On the Road to Safety – Part 2

file0001852320432Welcome back to part two of our look at the safest vehicles on the roads today! In our last segment, we looked at the impressive list of safety features that the Audi A4, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento, Subaru Legacy, and Mazda CX-9 had to offer. Today we’ll take a look at six more vehicles that are chock-full of some of items like the Ford “MyKey” option – a feature that lets you (the owner) set limits on items like stereo volume and vehicle speed…a welcome addition to the parent of any new driver!

Toyota Highlander
Kicking of our today’s list is Toyota’s 2015 Highlander SUV, which earned itself the top 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, making it another excellent “safe-vehicle” choice. With standard safety equipment that includes eight airbags, vehicle stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, a rearview camera and hill-start assist control, the Toyota Highlander has you – and your passengers – covered! (Edmunds.com)

Toyota Sequoia
The Toyota Sequoia falls into the category of “larger traditional SUV’s”, and is a serious all-star when it comes to airbag protection. This vehicle includes not only dual stage advanced front air bags, seat-mounted side airbags for the driver and front passenger, and roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three seating rows, but also driver and front passenger knee bags to boot. Toyota includes stability and traction control systems, as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Plus, the 4-wheel drive version of the Sequoia get a special A-TRAC version of the traction control intended to help in low-traction situations. (thecarconnection.com)

road to safety part 2 anderson auto copyVolvo XC90
Volvo’s XC90 is a true testament to Volvo’s latest safety advances. Stand features now include imminent frontal collision detection with automatic braking, as well as a feature that applies brakes when the driver attempts to turn in front of an oncoming car, such as at an intersection. The Volvo XC90 also comes equipped with a subsystem that will tighten seatbelts and use shock-absorbing seat cushions – to reduce the potential for spinal injuries – if the XC90 were to ever run off the road. (Edmunds.com)

GMC Yukon
The 2015 Yukon certainly doesn’t short change potential owners on safety equipment, leveraging some of GM’s latest technology to improve both driver awareness and accident avoidance. Standard safety gear includes a rearview camera and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. A head-up display is also available – this is a system that’s able to relay key information into the driver’s line of sight, thereby reducing distraction. Some of the available safety features found on the 2015 GMC Yukon include: vibrating driver’s seat to alert the driver of the location of certain crash threats; adaptive cruise control with automatic braking; and sensors that detect crash threats from all sides of the vehicle, alerting the driver. (thecarconnection.com)

Ford Expedition
Ford’s redesigned 2015 Expedition – a full-sized SUV – has also earned a top five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Safety equipment that comes standard on the 2015 Expedition includes six airbags, a rearview camera, and AdvanceTrac with roll stability control. A new blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert is optional. (Edmunds.com)

Ford Flex
Just like with Toyota, there are multiple Fords in this lineup. The Ford Flex has a lot to offer in the safety department, including dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; and traction and stability control with anti-roll control all remain standard. Parking sensors and a rearview camera fall onto the “optional” list, as does a blind-spot alert system and adaptive cruise control. All Flexes also include Curve Control and torque vectoring – which just happen to be fancy terms to note improvements to the stability control system. Ford has also implemented a redesigned, four-position design that protects well against whiplash. Another bonus to the Ford Flex – especially when it comes to safety conscious parents – is the “Ford’s MyKey” system. This feature allows parents (or other owners) set limits on the Flex’s stereo volume, vehicle speed, and other entertainment features, thereby keeping secondary drivers within the owner’s comfort limits. (thecarconnection.com)

Regardless of what vehicle you’re interested in, we’re here to help! Our inventory is constantly changing, which means we’ve got lots of options when it comes to finding the right car for you. Anderson Credit Connection is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm each day – stop on by and let us help you find the car you’ve been looking for!

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On the Road to Safety – Part 1

Honeymoon, Day 3Safety.

It’s one of the “top of the list” items that pretty much all car shoppers are looking for in a vehicle. Thankfully, with the implementation of new technology and better vehicle designs, the number of accidents in which a fatality occurred has dropped by more than 33% over the course of the past three years. However, there are some vehicles that just rank better than others in the safety category. So, we thought we’d give you a run-down of some of the safest vehicles on the roads today – here’s a collection of ELEVEN (that’s right, we found more than ten!) of our top picks.

