Articles by Jill

Retirement accounts take one of three forms: The 401(k), or other employer-sponsored qualified plan, where you contribute pre-tax funds and pay taxes on the contributions and gains at withdrawal; the Traditional IRA, where contributions may or may not be deductible now, and gains and deductible contributions are taxed at withdrawal; or the Roth IRA, which […]

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Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Alimony?

Posted by Jill on February 7, 2012

Is alimony taxable? If you’ve recently gotten divorced and are receiving (or paying) alimony for the first time, you may be confused as to how to the IRS taxes those payments. Alimony can trigger large tax payments, especially in high-dollar divorce settlements. Depending on your situation, you may be kicked into a higher tax bracket […]

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What is a Personal Tax Exemption?

Posted by Jill on January 16, 2012

You pay taxes based on your income. But before that income is calculated, the IRS allows you to reduce it based on exemptions. What is a tax exemption? A standard amount of money (defined each year by the IRS) that is not taxed. For tax year 2014, the personal exemption amount is $3,950. That means […]

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End of the Paper Savings Bond Era

Posted by Jill on January 9, 2012

Government savings bonds have a special place in my heart. My grandpa often tells stories about using payroll deduction to buy bonds when he was a civil service employee in the 60s and 70s. As he tells it, you could buy 1/3 of a bond for $6.25, and receive a bond for $18.75 every third […]

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How to Make Holiday Gift Baskets

Posted by Jill on December 19, 2011

The gift basket is a longtime favorite for holiday gifts. They’re a great way to give a family gift, which is one of my favorite ways to save money on holiday gifts. You can make the basket as small or large as you want, including small “filler” items as a way to give more for […]

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Book Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Posted by Jill on December 13, 2011

I love buying books as gifts for holidays and birthdays. They last forever, you can find one for any audience, and it’s easy to spend as much or as little as you please. If you’re having a hard time finding gifts for people on your list this holiday season, check out the ultimate book gift guide below. […]

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2011 Gift Card Deals for Restaurants and Shopping

Posted by Jill on November 29, 2011

Update: See this year’s list of updated gift card deals! It’s shopping time again! And it’s time for the annual list of the best deals on restaurant and retail gift cards. Buy cards to give as gifts or to lock in a discount on your favorite chain restaurants. Use credit cards offering cash back on […]

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7 Financial Consequences When You Say “I Do”

Posted by Jill on November 2, 2011

I’ve mentioned before that I seem to attend a wedding every few months these days. I got to thinking a bit about how finances change when you say “I do.” Of course there’s the everyday issues of who manages the money, and whether to have separate accounts. But there are bigger picture items to consider […]

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How Much Should I Put in My Flexible Spending Account?

Posted by Jill on October 17, 2011

We recently answered questions about Flexible Spending Accounts. Used correctly, Flexible Spending Accounts (and their closely-related cousins, Health Savings Accounts) are a great way to save on health care costs by paying for them with pre-tax money. If you want to contribute to an FSA, you do so by electing to have a certain amount […]

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Estate Planning for Every Age

Posted by Jill on October 5, 2011

Estate planning is one of the vital parts of any financial plan. You might think that estate planning is only for old people, or only for rich people. But the reality is that people of any age and any financial means can benefit from thinking about what will happen to your money after you’re gone…and […]

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