Archive for the ‘Miser Tip’ Category:

help a rural hospital, save on state income tax

Written on June 6th, 2017 by Jamesno shouts

There is a rural health crisis in Georgia and many rural hospitals are facing severe demographic, industry, and financial challenges. Now, you can pay your 2017 Georgia income taxes with a contribution to a qualified rural hospital, improving access to health care for their fellow Georgians.

A summary of the key features of SB 180 include:

·         90% of each contribution qualifies for an offsetting tax credit

·         A maximum credit of $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for married couples

·         For AMT taxpayers, contributing may save them money

·         The tax credit pre-approval submission process takes less than two minutes

Learn more at

Filed under Miser Tip Tags:

What’s wrong with a rule that advisors have to act in their clients best interest?

Written on February 3rd, 2017 by Jamesno shouts

I’m not a fan of the government over regulation, but asking financial advisors to act in their clients best interest seems like a no brainer.  Why are the big guys asking Trump to repeal this rule?

Last minute tax deductions for 2016

Written on December 15th, 2016 by Jamesno shouts

You’ve got 2 weeks remaining in 2016, here is a quick checklist of ways to reduce your taxes:

  • max out your 401k ($18,000 + $6000 if over age 50)
  • max our your HSA if you have a High Deductible Health Plan ($6750 for families / $3350 for singles)
  • do you have any investment losses in a taxable account?  Sell now and deduct up to $3000

And don’t forget about Itemized Deductions on your Schedule A form, plan ahead and get more deductions:

  • Medical/Dental Expenses:  keep track of your out of pocket expenses.  If over 10% of Adj Gross Income you can deduct.
    • Long Term Care premiums can be included in this
  • State Tax or Sales Tax (you choose which one to deduct)
  • Personal Property Tax
  • Real Estate Tax
  • Mortgage Interest
  • Mortgage Insurance (PMI – deductible for some income levels)
  • Mortgage Points/Loan Orig fees (basically prepaid mortgage interest can be deductible)
  • CHARITABLE – big one you can do in the next two weeks
    • Cash donations to qualified charities are deductible (keep records and written verification from charity)
    • Non Cash Donations (donating household items to your favorite charity thrift store or qualified charitable institution)
      • < $250 just need to record name of organization and description/value of property
      • $250 to $500 need above + receipt from organization
      • $500 to $5000 have to list more details with tax return including form 8283, still very easy
      • >$5000 you will need to have an appraisal of the property.
  • Misc Itemized Deductions (may or may not be subject to 2% AGI threshold) :
    • Investment expenses and fees + some legal expenses
    • unreimbursed employee expenses
    • Job search expenses
    • Job related education
    • work uniforms (some restrictions here)

appealing medicare premium surcharge

Written on December 6th, 2016 by Jamesno shouts

To follow up on the previous video post: If you would like to appeal the “income surcharge” attached to your medicare part b premium, here is the form

How to see everything Google knows about you

Written on November 8th, 2016 by Jamesno shouts

An interesting post from Clark Howard’s website on Google’s My Activity page:

Filed under Miser Tip, Personal Finance Tags:

Medicare open enrollment time

Written on October 19th, 2016 by Jamesno shouts

Did you know the State of Georgia has a free service that can help answer your medicare questions?  It’s called Georgia Cares and help can be found here:

Filed under Miser Tip Tags:

increased tax savings on 529 contributions

Written on September 7th, 2016 by Jamesno shouts

I’m not sure how this news got by me, but the State of Georgia has increased the state tax deduction on 529 contributions:

New Georgia law doubles tax deduction for Path2College 529 Plan

May 05, 2016

ATLANTA — Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation that will double the state tax deduction for families filing a join tax return for contributions made to the Path2College 529Plan. Beginning with returns filed in 2017, joint filers are eligible to deduct up to $4,000 per beneficiary, per year, giving families even more advantages to saving for education-related expenses. Contributions up to $2,000 per year, per beneficiary remain deductible for those who file single or head of household. (Limitations apply. Read the Disclosure Booklet carefully for details.) Contributions to the plan made before the tax deadline each year are eligible for a state income tax deduction regardless of annual income.

House Bill 802, which was sponsored by Representatives Sam Teasley (R-Marietta), was signed into law on May 3rd by Governor Nathan Deal.

A post I wish I could have written

Written on May 12th, 2015 by Jamesno shouts

Occasionally I come across investment articles, theoretical discussions and opinion blogs that I think are worthy of sharing.  This one in particular sums up a lot about the frustration with modern day investing and politics so well, I wish that I could have written it:

Filed under General, Miser Tip Tags:

Bob Farrell’s 10 investing rules

Written on July 9th, 2014 by Jamesno shouts

This never gets old and every few years I like to dust this off and post it on the blog.  I have a shortcut on my computer to this article on and click on it every now and then when I need a reminder.  Uncanny, how just a few months after this originally posted on Marketwatch the market imploded.

