Tag: tax


Wondering What to Do with Your Tax Refund? Invest It!

June 3rd, 2015 — 3:48pm
Invest Your Tax Refund & Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

Invest Your Tax Refund & Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

As the tax filing deadline of April 15th has come and gone, many of us are giving big sighs of relief that it’s all over—at least for now. If you were lucky enough to get some money back this tax season, you’re probably wondering what to do with it. Shopping spree? Vacation? While those ideas certainly sound like fun, the truth is that you’ll be best off investing it. After all, it’s not found money—it was your money to begin with. Look at your tax refund as the contents of a kind of rigidly enforced savings account and do something worthwhile with it that will pay off down the road. Check out these savvy investment ideas to make your tax refund work for you.

Plan to Save

Many Americans seem to heed the call of the savings account, with three out of 10 people planning to save or invest their tax refund this year. Before you dump your refund into your savings, though, decide what you are saving for: set a goal. This will help you determine which investments are best for you. Do you want to invest money for a rainy day slush fund? Perhaps that dream vacation you’ve always wanted? Are you looking to make a large purchase, such as a house, car or motorcycle? Is retirement on the horizon? Take stock of your current financial situation and then decide where your money would be best spent down the road. Once you do, you’ll know exactly what to save for.

Pay Down Some Debt

Let’s assume you got back between $3,000 and $4,000 from the government after tax day. Lucky you! The very first thing you should do is pay down some of your credit card debt or sock some away into your emergency fund. If you’re looking to grow investments but you are losing just as much in credit card or student loan interest, a strategy to invest all of your return doesn’t really make sense, says US News and World Report. Putting money in an emergency fund is a safe bet. For example, the $1,000 you put in now will still be worth the same later when you need to take it out—or more, if your emergency fund is held in such a way that it accrues interest. Your best bet for these accounts are high-yield savings and money markets.

Add to Your 401(k)

Looking into the future and thinking long-term, you can really make the most of your return by contributing some of it to your 401(k) so you can take advantage of your employer’s maximum match. Those who are building a retirement account would be wise to open a Roth IRA using their refund money to ensure a tax-sheltered source of income. Educational plans, such as 529 accounts, are also a great idea. If you open up these types of accounts with your refund money, it can make the process that much easier. Plus, contributions to Roth IRAs can be deducted from next year’s taxes, making next year’s return all the sweeter.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs Into One Basket

Placing one big chunk of change into one stock isn’t your best bet. You’re better off diversifying instead and adding funds to your current investments. If you want to add to your portfolio, you may want to try a specialty bond or stock fund, which will satisfy your urge to take a fun risk yet won’t present you with the looming threat of losing it all if the stock market tanks.

Whether you decide to add to your current portfolio or invest in your 401(k), making an investment with your tax return now instead of blowing it all on a vacation will pay off in the long run.

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Native American Tribes, with Tax-Free Advantage in Mind, Consider the Recreational Marijuana Industry

June 2nd, 2015 — 1:40pm
Legalized Marijuana Could Be A Boon to Native Americans

Legalized Marijuana Could Be A Boon to Native Americans

With growth from the gaming industry leveling off in most locations, many Native American tribes are now considering a brand new source of income in states where marijuana has been legalized, either medically and recreationally. As more and more states–including New York–legalize marijuana in one form or another, Native Americans will have a huge advantage over other retailers in the business: Tribal earnings are not subject to federal income tax laws, as long as they are earned on the reservation and are not distributed to individuals as earnings.

The Native American Tax Advantage

The advantages that would be enjoyed by Native American tribes for the sale of marijuana would be similar to the tax-exempt status they already enjoy in those states where gaming is conducted on reservations. 422 tribal gambling facilities in 28 different states earned $26.5 billion, $27.9 billion, and $28 billion from 2011 through 2013, none of which was taxable by the federal government.

Even if commercial activities are conducted on tribal lands, they are exempt from taxes, as long as they are not conducted by individuals. Individuals within the tribes are U.S. citizens and they can be taxed, which is why corporations are usually formed before embarking on a gaming enterprise, and why the same would likely be true of the marijuana business. The legal status of the corporation prevents any federal intervention or taxation on the income from gaming currently, and barring legislation that alters this status the same would be true of income generated from growing and selling legal marijuana.

Tribes must be careful, however, not to distribute earnings from gaming or marijuana sales to individuals as compensation for their work in the industry. These earnings can be taxed, but there is another federal law which comes to the individual tribe members’ aid in this situation. Earnings can be distributed to individuals as payments from a general welfare program that is earmarked for the needs of families and individuals, relative to health, food, and other essentials that are not related to compensation for services.

