Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 10 tax forms you need to know before you file. Also in the news: How Blacks took banking into their own hands, understanding collision and comprehensive insurance, and why you shouldn’t take financial advice from commercials.

10 Tax Forms You Need to Know Before You File
Understanding the 1099s and the W2s.

How Blacks Took Banking Into Their Own Hands
More than 18% of African Americans don’t have traditional bank accounts.

Understanding Collision and Comprehensive Insurance
The important differences.

Don’t Take Financial Advice from Commercials
Don’t forget – they’re trying to sell you something.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 2017 Tax Checklist. Also in the news: How home insurance defends your Super Bowl party mishaps, how using TurboTax could help with your student loans, and new apps to bolster your personal finances.

Super Bowl Party Fouls: How Home Insurance Defends Your Turf
Making sure your party mishaps are covered.

How Using TurboTax Could Help With Your Student Loans
Looking into refinancing options.

2017 Tax Checklist: What to Gather Before Filing
Get your paperwork in order.

Online DIY options to bolster your personal finances
Apps to help you get organized.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Determining the best way to do your taxes. Also in the news: Refinancing an FHA loan, what’s next for the stock market, and why now is the time to hunt for higher rates on your bank accounts.

Determining the Best Way to Do Your Taxes
Finding the way that works best for you.

FHA Streamline Refinance: 5 Strict Conditions
Meeting the tough requirements.

Trump’s in, Dow Hits 20,000: What’s Next for the Market?
Looking at the market under a new administration.

Now’s the time: Hunt for higher rates on your bank accounts
It’s a year of rising interest rates.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: IRS changes you should know about before filing taxes. Also in the news: How to avoid your parents’ money mistakes, how to avoid tax scammers, and what to do when you’re struggling with student debt.

IRS Changes You Should Know About Before Filing Your Taxes
New rules for the new year.

How Can I Avoid My Parents’ Money Mistakes?
Charting your own financial path.

As Tax Season Approaches, So Do Scammers
Be on the lookout.

Struggling with student debt? Here are 6 things you should know
Don’t ignore the problem.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 things you should know about the Dow hitting 20,000. Also in the news: Starting 2017 with a financial cleanse, how to protect your finances during a divorce, and tax-preparation tips for early birds.

3 Things You Should Know About the Dow Hitting 20,000
Breaking the 20K mark.

Start 2017 With a Financial Cleanse
Resetting your financial baseline.

4 Ways to Protect Your Finances During a Divorce
Protecting yourself during a difficult time.

January Tax-Preparation Tips for Early Birds
Getting an early start.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 financial goals to set in 2017. Also in the news: What you should do with rising home equity credit rates, simple tasks to prepare you for tax season, and 7 ways to prepare for an unpaid maternity leave.

5 Financial Goals to Set in 2017
Short-term and long-term.

Home Equity Line of Credit Rates to Rise; What Should You Do?
Assessing your options.

These Simple Tasks Prepare You for Tax Season
Getting your documents in order.

7 Ways to Prepare for an Unpaid Maternity Leave
Creating a less stressful maternity leave.

Q&A: These heirs worry their parents aren’t doing enough to minimize estate taxes

Dear Liz: My parents, ages 75 and 76, have established an irrevocable gift trust for my five siblings and me. Wonderful! With the single trust, they have maxed out their lifetime gifting exemption. What else can they do with their other investments to minimize the inevitable estate taxes that will come with their deaths? They have lived a frugal life of caution and reserve, but before their nest egg can be distributed to their heirs, the government will extract millions of dollars.

Answer: If your parents maxed out their lifetime gift exemption, that means they contributed more than $10 million to the trust. It also probably means they employed an estate-planning attorney, since such trusts aren’t typically do-it-yourself projects. If that’s the case, the attorney probably has reviewed with them their other options for minimizing taxes.

They could, for example, give each sibling $28,000 ($14,000 from each parent) each year — and make similar gifts to each sibling’s spouse and children, if they were so inclined. This annual exemption limit is separate from the lifetime gifting exemption they’ve already used. If each of you is married with two kids, that would move $672,000 out of their combined estates each year.

Another way to move money out of their taxable estate, either now or at their deaths, is to donate to charities.

If they opt not to take further steps, you can take comfort in the fact that the top estate tax rate is 40%, which means the bulk of their estate will still reach their heirs. Also keep in mind that you’re in rare company — only about two estates out of 1,000 are large enough to trigger an estate tax return, now that exemption limits have been raised to $5.49 million a person.

Q&A: Your gift won’t get you a medical deduction

Dear Liz: A couple I’ve known for years recently adopted 2-year-old twins. Both will need considerable medical care, as they were born to a drug-addicted mother. In sending out announcements, my friends suggested sending funds for the twins’ medical needs, rather than toys. I took note and sent a check earmarked for their healthcare. My question is: Can I include the gift in my own medical deduction for this year’s income taxes?

Answer: No. Only medical expenses paid for yourself, your spouse and your dependents typically qualify for the medical expense deduction on your income tax returns.

The expense isn’t a charitable deduction either. Contributions have to be made to qualified charities to be deductible, and individuals don’t qualify.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

teen-creditToday’s top story: How to safely shop online. Also in the news: The top financial complaints by state, how to lower your tax bill before the end of the year, and 5 ways car ads lie to you.

How to Safely Shop Online
Protect yourself from cyber theft.

Study: The Top Financial Complaints by State in 2016
What’s going on in yours?

How to Lower Your Tax Bill Before Year’s End
There’s still time!

5 ways that car ads lie to you
Don’t get duped.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Advice from people who paid off student loans. Also in the news: How to turn a bad day into a tax break, why Austin, Texas is the best city for job seekers, and the bank account score agencies you’ve never heard of.

Advice From 3 People Who Paid Off Student Loan DebtTips from the experts.

How to Turn a Bad Day Into a Tax Break
Looking for the silver lining.

Study: Austin, Texas, Is the Best City for Job Seekers in 2017
Head to the Lone Star State.

The bank account scoring agencies you’ve never heard of
ChexSystem and Early Warning Services.