About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:
Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

IRS Tax Form 1099-DIV – How Are Dividends Taxed?

By Kira Botkin

1099 div formMany investors choose to invest in dividend-bearing stocks, or mutual funds focusing on dividend payers, as part of their portfolio. And those dividends can pay off in a major way. Investing in dividend-bearing stocks can be a great choice for investors who are thinking long-term. You may receive dividends in stock or cash, and you can frequently reinvest cash dividends to buy more stock. Depending upon how you receive dividends, you may need to plan ahead for tax day. Specifically, it is important to understand the different types of dividends, what you can expect as far as paying taxes on them, and how to read the 1099-DIV tax form so you’re adequately prepared.

Click to continue reading...

Box 12 Codes on Tax Form W-2 Explained

By Kira Botkin

w2 form penBelow is the explanation of the Box 12 Codes on the W-2 tax form.

A – Any uncollected Social Security tax or RRTA tax on tips. You’ll include this amount in your total tax liability on your Form 1040.

B – Any uncollected Medicare tax on tips. You’ll include this amount in your total tax liability on Form 1040.

C – If you had group term life insurance through your workplace, the premiums for any value over $50,000 become taxable income to you and are included here.

D – Contributions to a 401k or SIMPLE 401k retirement plan.

E – Contributions to a 403b retirement plan.

Click to continue reading...

State Tax Rates Comparison – Sales, Income & Social Security Tax

By Kira Botkin

percentages tax ratesThe Federal Government taxes everyone’s income according to the same scale, but each state has the ability to set different types of taxes on its citizens, including property tax, sales tax, and income tax. This means the amount of tax you’d pay if you live in Florida may be vastly different than the amount you’d pay if you live in California.

For some states, property and sales taxes are the main sources of revenue. In fact, several states don’t collect income tax at all. Depending on your long-term financial goals, you might want to consider living in such a state – or, at the very least, do your Christmas shopping in a state with no sales tax.

Click to continue reading...

4 Reasons the IRS Can Seize Your Income Tax Refund Money for Debt

By Kira Botkin

seize moneyIf you’ve recently filed your taxes and were expecting a nice fat refund check, you may be shocked if you check the tax refund status and discover that it’s no longer coming.

Believe it or not, there are several situations in which the IRS can rightfully seize your refund. Therefore, before crying foul and blaming the government for making a terrible mistake, consider whether any of the numerous reasons for tax refund seizure could apply to you.

Click to continue reading...

9 Ways to Improve Your Car’s Gas Mileage and Drive Efficiently

By Kira Botkin

efficient drivingAs gas prices remain high, improving your car’s mileage is crucial. By stretching a tank of gas further, you can reduce the amount of times you must fill up per month, which can help you stick to your budget. This is especially important for those who purchased non-efficient cars when gas was cheaper. But regardless of what car you drive, you can always use a little extra money at the end of the month, and cutting back your gas expenses is a great way to pad your bank account.

Click to continue reading...

What Is a 403b Retirement Plan – Contributions, Withdrawals & Taxes

By Kira Botkin

403bMany people know that you should contribute to a 401k account to secure an enjoyable, comfortable retirement. But if you work for a nonprofit, a state agency, or a university, your employer might offer you a 403b instead.

A 403b is very similar to a 401k: Both retirement accounts are tax-deferred, which means that you don’t have to pay taxes on the money that you deposit, though you do have to pay taxes on money when you withdraw it. Depending on how your employer sets up the accounts, you may also be able to contribute simultaneously to a Roth 403b, which allows you to contribute on an after-tax basis and avoid paying taxes on withdrawals.

Click to continue reading...

11 Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates – How to Lower Your Costs

By Kira Botkin

car insuranceWhen shopping for car insurance, it can be tempting to reduce your rates by choosing lower amounts of coverage or by raising your deductibles. These are, of course, the two most obvious factors that affect the cost of your auto insurance.

You may not realize it, but your overall rate is also affected by many more different factors – some of which you can control, and many of which you cannot. However, knowing what affects your rate can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing insurance, and can help you know exactly what to do to lower your expenses.

Click to continue reading...

What Is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage Explained – Definition, Pros & Cons

By Kira Botkin

fixed-rate mortgageWhen shopping for a home mortgage, there are a dizzying array of options available to you. The most popular option is the fixed-rate mortgage, which offers an interest rate that does not fluctuate for the entire length of the mortgage.