Audi A4
Audi’s A4 comes with strong safety scores due to its build and safety feature integration. Items that are standard on this model are: dual front, side, and curtain airbags; stability and traction control; and active headrests (including three across the back). Optional safety equipment available on this vehicle (which can further enhance the safe-driving experience) include: a rearview camera, blind-spot and lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, and adaptive rear thorax air bags. (thecarconnection.com)

Honda Odyssey
Honda’s 2015 Odyssey minivan has earned the highest (five-star) safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, making it the “minivan of choice” for many safety conscious families. Standard safety equipment includes: six airbags, antilock brakes, brake assist and vehicle stability assist with traction control. In addition to these impressive standard features, Honda also offers optional features, such as forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning systems. (Edmunds.com)

Kia Sorento 2WD
The 2016 Kia Sorento also comes with a long list of impressive safety features. In fact, all models of this vehicle are equipped with font seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, front active headrests, electronic stability control anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and Hill-Start Assist. The Sorento EX, SX, and SX-L also come with a back-up warning system. In addition, a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert are included in the SX and SX-L models (and is optional on the EX). Optional features that can be added to Kia’s top models are: a Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, Around View Monitor, and Smart Cruise Control. (thecarconnection.com)

Subaru Legacy AWD
The Subaru Legacy is packed with a bevy of features that will have any safety enthusiast jumping up and down with joy. Along with the standard safety gear, the Legacy also includes all-wheel drive and a rearview camera…and has the ability to be configured with a wide variety of the latest active-safety technology, like blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The Subaru Legacy also comes with airbags in the front of the bottom seat cushion, to help prevent submarining in an accident – what’s remarkable about this feature is that it isn’t an add on…it’s a standard feature. On top of all of that, the manner in which the Legacy is built (slimmer roof pillars) enhances visibility substantially. This vehicle also introduces the latest version of its EyeSight driver-assistance system. It has smaller, more advanced cameras that handle glare much better than their predecessors, have 4o% better detection range, and are now able to recognize brake lights ahead in traffic. (thecarconnection.com)

Mazda CX-9
Rounding off the first part of our list is the 2015 Mazda CX-9. This impressive vehicle comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. Both the Touring and Grand Touring models add an entire suite of electronic driving aids, which include a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors, a rear cross-traffic alert system and a rearview camera.

Driving CarWait..that’s only five vehicles! Don’t worry – we’re not trying to short change you! Be on the lookout out for the second half of our rundown on the safest vehicles on the road – it’ll be coming up soon!

Be it with the above mentioned vehicles – or any others that you might be interested in, let Anderson Credit Connection help you find the perfect car for you! We’re open 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday, so stop on by and let us show you what sets us apart from the rest!

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Best Cars for Young Drivers – Part 2

file000530964878Welcome! Thanks for joining us for part 2 of our series on best cars for young drivers. We’ve done our best to wade through the bevy of used cars on the market today to compile a great list of used vehicles that would make for perfect first cars for that teen driver in your life. In our last segment we looked at the Ford Taurus and Fusion, Honda Accord, Scion xB, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagon Jetta, and Audi A3. Today we’ll take a look at seven more vehicles, ranging from “compact” to “subcompact” in size.

Toyota Corolla
When you’re talking about used cars, the Toyota Corolla is a great choice for young and old drivers alike. It performs well, has a comfortable interior, is considered to be quite reliable, and is consistently ranked high when it comes to fuel economy. With conservative styling it’s far from “flashy” but since its reliability and safety that you’re looking for, we think “flash” can be bypassed for the time being.

Subaru Impreza 2.5i
Subaru’s Impreza is certainly a worthy alternative to other small imports and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. This is a compact vehicle that’s very well suited to young drivers, as it offers impressive handling and standard all-wheel-drive. You’ll want to make sure to stick with the four-cylinder (base) model as it provides for a much better fuel economy verses its turbocharged counterpart.

