Posts by Jeanie Ahn

  • 4 tax breaks every parent should know about

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 9 days ago

    The average cost to raise a child to age 17 is a whopping $245,340 for a middle-income couple, according to the US Department of Agriculture. But thankfully during tax season, parents can get a bit of relief with some tax breaks. If you have kids, read on to get a breakdown of a few ways to put some cash back in your pocket.

    Exemptions for dependents

    When you file, you generally take personal exemptions for you and your spouse that reduces your taxable income by $4,050 per person. But if you have kids, you can reduce your taxes by that same amount for each dependent under the age of 19, or a student under the age of 24.

    For a family of four, that means you reduce your total taxable income by $16,200 [$4,050 x 4 = $16,200.] To qualify for this deduction, the income cap for married couples filing jointly is $311,300. For single filers, the income cap is $259,400.

    Child tax credit

    Additional child tax credit

    Earned Income Tax Credit

    Check back next week for more tax breaks on childcare, tuition, college savings, and more.

  • 5 ways to get your credit score out of the dumps

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 23 days ago

    A low credit score can make it difficult for you to get a good deal on home, car or student loan, and can even keep you from your dream job. So on this week’s episode of The Payoff I’ll walk you through how you can improve your score.

    #1 Pay your bills on time

    When a payment is over 30 days late, credit bureaus are notified and your score drops significantly. In fact, 35% of your FICO score is based on your payment history — making it the most influential factor determining your score.

    One late credit card payment could drop your score by 100 points — pretty significant for a 30-day delinquency. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s worth asking the credit card company to take it off your report as a one-time courtesy also known as a “goodwill deletion.”

    If it’s more than 90 days late, it’s unlikely creditors will work with you. “Ninety days crosses the threshold between ‘minor’ derogatories and ‘major’ derogatories, making it more problematic for your credit score,” says John Ulzheimer, president of The Ulzheimer Group.

    #5 Monitor your financial health

  • How to score some of the best Super Bowl deals on TVs, pizza, and more

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 26 days ago

    Super Bowl spending is expected to reach over $14 billion this year as football fans across the country gear up to watch the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI this Sunday.

    Of the 189 million Americans who will gather to watch Sunday’s big game, 45 million plan on throwing Super Bowl parties for their friends and family, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Super Bowl survey .

    If you’re hosting a party, here are some tips that’ll help you score some of the best deals on everything from TVs to pizza delivery.

    TVs

    The best time of the year to buy a TV is Black Friday , but if you missed out on those deals, the second best time of the year is 1 to 2 weeks before the Super Bowl for discounts over 20% off . In fact, 8.6 million Americans plan on buying a new television in time to watch the big game.

    Furniture

  • What’s in and what’s out for retirees in 2017

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago

    People are expecting to live and work longer than ever before, delaying retirement and living more active lifestyles. We tapped consumer analyst Vera Gibbons for her predictions on what’s in and what’s out for retirees in 2017.

    What’s out: Full retirement What’s in: Gigs

    “Many retirees are too financially strapped to retire the way they had envisioned,” says Gibbons. In fact, 25% of retirees in a recent TransAmerica survey said they were just getting by. Another 17% said they planned to work until they dropped.

    What’s out: Relocating in retirement What’s in: Remaining in place

    Fortunately, there are plenty of home upgrades that aid with aging in place. From curbless wheelchair accessible showers, to higher toilets and motion-sensor lighting, these products can be just as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional.

    What’s out: Vacations What’s in: Experiences

    What are your plans for retirement? Share them with us in the comments below.

    WATCH MORE:

  • Here’s how to figure out your full retirement age

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago

    You can start receiving Social Security benefits a month after you turn 62, but if you wait until your full retirement age, or FRA , you’ll be able to collect your full benefit. If you start withdrawing your benefits before that age, you’ll get less than the full amount.

    Your full retirement age is different from the person next to you because it depends on when you were born, down to the month. To find out when exactly you’ll reach that your FRA, you can check out the Social Security Administration’s site .

    Here it tells us that if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. For every year after that, the age increases by 2 months. For anyone born after the year 1960, your full retirement age is 67.

    Have any more questions on Social Security? Email Yahoo’s Personal Finance team at YFmoneymailbag@yahoo.com .

    WATCH MORE:

     

  • 5 crafty ways to keep thieves from stealing your packages

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 2 mths ago

    The holidays are the season of giving – and taking. According to one 2015 survey, 23 million Americans say they’ve had packages stolen right from their doorsteps. And that number is expected to go up as more people shop online. In fact, it just happened to me a few weeks ago on an item I ordered online on Black Friday.

