Stu talks about 8 Basic Money Lessons Everyone Should Know

The news is in, and it’s scary: Americans are falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to financial literacy. A recent study of 29,000 teens across 18 industrialized countries found that financial literacy rates in the United States fell right in the middle of the spectrum, just under Latvia and Poland and right above France and Russia. The most financially literate teens were in Shanghai.

But it’s not just the younger generation that’s lacking in financial know-how; research indicates that only 40 percent of U.S. adults keep a budget, and a third of Americans can’t answer three simple financial questions on topics such as how interest works, how inflation works, and the difference between stocks and funds.

Let’s combat this lack of financial literacy. Here are eight basic money lessons that everyone should know.

1. The earlier you start saving, the better off you’ll be when it’s time to retire, thanks to the “magic” of compounding interest. Saving your money in an interest-bearing account means that it compounds itself over time.

2. If you spend more than you earn, you’ll always be in debt. Simple rule: You must bring in more than you shell out in order to come out ahead. Living not only within, but also below your means is the key to financial security for the long term.

3. There is no reward without risk. If you keep your money safe in a low-interest account, such as a
bank account, you’re passing up on the the chance for higher returns. This may be fine for the short term, but over the long term, riskier investments — such as a highly diversified portfolio (see #4) — have a higher potential to produce significant rewards.

4. Diversification is key. Remember that old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? That really applies to your investments. True diversification is broad and deep, and it helps you weather the inevitable ups and downs of the market. Your financial advisor can help you ensure that your portfolio is truly diversified.

5. Treat managing your money as a lifestyle choice. Decide early on that you will control your money, and make it a habit. Create a balanced budget and stick to it, revisiting it when necessary.

6. Prioritize your spending. When it comes to spending money, what matters most? Is it saving for a new car each year, taking a vacation, or living in a nicer (more expensive) area? Does it make you happier to eat out or to renovate your kitchen? Figure out what is most fulfilling, and then prioritize. Differentiating between needs and wants can help you stay within your budget and still live comfortably.

7. Save smart. Create a financial plan that includes your long-term goals; then, adjust your savings
to meet that plan. Craft your investment and savings activities around your goals, so you can avoid surprises later.

8. Avoid debt. While some debts, such as student loans, mortgages and car loans, are almost unavoidable and help you get where you want to be in life, some types of debt — such as credit card debt — should be avoided if at all possible.

These basic tips are a start, but the financial industry is constantly changing. It’s essential to continue educating yourself and improving your financial literacy in order to make truly well-informed decisions.

Listen below to Stu and Win Damon chat about this topic on Joppa Radio FM 96.3 WJOP Newburyport, MA

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About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu talks about the Income Tax implications of drawing from an IRA

 

Do you have questions about withdrawing from your IRA? We like to describe the potential growth in an IRA as a bell curve, hopefully growing up over the years, and then slowly being drained over the rest of your life expectancy, starting at age 70 ½ years old.

There are three types of withdrawals, also known as distributions:

 

  • Owner withdrawal before age 59 ½, after age 59 ½, and after age 70 ½;
  • Owner passes away and the spouse inherits account;
  • Owner passes away and a non-spouse inherits the account.

Distributions before age 59 1/2. In addition to all applicable federal and state taxes, if you take distributions before age 50 1/2, you’ll also have to pay a 10-percent penalty. However, under certain extenuating circumstances, you may avoid the penalty—though you’ll still owe the taxes. Exempt situations may include:

  • Buying your first home;
  • Paying for a child, grandchild, or spouse’s school;
  • Unreimbursed medical costs that are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income;
  • Health insurance premium costs, if you’re unemployed for 12 weeks or more;
  • In the case of disability or death.

Distributions after age 59 1/2. There are no penalties or restrictions if you take disbursements between the ages of 59 1/2 and 70 1/2. Remember, your interest, dividends, and capital gains will be taxed as ordinary income, so you may owe state and federal taxes.

Distributions after age 70 1/2. Once you turn 70 1/2, you must take distributions. Also known as minimum required distributions or MRDs, if you don’t make these withdrawals, you’ll pay a penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount you should have taken.

