How Your Finances Can Be Benefited By Marriage

Often when people think of getting married, they think of being in love and spending the rest of their lives together. The thought of starting a family is on the minds of those who are getting married while they are young. At times, it seems as if the entire future will change and will change for the better. Others have already been married and have gone through a divorce. They may see marriage much different from a younger couple contemplating marriage for the first time. Regardless of whether you are thinking about marriage for the first time or a second marriage, the financial benefits for marriage need to be considered. The benefits of marriage are numerous, and a complete listing is outside the scope of this article. However, the following are a few that stand out among the financial benefits of marriage.

Medical insurance
If one person does not have medical insurance but the other does, it is possible to add a spouse to the insurance policy. Healthcare costs can be tremendously expensive and is one of the leading reasons for bankruptcy. Health insurance through your spouse can mean the difference between losing all of your assets or remaining solvent. If both people already have insurance, the person with the policy having less coverage can switch to their partner’s policy. If both people are working and have medical coverage, then they are both protected if one of them were to lose their job. The unemployed person can simply be added to the other person’s policy

Pooling money to invest in the future
Married couples can combine their incomes to save for a major purchase such as a house. Married couples are more likely to buy a house than two people who simply cohabitate. Marriage is a legal commitment, and a couple is more likely to have confidence in each other because of the marriage.

Lower taxes
If you listen to most people, you would think that taxes go up when you get married. In fact, it even has a name. It is called the marriage penalty, and it is true that certain couples when they marry will experience higher taxes when both incomes are combined. However, this is only true when both people have high incomes. The truth is, if one person has a high income and the other a low income, there is a likelihood that the lower income will result in a lower tax bracket for the couple. If only one person is working and the other has no income at all, the non-working spouse becomes a tax shelter, and the financial benefits are great.

Advantages in saving for retirement
Even though it may not be possible for a person to contribute to an individual retirement account because of a low income, once this person gets married the incomes of both spouses are combined. A contribution may now be possible. In fact, the contribution limits are raised; therefore, the tax break is greater.

Whatever your motivations for marriage are, it is the financial benefits than are critical. There is nothing wrong with being in love, but the practical aspects of marriage are financial, and for many people, it is the financial benefits that are felt by a couple everyday they are married.


Why You Should Use a Tax Preparer Even For Your One-Person Company


As a self-employed business professional, you may regularly try to keep your expenses to a minimum, and this may mean that you try to do as much of the work as possible on your own. There is cost associated with outsourcing certain tasks to other professionals or contractors, and you may think you can save money by doing the work on your own.

This is true in many cases, but there are some instances when there is a true benefit to you to outsource the work to an expert. When it comes to preparing the tax return for your one-person company, there are numerous benefits and advantages for doing so. With a closer look, you may see that it is far more cost-effective to pay for tax preparation services than to attempt to do the work on your own.

Save Time

Tax code changes from year to year and from city to city, and it can be time-consuming and frustrating to attempt to keep up with all of the changes that take place even over the course of a few months. However, you must be aware of these changes if you want avoid paying more than necessary in taxes to the IRS. A professional accountant, CPA or local tax preparers in Orlando and other regional cities can all facilitate this process and can save you a considerable amount of time. This is a professional who is always updated on changes to the tax code, so you can always expect knowledgeable assistance from this professional.

Find Deductions and Credits

Each year, your own tax situation can change. In addition to changes to the tax code that can impact the deductions and credits you qualify for, changes in your business can also impact the deductions and credits that you can qualify for. For example, you may have purchased equipment that qualifies for a depreciation deduction, or you may have made energy efficiency improvements that qualify for credits. You do not want to pay more money in taxes than necessary by overlooking these deductions and credits, and your accounting professional can help you to determine which tax-saving credits and deductions you qualify for.

Avoid Penalties

There are several reasons why you may have to pay a penalty fee to the IRS. For example, if you do not file your small business tax return on time or if you do not file an accurate return, you may be required to pay the taxes due plus penalties, and interest charges. This can be costly and burdensome for your small business to deal with, and these penalties and fees can be avoided altogether when you have a professional prepare your small business tax return.

The bottom line is that you may be able to avoid paying the professional service fee to an accountant or tax preparer when you prepare your own small business tax return. However, this is a nominal fee in comparison to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars that you can save by using these professional services. From avoiding costly penalties to finding more deductions and credits that you may qualify for, the fact is there are many financial benefits associated with using professional tax services to prepare your tax return. You can easily learn more about the services of a tax preparer and set up a time to meet with a preparer personally about your current year’s tax return.


