Key points of the New Tax Law for 2018 signed into law by President Donald Trump

1132814335-63153 (2)Here are some key points of the new tax law for 2018.

Standard deduction

Biggest changes: Standard deduction has been increased from 6,350 for individuals and 12,700 for couples to 12,000 for individuals and 24,000 for couples.

More people will be able to use the standard deduction vs the itemized deduction.

Mortgage Interest and Charitable Contributions

Other deductions will be far less important such as mortgage interest deduction and charitable contributions.

You won’t be getting a tax break as much on mortgage interest and charitable contributions, this can make charities nervous.

Should you itemize or not in 2018? Many people will choose not to itemize because the standard deduction in 2018 is so much bigger than before.

State, local income and property taxes

If you do itemize, there will be limits for state and local income and property taxes, in 2018, the limit is $10,000 and there wasn’t a limit before on these.

Child tax credit

The child tax credit has been doubled to 2k from 1k. Income limit has also increased. In 2017, it was  110k for a joint filer, now it’s close to 400k for a joint filer, so more people will be able to take the child tax credit deduction.

Mortgage interest deduction

As of 2017, you were allowed to take the mortgage interest deduction if your loan was $1 mil or less, in 2018, it’ll be only 750k. This new law will only be applicable for people who obtain their new mortgages in 2018, if you already have the mortgage previous to 2018, there is no impact to you.

Home equity loans and home lines of credit

In 2018, the interest on home equity loans and home lines of credit will no longer be deductible even if you already have them, so you will no longer be able to take the interest deduction.

Reevaluate what your options are: Do you keep your home equity loan? Should you combine with your first loan?

529 plans

 In 2017, 529 plans were only for qualified higher education expenses, now they are can be used for qualified expenses for k thru 12. Even though you can use these funds sooner to cover educations expenses for a child, the best option might be not to use it for this purpose because the money has not had enough time to grow in this tax deferred account.

Estate taxes

In 2018, you won’t owe federal estate taxes unless you have an estate of greater than 11.2 mil and if you are married it’s 22.4 mil. Fewer people will owe estate taxes as a result of this new tax law.

Roth Ira Conversion

A Roth Ira conversion is where you can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth. You have to pay taxes at the time you convert. So, let’s say you paid taxes on 10k of the Roth balance at the time you converted and the market went down after you converted. Your Roth balance decreased to 8k but you paid taxes on 10k worth of it before. This is not a good thing. In this case, you were able to fix this problem by what is called “recharacterize”.  Recharacterize is when you turn the Roth back into a Traditional Ira so you could undo or reverse the conversion.  You can longer use this loophole as of 2018.

Kiddie Tax

As of 2018, kids under 24 who have unearned income will pay the same rate as trust.

Corporate Tax Rate

Federal rate on corporate income will go down from 35% to 21%.

Small businesses

Small businesses often referred to as “pass through”, sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S-corps will get a 20% deduction to their income. This could be a significant tax cut for them.

Alimony

Starting in 2019, alimony will not be tax-deductible and the recipient will no longer have to pay taxes on the money they receive.

Flexible Spending Accounts

FSA a way to put pretax funds away for qualified medical expenses. The contribution limit was increased from $2,600 to $2,650 in 2018. These funds could be used for medical expenses not covered by your medical insurance such as co-pays, deductibles, dental and vision care. You do have to spend it by the end of the year. Use it or lose it!

Health Savings Account

A HSA account is for individuals who have a high deductible medical insurance plan. Families can put away $6,900 in 2018 in this account, versus $6,750 in 2017. Contributions are 100% tax deductible. The money you put in these accounts is not taxed, the money you take out is not taxed as long as you are using it for qualified expenses and potential investment gains on this money is also not taxed.

There you have it folks, these are some of the most relevant tax law changes that will affect us, best of luck in 2018 managing your taxes! Always seek advice for your particular tax situation, knowledge is power.

Thank you Ric Edelman for helping us understand these new tax law changes.

