Friday, April 24, 2015

Is your tax refund worth $500,000?

Is your tax refund worth $500,000?
Yes it is if you invest it in the most consistent investment of your lifetime. For most periods over 15 years, a low-cost stock market index fund has produced 10-12%. You can accumulate $500,000 in 27 years from your tax refunds which average $3,000. “Use a low-cost index fund” is Warren Buffett’s advice because you avoid wasting $300,000 on commissions, fees and loads over time and you receive the benefits of compounding high earnings, interest and dividends. If you use your IRS-approved tax-FREE account, you let Uncle Sam help you have more because you pay no tax on your earnings. Since you don’t try to time the market or buy the next HOT stock, you realize Buffett’s strategy: “We make more money from snoring than when active.”

Where is your refund?
Is your $3,000 on its way? Does the state owe you money too?
Check with the IRS:
Your state may have a portal like NY: or

Are all Americans paying their fair share?
Why do the rich stop paying FICA 6.2% tax on income over $118,500?
How can Apple pay 9% income tax while the US rate is 34% on earnings over $114,000?
The Supremes decided that corporations are people yet 2/3rds don’t pay any tax.  
Why do wealthy people pay less than the investment earnings tax of 15 or 20%? Romney paid just 14% in 2011. Kerry paid 13%. They don’t have wages so they don’t pay FICA, Medicare, state, local, and all the other things that come out of a worker’s check. They don’t have to take money out of their check for retirement or college funds, insurance co-pays, union dues, unemployment, disability, family leave insurance, etc etc. Buffett says the average family pays about 32% every check.
In fact, if the working rich paid FICA, "the Social Security system would be solvent indefinitely and the rich still would be the richest …."

In 2013 corporations that should not have qualified for the breaks, got them. We taxpayers paid the expense. IRS said it can’t assure errors are corrected. It receives $1 billion less than it was five years ago. GOP Congress saved $1billion but “lost” $3billion.

Bad brokers/advisors just move on when they hurt clients
They aren’t jailed or banned. When they manage large assets, another firm will hire them so they can screw new clients. Tom Buck, an Indiana broker was fired by Merrill because he provided inaccurate information and misreported information to a client. Buck was hired by RBC next day. RBC spokeswoman Nicole Garrison said, "We take special care to ensure that each advisor shares these same values.” Time to manage your own account? Are your 401k plan fees high?

How can you make your life easier in retirement? Are you ready for retirement?
Experience is a great teacher but we don’t get a second chance. Experts in planning for retirement have these tips to succeed. 1. Social Security early?—you lose 25% of your benefits for the rest of your life. $11,700 average reduced benefit for 30 years means $350,000 instead of $468,000 in today’s value. 2. Die early?—estimate your lifespan at 3. Emergency expenses?—costs over Medicare average $120,000. 4. Pensions, IRA, accounts everywhere?—one low-cost mutual fund firm (Vanguard, Schwab, etc) cuts accounting bill. 5. Get Medicare anytime?—miss Medicare deadline can cost 20% more each year:

Survey says most investors use the “gut” strategy
Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they had no financial goals, 67 percent had no financial plans and 77 percent said they relied on gut feelings to make investment decisions. The DALBAR study shows the average investor return was 3.69% not the market return of 11.11% over the last 30 years because they have no strategy. They jump in at the top and sell when the market falls.

Is your vehicle on the worst cars list—mechanics love you!
You don’t get what you pay for in vehicles. Pricy Land Rover, Caddy and Lincoln hit the top 10. And don’t forget GM’s KILLER cars. (Cover up and legal BS can’t hide fact GM kept using defective switch that killed 13 real people and destroyed their families.)
Cost matters just as it does in financial services.

Car thieves have new way to take your car wirelessly
Now keyless entry cars can be opened with $100 gizmo—back to real keys?

GOP crazies
GOP-FoxNews received a straight answer to why Rubio/Cruz lose Latin vote: “it’s immigration,” Jorge Ramos told Hannity. “It’s a very simple concept, Sean — people won’t vote for a candidate who will deport your father, your friends, your colleagues, and your students.” And why would a sane person vote to outlaw their $100 per month health coverage especially if they have an existing condition? And would a senior really vote to limit Social Security and Medicare? And do Americans really agree it is OK to discriminate against you when a business owner says the Bible tells him to not serve youWhat about stoning women to death? Cursing brings death too?

KS GOP wants limited government for wealthy but NOT for the poor?
Legislators say they want smaller government but not for certain groups. Law says “List of items you can’t buy because you only make $7.25.” NO movies, tattoos, lingerie, and several dozen items. Guns are OK.

