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Taxbot
21 hours ago

 

love tax credits. They are a yummy dollar-for-dollar reduction in your taxes. It is like receiving free tax-free money. One such credit that we will be discussing is the dependent care credit.

Generally expenses for the care of children under age 13 and for qualifying relatives, such as aging parents who live with you for more than 6 months during the year and be unable to care for himself or herself, qualify for the credit if these expenses are incurred so you can work or look for a job. 

So how much is this credit? The credit is worth 20% to 35% depending on your income of up to of up to $3,000 in eligible child care expenses per kid; however, the maximum credit that is allowable is on up to $6,000 of expenses if you have two or more kids.

Tax tip: if you sent your child or children to any day camps this summer, such as those for sports, computers, math, theater or just general fun, don’t forget about this tax break. The same goes for camps to help improve your child’s reading or summer skills. However, expenses for summer school, tutoring programs and overnight camps don’t qualify. Go figure.

Also, before and after school- care programs are also eligible for the credit.

Sandy Botkin
Co-founder at Taxbot

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Sandy is a CPA, Tax Attorney, and former IRS trainer. He has authored many helpful books on the subject of taxes, including 7 Simple Ways to Legally Avoid Paying Taxes ( Click Here ), Lower Your Taxes: Big Time ( Click Here ), and Real Estate Tax Secrets of the Rich ( Click Here ).

Taxman
August 22, 2019

 

Some of the terms and acronyms (an abbreviation of the first letters of words in a phrase) people use when they talk about Social Security can be a little confusing. We’re here to help you understand all you need to know.

Social Security employees strive to explain benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. In fact, The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.”

If a technical term or acronym that you don’t know slips into the conversation or appears in written material, you can easily find the meaning in our online glossary.

Social Security’s acronyms function as verbal shorthand in your financial planning conversations. If you’re nearing retirement, you may want to know what PIA (primary insurance amount), FRA (full retirement age), and DRCs (delayed retirement credits) mean. These terms involve your benefit amount based on when you decide to take it.

If you take your retirement benefit at FRA, you’ll receive the full PIA (amount payable for a retired worker who starts benefits at full retirement age). So, FRA is an age and PIA is an amount.

Once you receive benefits, you get a COLA most years. But don’t expect a fizzy drink — a COLA is a Cost of Living Adjustment, and that will usually mean a little extra money in your monthly payment.

What about DRCs? Delayed retirement credits are the incremental increases added to the PIA if you delay taking retirement benefits beyond your full retirement age. If you wait to begin benefits beyond FRA — say, at age 68 or even 70 — your benefit increases.

If one of those unknown terms or acronyms comes up in conversation, you can be the one to supply the definition using our online glossary. Sometimes learning the terminology can deepen your understanding of w Social Security works for you. Discover and share more on our website.

Taxbot
August 21, 2019

 

Over the years, more companies have embraced the concept of telecommuting. When it comes to the telecommuting option, it allows companies to widen their net of prospects for particular jobs. They can open up the jobs to more qualified people who might live in other states. From an employee’s perspective, there are so many benefits involved in working from home. The benefits range from emotional to physical perks. In this case, consider three ways employees financially benefit from telecommuting.

You’ll save money on transportation expenses

Whether your job is an hour away from home or twenty minutes away, you have to get to the job and back home. When you skip that expense in gas, tolls or public transportation fees, you’ll save a significant amount of money by the end of the week. Especially as gas prices continue to rise, there’s nothing like saving more money on transportation.

You can potentially write off more items

Though you’ll be able to save money in the areas of food and transportation, you might spend a little more on expenses like your light bill or other utilities. Consequently, these expenses are directly connected to making sure you can do the best job possible. Thankfully, you can potentially write off some of your expenses during tax time. Whether you’re enjoying a full home office in a views filled luxury home or a corner desk in your one-bedroom metropolitan apartment, you still have to cover expenses like your electric bill. As a result, you can create a deduction line for your home office expenses. Keep your receipts for everything from the printer you had to purchase to the cost of your homeowner’s insurance.

