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 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

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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.

Income Tax planning for Olympic Medal Winners

I came across an interesting article that happens to get published around Olympics Time every couple of years.  Did you know that the Olympic medals that Olympians win are taxable?  There is also prize money awarded for winning and that is taxable too.

Here is how it works.  Say Michael Phelps wins a gold medal prize of $25,000.  (Silver = $15,000 and Bronze $10,000).  This could be taxable as high as 39.6% for the federal and ~6% for his state.  This is a huge percentage of his earnings, close to 50%!  Now take into account multiple victories and there is potential for a huge tax bill!

There are a few of important factors here.  An athlete in a sport rich with endorsements will obviously be in a higher tax bracket.  So Phelps’s tax issues will be entirely different from many other athletes.  Also, some of the athletes participate as a hobby, and for some it is their business.  So expenses can be used to offset income for many of the athletes who operate their passion as a self employed business.

The value of the medal is also taxed, and this depends on the commodities market. Current values of gold = ~$600, Silver = $300, and bronze is practically worthless. On the open market however a gold medal will be worth far more than its actual value on the open market and at the point it is sold will have capital gains tax implication for the seller.

Tune in below and listen too our chat.  We really do have fun talking about money each week and hope you enjoy our weekly chats.  Please reach out if you ever have any questions!

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.

 

Source:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/08/15/olympics-victory-tax-gold-medal/88587636/

Newburyport by the numbers and Yankee Homecoming 2016

What a great week this is in the seaport city of Newburyport, MA.  It is the week of Yankee Homecoming, with art, music, and events all day for a week.  There is a road race, kayak races, slow bike races, vendors and food trucks all day every day.   There are so many activities for people of all ages.

Check out http://yankeehomecoming.com for all the key events and times.

Please support our great restaurants and shops in town.  Spend the day on the beautiful Plum Island Beaches and in town at night at one of our great restaurants.  It is always great to shop and eat local when we can.

On Tuesday I spoke with morning guy Win Damon on FM Radio 106.1 “The Legends” about our fair city and some of its key data.  The economy has gown in town over the last 15 years, as has the median price for homes and average salary.

We hope to see you soon in our great city!  Give a listen below to our chat.

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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