Financial Planning and Advice Blog for Syracuse
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Top Tax Reform Changes that Will Impact Your 2018 Return
By January 25, 2019 No Comments
Big tax changes arrived in 2018 courtesy of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. When you go to file your 2018 tax return in 2019, you may be surprised at just how much has changed since you last filed. At HighPoint Advisors, LLC, we want to make sure the only big surprise you get when filing your taxes is how much you’re able to save. Below, we outline some of the biggest tax reform changes that will affect your 2018 taxes.
Standard DeductionIn 2018, the standard deduction increased from $6,350 to $12,000 for single taxpayers, $13,000 to $24,000 for married couples and $9,550 to $18,000 for head of household filers. In turn, this major increase will likely save taxpayers both time and money. However, with an increase in the standard deduction came a reduction in other deductions – meaning the majority of people will no longer benefit from itemizing their deductions.
Personal Exemption and Child Tax CreditIn 2018, we said goodbye to the personal exemption, which once allowed taxpayers to subtract $4,050 from their taxable income for each dependent. On the flipside, the child tax credit was raised to $2,000 from $1,000 for each child age 16 years or younger. For dependants that don’t qualify for the child tax credit, a separate $500 credit is available.
Alimony DeductionEffective January 1, 2019, individuals going through a divorce will no longer be able deduct alimony payments from their taxes. However, divorces and separation agreements signed before 2019 will be grandfathered into the new law.
Other Itemized DeductionsFor the 2018 tax year, taxpayers will no longer be able to claim a number of deductions, including, but not limited to:
- Moving expenses
- Job expenses
- Tax preparation fees
- Investment fees
- Credit card convenience fees
- IRA account fees
- Unreimbursed employee expenses
Planning for the Future: Defining Your Financial Goals
By November 1, 2018 No Comments
A smart way to work towards long term financial stability is by developing a thorough plan that includes precise financial goals. But while this may sound simple, devising goals that suit your situation can be difficult – especially because it’s hard to determine where you’ll be several years down the line. Fortunately, there are ways to make financial planning easier. To help clarify the process, HighPoint Advisors, LLC offers four important steps to take when you’re creating financial goals.
1. Pair up with a financial advisor.
Setting financial goals is certainly feasible on your own, but financial advisors offer hands-on experience that can help you pursue your goals. An experienced financial advisor can help guide you along the path to each goal through valuable advice concerning investments, insurance, savings and other factors. And while it's possible to learn about financial planning online or from books, there's no substitute for the experience and insights provided by a seasoned advisor working with your goals in mind.
2. Identify the things that matter most.
Whether you’re just establishing your career or are an experienced professional, your financial plan should naturally incorporate anything that will have a serious effect on your financial situation. Do you expect to be married, and will children be a part of the picture? Would you like to own a home? Is a high-quality vehicle important in your everyday life? Are you interested in early retirement? These things all deserve a place in your financial plan. Once you’ve identified them, try to organize them in order of importance, so your advisor knows which you’d like to prioritize.
3. Develop an in-depth budget.
Creating a budget is an essential step in the development and pursuit of your financial goals. The most effective budgets should concern how all of your funds are used by allotting certain amounts for bills, necessities and any other expenses, as well as money that can be added to savings accounts or used for recreation, hobbies and the like. This is another step of the process where a financial advisor may prove invaluable, as these professionals are adept at approaching your financial situation with a comprehensive point of view.
4. Set goals with specific time criteria and actionable steps.
A prudent way to move forward with your financial goals is by setting strict deadlines. For example, if you’d like to save up for a down payment for a house, take a proactive approach. Choose a date by which you’d like to have the money, and determine a per-paycheck amount that you can set aside in order to achieve that goal. An advisor can help you understand what's realistic in your current financial situation and guide you toward success.
Consult a Financial Professional
There’s no need to plan your financial future without a helping hand. For reliable financial services in Central New York, choose the professionals at HighPoint Advisors, LLC. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual...