John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, tax

Tips for Maximizing Returns With a Roth IRA

Many people saving for retirement make the error of putting money into an IRA each year during tax season and then paying little attention to it afterward. You might lose much money due to such negligence, both now and after you retire. 

Choose The Right IRA

You may be aware of the differences between regular and Roth IRAs – standard IRAs exempt you from paying taxes now but require you to do so in the future. In contrast, Roth IRAs need you to pay taxes now to benefit from tax-free withdrawals in the future. If you anticipate a higher tax rate down the road, go for a Roth; alternatively, take advantage of the tax cut now. The required minimum distributions (RMDs), which are obligatory withdrawals, for traditional IRA owners must begin at age 72. This is crucial when comparing Roth versus conventional IRAs. Leaves are considered income, which can affect you during tax season. RMDs are not required of Roth account holders, making them a popular option for families trying to protect generational wealth. Not only do they escape required withdrawals, but they may also be endowed tax-free. On the other hand, traditional accounts that are passed down via inheritance are taxed.

Invest Wisely

A familiar error retirement investors make is depositing money into an IRA or other tax-advantaged account—often motivated by a deadline in mid-April—but failing to invest the money strategically. In the worst-case scenario, investments generate cents a year for every $100 invested while sitting idle in a money market account. According to Vanguard research, two-thirds of IRA donations made at the last minute are invested in money market funds, which are essentially repurposed checking accounts. IRA contributions should be invested actively in a suitable vehicle, such as a target-date mutual fund, bond funds, or a selection of adequately picked individual equities. You may earn more returns from any of them than from a straightforward money market fund. Also, avoid investing in your IRA with the default selection. Most IRAs include a market’s worth of financing possibilities, unlike 401(k)s. This makes it even easier to avoid investing in expensive funds that reduce your long-term gains. Remember that professionals advise investing in low-cost index funds for retirement, positioning you for the best returns and lowest expenses.

Stocks vs. Bonds

Bond payouts are subject to ordinary income tax, but equities and mutual funds that invest in stocks often experience capital gains. These aren’t the expected dividends you get from your stocks. Instead, they’re the yearly rise in price. It’s crucial to make this point. Capital gains can only happen when you sell a stock or fund and are taxed at a lower rate. Holding them in a taxable investment account is advantageous since it allows you to reserve your tax-advantaged accounts for assets or funds that may have sizable taxable yearly income payments. 

According to statistics examined by MyPlanIQ for Seeking Alpha, it is hard to discover a 20-year period in which the S&P 500 didn’t provide positive returns. And throughout those 15 years, there was only one situation where investors may have marginally lost money—by a mere 0.3%. Additionally, the S&P 500 has grown by almost 9% yearly since 1871. Even very depressing times like the Great Depression and the Recession are considered this.

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Great Books On Investing To Read In 2022

Whether you’re a beginner or someone with years of experience, investing can be difficult. Things are always changing, and it can be easy to make a mistake and watch your valuable money disappear in an instant. If you want to learn more about investing, reading a good book on the subject is one of the tried and true ways of doing so. Some of the world’s most prominent investing experts have written these books as a means of helping people get to their level of investing expertise. Here are a few of the best investing books worth your time in 2022.

A Beginner’s Guide To The Stock Market – Matthew R. Kratter

In his book, Matthew Kratter, a former hedge fund manager and now bestselling author, provides a comprehensive guide to the stock market. He breaks down the various aspects of investing and explains how to make money from it. He also provides step-by-step instructions on how to avoid common mistakes, how to go about purchasing your first stock, and what to do if you want to make passive income using the stock market.

The Money Manual – Tonya Rapley

The Money Manual by Tonya Rapley is an ideal starting point for anyone who’s interested in investing, but not sure where to start. It covers a variety of topics such as budgeting and credit building. Rapley, who is the founder of My Fab Finance, has appeared on various television shows and publications such as Forbes, New York Daily News, and Vogue. In her book you’ll learn all about improving and building credit, handling student loan debt, managing your finances, and so much more.