You’ll be able to save money on food

Even if you like to pack your lunch every single day, chances are you’ve purchased a few cups of coffee or a delicious snack to help you make it through that midday slump. When you’re working from home, you have access to the kitchen with food you’ve already purchased. Even if you dine out three times a week, those dollars add up very quickly. So, when you work from home, you’re less likely to grab your keys and head over the local fast-food restaurant.

If you’re in a position where you have the opportunity to work from home, consider the many ways it can benefit your quality of life. Even if you’d like to work from home for one or two days out of the week, it’s worth asking your boss if this is a possibility for you. Consider asking for a trial period to see if it works out for you. It never hurts to try.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

 

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How Much
August 21, 2019

Big companies around the world are reaping the benefits of a strong global economy, with many raking in hundreds of billions of dollars. Every year, Fortune Magazine publishes a ranking of the world’s largest companies by revenue. Our new visualization presents the top 100 companies to make the cut in 2019, including where the companies are located and which industries they represent.

 

  • Combined, the world’s top 100 companies generated more than $15 trillion in revenue.
  • There are 17 countries represented in the top 100 companies. 
  • More than half of the world’s 100 most valuable companies are located in the U.S. (35 companies) or China (23 companies). 
  • The world’s 100 most valuable companies are spread across a variety of industries, with particularly strong representation in energy, motor vehicles, and financial services.

The information for this visualization comes from the Fortune list of Global 500 companies, as ranked by revenue (see the full methodology here). We illustrated the top 100 of these companies in the chart above, with each octagon representing one company. Within each octagon, we included the company’s logo, its revenue, and the country where it is located. The size of each octagon in the visualization is proportional to the company’s revenue, with the larger shapes representing higher revenues. In addition, each company is outlined in a color that represents its industry sector, such as energy, food and retail, and technology.

Top 10 Most Valuable Companies by Revenue

1. Walmart - U.S. - $514 billion
2. Sinopec Group - China - $415 billion
3. Royal Dutch Shell - Netherlands - $397 billion
4. China National Petroleum - China - $393 billion
5. State Grid - China - $387 billion
6. Saudi Aramco - Saudi Arabia - $356 billion
7. BP - Britain - $304 billion
8. Exxon Mobil - U.S. - $290 billion
9. Volkswagen - Germany - $278 billion
10. Toyota Motor - Japan - $273 billion

According to Fortune, overall revenue for the Global 500 grew 9% compared to the year before. Decreases in national corporate taxes have been noted as a reason for higher revenues within U.S. companies, although the federal government is also bringing in less tax revenue as a result of the new tax policy. Earlier this year, analysts also predicted that even though U.S. companies were bringing in higher revenues, they could experience lower profit margins due to increases in cost for labor and raw materials. 

In addition, tariffs are having an impact on companies in the U.S. and around the world. Some new international tariffs such as the French digital services tax will not only affect company profits, especially in Silicon Valley, but they will also affect revenue. Furthermore, some economists suggest that Trump’s “America First” policies are discouraging foreign companies from investing in their U.S. operations. Big companies will be keeping a close eye on these policy developments to see how they will affect their bottom lines.

Did any of the companies on this list surprise you? Please let us know what you think in the comments.

HowMuch.net is a cost information website 

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How to Win in Court
August 21, 2019

Whether you're a plaintiff or defendant, you must know what smart defendants do to dodge lawsuits.

If a defendant is served with a complaint, he may dodge the lawsuit by filing motions to avoid filing an Answer!

This is called the "flurry of motions".

Once a defendant files an Answer, he's locked in and misses this chance to dodge the lawsuit altogether.

Don't file an Answer if you can dodge the lawsuit with a "flurry of motions".

Inexperienced lawyers and pro se people make the mistake of filing an Answer to plaintiff's Complaint ... instead of using the flurry of motions.

  • Motion to Dismiss
  • Motion to Strike
  • Motion for More Definite Statement

Each of these motions postpones the necessity of filing an Answer to the Complaint ... and gains you valuable time and evidence-gathering opportunities!

In some cases it puts an end to the case. Period!

Use your Flurry of Motions.

For information on the "How to Win in Court” self-help course, click HERE

Website:  https://www.howtowinincourt.com?refercode=SR0094

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from Juris Dictionary for purchases make through link(s) on this website.