Bob Farrell was a pioneering technical analyst that worked with Merrill Lynch as far back as the 1950′s, so he saw it all.  He came up with his 10 rules for investing, which have proven time and time again to be correct.  From the article by Jonathan Burton on June 8th, 2008:

1. Markets tend to return to the mean over time

By “return to the mean,” Farrell means that when stocks go too far in one direction, they come back. If that sounds elementary, then remember that both euphoric and pessimistic markets can cloud people’s heads.

2. Excesses in one direction will lead to an opposite excess in the other direction

Think of the market as a constant dieter who struggles to stay within a desired weight range but can’t always hit the mark.

3. There are no new eras — excesses are never permanent

This harkens to the first two rules. Many investors try to find the latest hot sector, and soon a fever builds that “this time it’s different.” Of course, it never really is. When that sector cools, individual shareholders are usually among the last to know and are forced to sell at lower prices.

4. Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways

This is Farrell’s way of saying that a popular sector can stay hot for a long while, but will fall hard when a correction comes. Chinese stocks not long ago were market darlings posting parabolic gains, but investors who came late to this party have been sorry.

5. The public buys the most at the top and the least at the bottom

Sure, and if they didn’t, contrarian-minded investors would have nothing to crow about. Accordingly, many market technicians use sentiment indicators to gauge investor pessimism or optimism, then recommend that investors head in the opposite direction.

6. Fear and greed are stronger than long-term resolve

Investors can be their own worst enemy, particularly when emotions take hold.

7. Markets are strongest when they are broad and weakest when they narrow to a handful of blue-chip names

Markets and individual sectors can move in powerful waves that take all boats up or down in their wake. There’s strength in numbers, and such broad momentum is hard to stop, Farrell observes. In these conditions you either lead, follow or get out of the way.

8. Bear markets have three stages — sharp down, reflexive rebound and a drawn-out fundamental downtrend

9. When all the experts and forecasts agree — something else is going to happen

As Stovall, the S&P investment strategist, puts it: “If everybody’s optimistic, who is left to buy? If everybody’s pessimistic, who’s left to sell?”

Going against the herd as Farrell repeatedly suggests can be very profitable, especially for patient buyers who raise cash from frothy markets and reinvest it when sentiment is darkest.

10. Bull markets are more fun than bear markets

No kidding.


rental cars & HOA’s

Written on March 11th, 2014 by Jamesno shouts

Okay, its a strange title with absolutely nothing in common except protecting yourself from surprise out of pocket expenses.  Both topics sort of popped in my head recently so thought a combo 2 for 1 blog post was warranted.

First topic:  Should I purchase the optional insurance when renting a car?

With Spring/Summer travel season coming up the question is do you take the insurance they offer when renting a car?  My gut reaction up to this point has always been, absolutely not!  My existing auto insurance extends to rental cars so why waste the money.  However, after the workshop the P&C agent gave a few weeks ago I am rethinking this.  For one, if you travel out of the country and rent a car you may or may not be covered.  If you are covered your liability limits might not be in full effect.  Second, if you are in a wreck or the car is stolen you still have your deductibles and the hassle of dealing with rental car agency to settle the claim.  By taking the rental car insurance any problems are transferred to them and you don’t have to deal with it.

I know this isn’t a frugal way of thinking of this, but just throwing out a counter argument for you to consider.  Along these lines many credit cards offer insurance on rentals as well.  Just know in advance of your travels what your auto policy covers and credit card covers, it could definitely pay off.  For more reading here is another article on the subject:


Second topic: Did you look at your HOA’s financial position before buying your home?

A conversation with a client who happens to be a real estate attorney along with an article in this months Kiplinger got me thinking of this topic.  How many of us actually knew the financial position of our Homeowners Association when we bought our home or condo?  I certainly didn’t and it never crossed my mind to ask for a copy of the HOA financials before buying my home.  However, ask anyone who has moved into a community only to get hit with a large special assessment and you quickly learn why it is important to know the financial position of your community up front.  With the real estate bust many HOA’s are still underfunded and if large repairs are needed in the community (pool, tennis other amenities), then all residents will get hit with an assessment.  For condo/townhome owners with shared roofs or structural items this is especially true as those assessments can be many thousands of dollars.

Before you buy, ask for a copy of the HOA’s financials and take a look at their reserves in relation to the most recent reserve study.  Buying into a community that is well funded will make your wallet much happier.


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