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How to Lay the Foundation Stones for Financial Security

Many people meander through life with no thoughts on how their retirement will look. They don’t worry about buying a home and are happy to spend what little money they do have the moment it comes into their possession. There is nothing inherently wrong with this happy-go-lucky approach, but if things go badly wrong, you will be caught out big time.

Financial planning might seem like a boring topic, but it could save your bacon in the long run. By taking a few simple steps, you could gain control of your personal finances and secure a future for you and your family. So what are the key things you need to do ensure you have a secure financial future?

Get Your House in Order

In order to create a secure financial plan you can work towards, you need to make a realistic assessment of your current financial position. Make a list of any debts you have, including personal loans, credit card debt, mortgages, etc. Next, create a monthly budget of income and expenditure, which will give you an idea of how much you can afford to save each month.

Goal Planning

To begin with, your number one goal should be to service debt. There is no point in putting money aside to save for the future when you are paying interest on loans. Mortgages are different, of course, but all other short-term debt needs to be paid off, so use what spare cash you have to work towards being debt free.

Once you are debt free, it is time to think about your medium and long-term financial goals. These could be anything from saving towards a college fund for your kids or even your retirement pot. However, you do need to be specific, as one person’s retirement is not the same as another’s!

Risk Management

Life is risky. You could be cruising along, enjoying your job, your home and your wife, when the unexpected happens: you are made redundant, the bank forecloses on your home when you can’t keep up with the mortgage repayments, and your wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Nobody likes to think about such things happening, but they can and do happen. The best way to achieve financial security is to plan for the unexpected, so take steps to minimize the risks and protect your future.

Be Flexible

As you move through life, your priorities will probably change. In your twenties, your priority might be to retire at 50, but kids come along and you realize you need to start planning for their future, too. The important thing here is to be flexible about your financial goals – and how you intend on achieving them.

Take Professional Advice

The financial sector is difficult to navigate without expert advice. Pensions, mortgages, and investment vehicles all require in depth knowledge, so it is sensible to consult with a financial planner Los Angeles such as JSF Financial at each stage of the process. They can help you achieve your goals, so you can take control of your finances sooner rather than later.…

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Everything You Need To Know About Sorting Your Taxes Out

Taxes. They’re unavoidable and sometimes they can seem downright unfair. But why is that? Do you believe you’re paying too much? Have you been penalized for a mistake in the past? Not only are these two factors to be concerned about but even the possibility can make it easy to despair when doing our taxes. With the right preparation, however, you have little to fear. Get your affairs in order and this year’s taxes should be a much more painless affair.

Being smart about property tax

A lot of people think about ways to cut down on their income tax. But what about your property? Did you know there are ways to halt the rise of your property tax and even to lower it? An assessor can spot factors in your home that might make you eligible for relief. Primarily, you can make sure you’re not paying more than your neighbours.

Moving dates

The tax dates have changed this year, so take notice. Besides other changes involving taxes on liquid gases and veteran taxes, this is one of the changes to the system rolling in this year. It’s not too difficult to find out the new dates. Just make sure that when you ask “when are income taxes due” you get the right date for you state.

Avoiding underpayment penalties

When you’re filling in your taxes, it’s not difficult to make a bad estimation and end paying less than you should. In return, however, you’ll get an underpayment penalty. These can often charge you more than what you owe to make up the difference. Avoid underpayment penalties by filling in Form 1040ES from the IRS. It will give you an understanding of how much tax exactly you owe.

Making the right deductions

Finding the deductibles has become an art in filing our taxes. But there are a lot of deductibles that you might have already missed. Do your research on some of the more overlooked tax deductions. Out-of-pocket charitable deductions and baggage fee deductions are just a couple of the many you might not know about.

Avoid tax scams

Tax scams are a very real thing with tax season approaching. Most of them are hoaxes used to gain money from the average person doing taxes. There are others involving elaborate schemes to defraud the government. Getting caught in a tax scam can lose you a lot of money. Worse, it can land you in hot water legally. Learn how to avoid tax scams so you don’t end up paying for it when it’s too late.

Getting assistance

 

Taxes can be a difficult thing to get in order, we all know it. For some who find it more difficult than most, however, help is on hand. Depending on your eligibility, you can get free tax return preparation. Not everyone will qualify for this free assistance, of course. Still, there’s no harm in checking to see if you qualify for free help. Primarily, they’re for those with disabilities or limited English speaking skills, but not exclusively.…

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Are You Sitting On Your Biggest Asset?

When you retire, you may find you are busier than ever before. Seeing friends, helping out with the grandkids, looking after the house, it seems hard to believe that you used to do all of this and work, too. But the best part of retiring is getting more time to spend doing the things that you actually enjoy. When you’ve worked all your life, it is nice to be finally able to do what you want to do for a change and not be at the mercy of your nine to five.

But retirement can be harder than many people realise. It’s odd to think that your working days are done now. This can make some people feel quite useless and redundant. Especially if they have spent years working hard in a job they enjoy. It may leave a big void in a lifestyle that can be difficult to fill.

 

Taking up new hobbies is a good way to keep busy. As you get older, it’s increasingly important that you keep your brain active, too. Keeping your grey matter stimulated is essential in maintaining your mental health. Studies have shown that keeping the brain active can help stave off conditions like dementia and other associated problems that happen as part of the ageing process.

The truth is, a lot of haven’t given our retirement as much as thought as it deserves. What we thought might be an adequate pension may barely cover your primary day to day expenses. And you’ll find with more time on your hands, there are more and more opportunities to spend money. You get very little for free in this world!

Unless you’ve got extra savings, it can be difficult to find extra income once you’ve retired. It could be tempting to go back and try and find a part-time job to earn some extra pennies. But if you have had enough of being in the workplace then it might be something you’d really rather not do.

If you own your home, then downsizing could be an option. By selling your property and moving somewhere smaller, you could significantly boost your savings pot. If you don’t want to move, then you could go for releasing equity in your home. Have a look at http://whichequityrelease.co.uk for more information. Strict regulations mean that even if you were to go down this road, you could still stay in your own home for the rest of your life without paying any rent.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal on your essential bills. You can often save money by changing energy suppliers. There are so many tariffs you can usually find a deal that is, at least, a little cheaper than your current provider. If you’re still paying a mortgage, check your rates are the best on offer, and if not, move lenders. It can be done without as much as hassle as you might think. It’s not too difficult to find ways can help you get more bang for your buck.…

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