Archive for the ‘Service offering’ Category

5 Year-End Tax Tips for 2011

December 6, 2011

Time is running out to take steps to lower your 2011 tax bill. Here are 5 ways you can do so, but act quickly!

1. If you’ve been putting off energy-efficient improvements to your home such as replacing your roof, windows, exterior doors, upgrading your furnace or hot water heater or adding skylights or insulation materials, time is running out to claim the tax credit associated with qualified improvements. There are lot of limitations to this credit, but it expires at the end of this year, so get cracking if you want the credit.* (and remember a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill, so you can knock the full dollar amount off what you pay)

2. Are you planning to make a big purchase like a car or other high-ticket item in the next couple months? If you itemize, you might consider making that purchase this year – it’s the last year you can elect to deduct total sales tax paid instead of state and local income taxes. This isn’t an excuse to go shopping, but if you’ve budgeted for it and it’s almost time, it might be worth it to get shopping before December 31.

3. Go ahead and prepay 2012 college tuition (for the first 3 months at least) while the higher education above-the-line deduction is still in effect. This provision expires at the end of this year, which allows you to deduct up to $4,000 in qualifying education expenses. Income limits apply, so if you make more than $80,000 (or $160,000 if you’re married) you don’t qualify. If you make between $65,001 and $80,000 ($130,000 or less if married) then you can only deduct $2,000. Not sure? Ask me!

4. If you pay estimated state or local income taxes and you itemize, mail those payments before December 31, (even though they’re not due till January 15) so you can deduct them against this year’s income.

5. Since tax rates aren’t changing for next year (they remain 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35%), try to defer income until next year so you can wait a whole extra year to pay the taxes.

Just remember: it’s perfectly legal to avoid taxes, but it’s quite illegal to evade. To ensure that you’re maximizing tax savings without violating the law, contact me for a consultation.

* If you’ve claimed the credit in the past (in one or more years since 2005) then you may be limited. There is a lifetime cap of $500 ($200 for windows). If you haven’t yet met the cap, you can claim the difference.

Kelley C. Long, CPA is a personal financial coach and tax preparer who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. Visit her website at for more information.


401k Fitness Class

August 23, 2009

How did you decide which funds to use when establishing your employer-sponsored retirement plan (aka 401k, 403b, profit-sharing, etc)? Have you made any adjustments after the last market meltdown? How do you know when to make a change or how to determine the percentages for each fund? When was the last time you rebalanced your account? Don’t worry if you haven’t a solid answer to any of these questions. Most people don’t! However, your retirement account will most likely be your biggest asset down the road, and just like other long-term plans and goals, it does need a little nurturing along the way to produce the best end result. Check out my 401k Fitness class for individual coaching in a group setting at an economic price. Please contact me for dates of upcoming classes.

What is 401k fitness?

It is a small class designed to re-visit basic terms associated with investing, followed by 1-on-1 coaching to shape up your retirement portfolio to take advantage of current market conditions. You’ll learn tips for keeping it on track going forward as well as leave with a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of mutual fund investing.

Hitting the Reset Button

June 30, 2009

For whatever reason, you find yourself starting over again. Perhaps a relationship has failed, a bankruptcy couldn’t be avoided, or you just decided to change tracks for a different journey. Regardless, you are in a different financial situation than you were before. And whether it’s better or worse, you need assistance with understanding your options, getting organized and establishing peace of mind. Let’s figure out exactly what this life change means to you and your money, then put a plan in place to keep you going in the direction of your dreams.

Wedding Wishes

June 30, 2009

Money issues are the #1 cause of strife among couples because we all have our own style of handling money! There is no right or wrong way for newlyweds to figure out their finances – every couple is going to have a different system that works for them. Start your marriage off on the right financial foot by treating yourself to the Wedding Wishes package, which includes a deeper look at your long-term dreams, how you both currently take care of money, then implements a plan that works for BOTH of you.

“Real World” Utopia

June 30, 2009

You’ve done it! After years of studying, writing papers, giving reports, attending lectures, etc., you finally have your degree and your first “real” job. And you’re finally making realmoney. Which means you probably have a little extra in your account these days than you need for your living expenses. This is the perfect time to get started on your long-term savings. Treat yourself to “Real World” Utopia, where you’ll examine the bigger picture of your career choice and how it fits in with your life dreams, learn a little more about using money to achieve those dreams, and get organized to make saving an automatic part of your lifestyle. Parents, this is the perfect graduation gift that will keep giving for a lifetime!

Your Life. Your Money. Your Plan.

June 30, 2009

Your Life.

Discovery session that utilizes tools to define and clarify your overall life values, goals and dreams. We will meet in an inspirational place and spend about 90 minutes together. Our conversation may become very intimate and even emotional. Please be prepared to share, knowing that our discussion will be held in the highest confidence.

Your money.

Now that I understand a bit more about where you are coming from as it relates to life and money, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of your finances. This step will require homework and will probably be your least favorite step! I’ll be asking you to actually open your statements, dig up documents you probably tucked away years ago, and take a look at where your money is going on a weekly basis. You will have to invest a couple hours of your personal time in order for this to be the most effective.

Your plan.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Where we get your ducks in a row. And where I will separate myself from all the other financial planners you could hire. Not only will we put together a plan, I will actually sit down with you to complete the action steps. For example, if we determine that you can roll 3 old 401(k) plans into an IRA, I’ll actually sit with you at the computer while we complete the paperwork, open the account, pick the investments, etc. If you want to contribute to that IRA, I’ll help you make that happen.

Welcome to Financial Coaching

June 13, 2009

I believe money is just one tool in our life toolbox, and that our ultimate purpose in life is to find our passion, pursue it doggedly and enjoy each second on this Earth. As far as I know, we only get one ride! Money helps, but it is not the end-all, be-all route to happiness and fulfillment.

Like Dave Matthews so eloquently put it, “Is it not enough, this blessed sip of life? Is it not enough?” Yes, we all have a tendency to let day-to-day life get us “all assed up,” but I make my best effort to keep it all in perspective and live in the moment. And I think the ultimate purpose of my little life is to help others learn this attitude as well. Using the knowledge and experience I’ve collected through my years in public accounting, tax preparation, trust officership and financial advising, I am pairing the two together as a Financial Coach, seeking to remove the confusion surrounding financial planning while empowering others to live their best life.

Stay tuned to this blog for information relevant to budgeting, saving, financial planning, estate planning and other topics affecting your financial health. Please let me know any specific topics you’d like to have covered – I’m here to serve the people!