Honda Civic
Honda makes another showing on our list, and for good reason, too. The Civic is a compact sedan that boasts impressive fuel economy and has longevity on its side in terms of use. It’s not as roomy as a full-sized sedan, but it’ll certainly get the job done – especially as a first vehicle for a new driver.

Ford Focus
The coupe (2-door) version of the Ford Focus is the most popular compact model in the Ford lineup. It definitely has a sportier look than the sedan version, and comes with a nicely styled interior as well as an affordable price. You can find some used versions that have been loaded with some pretty premium features, like Bluetooth interface and Ford’s hands-free “Sync” multimedia system.

Volkswagon Rabbit
You might know this one better as the “Golf”, as that’s what it’s been renamed. Regardless of what you call it, this VW is basically a four-door, hatchback version of the Jetta, making it a bit sportier in its appearance. And, just like other Volkswagon’s, it’s packed with practicality and clean European styling, both inside and out.

Honda Fit Sport
Honda’s third showing on this list is the subcompact Fit Sport, which is considered by some as the ideal car for young drivers. It’s nicely styled, has a surprisingly roomy interior, gets great gas mileage, and tends to handle better than most other small cars in its class. The Fit comes with a standard five-speed transmission which provides for an additional “learning experience”…that being how to drive a manual transmission vehicle in a successful manner.

Mitsubishi Lancer GTS
The Lancer is an economy, compact sedan that is often overlooked. However, it’s a nicely styled vehicle that certainly can hold its own when paired up against its Asian counterparts. When looking at the Lancer, you’ll want to stick with the base, four-cylinder engine and leave the “turbocharged” (GSR and MR Evolution) models to those who don’t mind paying a LOT more for insurance.

Well, that’s it! If you had to pick a “first car” off of this list, what would you choose? What do you think the new driver in your house would pick? Regardless of whether or not you have your mind made up or still have some deciding to do, those of us here at Anderson Credit Connection can help! So, stop on by and let us help you find the car you’ve been dreaming of!

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Best Cars for Young Drivers – Part 1

file000739321417According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, teens  are – surprisingly – becoming less interested in driving. In fact, it’s estimated that only six out of ten teen drivers are currently behind the wheel, which is in stark contrast to 30 years ago when eight out of ten American teens (age 17-19) had a valid driver’s license.

Teens driving verses teens not driving is kind of a catch-22 for their respective parents/guardians. On one hand, there’s much less worry about your inexperienced driver getting into accidents, etc AND you don’t have to deal with (potentially) sky-high insurance premiums. However, it also means that mom and dad are still stuck in the role of “permanent chauffeur”, which can be a bit problematic once you factor in the activity, school, and work schedules of other family members.

One thing that remains a constant throughout all the other unknowns is the challenge of finding a safe, reliable, and economic vehicle that won’t drive you to tears once you see the insurance premium. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of late model (2009 or newer) used cars that fit the bill in terms of being “safe, reliable, and economic”.

For this particular list, we’re just going to stick with actual cars – pickups and SUV’s have been excluded simply because of their proneness to tip and/or roll, which is directly related to their higher center of gravity. Is this to say that you shouldn’t buy your youngster the Rav-4 they’ve had their eye on? Absolutely not – you are the parent, after all! But, for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to focus on cars for the time being.

So, without further adieu, here’s part one of our “Top 14” cars for new drivers!

safest car for teens anderson autoFord Taurus
We know, we know, we know – there’s nary a teen out there who would place a “Ford Taurus” at the top of their “dream car” wish list. However, the Taurus is a full-sized car that’s affordable, gets at least 20mpg (or more) for combined highway/city driving, and won’t cost an arm and a leg to repair, maintain, or insure. Plus, it’s roomy and handles well for its size which is a bonus for mom and dad because it adds another full-sized vehicle to the family repertoire.

Honda Accord
The midsized Honda Accord has a long-standing reputation for reliability, which makes it another great “first car” choice. With a roomy interior, spacious trunk/cargo area, and affinity to run well past the 100,000 mile mark, the Accord is a fantastic choice for a young driver – especially if they’ll be hauling around siblings, lots of sports gear – or both!

