Is a low-cost stock index fund right for you?
This chart shows why your investments in an S&P 500 index are solid. https://www.chartoftheday.com/total-return-by-stock-market-sector You could have picked one sector or company to thrive during the last 10 years, but you might have been wrong. If your long-term money goal was steady growth, you would have been rewarded by using a low-cost index that grew from every sector but one. Some did better than others during the period but together your portfolio increased by over 13% a year. And if you were investing for your retirement, you would be doubling your money in seven years. On the other hand if you had most of your money in fracking/oil/gas stocks, you would have been in negative territory by the end of the period. Your $10,000 in 2011 would be worth only $6,700 now. Things looked positive during the first 5 years but got worse. Unless you have insider information, you just don’t know what one company or sector will do. Bet on the whole stack, not the needle.
Take Warren Buffett’s advice: https://www.amazon.com/Warren-Buffetts-Vanguard-Funds-Retirement/dp/1496148592
Is Flood Insurance right for you?
climate patterns means you need to confirm you do or do not need flood
insurance. Your homeowner’s policy does not cover floods. Standard policies include some causes of loss (like
fires, windstorms, and theft) but not others (earthquakes and flooding). Protect
yourself from future rate hikes by NOT filing small claims. If you're not sure
if your policy will cover you for some hazard like a sewer backup or rain flood,
ask another insurer to provide you with an estimate on a new policy. This way
your current insurer will NOT make a no-payment loss-claim note in your file. If
your property is in a Flood Zone, your mortgage
holder is going to want you to have this coverage. Don’t assume your inland
property is safe. Check the MLS for the property you are considering before you
Is a SPAC right for you?
Special purpose acquisition companies made up most of the
growth in the
Why does the IRS not audit more millionaires?
Short answer: they have the money to make it hard to audit. Like Trump, who boasted that he had paid little or no taxes for many years, the wealthy pay $ thousands to avoid paying $ millions in taxes. Since there is good money in tax avoidance, the smart folks work to confound—not to work for—the IRS. One Congress person, who doesn’t need donations, has proposed that the IRS be required to audit the wealthy and corporations. Since many do not pay their fair share, all of us are for this law and those who need election donations are against it. We are talking real money here: $1.2 Trillion. The IRS already knows it failed to collect about $381 billion in total—or about 14% of the amount due—over a three-year period through 2013. You can imagine what it doesn’t know.
Have tax forms; will file … for FREE
W-2, unemployment, SS benefits, IRAs, pensions, RMD, brokerage, etc. If you have all your forms, file for FREE online. Usually filing your state return costs as little as $15 unless you buy the Pro helpline. Avoid $300-400 paid preparer fees—new IRS forms mean higher fees. Unemployment insurance is TAXABLE on the Federal income tax return; not on some state returns. Some states do not tax your SS and pension benefits. Retirees did not have to take their RMDs in 2020 so taxes may be less: it was a good time to convert IRA to Roth IRA for tax-FREE future. Unless you were self-employed, you can’t deduct home office expenses of working from home. Some states continue the health insurance mandate and penalty unless you have an exemption. Since the IRA contribution deduction has no age limit now, you may reduce your income/taxes by making a contribution of up to $7,000. The standard deduction went up to $12,400 single; $24,800 joint. Jan 15 last day to make 2020 estimated payments. You have to report your April/May and December/January stimulus payments even though they are not taxable. Some of us receive a bank credit; some a debit card; some a check. Even if you don’t have to file, you should file so scammers can’t use your SS number to mess up your IRS file. Tested E file software ratings. Efile Jan 15; IRS processing Feb 12.
E file avoids covid at your preparers’ office: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
Tax filing when a spouse passes away
If your spouse died in 2020, you should file as you normally would, noting the date of death on the top of the return. For the next 2 years, you file as widow(er) if you have a child. In the third year, you file as Head of Household with a child. This provides a higher deduction than Single. If not, you file as Single. There are other considerations for the survivor which you should discuss with a qualified preparer or executor of the will. Executors have certain duties including filing for the spouse’s estate. Your income may be reduced so you need a new financial plan.
How to handle income taxes from unemployment insurance
If you were unemployed in 2020, you may have received the extra Fed help last spring. Congress provided $600 a week on top of state benefits. Now you may be faced with a tax bill for over a thousand dollars, according to a report released by The Century Foundation. The IRS considers unemployment compensation to be income because it comes from other sources like state funds. In some states, paying it was mandatory so you could deduct it from that year’s income. Since you deducted it then, you must pay tax on it now, like your 401k contributions. The stimulus money is not taxable but you may need the $1400 Congress is currently debating to pay for the taxes on your “income” unemployment even though you don’t have a job. Low income filers may qualify for EIC refund up to $3584. If you can’t pay your taxes, the IRS will let you pay on time: https://www.irs.gov/payments/online-payment-agreement-application.