Think and Grow Rich – Napolean Hill

The bestselling “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill is a combination of both a financial guide and a motivational one. It features stories from some of the most prominent business figures such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie. The original version of this book was first published in 1937 and has since sold over 15 million copies. In this updated version, Hill has also included commentary from Arthur R. Pell, a consultant, lecturer, and author.

One Up On Wall Street – Peter Lynch

In his book, Peter Lynch, a renowned investor, provides a comprehensive guide to the stock market. He breaks down the various aspects of investing and explains how to beat the pros. He also provides a step-by-step strategy that’s designed to help investors find the best opportunities in the market. Lynch, who is the vice chairman of the research and management division of Fidelity Investments, is also the co-author of two of the most popular books about investing, “Learn to Earn” and “Beating The Street”.

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Smart Ways To Use Your Tax Return This Year

Getting a tax refund is a great time to start planning for the year, but you may also feel the drive to use your refund as a way of treating yourself.

While it’s understandable that you’ll want to buy yourself something nice with all of this extra money, it’s also important to remember that a tax refund is a long-term investment. Over the years, the average taxpayer has received a refund of around $3,000. To help you plan for the future, here are some simple tips on how to spend your tax refund.

Start Investing

One of the most important steps in building wealth is to invest your tax refund. Doing so will allow you to grow and put money into a variety of different financial instruments. For instance, if you receive a tax refund of around $3,000, investing it will allow you to earn an average annual return of 6%.

It’s also important to note that investing your tax refund in each of the next 10 years will allow you to build up a substantial amount of wealth. After 20 years, you’ll have more than $60,000 invested.

Wipe Out Some Debt

Getting carried away by high-interest debt can negatively affect your bottom line. It can also increase your monthly expenses and put a strain on your credit.

One of the best ways to get rid of high-interest debt is to pay off your credit card bill. Doing so can save you thousands of dollars a year in interest.

If the refund doesn’t cover all of your credit card debt, consider using a balance transfer credit card to pay off the remaining balance. If your credit is not good enough, consider a debt consolidation loan.

If you have high-interest debt, start planning on how to pay it off. If your tax situation is the same next year, adjust your current withholding to allow you to use the money to pay down debt.

Build An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is a type of savings that can be used in the event of a job loss, medical emergency, or sudden financial setback. It should have a minimum of three to six months worth of expenses.

Getting a tax refund can also help you build an emergency fund. One of the best ways to use this money is by opening a high-yield savings account. Some of the online banks that offer this type of account include Capital One, Marcus, and Ally.

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Safest Investments For 2022

Investing is not a straightforward process. It’s hard to know how to make the right decisions when you don’t know the difference between one asset class and another. There are so many factors that need to be considered when investing to do it well, factors such as risk-taking, diversification, market volatility, and economic trends.

Investing in Cryptocurrency

In 2021, the financial world changed dramatically, Cryptocurrency was hailed as the new way to build wealth. It is now used in a growing number of financial transactions. For instance, it’s even possible to buy a Tesla car using Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that uses encryption to regulate its creation and transactions. It’s a decentralized, peer-to-peer system that allows for transferring assets securely without an intermediary. It’s become increasingly common for people to use cryptocurrency to invest, trade or even pay for goods and services online.

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency may not be a safe investment. The IRS is expecting to seize cryptocurrency in 2022, billions of dollars’ worth of it. This is because the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes it useful for criminals to commit various financial crimes, from money laundering to tax fraud.

Stay Safe with Traditional Investments in 2022

Treasuries are one of the most stable investments available. They are also the safest option because of government backing. Since they are supported by the money of U.S. taxpayers, people feel more confident with Treasuries than any other type of investment.

Bonds are another safe investment. They provide a predictable income stream. They are usually issued by governments, corporations, municipalities, and other entities that are looking for an alternative to bank loans. Investing in bonds is a safer bet most other financial markets because the issuer is responsible for the interest payments.

Investing in stocks or mutual funds can be a risky venture if you are not prepared. However, if you know how to invest and what you are investing in, the risk is manageable. The advantage of stocks is that you can get a good return on your investment.

