Filing Taxes (not March Madness)

Though many of you are filling out your bracket for March Madness, this time of year is a good time to get your financial information in order to complete the filing of your taxes next month. Though you have a couple extra days this year, don’t wait until the last minute.

Over the last several weeks you should have been receiving documents from your employer, banks, stockbrokers and any other agencies that were in your financial life in 2015. By law, these would be sent out by the end of January, so you should have all of these documents at this time.

Something that is relatively new and essential to preparing your taxes is Healthcare statements. You will have an additional form (Form 1095) that discloses that you have health care coverage for you and your family, as well as the amount you paid for it. Having health insurance is now mandatory by our Government (thank you Obamacare), so you MUST provide this information on your forms.

Most common are the income and deduction statements. This includes W-2 provided by your employers showing the amount you were paid AND the amount that was withheld for paying taxes. If you own a home you may be able to deduct the mortgage interest: that would be form 1098. Student loan interest is reported on 1098-E. Many different types of 1099s are provided depending if you earned any interest on your bank accounts, received dividends from investments, sold stocks or bonds, received a refund in taxes, etc.

When this is gathered, sit down and prepare your taxes. YES, you can do it yourself most of the time, but if you do hire someone to prepare your taxes to watch out for these red flags.

Below are two links that assist you in preparing a checklist for all of your documents:

When do You Need a Financial Advisor?

When Your Finances Increase Significantly.

It’s no secret that a fool and his money are soon parted. With bankrupt celebrities and even Wall Street needing a bailout, we could all use a little financial education. At Berkshire Hills Financial, Tom Sirois can help you plan investments, take care of past debt, and consolidate your expenses.

When A Loved One Gets Sick

Healthcare is one of the most expensive things that people rarely prepare for. Before you know it, (God forbid), your aunt has cancer, your family is nowhere to be found, and she moves in with you to save money for treatments. At Berkshire Hills Financial, Tom Sirois can help you plan for these dark times, and put a silver lining on that dark cloud, and in your wallet.

When Planning A Large Purchase

Car, boat, truck, or house, a large purchase may seem like a great plan until disaster strikes and you realize you should have budgeted. At Berkshire Hills Financial, Tom Sirois can help you rearrange your finances to fit in the purchase you want and deserve.

Before you really need one

Finding unbiased advice is very hard to come by, but as with many things it is better to have a plan BEFORE your confront financial decisions. For example, if you have young people or individuals who are dependent on you as a source of income, you MUST protect your income if you can no longer work. This can be simply disability insurance or more commonly life insurance. It can cost just a few hundred dollars a year to protect your earning power for the future. But, as with all of these decisions, you need to know what is the best financial decision: Term Life? or a Whole Life Policy? The answer is not always easy to answer. That is where an unbiased financial advisor can help.

Unless you are wealthy like Warren Buffet as a simple conversation with a financial advisor can pay for itself over time many times over.

Tom Sirois

Great Barrington

Tax Season = Unclaimed Income for a Large Amount of America

Tax season rolls around every year for the majority of working class Americans during the months of January-April, promising some W2 filing blue collar employees a very needed tax break.

But what about those that don’t know that money is available for them?

Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars go unclaimed in the United States. Money that could benefit the homes of many struggling Americans today. Tax season often sees a surge in filings for single parents, working and not making enough to survive. Some of these workers may qualify for a credit for their efforts.

There are a variety of options to see if you have money pending from the United States Treasury.

In Great Barrington Massachusetts, you can go to http://www.mass.gov/treasury/unclaimed-prop/  and enter your information to see if you are owed anything.

This little treasure hunt has sometimes payed off big for other inquirers, so be sure to check your name now!

 

Financial advice from Great Barrington’s very own,

Tom Sirois

Berkshire Hills Financial.

A case for owning Stocks (and renting?)

Since “the Great Recession”, many American households have not recovered their former net worth.

Households in the upper 7 percent (households with a net worth above $836,033) saw their net worth INCREASE by 28%. The remaining households in the lower 93% net worth dropped by 4 percent (to roughly $134,000).

Stated simply, affluent households typically own stocks and other financial holding that increased in value (since 2009) and less wealthy tend to have more of their assets in their homes which have not rebounded.

To read more go to: Pew Social Trends.

 

Tom Sirois

Great Barrington, MA