I published an article, “Tax Changes, Tips & Help for 2022 Returns,” a couple of weeks ago on HabiTalk. Due to a technical glitch, subscribers didn’t get the usual blog post notification. We’re working on a fix, but because the topic is so time sensitive and important, I created this new post, hoping the notification will reach my subscribers this time. Click here to read Tax Changes, Tips & Help for 2022 Returns. Next Month, Watch for “Timely Tips and Tidbits,” a New Kind of HabiTalk Blog Article Some of you have subscribed to HabiTalk since it was part of Habitudes, our personal record keeping service. We were so disappointed when we had to discontinue the service because of technical problems with the website. But now that we’ve got the HabiLinks Guide and the HabiTalk Blog up and running on their own site, we’re working on a brand new Habitudes personal record keeping website. The new site will offer comprehensive personal record keepers that users can download and edit to their heart’s content. Users will store their personal records themselves, on their computer or favorite cloud storage system, so there won’t be any sign-up or subscription fee required. While we’re […]Read More +
Category: Financial Matters
Tax Changes, Tips & Help for 2022 Returns
There are 2022 tax return changes, tips and help you should be aware of before filing with the IRS. Whether you do your taxes by hand, use software, or hire a professional, you’ll need to gather income tax related backup documents and receipts. Below are some important 2022 tax return changes, tips & help. Although the best source of tax information is the Internal Revenue Service itself, I hope these tips will make your 2022 tax return task a little less tedious. IRS Tax Return Changes for 2022 April 18 is the tax deadline for most taxpayers. The tax deadline is extended to October 16 for disaster area taxpayers in Alabama, California and Georgia. See IRS Newsroom. Tax Brackets have changed slightly. See Bankrate.com. The Standard Deduction. For married couples filing jointly the standard deduction increases to $25,900. The standard deduction for single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately increases to $12,950. Heads of households have a standard deduction of $19,400. The Child Tax Credit. Parents may only claim $2,000 per child under the age of 17. The amount of the credit phases out when your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) reaches $400,000 on a joint return, or $200,000 on […]Read More +
Time to Refinance the Mortgage?
Deciding whether to refinance your mortgage is more than a matter of “rates are down let’s do it.” Unless you do the homework, refinancing can actually cost more in the long run. I refinanced in 2018. Rates have dropped, but in my case refinancing now doesn’t make sense. Here are some tips and links to help you decide if this is a good time to refinance your mortgage. And if it is, how to do it efficiently, saving both time and money. 1. Things to know before you start Mortgage terminology. Find definitions of key terms at consumerfinance.gov. Things to consider before refinancing. See the article at kiplinger.com. Warning: Do not click on ads offering “free” mortgage refinance calculators. See #2, below. How long you plan to stay in your home. Tip: If you plan to sell in one or two years, refinancing probably doesn’t make sense. Your current loan terms, monthly payment, balance and interest rate. Tip: Unless interest rates are at least half a percent less, refinancing probably isn’t worth the cost. Estimated value of your home. See zillow.com for a rough estimate based on similar homes nearby. Not totally reliable, but better than paying an appraiser at […]Read More +
Will Money Management Software Help?
When I was young and single I didn’t need money management software. (It’s a good thing, because there wasn’t any such thing!) As the years passed, along came the husband, the children, the house, the dual incomes, multiple bank accounts and, yes, eventually, investments. I was the chief budget manager and financial record keeper for our household, so when the first personal money management software appeared, I was an early adopter. Most families will benefit in many ways. Financial software takes time to set up, but the benefits are worth it. It’s not too late in the year to set up money management software. When it’s time to file your tax returns next year, you’ll be glad you did. Also, if couples share access and data entry, both will know where things stand at any given time. Depending on which software you choose, here’s how money management programs can help: Create and track a budget Balance bank accounts Keep tabs on credit card balances Pay bills electronically Print checks Calculate your net worth Plan for retirement Monitor investment portfolios Print reports Keep tax related data and export it into tax preparation software Which software works for you? There are many money […]Read More +
Curious About Cryptocurrencies?
I’ve been curious about “cryptocurrencies” since they appeared in 2009. But until recently I wasn’t sure what they were. I don’t think I’m alone. I wanted to add an “About cryptocurrencies” link to the “Financial Matters” category at HabiLinks, my web guide, so I did some research. Wow! Cryptocurrencies are complicated. I’m still not an expert. And I’m not ready to use them myself. But there is growing interest in these financial tools and they seem to be here to stay. Here are some basic things to know about cryptocurrencies. What are cryptocurrencies? Cryptocurrencies are forms of digital currency that use cryptology (code) to conduct financial transactions. Transactions are sent and received directly between buyers and sellers without the need for intermediaries like banks. The first cryptocurrencies were introduced in 2009. Since then many more types have become available. Some of the most popular are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple. You may see images of “bitcoins,” but don’t be mislead. The coins shown are just visual representations of the digital currency concept or novelty items. They have no digital value. How to get them You can buy and sell cryptocurrencies through online platforms or exchanges. Coinbase is one of the […]Read More +
Credit Cards That Pay You Back
Because there are countless credit cards to choose from, they offer all kinds of perks to entice you. But offers are confusing at best and can be misleading if you don’t read the fine print. If you’re thinking of applying for a new credit card, get one that earns its keep with offers that fit your lifestyle. Things to know before applying for new credit cards. Check your credit score free at annualcreditreport.com. Apply for one card at a time. Applying for more could affect your credit score. To avoid affecting your credit score, don’t cancel the credit card you’re replacing. Just stop using it. Decide which features and benefits fit your lifestyle. Cash back rewards Check for easy redemption, cash back limit or expiration, bonus categories. Interest rates If you carry a balance, beware of introductory APR vs. the eventual rate. Travel perks May include miles, baggage check, upgrades, airport lounge fees, etc.. Bonus for new account Check the bonus amount and spend requirements. Annual fee If there is one, make sure perks cover the cost. Late fees If you have trouble paying on time, these can be enormous. Balance transfer offers If you plan to transfer a […]Read More +