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10 Financial Rules for 20-Somethings

Sure, your twenties are a time for experimentation and growth, but they’re also essential for your financial future. Our friends at Kiplinger.com outline 10 financial commandments for 20-somethings. We think they’re good rules Millenials should pay heed to:

Develop a marketable skill—before you can start worrying about what to do with your money, you need to earn some. Think in terms of your career, not just a job. Because let’s face it: you’re probably not going to love your first job, and it won’t be your last job. But you should try to make the best of it. Don’t be afraid to experiment—you need to take risks when you’re younger. Continue reading 10 Financial Rules for 20-Somethings

Tax Day Meal Deals

Our friends at CouponSherpa.com share some outstanding meal deals valid today only. Enjoy some cheap grub on Tax Day – you’ve earned it!

1. Gordon Biersch Pay only $10 for a GB Cheeseburger and handcrafted beer.

2. Ruby’s Diner Enjoy a classic Rubyburger, fries and Classic Shake for just $10.40 today.

3. Spaghetti Warehouse Buy one, get one free Incredible 15-Layer Lasagne, plus enjoy a free Chocolate ‘n Vanilla Cannoli dessert today.

4. Great American Cookies Get a free chocolate chip cookie with coupon.

5. Papa Murphy’s Get a large, 1-topping Fresh Pan pizza for just $10.40 today.

6. Arby’s Enjoy a free order of Curly Fries today with this coupon.

7. Bruegger’s Bagels Get a Big Bagel Bundle for just $10.40.

8. Glory Days Grill Enjoy 10% off your bill today.

9. Pollo Tropical Get 15% off any purchase today.

10. Schlotzsky’s Get a free sandwich today when you buy chips and a drink.

11. Krispy Kreme Present this offer and enjoy a free donut of your choice through April 18.

12. Smokey Bones Enjoy $5 off your purchase today only.

13. Smoothie King Get a 20 oz smoothie for just $2.99 today with coupon.

14. TCBY Enjoy BOGO through April 18 — buy one, get one of equal-or-lesser-value for free.

15. White Castle Get 15% off your purchase today.

Here’s What to do With Your Tax Records

 

 

As Tax Day approaches, many of us are left rummaging through piles of tax records and receipts. Kiplinger.com offer some advice on how to stay organized and minimize that pile of papers.

Keep your actual tax returns forever—they can help when you, say, apply for a mortgage or disability insurance or when you need clues to the value of other assets. You don’t need to keep the originals; you can scan the returns and keep a digital archive.

The IRS generally has up to three years after the tax-filing deadline to initiate an audit, so you should hold on to supporting documents for at least that long. This includes credit-card statements, canceled checks, debit-card transactions and receipts showing deductions; letters from charities reporting gifts; and paperwork re

porting mortgage interest, capital-gains distributions and income. Most people can safely shred those supporting documents three years after the tax-filing deadline, but people who are self-employed or who have a small business, income from a variety of sources or complex tax situations should keep their records longer.

Keep records showing the purchase date and price of stocks and mutual funds in taxable accounts—When you sell the investment, you’ll have to report the purchase date and price so you can establish the basis. Also keep records of reinvested dividends that you’ve already paid taxes on, so you can add them to your basis when you sell and won’t have to pay taxes on them twice. If you inherit any stocks or funds, keep records of the value on the day the original owner died, which will generally be the basis when you sell it.

Keep Form 8606 reporting nondeductible contributions to traditional IRAs—Keep Form 8606 until you withdraw all of the money from the IRAs. That way, you’ll be able to prove that you already paid taxes on the contributions and you won’t have to pay taxes on that portion of the money again when you start taking withdrawals.

Keep records of your home purchase cost and home improvements— You generally aren’t taxed on home-sales profits if you’ve lived in the home for at least two of the past five years and your profit is less than $250,000 if single or $500,000 if married filing jointly. But if you live in the home for a shorter time or have a bigger profit, you may have to pay taxes on part of your profits, and you can add the cost of major home improvements (not basic repairs) to the basis to reduce your taxable again.

·Toss pay stubs as soon as the information matches up with your W-2 for the year—You can toss monthly brokerage statements when the information matches up with your year-end report and your 1099s. You can toss most credit-card receipts that you don’t need for tax purposes after you check them against your monthly bill. And you can usually toss utility, phone and cable bills as soon as the next month’s bill arrives, unless you need them for tax purposes.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes First Time HomeBuyers Make

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Shopping for a home the first time can be scary: Scouring the market, negotiating the best deal and navigating the fine print is enough to overwhelm any new homebuyer.

If you’re in the market for a new home, check out the results of LendingTree.com‘s poll of major lenders. They’ve identified the three biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make – along with some essential tips on overcoming them. Happy house hunting!

Mistake # 1: Shopping for a home without a pre-approved loan

Without a pre-approved home loan, most sellers won’t give you the time of day. Many experienced real estate agents will ask you to get pre-approved (or at the very least, get pre-qualified) with a mortgage lender before they’ll take you shopping. It saves time and helps them weed out the dreamers  from real prospective buyers.

But there’s something in it for you, too: It helps you avoid the experience of falling in love with a home, opening escrow, only to then find out you can’t get financing.

Finally, a pre-approved mortgage is almost like paying cash. Bbeing able to say, “I have loan approval and can close in 30 days” puts you in a stronger bargaining position.

o   TIP: You probably don’t want to advertise to home sellers exactly how much your lender will let you spend. When making an offer, ask your loan officer for a custom letter. If you’re approved for a $400,000 purchase and a $320,000 mortgage, but you’re offering $300,000, your letter should probably say that you’re approved for a $300,000 purchase with a $240,000 mortgage.

Mistake #2: Ignoring first-time buyer programs

Home ownership is such a big deal in the US, that there are tons of organizations and programs designed to help you buy. Ignoring these opportunities can cost you a lot of money. Here is just some of what you might be missing:

o   Down payment assistance (low-interest loans or outright gifts of cash to buy a home).

o   Mortgage Credit Certificates (mortgage interest subsidies through local governments).

o   Revitalization programs (grants for buying homes in areas under redevelopment).

o   HUD homes ($100 down and 50% discounts for first responders, nurses and teachers).

TIP: Most first-time home buyer programs define “first-timer” as someone who has not had an ownership interest in real property in at least three years.

Mistake #3: Only considering 30-year “fixed” rate mortgages

With mortgage rates currently near historic lows, it’s understandable that many want to lock in the low rates via a fixed mortgage. But 30-year fixed rate mortgages aren’t the only home loans to consider. For many first-time home buyers, hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages providing a fixed rate for only a specified number of years may actually be a better choice.

According to the National Association of Realtors, younger home buyers and first-time owners tend to sell and move much sooner than older or repeat buyers. Chances are you’ll pay probably pay more money for a 30-year mortgage, but only get five or seven years out of it.

o   TIP: If you’re considering a larger mortgage (a jumbo or super-jumbo), it makes even more sense to test drive the hybrids. The difference between the hybrid rates and the 30-year rates can be even more than it is with smaller conforming loans.