If you pass away and your spouse inherits your account. Good news: if your spouse doesn’t need the funds right away, they can roll them over into their own IRA then take distributions after 59 1/2. If they need the funds early and are under age 59 1/2, they can roll the funds into a so-called “Inherited IRA” account and avoid the 10-percent penalty.

If you pass away and a non-spouse inherits your account. If your IRA passes to a non-spouse beneficiary, they may transfer the assets into an inherited IRA beneficiary account. Distributions will depend on your beneficiary’s age and life expectancy, and will be taxed as part of their income.

The rules that govern IRA distribution and inheritance are complex. Meet with a trusted financial advisor to work through the details.

Considering tapping into your IRA? Know the rules first to avoid fees, taxes or penalties.

Listen below to hear Stu and Win Damon review this topic on Joppa Radio 106.1 Newburyport

 

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu chats TAX Reform with Win Damon on FM 96.3 Joppa radio

Tax reform is front and center these days as potential plans for reform are being pushed and are in ASAP mode.  As usual there are so many stories and claims to this extremely huge issue.  After reviewing dozens of articles I am hard pressed to find any that say that reform as it is currently being debated is going to be good for America.

The one argument the GOP continues to use is the “trickle down” theory which says cut tax on the richest and the fruits of the tax cut will trickle down to the masses.  This I find to be unequivocally untrue and in fact it did not work under Reagan or Bush and will fail again if enacted.  The rich and big corporations will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and the middle class will continue to shrink.  The cut will stimulate little job creation, will not repair our crumbling infrastructure, and will most certainly lead to vital cuts for programs such as medicare and social security as well as ballooning the already massive deficit.

In fact, I have not found one article advocating for these cuts that uses any “theory” besides trickle down.  See the articles below among many others that show how amazing these cuts are for the top 1/2 of 1%.  In fact the “pass through” tax break will provide massive tax cuts to the super wealthy.  Please read for yourself below.

http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-gop-tax-plan-middle-class-effects-tpc-analysis-2017-11

https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/republican-leadership-tax-plans-pass-through-tax-break-would-provide-massive  (From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

I hope I am wrong but all the intellectual studies back up my claims.  Trickle down will fail and cause far higher inequality in America.  Again, I hope i am incorrect.

 

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About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu chats on WNBP with Zach Field of ZFDS and the Musical Suite in Newburyport

I really enjoyed my chat with Win Damon and Zach of the Zach Field Drum Studio and the Musical Suite. If you are in Newburyport and want to take drumming lessons or any musical instrument for that matter, local entrepreneur Zach Field is your guy.    My first question to Zach:  How do you balance being a dad and a businessman here in town?  He is so busy with his many endeavors.  Zach is a drum teacher, business owner, and he is very active touring with many different music groups including the Molenes, Live dead, and his own Plum Island Pans. One of my favorites is when he plays his gongs during yoga class on Friday mornings here in town. Experiencing Yoga with live gongs is truly an amazing experience.

The drum studio can be found at http://www.zachfielddrumstudios.com/ and the musical suite at http://www.themusicalsuite.com/ . Reach out anytime and one of Zach’s quality staff will take care of you.  Personally, I didn’t start my drum lessons until I was 49 years old!  It is never too late.  For me, 20 minutes on the drums after a tough day at work is a great way to unwind and change the equilibrium of my mind and body.  Of course I need to use the electronic kit often so I do not disturb the entire family with my drumming!

Please click below to hear our chat with Win Damon on WNBP FM Radio 106.1 and always live on the web at WNBP.com.

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate the many facets of their yearly tax planning.  Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu chats on WNBP with Jeremy of Grand trunk Imports in Newburyport

Every time I walk into the Grand Trunk Imports on Pleasant Street in Newburyport I learn something from owner and manager Jeremy Kirkpatrick.  He is passionate about what he sells and it certainly shows.  Great every day wines and cheese, craft beers, and gifts for the kitchen fill the light and airy store.