Ford Fusion
The Ford Fusion is a midsized sedan that comes with a spacious interior. It also provides for a nice ride and handles quite well. The base model – which houses a four-cylinder engine – provides for good fuel economy, too. One bonus that the Fusion offers is an all-wheel-drive option, which can add an additional layer of safety when it comes to navigating wet or snowy roadways.

Scion xB
If you’re at all familiar with the xB, then you know that it looks (like a box) as unique as its name, and is probably the most “out there” vehicle on this list. However, pre-owned versions can often be found with a whole host of accessories and amenities that the original owners had the vehicle customized with. The Scion xB’s four cylinder engine provides surprisingly quick acceleration, and the back seat is roomy enough to fit two six-foot individuals…with legroom to spare. Plus, it has an impressive cargo area which – when the seats are folded flat – rivals that of many of the larger SUV’s on the road today.

Subaru Legacy
The Subaru Legacy comes from a world where all-wheel-drive comes standard, which is a boon when it comes to added safety – especially when it comes to driving in less than perfect conditions. The Outback model looks somewhat like a crossover SUV, making it a “cooler” choice for some. The Legacy comes with a four-cylinder engine (although a six-cylinder, turbo-charged version is available), looks great, has plenty of room, and is an all-around solid performer.

Volkswagon Jetta
The newer generation of Jetta’s provide for a more precise, European-style when it comes to handling. In fact, VW’s Jetta has occasionally been referred to as a “bargain-priced” BMW 3 series. The Jetta is compact yet surprisingly roomy, and is a solid choice for a young driver.

Audi A3 2.0T
The A3 is a compact hatchback that manages to combine sportiness, practicality, and bits of luxury all in one…well, hatchback. The A3 comes with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as well as front wheel drive. There are some versions out there that boast Audi’s “quattro” all-wheel-drive system, as well as a V6 engine; however, the quattro/V6 version can be quite pricy, even on the resale market.

Well, that’s it for part one of our “Top Used Cars for Young Drivers” list. Make sure to check back next week, to get the lowdown on the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Ford Focus, Volkswagon Rabbit, Subaru Impreza, and Mitsubishi’s Lancer.

If you’re looking for a new vehicle for your family – be it one on this list, or any others you have your eye on – stop on by to check out what we have to offer. Here at Anderson Credit Connection, we’ll help you find the perfect car for you!

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What’s Up With All Those Different Styles? – Part 2

stockvault-international-geneva-cars-salon-2010113242In our last article we touched on coupes, crossovers, and hatchbacks styles of vehicles. Today we’ll review sedans, SUV’s, and wagons.

Sedan – Sedans are very common and lovable among all the different types of cars on the road. These are commonly a four door cars with 4+ seats, which are fully covered, and have a fixed roof top along with full height up to the rear windows. Sedans are also known as Saloons in British English. Sedans have various classes and variants, and typically consists of three box enclosed designs which simply means the three compartments containing engine in the first, passengers in second and cargo in third compartment. The center compartment contains two rows for passengers with an adequate and ample space for comfortable sitting. This is the most common style of vehicle on the roads today.

SUV (Sport utility vehicle) – Sport Utility vehicles are large types of cars, which are fitted on small truck like chassis. SUV’s are especially designed for off-road drives, and are commonly fitted with four doors. These cars have high ground clearance, comparatively big tires, extreme power with high load carrying ability, and good room for sitting. Some SUV’s come equipped with four wheel drive, whereas some only possess two wheel drive. SUV’s have many variants and types depending on the various uses of each vehicle. There are a growing number of SUV’s that have been fitted with a luxurious interior – making them very attractive and highly comfortable. Range Rover Evoque, Nissan Murano and Toyota Four Runner are some great examples of modern SUV’s.

Wagon – This is also known as “Station wagon” (although, to some, it’s better known as a “grocery-getter”). This is a variant of the sedan style of cars and very similar to hatchbacks in some regards. The main difference that exists is that of an extra gate available on the rear of the vehicle. This gate can be either a liftgate or a tailgate. The roof is extended a little towards the back which is shared by passengers or cargo…or both. Now you might be wondering how, exactly, does a wagon differ from a hatchback? Well, for starters, the roof of the wagon style of cars extend itself to the rear end – with its full height – and have big windows on the cargo side. Hatchbacks, on the other hand, have curved roofs at the rear with either very small windows – or no windows at all – on the cargo side. If you’re still curious about the differences, take a peek at the Volkswagen Passat and compare this wagon with the previously mentioned hatchback to understand it clearly.