State Tax Laws

At the state level, Native Americans cannot be taxed on income that is generated from reservation resources unless that income is generated within the state but not within the boundaries of the reservation. In effect, this neutralizes attempts by state agencies to levy any kind of tax on the potential earnings of Native Americans from either gaming or marijuana growing. Marijuana grown on the reservation would thus be completely un-taxable in any state where it is grown.

As one might expect, this kind of exemption makes both the federal government and state governments very uneasy, and inclined to eye the legislation which currently grants such sweeping freedom from taxation very closely. As Native American enterprises begin entering the preliminary phases of entering the retail marijuana market and the media notes the enormous taxation advantages they would enjoy, federal agencies and state agencies are both taking hard looks at the situation.

It is hard to estimate exactly how lucrative the marijuana growing industry could be for Native Americans, but assuming it is on par with the gaming industry, a huge windfall would accrue to tribes all across the country. Some experts feel so strongly that they’ve said that growing marijuana could eventually eclipse the gaming industry as a source of income, and for tribes that have precious few sources of income on reservations, the allure of huge profits is likely to be overwhelming.

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Can A Tax Help Combat Childhood Obesity?

March 26th, 2015 — 5:56pm
Could A Tax On Sugary Foods Help Combat Obesity?

Could A Tax On Sugary Foods Help Combat Obesity?

Childhood obesity is a complex issue, ad medical experts and social scientist have been in a gridlock about how to fix the problem for years. Now some economists argue that taxing junk foods could tip the scales in the right direction. One study by the University of North Carolina showed that a 10% price increase on soft drinks and pizza caused customers to consume far fewer calories from these items. A $1.00 price increase for soft drinks resulted in an average weight loss of 2.34 lbs. By manipulating prices through taxes, childhood obesity could be dramatically reduced or even prevented altogether. Increased taxation has already been proven effective at reducing rates of smoking in both teens and adults. Could a simple tax be all it takes to combat childhood obesity?

Taxation Of Sugary Foods – A Simple Start

One organization, Action on Sugar, has proposed a plan to target childhood obesity right where it starts. This plan outlines a reduction of sugars and fats in preprocessed foods, bans on marketing junk food to kids, bans on allowing junk food companies to sponsor sports, limiting availability and portion size of sugary drinks, and adding a sugar tax. This last item, the sugar tax, is a big deal. If junk foods are more expensive than healthier options, this will help steer consumers toward better choices at the grocery store. If apples were drastically less expensive than cookies, children might have a better shot at good health. Subsidizing healthy foods while adding taxes to refined and highly processed foods may help to set the prices where they need to be to prevent childhood obesity.

Junk Food Taxation Model Already Successful

Some countries, like Denmark and France, have already imposed a tax on unhealthy foods. Unhealthy foods have to be judged against a fixed standard in order for this tax to work. The tax needs to target the unhealthiest foods; an effective tax cannot be on total fat or carbohydrate content. It is important to focus the tax more specifically on sugars and refined carbohydrates, which have been found to be the most harmful contributors to childhood obesity, rather than on total percentages of fat and carbohydrates. Some complex carbohydrates and natural fats are important for health and even encourage weight loss. By following the example of Denmark and France, other countries could effectively battle childhood obesity using strategic taxation instead of dieting.

Taxation Versus Banning Foods

New York City’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg banned the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces in his city. This proved to be an unpopular decision that evolved into a full-blown fiasco, and people were very upset about it. Taxation would be an easier way to steer people in the direction of healthier choices while still allowing consumers the freedom of choice. Taxation would simply make the healthier choice appear more attractive. One study published by the British Medical Journal suggests the target taxation amount should be about 20 percent and should apply to a variety of junk foods. Complementary subsidies on fresh produce would help bolster the positive public health effects of such a move.

Consider the Children

When deciding which laws and policies to put into effect, voters and lawmakers should consider what is best for the children. If implementing a tax on junk food can make a difference in childhood obesity–and the associated long term negative health affects like diabetes and heart disease–it should at least be consideration.

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The Only Two Countries to Tax Citizens Living Abroad? The United States and China

March 23rd, 2015 — 4:00pm
Will U.S & China Remain The Only Nations To Tax Their Citizen Abroad?

Will U.S. & China Remain The Only Nations To Tax Their Citizen Abroad?