Start a tax-FREE fund when you can: https://www.amazon.com/Tax-FREE-Retirement-code-lifetime-income/dp/1475206976
When you should NOT tell your insurance agent about a claim
There are many times when it does not pay to tell your insurer about a loss. For instance, when the electric power goes off and after a few days, your food is spoiled. Yes, you can call your agent and file a claim but don’t. Two things happen. Your deductible of $500 or $1,000 is invoked so you will receive nothing. Second, your claim file now has a no-payment “loss claim” note in it even if the insurer never pays a dime. In fact just asking an agent about filing a claim will be noted. In some states, filing just one homeowners insurance claim or no claim can hike your premiums by 20 percent for years to come. Obviously, it's not ideal to pay higher premiums over a $1,000 claim you could have paid for yourself. In some situations, keeping your record clear is actually more beneficial than filing for a payout. For example, you have a deductible of $1,000. Your toilet overflows and destroys your ceiling and walls below. The contractor says it will cost $2,500 to fix. If you submit a claim and it hikes your premiums $500 annually for three years, you're paying $1,500 to recover $1,000. Plus, your claim will register in the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange database, possibly complicating future claims and coverage. Insurers cover only catastrophic losses at a set premium.
Save on right policy: https://www.amazon.com/Homeowners-Insurance-Beware-Coverage-Policy/dp/1480100870
Plan for a full retirement fund
40% of Americans plan to work, at least part time, to gain security in retirement. 40% plan to save more. Either they cut spending or cut some expenses. I found most people could save $3,000 or more every year on financial products they don’t need. For instance, many of us are paying $ thousands extra for annual mutual fund fees in our 401k, pension and IRAs. In effect we are giving up 40-63% of our potential accumulation with no appreciable benefit. The value of securities rise over time you don’t have to pay the fees. Our banking and insurance services have tons of hidden fees we don’t need. Investing the savings, say $100 a month for 10 years means an extra $20,000 in retirement. Some of us have delayed taking our SS benefits until age 70. This provides an extra 8% a year on your benefits in retirement for the rest of your life. That may mean $3,123 vs $1,602 per month before annual COLA increases as it did for one reader. Others have paid off their mortgage early so they could save mortgage interest. Of course, you could stay in your job longer but look at the fees first. You will be surprised how much you can save by looking at each expense.
Save $3,000 every year: https://www.amazon.com/10-Ways-Save-3000-years/dp/1515387070
Terrorists not ‘militia’ plan to “blow up the Capitol”
How Govt wastes our money:
510,000 deaths; 3,000/day: vaccine appointments still hard to find for some.
GOP state lawgivers set up barriers to Dem voters: 1 step forward; 2 steps back
GOP makes it legal to run over demonstrators with car if get on road: legalize killing?
One GOP claims “we aren't the party of white supremacy" Jan 6 coup by Whites not BLM
GOP adopts Trumpism: ‘no election fair unless GOP wins’: Pence was terrorists’ target
GOP claims terrorists were Dems giving Trumpists bad rap: not coup; just a “show”
Fake news created easily: need multiple sources to verify truth: Twitter easily fooled
VW slows Jetta production in Mexico: ongoing shortage of natural gas.
Hyundai recalls 82,000 electric cars: battery makes fire: replace whole thing
Recalled used cars for sale without the fix: dangerously cheap
IRS threatens to seize bank account: IRS got tax payment but starts collection anyway
BEWARE: thousands get letter due to computer error: IRS knows but can’t stop letters
Libre by Nexus caught overcharging for immigrant-services: traps victims into many fees
Scott Wayne Reed caught selling security not approved; conflict of interest; defrocked
Jose Anibal Linares TX defrauded investors out of about $2 million: 5 yrs prison
James Velissaris Infinity Q Capital under review; fund closed; mis-valued derivatives?
Steven Pagartanis NY caught stealing $13 million Ponzi-like scheme: 14 yrs prison
AwesomeCalls CA caught selling stock advice w/o license: trading timing tips
6 police bag Black man, knee his back till stops breathing: no charges; sounds like 1800s
Southern Baptists expel Christians who welcome all Christians: What would Jesus say?
Trumpist who delayed mail-in ballots still slows post office delivery
IRS: Free special ID protection PIN goes on your return so scammers can’t take refund
IRS: Previous tax returns available online: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript
Is it a scam? Check AARP scamline 877.908.3360.
Find tax preparer: https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/choosing-a-tax-professional
Check Social Security: https://blog.ssa.gov/
Safeguard data: ConsumerReports help: https://securityplanner.consumerreports.org/
There are no jobs on Mars: we spend $ billions to listen and look: sound of money burnt
Who owns your account now?
Free PDF Editor: tools to fix your work
dependability study: Lexus, Kia,
Wells Fargo money management unit to GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners
Virus cases and deaths going down: more vaccine; more masks; more bad weather?
CA giving $600 stimulus when taxes filed: GOP blocks national help for poor
Seniors can defer or freeze property taxes in some states: states have various rules
We can apply for Medicare online: https://blog.ssa.gov/apply-for-medicare-online
We can apply for Social Security online: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/
We can apply for health care online: https://www.healthcare.gov/
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Alerts available at http://dankeppel.blogspot.com/