Hopefully these mini definitions helped you out! We know that researching vehicles can be a huge undertaking (after all, there are a TON of them out there!) and we want to do what we can to make the process as painless as possible for you. Our lot is full and our doors are open…and there’s no better time than right now to find the car of your dreams. So, come on down and find out what we can do for you.

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What’s Up With All Those Different Styles? – Part 1

stockvault-rained-drenched-chrysler112404Have you ever wondered what’s what with different car types and styles? Well, we’re here to help make you life a bit easier by providing you with some quick definitions to some of the most popular vehicle body types out on the roads today.

Coupe – Coupe style cars have 2 long doors with 2 or 4 seats. The front part of the vehicle looks longer while the rear area is more compact. Coupes are mainly 2 door variant of sedans that have been fitted with high performing engines to utilize them in car sports. Mostly the body is enclosed with a hard roof, but few convertible coupes are also introduced in the market and the Mercedes-Benz SLR –McLaren is a great example of a convertible coupe.


Crossover (CUV) –
 Crossovers utility vehicles are the brainchild of someone combing the features of hatchbacks or station wagons with sports utility vehicles. Crossovers are definately one of the “in” vehicles right now, and that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Why is this? Well, on one hand, CUV have features like high point seating, high ground clearance, four wheel drive (optional), tall interiors (inherited from SUV’s) and, on the other hand, has some characteristics like great handling, good fuel efficiency, passenger vehicles’ platform, and two box designs that have been inherited from hatchbacks or station wagons. If you have to go for a long drive with friends and need to take along a little more cargo, then a crossover style might just be the best option for you! Fiat Palio, Ford EcoSport, and Audi Q are a few of the crossovers available in the market today.

Hatchback – 
As the name suggests, hatchback cars come with a back door entry as third or fifth door, which is shared by cargo and passengers alike. A Ford Fiesta is a good example of a modern hatchback car. It is very similar to a station wagon but its last pillar and curved back with very small windows (or no windows) is what differentiates it from a wagon.

OK…that’s all for now! Next time we’ll look at sedans, SUV’s, and wagons. Want to see some of these types of vehicles in person? We’ve got a full inventory and would be more than happy to get you into the car of your dreams!

Source: hubpages.com

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Let Your Car Help You Save Money! – Part 2

stockvault-money149266In our last segment, we discussed five ways that your vehicle can help you save money. These included: car pooling, maintaining consistent speeds while on the road, not buying “Premium” gasoline unless your vehicle requires it, keeping your fuel filter AND air filter clean, as well as keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure and ensuring that tune-ups occur on a regular schedule. But, believe it or not, we have even MORE money saving tips for you…so, read on!

1.      Roof racks hurt!!! Your mileage, that is! Seriously, roof racks ruin the aerodynamics of your car in a massive way. So, if you’re not actively using your roof rack, take it off and store it in your garage. Removing the rack comes with the added benefit of lightening the load of your vehicle, which will help with fuel efficiency as well.

2.      One of the best ways to save money on cars is to keep yours for as long as you’re able to. And, the best way to do that is to make sure it’s in the best mechanical condition as possible by having it serviced regularly…by a good mechanic. Also, if you notice a problem – say a dashboard light comes on or you start to hear a funny rattle – make sure to get it checked out sooner as opposed to later! What starts out as small problems that are typically easy to fix and not super expensive can morph into something entirely different if left unchecked.

3.      Used and/or rebuilt parts are a fantastic option if they’re in great condition and if they’ll work just as well as the Original Equipment Manufacturer parts. Your mechanic will be the one to guide you on this. If it turns out that OEM parts are necessary and/or desirable that’s just fine. But, if they’re not, you can save a bundle by using non-OEM substitutes.

4.      Make driving a little less taxing by keeping a notebook in your car so that you can easily record your mileage on your tax deductible trips. These can include trips to the doctor, job-hunting trips, or trips for charity – all of which have the possibility of being tax deductible, which could mean lower taxes down the road for you. However, if you don’t record the trips, you won’t know how much you drove…and, knowing your mileage is a necessity if you plan on using it as a tax deduction.