GOP gives their backers a tax break AGAIN!
The millionaire club called the House of [their] “Representatives” voted to ban the IRS from following the law on gift taxes for their political contributions. Billionaires are smiling all over the world. “Americans who donate to tax-exempt organizations should always be treated fairly and equally by the IRS” according to the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee. Now foreign governments and rulers can funnel their money thru PACs and join the wealthy in electing their stooges.
… “and the pursuit of happiness” for wealthy and corporations.

GOP candidate for President already decided by $1 billion Koch Bros: Walker
The Koch brothers plan on spending close to $1 billion in 2016 cycle and their favorite is Scott Walker. They use the Freedom Partners network included Americans for Prosperity and funded groups such as Concerned Veterans for America, the Libre Initiative and Generation Opportunity to hide their donations.
Walk-with-Walker: “In terms of legal immigration, [it is] based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages.” But didn’t he bust all unions in WI?

GOP Christie thinks NJ voters are stupid!
New Jersey rules require Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration to cancel investment contracts with firms whose officials raise or donate money to the governor’s political campaigns. But he paid $16 million in pension fees to the financial firm that was led by Christie’s chief fundraiser and top donor, Jon Hanson. The money flowed to Hanson’s company, Prudential Financial, while Christie has refused to honor his commitment to fully fund workers’ pensions. Last week, a study showed that more than half of fees that pensions pay to private financial firms are hidden.
What kind of President will Christie make?

Fmr GOP presidential candidate says Obama bringing Rapture
Michele Bachmann says the rapture is coming, thanks to President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran’s nuclear program and marriage equality. “We need to realize how close this clock is getting to the midnight hour.” “We in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the rapture of the church,” Bachmann said. “We see the destruction, but this was a destruction that was foretold.”

DEM crazies
Media personalities don’t walk the talk: condemn tax evasion but are above the law themselves. Reports say that Rev Al has a tax bill of $4.5 million. Lesser amounts for Melissa Harris-Perry, Joy Reid, Touré Neblett. It comes down to keeping records—if you don’t; you can’t. As one of them said: “taxes are how we all do our part” unless we don’t. The wealthy of every persuasion seem to see it differently.

Employers see health costs slowed! GOP warnings were wrong
Health care in the U.S. is a hot button issue but the early consensus is that the Affordable Care Act has been integrated well by employers. “One of the big concerns [about the ACA] is this is going to drive up our premiums and the cost of healthcare,” says Christopher Ryan, vice president, Strategic Advisory Services at ADP. But, he adds, this has not materialized as originally thought. “I give credit to business,” he adds, “I think business looked very carefully at their current practices and … has been well managed.”

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?
You might consider this expensive loan if you find your retirement costs greater than your income. Receiving a monthly payment from your bank sounds good but consider the challenges. If you take this loan early in retirement, the payments lose their buying power (HALF value in 25 years) and you might have trouble paying property taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. Loans accrue interest so you may reach the end of the loan. Loan costs are high (even though insured by US) and even higher if you take a lump sum and not payments over a lifetime. Alternatives: refinance to free up money and keep asset growing; take a low-cost home equity loan; trade down and keep cash; rent to boarders/corporate suites; sell home as investment to your family. See:

Do you need long-term care insurance?
The share of the older population residing in skilled nursing facilities declined from 4.5 percent in 2000 to 3.1 percent in 2010. The share in other long-term care facilities, such as assisted living, has been growing. • Medicaid funds for long-term care have been shifting away from nursing homes with funding for home- and community-based services increasing from 13 percent of total funding in 1990 to 43 percent in 2007. Medicaid currently accounts for 40 percent of all spending on long-term care. GE recently took a loss on this business and may exit as others have.

What retirement plan?
Many expect to “work till they drop.” But what if you can’t because of disability or unemployment? A new report shows that while workers SAY they will work longer, the actual median retirement age has been stuck at 62 since 1991. 57 percent say they have less than $25,000—about 1 year worth. Many say they can add $25 a month to their nest egg but don’t. Automatic investment plans may be the answer. We could have our Tax-FREE IRA trustee debit our checking every month and end up with $250,000 without working longer.

Americans’ attitudes toward redistribution of wealth are more complex
Americans’ desire to soak the rich has diminished even as the rich have more wealth available that could, theoretically, be soaked. Our political persuasion tilts how we feel about tax redistribution. Older voters already have “social medicine” and so were afraid they would lose it with ObamaCare. However, GOP lost voters when they talked of cutting Medicare. Americans have hope they will be better off so why support taxes they may have to pay. Few know that the wealthy never pay the higher 35% rate.

Will high salary for all employees make a better company?
The minimum wage at Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company, was raised to a hefty $70,000 a year for everyone by the CEO, who cut his $1 million salary. There are only 120 employees and most are pros at their digital work. Highly motivated employees can create a great business according to observers. Rush Limbaugh, overpaid commentator losing sponsors, proclaimed: “pure, unadulterated socialism, which has never worked.” Warren Buffett’s staff would disagree.

