Still Want a Deduction for Tax Year 2011? It’s Not Too Late

Now that 2012 is underway, many are concerned that it is too late to log more deductions for 2011.

For the most part, you’re out of luck: It’s too late to sell those losing investments for a deduction, or donate to a charity for a 2011 deduction.  December 31 has passed, and many of your chances to lower your taxable income have passed along with the old year.

However, it’s not too late to squeeze in a couple other tax deductions.

Indeed, you have the opportunity to find new tax deductions if you can contribute to a Health Savings Account or a traditional IRA.  You have until April 15 to make contributions to traditional IRAs and HSAs for the previous tax year (this year April 17th). Continue Reading

Investment Losses? Harvest them for a Tax Deduction

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No one likes to lose money on their investments.

However, in some cases, it is unavoidable.  If you are looking at some investment losers, though, you might consider how you can use them to your advantage.

Tax harvesting your losses allows you to get a deduction when you sell for less than you bought for.  As you get close to the end of the year, and you begin planning to maximize your tax deductions, consider how your investments losses can reduce your tax liability:

Offset Capital Gains

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What Would You Do If Your Spouse Died?

There are few things in life as traumatizing as the death of a spouse.

Whether your spouse passes suddenly, in an accident, or suffers from a long-standing illness, it’s hard to face life without your companion and partner.

And one of the most difficult things to work through is the money.

When you lose a spouse, there are financial implications — especially if you aren’t the primary breadwinner.

While it isn’t pleasant to think about the loss of a spouse, the fact of the matter is that you need to consider the possibility, and come with a plan to ensure that your finances survive the blow.

What are Your Options?

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Could Changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Benefit You?

In 2009, the government rolled out the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The program is meant to help those who are underwater on their mortgages refinance into a more affordable monthly payment.

Unfortunately, some of the requirements for participation in the program limited its effectiveness.

In order to expand the program so that it reaches more homeowners, some changes have recently been made to HARP.

Main Changes to HARP

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Are You Cut Out to be a Landlord?

One of the ways that many people decide to invest in real estate, or create a passive income stream, is to purchase a rental property with the intention of becoming a landlord.

Owning property that you can rent out to others can be one way of creating income, and also of waiting for a property to increase in value.

However, being a landlord isn’t for everyone.

You should consider whether or not you are truly cut out to be a landlord. Continue Reading

How to Make Unemployment an Opportunity

We tend to think that unemployment is a bad thing.

Losing a job seems to be the height of catastrophe.  And, in some cases, it really is a huge setback.  After all, your job provides you with the income you need to survive, and unemployment benefits can rarely supply the amount you are missing.

Without your job, it can be difficult to make mortgage payments, buy food, and meet other obligations.  However, unemployment doesn’t have to be all bad.

If you plan matters right, your time unemployed can actually be of benefit to you. Continue Reading

The Payday Loan Trap

It’s true: A payday loan provider actually sponsored the Financial Blogger Conference that took place in Chicago not too long ago. Not only did the payday loan company sponsor, but a representative actually appeared on a panel.

I’m not going to lie.  I still think he was pretty brave to get up there and tell a bunch of financial bloggers who hate payday loans that he was a payday lender.  He did try to talk up the fact that the provider also provides prepaid debit cards, but everyone zeroed in on the payday loans.

I felt bad for the guy as he tried to explain that payday lenders provide a needed service to a certain segment of the population.

Obviously, payday loans are in demand, since there are plenty of providers that seem to be doing well enough.  While a payday loan might be just the thing to hold you over if you don’t want to be kicked out of your house, or have the power turned off, you run the risk of getting caught in the payday loan trap. Continue Reading