From the Cradle to College: What Does it Actually Cost to Raise A Child in Today’s Economy?

Since 1960, the United States Department of Agriculture has generated baseline expenditures for the costs of raising a child from birth through their 18th birthday – it doesn’t include the costs of sending the child on to college, or expenses incurred if a child returns to the home in their 20s.

Those reports showcase just how stark the current economy is. From 2003 to 2013 – the most recent year that the abstract has been published, the cost of raising a child in constant dollars has gone up by 40%, while household income has risen by 5%.

Raising a child has several co-factors that alter the cost: Living in cities tends to make the cost of raising a child rise, though less so than the typical increase in income; in terms of family financial stress, it’s slightly less economically disadvantageous to raise a child in the city even though the total expense is higher.

The second cheapest place to raise your child is in rural America, where the costs of the most expensive factors, notably housing (roughly 31% of the total) is less. Children are also cheaper to raise in batches – hand-me-down clothes help a lot, and having multiple children reduces the per-cost surcharge for housing costs.

Categorical Comparisons

Compared to the 1960s, housing as a percentage of the total expenditure has remained roughly constant. The cost of food has dropped by 50% – it was 24% of the total tally in 1960, and is 16% now; likewise clothing has gotten much less expensive — which will come as a surprise to anyone who’s tried to buy clothes for a teenager. The difference is 11% in 1960 and 6% now. Both of these are signs of increasing agricultural efficiency and industrial automation.

Where costs have gone up are health care — we aggressively treat more diseases and conditions in children now — and in the cost of child care and education, which has exploded with the rise of the two-income family compared to 1960. Once inflation-adjusted dollars are used, the overall cost of raising a child has risen from $192,000 in 1960 to a median value of $234,000 in 2014.

Cost-Cutting Measures

While nobody is advocating massive cost reducing strategies when it comes to raising a child, there are some places where things can be trimmed. If you’re about to move, look for a balance between a good school district and home prices; higher priced homes, past a certain point, don’t correlate to a substantially better educational experience.

Look at having your children work outside the home for pocket-money. Mowing lawns for the neighbors isn’t demeaning; it’s a way for your children to appreciate the value of hard work and doing a job to the satisfaction of someone else, while they earn their own pocket money.

While food as a percentage of total expenses has shrunk, eating habits have gotten noticeably worse. Pack lunches for your children – take the time on Sundays to pack a week’s worth of lunches and freeze them; they’ll be less expensive than eating out and will generally be healthier.


A large part of childcare costs stem from out-of-home daycare, which is nearly unavoidable in two-income or single-parent families – and the added features that come from raising a child in the 21st century, like cell phones, data plans, and laptops for schoolwork. Medical costs have also gone through the roof, largely as school districts try to protect themselves from lawsuits stemming from injuries and treat everything involving a child as an ER visit.


3 Reasons To Invest In Bitcoin and 3 Reasons Not To

Bitcoin has attracted a lot of buzz in the media recently. It’s a computer-based currency that governments can’t trace, which has some people very interested. Bitcoin is a brand new kind of medium of exchange, and most people don’t know whether it is worth investment or not. Here’s a list of some pros and cons of this crypto-currency to get you thinking:

Invest In Bitcoin Because Of Its Independence

Bitcoin exists outside of national governments. That means that no government can track it, issue it, rescind it, stockpile it, or control it. That can be helpful for a number of reasons. For example, some people live in areas with unstable governments, or where the government controls the local currency and makes it hard to buy outside goods. Bitcoin isn’t subject to the vagaries of government policy.

Because It Grows In Value

Bitcoin’s value in dollars has climbed as interest in the currency grew over time. More interest translates into more demand, which increases the price of a Bitcoin. That means that aside from its other features, Bitcoin has become an asset for investment like any other- buyers can hold onto it and hope that it will be worth more than when they bought in. It has risk like any other asset, but it might just be worth some money to see if it really takes off.

Because It Might Be The Future

There’s a chance, however small, that Bitcoin becomes the way people do business: Bitcoin might replace other currencies in all transactions. If that happens, it would certainly be better to be holding Bitcoins rather than dollars or euros. Again, this is by no means guaranteed, but Bitcoin does hold the potential to change the way people buy and sell. If it transforms the financial landscape, it will be a very nice thing to own.

Don’t Invest In Bitcoin Because It Is Unstable

Without any backing or government support, the value of Bitcoin can fluctuate wildly based on rumors, big purchases, and other issues. Having a currency that is just as volatile as a stock is a recipe for confusion. Why get into something when you have no idea how much it will be worth in a month? It might double in value or crash to zero. At least with stocks, you can spread out the risk and diversify.

