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April 2017
Dollar Sense

How Safe are Your Bank Deposits?

If your money is in a bank that isn’t FDIC-insured, you may have to wait until the bank’s assets are sold to get a portion of your money back. You’ll likely be in line behind a long list of creditors. The FDIC estimates you’ll lose an average of 28 cents on the uninsured dollar you have deposited.

Legal Ease

When Good Intentions Go Bad

What you are suggesting doing is what many older people do with their children in an effort to avoid the cost of engaging in estate planning, and because they feel it is a simpler approach and gets them to the same place. However, there are some inherent disadvantages in doing what you suggest.

March 2017
Dollar Sense

Do You Employ a Household Worker? Don’t Run Afoul of the Law

If you’re an employer, then you have tax obligations if you pay one individual $2,000 or more in one calendar year. If you pay $1,000 in a quarter to one employee, you may need to pay federal unemployment tax, and possibly state unemployment...This does not apply to wages paid to your spouse, parent, or your child who is under 21.

Dollar Sense

Get Through Tax Season Unscathed

Deducting Fido. Don’t we all complain that our beloved pets should be tax deductible, given that we probably spent more on their upkeep than we spend on ourselves? But unless Fido is an actual junkyard dog and you own the junkyard, you can’t claim his expenses.

Dollar Sense

Keep Up with the Latest Scams Designed to Steal Your Money

Suppose you never agree to buy anything, but soon you learn that you have indeed agreed to a purchase. When you dispute the charges, the scammers trot out a recorded sales pitch which includes you saying “yes” to the purchase. Of course, the conversation has likely been heavily edited, if not totally fabricated.

Legal Ease

You Can Give Your Estate to Anyone You Want, But Here’s How to Avoid the Possible Ensuing Conflicts

You absolutely have the right to distribute the bulk of your estate to charity and you are not required to leave anything to your children. However, to avoid any legal challenges from your children ... include a provision in your will – and if you have one, your trust – that you are not unmindful of your children, but you have intentionally omitted them as beneficiaries ..

February 2017
Dollar Sense

Butter is for Churning – Not Your Finances: Do You Know what Your Financial Advisor Is Really Up To?

CNBC defines churning this way: It involves “trading in and out of securities — often over a short period of time — in a way that serves no purpose for the investor but generates commissions for the broker.”


Courts have said that generally for a conservative investor, the annualized turnover rate of two suggests there may be churning. A turnover rate of four presumes churning, and six or more is conclusive of excessive trading.

Dollar Sense

Potpourri: Miscellaneous Stuff You Should Know about Money and Taxes

It’s the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, more commonly called the Saver’s Credit. It’s intended to provide lower income individuals with an incentive to save for retirement security.

Legal Ease

Estate Conundrums and Cooperating Offspring

The problem is that if my son won’t act, that only leaves my daughter, who although I love dearly, is totally irresponsible and I really don’t want to put her in charge of any of my affairs. So I am at a loss as to what I should do.

January 2017
Dollar Sense

Home Sweet New Retirement Home? Bitter State Taxes Could Kill the Deal on Where You Choose to Live

But unless money is no object, before you move, check out the overall tax situation. That’s not just state taxes but also sales tax, property tax, death taxes and inheritance taxes. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty surprise that makes life much more expensive than you expected.

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You’ll need to check with your target state to find out how to establish domicile. The definition of domicile varies by state, and failing to meet the qualifications could land you in the position of paying taxes – including estate taxes eventually – to your old state and your new state.

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