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What Happens if You Don’t Get Health Insurance?

Health insurance is easier to get these days, and more Americans are covered now thanks to the Affordable Care Act, known to many as “Obamacare”. But you do have to actually go to the exchange website and sign up, and I know there will be people, such as small business owners, job changers or recent […]

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Changes to New York Estate Tax Laws (Good News!)

Until recently, New York residents who died with estates exceeding $1,000,000 in value were subject to the State estate tax.  (Note: This is separate from the Federal estate tax exclusion, which is $5.34M for 2014.) That all changed on March 31, 2014, when the NY State legislature passed a new budget. The new estate tax […]

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The Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

The Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

This is the seventh post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. There is a lot of confusion about the tax benefits of owning a home.  But what are they? There are several deductions available to homeowners who itemize on their tax return: You can generally deduct the interest on up to $1 million of […]

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Tax Advantages of Retirement Accounts

This is the sixth post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. I’m always surprised when people don’t take advantage of tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Don’t they realize it’s the best deal Uncle Sam has going? Here are four ways saving in a retirement account is better than regular savings or brokerage account: 1. Save Taxes […]

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Five Questions About 529 Plans

Have you been considering opening a 529 college savings plan?  Contributing to our son’s college education is one of my personal goals.  I went to an expensive private university (NYU), and I am still paying down those pesky student loans.  We started a 529 plan with some baby gifts, and have been contributing in small […]

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When to Consider Paying Off Your Mortgage

With interest rates likely to increase, you may be in no hurry to pay off your mortgage.  After all, you may not be able to get such a low interest rate again. But let’s assume you are making good progress on your other financial goals.  You’ve been saving for retirement, emergencies, and other goals; and […]

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What is the AMT and Who Pays It?

This is the fifth post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. I really strive to explain complex topics in a straightforward way.  But the AMT is a toughie. Our “main” tax code is complicated enough.  But there is actually a second set of tax rules: the Alternative Minimum Tax rules. What is the AMT? […]

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financial planning for new parents

Financial Planning Checklist for New Parents

This article appeared first at local parenting blog A Child Grows in Brooklyn. New parents are busy.  When it comes to financial planning, they just want to make sure they are doing the right things for them and not missing anything important.  Perfect for this situation: a checklist! There are eight items on my financial […]

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The Difference between Marginal and Average Tax Rates

This is the fourth post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. You may have heard that the income tax rate on the highest earners is now 39.6%. Wow, does that mean if we make $500,000 we’ll pay $198,000 in federal income tax? Well, no. The rates you hear on the news are the top […]

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Should You Get Help to File Your Taxes?

This is the third post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. Tax time is officially here.  But how should you get it done?  Should you do it yourself or hire outside help? I have mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand, I believe that it is empowering to do your own taxes.  […]

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