 

Seeing life through a child’s eyes

Photo by Vanessa Bumbeers on Unsplash
Photo by Vanessa Bumbeers on Unsplash

For those of us with kids this might come easy, for those of us without kids, it may or may not, but let’s give it a try.

Have you ever stopped and wondered how life is through the eyes of a child? Oftentimes we get overwhelmed with life. As we grow up and start getting married, working, becoming homeowners and having kids we forget. We forget how we used to see life…. through the eyes of a child. We are so busy with this or that, climbing the career ladder, what our neighbors are doing or  what our family and friends think of us that we lose ourselves, our true selves, the pureness of our souls is lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Recently, I was reminded how beautiful life is by my 5-year-old son. To him, everything is new. He asks why this, why that constantly. He will wonder about why trains go fast, why they go slow, why it rains, why the sun shines. These questions have made me more aware of my surroundings and the life that revolves around us that we forget is there. His questions remind me of the wonderment I once had which has since faded away since my own childhood. He has helped me become more aware and present in today, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today. He reminds me that every day is beautiful, that there is beauty all around us no matter what might be happening in the world and that there are good people in the world no matter what we constantly see in the news. He reminds me of the goodness, the beauty, the promise.

Let’s take some time today to take a few minutes and see the world again through the eyes of a child. The child we once were. You’ll be surprised at what you see.

Financial Advice for Blue Collar America / Asesoramiento Financiero para la Clase Trabajadora de los Estados Unidos

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This  year started off great! The book I had been translating to Spanish with my colleague Claudia Gonzalez, “Financial Advice for Blue Collar America” by Kathryn Bruzas Hauer, has been published!!! I am so excited over this project because it’s a wonderful book that gives great advice about college planning, retirement, saving and many other money related topics.

Here’s a brief summary of the book:

Are you short on cash? Worried about retirement? Not sure how you’ll pay for college? Join the crowd! These challenges trouble most Americans, but few people have time or interest to sort through countless internet sites or bulky books filled with complicated financial advice. Is there somewhere simple to turn? Yes! In this book, you get the answers you’re looking for.

You’ve got to learn the basics if you want to be financially successful, and Kathryn Hauer gives them to you in 152 readable, fact-based, compelling pages. In order to make a sometimes dull subject leap off the page and into your financial toolbox, Kathy references deer-hunting, shoe-shopping, Puff the Magic Dragon, and more. With this in-depth look at the financial challenges facing Americans today, Financial Advice for Blue Collar America gives a growing blue collar work force the tools needed to thrive.

In Spanish,

Este año comenzó muy bien! El libro en el cual había estado traduciendo a el Español con mi colega Claudia González, ¡”Asesoramiento Financiero para la Clase Trabajadora de los Estados Unidos” de Kathryn Bruzas Hauer, ha sido publicado !!! Estoy tan entusiasmada con este proyecto porque es un libro maravilloso que da muy buenos consejos sobre la planificación universitaria, la jubilación, el ahorro y muchos otros temas relacionados con el dinero.

Resumen del libro en Español:

¿Está corto de dinero? ¿Preocupado por su jubilación? ¿No está seguro de cómo pagar la Universidad? ¡Únase a la multitud! Estos problemas preocupan a la mayoría de los estadounidenses, pero pocas personas tienen tiempo o interés de leer minuciosamente innumerables sitios de internet o libros llenos de consejos financieros complicados. ¿Sabe a dónde acudir? ¡Sí! En este libro, usted obtendrá las respuestas que está buscando.
Tiene que aprender lo básico si quiere ser financieramente exitoso, y Kathryn Hauer le da lo fundamental en 152 paginas legibles, basadas en hechos reales, y convincentes. Para hacer que un tema, que es a veces aburrido, salte directo de la página a su caja de herramientas financiera, Kathy usa ejemplos cotidianos como la caza de venado, compras de zapatos, la canción folclórica inglesa “Puff el dragón mágico” y mucho más. Con este repaso exhaustivo de los problemas financieros que enfrentan los estadounidenses hoy, “Asesoramiento Financiero para La Clase Trabajadora,” una clase creciente, le da la herramienta necesaria para prosperar.

