Tax reminders? Staying up to date.

Whether it’s literally “tax time” or not, it’s important to recognize that the best way to file your taxes is to stay on top of them year round. This might not sound like a particularly appealing idea to many people, and I understand the sentiment. The truth is that it really only takes a small amount of time to make sure that your information is in order and ready to be filed, and taking even just a few moments a month to double-check everything can dramatically help simplify the filing process.

Apply for a Federal Tax ID        

In addition to keeping track of your personal, financial, and professional information, one of the most important things you can do is ensure that you have the right kind of documentation. The IRS requires certain tax IDs, and you must be able to supply one in many cases in order to file your taxes completely and successfully. Sometimes this number is a Social Security Number, for example, and other times it is an Employer Identification Number. There are a variety of options, and you should pick the one that makes the most sense for your needs. If you don’t already have one, then you should apply for a tax ID.

IRS Application for EIN

You might be concerned if you don’t have the correct ID, and that’s understandable. Before you panic, however, it’s important to realize that you can fill out the IRS application for EIN at almost any time! In fact, most people can complete the application online, and it won’t take you days and days to finish. If you need an EIN but haven’t received one yet, then it’s time to complete the IRS application for EIN and get started!

Apply online for an IRS EIN/Tax ID Number at irs-ein-tax-id.com.

Common Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen and What to Do About It

Identity theft isn’t always at the top of our worries list (which seems to annoyingly expand on a daily basis), but as the years go on, the problem only seems to get worse. The more advanced our security systems get, the more wily identity thieves seem to become. Identity theft is probably more common than you think, so check out some common ways thieves tend to gain access to funds and personal information and ensure you don’t become a part of the statistic.

Filing Your Taxes

Imagine this: You’re doing your duty as a law-abiding American citizen, sitting with a financial advisor to determine any taxes you might owe to the government (or how much you might receive back), when to your surprise, the IRS informs you that you’ve already filed. That’s right, fake tax returns happen every year, and many identity thieves have found great success filing tax returns under other people’s names and collecting the returns they were owed. If this happens to you, and you’re able to prove to the IRS that a fake return was filed, it could take months or years to finally receive the return that was rightfully yours. It’s important to keep an eye on your taxes and be sure to file as soon as you’re able to shorten the window of time in which fake personas may file them for you.

Giving Too Much Away

When we think about the dark side of social media and online interactions, many of us may conjure up images of the aptly titled “Craigslist Killer”, and shy away from posting our personal information to “friends” that may be strangers in disguise behind a foreign computer screen. While many social media outlets will prompt you to ender personal information including your full name, birth date, address, and phone number, it’s in your best interest to leave as many of these queries blank as possible. Even the most minimal personal information tidbits can be used by wily con artists to hack into bank accounts, credit cards, and more. It’s best to follow a “less is more” policy when entering information onto your Facebook or Instagram. If you have children, be certain that they aren’t posting this types of information on their social media profiles as well.

If You Rent a Home

Many Americans are choosing to rent instead of purchase a home these days, as financial constraints and cultural shifts have seen a desire for the flexibility that a home rental can offer. Unfortunately, identity thieves have caught onto this trend. Be careful when searching through listings on sites like HotPads.com, and do your research before meeting up with a potential landlord. Never wire money before seeing the property in person, as there’s no way to get it back (hint, hint: just the word “wire” should tip you off that a prospective landlord might not be who they say they are). Landlords will be asking you for access to a collection of bits of personal information, including your address and social security number. It’s never a bad idea to request a prospective landlord provide proof their screening service. If they don’t use one, consider asking them to use something like MySmartMove landlord credit checks so that your information stays in safe hands.

Invest in a Shredder

Luckily, these days documents are increasingly available online, decreasing the amount of important papers that we must keep and store hidden away from wandering, criminal eyes. However, there are still the occasional physical documents that contain our personal information, so it’s important to properly dispose of these papers so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Purchasing a high-quality shredder is a good life investment, and you’ll find the peace of mind that comes with knowing your information is safe from prying hands is well worth the cost.

Identity theft can have lasting consequences that affect your life for years, including a damaged credit score, so it’s important to take precautions and prevent identity thieves from gaining easy access to your information.