When Investing Avoid Market Hype

Market hype can lead to making all the wrong investments for all the right reasons. To avoid getting hoodwinked by clever marketing promotions, there are a few basic rules for investing that you should learn. They can help you avoid investing when it is not worth it. You can discover these rules by educating yourself on how to make sound investment decisions.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are types of investments that can be very useful for investors. If you’re already investing in things like the stock market and real estate, then you might be looking for something a bit different. There are many reasons why mutual funds might be the perfect next investment choice for you. Read this short beginner’s guide to mutual funds so that you can get the information that you need. 

There Are Usually Minimum Investment Requirements

Typically, mutual funds are going to have minimum investment requirements that you will need to meet. For instance, a mutual fund might have a $4,000 minimum investment, but some might have lower minimum requirements like $2,500. The amount that you will be required to invest at minimum to get started will differ depending on the mutual fund that you’re looking into. It’s always worth considering the terms of the mutual fund before moving forward. 

Mutual Funds Can Be Very Hands-Off

One great thing about mutual funds is that they can be very hands-off investments. You can set it up so that investments will be made automatically. This allows you to just sit back and watch your investment fund work to grow your wealth over time. If you’re looking for an easy type of investment that won’t take up a lot of your time, then mutual funds will be very appealing to you. 

There Are Different Types of Mutual Funds

The first thing that you should know is that there are different types of mutual funds out there that you can choose to invest in. Many of the most popular mutual funds are known as bond funds, and these funds are mostly invested in stocks. Bond funds are also widely utilized, and they are focused primarily on bond investments. Money market funds are also available as a low-risk investment in short-term securities. 

Mutual Funds Work Well with Your IRA

Of course, you need to consider the taxes on your earnings from the mutual fund investment. Knowing this, it’s good to consider using an IRA along with your mutual fund since you can enjoy certain tax advantages. If you wish to keep as much of your profits as possible, then it’s worth setting up an IRA before you go through with mutual fund investment. If you’re serious about investing, then you likely already have an IRA.

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IRS Sees Billions in Crypto Seizures

One of the major issues that have been plaguing cryptocurrency traders and holders is the ever-growing number of government seizures. From Japan to the United States, there have been many instances where law enforcement agencies have seized cryptocurrency holdings – whether it be from individuals or businesses. One agency in particular that has seen a significant amount of success in these endeavors is IRS agents who have made billions by seizing crypto assets. In this post, we will outline 5 potential reasons why IRS sees billions in crypto seizures.

Cracking Down on Illegal Transactions and Money Laundering

One of the main reasons why the IRS is cracking down on what it sees as illegal transactions and money laundering is because most cryptocurrencies were designed to bypass third-party influence, thus making them ideal for criminal activities such as tax evasion and money laundering. When we look at Bitcoin in particular – the most popular cryptocurrency today – it was created in 2008 in order to eliminate the need for any bank or government involvement during transactions.

Lack of Paper Trails

Another motivator behind IRS seizing cryptocurrencies is the absence of a paper trail. Unlike when dealing with fiat currencies (dollars, euros, pounds, etc.), there is no physical proof of your ownership of the cryptocurrency. This means that when you sell or trade your digital currency, there is no seller or buyer information to prove that the transaction actually happened. Essentially, this provides an opportunity for anyone to sell their coins without it being associated with them.

Lack of Transparency

There’s also a lack of transparency involved in Bitcoin transactions. Since Bitcoin was designed for anonymity, it’s virtually impossible to determine the identity of the sender and receiver just by looking at wallets. This makes it extremely tough to prove that cryptocurrency was received illegally or involved in criminal activity.

Fear of Losing Out

Another important aspect is that Bitcoin has become incredibly popular recently, which means there is more and more competition among traders and investors to sell their Bitcoins. This has led some people to avoid reporting their cryptocurrency activity, while others have even resorted to illegal measures in order to avoid losing out on huge profits.

Fear of Doing the Wrong Thing

Finally, another reason why IRS is seeing so much success with seizing cryptocurrencies is that most people don’t know whether they should report their cryptocurrency transactions to the IRS or not. This is one of the main reasons why we’ve seen a significant increase in tax evasion and money laundering recently.