Of all the sovereign nations on the planet, there are only two that tax their citizens’ income earned while living abroad: the United States and, perhaps surprisingly, China. Most countries ascribe to the philosophy that taxation should be primarily national rather than global, but both the United States and China require their citizens living abroad to pay domestic taxes on income earned worldwide. Since these two countries agree on little else, it’s worth taking a look at why each country favors this policy.

Why the U.S. Taxes Citizens Living Abroad

The standard justification for the long-running policy imposed by the United States is that it deters tax evasion by its citizens and ensures that all of them pay for the benefits that come with their citizenship; many of which they still receive while living abroad. With these funds being used to help pay the enormous costs associated with running the government, even those citizens living abroad are therefore significant contributors to the federal budget. Economists globally debate the fairness of taxing citizens and companies overseas, arguing that citizens in another country can’t make use of state-run healthcare or social welfare programs while also promoting exports.

Benefits to China from Taxing Citizens Living Abroad

China’s government implemented sweeping economic changes in the early 1990’s in an effort to modernize its federal tax system, which had fallen into a dreadful state of confusion and inefficiency. After evaluating the systems in place around the world, especially those employed by the global superpowers, China’s political leaders decided to adopt the model then in use by the United States.

Strangely, after adopting this policy China then declined to actually enforce it among citizens living around the world. In response to criticism, political leaders contended that resources in the federal agency charged with levying and collecting taxes were simply insufficient to meet the requirements for tracking down all those living beyond the country’s borders. In addition, the relevant earnings data from private employers was seldom available to provide a basis for taxation.

That will all change in 2015, however. Now the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) insists that all income earned abroad must be accounted for right alongside domestic earnings, and that China’s government will no longer tolerate evasion of taxes. One of the chief reasons for the about-face on the enforcement of the rules seems attributable to the fact that the country has a greatly increased need for revenue to fuel its economic growth.

How China’s SAT Will Enforce Taxation Abroad

One of the past obstacles to tax enforcement abroad was that necessary tax data was lacking on citizens’ overseas investments and earnings. Early in 2015, taxation officials met with executives from more than 150 of China’s largest corporations to inform them that it would require information on their employees’ earnings while living abroad. In this way, one of the loopholes of the system has been tightened up to make the system more enforceable.

The SAT also plans to reign in some of the huge overseas investments made by billionaire Chinese individuals and corporations, which it deems to be no more than shelters designed to subvert the taxation process. In prior years, it was common practice for wealthy Chinese businessmen to make foreign investments through specially created companies to protect income. Corrupt officials who have fled overseas to escape this new level of zeal by tax officials may now be caught in the net of taxation reform.

Chinese officials have been negotiating quietly with financial and political officials in the U.S. and other countries where its citizens have been living abroad in order to be granted access to information on earned income and bank account data. With this data, another missing link would be supplied and the SAT would then be much better informed about taxable income.

Potential Influence on Other Nations

Up to now, European countries have resisted adoption of the citizenship-based taxation model for those living abroad, because these countries felt that their foreign citizens received few of the benefits of citizenship. With global economies now slowing, it is entirely conceivable that more countries around the world will begin to adopt this same model of taxation.

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Is Your Investment Portfolio Tax Efficient?

March 16th, 2015 — 11:53am
How Important Are Tax Free Investments?

Is Your Portfolio Tax-Efficient?

Having a tax-efficient investment portfolio is a plus for many taxpayers. What makes this a desirable strategy when it comes to paying Uncle Sam and how can you make your investment portfolio even more tax efficient? There are plenty of ways to make more efficient investments and be financially savvy whether you’re investing on your own, with the help of new apps, products and services or with advice from a professional.

Tax Efficiency Defined

Tax efficiency is a measure of how much of the return on an investment is left over after you’ve paid your taxes. For example, an investment is less tax efficient the more it depends on income—as opposed to a change in its price—to generate a return. Essentially, you want to maximize the returns on your investments while paying the smallest possible dollar amount in taxes. To know where you stand, you’ll need to determine how your accounts stack up under the law. There are three types of accounts: taxable, tax-deferred and tax-exempt. Generally, you will want to make your tax-efficient investments in your taxable accounts, with non-tax efficient investments made in a tax-deferred or tax-exempt account.