What to Consider Before You Switch Insurance Plans

Whether you have to wait until open enrollment to change your health insurance coverage or your coverage allows you to switch at any time, there are a few things to consider before jumping ship on your medical insurance. Often, the plan you enroll into has a period of time that you are “locked into” the plan, and you may have to wait up to a year to change again. Keeping that in mind, this is an important decision that requires some thought.

Is Your PCP Covered?

Being able to freely see your primary care provider when you need a doctor is one of the most important reasons to carry health insurance. If your doctor is out of network on a new plan, it’s a potentially bad idea to switch. Out of pocket costs can really add up, even for those that are in good health and only see a doctor a few times a year.

Other Types of Insurance

If one of the reasons you want to switch is to have better dental insurance and vision coverage, that’s a very important thing to consider. Paying out of pocket for dental care, even routine cleanings twice a year, can get really expensive, even if your dentist has a sliding scale. If your new plan includes general dentistry and vision exams, it may be time to switch. Another thing to consider is prescription coverage.

Waiting Periods for Eligibility

If your new plan has a substantial waiting period and it’s fairly on par with your current plan, it probably isn’t worth the wait. This is an important question to ask if you’re switching jobs, in which case changing insurance may be unavoidable. COBRA, the type of insurance that covers you between jobs, can be more expensive than staying with your original plan. Even if you have to pay a higher premium to stay with the insurance offered from your old employer, it may be worth it to stay on.

Quality of Care

Another important thing to consider is your quality of care. If you’re happy with what you’re receiving now, it may be a good idea to stick with the plan you have. If a new plan is less expensive and you can keep all of your same doctors, hospitals, and specialist choices, that is of course, a different story.

Bottom-Line Costs

Almost as important as quality of care, the bottom line costs are an important factor when you’re thinking about switching. What are your premiums and deductibles? Obviously, no one can predict the future, but if you’re a reasonably healthy adult with high premiums and low deductibles, it may be time for higher deductibles that may save you money in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Money isn’t the most important thing when it comes to deciding whether to switch health insurance. Your health is paramount, and if your quality of care will go down over just saving a few dollars, it’s better to stick with your current plan. However, if you find a way to keep costs down while keeping the same quality of care, it is a good idea to switch.

 

How to improve your credit score in 5 easy steps

financial docs

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Your credit score is important, and you’ll want to protect it as best you can. With a decent credit score, you can apply for a mortgage, loan, credit card or bank account with relative ease. If a bank or lender sees a poor credit score on your file, this could affect your ability to obtain that product.

Money Saving Expert says that your credit score is more important than you might think, “Since the credit crunch started, way back in 2007, the importance of credit scoring to our financial lives has grown rapidly.”

Tip 1 – Register to Vote

If you’re not on the electoral roll, it’s unlikely you’ll get credit at all, so sign up immediately. If you aren’t eligible to vote in the UK, you could consider sending credit reference agencies proof of residency (utility bills, a UK driving licence, etc) and ask them to add a note to verify this. This should help you get credit.

Tip 2 – Meet all repayments on current loans and show how trustworthy you can be

Any forgotten or late payment gets makes a mark on your credit file. So if you have any loans to repay, make sure you meet repayments on time.

Wonga South Africa recently released a blog post about credit files and they say that many people don’t know the importance of improving your credit history, or even what a credit file is, and so fail to improve much on a ‘poor’ rating. Essentially, credit scoring is about trying to predict your future behaviour based on your past history. So, if you’ve had a payday loan from Wonga and failed to repay it, why would a future loan company trust you to repay another loan?

You need to amend your current spending and repayment habits and after about a year, your credit file should show a dramatic difference. Yes, it requires patience, but it is definitely achievable.

Tip 3 – Cancel unused credit and store cards

Money Saving Expert says, “If you have a range of unused credit cards and lots of available credit, it could be a good idea to cancel some of them. This lowers your available credit and should help.”

BUT, long-standing bank accounts with good credit histories can be a benefit to your credit score, so try leaving them open.

Tip 4 – Pay for insurance up front and not monthly

Monthly insurance payments can have an impact on your credit score. So, if you can pay it all in one go, try and do so.

Tip 5 – Keep personal details the same between applications

If you different job titles or phone numbers/addresses, try to use the same one on every form. It is important to be consistent. If you use different details, you might be flagged up by fraud scoring. Simply keeping some consistency can improve your credit score.