With a fixed-rate mortgage, the homeowner can make the same payment each month until the mortgage is paid off. However, that predictability can come with higher closing costs, and the traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is one of the toughest mortgages to get approved for. While there are certainly disadvantages, getting a fixed-rate mortgage can make sense for some buyers.

Click to continue reading...

5 Things You Need to Start a Small Business

By Kira Botkin

small business ownerOwning your own business may seem like the epitome of the American Dream. You can be your own boss, keep your own schedule, and answer to nobody but yourself – no wonder so many people idealize being a small business owner.

However, while working for yourself can seem ideal, most people are not prepared for the amount of time, money, patience, and research that starting a business entails.

What Do I Need to Start a Business?

To determine whether starting a small business is right for you, it’s essential to know what will be required of you to start and maintain your endeavor.

Click to continue reading...

10 Reasons to Continue Working After Retirement

By Kira Botkin

working seniorWhen you picture yourself in your golden years, are you sitting on a beach, hitting the golf course, or working behind a desk? For many people of retirement age, continuing to work makes perfect sense.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t balance your work life with enjoyable activities, such as vacation and family visits. Instead, going back to work can be a complementary activity to a fulfilling life. And whether it’s done voluntarily or out of necessity, working after retirement can offer many benefits. In fact, check out some of the best job ideas for retirees.

Click to continue reading...

How to Prepare and Plan for Retirement

By Kira Botkin

enjoy your retirementWhether your retirement is fast approaching or decades away, it is likely that you do not spend much time pondering what will happen when you stop working. Unfortunately, many people are unable to retire when they’d like to because of their financial situation.

With careful planning, you can avoid this predicament. Planning ahead for retirement allows you to decide when and how you will retire, and whether you will continue to work. Even if you have not begun to plan, you can still start preparing yourself at any time – whether you plan to retire in the next few years, or in the next few decades. It is important to give yourself the best chance for a happy and secure future!

Click to continue reading...

8 Best Job Ideas for Retirees & Seniors

By Kira Botkin

retired coupleWhile at work, many of us dream of having time off to fill our days vacationing, playing golf, and relaxing with loved ones. But when retirement comes, we may actually find that we miss the work!

There are myriad reasons to continue to work after retirement: it can help you stay physically and mentally healthy, and provides an additional source of income. You may wish to find a job in your field with more flexibility, fewer hours, and less stress, or you could get started in a new career field. Instead of fitting your life around your job, you can look for jobs that allow you to pursue your interests. This can be a dream come true for a retiree.

Click to continue reading...

What Is a Piggyback 80-10-10 Mortgage – Pros & Cons

By Kira Botkin

piggyback mortgage house familyA piggyback mortgage is exactly what it sounds like – one mortgage on top of another. This set of two mortgages was commonly used prior to the mortgage crisis to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), when homebuyers didn’t have a large enough down payment.

Now, this loan combo is much harder to come by. However, it can still be an option for homebuyers with good credit who have at least a 10% down payment and would prefer not to pay PMI.

Click to continue reading...

What Is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – Definition, Pros & Cons

By Kira Botkin

adjustable rate mortgageWhen shopping for a mortgage, you have a variety of options. Mortgages can be structured differently and many factors are negotiable, such as the interest rate, closing costs, the loan’s length, a pre-payment penalty, and a balloon payment, to name a few.

One type of loan that has recently become popular is the ARM, or adjustable rate mortgage. On this loan, the interest rate starts out very low and adjusts over time according to an interest index, such as the LIBOR (London InterBank Offered Rate). Typically, the interest rate adjusts up because a margin is added to whatever current rates are.

Click to continue reading...

Shopping Nanny Review – Find Sales & Coupons for Your Grocery List

By Kira Botkin

Important Note: Please be advised that the Shopping Nanny website is no longer maintained. For a similar service, check out our Savings Angel Review.

shopping nanny logoMaking a grocery list and sticking to it can save you money every time you shop at the grocery store. When you have a list, you always come home with everything you need, and the list helps you stick to a budget. Getting the best deals on the grocery items you need involves a lot of comparison shopping and coupon organizing.

Click to continue reading...

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.