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Archive for 'Net Worth' Category

Federal tax-relief bill gives many a pay raise

Published 1/19/11  (Modified 3/9/11)

Federal tax-relief bill gives many a pay raise By Jim Sloan

The media made it sound like the tax relief law passed late last year was designed to make a lot of older, rich taxpayers happy with new tax deductions and more favorable federal tax brackets.

But in reality, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 contained a lot of new and extended tax deductions and benefits for those of us just starting out with our careers and businesses.

For starters, the new law included a payroll tax cut on our federal income tax that will put about $112 billion back into the paychecks of some 155 million workers. Any employee who pays into Social Security will see their portion of FICA federal income tax drop from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent.

For the average worker, that translates into a monthly pay increase of about $83 a month. If you have been receiving the Making Work Pay tax credit, which expired at the end of 2010, your raise will be more along the lines of $50 a month. If you earn more than $95,000 a year and weren't eligible for the Making Work Pay credit, you'll get the full 2 percentage point cut from your federal income tax, or nearly $2,000 over the course of the year.

Helping parents, college students

Another important portion of the law was the extension of emergency unemployment benefits for another 13 months. That alone gives an estimated 7 million workers a little breathing

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2011 IRA contribution limits: 3 ways to maximize your retirement tax advantages

Published 10/29/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

2011 IRA contribution limits: 3 ways to maximize your retirement tax advantages By Richard Barrington

Have you ever run a long-distance race?

I find it useful to think of saving money like distance running. If you obsess over the total distance, then each step seems hopelessly insignificant in covering the necessary ground. If instead you just start making those steps, and concentrate on finding a comfortable and consistent pace, you'll find that before you know it, the distance will take care of itself.

In other words, focus on the next step, because that is what you can most directly control.

In terms of saving money, a great way to make that next step is with a contribution to an IRA -- either a traditional or a Roth IRA. To help you make that step, there are a few things you should know about IRAs, including important information on IRA contribution limitations for this year.

1. Traditional and Roth IRA contribution limitations

Both traditional and Roth IRAs have certain tax advantages, which will be discussed below in "Deciding on a traditional vs. a Roth IRA." However, for anyone considering starting an IRA this year or making continued contributions into an IRA account, it's critical to know that there are limits on how much you can contribute to IRAs each year.

To start with the simple part, the basic contribution limits for both traditional and Roth IRAs are the same, and are unchanged for 2011. The only difference is that taxpayers who are aged 50 and over are allowed to make higher,

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Day trading: Do you have what it takes?

Published 8/25/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

This is a guest post from Marc Pearlman.

When people ask me if they could be successful at day trading, my first response is, "Do you know what day trading is?"

Most people don't. You might think day trading is about finding the best online brokerage, grabbing a stack of financial reports, arming yourself with financial blogs and news and then diving in.

What many would-be day traders don't realize is that success doesn't come from the uncanny ability to analyze balance sheets and fundamentals like Warren Buffett. And even if you have the ability to interpret charts and price action--the primary skill for day trading--this is secondary to having the strict discipline of adhering to specific rules and guidelines.

Without these rules in place, day trading is like a child playing with a chainsaw.

I'm not judging the merits of day trading. I know both very successful day traders and those who blew themselves up financially with day trading. (For what it's worth, I know many more of the latter variety.) But if you're going to succeed at this kind of investing, you'd better understand what it takes.

What it takes to succeed

Here are observations from my experience as both a professional trader and money manager about what it takes to succeed at day trading:

  • Hard work. Brains don't hurt, but day trading is a skill, and that skill needs to be developed by treating this as a business. A lot of people day trade as a side avocation or hobby, maybe because it seems
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Investing tips for today: Q&A with money expert Saly Glassman

Published 8/10/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By Barbara Marquand

In the wake of the financial meltdown, top money expert Saly Glassman says investors need to take responsibility of their finances and get their investments back on track. Glassman, ranked the nation's No. 1 woman financial advisor by Barron's, is author of "It's About More Than the Money: Investment Wisdom for Building a Better Life" (FT Press: 2010).

We recently chatted with her about today's hot personal money management issues, from coping with losses to investing independently with discount brokers.

MoneyBlueBook.com: What's your advice for investors coping with losses?

Saly Glassman: The best way to deal with a loss is to step back and make an unemotional evaluation of what happened. By looking with more objectivity at the situation, you can analyze what role you played in contributing to that loss. Were you overextended with your borrowing? Did you have unrealistic expectations with that return? Did you not save enough? Did you not do enough research on the kind of investments you were buying and the person who was advising you? Ask yourself, "What role did I play in the loss that I incurred?"

If you say, "It's everybody else's fault," where does that take you? How can you be part of the solution if you had nothing to do with the problem?

MBB: What are the biggest mistakes investors have made in the last two years?

Glassman: Common mistakes

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February 2010: Net Worth Report and Making Money By Blogging

Published 2/28/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

In case you haven't noticed, I've been taking somewhat of a financial blogging hiatus for the last few months. However, during this period of time, I've been spending my days productively - traveling overseas, tending to my other online and real world ventures, as well as scouting out opportunities in areas that remain yet untapped. It's not easy spotting the next big thing, particularly in the realm of online money making ideas, but I have a few new interesting ideas in mind. Perhaps one of these days once I've worked them out in my head and actually tested them out, I'll share a few of the better ones with readers.

Of course, until I find a way to definitively achieve financial independence or acquire a method to ensure a guaranteed passive income stream, I will inevitably have to end my extended vacation and return to my full time job sometime in the next few weeks. Thus I'll be getting back to my regular full time day job as a self employed attorney and part time gig as a blogger very shortly. Blogging has been an interesting part time job for me for the last two years (bringing in a very steady and rather lucrative income stream), however at some point, the inevitable pangs of writer's block and declined motivation inevitably creep. Thus it was nice to finally get away and get a multiple month breather after all this time. However, now that I've taken my sabbatical, spent time with the family, and pursued other extracurricular activities,

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January 2010: Net Worth Update and Paying Estimated Taxes

Published 1/30/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

The first month of the new year was a good month for me financially. Now you must be wondering to yourself - how can that possibly be - especially considering that my calculated net worth dropped in excess of $15,000 for the month of January. Well, because I only show a singular snapshot of my financial picture in each of my monthly net worth updates - they generally don't reveal sufficient cash flow numbers to offer one a complete picture of my true financial health from all appropriate angles. Thus, the balance sheet numbers reflected on these reports can at times be somewhat misleading, as in this particular case. At first blush, my January numbers would seem to suggest that this particular month was a disappointing one. But truth be told, in terms of earnings stability and projected future income potential, January 2010 was yet another reliably steady month for me.

For January 2010, the combined income accumulated from this personal finance blog, the revenue generated by my other online affiliate ventures, and the part time income I earned from my small legal practice as an attorney - all saw slight increases. However, much of the income stats were gobbled up by the hefty estimated tax payments I had to make to the federal and state government during the month. Because I operate my small business and solo legal practice using a cash basis form of accounting, I don't spread the estimated quarterly tax payments evenly throughout the year, but rather record them on

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