Because It Is Unsafe

Bitcoin, and the exchanges on which people trade it, periodically undergo more or less successful hacking attempts. The exchanges also occasionally shut down, leaving all participants without their money. You are never quite sure if your Bitcoins are safe, or that nobody has found a clever way to duplicate them. The more interest they attract, the more they will be the target of fraud.

Because It Is Not Real

Bitcoin does not represent a real-life asset. Having a Bitcoin worth $250 does not make you $250 richer until you manage to find a person willing to give you $250 for your Bitcoin. You cannot trade it in for a stock, a metal, or anything else. It has no value aside from market whims.

Remember that all investments have risk, and also that with risk comes reward. Choose for yourself: it’s certainly an exciting time!


What Are Derivatives and Why Is Wall Street Rolling the Dice Again?

Wall Street seems to be tossing around the word, “derivative” a lot lately. What are derivatives and why is Wall Street so obsessed with them?
What is a Derivative?

A derivative is a financial investment that receives its value based on some event occurring. A good comparison is a sport’s gambling bet paying you if your team scores the first touchdown. Futures, forwards and swaps are all examples of financial derivatives.
Why Does Wall Street Use Derivatives?

Why do you purchase insurance or wear a seat belt? You take actions to hedge against a potential danger that may or may not occur. Actuaries can estimate the chances of an event occurring based on historical data. Derivatives are risk management.
Concrete Derivatives Example

While many homeowners might consider an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) because it is more affordable, they also might want to hedge their bet. If interest rates increase dramatically, then their monthly payment will also.

Investors purchase Interest-Rate Swaps (IRS), which will pay them if interest rates reach a certain level. For example, if your ARM is 4% today, then you might be forced to pay $900 more each month if the rate increases to 5%. By purchasing an IRS derivative contract that pays you $1,000 if your ARM increases to 5%, you can offset the increase in your monthly mortgage payment with the money paid by the IRS contract.
Nothing was Fixed in 2008 Bailouts

The banking system has many secrets, one of which is that the 2008 bailouts did not fix any of the underlying problems with the Wall Street system. A few of the rotten apples were not removed from the barrel as one would expect, but instead merged with other barrels of apples. This has lead to healthy banks being weighed down by the same toxic derivatives that destroyed Lehman, Bear Stearns and AIG.

One bad apple spoils the bunch.

The truth is that the modern-day Wall Street bankers are not following the conservative rules of banking. When a bad bank goes under, the toxic assets should be written-off. The problem is that many of these banks hold the same toxic assets. The entire banking system is in jeopardy. They have created a house of cards built upon derivatives.
Pyramid of Derivatives

Here is an analogy to help you understand why Wall Street is rolling the dice again after the collapse in 2008. Let us say that your workplace has a refrigerator where everyone keeps their lunch. Well, one of the employees, we will call him Morgan is really lazy. Instead of buying his own lunch, he steals one of the lunches in the refrigerator and puts a paper IOU in place of it.

That is basically what the banking system did in 2008. It knew that the assets of Lehman, Bear and AIG were worthless (they used the term “toxic”); but instead of replacing those toxic assets with valuable assets, they simply wrote an IOU on the government balance sheet. Now, instead of valuable assets, the banking system is full of IOUs. So while some might wonder why Wall Street is rolling the dice again with toxic derivatives; perhaps, these IOUs are all that is left in the system.


How to Get Serious About Asset Management

There are many ways to make wealth, but the truly successful “make their wealth grow.” What are some of the most important financial developments for 2015? Capital shows you how to get serious about asset management by helping with investment choices, risk management and plan development.
World on the Edge

When you listen to the mainstream news, you only get a quick snapshot of what is going on in the world. Successful asset management requires you to look beyond the headlines to understand the core fundamentals. As we pass into a new year, the world financial markets seem to be doing quite well, but what is lurking in the shadows?
Protecting Your Wealth

Wealthy people are always looking for the next emerging market. They need to invest in “income-producing assets” to grow their portfolios. Stocks are reaching high PE ratios with some earnings warnings at the end of 2014. The retail environment is somewhat shaky as consumers deal with high debt loads.

In 2008, investors in the Dow Jones saw the market collapse by 40%. The unprepared lost a lot of money. Isn’t it time to get serious about your asset management?
What is Your Risk Management?

Quick silver capital will find the best returns for investments. While you might have assets in developed countries, the returns might be quite low. Does this conservative risk management plan fit your personality?

