October 29, 2009

October Newsletter Highlights


Making your nest egg last a lifetime.

360 Degrees of Financial Literacy

Info for all life stages.
What are your savings goals? Don’t wait until January to set specific financial goals. Every Sunday in the Business section The Salt Lake Tribune publishes The Savings Game, a weekly column by Humberto Cruz. Cruz is always right on target with practical information and advice that is easy to understand. The October 4 column is available at: http://www.sltrib.com/business/ci_13467337

Tax Credit for college expenses

Many parents and college students will be able to offset the cost of college over the next two years under the new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This tax credit is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Here are six important facts the IRS wants you to know about the new American Opportunity Tax Credit:

1. This credit, which expands and renames the existing Hope Credit, can be claimed for qualified tuition and related expenses that you pay for higher education in 2009 and 2010. Qualified tuition and related expenses include tuition, related fees, books and other required course Materials.

2. The credit is equal to 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000 per student each year. Therefore, the full $2,500 credit may be available to a taxpayer who pays $4,000 or more in qualifying expenses for an eligible student.

3. The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers who make less than $80,000 or $160,000 for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is gradually reduced, however, for taxpayers with incomes above these levels.

4. Forty percent of the credit is refundable, so even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit for each eligible student as cash back.

5. The credit can be claimed for qualified expenses paid for any of the first four years of post-secondary education.

6. You cannot claim the tuition and fees tax deduction in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. You must choose to either take the credit or the deduction, whichever is more beneficial for you.

Complete details on the American Opportunity Tax Credit and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act are available at the official IRS Web site at IRS.gov/Recovery.

September Newsletter Highlights

Quote of the month: It's not how much money you have, it's how you use your money."Gerry Chambers

Cut your spending by $500 a month (Money magazine, Sept. 2009).

I’m always skeptical about articles with titles like these; I usually find that I’ve been implementing these strategies for years but always find a few useful ideas. I encourage you to check out this article and pick 2 or 3 strategies to implement.

Featured financial column: The Savings Game weekly column by Humberto Cruz. One recent column: “To protect yourself, ask lots of questions when selecting a financial adviser.”

Web sites of the month:

Investor Education Resource Center

Investment Fraud Booklet

FINRA Investor Education

Workshops and events:

The Family Life Center is offering a financial management workshop on budgeting, saving, and debt management. "The Nuts and Bolts of Nickles and Dimes" costs $15 per household; scholarships are available. The workshop is scheduled for the first and third Wednesday of the month from 6:45 P.M.-9:00 P.M. at the Family Life Center. To register call: 797-7224

Home Ownership Workshop. September 12th, October 10, November 14, & December 5th : 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.

Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.

Wednesday, Sept. 16 & October 24, 6:30- 8 p.m. @ USU Charter Credit Union, 198 N. Main, Logan. In downstairs conference room (enter at rear of building). Workshops are free. To register: 753-4080, ext 3400 or moneyteacher@usuccu.org

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