Is a safe-deposit box worth it?
You pay your $100 a year in case of fires and natural disasters. But safe-deposit boxes can’t be opened by your loved ones when something happens to you. Power of attorney, organ donation, funeral instructions and a will need to be ready immediately. And don't expect the bank's insurance policies to cover your belongings. No FDIC either. Valuables could be hidden in plain sight. Are they insurable? Store copies of documents with relatives in emails to them—“Open in case of emergency” files.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments? That is 27 cents of each dollar in taxes—the largest part of our money—and we aren’t even at war. We could pay off our debts and fix our schools, roads and bridges!
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay to defend themselves.
The War on Terror requires SEALS’ attacks on top terrorists at their homes. Iraq proved converting a nation to Western-style republic doesn’t work. The troops we trained ran away. We are wasting $4 billion a year on Afgan tribal rivalries; paying ransom to Al Qaeda; supporting corruption with our money.

Fed identifies banks that could cause financial meltdown
Most banks do not have large ‘gambling’ departments and don’t need regulators to watch them closely. Only a few banks have trading assets or liabilities, derivatives positions--interest-rate swaps and foreign exchange derivatives. Roughly 6,100 of the more than 6,500 commercial banks would pass this test, according to the F.D.I.C. Of the remaining 400 that would not, many are behemoths: 310 of them have more than $250 million in assets. Regulators can watch 400 easier than 6,500. Common sense, right? Not yet. Lobbyists want no regulation on any.

The Middle East arms dealer of choice is …
Everyone is arming to the teeth with American weapons and equipment as the Congress declines to declare war. Saudi Arabia spent more than $80 billion on weaponry last year. The Emirates spent nearly $23 billion last year, more than three times what they spent in 2006. Proxy wars in the Middle East could last for years, which will make countries in the region even more eager for the F-35 fighter jet, considered to be the jewel of America’s future arsenal. Where will all the American-made planes, missiles, bombs etc. end up now that Iran is leading the ISIS coalition?

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, April 17, 2015

How much do you subsidize Exxon?

How much of your taxes go to the oil and gas industry profits?
America’s oil/gas industry is now #1 producer of gas and #2 producer of oil in the world yet your taxes continue to prop up this “struggling” industry. Over the past century, we have pumped more than $470 billion into the oil and gas industry as tax breaks. Once intended to jump-start struggling domestic drillers, these incentives have become a tidy bonus for the world's most profitable companies. ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips take about $3.34 on every barrel of crude. We pay the taxes they DON’T pay.

Track your refund
Now you can find out where your refund is at

Will our so-called “representatives” in Washington stop corporations from evading taxes?
Do you think that Congress will pass the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 174, H.R. 297) or will the lobbyists who pay for their elections and perks (trips, staff, decorating, parties, fund-raisers, planes, etc, etc) keep the laws that allow 19,000 businesss to use an offshore PO Box to put their $ billion tax burden back on us? 47 corps moved in the last 10 years. Burger King “merged” in Canada to avoid paying tax. Who is next?

The income gap between workers and the boss is worse—3% vs 13% raise
Corporate lobbyists have so far kept the regulators from doing what Congress decided in 2010: List the CEO ratio. Research shows that the worker-to-boss gulf has been widening. According to a 2014 study, top management pay as a multiple of the typical worker’s pay rocketed from an average of 20 times in 1965 to 295.9 in 2013. Another study said that the boss takes a median package of $14.3 million. Workers earn $7.25 since 2007 and were stuck at $5.15 per hour for ten years.
 Walt Disney, whose chief executive, Robert Iger, received $43.7 million last year. Disney’s median worker received $19,530 last year. Who really earned Disney’s profits—Iger or the staff? “There is no basis for believing that if companies don’t pay $ millions they won’t attract top talent.”
CEO’s name their own directors who approve their own pay contracts.

The largest five banks control HALF of American banking
The largest banks maintain 45 percent of the industry's total assets. Too big to fail has come true—banks grew by 30% since the failure in 2008. We saved their A** then but Obama and Congress have given up trying to regulate their bad habits. GOP promise to shrink gov does NOT include a limit on bailouts. It will happen again.

GOP voters say more tax breaks for rich is NOT the answer—“trickle down” is dead!
YouGov poll earlier this year found that only 29 percent of Americans agree with the idea that "lower taxes on the wealthy stimulates the economy, with the end result of greater wealth for everyone." A recent Pew survey found that just 27 percent of American adults say the amount they pay in taxes "bothers them a lot." More than 60 percent say they are bugged by their perception that rich people and corporations don't pay enough. Kansas tried the “trickle down” and it didn’t work.