The Future of Cryptocurrency

Even with all these obstacles, there’s no doubt that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple will continue to grow and even replace fiat currencies in the near future. Many European countries such as Sweden and Russia have started embracing digital currency payments, which shows that many governments are willing to explore new technologies like cryptocurrency.

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Improve Your Results with These Investment Tips

Investing money is something that you need to focus on if you want to get good results. You can’t expect to turn a profit if you just make moves without thinking them through. Look at these investment tips that can help you to improve your results over time. You should be able to put yourself in a much better financial position if you follow the advice well. 

Invest in Stocks That You Know

Investing in stocks that you know is generally going to be better than taking a gamble on an unknown entity. If you invest in companies that you know nothing about, then you’ll have no way of knowing whether you’re making a good move. Also, it’s important to know about the types of stocks that you’re investing in. If you have no knowledge of a specific industry, then you might want to learn about it before you start investing money. 

Try to Diversify

Diversifying isn’t just some fancy term that people throw around in the investment world. You should try to diversify your investments so that you can lower the risk of having your investments wiped out. If all of your eggs are in one basket, then a market crash or dip in that area could ruin you financially. Having a diverse portfolio spreads things out so that you won’t be hurt so bad by market problems in a specific area. 

Learn When to Sell a Stock

Knowing when to sell a stock is a skill that you will want to hone over time. Sometimes getting greedy and hanging onto a stock for too long can lead to ample amounts of regret. You don’t want to hang onto a stock so long that it will start to lose value again. If you see a good opportunity to make some money on your investment, then it might be wise to take it. 

Avoid Emotional Attachment

Emotional attachment is something that will hold you back in the investment world. This is true whether you’re investing in stocks or real estate. Don’t let your emotions sway your judgment when you’re trying to make investment decisions. You should invest money based on data and trying to turn a profit rather than being emotionally invested in something.

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Winter Home Maintenance Tips

With colder weather on the way, it’s imperative for homeowners to ensure their homes are in tip-top shape before the worst of winter hits. Here are some of the top 3 winter home maintenance tips.

1. Clean Up Your Foliage

The number one issues with having trees or shrubbery growing on a property are their potential for damage during harsh weather or if they become weighed down by things like snow. To mitigate the damage to a home or property, it’s a good idea to trim back the dead or overgrown trees and shrubs. Making these things more manageable will clean up the area around a home that could pose a danger.

Additionally, cleaning up the fallen leaves or branches from a home’s gutters or downspouts is equally as essential as trimming the source of the cloggers.

2. Check Your Home for Weatherproofing

Performing a routine check on a home’s roof or windows could end up saving a homeowner some of the cost of keeping a house warm. Whether a homeowner employs the help of a roofing company to do an inspection or they climb up a ladder to do it themselves, checking a home’s roof for broken or missing shingles could mean the difference between a frozen puddle in the kitchen and a warm household.

In addition to the roof, checking or re-sealing the windows will assist in keeping the cold out and the heat in once those frozen winter months settle in.

3. Pumps & Pipes

Testing and unclogging a sump pump if a home has one could prevent a flooding disaster before it happens. Every homeowner with a sump pump would be wise to check it before the frozen months set in.

Additionally, freeze-proofing pipes could mean the difference between burst pipes and warm running water during the coldest weather. Whether a homeowner treats this by running a trickle of water overnight or installing insulation around the pipes is largely subjective but highly recommended.

Keeping a Home Safe

Winter is coming, and with it, homeowners need to gear up to maintain their homes and ensure the safety of everything inside. Some of the best winter home maintenance tips are everyday things that make a big difference.

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California and Tennessee to Receive Tax Relief Following Disasters

California and Tennessee have been plagued by natural disasters in recent weeks. Californians have been affected by massive wildfires, while Tennesseeans have struggled with storm damage. In light of this, the federal government is offering affected citizens some tax relief options.

California wildfire victims residing in the counties of Lassen, Placer, Plumas, or Nevada, have until November 15th, 2021 to file individual and business returns or payments. This includes quarterly tax payments, excise tax returns, and quarterly payroll. November 15th will also serve as the new deadline for those who had received an extension on their 2020 returns.

