RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

5 Money-Wise Tips for Your Tax Refund

January 29, 2016 1:21 am

Tax refunds present an opportunity to better your financial health. Unfortunately, many refund recipients don’t take advantage of it.

“A tax refund often feels like ‘free’ money, and many people use the funds to splurge on expensive items they wouldn’t otherwise purchase,” says Mike Sullivan, chief education officer for Take Charge America, a national non-profit credit counseling agency. “However, a refund presents a unique opportunity to use the money to improve your family’s financial wellbeing now and in the long term.”

If you receive a refund this year, consider using it in one (or all!) of the following ways:

1. Pay Off Debt – When you receive your refund, resist the urge to spend it on a shopping spree, fancy dinner or pricey vacation. Instead, use your refund to pay down credit card balances, student loans, auto loans or other debt.

2. Pay Down Your Mortgage – Direct your refund toward your mortgage principal. Even one extra payment each year can shave noticeable interest off your mortgage.

3. Boost Your Savings – If you’re debt-free, put your money toward your emergency savings fund, retirement plan or college savings account.

4. Adjust Your Withholding – File a new W4 to increase your allowances and pay the appropriate amount of taxes throughout the year. Use the IRS withholding calculator and aim for the number of allowances that satisfies 100 to 110 percent of last year’s tax payment.

5. Use Direct Deposit – Set up an automatic deposit to direct the money you would have spent on excess taxes into an interest-bearing savings account. You won’t notice the difference in your paycheck— it’s money that would have been withheld for taxes—but your contributions will quickly add up.

“While it’s fun to receive a wind-fall of cash, it’s important for consumers to understand the IRS isn’t giving away money—they’re returning money they borrowed, interest-free, all year long,” adds Sullivan. “It’s a good idea to adjust your withholdings to break even and make your money work for you—not just the government—throughout the year.”

Source: Take Charge America

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Repainting a Room? The Lighter, the Better

January 29, 2016 1:21 am

A fresh coat of paint is an upgrade well worth the effort. Your best bet for color?

The lighter, the better, says Paint Quality Institute Paint and Color Expert Debbie Zimmer.

"Deep, saturated shades have been popular for years, but the palette that's in vogue right now is just the opposite," says Zimmer. "Interior designers and colorists are favoring lighter hues, including off-whites, that just tease the eye with traces of color."

Interestingly enough, there is a psychological benefit to a lighter indoor environment.  Brighter surroundings can lift our spirits, and soft tints derived from certain color families—green and blue, for example—can feel restorative after a stressful day.

Vaguely reminiscent of the "pastels" of yesteryear, the light colors that are gaining popularity today are more sophisticated ensembles, often marrying three or more different hues to create soft color that is often hard to put a name to.  Layering color in this way produces fascinating visual effects.

"Because the new tints are not pure whites, yellows or greens, many have a chameleon-like quality, shifting their appearance slightly when the light changes," says Zimmer. "During the daytime, a wall color might appear to be pale green, but at night, under artificial light, it may take on a yellow cast.  Likewise, a light bluish tint might gravitate toward pale gray in dimmer light."

Zimmer recommends applying sizable swatches of the paint color to several walls and live with them for a day or two before fully committing to the color.

Another way to incorporate lighter shades? Repaint ceilings and woodwork. This visual trick helps open up a space, making any room appear larger than it is.

Source: Paint Quality Institute

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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