W-4 Withholding Tax Form – Instructions for Claiming Exemptions & Allowances

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

w-4 tax formEach time you begin a new job, one of the forms you’ll be asked to fill out is a Form W-4. This form helps your employer determine how much to withhold from your paycheck in taxes, based on the number of exemptions you claim on your tax return.

While this method is not very precise, it is fairly flexible, as you can adjust the number of exemptions you put down (i.e. adjust federal income tax withholding allowances).

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W-2 Form – IRS Tax Form Filing Instructions Online

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

w2 form penIf you were working as an employee and were paid during the year, you should receive a W-2 from the company you worked for, postmarked by January 31st. It will show information on all compensation you received during the calendar year, even if the actual time you worked was in the year before, or your company uses a different fiscal year.

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Penny For Your Thoughts: My Disabled Girlfriend Is a Financial Deadweight

This post is part of our “Penny For Your Thoughts” column where readers can write into Penny for answers to their toughest dilemmas on money and relationships.

If your question is chosen for the next Penny For Your Thoughts column, you will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card. In addition, one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this post will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

depressed coupleDear Penny,

My girlfriend Amie was injured two years ago while working at her job in a greenhouse. She’s now considered partially handicapped at 26 and receives a disability check (which isn’t even half of what she made when she worked).

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How Much to Save for Retirement – Planning Strategies for Every Age

retirement fund binYou’ve heard plenty of lame one-liners and empty tokens of advice: Save 15% of your income to retire comfortably; save two grand per month to retire a millionaire; save a million dollars to retire comfortably; plan to withdraw 4% annually in retirement.

Financial advice isn’t helpful if all you get are platitudes and generalizations. Too often, experts toss around figures about how much you need to save and invest, without considering your long-term personal financial goals.

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4 Best Kids Educational Software Programs to Teach Your Kids About Money

kids computerSure, your home computer provides plenty of entertainment and gives your kids a chance to play games or interact with their friends. But have you considered how useful computers are when it comes to teaching kids about finance and how to handle their money?

While it was important for us to learn about money basics when we were growing up, our kids will face financial challenges that we never dreamed of. Luckily, some excellent software programs can help you teach your kids the basics of money management in fun, interactive ways.

Check out these four tools for preparing your kids for the future.

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3 Types of Mortgage & Housing Scams to Watch Out for – Don’t Be a Victim

mortgage home scamRecession-related job loss, cut backs, and bank crackdowns have left many debt-mired homeowners wondering what they can possibly do to save their homes from foreclosure. Unfortunately, for every downtrodden soul, there is a scumbag con artist waiting to take advantage.

These crooks disguise themselves as well-meaning, competent professionals who are capable of helping honest people avoid foreclosure. But, behind the masks, their eyes are targeted at your checkbook, or the title of your home, in some creative mortgage reconstruction scams.

Keep an eye out for these warning signs and make sure you don’t become their next victim.

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What is Witch Hazel – 10 Amazing Uses & Benefits

witch hazelIf you’ve never heard of witch hazel, you’re in for a treat. Why? Because this natural astringent is not only awesome for your skin, but it has plenty of other amazing uses as well.

First of all, let’s take a closer look at witch hazel itself.

Witch hazel, also known as winterbloom or spotted alder, is actually a flowering shrub common in North America. The leaves, bark, and twigs of witch hazel are high in tannins. Tannins are found in any natural astringent because of their ability to tighten, dry and harden tissues. The witch hazel water you can buy for $2 at any any drugstore is actually a steam distillation of the bark, leaves, and twigs of the shrub itself.

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What Is an Annuity and How Does It Work? – Annuities Explained

nest egg cashIf you have a 401k or Roth IRA, you probably feel like you’re doing everything you can to be financially prepared for retirement, right? Maybe you are, but you might also benefit from incorporating an annuity into your savings plan.

So how do you know if you need an annuity?

Let’s look at the basic characteristics of these unique savings vehicles, how they work, and most importantly, if you would benefit from having one.

What Is an Annuity?

An annuity, by definition, is simply an agreement to make a series of payments of a certain amount of money to a specified party for a predetermined period of time. Annuities also refer to a commercial insurance contract offered by a life insurance company.

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