Asesoramiento Financiero para la Clase Trabajadora de los Estados Unidos

Disponible en Amazon aqui:  http://amzn.to/2kjLeq1

Bio – http://www.financialadviceforbluecollaramerica.com/ana-gonzalez-ribeiro

 

Maravilloso!!!

 

 

“Pulling the Trigger” By Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan

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I’ve recently reviewed the book, “Pulling the Trigger” by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan. What brought my attention to this book? Anxiety. After the birth of my son, I suffered a bit from anxiety issues, triggered by the fact that he had many health problems when he was born and as a new mom I felt extremely overwhelmed. Thankfully, my son’s health has gotten much better (I thank God for this everyday!)  and I am also doing better but still very interested in topics related to anxiety. When I read the book “Pulling the Trigger” by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan, I felt that Shaw really understood what mental illness is and how to deal with these issues. He was very open about his own struggles, how he went through life trying to deal with OCD, anxiety and depression and how he attempted to get the help he needed. He ultimately found this help through Clinical Psychologist Lauren Callaghan.

I thought it would be a good idea to talk to him about this topic.

In a phone interview from the countryside of the United Kingdom, Shaw spoke about   “Pulling the Trigger” saying it  focuses on a compassionate, straightforward and unique approach to support sufferers recovery from mental health issues and he talks about his struggles with OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

Shaw says that when he wrote the book with Lauren Callaghan, he thought about his own mental health issues and what he would want from a self help book. “They need to have help, they need to see that somebody else is going through it,” he says.

Shaw suffered mental health problems since childhood. He had thoughts he was going to harm people, he had obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and severe depression. “I thought I was crazy,” he says.

“During the time we were taught how to eat healthy and exercise but there was no curriculum for mental health. You would just hear the negative things on the news about crazy people doing crazy things. I thought I was going to be taken away – end up locked up,” adds Shaw. He says that having worry and anxiety played a pivotal role in adding fear to his thoughts and adding even more anxiety. His thoughts became more sinister and turned his life upside down – then he was officially diagnosed with OCD but was being treated in the wrong way. Shaw says he went to a point where he was going to end it all – anxiety and panic left him contemplating suicide.

“That’s when I ended up on the ledge of a bridge. Ironically, I found this to be the first time I didn’t feel anxious and the only reason was because I knew I was going to end it and it couldn’t get me anymore – for the first time in my life I was relaxed.” Fortunately, that is also when he realized that he could possibly get better so he sought the help of Clinical Psychologist Lauren Callaghan.

“Lauren told me, “Why don’t you have the courage to face your fears and walk towards it, if you allow the bad thoughts in, you also allow the good thoughts in. Your thoughts will be desensitized when you face them, don’t add meaning to them.”

Shaw believes that the majority of mental health problems especially anxiety based ones like depression and OCD affect a lot of people and go untreated. “A lot of this can be resolved just by educating people,” says Shaw.

“Pulling the Trigger” is a book with a philanthropist element says Shaw. “We want to educate people on why they have the mental health issue. We can help people feel better. This book is about improving lives and helping others because our proceeds go to our charity where we help people who are in socially deprived areas that don’t have the medical care they need for survival,” he says. These books are not a commercial venture says Shaw. He made his money and sold his company a few years ago which employed about 1,000 people. “The idea was to launch a global charity where we could help children and parents with mental health – create and sell books with a philanthropic purpose. It goes to helping vulnerable people in dire and desperate situations. A lot of people are suffering needlessly,” he says.

Shaw says, “Life’s a journey – I’m very healthy now. It’s the first time in my life I feel right. I am doing something I really enjoy and am looking forward to helping as many people as possible.”

Check out Shaw’s global charity The Shaw Mind Foundation www.shawmindfoundation.org and website www.pulling-the-trigger.com

Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan
Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan

Wonder Woman Pose to Help Boost Confidence in Women?