How Settlement Loans Can Help You

life preserverIt is no secret that lawsuits cost a lot of money. And unfortunately, they are needed most by people who do not have the financial support to survive otherwise. Even if you have adequate proof and the upper hand in the case, it could take months, maybe even years until the lawsuit is settled and a verdict is presented. In the meantime, people who cannot afford to pay for the legal costs of carrying on the litigation will need to look for a way to make ends meet. Fortunately, settlement loans can provide some relief.

What exactly are settlement loans?

Advance settlement loans are used by people who are active in an ongoing legal lawsuit that is bound to pay out when it settles in the future. It can be used to cover personal expenses before you receive the settlement payout. With a lawsuit loan, you will be able to pay for your basic needs, legal charges, mortgages, vehicle loans and other expenses even if you are unable to work at a job for a period of time.

Lawsuit funding companies such as Settlement Lenders Inc. offer a variety of funding options to ease the financial burden on their customers during trying times. Most of these companies allow you to pay them only after you have received your settlement amount. As the amount of payout differs from person to person, you will need to discuss with a loan expert to find out exactly how they can help you through the lawsuit process.

Are there different types of settlement loans

The amount you get from a settlement loan depends upon the type of lawsuit, the severity of your loss and the chance you have of winning the case. Some of the most popular types are car accident settlement loans https://settlementlenders.com/car-accident/, slip and fall settlement loans and inheritance loans. Regardless of the type of lawsuit funding, you will have to have retained a lawyer and have all your legal documents in place.

How a settlement loan can help you

A settlement loan can be of great help in a variety of situations. If you are injured in a car accident, you may incur medical bills, while simultaneously experiencing a loss of job due to your injuries. But bills need to be paid on time and even if you burn through your savings, it will become increasingly difficult to survive until you get the settlement amount.  A settlement loan will help you to make ends meet and participate in a legal battle without incurring serious debt.

Another situation that a settlement loan can be useful is when you are named in a person’s will. The distribution of assets is a complicated process that can take up to a year to complete. Paying back loans and other bills, on the other hand cannot wait until the assets are distributed, and a settlement loan will help reduce the financial stress that you are going through.

While choosing a settlement loan, it is vital to find a reliable service provider that will give you the right information. At www.settlementlenders.com, we believe in guiding our clients towards the settlement loans that best fit their requirements. Contact us or apply online and we will work towards providing you the financial assistance you need as soon as possible.

5 Things All Successful Binary Options Traders Have in Common

binary options tradeBinary options trading isn’t for everyone. If you want to be a success, you’ll need to adopt some of the habits of truly successful binary options traders. Here are five such traits they all have in common.

Consistency

When most people think of successful binary options traders, they tend to imagine something more like a gambler who hits a lucky streak. These traders have a skill that allows them to hit jackpot after jackpot throughout their day.

The truth is much different, though. In fact, if you were able to spy on successful binary options traders throughout the day, you probably wouldn’t perceive when they had profited unless you could see their screens.

Our point is that success comes from small victories over and over. Sure, there will be times when you get to cash in on a particularly big wave of wins, but those shouldn’t be the only goal you have in mind when your trading day begins.

They Have a Plan

Achieving this kind of consistency begins with having a binary options trading plan in place. That’s something all successful binary options traders definitely have in common. They don’t sit in front of their computers and consider what every opportunity has to offer.

They’re like hunters who specialize in just one or two forms of prey. These traders look for signs that the trades they want are out there. Fortunately, software helps with this a lot. However, they don’t deviate from their plan just because something flashy catches their eye. This is how a binary options trading plan pays off over time.

Of course, they can modify their plan as necessary, but this doesn’t happen on a daily basis. Then it wouldn’t be a plan – just a list of preferences.

They Are Disciplined

As we just touched on, having a binary options trading plan is worthless if you can’t remain disciplined enough to stick to it. All successful binary options traders are disciplined and continue making it a priority to improve this trait.

Discipline isn’t just about sticking with a plan. Once you find one that produces consistent returns, this will become easier and easier to do. Being disciplined also allows successful traders to try new things and step outside their comfort zones, an essential step to increasing profits over time.