5.      Avoid tickets and unnecessary fees by making sure to always keep change in your car. That way you’ll always be able to plug the meter without fear of getting fined, which totally costs more in the long run…and, let’s face it, is a pain to resolve.

So, that’s it! If you could, what would you add to this list? We’re always interested in knowing what our readers have to say!!!

 

source: moneytalknews.com

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Let Your Car Help You Save Money! – Part 1

stockvault-penny-for-your-thoughts101648We all know that there’s LOTS of little things we can do to save our pennies, like clipping coupons and cutting back on all those lattes from Starbucks. But, what about things that are related directly to our vehicles? Honestly, “car costs” just aren’t the first thing that pops into peoples minds when they’re brainstorming  ways to add more frugality to their lives. With that in mind, we’ve complied a few tips and tricks to get you on your way to a few extra pennies in your pocket!

1.      Keeping your tires properly inflated and your car tuned are simple measures that can easily save you roughly $100 per year on gasoline alone…not to mention helping you get the most out of both your engine and tires. Tire gauges are sold pretty much everywhere, and your owners manual should clearly state the level your tires should be inflated at.

2.      Keep your fuel filter – and your air filter – clean! These are both inexpensive fixes that will help your vehicle to perform better, increase your mileage, and help you engine to last a long life. Again, this is where your owners manual – and a good mechanic – come in handy!

3.      Try to always use the lowest octane gasoline as recommended by your owner’s manual. While it’s estimated that only 15% of cars on the road actually require premium, a quarter (25%) of all gasoline sold is of premium grade. So, do what your owner’s manual suggests as opposed to the latest flashy gasoline ad.

4.      Pay attention to the speed of traffic as well as any slowdowns that may be up the road. This will help you to maintain a more consistent speed which will not only save you gas, but also help you to be a more alert and safe driver. The constant speeding up and slowing down (like driving in the city) really does do a number on your mpg (miles per gallon)…this is why highway driving almost always nets a better mpg.

5.      Have you ever thought about car pooling? We know that it may not be an optimal scenario, but consider this…ride sharing with just one other individual will cut your commuting costs in half! Plus, if you alternate vehicles, you car will only get about half the wear and tear as it would if you were driving to work every day.

So, that’s the first half (yep, we’ve got another five coming your way!) of our tips and tricks regarding getting the most money (savings) out of your vehicle. Check back soon for the remainder of our penny pinching tips!!!

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Taxes After Retirement – Payouts and Pitfalls

stockvault-shadow-of-a-couple-holding-hands132418Are you newly retired? If so, then read on! There are several issues that the newly retired will confront come tax time, and we want to make sure that you’re prepared. The friendly folks over at MSN Money recently posted some GREAT tips – regarding both perks and potential pitfalls – for those of us entering the retirement stage of our lives…and, of course, we just had to share!

1.      STANDARD DEDUCTION – Did you know that, once you turn 65, you’re allowed a bigger standard deduction? For instance, on the 2014 returns a single 64 year old received a standard deduction of $6,200…a 65 year old gets $7,750. Couples with one or both partners age 65 or older also received a larger standard deduction than their younger counterparts.

2.      MEDICAL DEDUCTIONS – Until the year 2017, taxpayers over the age of 65 receive a break when it comes to medical expense deduction. For those who itemize, they’ll be able to deduct any medical bills that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income. In comparison, the AGI threshold is 10%.

3.      MEDICARE PREMIUMS – If, after retiring, you become self-employed (as a consultant, etc), you can deduct the premiums you pay for Medicare Parts B and D, as well as the cost of any supplemental Medicare policies or the cost of a Medicare Advantage plan. However, you can NOT claim this deduction if you’re eligible to be covered under an employer-subsidized health plan offered by either your employer or that of your spouse’s.

4.      SPOUSAL IRA CONTRIBUTION – If you’re at least 50 years old and have a spouse that’s still working, he or she can contribute up to $6,500 annually to an IRA that you own. For traditional IRA’s, spousal contributions are allowed up to age 70 ½. With a Roth IRA, there’s no age limit.

