Author - Thomas Fisher, CFP®

1
Assessing the Impact of the Lower US Debt Rating
2
Look Out Below – Jumbo Loan Limits Are Coming Down
3
How To Take A Home Office Deduction
4
If You Haven’t Started Saving Enough For Your Retirement Yet; It May Be To Late
5
4 Better Places to Invest Your Cash

Assessing the Impact of the Lower US Debt Rating

Making good on its earlier warnings, S&P announced after the close of the markets today that it has lowered its long-term credit rating on US debt one notch, from AAA to AA+.

The move was not entirely unexpected, as the recent resolution of the debt ceiling crisis did not seem to meet all of the criteria S&P had previously defined as required to avoid a downgrade.  According to Bloomberg, ratings agency Fitch has also left the door open for a future change in its US debt ratings but no has done nothing yet.

The ratings agency stated that …

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Look Out Below – Jumbo Loan Limits Are Coming Down

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) extended higher limits for so-called conforming mortgages, which helped keep mortgage rates lower for home buyers living in high-priced areas of the US, including New England. Barring a change in current law, the conforming mortgage limit extension will run out for loans originated at the end of September.

One of the functions of now-infamous Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is to purchase and securitize mortgages that fit certain specifications.  Among the criteria is the size of the loan; a single-family loan larger than $729,750 (in certain counties) is considered non-conforming and typically …

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How To Take A Home Office Deduction

The rules for benefiting from the home office deduction are complex, but this shouldn't discourage taxpayers entitled to the deduction from using it.

Who qualifies for the home office deduction?

For starters, there are only two types of work status that might qualify you for the deduction:

Self-employed, or

Working at home for the convenience of your employer. In order to qualify with this status, you’ll need to be able to prove that you aren’t just working at home because you want to. For example, if you have no workspace at your employer’s business location, that would strengthen your claim.…

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If You Haven’t Started Saving Enough For Your Retirement Yet; It May Be To Late

Everyone understands, at some level, the need to save for long-term goals. Buying a house, preparing for retirement, or sending a child to college are goals that we know we have to save for. But how much difference does it make whether we start saving now versus saving later?

When I began studying to become a financial planner, one of the first books I was required to buy was on “the time value of money.” The effect of earning compounding interest is fairly non-intuitive for most people, so it’s one of the first concepts that’s emphasized when you begin studying …

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4 Better Places to Invest Your Cash

With money market accounts paying essentially 0%, what's a saver to do?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of posts on saving for emergencies: why you need an emergency fund, how much you need to have in an emergency fund, and where to invest your emergency fund savings.

Although the first two articles are still relevant, the last one – on where to invest emergency funds – needs some updating.

In the fall of 2008, people were complaining about the fact that one-year CDs were only providing returns of 4%. Today, with five-year CDs yielding 2 1/2% …

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