Working Toward Tax Efficiency

It can be hard to save money from every paycheck, especially when money is tight, but if you invest wisely enough you can use passive income to supplement your budget. Investors can use tools like 7Twelve Portfolio to reduce risk and enhance performance, or online advisor resources such as FutureAdvisor and Betterment, which help you cut back on fees and optimize investment selections. These wealth management tools will help you boost your tax efficiency.

In addition, it’s wise to automate your savings by setting up weekly or monthly transfers to your IRA. Forbes advises keeping your costs low, diversify with index funds and the like, and maximizing your tax efficiency. The best way to go about this may be to actually take a step back from trying to aggressively out-perform the market and take a more passive approach to your portfolio so it rides the wave of the market.

Low-Cost Investments

While you certainly want to keep less tax-efficient investments in your tax-advantaged accounts, there are other factors to keep in mind. Regularly balance your portfolio by adding money to under-weighted asset classes. Keep in mind that active trading can often lead to decreased tax efficiency, and is better done in conjunction with your tax-advantaged accounts. When planning to leave large sums of money to your family members after your death, for example, it’s best to put stocks in taxable accounts because they are valued at the time of your death rather than when you first bought them (at which time they may have been worth much less). Place assets in a Roth IRA for a the potential for a better return on investment over time.

Tax-efficient investing is the best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investments. Keeping investments in accounts where they’ll be taxed most efficiently is one of the best ways to watch your money grow.

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5 Quick Tips for First-Time Tax Filers

March 12th, 2015 — 5:10pm
Tips For First Time Filers

Tips For First Time Filers

Taxes may be one of the only certain things in life, but that doesn’t mean that filing them is easy. This is especially true if you are a young adult filing your first tax return. If you are single and earned an income greater than $10,000 in 2014, you are required to file a federal return. If it’s your first time filing taxes, you might be a little overwhelmed, but never fear. Here are 5 quick tips to help you file your taxes for the first time.

Create a Folder to Collect Your Tax Documentation

Every employer you worked for in 2014 should have sent you a W-2 wage statement, postmarked no later than January 31, 2015. This includes part-time, full-time, and temporary jobs, no matter how few hours you worked for the company. If you didn’t receive a W-2 by early February, contact your employer to make sure it wasn’t sent to the wrong address. For any work you completed as an independent contractor, you should have received a 1099 miscellaneous income statement. Make a habit of collecting all your pay stubs, earnings statements and other financial paperwork in one folder so that you’ll have everything you need come tax time.

Special Rules for Dependent College Students

Things can get slightly complicated when you earn enough money to file a return while still receiving more than half of your financial support from your parents. If they plan to claim you as a dependent, IRS rules don’t allow you to claim a personal exemption on your own tax return. In most cases, it makes financial sense for your parents to take the tax exemption, since they likely owe more in taxes than you do. However, you or they can speak to a tax accountant if you’re uncertain.

Make it Easier on Yourself; File Electronically With Direct Deposit

The IRS & most states currently require that you file your tax return electronically.  However, many tax filers still elect to receive their refunds by being sent a check as opposed to depositing it directly into their bank account.  Choosing a direct deposit shaves weeks off the time it takes to receive your refund.  In order to file electronically, you will need to use tax software or hire a tax professional.  The benefit of using software/tax professionals is that they find math errors and deductions you may have missed. Common deductions that new taxpayers overlook include charitable donations, job search expenses, and state and local sales tax paid. If you have children yourself or you’re filing as head of household, you qualify for even more tax credits.

Choose the Simplest Form Possible

If you are single, don’t own a home, have no dependents, and earn less than $100,000 a year, filing your return on the 1040EZ form makes your life a whole lot easier. If you choose to use tax software, the program should suggest this after completing its initial interview with you. You’re more likely to find free tax preparation programs when you file using the 1040EZ form.

Get Your Taxes Done on Time

Your federal and state tax forms for 2014 must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to avoid paying a late penalty. If you have legitimate reasons for not getting your returns in by that date, you may be able to request an extension. It’s also important not to be in such a hurry to get this chore done that you speed through it and make costly mistakes. This is a common mistake for first-time filers, especially those who are expecting a refund.

If it’s your first time filing taxes, take your time, plan ahead, and consider using tax software to make your life easier. Remember: it’s always a good idea to ask a tax professional if you’re not sure about something. Good luck!

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March 16th Corporate Tax Deadline Approaching

March 12th, 2015 — 4:49pm
March 15th Corporate Deadline Approaches

March 16th Corporate Deadline

The Deadline to file corporate tax returns (forms 1120, 1120A, and 1120S) is Monday March 16th, 2015. Most corporate returns are required to be filed electronically therefore they must be sent to the IRS before midnight on the 16th.  If for some reason you are filing a paper corporate tax return, the post mark on the envelope must show 11:59pm or earlier in order to avoid late filing penalties.

If you require more time to file your corporate return, you can request a 6-month extension by filing federal Form 7004 and any corresponding state(s) extensions, however these too must be electronically filed or mailed before the March 16th Deadline.

If you require immediate assistance regarding filing your corporate return(s), contact an R&G Brenner professional before the deadline.

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Could a Tax Credit Help Millennials Financially?

February 25th, 2015 — 4:52pm
Could The EITC Help Millennials?

Could The EITC Help Millennials?

A lot of attention is being paid to Millennials, who, unlike their parents’ generation, are bucking the trend of graduating directly into lucrative jobs, settling down, buying a house and having 2.5 kids. Millennials, defined as young adults born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are instead moving back in with their parents, struggling to find work and as a result not making big purchases like cars and homes, not getting married as young, and not having children until much later in life, if at all. While this pattern may not hold for every member of this young generation, statistics indicate that most Millennials are struggling financially. Could a tax credit help all that?

Different Priorities

Millennials’ parents grew up in a different generation. The milestones of life seemed natural—even inevitable—to Baby Boomers. According to Moyers and Company, it’s not that Millennials don’t want the nice job, big house and other big ticket items, it’s that they can’t afford them. This young generation is chronically under-employed or entirely unemployed, and earnings for this age group are on the paltry side. For a generation more concerned with the how many Twitter followers they have than how much is in their 401k, it makes sense that the weight given to these traditional milestones wouldn’t be the same as their parents’ generation, for whom success was defined by those milestones.

Can a Tax Credit Help?

Enter the proposal of a tax credit for this young generation: the Earned Income Tax Credit. As it stands now, this tax credit is extended only to struggling families who earn some money but not nearly enough to live on, says BloombergBusinessweek. It helps them navigate their way up the income brackets to cut down on poverty rates, offering incentives to get back to work. The problem is that, while the tax credit helps families, it leaves struggling young, childless adults out in the cold. Yes, these Millennials may qualify for different—smaller—tax credits if they’re under 25, but this only aids those most likely to still rely on their parents financially.

Coincidentally, the EITC excludes adults between 18 and 24 with no children, who don’t live with their parents and who don’t go to school. Yet this segment of the population is falling through the cracks, going broke because they simply can’t get by in this economy with what they have available to them. Generation Progress is one group looking to make the EITC available to young Millennials through more generous phase-in and phase-out periods to assist these adults in the margins. Crucially, the EITC is not an open-ended type of financial care; it’s just a means for young and emerging adults to get some help until they’re financially stable enough to support themselves.

Would the Credit Be Enough?

It’s hard to say whether a single tax credit would be enough to help an entire generation that’s struggling. Social welfare programs already in existence, like food stamps and social security, cut the poverty rate in the United States significantly. It’s possible that extending the EITC to Millennials will give them just the boost they need to begin lives filled with success.

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The Most Important Tax Issues to Focus on This Year, According to the Experts

February 23rd, 2015 — 4:06pm
The Most Important 2015 Tax Issues

The Most Important 2015 Tax Issues

Taxes are never a fun process, and there can be a great deal of confusion about how much to pay or how to get the most money back. With tax season in full swing, many people are finding themselves lost in a flurry of financial advice that’s hitting them from all directions and it’s difficult to sort through all the noise. Here’s some advice from tax experts about what issues they consider the most important tax issues of 2015:

Review New Tax Rules

Every tax-paying family or individual has a unique situation and the only way to know how the code will affect each unique situation is by taking time to look at the new regulations. Among the issues that could affect families is the change to flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). While in 2013 money could be rolled over from the prior year, in 2014 carrying over the money makes one ineligible to participate in the HSA for 2015. There are also several other adjustments to consider regarding capital gains, deductions, and an alternative minimum tax.

Don’t Miss Out on Free Money

Believe it or not, there’s a good deal of free money going around, and it’s yours for the taking. Private wealth-manager George Papadopoulos has several suggestions for where people can get this free money, including participating in their employer’s retirement plan, using company insurance policies and employee stock-purchase plans, and taking advantage of credit card promotions.

