defaulting on a student loan.
The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) cautions parents to think
carefully about co-signing for a student loan and to be sure they
understand what it could mean to their own financial future.
Find more information on: