Financial Wellness @ Work

Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Problem With Tax Preparation Software

A couple of weeks ago, I received a desperate email from Alex who was using tax preparation software to help him prepare his tax return. It seems he thought he could avoid taxation on his 401(k) from his prior employer by rolling it directly into a Roth IRA.  While it’s true he could directly roll funds from his 401(k) to a Roth IRA, it is NOT true that this will avoid taxation. Only after-tax money may be deposited into a Roth IRA, therefore the amount rolled over—a sum of nearly $20,000—would be treated as taxable income for the year. Read more

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When To Hire a Tax Preparer

It’s February, and that usually means that you are ready for winter to be over, you are thinking about what to get that special someone for Valentine’s Day, and you can’t decide whether to do your own taxes or to let someone do your taxes for you. For years, taxpayers have been baffled by the federal income tax system and for good reason. The number of pages in the Wolters Kluher CCH Standard Tax Reporter reached 73,954 in 2013!  However, there’s probably only a handful of those pages that actually apply to the average taxpayer, while the rest of those pages are technical jargon, legalese, and other stuff that’s most irrelevant to you and me.   Read more

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Read The Fine Print Before You Sign

I love it when I get home from a road trip and a story from one of my coworkers is sitting in my inbox and makes points so good that they have to become blog posts. I hopped off a train recently and Daphne Winston (my blog buddy) had this nugget for me:

My twin daughters are sophomores at Ohio State University and decided to move off campus for their junior year. This is a rite of passage for college students and my girls are very excited to live with four of their friends in a restored, old house about three blocks from campus. After a fast and furious search, all the kids fell in love with this house, verbally agreed to rent it, and some even signed the rental agreement on the spot.   Read more

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How Should You Do Your Taxes?

I recently opened my mail and found my first tax documents for 2015. You know what that means…it’s the start of tax season! If you’re wondering if there’s an easier and/or cheaper way of accurately doing your taxes, here are some options: Read more

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Be Careful Before You Use Groupon

My boss is a big fan of Groupon.For those of you not familiar with Groupon, it falls into a category of online commerce sometimes called “deal-of-the-day” websites. There are several of these out there, including LivingSocial and Woot, and they all pretty much offer deep discounts on a variety of goods and services.  My brother was the first person I actually knew who used Groupon to buy $25 worth of food at a local restaurant for $15.  Knowing how careful my brother is before he tries things, if he’s used it and it worked, then it must be legitimate. Read more

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3 Ways to Save Money Without Depriving Yourself

Did you make a resolution to save more money this year? According to a recent Fidelity study, that was the most common financial resolution, cited by 55% of respondents. It sounds a lot like the financial equivalent of dieting but here are three ways to save money without depriving yourself:   Read more

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All I Wanted For Christmas Was… a Flu Shot?

For years my friends and colleagues have been telling me to get a flu shot at the onset of flu season and for years I’ve been ignoring them, reluctant to do so for fear of somehow reducing my immunity to the virus or worse yet contracting the flu from the shot itself.  Now before you start sending me nasty emails telling me I’m wrong, let me just say that the Center for Disease Control has beat you to it. The truth is our family has been relatively healthy throughout the years, and my wife and I figured that all the hubbub over the flu shot was to create demand for something I really didn’t think most people needed.  In fact, the only reason I received my first flu shot last year was to appease my loving neighbor who insisted I get one prior to flying out for business. Read more

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An Unusual Place to Shop This Time of Year

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except my wife who found herself making an unexpected, last-minute shopping trip because someone forgot to tell her that they needed formal wear for a Christmas concert the next day. While this may cause the average person to recoil in frustration, read on to see how my wife responded under these less-than-ideal circumstances. What she has to say may just be the little Christmas miracle you’ve been looking for this year. Read more

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Finding Some Extra Jingle, Jingle For the Holidays

As I pulled into the unmanned toll booth on 90W in Chicago recently, I was glad to find I had quite a bit of change in the bottom of my purse since the toll was $1.90 and took coins only.  That got me thinking about all the loose change many people have in their pockets or car cup holders and all the extra coins sitting around in coffee cans, piggy banks, and like in my house – a huge plastic pretzel jar.  The average household has about $58 in loose change based on the typical amount of coins cashed in at Coinstar. Read more

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Out With The Old

As the cold weather settles in for the winter here in the northeast, out come all the wool sweaters and turtlenecks from the back of the closet.  This is also the time of year I do a once over of my wardrobe to prepare for my yearly donation to Goodwill. Now, I don’t have any sweaters that could win in the contest for the ugly Christmas sweater party, but there are a few that I accidentally washed and shrunk that no longer fit. So these shrunken sweaters, along with out-of-fashion cowl neck and peplum tops, need to go. Even the long, flowing waterfall sweaters that I stocked up on last year are no longer fashionable, according to whowhatwear.comRead more

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