5.      TAX PAYMENTS – If you think that after you retire you won’t have to worry about withholdings anymore…well, you’re probably wrong. You see, withholding isn’t only for paychecks – if you receive regular payments from a pension or annuity, the payer will withhold tax (unless you tell them not to). The same is true for withdrawals from an IRA. However, Social Security benefits will not have taxes withheld unless you specifically ask for it.

6.      RMD WORKAROUND – If you are at a spot where you don’t need the required minimum distributions from your traditional IRA to live on throughout the year, wait until December to take the money. And, when you do receive it, ask your IRA sponsor to hold back a sizeable amount (enough to cover your estimated tax for you RMD and any other taxable income as well) for the IRS. Why? Because estimated tax payments made from money withheld from an IRA distribution are considered paid throughout the year…even if they’re made in a lump sum at the end of the year. This means that if your RMD is big enough to cover your tax bill, you can keep your money tucked safely away in a tax shelter for the majority of the year…and all while avoiding any underpayment penalties.

7.      PENSION PAYOUT TRAP – Receiving a payout from a pension that you plan to put into an IRA? Avoid the triggering of additional taxes by asking your employer to send the money directly to a rollover IRA – as long as the check is made out to your IRA and not you, personally, there will be no withholding. Even if you think you’re going to need some of that cash right away, it’s still a good idea to have your employer pay the IRA directly and then make a withdrawal.

8.      GIVING IT AWAY – Did you know that each of us has an estate tax credit large enough to permit to passing of $5.43 million dollars to our heirs? Yep. And, married couples can double that amount. All in all this means that not all that many Americans will need to worry about federal estate tax. However, if you think it’s something that might be in your future, make sure to take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion. This allows for up to $14,000 to be given each year to any number of people without having to worry about the gift tax. For instance – if you have three married children, and each couple has 2 children, you can give those 12 individuals a total of $168,000 in 2015 without having to file a gift tax return. And, money gifted under the protection of the exclusion can’t be taxed as part of your estate after your death.

 

source: msn.com

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Tax Time Tips – Part 2

heap of coins close upOK, folks! Here’s what you’ve been waiting for…Part 2 of our Tax Time Tips series!

6.      FILING STATUS – Did you get married this past year? How about have a baby? Or maybe you had a kiddo leave the nest this year. Regardless, know that these types of life events affect your taxes.

7.      FILE ON TIME – Assuming you’re not filing for an extension, make sure you file on time! Lines can be L-O-N-G at the post office. Electronic systems can get overwhelmed. In short…don’t procrastinate to the point of missing the deadline. That’s one of those things the IRS tends to frown upon. J

8.      EXTENSIONS – If it’s looking like an extension will be needed – due to things being more complex than anticipated, etc – make sure you fill out and submit the appropriate form. Granted, you’ll have to make a payment equal to your estimate of what’s owed, but filing for an extension will allow you to not incur any penalties (for a six month period of time) while you’re getting things sorted out.

9.      PAYING IN – What happens if you get done with your taxes only to discover that you have to (gulp) pay in more money? If you don’t have the cash readily available, you’ll want to have your taxes done in enough time (the earlier the better) to figure out a strategy for making that payment. For instance – say you have your taxes done by February 15th and, at that point in time, discover that you owe the IRS money. Having your taxes done early allows for a bit of wiggle room in terms of figuring out how you’re going to accomplish that goal – like finding a part-time job, selling a few unused items on Craigslist or eBay. Granted, it’s not an ideal situation, but it’s infinitely easier than being hounded by the government for non-payment of taxes.

10. REFUND – Or, maybe you’ll get your taxes done and discover that you’re due a refund! This is another situation where it’s good to have a money plan – that way, when the extra cash comes in, you can be prepared to use it responsibly. Paying down debt, making home improvements, or finally having a down payment for a new vehicle may not be as spontaneous or thrilling as a spur of the moment trip to Vegas, but they can definitely be just as fulfilling…especially in the long run.

Hopefully these steps can help make your tax time a bit less stressful…for this year and beyond!

 

source: thesimpledollar.com

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