The Fading Summer Job

Less and less teens are finding summer work to keep busy during the summer break. Generally during a recession the number of employed teens decreases then bounces back with the economy, but recently that has not been the case. The main reasons that teens are less likely to work: fewer low-skill entry level jobs, summer classes, more volunteer work, or unpaid internships. Most people can agree personal responsibility and learning can be gained by holding a job, even if it pays minimum wage. If you would like to read more about the trends with teen employment check out this article from the Pew Research Center. For questions or comments about this article, contact our office at 515-284-1011 or

Do You Worry About Your Finances Too Much?

Do you find yourself worrying about your finances? If so, you are not alone. According to many studies the top stressor among adults is financial stress. Contrary to popular belief, stress is not necessarily connected to wealth levels. Many high-net-worth households struggle with debt, worry about job security, stress about stock market and economic uncertainty, or do not feel in control of their finances despite their fortunate financial means. Traditional measures such as income or net worth, while important, do not necessarily or fully express a person’s financial situation. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, people who have a healthy financial situation tend to posses

Are Tax Benefits of Municipal Bonds Worth the Lower Expected Return?

Everybody wants tax-free income and a municipal bond is a common strategy utilized by many investors to do just that. But, how do you know if municipal bonds make sense for you? Understanding how municipal bonds are taxed and comparing the effective after-tax yield from a comparable taxable bond are two important factors. Municipal bond income is tax-free for Federal income taxes purposes, but may not be tax-free for state income tax. Make sure you check your state tax laws before jumping in. It is also important to remember that if and when you sell the municipal bond in the future, the gains earned on the sale are still subject to capital gains tax treatment, like other taxable bonds. Afte

Avoid Vacation Home Tax Traps

Buying a vacation home can be an exciting step for people, but buyer beware of potential traps associated with this tricky tax situation. Determining how the property will be used is perhaps the most important factor. Personal Use. The income tax deductions available for your second home are fairly similar to your primary residence, such as mortgage interest and property taxes that are itemized on Schedule A. However, many taxpayers are not aware of the interest deduction tax rule until they buy their second home when their home debt becomes much higher. This tax trap limits the Schedule A interest deduction based upon a loan value of $1 million for mortgage and $100,000 for home equity. R

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