It is great having Jeremy on my weekly FM 106.1 WNBP chats with morning guy Win Damon.  I love hearing stories from Jeremy about how he and his family personally travel to Spain, France, and other parts of Europe to the vineyards to see the production of the wines they will eventually sell to their customers here in Newburyport.  Jeremy also has to personally taste every craft beer and wine to make sure it meets his high standards!  It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

Please click below to hear our chat with Win Damon on WNBP FM Radio 106.1 and always live on the web at WNBP.com.

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate the many facets of their yearly tax planning.  Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu and Win Damon chat with Tom Mcgee of Klone Lab Inc on WNBP.com FM 106.1 Newburyport

I enjoy working with and learning from entrepreneurs in all stages of the business life cycle and Tom McGee (on the left in photo) of Klone Lab Inc (www.klonelab.com) fits the bill perfectly.  He is looking to move his 20 person international design firm to Newburyport in an abandoned building on the waterfront next to the water treatment facility.

Currently this building is not being used and would be great for the economy of Newburyport.  20 or more workers will be working downtown and the firm would be able to attract talent from the Boston area who would take the train and the rail trail to the work place.

It is ideas like this that stem from the mind of entrepreneurs that contributes so much to why I love my job.  Some businesses are barely seeds in a persons mind, and I love to help germinate those seeds to help manifest the business idea.  In this case, Klone Lab is a going concern it is really about locating the business in Newburyport in a city where Tom is raising his family.

I certainly hope the mayor and others involved including David Hall who designed the Tannery (among other spaces) in Newburyport can come together and make this abandoned space workable soon.  All of us here in the great city of Newburyport benefit when the economy improves.

Listen below to our chat with “Morning Guy” Win Damon on WNBP FM 1061.1 and streaming on the web at WNBP.com.

 

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Erock Tax lets plan for the 2016 Tax filing Season

Well folks it’s that time of year again:  Dreaded Tax Season.   Lot’s to think about as a new administration takes over.  Will tax cuts benefit you and your family or will the middle class get caught in the middle again in regards to taxes?

For you personally and professionally, it is always best to stay organized throughout the year when planning for your taxes.  Even if you do not open up all the envelopes that arrive each day in the mail it’s ok.  You can simply get a large 10 x 13 envelope and put all your tax documents in it when they come in.  When you are ready we will review all your pertinent forms, get your 2016 returns filed, and start planning for 2017 and beyond!

You see taxes are not about just filling in the forms and forgetting about it.    The planning process is often overlooked but it really is the most important part of the tax filing process, especially if you are self employed and/or pay estimated taxes.  If you plan correctly, you won’t get a huge refund or you won’t owe too much unexpected money come tax payment time.

Please reach out when you have questions; do not wait until you have all your tax documents! Do not let financial and tax issues stress you out.  Get the answers you need in a timely fashion.  You will be glad you did!

Stu has quick video message about the beginning of tax season

https://youtu.be/IHm4cagAF30

Listen below as Stu and morning guy Win Damon chat up this topic on WNBP FM Radio 106.1 in Newburyport, MA and streaming live at WNBP.com .

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

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Stu and Win Damon chat with Bob Pezzella of RMS Mortgage

iStock_000062644558_Full

Stu Steinberg and  Win Damon of WNBP FM 106.1  in Newburyport had a great chat with local mortgage expert Bob Pezzella (NMLS #112811) .  As a local tax guy and entrepreneur, I love to bring others on WNBP for my weekly chats.  Bob fits perfect of course, and now is an amazing time to buy a home.  Click on our radio chat below.

Diligent, meticulous, laser-focused.  This should be your mind-set if you are preparing to buy a home or getting ready to sell the one you’re in…

This holiday-post-election season finds us in a bull market trading off of the idea that lower personal and corporate income taxes will stimulate the economy coupled with the belief that deregulation has been constraining growth.  All week and today the DOW has seen unprecedented highs breaking through 19,000.  A rate hike from the FED next week is virtually 100%.

What does this have to do with your new home sale or purchase?  Higher interest rates will cost you more money per month and for the long haul and can also affect your borrowing power.  You can help minimize this impact by carefully monitoring your credit score and financial profile to ensure that you qualify for the best rates and programs available.

When you’re out holiday shopping and you open a new store charge to reap the large discount that’s offered, make sure you get that first bill and make timely payments. Credit card late payments can crush your credit score, knocking you out of qualifying for the best mortgage opportunities.  In short, get organized now, speak with your financial planner, accountant,  loan office, realtor.  If you’re thinking “Spring Market” NOW is when that preparation starts!

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

 

10 Tips for Stronger Identity Theft Protection

iStock_000043931448_FullIdentity theft is the number one consumer complaint in the country, making it a serious and growing problem. From fraudulent credit card use to misuse of bank accounts to big data breaches, identity thieves use increasingly sophisticated methods to hack and steal personal, sensitive financial data.

More than 34 million Americans experienced identity theft in 2013 alone — that’s about 14 percent of the population — and the financial losses from this crime total more than $24.7 billion each year… almost twice as much as losses from reported burglaries, car theft, and other cases of property theft combined.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. Don’t become one of the millions of victims of identity theft: These 10 tips will help you achieve stronger identity theft protection.

  • Monitor your credit report. You’re legally entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Request your report directly from a different bureau once every four months.
  • Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements. Look for purchases you didn’t make and call your financial institution immediately if you notice anything strange.
  • Shred all documents that contain your personal info. Don’t just throw bills, statements, or even junk mail into the trash or recycle bin; thieves can use anything with your personal details on it to create a false identity.
  • Don’t share personal information on social media or networking sites. Keep your security and privacy settings on “high” and don’t post information that could help thieves assume your identity, like your exact date of birth or your mother’s maiden name.
  • Change your online passwords each month. This makes it harder for would-be hackers to steal your personal data.
  • Use smart passwords. Avoid obvious passwords, like your child’s name, your birthday, or (need we say it) “password.” Instead, use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that would be difficult for hackers to guess; random combinations are better than words from the dictionary. Clear your history, cookies, and saved passwords—especially if you work on a public or shared computer—and never save your passwords on financial sites.
  • Don’t make online financial transactions on an unsecured WiFi connection. Wait to complete any financial transactions, including simply logging in to online accounts, until you’re on a secure network.
  • Use your credit card to shop online. Credit cards tend to offer more protection against fraudulent purchases than do debit cards or online payment systems.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Be aware of emails or popups that look like they’re coming from your bank; before you enter any personal data, be sure to verify that a website is legit.
  • Secure your mail. Invest in a P.O. box or a locking mailbox to keep thieves from stealing personal data in your incoming or outgoing mail.

Finally, if you suspect your data has been compromised, you can request that a fraud alert or a credit freeze be placed on your accounts. Though these aren’t always convenient, as you have to verify your identity before being issued credit, they may protect you from criminal activity.

Sources

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/vit12pr.cfm, http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/12/31/scariest -identity-theft-
statistics/, https://www.ncjrs.gov/spotlight/identity_theft/facts.html, http://washington.cbslocal.com/2 014/07/01/report-10-million-identity-theft-cases-most-common-consumer-complaint-in-

us/, http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0271-signs-identity-
theft, http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/7-ways-protect-yourself-id- theft.aspx#slide=1, http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/credit/how-to-protect-yourself-from- identity-theft/

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu and Win Damon chat with Rabbi Ben Resnick on WNBP

I was very excited to have Rabbi Ben Resnick in the WNBP studio for one of my Tuesday am chats with host Win Damon.  Rabbi Ben is new to the area and takes over at Temple Ahavas Achim, a warm and vibrant community in the Newburyport Area.

We touched on a few topics including the transition from New York City to “sleepy” Newburyport.  Also what is it like to be a Rabbi and what does it mean to have the responsibility that comes along with it.

Please visit http://www.caa-newburyport.org for more information on the Ahavas Achim community and tune in below to hear our chat.  Thanks so much.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

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