Will regulators force your broker/advisor to be honest in giving advice?
If the proposed regulations are issued by Obama, the fiduciary “do what is right for client” standard would replace the suitability standard that brokerage firms have used for decades. Brokerage firms would need to disclose compensation and conflicts of interest. The industry needs a new business model—help client—NOT sell the firm’s most expensive products. Examples:

Retirees beware state taxes
Some states make it hard for retirees to stay. Property tax and rents are chief among the drawbacks to living on the coasts.

Survey says young Americans don’t need the advisor industry
Americans between 18 and 34 are a mix of pragmatism and optimism, according to a survey of about 5,500 American adults done by Harris Poll for Northwestern Mutual. While younger workers figure they’ll lack the corporate pensions and social safety nets their parents may have, the survey shows they’re confident in their ability to improve their financial future. More than 70 percent feel secure or very secure that they'll meet their financial goals. Financial information is readily available on the Internet. Free money management tools and accounts make it possible to do everything yourself:

Owe the IRS or have problem you can’t fix?
The Taxpayer Advocate Service is the IRS’s storefront. They explain your rights as a taxpayer. They offer free help for problems that are causing financial difficulties for you. Each state has at least one Local Taxpayer Advocate who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate. Call 1-877-777-4778.

DEM & GOP crazies
Has our Congress re-created the government we overthrew?
Remember why we fought the British government in 1776.
Today our so-called ‘representatives’ are millionaires and don’t know how we live. They are bought by lobbyists and the wealthy. Elections are decided by money so now we have “taxation without representation". Our “reps” have reversed the American progressive tax system so that working people pay 32% and the wealthy pay 14% or less. Our “reps” passed the repeal of the estate tax so the wealthy can create family dynasties. They cut the services we need to pay for the military-industrial complex. They let 2/3rds of corporations pay NO tax. We are paying for 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States and 164,253 armed personnel guarding corporations in 150 countries around the world. Those corporations avoid taxes by keeping profits in foreign countries.  
Isn’t this the situation we faced in 1776 except now Washington acts like Britain?

GOP crazies
GOP candidate Rand Paul wants to cut taxes for the rich and workers pay more
His FLAT tax of 17% and 0% on investments is at the heart of this misguided plan. Most working people don’t pay 17% income tax. Wealthy would pay nothing since they live on investments (See Romney’s return) and nothing when they die with estate tax repeal. Dynasties will rule elections (CitizenUnited). Corporations like Apple pay 9% now and will keep their earnings overseas. Since he wants no IRS, corporate/wealthy could evade ALL taxes without penalty. If there is no FICA or Medicare tax then seniors will have NO Social Security and NO Medicare.
Back to the Middle Ages—serfs starved and dynasties ruled!

Rand’s Daddy, former Sen Ron Paul selling doom newsletter
“Worse than Great Depression is coming,” he says. He predicts currency collapse—complete financial meltdown. He says Social Security and 401k will be taken over by government and taxes increased. You protect yourself by buying some guy’s newsletter. SEC has fined newsletter guy for this BS before.  

GOP future President is NOT popular in own state and wants to cut Social Security?
C. Christie is visiting friends in NH since NJ would like to elect someone else. His poor showing in negotiating with EXXON has made him NOT a native son anymore. Polls say he is not liked—even among GOP—but loved by other states. To gain votes outside NJ, he promised he will means-test Social Security and raise the retirement age for SS and Medicare. How many voters will back him by cutting these programs? He also flipped back to support for vaccines after being against them last month.

GOP favorite Cruz has Wall Street money too
Bob Mercer, a reclusive hedge fund manager who made his fortune using computer trading, emerged this week as a key early bankroller of Mr. Cruz’s campaign start. He is believed to be the main donor behind a network of four “super PACs” supporting Mr. Cruz that reported raising $31 million just a few weeks into his campaign. Cruz wants to eliminate tax on hedge funds now.

GOP youngblood Rubio cuts taxes too
If you live on investments, like Mitt, your taxes from capital gains from a stock portfolio would be eliminated. Rubio also wants a big tax cut for families, by expanding the Child Tax Credit and letting parents apply it against both income and payroll taxes. No plan for making up the deficit this creates so we must wait to see how the poor will make up for the rich’s tax breaks.  

LA now allows people to discriminate for ‘religious’ reasons
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supports the bill that explicitly allows discrimination based on an individual's religious beliefs," HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow said. "Nobody gets to go into court for a balancing test, there's no interpretation by a state judicial system. It flat-out gives individuals a right to discriminate, period."
“I will not serve you because the Bible tells me not to,” will be the norm in LA.

