Personal Finance and Tax Tips

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Showcasing Your Home to Sell

by Donn J. Sinclair, MBA – January 4, 2018

Curb to Door Appeal:

Your home’s first impression should entice and appeal to buyers as they pull up to your home. The roof and gutters should be free of any visible leaves and debris. You might hose down the outside and use a soft brush or sponge mop to clean hard to reach windows and frames. Thoroughly clean the front entryway: including windows, the door, and door frame. Do your window and door frames need a quick coat of paint ? Fertilize your lawn early and trim back shrubs and trees to make your home appear larger. Accentuate the grounds with colorful plants and flowers in freshly mulched areas.

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Set the Stage in Your Rooms:

Buyers want and need to imagine that your home should be their home. Start in your home’s main living area and thoroughly clean and de-clutter. This is the best time to pack up your family photos, trophies, posters, etcetera. Maximize your floor and visual space when you clear high traffic areas of excess furnishings. These steps visually expand and brighten your home to allow prospects more space and light to visualize their furnishings in your home. Now clean and clear your way through the rest of your home to make it all sparkle and shine.

Repair and Maintenance:

Most buyers are not looking for a fixer-upper. Rather buyers want to close on their loan and move in with their stuff. From light bulbs to the sink disposal everything that should work – must work. Your buyer should be visualizing enjoying themselves in your home – not making a to do list. Send a positive message that your home has been well maintained. First tackle the least expensive and easiest repairs to whittle down your list. Know your limits and acquire or hire help for those projects beyond your abilities. Remember this is repair and maintenance – not remodel and renovate.

Trash or Treasure:

Cabinets, closets, drawers, built-in shelves, attics, basements, and garages all feel larger and sell faster with less stuff. The fastest, easiest, and nearly painless way to de-clutter is to sort to four areas: move, maybe move, donate, and trash. Trash the trash and don’t look back. Place the donated items in your vehicle and immediately donate these items. Pack both the move and maybe move items and make your final decisions at your new home. Keep your garage, basement, or attic large and open – store your packed items off site with a family member, trusted friend, or at a self-storage facility.

Updated in Rock Hill SC and Charlotte NC

by Donn J. Sinclair, MBA (803)329-0609

January 4, 2018

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Social Security Retirement Estimator

by Kristin P. Sinclair – A Accu Tax – December 14, 2017

The Social Security Retirement Estimator provides you estimates based upon your Social Security earnings record. Please note that these are estimates and not a guarantee of benefits to be paid. The Social Security Administration will provide you with your actual benefit amount when you apply for benefits.

That amount may differ from the estimates for several reasons:

• Your future earnings may increase or decrease from today’s estimate.
• Benefits most likely will be adjusted for cost-of-living increases.
• Today’s estimated benefits are based on current law, and do not account for any future changes in the law. There are concerns about benefits to be paid after 2034. • Military service, railroad employment, or pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax may affect your future benefits.

When Can Use the Retirement Estimator

retirement how to retire

When you have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits, and when you are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record. You must also not be waiting for a decision about your Social Security benefits application for benefits or Medicare benefits. Also you should not use the Social Security Estimator if you are age 62 or older and receiving benefits on another Social Security record; or if you are eligible for a pension based on employment not covered by Social Security.

Please note that when you are receiving only Medicare benefits, then you can still get an estimate. For more information please read: Retirement Information For Medicare Beneficiaries at SSA.gov.

The Social Security Retirement Estimator Link is: https://secure.ssa.gov/acu/ACU_KBA/main.jsp?URL=/apps8z/ARPI/main.jsp?locale=en&LVL=4

Updated in Rock Hill SC and Charlotte NC
by Kristin P. Sinclair December 10, 2017
(803)329-0615

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What is Term Life Insurance?

by Donn J. Sinclair, MBA – December 4, 2017

This is the most basic form of life insurance, and term life insurance is normally the best value for your life insurance dollar. Term life insurance provides life insurance coverage for a specific period of time or term.   This term period can be a 1-year term, 5-year term, and as long as a 30-year term.
term life insurance

The policy owner pays a premium normally monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. As long as the premium is paid on time, then the life insurance policy is in effect until at least the end of the term.

