Personal Finance and Money

The Layoff that was a Layup Due to My Financial Savvy

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A few weeks ago life was good and things were going along swimmingly. I could go to Whole Foods and pick out whatever organic produce I wanted without looking at the price tag. My wife and kids could shop without waiting for a holiday sale. Date nights were at nice restaurants and movies included multiple […]

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When Will I Get My Employer W2, Investments 1099, Mortgage 1098 and Other 2016 Tax Return Forms and Filing Documents

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[Updated for 2015-2016 tax season] Before we file our tax returns there are a number of forms we need to receive from our employers, financial institutions and other entities we make money from, conducted financial transactions or did business with. Below are estimated time frames for when we can expect to receive some of these common income tax forms. Employer W-2. This […]

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2016 Marketplace Health Insurance Plans & Prices Rising Under Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)

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[2016 updates] 2016 health insurance premiums under the state and federal health care system (Affordable Care Act) are rising. No doubt about that. The question is by how much. Recent reports and have a broad range (from 6% to 15%) as health insurance companies have started submitting requests to the regulator (insurance commissions) for big price increases in […]

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iPhone or Samsung Trade-in and Upgrade? Then Skip Best Buy and Go For Verizon or AT&T Stores to Get The Best Deal

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Just a quick money saving tip. If you are looking to upgrade your old iPhone or Samsung then avoid Best Buy and other big box electronic store and go to the network provider (AT&T, Sprint Verizon) for the best deals. See the screenshots below for the trade-in prices I got at various sites on my […]

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What Would You Do – Keep it or Return the Refund? 

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This is summarized from a real life scenario. What would you do in this scenario? Vote on the poll and/or add your comment below. Alan ordered a $600 jacket online from a well known retailer’s website where he had shopped a number of times before. This was a jacket he really wanted and was looking […]

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2016-2017 Tax Season – Average IRS and State Tax Refund and Processing Times

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[Updated for 2016 Tax Season Refund] The IRS has forecast marginally lower for the average American filer thanks to the expiration of a number of tax breaks and due a decrease in unemployment.  The average tax refund in 2014 was $3,034. It was $2,800 in 2015.  In 2016, the IRS estimated the average refund to be well over $2,700. Generally, if […]

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8 Danger Signs You Will Likely Owe the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

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The following are 8 signs that you may owe the  Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), or the rich-mans tax, this year. You or your household fall into the high income category (generally $250,000 or more), which means that a good part or all of your AMT exemption is phased-out. You have relatively hefty deductions for state […]

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Monthly Budget Comparison – Big City $10,000 vs. Small Town $4,000

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I have 2 family friends. One lives in the DC Metro Area (Bethesda, MD) and the other lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. Classic Big Town vs. Small Town. I met them over Thanksgiving and we got talking about the cost of living and how it varies so much across America. Both are married with two kids […]

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3 Reasons The Booming Economy May Not Be Good News

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The stock market is hitting new highs on a seemingly daily basis. The job market is rebounding strongly as evidenced by the plummeting unemployment rate. Market analysts are overwhelmingly saying buy stocks, sell bonds. All this implies the economy is positively booming and surely everyone is getting richer. Sadly this is not the case and […]

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2014 Earned Income Tax credit (EITC)

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[2014 EIC Update] The IRS has released 2014 Earned Income Tax credit (EITC) details which are shown in the table below. There have been some minor increases to the EITC amount and qualifying limits following inflation adjustments. How to read the table above. The “earned income amount” (line 1) is the amount of income (minimum limit) at or […]

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