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Copyright © Wonder Woman

I recently read an article that says that if a woman strikes the Wonder Woman pose for two minutes daily, it will boost their confidence and make them feel stronger. This sounded sort of like a mind trick to me, but is it?

According to an article in the Spanish magazine, Siempre Mujer, striking this pose actually alters your brain chemistry and makes you feel more powerful. The article is based on the book Amy Cuddy, professor of Business at Harvard wrote. Her book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenge, presents a plan right out of the comic story, but is 100 percent proven by scientific study says Cuddy. The posture,  which is to stand tall with your hands on your hips, shoulders back, and head up, not only can help you attain your interior power, but can help you project an image of a strong, brave, powerful woman. As Cuddy says, you are not even faking it, you really feel like a super woman!

Here’s the scientific explanation. According to Cuddy, adopting this body pose for only 2 minutes daily, can elevate your testosterone levels  which affects your mood, by 20 percent (yes, women also produce this hormone but in less quantities than men), reduce your cortisone level (the stress hormone), and stimulate your capacity to take on risks. In the same manner, adopting closed poses such as slouching and keeping your head down will have the opposite effect.

Cuddy says that with this pose, your mind will start believing what your body is projecting. She also suggests you assume the Wonder Woman pose before an important meeting with a boss or before an important life event. No matter what life situation you are in, this pose can help you project power, strength and confidence. So go ahead ladies, let’s practice this pose daily and project our inner powerful goddess – we all have it in us!

¿Que es Alfa 1 Antitripsina?

 

Gracias a Elisabeth Sperling por la foto.
Gracias a Elisabeth Sperling por la foto.

Alfa 1 antitripsina es una enfermedad genética que afecta a 1 de cada 1.500 a 3.500 individuos de ascendencia europea. Este trastorno puede causar enfermedades pulmonares y enfermedades del hígado, con los primeros signos y síntomas de la enfermedad de pulmón o el hígado que se muestran entre las edades de 20 y 50. El problema que causa esta deficiencia genética es que no permite que el cuerpo produsca suficiente enzima para proteger a los pulmones y el hígado contra la exposición a los contaminantes que son potencialmente peligrosos. Personas que tiene esta deficiencia son menos protegido y tienen mayor probabilidad de desarrollar un problema.

Muchas personas están sin diagnosticar hasta que desarrollan una enfermedad pulmonar llamada enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva crónica (EPOC) o enfermedad hepática. El problema es que las personas que no saben que tienen este trastorno genético pueden involucrarse con estilos de vida poco saludables, como fumar, beber, vivir en zonas contaminadas con mala calidad del aire o mantenerse en ocupaciones peligrosas.  Algunas de estas ocupaciones son la lucha contra incendios, pintura de coches, o minería. Estas pueden afectar directamente a la gravedad y la evolución de la enfermedad.

Por eso, es bueno saber si usted lleva esta deficiencia genética. Si desea hacerse la prueba, lo puede hacer a través de esta impresionante organización, Fundación Alpha-1 http://www.alpha1.org.

La prueba es gratuita y confidencial. Se proporciona a través de https://www.alpha1.org/Newly-Diagnosed/Learning-about-Alpha-1/Testing-for-Alpha-1

E empezado a correr la voz acerca de este trastorno genético. En esta foto estoy enseñando a un grupo de los detalles de alfa 1 antitripsina. Vine a saber acerca de este trastorno genético cuando mi hijo fue diagnosticado con esta deficiencia a los 6 meses de edad. Afortunadamente mi hijo sólo es ligeramente deficiente por lo que sólo hay que asegurarse de que tome decisiones inteligentes y lleve un estilo de vida saludable – no fumar, no beber alcohol, comer saludable, hacer ejercicio y mantenerse alejado de las zonas altamente contaminadas y puestos de trabajo que pueden aumentar el riesgo de problemas respiratorios.

Yo e hecho la prueba y también tengo la deficiencia. Ahora estoy poniendo a prueba mi familia ya que este es un problema genético que se transmite a través de la familia.

A la Salud!