For company retirement plans, make sure you are contributing enough to get all of the matching funds, which will also allow participants to enjoy the growing tax-deferred funds in future years. The health insurance plans offered by companies have a number of advantages, frequently offering flexible spending accounts for health and child care as well as health savings accounts. Stock-purchase plans can help employees purchase stocks at 10-15% below the market value, putting capital gain directly into the employees’ paychecks. Credit card promotions are a great way to collect free cash for every dollar spent, but make sure to choose carefully.

Consider Moving Certain Assets to Non-taxable Accounts

Where one is keeping their assets can also play a large role in how much they are paying or not paying in taxes. For instance, the government taxes bonds and stocks at different rates. Dividends and long-term capital gains are taxed at the relatively reasonable rate of 15%, while nearly all interest income is taxed at regular income tax rates, which can reach up to 35%. That’s why doing some shifting around and moving fixed-income assets to nontaxable accounts can minimize the amount of tax expenditures to which you’re exposed. Money in nontaxable accounts is also harder to access, but it’s important to consider moving assets to nontaxable accounts, as it could lead to significant savings.

Maximizing Roth IRA Savings

If you don’t have one already, a Roth IRA allows you to save for retirement in a nontaxable account as long as you meet certain guidelines. One of the ways to take advantage is to contribute the maximum you can every year. Use these contributions to focus on stock options, opting first for high-quality dividend growth stocks. Converting funds from a traditional IRA or 401(k) often allows people to pay less in taxes, though it’s important to plan out as the year of conversion will include the amount converted as part of taxable income. Finding out the specific details for how to save using Roth IRA is the best place to start.

For more information about the above topics and more, please contact an R&G Brenner tax professional today!

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New Year’s Resolutions to Keep Your Wallet Full in 2015

February 2nd, 2015 — 2:58pm
Financial New Year's Resolutions

Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Keeping more cash in your wallet is within reach for everybody, and it’s never too late to start. In fact, the beginning of the year is a perfect time to make New Year’s resolutions about your finances because you actually have a better chance of keeping those promises if you start now. According to Time Money, those who improve their money matters at the start of a new year tend to have more success in that endeavor than those who wait. A new study reveals that more than 50 percent of people who made a resolution to improve their finances last year feel much better about their financial lives now, compared with just 38 percent who made no such resolution who feel better about their finances now than they did last year. Here are some tips to keeping more money in your savings account this year—without even feeling the sting.

Cut Out the Waste

We’ve all been told to cut out the daily latte to save money; that’s old advice, but it does work. Aside from that, eliminate wasteful spending on your daily life that can really add up, like lottery tickets, more groceries than you will eat before they go bad, fast food stops, magazine subscriptions, and premium cable TV channels you never tune into, advises Time Business. Really take the time to think about what you’re spending every dime on. Chances are, you can eliminate a lot of those things without feeling their absence.

Save a Little from Each Paycheck

By squirreling a little bit away whenever you get paid, you will be able to save money almost imperceptibly and you won’t miss it. Bonus: your wallet keeps growing. Better yet: have a set amount diverted into an account automatically each month so that you don’t even see it. That will translate to a nice nest egg later, all without feeling a noticeable tightening of the proverbial belt.

Invest in Long-Term Savings

Putting away some money in stocks or a long-term investment account of some kind can only help propel you toward your financial goals. Thinking long-term instead of in the here and now will ensure you have something for later when you really need it. Take a look at your retirement portfolio often to make sure it’s optimized and matches with your goals, says NASDAQ. Make sure you consider all investments, such as college funds for your children.

Advice for Every Age

Financial resolutions will vary with age, as what’s important to a college student differs from that of a retiree. Your goals will change from year to year, and that’s OK. In fact, it’s healthy. You need to readjust your goals as you enter into new phases of your life to address what’s crucial at that moment. Recent college grads, for instance, may not be making the money they were promised with their new career yet—that will come in time.

Young people can cut corners by spending just $50 less on groceries each month, using credit cards wisely without racking up big bills, creating a budget, and knowing the importance of needs vs. wants. Families can cut back by eating out less per week, making homemade items whenever possible, shopping smart with coupons, taking staycations instead of extravagant vacations, using items that are reusable to cut down on waste, buying second hand clothing, and being smart about energy efficiency in the home. Those facing retirement can keep more money in their wallets by scouring the Internet and newspapers for senior discounts, re-evaluating insurance needs, rethinking costly memberships to organizations they no longer belong to, and cutting down on TV and cell phone service.

It’s still early in the year, so get going on your 2015 financial resolutions to keep your wallet full all year long!

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