Donald has his birth cert. and he says he will surprise us in 2016. "This time, I'm very far down the line, so we'll see what happens," Trump said. "I'm going to surprise a lot of people." In fact, Trump pointed to his doubters as proof of the strength of his candidacy. "I'm going big," he said. "I get the biggest crowds. I get standing O's when I speak because people like that they know that I'm not going to let China rip us off, I'm not going to let Mexico continue to rip us off ... Japan is doing a big number and nobody knows it."  
Have you seen his TV ratings recently?

Kansas is now wilder than the old Wild West—a gun runner’s dream!
Kansas cancels gun permit and training requirement—we are not in safe Kansas anymore!
Even Wyatt’s Wild West had more gun controls than Kansas where crazies are now free to pack and don’t need gun training. KS had one of the lowest accidental shooting ratio before.

States cut basic services as GOP consolidate statehouses
States are stripping food stamp benefits from a million childless, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, focused on low-income American lifestyles. For instance, Maine has reimposed a three-month limit (out of every three-year period) on food stamps for able-bodied adults without minor dependents unless they work 20 hours per week, take state job-training courses or volunteer for about six hours per week. Usage has dropped nearly 80 percent since last year despite uneven job growth in ME.

Earn 5% on your checking?
You must use the debit card and direct deposit and other rules but 5% is 5%.

Saving for college?
Use the tax-FREE savings account with higher rates:

New hope to control Alzheimer’s
Research at Duke University showed immune cells which start attacking nutrients in the brain may be a trigger for the disease. They say their findings could open up new avenues of research for a field that has not developed a single drug to slow the progression of the disease. If you can block this local process of amino acid deprivation, then you can protect from Alzheimer's disease.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments? That is 27 cents of each dollar in taxes—the largest part of our money—and we aren’t even at war. We could pay off our debts and fix our schools, roads and bridges!
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay to defend themselves.
The War on Terror requires SEALS’ attacks on top terrorists at their homes. Iraq proved converting a nation to Western-style republic doesn’t work. The troops we trained ran away. We are wasting $4 billion a year on Afgan tribal rivalries; paying ransom to Al Qaeda; supporting corruption with our money.

NYC not guilty of negligence in death of 4-year-old girl because she did not call 911 herself while dying. Under established case law, to support a negligence claim there must be direct contact between the injured party or a family member and a city representative in order to create a “special relationship” between them.

GM not guilty of murder—corporations are people for elections but not when they kill
GM won't face lawsuits stemming from problems tied to its deadly ignition switch, a federal judge ruled. The decision upholds GM's so-called bankruptcy shield. GM acquired the shield as part of its bankruptcy when a new company was created in 2009, referred to in court as "New GM." GM knew the switch killed drivers but kept installing it after 2005. Some law enforcement officials say the information the automaker withheld might have changed their investigations. In all, G.M. now acknowledges that the defective ignition switch contributed to at least 47 accidents (a recent revision from its earlier tally of 32), including those that caused the 13 deaths. Premeditation makes it murder not negligence. Killing for profit is murder: $0.57 extra profit.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, April 10, 2015

Will you inherit $11 million Tax-FREE?

Will you inherit over an $11 million estate Tax-FREE?
Are you one of the lucky families that will inherit over $11 million estate tax-FREE?
Our Congress just voted to give a BIG tax break to the 5,000 wealthiest families. Repeal of the estate tax would mean that the wealthy with over $11 million can create a family dynasty. None of these wealthy people works on a farm or would lose their farm if Obama vetoes the bill. We would lose $300 Billion in taxes and we must make up. The 5,000 would still have $ millions after state inheritance tax in some states.

You can create a legacy for your family that is NEVER taxed
Your heirs have the option to keep building your legacy for another generation. They can either roll your Roth IRA into their own Roth IRA or cash out the account without penalty regardless of their age. Your beneficiary can transfer your non-taxable Roth IRA into their own account, if they do not need the money for retirement. They can then designate the account for their beneficiary. This can be repeated for each generation. If any heir doesn’t do the transfer, your account needs to be distributed within five years of the death or paid out in equal amounts over their lifetime. 

Wealthy avoid taxes by NOT working
If you work, you pay taxes before you can buy food, housing or anything else. Not so with the wealthy. Look back to the 2011 Romney tax return shared by the candidate. Romney reported NO earned income. He actually paid more tax than required so that he could claim he was not one of the “47% of Americans who pay no income taxes. He called us “victims” who feel entitled to government handouts.” But we pay 33% on average—more than double his 14% rate.
Congress has reversed the American progressive tax system. The wealthy pay a smaller percentage of their income than we do—14% vs 32%.

