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What Is Tax-Loss Harvesting?: A Beginner’s Guide

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Tax time is here again, and with it, the sinking feeling in your stomach that comes with determining how much you might owe the federal government.

Americans have many conflicted feelings about paying their taxes, but there is no denying that working through all the paperwork each year can produce quite a headache.

While it’s never fun to reflect on your financial losses, doing so can actually be quite helpful during this busy time. Investment losses can be used in a process known as tax-loss harvesting. It is a financially savvy way to help lower your tax burden and cool some of the sting of your financial loss over the course of the year.

How does tax-loss harvesting work and is it something you should consider this year? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.

What Is Tax-Loss Harvesting?

Looking for a way to lower your tax bill? There’s no better way than tax-loss harvesting, which can help to shave off up to $3,000 from what you owe each year. That’s certainly not a total to turn your nose at.

The process essentially requires you to cut your tax bill by selling current investments at a loss. Have a few stocks that haven’t paid off or other kinds of investments that have taken a dent in your financial outlook?

Selling them at their current lows could actually help to put some money back into your pocket instead of the federal government’s. When you sell low, these losses can be used to offset the capital gains tax that you might be taking in from other kinds of investments.

Making the conscious decision to sell at a loss, while it may sound counter-intuitive, might actually help you save money in the short term.

Why Consider Tax-Loss Harvesting?

There are many benefits and reasons to consider tax-loss harvesting. The main benefit, as we mentioned above, is to help lower the amount you’ll actually owe in taxes for your more lucrative investments.

One advantage of tax-loss harvesting as a financial strategy? You don’t have to be a high roller to take advantage. Any kind of portfolio with gains and losses can implement this strategy, even if the total value of your investments is relatively small.

While a small amount might not be worth making the sale for, the principles of the strategy stay true no matter what financial bracket you’re in.

While it makes sense to think about the money saved as going to diminishing your capital gains tax, this isn’t the only area where you can save money. Even if you didn’t make any cash on your investments this year, you can actually use your harvested losses to deduct from what you owe on your general income tax.

Tax-loss harvesting isn’t an official financial move recognized by the IRS, but it’s perfectly legal to do. Many financial advisors might recommend you take on this strategy during tax time. You can read more about the benefits of this move at https://bogartwealth.com/services/tax-optimization/.

Factors to Keep in Mind

If you’re strongly considering selling off some investment losses, there are a number of things you’ll need to keep in mind. While this is a smart financial strategy, it is also to make a mistake if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The major thing you’ll want to keep your eye on: it’s already too late to do it for this calendar year. In order to count for your taxes, the sale that you’re looking to do needs to occur prior to December 31st.

There are some tax tasks that can be done all the way up to the tax deadline, but this is not one of them. If you want to take advantage of tax-loss harvesting, it needs to be done prior to the end of the calendar year.

You can start keeping your eye on your taxes for this upcoming year as your investments move, but it is too late to make changes for the 2021 tax year.

What else do you need to keep in mind?

A Warning for Those in Lower Tax Brackets

You need to remember that while this strategy will work for people in lower tax brackets, you’ll need to consider if it is worth the money saved. Investments that you have at a loss now might come back up in the future.

The potential profit from these investments might be more than what you’re able to save on your taxes through this strategy.

The lower your tax bracket, the fewer savings you’ll make going this route. If you calculate how much you might be able to save and find that you have a highlier likelihood of making that money by waiting for your investments out, that might end up being the better choice.

Harder for Index Fund Investors

If you make most of your investments in index funds as opposed to individual stocks, this is going to be a trickier move to make. It’s less easy to sell off your stake in these types of funds when you need to save some cash at the end of the year.

You’ll find it much easier to sell off a few individual stocks and keep your funds on hold for the future.

Benefits of Tax-Loss Harvesting

If you’re looking for a way to save on your taxes this season, learning about tax-loss harvesting might provide just what you’re looking for. There are many reasons to consider this particular financial strategy, with the most important ones outlined above.

Need more personal finance advice? Keep scrolling our blog for more.

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How to Become a Notary in 3 Simple Steps

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Being a notary can come in handy in many different situations. If you’ve wondered how to become a notary, the ease of the process might be surprising. It is possible to become a notary for less than $200 in most cases!

Becoming a notary can be a quick experience when you know what to do. Keep on reading to learn the three simple steps you need to become a notary!

1. Learn How to Become a Notary

When learning how to become a notary, you need to educate yourself as much as possible. What is a notary? A notary is a person who gets approved by the state to witness official documents.

The process might differ depending on the state, but most have training courses. Education is not always a requirement by the state, but it helps you understand the responsibilities.

You will learn all the laws concerning notaries. There will be various situations you face after becoming a notary.

Knowing the state laws will help you know what to do in each one. View here for more information on what notaries can sign. There may be times you get asked to sign something you can’t sign.

Check your state’s website for the latest training on becoming a notary. Take any available courses to gain all the knowledge possible on being a notary. You must understand what you can and cannot notarize.

2. Apply to Become a Notary

After your training, you can apply to become a notary. Most states charge an application fee. These days, many states let you apply online.

You can pay using a credit or debit card. It can cost as little as $20 but as much as $120 in some states. Your state website will have the exact amount you will need to pay.