How Much
August 20, 2019

Ranking the Most Valuable Sports Teams: Is Your Team In?

We already know that professional sports is a major global industry, but not all sports franchises are equal. From the Dallas Cowboys to the New Orleans Saints, we put together a graphic to rank the top 50 most valuable sports teams around the world.

  • Traditional sports have large, dedicated fanbases, but eSports are on the rise. The forthcoming Fortnite Championship, for example, will have $10 million prize pool.
  • Though Football isn’t an international sport, Football franchises account for three of the top 10 most valuable sports teams in the world.
  • Pay gap issues continue to plague the sports industry and have come under additional scrutiny following the United States Women’s National Team World Cup win.
  • Several NBA teams have increased in value since last year. NBA franchises now take up nine spots in the list of top 50 most valuable sports franchises.

Every year, Forbes reveals its list of the world’s most valuable sports teams. We used this data to create an easy-to-read graphic demonstrating the world’s largest franchises.

Our graphic not only ranks the most valuable global sports teams, but also shows us the most valuable teams in each of the world’s major sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, LaLiga, Premier League, and more.

Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World:

1. Dallas Cowboys: $5 billion
2. New York Yankees: $4.6 billion
3. Real Madrid: $4.24 billion
4. Barcelona: $4.02 billion
5. New York Knicks: $4 billion
6. Manchester United: $3.81 billion
7. New England Patriots: $3.8 billion
8. Los Angeles Lakers: $3.7 billion
9. Golden State Warriors: $3.5 billion
10. Los Angeles Dodgers: $3.3 billion

Despite not having won a championship in decades and not being a part of an international sports league, the Dallas Cowboys remain the world’s most valuable sports franchise at an astounding $5 billion.

But it’s not just the Cowboys. The NFL is the world’s most dominant league when it comes to the value of its franchises. More than half of the top 50 most valuable sports teams are football teams.

Aside from the NFL, the top 50 is made up mostly of the teams you would expect to see there, including major franchises like the New York Yankees, New York Knicks, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and more.

While traditional sports teams continue to dominate the sports industry, eSports is quickly rising in value and popularity. The Fortnite Championship Series, for example, will have more than $10 million in prize money up for grabs. It may not be too long before we see an eSports franchise take a spot on the list of most valuable sports teams.

By analyzing this graphic, we can get a better understanding of how much the world’s most popular sports teams are worth, and how much of an impact they have on the global economy.

Do you expect eSports to continue to increase in popularity, or do you think it’s just a fad? Are you surprised by any of the teams on this list? Let us know in the comment section

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How Much
August 19, 2019

 

Owning a home is a major life milestone for many Americans. In order to afford a home, most people will need to take out a mortgage and pay it off over time. Mortgage debt has hit a new peak since the 2008 financial crisis, rising to $9.406 trillion in Q2 2019. Interestingly, residents of some states incur significantly more mortgage debt than residents in other states. Our latest visualization takes a closer look at how housing debt varies by state, as measured by mortgage balance per capita.

  • According to the New York Fed, the average mortgage debt per capita in the U.S. is $33.680. 
  • In general, states in the Northeast and the West have the highest mortgage debt per capita.
  • States in the South and Midwest tend to have lower-than-average mortgage debt per capita.
  • Washington D.C. has a mortgage debt per capita worth four times more than the mortgage debt per capita of West Virginia.

The data for this visualization comes from the New York Fed.  The mortgage information we used is from Q4 2018. In the map above, the size of each state is proportional to the amount of the mortgage debt per capita, with larger states representing higher mortgage balances. Similarly, states with higher mortgage balances per capita are shaded in dark orange or brown, and states with lower mortgage balances per capita are shaded in light orange.

Top 10 States with the Highest Mortgage Debt Balance Per Capita

1. District of Columbia - $63,430
2. California - $55,920
3. Hawaii - $54,980
4. Colorado - $53,250
5. Maryland - $51,590
6. Washington - $49,320
7. Virginia - $47,570
8. Massachusetts - $47,140
9. Utah - $43,310
10. Connecticut - $41,980

Despite rising mortgage debt, mortgage rates are close to historical lows. As a result, many homeowners are flocking to refinance their mortgages. Weekly mortgage refinances are skyrocketing, and retailers like Walmart are reaping the benefits of consumers spending the extra money in their pocket.