Young people might want to chase the higher returns available in developing economies. But which ones can you trust?
European Union is Convulsing

In 2008, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) were defaulting on their debt. So what has changed? These economies have seen a mild recovery, but other European countries may be nearing the debt cliff. France had its sovereign debt downgraded in December 2014. How will the valuations of European assets be effected?

Getting serious about asset management is about preparing before the bottom falls out. One secret about wealthy people: They don’t follow the herd mentality. If you don’t have a good asset management plan, you will be paying for someone else’s summer home, not your own.
Debt Remains an Issue

Global debt remains a serious concern. It is like an anchor slowing down the global ship. Billionaires like Marc Faber and Jim Rogers have already shifted their assets to a rising Asia.

Can you imagine the potential for a Chinese or Indian automobile manufacturer, when their billions can afford better transportation? Tata Motors has already purchased British Land Rover and Chinese motorcycles are competing with BMW.
Diversification is Key Element of Your Plan

Capital can help you learn about investment strategies to diversify your holdings. These financial asset management advisers will work for you with your best interests at heart. You have a busy life and cannot stay abreast of all the world’s economic developments – but these professionals can.

Building and maintaining wealth is the true challenge. Sit down with the experts at Capital to talk about your financial portfolio. Develop a plan first. financial professionals can help you get serious about your asset management.


The Financially Responsible Way To Buy an Engagement Ring

For most men, the process of choosing an engagement ring is an intimidating experience. Though there is no shortage of jewelry stores to shop and engagement rings to browse, it can be difficult to know whether or not you are getting a good deal. However, there are some simple things that you can do to improve your odds of making a wise buying decision.

Shop With a Budget

Before setting out to look at rings, you should determine how much you plan on spending on the engagement ring. The jewelry industry recommends a budget equivalent to three months of your salary, but that number may not be realistic for you depending on your financial situation. If you are struggling to pay your bills or reduce debt, it makes little sense to spend a small fortune on an engagement ring. If you cannot afford the ring that you want, consider buying an affordable ring and having the diamond replaced with a larger one in the future.

Learn About Diamonds

The price of a diamond varies depending on a number of factors, beyond just the carat size. Diamond prices also vary depending on the clarity, cut and color of the diamond. Though you do not need to be a diamond expert to buy an engagement ring, learning about the basic differences between diamonds can help you to compare rings and determine which ring is the right one for your specific situation.

Comparison Shop for the Best Deal

Though engagement rings are more expensive than most other purchases, the shopping experience is similar. You should carefully shop a variety of retailers to learn about the rings available on the market and to compare prices. You should also look for rings that are on sale, discontinued or otherwise offered for less than retail. Through careful shopping, you can likely find the ring that you want to buy, or one very close to it, at a great price.

Manage Financing Costs

If you need to borrow money to purchase an engagement ring, an important financial consideration is the cost to finance. Most jewelry stores offer in-store financing plans, but these plans often have high interest rates. These high interest rates can easily cause you to pay two or three times the cost of the ring before the loan is paid off. However, there are other lower cost ways to borrow money which will save you money such as borrowing through a personal loan from a bank or credit union or borrowing through a home equity loan.

Plan For Problems

When shopping for an engagement ring, be certain to fully understand the retailer’s warranty and return policy. For example, a number of retailers offer a full refund with-in a certain amount of time, but will offer store credit for a longer period. Jewelry buyers typically must take some action, such as having the ring inspected annually, to keep a store warranty in effect. By making certain to understand the warranty and return policy, you can avoid making a potentially serious financial mistake.

Though engagement rings can be an expensive purchase, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by simply following these tips and taking your time on deciding which ring to buy. With the savings, you can spend more on the wedding, honeymoon or simply to save for a future need.


Money Tips For the Average Person

Money is always on everyone’s mind. It’s something that almost every person worries about at some point during their life. This is why it’s crucial that people know a few good financial tips and tricks to keep ahead of the game when it comes to personal finances so the average person has an easier time managing them now and in the future.

If you’ve just graduated college or are about to graduate soon, the chances are that you’re facing all of the debt you’ve accumulated throughout your education and are now looking for a job. It’s difficult to get personal finances under control if you don’t have income to control. A good number of student loans will delay repayment for about six months after you’ve graduated, which gives you a little extra time to find employment. There are a number of online resources you can use to help you find a job and it’s also probably a good idea to see if your college will help you with their network.

Work with Financial Planners

For those who have already graduated and have a job, but are having a difficult time getting their debt and finances under control, a financial planner is a great way to go.

