If you are seeking ways to pay for college, there may be some free money that may be available to you.   In the 2017-2018 academic year, full-time undergraduate college students received a total of $8,970 in grant aid.  But the way to free money will require some work, take time now to start your research to see what programs may work for you. 529 Plans and TOPS (Louisiana) Here in the state of Louisiana, we have the Start Saving Plan.  This plan allows participants to save money for students.  One of the advantages of the plan is the state will match
Financial scams are on the rise! According to the Federal Trade Commission, during 2017 the total fraud loss was more than $905 million dollars.  In addition, the median financial loss per person was $429! Each and every day, individuals are targeted by scammers with hopes to steal their financial resources.  But don’t fall, victim!  Tax Scams You receive a phone call from a scammer who threatens to arrest you, garnish your wages and other actions if you do not send money immediately. Keep in mind, the IRS will never make calls of this nature.  More importantly, they will send you
If you are one of the millions of Americans who received a tax refund this year, know that getting a refund may not be in your best interest! Don’t allow Uncle Sam to use your money interest-free! Of course, during this time it is great to get a windfall, but you are only allowing Uncle Sam to use your money interest free throughout the year! But why not change it up! If you get a large refund, consider using the money to reach your financial goals, such as paying down debt. The American Bankers Association estimates a family carries approximately $10,000 in credit card
As we approach another tax season, there may be some items you received during the tax year that may actually be taxable! Gifts Any transfer to a person where money is not received in return is considered a gift. And this may be taxable to the IRS. In most cases, the donor is responsible for gift taxes. However, there may be an agreement in place where the donee would actually pay taxes. Generally, gifts that are not more than the annual exclusion for the calendar year is not taxable. For the year, 2018 and 2019 tax year, the annual exclusion
As we approach week five (5) of the government shutdown, many government workers are finding themselves facing another week without a paycheck.  And while Congress plans to take a vote this week to end the shutdown, many experts believe these bills will not end the government shutdown. While many government employees are impacted by this shutdown, it is a lesson to save more for all of us. Calculate your emergency savings goal First, determine how much you need to set aside for an emergency.  This can be achieved by determining your non-discretionary expenses, which are expenses that are required to
The federal government now approaches two weeks of the partial government shutdown. Government shutdown impacts tax refunds The IRS is only providing partial services.  The IRS will not at this time process tax refunds, process 1040x – amended tax returns and halt examinations and audits.  However, keep in mind, the IRS is still processing tax returns, payments and criminal investigations will continue as planned. With tax season starting January 29th, this is a big deal.  Taxpayers who may rely on their tax refunds (if the government shutdown continues) will more than likely experience delays.  Also, certain agencies will not be
The federal government goes into its second week of a partial government shutdown. President Trump and leaders have come to a halt concerning the funding for a border wall among Mexico borders. The shutdown began shortly before Christmas and White House chief of staff indicated it can “go on for a while.” What agencies are impacted? According to the Wall Street Journal, nine federal agencies are impacted. These include federal agencies such as those that provide museum services, passports and zoos are closed during this time. In addition, some agencies such as Small Business Administration and Federal Housing Administration, who
Here are a few tax deductions that will disappear in the New Year! Personal exemptions Prior to 2018, individuals were able to claim an exemption equivalent to $4,050 per person. This exemption included amounts for individuals, dependents and also spouses included on the tax return. However, this will no longer be the case. Beginning in 2018, individuals will no longer be able to take a personal or dependency exemption. Casualty and theft losses Prior to 2018, individuals were able to take a casualty and theft deduction for losses. For instance, if a person lost property due to a flood or
We are just days away from Christmas! And if you have yet to complete your shopping list, here are a few great gifts that will not break the bank. And more importantly, they are all from local businesses! UglyBettyBoyCrush.com I am in love with UglyBettyBoyCrush stackable bracelets! Also, these bracelets are priced at or near $15 each and can be customized to your preference! Pile them on for a fashionable look and personalized them for your style! Yadig Who doesn’t love a great t-shirt! More importantly, what better way to represent your city? These t-shirts are great for anyone on
Debt can be daunting.  According to Finder.com, millions of Americans take on debt from a current or past relationship totally roughly $250 billion dollars.  The study found that one out of every three individuals surveyed owed a debt from a close relationship (past or even present). And even more eye-opening, the amount of debt averages about $11,000 per individual! But if you find yourself owing money because of someone else, here are a few things you can do now: #1 – Take it as a deduction If someone owes you money, whether it is a friend, former spouse or colleague,
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