April 15 has passed...now what?

It’s always something we need more of, and when it comes to taxes, the April 15 deadline always seems to creep up out of nowhere. You may have already filed, on extension, or living abroad but wherever you are, here are 3 things to do outside of tax season to help stay financially fit:

1) Run a 'Paycheck Checkup'

Did you get a large refund or owed taxes this year? Maybe you haven't filed yet and are still unsure of how tax reform will affect you?

If so, this would be a great time to check your tax withholding to see if your employer is over or under withholding taxes. The IRS has created a great online tool to help with this.

You will need a copy of your most recent paystub(s) and your last filed tax return. Then visit this website to get started.

If you are self-employed , living abroad , or receive employer stock benefits (RSU's, NQSO's, etc) this calculator is not for you and you may need our help.

2) Check Your Spending and Savings Plan

Like many people, you may not even have a spending or savings plan. You are spending (and you may be saving), but just don't have any set plans, goals or direction.

Are you spending too much every month? Do you need to save more? Most advice out there is to first "create a budget". Throw that advice out the door.

If you have not actually tracked your spending in awhile, the first step is to figure out what you are actually spending per month. Download the last 3 months of your bank and credit card statements...and figure out how much you are actually spending monthly. A lot of people think they have an idea, but are surprised once they actually add everything up. THEN see where your money is going. Last but not least , create a realistic budget.

Spending issues are not limited to lower-mid income individuals and families. I recently worked with a client who makes 280K/yr and feels as if him and his family are living month to month and not saving.

Now you may be on the opposite end of the spectrum. Your spending is tracked and/or under control and you are saving like crazy.

But what are you saving for? Where are your savings being held? What are they earning? Are you saving way more than you need to and not enjoying life as much now because you DON'T have a plan and/or are worried about the future?

There are so many resources out there to help, but I've seen that many people don't use them, are too busy to carve out the time to use them, or simply just put this on the back burner because it's a big project to tackle. This is where we can come in and help. We offer fee-based financial planning and investment services. Set up a call with us today.

3) Consider Freezing Your Credit

When you freeze your credit, no one can pull your credit report or credit score without your permission. As most banks, credit cards, etc all require a credit report to be run before opening a new line of credit, freezing your credit helps protect you from a scammer opening a new account in your name and going on a spending spree.

You must freeze your credit with each of the 3 major credit bureaus, so is a bit of a process but well worth it. I've listed below direct links of how to start this process with each of three bureaus.

Remember, when you freeze your credit it does mean that you will need to do a temporary 'lift' when your credit does need to be run (applying for a mortgage, new credit card, etc). Again, this takes about 30 min to an hour of your time, but in my opinion well worth the protection.

Time. Yes, it's limited and always something we need more of.

So first and foremost, have fun and enjoy life! But sometimes in order to relax enough to do that, we first need to carve out some time or get help for the not so exciting things...like paycheck checkups, spending/savings plans and credit freezes :)
Q1 2019 Market Update
So what happened after the worst December in 70+ years?

Scam Alert!
“This is the IRS. We have a warrant out for your arrest. Press one to speak with one of our specialists to settle your account.”

You or someone you know may have received a phone call or a similar e-mail or text from someone claiming to be the IRS and searching for personal information to aid them in committing identity theft.

And while most of us are wise to these types of IRS scams, it is important to warn our friends and family as these predators tend to be most successful in targeting vulnerable groups, including the elderly and immigrants who may not understand the normal workings of the IRS.

Are you a military spouse or know one?
View/Share our video!

Check out our video here that explains the latest development in filing state taxes for military spouses as part of our 'Married to the Military' series.

Client Spotlight: Eva Arrizabalaga
Eva is an accomplished artist who has produced some amazing works over decades. Her passion for art can be seen in each and every painting she produces. Eva works out of her studio in Cardedeu, Spain (near Barcelona) and her art has been showcased in exhibits all over the world.

To see more of Eva's art, please visit Flicker or Instagram .

To contact Eva, please email her (she speaks 4 languages including English!)
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