A financial planner can look through your finances, income, and budget as well as your debt and accounts to help you figure out where your money is being spent and how much you should be putting toward your debt and other expenses. They’re great resources of information and they’ll be able to better demonstrate any problems with your current financial situation, how to fix them, and how to keep them fixed for in the future. They are a lot like personal trainers, they can provide that outsider’s perspective and integrate best practices to help you get the most for your money.

It’s likely that when you’re looking over your finances to find out how to get a handle on them, you’ll see that you’ll need to either cut back on your spending or make more money. To most people, these seem like impossible feats, but they aren’t as impossible as they seem. If you do opt to work with one, be sure to work with fee only planners as many work on commission and may not have your best interests in mind.

Ways to Cut Back on Spending

Cutting back on spending is certainly doable and it’s fairly easy once the correct habits have been established. Getting rid of that extra coffee in the morning or doing all of the shopping in one trip are obvious methods for cutting back on expenses, but those aren’t the only ways that money can be saved. Most times, searching through consignment shops or buying on auctions such as eBay can save you a lot of money for items that are almost just as good in quality as if you were to buy them directly from the store. Clothing can usually always be bought secondhand as can appliances and you can end up saving a lot of cash without having to sacrifice good quality.

Also, be sure to look for big wins as well as small ones, such as making coffee at home. If you own a car, be sure to research cheap car insurance because you can often save a lot of money just by shopping around. If you pay for cable television, comparison shop there as well because different providers can offer you better rates. Monthly fixed bills are great places to look for quick savings you can bank every single month.

One of the bonuses to shopping for secondhand items is that many times, some of the items can be resold for more than you bought them for. Garage sales are notorious for having gems hidden away in them that can be sold to antique dealers or to local collectors; selling them on eBay is also a good way to make some money back.

Getting finances under control starts with thoroughly looking through them, and then seeing where you could improve your productivity with your budget and spending. After that, it’s just a matter of employing good routines and habits to ensure that you get your foot in the door with saving money and not spending it on things that aren’t necessarily important. Once the habits are there, you’ll be surprised at how well these practices work.


6 Cool Examples Of People Turning Trash Into Treasure

We all know that recycling is not only good for the environment, but it can also save money in the long run. Yet it seems as if some people have more talent for discovering hidden potential in everyday objects than others. If you have seen many clever ideas for recycling seemingly useless junk into valued items, but you feel you have no idea how to get started, below are a few ideas to consider.

First example: Even in today’s e-reader filled world, books are invaluable carriers of knowledge and information. The trick is to find an effective way of connecting the right reader with the right book even across thousands of miles or several continents. Selling old books you do not want or need on an internet bookstore platform is a great way of turning your trash into cash, which you can spend on any treasure your heart desires.

Second example: All households have still functional but no longer used extra clothing on hand, whether it is a pair of jeans that shrunk in the wash or an out of style shirt. Instead of throwing away sturdy materials and decorative patterns, make them into reusable shopping bags you can gift, sell, or donate.

Third example: No longer used old wine and liquor barrels make great bases for furniture and functional home décor pieces. A large wine barrel makes an ideal pedestal for a sink, and you can build a handy storage wall out of a series of smaller rum barrels along a hallway.

Fourth example: In small and large building projects alike, you can make use of reclaimed wood for beams and decorative wall paneling from older structures. Refinished timeworn doors make great work surfaces, and reclaimed wood planks can be a good option as a flooring alternative.

Fifth example: All those colored wine and olive oil bottles, broken flower planters, and leftover tiles you love to admire but hate to throw away can be easily made into mosaic garden steps or tabletop decorations. Once you learn the basics of mosaic design, you can cover any surface such as trivets, backsplashes, or frames with this technique. Alternately, you can use a rock tumbler to make polished and rounded glass pebbles for decorations.

Sixth example: Many people are quite good about using leftover food in meals, but a very few would think about purposefully purchasing foods that are about to go bad. The truth is you can easily turn overripe fruit into jam and enjoy the considerable savings from the discounts markets and grocery stores place on these produce in the hopes of moving them off the shelf quickly. You can use well cleaned, recycled jars for storing your vitamin rich treasures to enjoy during the winter months, to share with family and friends, or to sell at your local farmer’s market.

Treasure means different things for different peoples and you never know what will come handy a few months or a year from now. When you run across a great design or ingenious idea you find particularly appealing, snap a photo or make a note of it for future reference. As your collection accumulates, so will your creativity for turning your own trash into treasure others admire.