Although mortgage rates are low, they can’t compete with this brand new Danish mortgage proposal, in which banks will offer an interest rate mortgage of -0.5% a year. Yes, that is a negative number! In essence, this means that homeowners will pay back a lower amount than they were loaned. The effect of this new proposal on the Danish real estate market still remains to be seen.

If you are interested in purchasing a home or refinancing your mortgage, visit our cost guides for home loans or home refinancing. What do you think about recent changes in mortgage rates, or how mortgage debt varies by state? Please let us know in the comments section.

HowMuch.net is a cost information website 

For information on Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

Website:  https://howmuch.net/

How Much
August 16, 2019

 

Currency Wars: Stacking up the World’s Largest Currencies

Money makes the world go ‘round. But, which currencies and assets make up most of the money supply? To find the answer, it takes a little more than looking at the total amount of currency in the world. The world’s money supply includes currency, cryptocurrency, precious metals, and any other liquid instruments circulating in the world’s economy.

To help get a better idea of the world’s money supply, we put together a visualization to show how much money is circulating throughout the world.

 

  • Central banks may be able to increase the money supply by cutting rates.
  • Gold is the largest contributor to the world’s currency at $8.7 trillion.
  • Cryptocurrency may stop central banks from altering the world’s money supply.
  • Changes in the money supply can have a significant impact on inflation and other variables of macroeconomics.

To find out how much money there is in the world, we took data from the FED and each country’s central bank. Using this data, we can see how much money is circulating in the world economy as well as which instruments contribute the most to the money supply.

The Most Valuable Currencies in Circulation

1. Gold: $8.7 trillion
2. U.S. Dollar: $1.7 trillion
3. Eurozone Euro: $1.3 trillion
4. Silver: $1.1 trillion
5. China Renminbi: $1 trillion

The answer to the question, “How much money is in the world?” is a little bit more complex than you might think.

Money supply refers to the total amount of money in circulation at any given point in time. Banks work off the fractional banking system. The system allows banks to hold less on hand for withdrawal. They can then lend out the remainder. The amount they can lend out relative to what they keep on hand is known as the deposit multiplier.

When looking at this through a narrow lens, we might only consider the world’s currencies as part of the money supply. However, in a broader sense, we can consider other instruments, such as precious metals and cryptocurrency, as part of the money supply.

Looking at it through this broader lens, we can see that the world’s money supply is dominated by gold and the U.S. dollar. And, perhaps to some people’s surprise, the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has become one of the largest contributors to the world’s money supply.

Recently, due to major concerns regarding future economic growth, central banks around the world have been cutting interest rates in order to avoid a downturn, which increases the money supply. Increased supply lowers interest rates. This makes borrowing for investment more lucrative to businesses, but hurts savers.

It’s important to be able to understand and analyze the money supply as it can have a significant impact on macroeconomics around the world.

Understanding the state of the world’s money supply is not only interesting, but it can also help us protect against downturns in the world economy. It helps you understand what central banks do and why they do it.

Are you concerned about the state of the world economy? How do you think cryptocurrency will impact the world’s finances in the future? Let us know in the comments below.

HowMuch.net is a cost information website 

Website:  https://howmuch.net/

How to Win in Court
August 16, 2019

 

Win Without Risking Trial

Do you know how to win before trial?

Lawyers drag out cases so they can bill for more time.

Many refuse to do things "the right way" (the way our "How to Win in Court" course teaches) so they can avoid trial. They make more money if they can take their clients' cases all-the-way to the bitter, knock-down, drag-out bitter end at trial.

Do you hold winning cards (law and facts)?

Then you can win before trial!

  1. There is no evidence you cannot get in before
  2. There are no witnesses you cannot question under oath before
  3. There are no documents or things you cannot get in before
  4. There are no legal arguments you cannot make before
  5. There is nothing going to happen at trial that cannot be made to happen before

The "trying" of your case with the first pleading and continues with discovery and motions before trial.

