Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

#5 - Do It Yourself!

#5 – Do It Yourself!

Depending on when you filed your return for 2013 you have probably had your tax refund for a couple weeks now or if you filed by paper you are probably just receiving it in the mail. Us at Againstiflow thought it would be a good idea to write up 5 tax reminders to remember for next year. A lot of money changes hands between the government and its citizens from February to the middle of April each year and we figured maybe this would help you keep a little extra in your pocket.

1. Student Loan Interest

Student loans are at an all-time high nationwide. The only good news about student loans is that Uncle Sam has setup tax savings out there to motivate recent loan recipients to pay down their debt. If you have any student loans you can write off up to $2,500 a year on the interest you have paid. In a perfect world people with student loans should pay them off ASAP to maximize the yearly tax benefit they receive and to eliminate their debt faster.

2. Moving Expenses

I know, as a college graduate, I told myself that I would go wherever a job took me. Good news! Uncle Sam has setup tax benefits for people who move and don’t get reimbursed for their relocating expenses. To deduct these expenses on your tax return your new job has to be more than 50 miles away from your old home and you have to work full-time for 39 weeks during the 12 months following your move.

Expenses you can deduct following your move:

  • Mileage for driving your car to the new location
  • Packing materials
  • Rent cost and gas for moving truck
  • Lodging

3. 401k Credits- Saver’s Credit

It is never too early to start planning for your future and your retirement. Why not now? If you haven’t started, START NOW!!! If you are single and make less than $29,500 in a year you are eligible for the Saver’s Credit.

4. Paid Tuition – American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is perfect for students who are going to school part time and trying to finish their bachelor’s degree. The credit is for students that are not taking a full load of class and are in the first four years of their education. Students who are eligible may qualify for the maximum credit of $2,500. The Lifetime Learning Credit can amount to $2,000 in tax savings. The Lifetime Learning Credit has no limitations. It can be used to pay any tuition no matter the field of study.  It can be used towards graduate school tuition or if you want to just take a class for fun.

5. Do it yourself!

At minimum filing your own tax return online will save you $200. I get it, I know it can be intimidating and you want to be sure that you get the maximum refund, but that is what the software is designed to do. The software walks you through everything and simplifies the process by asking yes or no questions to cover EVERYTHING. Not only will you save money by completing your return, but it will give you the opportunity to learn about future tax savings. DO IT YOURSELF!!!

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Letting Go

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Finance
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I went to a small liberal arts college in Clinton, SC named Presbyterian College and majored in business administration with a concentration in accounting. I took every accounting and finance course that PC offered.  My favorite class and my favorite teacher was investment analysis with Mr. Slammin Sammy Howell. Mr. Howell deemed us the accounting marines and we got loud and proud before every test. Every professor I had for an accounting or finance class emphasized one main point.  If I was to take anything away from their classes it was to pay myself first and to let my money work for me.  No matter what amount I could afford they wanted me to always pay myself first.  It could be $10 every paycheck or $100 every paycheck, but they were very serious about investing in yourself.  The message was ironic coming from professors at a school with the name of PRESBYTERIAN College. You would think that at a Christian college they would mention tithing, but they never did. I was “all in” to the message of paying myself first and I couldn’t wait to get out of school and get started. I was very interested and amazed at how compounding interest worked. I wanted to make as much money as I could and throw as much money as possible into a Roth IRA, 401k, and any other outside investments. The key to compounding interest is time and as a 21 year old senior I had all the time in the world.  With that being said….

I have all this head knowledge on money and I have been constantly taught to save, save, save that God has never been a part of my financial life. The selfish side of me did not want to “give up” my “hard earned” money. I…was making this my life and putting a lot of pressure on myself as opposed to processing all these thoughts with God. Honestly, I think it was my selfish ways taking over and ultimately talking me out of tithing. I was wrapped up in the fact that it’s my money and I want to see it work for ME. I also think deep down that I wanted some notoriety for giving the money. If I had decided to tithe at this point…I would have been doing it for all the wrong reasons.

How am I giving my money up if it was never mine in the first place?

Why do I consider it “my” hard earned money if God blessed me with all the gifts I have and the situation I’m in to make it?

I now know that I am in a better place than the mindset that I carried a few months ago.

For the past year I have been bouncing between 2 or 3 different churches.  In June, I setup my pay check to automatically take out 10% every time I got paid.  This allows me to very easily track how much I need to be tithing. I told myself that once I find a good church and felt comfortable with giving my money then I would do it and do it ASAP. I was taking out 10% every paycheck, but I did not know where to give it.  I prayed about the situation and talked with a lot of people about what they do to try and process it. It was not until the 5th of October that I finally made the commitment.

I have been attending the same church for about 4 months now and I plan to tithe EVERYTIME I get paid. My commitment with tithing is me letting go of control of my financial life and putting that control into God’s hands. I have to and ultimately do trust and know that He can do so much more with my money than I could ever do.  God’s plan is always bigger and better than our own.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Living life against the flow!