The term life insurance period selected should be long enough to provide life insurance coverage for the years when the insurance proceeds would be needed to replace money or income lost due to the insured’s death. If the insured(s) dies during the term life insurance period, then the insurance amount or beneficial proceeds are paid to the beneficiaries. After the term period expires, if the term life insurance was not extended, then there is no longer any insurance, and no beneficial proceeds to be paid. Most term life insurance policies have maximum issue ages. If you are in your sixties or early seventies, then plan ahead with a term life insurance period to match or exceed your insurance needs.

There are three basic types of term life insurance. Annual renewable term insurance premium rise as you age; however, these policies normally have the lowest early year premiums. These policies are best suited to provide a large amount of insurance coverage at low premiums in the early years; with the expectation that you will have increased income or lower other expenses in the years ahead. Another consideration is that you purchase a 20-year annual renewable term life insurance policy, expecting to need the coverage for less than the full term. Should the insurance need continue longer than expected, then you still have coverage years remaining.

The second type is level premium term life insurance. Here both the insurance amount and the premium are locked in for the life of the term life insurance period. You have the peace of mind of the term life insurance and guaranteed not to rise premiums.

The third type is decreasing term life insurance. This type is quite popular for providing mortgage protection for a surviving spouse. The premiums stay level, and the insurance amount decreases to reflect a decreasing mortgage balance. If the insured dies during the term life insurance period, then the beneficiary receives insurance proceeds which should be sufficient to payoff the mortgage balance.

Decreasing term life insurance may also be beneficial for those with no mortgage, yet child(ren) responsibilities. As children grow and the accompanying financial responsibility decreases, the term life insurance coverage decreases to reflect lower financial responsibilities.

Donn J. Sinclair, MBA (803)329-0609
Charlotte NC/Rock Hill SC and Charleston SC
December 4, 2017


Donn J. Sinclair, MBA is SC insurance licensed in CT, GA, IL, NC, SC, and VA (NIPR #125783). SC Real Estate License #76530, and NRDS #554027312.. @Sinclair Financial Solutions is independently owned and operated. Securities offered through Fortune Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC.

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11 Questions for Home Health Care Providers

by Donn J. Sinclair, MBA – December 5, 2017

When recovering from an injury or illness, your Medicare coverage and your Medigap or Medicare Supplement may pay some of the Home Health Care costs that you incur. When selecting a home care agency for you or a loved one, there are important questions to ask when interviewing home health care agencies.

  1. Private duty home care – what year did the agency first offer that service ?
  2. State licenses – are the agency staff and home health care agency properly licensed in your state ? More specifically, properly licensed to provide care level your physician ordered ?
  3. Which home health care agency staff member coordinates with the patient’s physician to implement the physician developed plan of care ? The plan is evaluated and updated by the agency on what schedule ?
  4. What daily notes are maintained to monitor the progress of the patient ?
  5. Who and how is quality of care supervised and updated ? How frequent are unscheduled agency supervisory visits on the agency staff ?
  6. What are the home health care agency ongoing training mandates for their caregivers ? Who supervises the training ?
  7. How and by whom are after normal business hour emergencies handled ?
  8. Does the home health care agency have on staff nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and other qualified professionals available to provide needed in home care ? If not, with which providers does the home health care agency have an established working relationship ?
  9. How do you obtain a written copy of the home health care agency’s privacy policy, ethics code, and mission statement ?
  10. What screening techniques are used to screen caregivers ? Do these include reference checks, driving records, credit checks, and criminal background investigations ?
  11. Are the home health care agency caregivers W-2 employees or W-9 subcontractors ? Are there any home health care agency incidents of failure to file payroll tax reports, or incidents where the agency failed to pay taxes on a timely basis ?

When it comes to selecting a home health care agency, you should follow the Boy Scouts motto “Be Prepared”. Make certain that you and your loved ones get the care they require and deserve. Also make certain that Medicare and your Medicare Supplement pay as they should for the care received.

 

Donn J. Sinclair, Winthrop MBA

in Charlotte NC and Charleston SC

December 5, 2017   (803)329-0609

DJS: More information is available at Medicare.gov

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