Same-Sex Couples May Now File Joint Income Tax Returns

The U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service have just established that several key income tax benefits previously only available to opposite-sex marriages are now available to those in a same-sex marriages as well.

Under the announcement (U.S. Treasury) and the rule (IRS), benefits now available include the ability to file a joint income tax return (which may cut your tax cost), but also increase the tax-free part of a couple’s estate for transfer to heirs (double an individual’s lifetime limit). Additionally, all the same income tax benefits that may come from filing a household income tax return are available, including deductions, exemptions and credits. Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits Of Budgeting

When it comes to personal finance there is one word that makes almost everyone cringe… Budgeting. Most people feel that maintaining a budget means that it will be the end of all of the “fun”. In reality, establishing and following a sound budget does just the opposite. It not only allows you to control your spending, but also is the foundation to achieve the financial goals you truly desire.

Here at Callahan Financial Planning we simply define a budget as providing for your needs within scarcity, which is the limited amount of money available to you. This means living within the amount of money you earn while taking care of your needs. The goal of having a budget isn’t to restrict your spending, but to cover all your necessities and focus any remaining money on what is most important to you. Budgeting forces you to take an in depth look at where your money is currently going and decide if that’s where it should go in order to accomplish your true goals. Read the rest of this entry »

What Should I Do with My 401(k) After Changing Jobs?

This is the first in a four part series designed to help you determine the best way to proceed with your previous employer’s company retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s and more. Part 1| 2 | 3 | 4

What do you think about when you get a new job?

If you’re like most, you’re focused on what the new employer expects from you, learning your position, new processes and dozens of other details that come along with a new position.

This can be a very stressful time for any individual and although it’s the last thing anyone wants to think about, it’s important to remember your company retirement plan(s).  These include 401(k)s, 403(b)s, SIMPLE IRAs, Thrift Savings Plans and more.  If you’re not consciously thinking about your 401(k) or other employer sponsored plan it can be easy to think “I’ll get around to it later” and eventually forget about it all together. Read the rest of this entry »

Do I Need Financial Planning?

Have you been thinking about creating a financial plan for yourself, but just don’t know if you actually need to take the time to do it? If you’re teetering on the idea, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you unclear about how your current investments are performing?
  • Do you and your spouse differ over how to handle your money?
  • Are you confused about the vast array of investment options?
  • Do you feel you pay too much in taxes?
  • Are you uncertain if you have the right kinds and amounts of insurance?
  • Have you delayed creating an estate plan?
  • Are you worried about not having enough money to retire?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, there’s a good chance you should consider financial planning. Read the rest of this entry »