Organizing Your Paperwork for Tax Season

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If you haven’t done it, now’s the time.
How prepared are you to prepare your 1040? The earlier you compile and organize the relevant paperwork, the easier things may be for you (or the tax preparer working for you) this winter. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

As a first step, look at your 2012 return. Unless your job, living situation or financial situation has changed notably since you last filed your taxes, chances are you will need the same set of forms, schedules and receipts this year as you did last year. So open that manila folder (or online vault) and make or print a list of the items that accompanied your 2012 return. You should receive the TY 2013 versions of everything you need by early February at the latest.
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By |February 21st, 2014|Financial Article, Financial Planning|

Why 2014 May Be a Very Good Year

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More improvement may be in store for the economy & the stock market.
Will the economy & the bull market make further strides next year? On both Wall Street and Main Street, 2013 has turned out better than many analysts expected. Will the recovery gain additional momentum in 2014, and will stocks climb even higher?

Optimism is widespread. Do you remember how gloomy things got at the end of 2012? Fears about imminent economic damage from the fiscal cliff and sequester cuts were pervasive, and bears sensed that stocks might retreat. The economy and the market withstood these anxieties and others. Look at last week for another example. Hours after the Federal Reserve announced it would scale back its asset purchases next year, the Dow closed at a fresh all-time high of 16,167.97. December 18 was the index’s best day in more than two months. 1

Weren’t investors supposed to be disappointed when the taper occurred? Let’s just say the timing was right. In August, just the hint of an oncoming taper resulted in a 5.6% dip for the Dow. Months ago, some investors were still questioning the strength of the recovery. Today, there is less to question. As Wells Capital Management chief investment strategist James Paulsen commented in USA TODAY, the Fed’s move amounted to a “vote of confidence in the future,” mirroring the confidence on Wall Street.  1fiscal cliff and sequester cuts were pervasive, and bears sensed that stocks might retreat. The economy and the market withstood these anxieties and others. Look at last week for another example. Hours after the Federal Reserve announced it would scale back its asset purchases next year, the Dow closed at a fresh all-time high of 16,167.97. December 18 was the index’s best day in more than two months.  1

The taper to Quantitative Easing (QE3) was relatively small ($10 billion) and came with a pledge to hold interest rates down “well past the time” unemployment declines to 6.5%. So the Fed likely intends to maintain its accommodative stance for some time, which is just fine by investors. (In fact, the Wall Street Journal says that only two of ten Fed officials believe the central bank will raise interest rates next year.) The Fed’s monetary policy has been instrumental to the stock market’s record-setting performance, and it isn’t going away – which is good news for 2014.  1,2
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By |December 27th, 2013|Financial Article, Financial Planning|
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