Is an HSA right for you?
A Health Savings Account is tax-FREE money when it is combined with a high-deductible health plan. The IRS defines HDHP as an annual deductible of at least $1,250 per person or $2,500 family. Your HSA is deductible even if you don't itemize deductions. The HSA is great if you don’t have high health costs but a large deductible can prevent you from getting the care you need. You can write off $3,350 ($6,650 family) in HSA contributions on your federal income tax for 2015, plus a $1,000 catch-up if you're 55 or over. HSA balances roll over year to year so you could earn interest. Unlike an HSA, you must use an FSA by yearend or lose it.

Is Free File tax prep right for you?
The number of taxpayers filing self-prepared returns increased nearly 6 percent by the end of February according to the IRS. It has authorized a number of online software firms to provide FREE tax prep help at The cost of commercial tax prep has increased with new ACA forms added this year so you can save up to $500. And there are still organizations that can help seniors and non-computer users. AARP offers in-person FREE file:

Will the IRS keep your refund?
You may find a hole in your bank account if you were spending your tax refund before it came. The IRS can take it for several “worthy” causes: Delinquent student loans, ObamaCare penalty and/or subsidy, past-due state income tax, past-due child support, etc. The Treasury's Bureau of Fiscal Service, which actually issues refund checks, will inform you by letter of the dirty details. If they made a mistake, dispute it. Hey, you never know.

You can turn your IRA required distribution into TAX-FREE money
Many people work after age 67—the SS retirement age—and by age 71 are receiving mandatory distributions from their IRAs, 401k, 403b rollovers, and other pensions. These retirement funds were never taxed so Uncle Sam wants to be paid. You can pay it and then never pay tax on the earnings again. If you don’t need the money right now. You can send your RMD, as it is called, to your low-cost mutual fund inside a Roth IRA. When you need the money later, it and its earnings will be TAX-FREE. This will lower the income taxes on your other taxable accounts and Social Security benefits. You pay less tax overall with Tax-FREE income.

GOP crazies
America’s future looks grim using the just-passed GOP budget blueprint:
Military spending increase to $612 billion so we can prop up 3 Middle East countries; and Japan, Germany and S. Korea don’t have to pay for their own defense departments.
CUT $431 billion from Medicare. Convert seniors to voucher-like program.
CUT $236 billion from the budgets of non-defense agencies—fewer people services.
CUT $1 trillion from food stamps and welfare and repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
CUT Medicaid $913 billion. Convert to state block grants to shift cost to states.
37 million people would lose health insurance, doubling the ranks of the uninsured.
Obama says “failure to invest in education, infrastructure, research and national defense.”
McCain says “not legitimate budgeting.”
Ken Buck, (R) CO says “It’s all hooey.”
 “I don’t know anyone who believes we’re going to balance the budget in 10 years.”

GOP President-to-be claims he is Hispanic to gain votes or impress Miamians?
Jeb Bush admitted Monday that he made a “mistake” in 2009 when he listed his ethnicity in a Miami-Dade County voter-registration form as “Hispanic.” The likely 2016 Republican presidential contender is, obviously, not Hispanic. How can you make a “mistake” since we answer “race/ethnicity” all the time? He did on March 6, 2009. Does Bush senior know Mrs Bush had a Hispanic son?
Can we see Jeb’s birth certificate? Is this another “oops, I forgot” GOP moment? Did he serve in the “National Guard” like W claims?

NJ Gov gives Exxon a break
Master ‘negotiator’ Chris Christie accepts only $225 M instead of $9 Billion and then uses the money to fill his budget gap and still can’t pay promised pension bill. Is this how the GOP will run the government? He is losing his shouting match in the polls.

74% of us have never calculated our monthly retirement needs
Also, 51 percent of retirees have never tried to determine if their current savings will be enough to last through retirement – though 39 percent assume what they have will not last 20 years – grim statistics indeed.

Do you know what you pay your broker/advisor?
A significant number of investors are in the dark about the fees they pay brokers, according to a new survey by a state regulator association. While most brokers/advisors charge annual fees to manage accounts, one-third of customers aren’t aware of the expenses, according to the survey by NASAA. The industry makes it hard to find the costs because they take as much as 63% of our retirement money in fees.

Long-term care insurance at risk
Genworth is weighing a breakup after steep losses on policies covering long- term medical care. GE is dumping its financial units so policy owners must contend with rising premiums and underwriting standards. Current owners may have some protection from state insurance funds. Future owners may be better off using alternatives.

Students lose coverage while in school
Some universities that provide health insurance to their students are stopping the practice, as they say the Affordable Care Act’s minimal essential health benefits requirements have led to unsustainable cost increases. Those that remain are turning to their brokers to determine the best way to continue offering coverage to their students.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments? That is 27 cents of each dollar in taxes—the largest part of our money—and we aren’t even at war. We could pay off our debts and fix our schools, roads and bridges!
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay to defend themselves.
The War on Terror requires SEALS’ attacks on top terrorists at their homes. Iraq proved converting a nation to Western-style republic doesn’t work. The troops we trained ran away. We are wasting $4 billion a year on Afgan tribal rivalries; paying ransom to Al Qaeda; supporting corruption with our money.

