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1
2008 Education Tax Breaks Are Expanded in Midwest Disaster Areas
2
Conforming Mortgage Limits Will Go Back Up Eventually
3
Learning How to Manage Volatile Markets
4
If You’re Married, You Can’t File as Single
5
Comprehending Government Bailouts – The Significance of $1 Trillion

2008 Education Tax Breaks Are Expanded in Midwest Disaster Areas

education tax breaksRecently I was listening to an IRS webcast on tax law changes (yes, it’s just as exciting as it sounds!) and something caught my attention. I was already aware that people living in disaster areas are eligible for various kinds of tax relief, but I realized that I’d missed an important fact. You don’t have to live in a disaster area to get a tax break; the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 includes special provisions for educational expenses incurred by students attending college in areas struck by disaster in 2008. This article will be of interest even if

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Conforming Mortgage Limits Will Go Back Up Eventually

conforming mortgage limitsFor buyers in the most expensive housing markets, the rules concerning “conforming” mortgages have been confusing over the last year or so. Conforming mortgages are eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-run companies that together own or guarantee most home mortgages. One benefit of a conforming mortgage is the all-important interest rate: mortgages whose values exceed a specified amount are not conforming and typically carry interest rates that are ¾% or more higher than conforming mortgage rates.

Last year, the conforming loan limit of $417,000 was raised – but technically, it wasn’t.  According to …

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Learning How to Manage Volatile Markets

With the U.S. and world markets experiencing rather dramatic ups and downs in recent months, I’ve been getting more than the usual number of inquiries from clients who want to know how best to weather the predicted storm. “Given the state of the Stock Market, should those of us with much of our money there, just sit tight, or do something ‘more safe’ in the very near future?”

I consult my crystal ball, but it is opaque as always. As I frequently remind anyone who asks, I believe that neither I nor anyone else can reliably predict what will happen

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If You’re Married, You Can’t File as Single

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I’ve learned that it’s not unheard-of for a professional tax preparer to advise a married individual to file his or her tax return using the single filer status. No! No! Bad tax preparer!

Last fall, one of my colleagues sought advice from a group of planners regarding a client whose CPA had advised him and his wife to file their returns separately using “single” filing status.  His inquiry prompted a number of responses from other planners with similar experiences.

Here’s the problem: if you’re married as of the last day of a tax year, …

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Comprehending Government Bailouts – The Significance of $1 Trillion

Humans have no way to relate to the number one trillion. Yet, we hear the number an increasing amount of times, especially as it impacts the US economy. One way to illustrate the enormity of one trillion is to think of it as it relates to time. One million seconds is about 11.5 days. One billion seconds is 32 years, and one trillion seconds is 32,000 years. Starting to get the picture?

James Hamilton identified the following information to make the number more real as it relates to finance:

“A trillion dollars is about the total amount collected in income …

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