    With the holidays coming up and more online deliveries coming my way, having more packages stolen is the last thing I need so I looked into some ways I could prevent it from happening again.

    #1 Track your package in real time

    You can get text or email alerts on the status of your delivery and track your package all the way to your door. On UPS’s site, the free service, UPS MYCHOICE, allows you to you reroute your package to the closest access point where you can pick it up if you don’t expect to be home on time. On FedEx’s delivery manager, both the mobile app and site allow you to choose a window of time for your delivery to arrive, for a small fee.

    #2 Rent a mailbox

    #3 Bolt a lockbox outside your door

  • 4 tips to help you enroll in Obamacare before the Dec. 15 deadline

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 2 mths ago

    It’s open enrollment season on the health insurance marketplace — and picking a health plan can be really confusing. So in this week’s Payoff, I’ll show you how to shop for healthcare on the exchange and tell you what’s different about enrolling this year.  Open enrollment goes through Jan. 31, 2017, but if you don’t want a gap in coverage or need your coverage to start the first of the year, Dec. 15, 2016 is your deadline.

    “Simple Choice” plans offer easy side-by-side comparisons

    To windowshop for plans, start at healthcare.gov and click on “Get Coverage.” At this point, you don’t need to put in all your information, like date of birth or Social Security number until you’re ready to enroll. While 39 states use the federal marketplace to sell insurance to their residents, the other 11 states plus the District of Columbia have their own exchanges. For a step-by-step guide through the federal exchange, check out the video above.

    WATCH MORE

     

  • 7 car-buying tips that’ll get you the best deal

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 2 mths ago

    December is a great time to buy a new car as dealers have been dropping prices since September to make room for next year’s models. But to get the best deal at the dealership, you have to play the game. To help you save the most money, check out some of my secrets to saving when buying a new car.

    #1 Do your homework First, before ever coming near a dealership, spend at least an hour online doing some homework. Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue book are great resources to find out the fair market range of the make and model you want. If you don’t do this, you’ll be walking in blindly and likely end up paying more than you need to.

    #2 Search for rebates You can search for available rebates on Edmunds.com site as well as directly on the car manufacturer’s site. In addition to cash back, look for incentives like low-interest financing offers that are offered directly to shoppers.

    One way to keep it simple and stay on budget is to ask for what insiders call the “out the door” price. This price includes all the fees on top of the car’s base price — making it easier for you to calculate your monthly payments.

    What are your car buying tactics? Tweet me your tips @jeanie531 or in the comments below.

  • Where you can find the biggest Black Friday discounts on TVs, laptops and clothing

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 3 mths ago

    Black Friday is fast approaching and nearly 137 million savvy shoppers are counting down to one of the biggest retail weekends of the year, according to the National Retail Federation . To help identify some of the deepest discounts and weed through the thousands of deals that retailers are releasing each day, Yahoo Finance spoke to Benjamin K. Glaser, of DealNews.com for the site’s top picks across all categories.

    TVs

    Every year TVs top the list for most in-demand Black Friday deals and this year is no exception. “This is the first year we’re seeing significant discounts on 4K TVs because it’s finally worked its way into the mainstream. Manufacturers are already working on 8K TVs,” says Glaser. Image quality and resolution in 4K TVs are four times the resolution of full HD.

    Laptops

    Stand-out discounts on traditional laptops include a 15.6-inch HP laptop for $329.99 at Office Depot — discounted $270 for Black Friday. 

    Clothing

    Home appliances

    WATCH MORE

  • One decision saved this family $90K while caring for their aging mother

    Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 3 mths ago

    Like so many seniors who want to maintain their independence, Shirley Dixon lived on her own in Florida as long as she could. It wasn’t until her late 80s that she finally decided it was time to relocate to Oregon to be closer to her children and their families. “In my 70s, my friends began moving away to be with their children, or losing their wits, so I knew I had to make a decision,” said Dixon.

    Her daughter, Lesa Dixon-Gray, 59, knew how much her mother valued her independence and began looking into several retirement communities in the Portland area where Dixon-Gray lives with her husband, Ken. Because both of them work full-time, they knew they’d need more help supporting her mother’s needs during the day, so an assisted-living situation seemed like the best fit.

    “It’s a way to provide more affordable housing options for people looking to relocate and a way to increase the density of housing, which is an objective for our city,” said Ross Caron, a public information officer for Portland’s Bureau of Development Services.

    WATCH MORE

    When you change the world and no one notices