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Mary's Money Minute Newsletters

May 2017


Pre-Order Your Book Now!: Mary's new book, “Ready To Pull The Retirement Trigger? Your Strategic Guide To Retire With Confidence” went to international best-seller status as an e-book on Amazon in 6 countries. It will be released in its  print version on June 20th and be available in bookstores across America. You can preorder a copy now at your favorite bookstore – like Barnes & Noble , Books-a-Million , Amazon and more!

Tax Benefits of Homeownership: Buying a home can be a major expenditure. Fortunately, federal tax benefits are available to make homeownership more affordable and less expensive. There may also be tax benefits under state law.

Is it Wise to Trade Your Pension for a Lump Sum?: Many pension plan participants have the option to take their money in a lump sum when they retire. And since 2012, an increasing number of large corporate pensions have been implementing "lump-sum windows" during which vested former employees have a limited amount of time (typically 30 to 90 days) to accept or decline buyout offers.

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April 2017


Four Ways to Double the Power of Your Tax Refund: The IRS expects that more than 70% of taxpayers will receive a refund in 2017.¹ What you do with a tax refund is up to you, but here are some ideas that may make your refund twice as valuable.

Converting Retirement Savings to Retirement Income: You've been saving diligently for years, and now it's time to think about how to convert the money in your traditional 401(k)s (or similar workplace savings plans) into retirement income. But hold on, not so fast. You may need to take a few steps first.

What happens to my property if I die without a will? If you die without a will, your property will generally pass according to state law (under the rules for intestate succession). When this happens, the state essentially makes a will for you. The specifics, however, vary from state to state.

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March 2017


Due Date Approaches for 2016 Federal Income Tax Returns: Tax filing season is here again. If you haven't done so already, you'll want to start pulling things together — that includes getting your hands on a copy of last year's tax return and gathering W-2s, 1099s, and deduction records.

Hot Topic: Why Diversification Matters: Why is diversification so important? The simple reason is that it helps ensure that your risk of loss is spread among a number of different investments. The theory is that if some of the investments in your portfolio decline in value, others may rise or hold steady, helping to offset the losses.

What are some tips for creating a home inventory? Imagine having to remember and describe every item in your home, especially after you've been the victim of a fire, theft, or natural disaster. Rather than relying on your  memory, you may want to prepare a home inventory — a detailed record of all your personal property. This record can help substantiate an insurance claim, support a police report when items are stolen, or prove a loss to the IRS. Here are some tips to get started.

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February 2017


Tax Tips for the Self-Employed: When you worked for an employer, payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare were split between you and your employer. Now you must pay a self-employment tax equal to the combined amount that an employee and employer would pay.

Grandparents Can Help Bridge the College Cost Gap: If you're a grandparent who would like to help fund your grandchild's college education, here are some strategies.

Can the IRS waive the 60-day IRA rollover deadline? If you take a distribution from your IRA intending to make a 60-day rollover, but for some reason the funds don't get to the new IRA trustee in time, the tax impact can  be significant.

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January 2017


Wills vs Trusts - is one better than the other: What is a Trust? What is a Will? Which is right for you?

Memory Loss and Retirement Planning: Cognitive impairment (CI), often attributable to dementia or Alzheimer's disease, can have profound implications for your overall health and well-being, particularly during retirement. The cost of care can absorb income and significantly deplete retirement savings.

Growth, Value, or Both: The terms growth and value are often used to describe two different investment strategies, yet many investors may want both qualities in an investment.

Holiday Debt? t's a common occurrence once the holiday season winds down — you reluctantly look at your credit card statement and wince at all the purchases you made over the holidays. Fortunately, there's no need to panic. Consider using one of the following strategies to help pay it off.

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December 2016


Playing Catch-up With Your 401(k) or IRA: A recent survey of baby boomers (ages 53 to 69) found that just 24% were confident they would have enough money to last throughout retirement.

Are You Ending 2016 Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? With so many charities to choose from, it's more important than ever to ensure that your donation is well spent. Check out these six tips that can help you make smart and effective charitable donations. 

What It Means to Be a Financial Caregiver for your Parents: If you are the adult child of aging parents, you may find yourself in the position of someday having to assist them with handling their finances. Whether that time is in the near future or sometime further down the road, there are some steps you can take now to make the process a bit easier.

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November 2016


Hot Topics: Year End Tax Tips: As we approach the end of 2016 Here are a few year-end tax tips for savvy investors who want to pay Uncle Sam less come April 15th.

Are You Ending 2016 Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? How healthy are your finances? How Wise are you about financial matters? Although the year is drawing to a close, you still have time to review your finances. 

Pretax, Roth or After-Tax Contributions: Which should you choose? If your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan allows these options, which is best for you?

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October 2016


Quiz: Test Your Interest Rate Knowledge: In December 2015, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds target rate to a range of 0.25% to 0.50%, the first rate increase from the near-zero range where it had lingered for seven years.

Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2016: Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.

Top Financial Concerns of Baby Boomer, Gen Xers, and Millennials: Many differences exist among baby boomers, Generation Xers, and millennials. But one thing that brings all three generations together is a concern about their financial situations.

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September 2016


Hot Topics: Assisting Your Aging Parents: Caring for an aging parent can present both loving opportunities and difficult challenges – especially when crisis hits.

Five Things to Know About Inherited IRAs: When an IRA owner dies, the IRA proceeds are payable to the named beneficiary--or to the owner's estate if no beneficiary is named. If you've been designated as the beneficiary of a traditional or Roth IRA, it's important that you understand the special rules that apply to "inherited IRAs."

Clusters, Crowdfunding, and Other Ways Small Businesses Survive: Small-business owners must rely on their own ingenuity and innovation to survive. Fortunately, over the past decade, innovation has also emerged in the networks supporting small businesses, helping them acquire much-needed resources.

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August 2016


Hot Topics: Your Money Philosophy: What the heck is a money philosophy? Guess what? You already have one - you just may not know it! Money Philosophy is what you feel money does for you in your life.

Q&A's on Roth 401(k)s: The Roth 401(k) is 10 years old! With 62% of employers now offering this option, it's more likely than not that you can make these contributions. Are you taking advantage of this?

Nearing Retirement? Time to Get Focused: If you are within 10 years of retirement, you've probably spent some time thinking about this major life change. The transition to retirement can seem a bit daunting, even overwhelming. If you find yourself wondering where to begin, the following may help you focus.

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July 2016


Hot Topics: Feeling Ripped off: If you want to hire and advisor but are afraid of getting ripped off, here are a few important things to consider.

Finding and Claiming Forgotten Funds: As a child, you may have dreamed about finding buried treasure, but you probably realized at an early age that it was unlikely you would discover a chest full of pirate booty. However, the possibility that you have unclaimed funds or other assets waiting for you is not a fantasy.

Four Reasons Why People Spend Too Much: You understand the basic financial concepts of budgeting, saving, and monitoring your money. But this doesn't necessarily mean that you're in control of your spending.

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June 2016


Hot Topics: A New Chapter has Begun: Sometimes the new chapter in our life brings sadness, and sometimes it brings joy. Most transitions have some level of financial impact.

Debt Optimization Strategies: Before starting any debt payoff strategy (or combination of strategies), be sure you understand the terms of your debts, including interest rates, terms of payment, and any prepayment or other penalties.

Can I Make Charitable Contributions from my IRA in 2016: Yes, if you qualify. The law authorizing qualified charitable distributions, or QCDs, has recently been made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.

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