Author - Jean Keener, CRPC®, CFDP®

1
How to Maximize Social Security Survivor’s Benefits
2
Got a College Scholarship? Congratulations, But Beware of Taxes
3
Stop Identity Theft Before It Stops You
4
Here’s What You Need to Know For the 2010 Required Minimum Distribution
5
Strategies For Getting A College Scholarship

How to Maximize Social Security Survivor’s Benefits

When you think of Social Security, you probably think of retirement. However, Social Security can also provide much-needed income to your family members when you die, making their financial lives easier.

Your family may be entitled to receive survivor’s benefits based on your work record

When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits (based on your earnings record) if you worked, paid Social Security taxes, and earned enough work credits. The number of credits you need depends on your age when you die, however, no one needs more than 40 credits (10 years …

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Got a College Scholarship? Congratulations, But Beware of Taxes

So, your child received a college scholarship.  Congratulations!  But before you start adjusting your college budgets, you need to consider any taxes due on the scholarship.

If a scholarship is used to pay for college tuition, fees, books, or required equipment, it’s not taxable. But if the scholarship is used to cover room and board, travel costs, or optional equipment, or if it’s awarded as payment for teaching, research, or some other required service, then it is taxable.

With most scholarships, the recipient can decide how to apply the money. Your first instinct may be to have your child apply …

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Stop Identity Theft Before It Stops You

Tips on avoiding identity theft are everywhere, and we probably all know someone who’s had to deal with this issue. But even though we’re all aware of the risk, it’s sometimes easy to become lax in taking regular precautions. So here’s your reminder to stay on top of this, and some easy reference points to help make it take less time. We can never protect ourselves completely, but we can certainly make identity theft a lot more difficult and less likely.

Rreview your credit report periodically. Check to make sure that all the information contained in it is correct, and
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Here’s What You Need to Know For the 2010 Required Minimum Distribution

Required minimum distributions, often referred to as RMDs, are amounts the federal government requires you to withdraw annually from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans after you reach age 70½ (or, in some cases, after you retire). RMDs are also required if you inherit an IRA (traditional or Roth) or employer plan account. You can always withdraw more than the minimum amount from your IRA or plan in any year, but if you withdraw less than the required minimum, you’ll be subject to a federal penalty tax equal to 50% of the shortfall.

In response to deteriorating economic conditions in

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Strategies For Getting A College Scholarship

I attend a quarterly financial planning study group to sharpen my skills, and this month we had an outstanding guest speaker on the topic of maximizing college scholarships. Her name is Catherine Marrs, and she is a Certified Educational Planner in Dallas.

According to Catherine, merit-based scholarships are often much easier to qualify for than need-based. Colleges are often seeking different student profiles to round out their freshman class, so applying to multiple schools increases the opportunity for an attractive scholarship package. Filling out the FAFSA is often necessary to receive merit-based aid as well as need-based, so you should
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