About the author:
Lyle Solomon has considerable litigation experience as well as substantial hands-on knowledge and expertise in legal analysis and writing. Since 2003, he has been a member of the State Bar of California. In 1998, he graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, and now serves as a principal attorney for the Oak View Law Group in California. He has contributed to publications such as Entrepreneur, All Business, US Chamber, Finance Magnates, Next Avenue, and many more.
When you are in debt, managing them is definitely a concern for most, regardless of how much you owe. The same can be said for taxes too. To be able to handle them efficiently is the goal for many.
As a millennial, you might still be burdened with those student loans, home mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, or those taxes. However, you should know that you are not alone in this.
There may be more ways at your disposal than you can imagine that can get you to a debt-free living.
Read on to get some tips on handling your debt, taxes, and credits efficiently.
To handle your debts, you can consider the following:
1. Know how much you need to pay
The first and obvious step is to start with knowing the amounts that you need to pay. Calculate the number of payments you have, with their interests and any other additional charges. Keep this list secured and come back regularly to check and update the numbers. This will help you to understand how much of the dues have been paid off and how much more you are left to pay. Also, this way, there is less chance of you missing your due dates and adding up on interests.
2. Make a monthly budget
This may be a boring step for many, but this is a very helpful way to save on some funds. By making a budget and strictly sticking to it, you are giving yourself the opportunity to save even more. Cutting out on that extra cash may be tough, but you’ll thank yourself when you see yourself getting out of those debts even sooner.
3. Pay your bills in time
When talking about handling finances, this is one important tip to remember and follow. You can’t afford to miss your payment dates if you want to handle your finances skillfully. This will not only extend your due period but will also add up to your due amount.
4. Prioritize your payments in order
By saying prioritize, we mean for you to decide on which payments should be made first and which ones could be delayed for a bit longer. You could prioritize by keeping in mind the payment dates, the interest rates, and how crucial the payment is.
5. Know when you need help
In case you find it difficult to keep up with the various payments, know if it is time to seek help. There are various options available like debt consolidation, debt settlement, etc. This may be one of the ways for a debt-free living in a shorter span. It is, however, important that you know when is the right time to make a choice.
Here are some smart ways for you to handle credit:
1. Do not use credit cards to live beyond your affordable lifestyle
You can handle your finances wisely by following the rule of spending less than your earnings. However, credit cards can easily tempt you to spend beyond your affordable range. Avoid excessive use of credit cards to have an otherwise unaffordable lifestyle.
For this, instead of relying on the set credit limits set by the lender, you could set your own credit limit as per your lifestyle and needs.
2. Avoid using credit cards when you are in debt
If you are already having financial difficulties, consider not using the credit card for the time. As already mentioned, using credit cards can get you to spend out of your budget. This way you may end up in more trouble than you currently have.
3. Make your payments in time
The more you delay paying your credit balances, the more interest you will have to pay. This makes you pay even more than what you would be actually paying had you paid off earlier.
4. Do not focus on paying only the minimum amount
As previously mentioned, the more you delay your payments, the more interest you add up to your account. In addition to this, if you focus on paying just the minimum amount mentioned on your credit card statement, you will end up paying for what feels like ages. If you have multiple credit balances, your aim should be to pay more on the card with the highest interest rate.
5. Do not use credit for wrong items
Lastly, if you are not in the habit of paying off your monthly balance in full, you should try to avoid using credit for discretionary expenses like dining at restaurants or going to the movies.
Some helpful tips for handling your taxes:
1. Investments in Municipal Bonds
When you buy municipal bonds, you are technically lending money to the government at a state or local level. This is done over a set period of time and at a particular interest rate. You could consider investing in municipal bonds since the interest in them is free from the obligations of federal tax.
2. Max out your Retirement Benefits
You can reduce your taxable income by maximizing your retirement benefits. For instance, you can start contributing towards 401k and 403b plans.
In case you don’t have a retirement plan at work, you too can get a tax break by contributing to IRAs.
3. Use a Health Savings Account
If you have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can also use a Health Savings Account (HSA) to reduce your taxes. However, when you contribute to HSA by payroll deduction, you receive an exclusion on your taxable income, but when you make a Health Savings Account contribution directly, it is considered 100% tax-deductible.
4. Claim tax credits
Another smart way to handle your taxes is by taking advantage of the IRS tax credits, which reduce tax. There are a number of such tax credits that you can avail of, depending on your eligibility and preferences.
Some of the examples are the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
5. Take long term capital gains
Long-term investments can be more beneficial towards reducing your tax than you may be thinking. Long-term capital gains like real estate investments, just to name one, are usually taxed at a lower rate than short-term capital gains. That being said, holding a capital asset for more than a year before selling will be more beneficial to you. The rate, however, is dependent on your level of income.
You may sometimes feel that debt-free living is a dream too far-fetched. However, it may not be exactly true. By making the right kind of decisions, you actually end up free from all these financial burdens and actually get to a better living even sooner than you expected.
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