They Expect to Lose

If you listen to new-age advice, this kind of thinking is a death wish. People today are told to envision what they want and never expect negativity in their lives. Somehow this is supposed to provide them with everything they want and nothing they don’t.

Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care about what you believe. There’s no predicting its every movement which means that you’re going to suffer losses from trading binary options every single day.

Successful binary options traders expect this, so, when it happens, they don’t become rattled. They know that some days they’ll lose even more than usual. When that happens, they hardly react. They expect it, so it’s not a big deal. These traders develop plans around this type of forecast, which is how they profit time and time again.

They Have Hobbies

Believe it or not, the most successful binary options traders don’t spend every waking hour in front of their computers. They have friends and family and all the demands that come with both.

They also have other areas of interest. These hobbies provide necessary opportunities to get away from trading binary options and give their brain a bit of a rest.

At the same time, hobbies also give them further opportunities to learn things and improve their skills. These are important mental muscles to build which can then be used to improve your performance with binary options.

Becoming a successful at trading binary options is going to take a lot of work, but if you can adopt the traits we covered above, you’ll find it much easier and will experience increased profits much sooner.

 

For more information:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/hedgestone-group

Catching Some Rays: Top Tips for Saving for Your Next Holiday

You work hard for most of the year so those few weeks of holiday are a welcome break and an excellent opportunity to catch some rays, but the bank balance doesn’t always match your destination aspirations.

Making up the shortfall in your finances so that you can take a well-earned trip with some short-term funding from someone like Captain Cash online, is one option. There are also a number of tips and ideas you can follow in order to save some money for when the holiday date comes around.

Start with the basics

You need the grown-up equivalent of a savings jar if you are going to be able to successfully put aside some money towards your holidays.

Exercising financial prudence on a regular basis is going to help keep your bank balance in a better state over time, but the discipline of separating the money and putting it one step away from temptation, by opening a savings account , is the basic route to achieving your goals.

Think of your savings account as a savings jar and then start transferring whatever spare money that you have over to this account. Having a dedicated savings account that is there for a specific purpose like a holiday, allows you to see exactly where you are with your savings target and can often encourage you to save regularly, when you see an end product for your efforts.

Work out a household budget and see how much spare money you could afford to put aside each month, then set up a regular transfer, in just the same way as you would when paying a bill.

Get real with your finances        

Even the most financially prudent and astute people would probably be surprised at the disparity between what they think they are spending each month and what they are actually spending.

The only way that you get a true financial picture and see what you are spending and where savings can be made, is to do a comprehensive household budget.

It is amazing how many small purchases like a daily coffee on the way to work, can soon add up to a sizeable chunk of money each month. Once you have an accurate picture of your financial expenditure and have worked out how much you need for your holiday plans, you can then set about seeing how far away you are from reality and what steps you need to take to meet your goal.

Family effort

If you are planning a family holiday and will be traveling with kids, you already know just how expensive it can get, as you have to find the money for more plane tickets, hotel rooms and everything else that gets multiplied in that situation.

It is not a bad idea to try and get your children to see the importance of putting money away towards a family goal like a holiday, even if their contribution is going to be understandably small.

If they get a weekly allowance, encourage them to put away a part of that towards the holiday. Even if you don’t intend to use any of their money towards the holiday itself, kids always like the idea of having a bit of their own money to spend on vacation, plus it gives them a good lesson in the importance of saving.

Cash is king

Although technology is doing its best to turn us into a cashless society, the trouble with paying for things with your phone or waving a card at a terminal, is that it is not always that easy to keep track of your spending.

Drawing out the cash that you need for the week and then heading to the grocery store and other places, will almost certainly ensure that you don’t spend as much as you would if you were paying with a card or using your smartphone.

Those special offers and extra items don’t seem so tempting when you have to part with real cash for them rather than charge your card. Try drawing out cash for a few weeks and when it runs out for the week, so does your spending.

You will probably find that you end up spending less when you use cash, which means that if you keep that up for a few months, you will be able to put some extra towards your savings target.

If you start employing some money-saving tactics and become more disciplined with your spending, it could make all the difference to your holiday plans.

Rosie Hart is a personal finance consultant who readily hands out her top tips for saving money around the web in her articles and in online discussions.