Common reasons cases go to trial are:

  1. Lazy lawyer who didn't do the pre-trial work he could have done.
  2. Stupid lawyer who didn't know how to do the pre-trial work he could have done.
  3. Greedy lawyer who didn't want to do the pre-trial work he could have done.
  4. No lawyer and no idea how to do the pre-trial work that could have been done.

Don't wait for trial to win!

A few reasons why are:

  1. Trial is uncertain, especially with unpredictable juries and corrupt judges.
  2. Trial is "think on your feet" with opponent trying to throw you off with objections.
  3. Trial is a nasty battle against lawyers' willing to cheat if they can.
  4. Trial is a last bite at the apple, with no take backs and no retreats.

 

Win before trial!

For information on the "How to Win in Court” self-help course, click HERE

Website:  https://www.howtowinincourt.com?refercode=SR0094

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from Juris Dictionary for purchases make through link(s) on this website.

 

How Much
August 15, 2019

The World’s $86 Trillion Economy Visualized in One Chart

The world’s GDP still grew a healthy 6.9% in 2018, up from $80.2 trillion in 2017 to $85.8 trillion. Nearly half of this growth came from the world’s two largest economies: the United States, at $20.5 trillion (up 5.4% from 2017), and China, at $13.6 trillion (up 10%). However, fear of a global recession are mounting -- much of it related to growing economic tension between the two leading economies.

 

  • The United States is still the world’s largest economy, contributing 23.9% to GDP
  • China, the world’s second largest economy, had its slowest quarterly GDP growth in nearly 30 years 
  • Half of economists in a recent poll have predicted an economic slowdown in the U.S. within the next year
  • Unresolved trade tensions between the U.S. and China have investors on edge about global economic growth

Our data comes from the World Bank’s 2018 global GDP figures. Each country is sized to the scale of its relative GDP. Countries are grouped and colored by region. For a look at how things have changed since 2017, check out HowMuch’s 2017 analysis of world GDP. 

The World’s 10 Largest Economies by GDP

1. United States - $20.49  trillion (23.89%)
2. China - $13.61  trillion (15.86%)
3. Japan - $4.97  trillion (5.79%)
4. Germany - $4 trillion (4.66%)
5. United Kingdom - $2.83  trillion (3.29%)
6. France - $2.78  trillion (3.24%)
7. India - $2.73  trillion (3.18%)
8. Italy - $2.07  trillion (2.42%)
9. Brazil - $1.87  trillion (2.18%)
10. Canada - $1.71  trillion (1.99%)

The United States and China together make up nearly 40% of the global economic GDP at $20.5 and $13.6 trillion, respectively, contributing that’s 23.9% and 15.9% to the global economy. Due to their prominence and their growing tensions, our analysis focuses on these two countries. 

About half of the 280 business economists polled by the National Association for Business Economics said they expect a downturn in the United States economy by the end of next year, and analysts at both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan see growth slowing to below 2 percent in the second half of 2019. What’s the reason for the expected downturn? Economists point to a number of factors for the expected slower growth. The job market, which has thrived in this economy, is still hot but has signs of slowing. Expected interest rate hikes from the Fed are also at play. There’s also the factor of growing economic inequality in the U.S. -- the bottom half of Americans lost $900 billion in wealth between 1989 and 2018 -- and its impact on overall economic well-being.

But the factor making the most headlines is the impact of tariffs and the possibility of a trade war between China and the U.S. The number two economy is already feeling the impact: China’s GDP growth in the second quarter slowed to 6.2%, the smallest gain since 1992. The country’s industrial output growth slowed to 4.8% in July from a year earlier, the weakest pace since February 2002. It’s uncertain that the United States and China will overcome their trade differences anytime soon, and the markets seem to suggest a long-term impasse. Despite these signs of gloom, some economists aren’t so sure that decline is inevitable, citing decades-long periods of stable growth in countries like Australia and the UK.

What surprised you about contributions to GDP from countries or regions? Do you think the U.S. or China is headed for a recession? How will this affect the global economy as a whole? Let us know in the comments. 

 

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