LPL Accused Of Improper REIT Sales By NH Regulators
LPL settled a similar case with the FIRA paying $950,000 for supervisory lapses in the sale of direct investments. In December 2012, LPL paid $2.6 million to settle a Massachusetts case involving improper sale of nontraded REITs. Last year, LPL’s top executives saw their bonuses drop, due in part to the adverse impact of regulatory charges. No one was fired or jailed. Will they do it again?

Wall St Banks need bailout by US for bets on oil prices
The same ‘players’ insured the oil drillers that prices would not fall. Now they must pay $26 billion. When they claim they nave no money, we will pay because Congress lets banks gamble with our money.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wealthy avoid the sales tax too!

Would you like to be exempt from sales tax?
Yes, your big-ticket purchase could be exempt from up to the 8.875% tax. Saving their donors cash is what legislators do for a living. Of course, lawmakers can’t call it the “gift to billionaires” tax evasion bill so they call it “saving jobs”: this tax “break brought jobs to the state for repairs, renovations, and resupply.” Right! Another trick for the wealthy to pay less.
Use the tax break for working people:

Use all the credits and deductions you qualify for
Many credits are refundable—you INCREASE your refund when you take some credits. See EIC, CTC, EC, CDC, SC, and many more but you have to know they exist to take them. The IRS does not advertise how to get your money back—you must ask for it like the big corporations do. 2/3rds of all businesses pay NO income taxes.

Do you qualify for an ObamaCare tax credit of $5,760?
You may qualify for a credit of $5,760 or more when you file your tax return if you have used the Marketplace to buy your family health plan. Learn how to qualify:

Teacher’s investment strategy beat advisor/broker’s picks--WOW
It turns out teachers are beating Wall Streeters at their own game. Teachers’ investing returns outperformed those of advisors/brokers in the past year, 10.2% to 6.9%. In fact, teachers saw the best returns of any profession. Why? Simple math, Buffett says.

On average, 45 percent of job seekers age 55 and older have been looking for a long time, according to the BLS, which defines long term as 27 or more weeks without work. To address the reluctance of employers to consider such workers, the Obama administration last year started an initiative to encourage private and public companies to hire the long-term unemployed. Some have found work with less pay and some have started their own businesses. Others have stopped looking and take Social Security benefits early. Growing fields include health care and technology with top jobs in 2015 outlook.

GOP crazies
Future GOP President Cruz:  "We will presumably go on the [ObamaCare] exchange and sign up for health care and we're in the process of transitioning over to do that," Cruz told the Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs. Cruz shut down the government which cost over $200 million because he did not like ObamaCare. Thankfully he did not really mean to end the insurance he now uses. 

Head of Bush Torture Department stomping for Jeb?
Dick Cheney will headline their annual NRCC March fundraiser. “Vice President Dick Cheney is a dedicated public servant and we are honored to have him as our keynote speaker for this year’s March Dinner” said Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon Republican and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), also calling Mr. Cheney a “true patriot.” Is Jeb committed to another war?

GOP vision for working Americans is bleak—service cuts and more taxes
The Senate on Friday passed a budget that envisions more than $5 trillion in cuts over the coming decade by slashing health care and other benefits for working families and the middle class while leaving tax breaks in place for the wealthiest Americans and multi-national corporations. Twenty-seven million Americans would lose health insurance under the Republican plan as they eliminate the Affordable Care Act and make huge cuts to Medicaid. "What they are proposing is major cuts in programs for some of the most vulnerable people in this country — the elderly, children, sick and low-income people,” said Sen Bernie Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. “At the same time they want to give significant tax breaks to the wealthy and the large corporations.” During the week-long debate Republicans rejected proposals to create millions of new jobs, raise the minimum wage, help students afford college, and protect seniors on Social Security and Medicare.

GOP state gov deficit creation
Kansas tax cut for rich failed. No trickle down to raise jobs. Deficit explodes. 
New Jersey’s public-pension managers are proposing more investment in hedge funds and distressed real estate to protect against risks in the bond market should U.S. interest rates rise. NJ has gambled with teachers’ pensions before and lost. Hedge funds trailed the S&P500 Index for the fifth straight year as U.S. markets rallied to record levels. George Santayana. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

"I'm not here to be bullied," Christie opponents scream
The protesters were escorted out of the auditorium by security as a largely friendly crowd cheered. Christie has been holding weekly town hall meetings across the state touting his proposal to further ‘reform” the state's public worker health care and pension system. He failed to make payments to the system as promised. He was asked to explain giving up the $9 billion settlement with EXXON in return for campaign contributions. He refused.

