Finance

Adult children are eating into parents’ retirement savings: Study

About half of parents with children over 18 say that they’ve put their own retirement savings on the backburner to help their kids, a Bankrate.com survey found. College expenses aren’t the only costs that are draining parents’ resources. Kids’ car payments, cell phone bills and housing expenses add to the stress. Not ready to cut your children off cold turkey? Work together to reach a compromise.

It’s not just millennials who have socially responsible investing in their game plan: Study

New research from Morningstar finds that 72% of all investors are at least moderately interested in sustainable investments. While younger investors have a reputation for investing with environmental and social causes in mind, interest in these investments actually spans generations, research shows. One key distinction in how different generations view sustainable investments: They are keeping different causes and time horizons in mind.

Why that IRS calculator might not be enough to pinpoint your 2019 tax liability

Taxpayers are expected to submit about 153 million income tax returns for 2018, according to the IRS. The loss of certain itemized deductions, as well as failure to withhold the right amount last year, may have led to some surprises for taxpayers this spring. You’ll need accurate inputs to get the best results from the IRS withholding calculator. Even then, it doesn’t tell you how to best withhold for state taxes.

Buying a home for the first time? Avoid these mistakes

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’re likely to make some mistakes, particularly when it comes to making an offer. All homeowners are prone to certain blind spots, often when it comes to shopping for a mortgage and coming up with the down payment. Being pragmatic about the process and setting the right priorities increases your chances of finding an affordable home.

Here are 6 tax breaks you’ll lose on your 2018 return

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the standard deduction increased to $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for married filing jointly in 2018. Nine out of 10 filers are expected to take the standard deduction for 2018. A number of itemized tax breaks are now limited, including a new $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions. Others are gone.

Here’s why the average tax refund check is down 16% from last year

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect in 2018, led the IRS and Treasury to adjust the tax withholding tables, which factor into the amount of income taxes withheld from your pay. The average refund check is $2,640, down more than 16 percent from last year, according to the IRS. Have a side gig? Do you have dependents? Did you itemize deductions in the past? Review your withholding.

Consumer debt hits $4 trillion

Americans’ collective debt surpasses $4 trillion for the first time. Holiday spending, rising student loan balances and a jump in automobile financing at the end of last year helped consumer borrowing reach the new milestone.

Here’s why getting exactly zero back from the IRS might be a good thing

In Montana, nearly 8 percent of filers paid exactly what they owe on their 2016 taxes — resulting in no refund and no tax bill from the IRS, according to an analysis by SmartAsset. About 3 out of 4 taxpayers received a refund for their 2016 taxes, while close to 20 percent underpaid and wound up owing the taxman. Received an outsized refund or a large bill from the IRS? Review your withholding at work.

Five ways to jump-start your tax return

The IRS is expecting to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns for the 2018 tax year. Most eligible filers are expected to get their refunds in less than 21 days, but additional review could lengthen the process. Mid-February to early March is the ideal time to gather your items and review them with your accountant.

One surprising way to beat the SALT deduction cap: Move to a nearby town

A new cap on the deduction for state and local taxes has prompted some New Jersey residents to shop around for lower property taxes. The surprise for these surburban New York City residents: Moving to one nearby town enabled them to substantially reduce their bills. More homebuyers will likely put lower taxes on the top of their priority list once the full effects of new federal tax rules become clear.

Don’t lose your refund — or your shirt — to these common tax scams

Just as sure as Tax Day comes every April, scammers will try to cheat individuals out of their refunds and important personal financial information. Watch out for fraudsters who try to obtain your personal information by impersonating the IRS or who ask you to divulge more details than necessary. Be wary of tax professionals who promise too good to be true results or who are willing to embellish the truth for bigger refunds.

And the Number 1 cause of stress is … money

Money is many Americans’ top worry, ranking higher than health, family and work, according to a recent report from BlackRock. But there is a cure. “Focusing on retirement planning helps alleviate stress and improves your overall well-being today,” BlackRock President Robert Kapito says.

Here’s who is most likely to get a bigger tax refund this year

Tax refunds checks are 8.4 percent less compared to this time last year, thanks to changes ushered in by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While many individuals could receive less back or even owe the IRS, there are still some who will actually receive bigger checks this year. Even if you do get more money back, that’s not all bad news, according to one tax expert.

Why you shouldn’t celebrate that big tax refund

As of the first week of the filing season, the IRS issued an average refund of $1,865. That’s down from $2,035 last year. The new tax law lowered individual income tax rates, roughly doubled the standard deduction, and limited itemized deductions. A large refund suggests you overpaid on taxes in the prior year.

This is the real reason most Americans file for bankruptcy

Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall. While the high cost of health care has historically been a trigger for bankruptcy filings, the research shows that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has not improved things. What most people do not realize, according to one researcher, is that their health insurance may not be enough to protect them.

3 tips to help you boost your tax-free income in retirement

Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k) plans provide investors with an opportunity to pay taxes on savings now, have it accumulate tax-free and take withdrawals without taxes in retirement. In 2019, you can put away up to $19,000 in aggregate in your traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k), plus $6,000 if you’re 50 and over. There are tax implications when you contribute to these accounts, so talk to your financial advisor or accountant.

Work a lot? You can save more for retirement, too

More people are working “side gigs” outside of their 9-to-5 job. Second jobs or side hustles can offer them more opportunities to save for retirement. “Be very goal-focused with your side hustle, instead of spending-focused,” said Christine Russell, senior manager of retirement and annuities at TD Ameritrade.

If you failed to withhold enough tax in 2018, the IRS has a nasty surprise for you

Some early filers took to Twitter to complain about owing taxes or receiving smaller refunds after submitting their 2018 tax returns. As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS and Treasury adjusted the tax withholding tables, which affects the amount of income taxes withheld from your pay. Be sure to review your return and your paycheck to ensure you’re withholding sufficient pay in 2019.

More millennials are demanding these workplace perks

Three out of four millennials are open to finding a new gig, according to a study from LaSalle Network. The top three reasons why millennials leave their jobs: to seek a new role, better benefits and dissatisfaction with their career path at their current employer. Companies are offering student loan assistance and pet insurance to retain younger hires.

These three tax breaks for 2018 are still up in the air

Elected officials must clear a package of breaks in order for you to claim them on your 2018 taxes. These so-called tax extenders include deductions for mortgage insurance and college tuition and fees. You can either wait to file, or you can submit your Form 1040 to the IRS now and file an amended return later if these breaks are renewed.

How to tell if you and your date are ‘financially compatible’

The vast majority of singles say that someone with bad credit is a turnoff. In fact, the higher your credit score when a relationship starts, the less likely you are to break up after the first few years, according to research by the Federal Reserve Board. With Valentine’s Day coming up, this is a good time to get your finances in order.