Penalties on payments that were due between July 14th and July 29th of 2021 will also be forgiven if the payments were made by July 29.

Tennessee residents or business owners who were impacted by storm damage in Houston, Dickson, Humphreys, or Hickman county also qualify for tax relief. Those who had received an extension to their 2020 returns will now have until January 3rd, 2022 to file. That is also the new deadline for the quarterly tax payments that would’ve normally been due in September of 2021.

Penalties on payments that were due between August 21st and September 7th of 2021 will be dropped if the payments were made by September 7th of 2021.

If you’re a victim of the California fires or Tennessee storms and you receive a notice from the IRS that you’re being penalized for late filing or late payment but you believe you qualify for the tax extensions, you can contact the number on the notice. Explain your situation and they’ll be able to help you determine if you are eligible and if you are, they can remove the penalty from your file.

The IRS is making every attempt to automatically identify taxpayers who reside in the areas covered by the disaster extensions. When they identify these people, they apply the filing and payment relief options to their accounts. This means, that if you live in the affected areas mentioned, you shouldn’t need to contact the IRS to receive your tax extension.

If however, you are a victim of the fires or storm damage that lives outside of the mentioned counties, you will need to contact the IRS at (866) 562-5227 to request the tax relief.

This article was originally published on JBowmanAccountant.net

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Tax Breaks for Homeowners

While there are many opportunities to create financial wealth and safety in America, few are as powerful as owning a home. Even with decades of mortgage payments, the relative size of those payments usually declines over time as wages rise but the payments stay flat. Also, home values tend to go up over time, representing another way to secure wealth in a home.

Once a mortgage is paid off, families own their own homes and just have to pay taxes and maintenance, seriously freeing their regular income from one of life’s biggest expenses. The advantages don’t stop there. Multiple law enforcement agencies and municipal governments have learned that crime goes way down in communities where at least a third of the residents own their homes as compared to renting.

Buying a home isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s often the biggest single expense most families will make in their lifetimes. Fortunately, there are many tax breaks homeowners can use to make things more affordable.

While there are many opportunities to create financial wealth and safety in America, few are as powerful as owning a home. Even with decades of mortgage payments, the relative size of those payments usually declines over time as wages rise but the payments stay flat. Also, home values tend to go up over time, representing another way to secure wealth in a home.

Once a mortgage is paid off, families own their own homes and just have to pay taxes and maintenance, seriously freeing their regular income from one of life’s biggest expenses. The advantages don’t stop there. Multiple law enforcement agencies and municipal governments have learned that crime goes way down in communities where at least a third of the residents own their homes as compared to renting.

Buying a home isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s often the biggest single expense most families will make in their lifetimes. Fortunately, there are many tax breaks homeowners can use to make things more affordable.

  1. Capital Gains: If you sell your home and profit from it, then capital gains taxes might apply. However, if it was your primary residence, you might be able to keep capital gains without them getting taxed.
  2. Discount Points: When you get a mortgage, you might get to buy discount points that lower the interest rate applied to the loan. Points you buy to lower the interest rate are tax-deductible.
  3. Home Equity Loan Interest: This is just like having a second mortgage. You can deduct the interest you pay on a home equity loan if you took the funds for home improvements.
  4. Home Office Costs: The actual details are up to the IRS on this one, but home office space might get you tax breaks.
  5. Mortgage Insurance: Also known as PMI or private mortgage insurance, it’s there to give your lender protection if you can’t keep up with mortgage payments. You can itemize the cost of this insurance.
  6. Mortgage Interest: The mortgage interest deduction lets you lower taxable income if you do an itemized deduction.
  7. Necessary Improvements: The scope of what is ‘necessary’ is up to the IRS, unfortunately, but certain improvements can qualify as tax deductions.
  8. Property Taxes: These are often applied at the state and municipal levels. Depending on how you file, you can deduct $5,000 to $10,000 from your federal taxes.

This article was originally published on JBowmanAccountant.net

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