IN GOP uses “religious freedom” words as disguise for discrimination
IN law allows a retail outlet to not serve someone you “think” does not hold the same religious views as you. How is that not discrimination? A business could say you look Jewish or catholic and not give you a room in hotel, as has happened in past. What could GOP hope to gain by this law if not to secure the religious (protestant white) right vote? This is a law that puts religious believe above the law we all must follow. Even a protestant denomination with HQ in IN has come out against such a law.

Do index mutual funds tracking the market reduce your risk?
Morningstar data shows you can reduce some risks by using market-index funds at cost. You make a commitment to stay in the market and not trust the bet of one gambler’s (advisor's) guesses.

Why economy does not grow quickly
Wages climbed by 1.3 percent from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2014, compared to a 17 percent increase in home prices around that time, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. The real-estate data provider used the Labor Department's weekly earnings data to measure wage growth, while home prices were derived from sales-deed data in December 2014 and compared to December 2012 on the hypothesis that a change in average wages would take at least six months to affect home prices.
Using localized earnings data, RealtyTrac also found that 76 percent of housing markets posted increases in home prices that exceeded the wage growth there during that time frame. In many markets, the housing recovery has "largely been driven over the last two years by buyers who are not as constrained by incomes -- namely the institutional investors coming in and buying up properties as rentals, and international buyers coming in and buying, often with cash,” RealtyTrac said.

Your broker uses misleading claims?
A new report on nine major brokerage firms – Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, Ameriprise, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Allstate Financial, UBS, Berthel Fisher, and Charles Schwab – found that all “advertise in a fashion that is designed to lull investors into the belief that they are being offered the services of a fiduciary.” But brokers are NOT acting in your best interests—that is the change they are fighting in Washington.
For example, the report said that Merrill Lynch advertises as follows: “It’s time for a financial strategy that puts your needs and priorities front and center.” Fidelity claims: “Acting in good faith and taking pride in getting things just right. The personal commitment each of us makes to go the extra mile for our customers and put their interests before our own is a big part of what has always made Fidelity a special place to work and do business.”
Wall Street’s excess fees can take up to 63% of our nest egg over time.

Consumer Reports best new cars for $15,000+
Car buying has changed: Typical new breed of car buyer. Spend barely two hours at dealership. “All the negotiations were over email,” one 32-year-old buyer said. Once you settled on price, you show up, test drive, fill out the paperwork and go. Research and shop online. Salespeople do not have research, pricing, special offers, or low-cost financing. They do joy rides, treats/coffee, buyer-justification, high-cost extras and BS.

Is it time to refinance?
We just completed a refi of a 5.875% 30 year with 18 years left. We were pleasantly surprised that Quicken Loans was able to reduce our rate to 3.25% for 15 years and pay off our HELOC. Our rate and term are less while we are paying about the same monthly payment including our escrow for taxes and insurance. We had about 50% equity and earned income so we avoided PMI and higher closing costs. The Quicken process is very smooth—all docs and communication is online so you don’t have to play telephone tag. The closing is in your home at the time you pick with no lawyer fees.
We shopped three other lenders first. QL has JD Power awards for good service.
We understand why.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments? That is 27 cents of each dollar in taxes—the largest part of our money—and we aren’t even at war. We could pay off our debts and fix our schools, roads and bridges!
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.
The War on Terror requires SEALS’ attacks on top terrorists at their homes. Iraq proved converting a nation to Western-style republic doesn’t work. Our trained troops ran away.
We are wasting $4 billion a year on Afgan tribal rivalries paying ransom to Al Qaeda.

Angie’s List takes money from vendors for higher positive reviews?
The complaint claims that service providers pay Angie’s List fees for higher rankings in member searches, to suppress negative reviews, and to ensure that positive reviews are not suppressed.

Two Wall Streeters may go to jail—NEW IDEA!
Benito Chinea and Joseph DeMeneses, Direct Access Partners, were sentenced to 4 years for bribing a Venezuelan bank in exchange for business. They must pay $3.68 million and $2.71 million in fines.

But ….not for Ameriprise Financial.
It has agreed to pay $27.5 million to settle a class-action claim alleging improper use of proprietary funds and high fees in its 401(k) plan. That’s 0.00027% of revenue and deductible—hardly incentive to stop charging us HIGH FEES.

Insurance agent steals from veterans
Patrice Sands, 45, sold the fraudulent policies at the Miami-based Make-A-Wish Veterans that provides assistance to veterans. Sands collected premiums and deposited the funds into bank accounts tied to her business, Universal Research Group Insurance Agency. One widow tried to collect. Sands could get 25 years.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042