End-of-year checklist spotlights tax-smart charitable giving

’Tis the season for giving, and one of the best ways to feel good while making a difference in the world is to donate to charities. However, how you donate can significantly affect your tax bill, especially given the tax reform package passed last year.

Following are some strategies to consider, though please consult your tax professional to see how these strategies apply to you.

What exactly is a trust?

Trusts, wills and probate court are tricky topics that often don’t come up until a family is at its most fragile: following the loss of a loved one. Getting a sense of the basics of these financial terms can help prevent familial discord.

Don't get taken for a ride when you're buying a car

Courtesy of Michael Gaida
Car salespeople may engage in many tricks of the trade, but a few reminders can help buyers avoid being duped.

A very bright friend of mine asked me a simple question the other day about buying a car, used or new. She asked, “How do I protect myself from being taken?”

There are many ways, unfortunately, that one can be taken in a car deal, either in a private sale or one through a dealership, even a large dealer. These larger dealerships spring up with acres of real estate next to highway off-ramps because they are profitable. They certainly don’t make money selling cars at “$100 over invoice” – believe me, there are plenty of “accounting tricks” going on.

Will USMCA make America great again or not?

President Donald Trump recently announced “the greatest deal in the history of the U.S.,” the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. He is promoting it as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which had been in place since 1994 and which Trump had called “a really bad deal.”

Putting aside Trump’s recurring penchant for hyperbole, is USMCA better than NAFTA?

How to maximize Social Security survivor benefits

Prior to the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Social Security benefits were quite generous for married – and even divorced – couples, particularly those with dual incomes.

Credit freezes are now free


Under a new federal law passed Sept. 21, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit files at no cost at each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and Trans- Union.

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