The In’s and Out’s of Family Insurance

It is a question that always gives families pause for concern, as there is never really a right time or a wrong time.

When is a good time to buy insurance?

You may think you don’t need health insurance if you are young and strong, with no known medical problems. Should you get it anyway?

This is only one of the questions facing people as they navigate a complicated insurance maze. Here are some other tips to think about when deciding whether or not to buy insurance.

1. Always Think About Life

If you have reached adult age and are no longer on your parents’ policy, you should think about life insurance of your own. However, single people without dependents may want to hold off. Once you get married, settle down and start thinking about children, that is the perfect time to consider life insurance.

How much life insurance you buy depends on how much you make. If you have arrived at a job where you know you will have a guaranteed salary that goes higher, then you will need to buy a policy that has roughly 20 times the value of a year’s salary. So if you make $100,000 a year, carry a policy worth two million dollars.

Likewise, if you have reached retirement age and do not have any need for assistance – let’s say you either hit the lottery or you invested wisely enough to live comfortably for the rest of your days – then having a life insurance policy would be redundant. Should you pass away, your money, should you choose, will go to your beneficiaries.

2. There’s No Place Like Home

Having a home policy is an important part of owning your own house. You need to insure against terrible acts such as fire, earthquake or tornado affecting your property and tearing it to shreds. However, think about what you need in terms of home insurance. If you have an option built into your mortgage payment where part of your payment goes to taxes and insurance, then you do not need to go any further.

If you have important valuables in your house, check with your company to see if they are covered underneath that policy. If not, then you may want to think about a little extra payment to cover those, or even a small separate policy should take care of the valuables. It is best to play things safe.

3. You Can Drive My Car

Most states require you to have auto insurance before you purchase a car. For items such as deductibles in personal injury and property damage, calculate a deductible you will be able to pay should an accident be your fault and then buy your insurance at that rate. Do not go for just minimum coverage. Buy enough to cover the cost of a car.

Your insurance provider will be truthful to you about what is and is not necessary to purchase for the type of car you own. Check with a company like 21st for a selection of insurance policies at affordable rates.

4. To Your Health

The Affordable Care Act is meant to make sure everyone has some form of health insurance, in order to make rates go down. A potential problem exists here, however. The Internal Revenue Service can force you to pay a penalty if you do not have health insurance. That penalty, even in later years, will be much less than the cost of a health policy.

Many people may choose to simply pay the penalty instead of buying insurance, simply because it is much less expensive. This means, although it wasn’t the government’s intent, it may be in your interest not to buy health insurance if you don’t work for a company that offers it. Time will tell if rates come down or this mandate will be adjusted, but for now it is a viable idea.

Tips like these should help you save money or spend it where you need to do so wisely.

It is the perfect way to insure a good future.

Becoming a Registered Tax Return Preparer

This time of year I start to daydream about the idea of getting a tax preparer certification because it’s so difficult to find a good accountant who will take the time to sit down with you and fully listen to what you do for work. Being a professional blogger and a virtual assistant means I have to claim income from two areas but combine the data into one. This includes product reviews. You see all year long everyone says how lucky I am get to all these fabulous products and opportunities to travel but they forget one little piece of information; I pay taxes on it all and claim it on my Schedule C every single year.

Nothing in life is free and that goes to the idea of becoming a tax preparer. I would love nothing more than to start looking into taking an irs exam to be part of those who do tax preparation for others. If I were to get a certification to become a registered tax return preparer then I would not only be able to fully complete my own self employment taxes each year but I could offer my services to locals who may need a bit of help this time of year but can’t afford the big corporate rates.

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My Experience with Giveback.org

I recently checked out a website Giveback.org and here is the gist of how this all works:

  • Sign up or do what I did and connect using your Facebook account.
  • Check out charities and causes dear to your heart.
  • Add money to your foundation by using a credit card, shopping various retailers that will give back to your foundation (up to 15% of each purchase), engage sponsors for Giveback.org and earn more money to give back.

The Concept

Giving to charities and causes in a way that makes it simply for even those who don’t have a lot of money. With over 400 retailers on Giveback.org you are able to shop for things you need while still being able to give back to your choice of charity or cause.

My Experience

American Cancer Society is the charity I picked.  I had a choice to follow my foundation and I did, but also to donate now or shop retailers to donate to this foundation. I decided to donate to the American Cancer Society. First funds must be added to your account and there is a $2.50 convenience charge to do this. Since I had a total of $25 to donate, I will be donating $22.50 to the American Cancer Society once the funds clear from PayPal to my bank account, because I have to use a credit card (not PayPal) to transfer funds to my Giveback.org account.

I think this was a very positive experience and based on this the only thing I would recommend for Giveback.org is to have a way for people to use PayPal funds as so many people I know may keep “extra” funds in PayPal so that they can donate to charities like this.

Taken from the About GiveBack Page

The Give Back Foundation  was established to allow any person to join GiveBack and set up their personal foundation account. The funds that accumulate in that account are part of the Give Back Foundation. Each member has the ability to direct the funds from their account to any charity in good standing with the United States Internal Revenue Service.

So what do you think? Have you heard of Giveback.org? If not take a moment and check it out, what foundation is important to you?

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post and provided funds to donate to my charity of choice. Experiences and personal opinions are that of my own.

My Least Favorite Thing To Do

I can’t believe we are over half way through the year 2010, time flies when you are having fun, right? Or building a business and blog and family, but anyways … as the year flies by I find myself wanting to make sure that all my accounting records are up to date so that at end of year when I have to file that tax return I am ready to do it fast and accurately. Nothing is worse than the end of year coming along and not having all your business records in an organized order.

I love to stay organized so I use a software program to keep attract of all my business income whether from this blog or my actual DBA Brandy Ellen’s Business Solutions, a virtual assistant business. It is important to have help with tax returns if you don’t understand them even if you are simply filing a personal tax return. There are many financial planning and accountant places that can offer you their services to assist you in making sure that tax return is filed correctly and on time every year.

Whether you are in the United States or another country there are accountants in New Hampshire, Connecticut and even accountants in sydney. It’s all a matter of seeking out the right accountant for your needs. So tell me, do you use an accountant and how do you like using them to keep your financial parts of business in order?

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Car Donations in Illinois For Veterans

Vietnam Veterans Car Donation program benefits the Vietnam Veterans of America, Illinois State Council.  Many may wonder what happens with they donate car to this program? Well they get a tax deduction for this donation because the Vietnam Veterans of America, Illinois State Council is a 501(c)(3) organization and has been approved by the IRS to receive donated items and issue a tax deductible donation receipt for the vehicle donations. Not only is the donation tax deductible but you are helping a veteran in their time of need.

Veterans fought for our freedom and now with a simple act of car donations anyone can help a veteran in their time of need.  After reading more about this program on their website it has amazed me to see how this process works. You donate a vehicle, it gets towed free of charge and from there will be turned into cash to help veteran families through programs provided by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Illinois State Council.

In order to determine what your tax deduction is for this vehicle you look up the fair market value of your vehicle up to $500 and if the vehicle books for more than $500 you will be able to get a 1098-c IRS form showing the higher selling price that can be claimed as a tax deduction on your tax return at end of year. You get to save money by having a vehicle removed for free while still being able to write it off as a charitable donation at end of year. This type of program is a win win for everyone involved as far as I can see after thoroughly reviewing the website.

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