Money Coaching Tips and Ideas from Alexandrite Group

Posted: Thursday, December 09, 2010

December 2010

Happy Holidays!
It is hard to believe that it is the end of another year. Even though you made be busier than usual with things like shopping for gifts, cooking for family and friends and attending holiday parties, do not forget to prepare financially for the end of the year. Spend some time reflecting on what you want to change for the next year and start organizing your papers for tax season. If you need someone to talk to about these issues, give me a call at 201-447-1137. Imagine how great you will feel at this time next year when you are closer to reaching your financial goals.

Does it make sense to give gift cards?
New federal laws that took effect this past August make gift cards more attractive. Two of the biggest changes are:
1. Consumers now have more time to use the card because the money cannot expire for at least five years.
2. Inactivity fees which previously were charged against the balance with almost no restrictions can now be charged only if a card has not been used in a year, and then only once per month.
Go to ftc.gov(Federal Trade Commission) to learn more about types of gifts cards and other useful tips.

What is a FSA and what is changing for 2011?
A flexible spending account is a type of savings account in which an employee sets aside pre-tax earnings to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. These accounts are also called Health and Medical Savings Accounts or Health Care Spending Accounts.
Starting in January 2011, employees will no longer be able to use this account to pay for over-the-counter medications. Before the end of the year, check the balance in your account and make sure you are not leaving any money in the account, since funds cannot be carried over into the new year. If you do have money in the account, consider buying any over-the-counter medication you may need for next year.

Money Saving Tip for December 2010
Did you know that there are tax credits available for energy-saving home improvements? This tax credit will expire on December 31, so you must act now.
Improvements that are covered include installing energy-efficient furnaces and water heaters and the tax credit covers 30% of the purchase cost up to $1500. Read for more details.

Are you using Facebook? If so, please become a fan of The Alexandrite Group. We will keep you informed on personal money coaching tips throughout the year.
Hope you have a great month!! If you have any suggestions or comments, we would like to hear from you.

Sincerely,

Diane Nissen Friedman, CMA
Budget Advisor for Individuals, Families, Small Business Owners
(201) 447-1137
email: dwf@AlexandriteGroup.com