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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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Brooklyn brownstone

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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marginal tax rate

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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tax filing help

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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itemize deductions

The Reason to Itemize Your Taxes (Or Not)

This is the second post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. Back when you were a young and fancy-free, your taxes were simple as pie. You probably rented a place to live (or these days, lived with your parents), had no kids, and didn’t make that much money anyway. Maybe you could figure out […]

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tax basics

What You Need to Know About Taxes for Your Family

This is the first post in my “Taxes for Your Family” series. Even in a year without the fiscal cliff, taxes are a complicated topic that most of us understand in only a fuzzy way. Forms arrive in the mail and are stashed in an envelope until the meeting with the accountant or a sit-down […]

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