When applying to become a notary, you will answer basic questions. Once you have completed the application and sent it in, you will have a short waiting period. That timeframe can be up to several weeks.

3. Getting Approved

After you get approved, you may need a notary bond and insurance for your state. You may also need to file your notary status at your local county office.

Once you learn how to become a notary and get approved, you can get your stamp. All notaries get recognized from their stamps. States have various restrictions on these.

You will get an official notary certificate from your state office. Notaries can get stamps from approved manufacturers, so check the state website for those. It takes less than a month from starting the process to get your notary stamp.

What Comes Next?

After you know how to become a notary, you can move to decide how to use your new skill set. Many people charge a small fee for their notary services. Following the steps laid out by your state is a straightforward process.

With a bit of money and training upfront, you can use your new abilities to make some extra income. All you need is a few supplies and the ability to go where needed! Follow our website for more articles on how to develop new skills!

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How Do I Choose the Best Divorce Lawyer in My Local Area?

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Very few, if any, of the around 2 million couples who marry each year go into the marriage expecting a divorce. The travails of adult life often put those expectations to the test. Spouses stop communicating, grow apart, or even become abusive toward each other. In face of that, a little under 750,000 couples do end up getting divorced each year.

If you think your marriage will go in that direction, you also probably wonder how you can pick the best divorce lawyer in your area. Keep reading for a quick guide to picking the best divorce attorney for you.

Ask Around, Quietly

This part of divorce planning is something that you must handle quietly. Reach out to close friends or family members who went through a divorce and that you can trust to keep quiet. Ask them about their divorce attorneys and whether they were satisfied.

This can help you narrow down the list of dozens or even hundreds of potential lawyers to a small handful. You should back these recommendations up with independent research on the lawyers to narrow the list even more.

If you can’t find specific recommendations for a lawyer, look for the best law firm for divorces.

Consultations

You should meet with at least a few of the candidates on your list for a formal consultation. A good consultation will often take several hours and get into the specifics of your case. You should expect to pay for this type of consultation.

While many lawyers will offer a free consultation, these rarely last more than 15 to 20 minutes. They are also largely useless for getting a feel for a lawyer’s personality and approach.

Ask Questions

While you likely lack the experience to dig deeply into something like legal strategy, you can ask questions that will inform your decision. A few common questions that can help you understand what kind of lawyer you are dealing with include:

  • What percentage of divorces do you settle without a court hearing?
  • What approach do you take in settling divorce cases?
  • What role can or will I take in settling the case?

If an attorney sees taking things into the courtroom as the first, last, and only option, you probably want someone else.

Discuss Fees

You should expect an hourly rate for a divorce attorney. The average hovers around $270 an hour, but the lawyers you meet with may charge more or less. Make sure you understand when and how billing will happen, as many divorce lawyers expect a retainer before they start.

Getting the Best Divorce Lawyer

Getting the best divorce lawyer isn’t the same as getting the most expensive or most recognizable divorce attorney. The best divorce lawyer is the one who will best serve your needs. For example, if you prefer avoiding the publicity of a court proceeding, you want someone who does everything they can to settle.

You also want a lawyer that you feel comfortable with personally. Divorce is an emotionally taxing process without adding someone you personally detest to the mix.

Looking for more tips on divorce or family law? Check out the posts in our Law section

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What If I Suspect My Neighbor’s Dog Is a Threat?

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What If I Suspect My Neighbor's Dog Is a Threat

Canines are instinctively territorial.  Sometimes this trait can manifest itself in behavior that is aggressive, putting those around the animal at risk. Ultimately, the responsibility of dealing with this issue falls on the dog’s owner. Fortunately, New Jersey Law does provide avenues to remedy the situation when someone becomes injured.

Dangerous Dog Laws in New Jersey

For dogs that are a threat to the public’s safety, state law has civil procedures in place to handle this situation. To kick off the process, you will need to contact your county’s animal control officer if the pet has attacked another animal or person without provocation. This official will then decide if the dog in question poses an imminent threat. If so, it will impound the canine until the owner goes to court to determine their dog’s potential dangerousness.

If the court determines this is the case, the owner will be ordered to comply with specific conditions to keep the dog, including:

  • Using warning signs on the property
  • Obtain special licensing for the animal
  • Keeping the dog enclosed
  • Using a muzzle and strong leash

Owners who fail to meet the court’s demands to control their aggressive dog face fines of up to $1,000 for every day they are in violation. In situations where the court determines the dog’s dangerous behavior is the result of being abused or a consequence of it being used in dogfighting activities, it could be ordered put down.

NJ Dog Bite Law

If a dangerous dog bit you or someone you know, state law holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries resulting from the incident. The only time they may not be held at fault is if you were trespassing on private property or intentionally provoked the animal. This standard applies even if the owner had done everything possible to restrain their pet and warn others about the danger it poses. Its previous history of being aggressive or not has no bearing on this fact.

Free Case Evaluation

If you have experienced a traumatizing dog bite or attack that has caused you serious injuries physically, emotionally and financially you should give us a call for a free case evaluation.You shouldn’t be worried about how much a dog bite lawsuit is going to cost. We employ contingency fee contracts to help those in your situation. This means you pay nothing upfront and won’t owe a dime unless they win your case. To find out more, schedule a free case evaluation today.

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