The Prosperity Blog

Tax Deductions You Should Claim (And Five You Can’t!)

“People who complain about paying their income tax can be divided into two types: men and women.”
— Anonymous

‘Tis the time of year when some Americans await refunds, while others groan, procrastinate, and start getting their receipts in order… tax time!

Unless you were one of the early birds who pounced eagerly on their W-2 or 1099’s, you may still have an opportunity to find deductions and maximize the tax savings on your 2016 earnings. We detail the deductions you won’t want to overlook, plus we name five “deductions” you CAN’T take after all!

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If You’re Going to Invest in the Stock Market… (Diversification Strategies)

“One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.”
– William Feather

The stock market has been feeling VERY bullish lately, hitting 10 new highs in the last 10 days before a lull today. The bulls love Trump’s promises of decreased regulations and “big league” tax breaks for business.

We’re happy for all whose portfolio ticked up this month, and as the market breaks old records, it’s an excellent time to look at the big picture of your finances and consider some changes, especially if you’ve got money in the stock market.

A Different Financial Philosophy

First, let us admit that we’re a little biased. Partners for Prosperity advocates Prosperity Economics. It’s an alternative to financial planning that, unlike typical financial advice, doesn’t rely on stock market speculation to build wealth.

Prosperity Economics advocates that investors maintain a level of control over their finances, instead of delegating financial results to the markets, the government, or an employer who can legally move dollars from your paycheck and put them into mutual funds without so much as your signature.

(You know how some companies will send you junk mail unless you take the trouble to opt out in writing? Automatic enrollment for 401(k) plans works like that, thanks to some very effective lobbying of Congress by large financial corporations.)

It’s not that investing in the stock market will necessarily lead to a disaster. It could be very profitable! The point is, whether it climbs or falls, it’s out of your control. And since you can’t control the stock market, the more money you have in the market, the less control you have. Many are willing to give up some control for higher returns, but risk does not necessarily lead to better results, especially when a 50% loss must be followed by a 100% gain to recover the loss!

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Too Old for Life Insurance? Why Seniors Are Getting New Policies

 “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.”
– Maurice Chevalier

“Am I too old for life insurance?”

senior-saving-for-heirs.jpgWe get this question a lot, surprisingly, often from people who are only in their 50’s or 60’s. But even if you are in your 70’s or beyond, you’re probably not too old for life insurance, particularly whole life insurance.

Most mutual insurance companies will insure people up to age 85 with a whole life policy. Health is more important than age when it comes to determining whether or not you will qualify. But many people over age 60 or 70 qualify for life insurance, even with a past health crisis.

However, just because you CAN get life insurance doesn’t mean it’s right for your situation. Let’s explore why many seniors ARE buying life insurance, along with some of the pros and cons of doing so. This article is for you if you:

  • wish to leave an inheritance for children or grandchildren
  • want to protect your significant other
  • desire the flexibility and liquidity that whole life provides
  • are a middle-aged adult considering whole life insurance for a parent.
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The Ups and Downs of the Dow Jones (and Why We’re Not Impressed)

“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.”
– Kin Hubbard

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been in the news lately, breaking the 20,000 mark and raising beyond it.  The Dow has achieved twenty-one new highs since the presidential election. Last Friday’s close (February 10) was the highest to date at $20269.37.

All of the major stock indices pushed upwards this week following the president’s promised tax announcement. “Lowering the overall tax burden on American business is big league,” Trump said to airline executives during a White House meeting, though he did not give specifics.

It may appear that the stock market bulls have proven right.  Even we have said, “it’s time to get out of the market,” but then again, we never believed it was time to get IN the market in the first place.

Were we wrong?  Has the market proven our pessimism to be unfounded?

Let’s look…  with wide-open open eyes to see the whole truth.

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The Power of Perspective

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
– Marcus Aurelius

Last weekend, over 100 refugees and immigrants were held for questioning or even turned back from entering the U.S. For some Americans, it was the fulfillment of campaign promises to ensure the safety and prosperity of American citizens. For others, it was a startling and upsetting turn of events that betrayed American values. Your perspective is the window through which you view reality.

What was the perspective of Hamid Khalid Darweesh, the former Iraqi interpreter for the U.S. Army who was detained for 18 hours and held for questioning? Upon his release, a reporter yelled, “What do you think of America?” To which Darweesh promptly responded, “America is the greatest nation, the greatest people in the world!”

Brimming with gratitude, Darweesh declared America “the land of freedom, the land of rights,” explaining “That is what pushed me to be here… to leave my country,” saying he had already forgotten the challenges he had just faced. Even with a rough landing at JFK, there wasn’t any place he would rather be.

But this isn’t about politics… it’s about perspective.

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Time for a New Car? How to Drive Away with a Deal

“I’ve always been asked, ‘What is my favorite car?’ and I’ve always said ‘The next one.’ ”
– Carroll Shelby, American automotive designer and racecar driver

One of my mentors, Peter Diamandis, predicts that self-driving cars could make car-ownership obsolete for urban dwellers within a decade. But for now, most people continue to gladly pay a premium to drive their own vehicles. This makes financial planning to buy a car a necessity that has potholes (pardon the pun).

Cars are expensive, often a household’s second largest expense after housing. In this article, we’ll give some perspective on the industry and look at ways to lessen the financial impact of the driving habit with savvy strategies and resources to help you avoid car-buying mistakes.

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Shortcuts to Prosperity: Our Favorite Money Hacks (Part 2)

“You’ve got to do fewer things more effectively.”
– Adam Urbanski, business and marketing coach

In part one of “Shortcuts to Prosperity,” we examined 12 financial hacks organized under the first four of our Principles of Prosperity™. We continue now with the remaining three principles and 13 additional ways to hack your money and take a shortcut to wealth. 

Prosperity Principle:  Keep CONTROL of Your Money!

No one will care about your money as much as you do, so don’t hand over the control of all of your dollars to someone else.

  1. Automate your savings.

One of the easiest ways to lose control of your money is to spend it! Don’t let your dollars just sit around in your checking account, burning a proverbial hole in your pocket. Schedule automatic withdrawals to transfer money into a savings account, a whole life policy, or an investment.

But the mistake that most people make is that they move their money to places where they have no control! So mind these next hacks…

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