Success = Effort (Photo credit: Celestine CYour Attitude is Essential to Your Success
The single most important determining factor to your success is your attitude. Here are Five things to practice daily to make certain you have the right attitude.
- When it comes to attitude, find the positive. Attitude is a choice and a manner of how you see things. For example: “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses,” said Abraham Lincoln, a man who suffered many tragedies yet still managed to hold on to hope.
- Embrace an unwavering faith, that you will prevail. While embracing the hard truths of any current situation, essential to your success is maintaining an unwavering faith that you will succeed. A positive attitude finds opportunity in difficulty. A negative attitude sees difficulty in every opportunity. Dissociate yourself from the latter.
- Make the best of what you have. Make it your habit to appreciate daily all the good things within your grasp and do so with awe and wonder. Those with a positive attitude don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything they have.
- Changing your attitude will change your circumstances. Your attitude affects your behavior, your decisions, what you communicate and ultimately your actions. Marcus Aurelius said it succinctly: ”Our lives are what our thoughts make it.” Keep your attitude positive and you’ll be quick to leverage the good and negotiate the difficult.
- Attitude is the one thing you have the most control over. Regardless of what happens, you have control over your attitude. Wake up each morning not to your alarm clock but to your opportunity clock. Embrace each day with a nothing-ventured, nothing-gained mindset. Be the creator of circumstance and not the creature of circumstance.
saving and retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
Want to rescue your retirement?
- Start saving, keep saving, and stick to your goals. If you’re already saving, whether for retirement or another goal, congratulations! If you’re not saving, start now! You can start small, but start. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Devise a strategy and stick to it.
- Contribute to your employer’s retirement saving plan. If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan, sign up and contribute all you can. Make sure to contribute enough to capture your employer’s matching contribution, if available. Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals can make a big difference in the amount you may potentially accumulate.
- Put money into an Individual Retirement Account. When you open an IRA, you have two options: a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. The tax treatment of your contributions and withdrawals will depend on which option you select. You can set up automatic withdrawals from your checking or savings account to be deposited in your IRA. You have until April 15, 2014 to make IRA contributions for the 2013 tax year.
- Don’t touch your retirement savings. If you change jobs, leave your savings invested in your current retirement plan, or roll you funds over to an IRA or your new employer’s plan. If you withdraw your retirement savings now, you’ll lose principal and interest and you may lose tax benefits or have to pay withdrawal penalties.
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How to Get Your Credit Report
Checking your credit report every year is a good idea; you can catch errors or fraudulent activity before it gets out of hand. If you’re planning to borrow money for a big purchase like a car or home, check your credit about six months before applying for the loan. Cleaning up or repairing your credit can take a minimum of 30 days and often much longer, so you’ll want to know early if your report is less than glowing.
The three major credit bureaus that keep track of your credit history are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Lenders report your payment activity to the bureaus and are allowed to request and review credit reports when they are considering granting credit. One credit report is usually all you need if you just want to get a general idea of how you rate. However, since the information in each of the three reports can vary, you should order one from all three bureaus if you want to know exactly what each one is reporting.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) allows for all consumers to receive a free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus every 12 months. Reports can be ordered through www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228. You will not be able to receive these free annual reports by contacting the credit bureaus directly. However, if you’ve been denied credit within the last 60 days, you may be entitled to receive copies of your credit reports. Find out which of the three bureaus was used by your lender, and then contact that bureau for your report.
Unique Tuscan home in Ukiah, beautiful landscaping with Koi Pond, patio for entertaining, livingroom with fireplace, formal dining, tiled floors, custom kitchen, master bedroom downstairs with walk in closet, upstairs has large familyroom, office and two bedroom, iron staircase..and much more $700,000.00
Housing (Photo credit: james.thompson)
The right amount to borrow
To find out whether you can afford to repay a loan, take the difference between your income and your expenses. This is your discretionary income. From this amount, you’ll need to first deduct your minimum monthly savings. It’s a good idea to also deduct additional savings to help you meet some of your financial goals. These might include buying a house or a new car or building an emergency fund.
What’s left over defines how much new credit you can afford to take on. If you’re only just meeting your monthly bills, an unexpected expense could mean a serious financial setback.
If you are already paying off debt, which should be included in your expense summary, you may not be in a position to use additional credit until your existing obligations are repaid.
English: Mortgage debt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Understanding the basics of the Ability-to-Repay Standards
Discover what new information is required of potential borrowers with regard to new mortgage loan applications now that Ability-to-Repay (ATR) Standards are in effect.
In 2013, federal regulators issued Ability-to-Repay (ATR) Standards intended to ensure that borrowers can comfortably afford a home loan. The ATR Standards go into effect for loan applications received on or after January 10, 2014.
Clients should be aware that the new rules require lenders to collect and verify eight types of financial information from a potential borrower:
- Current income and assets
- Current employment status
- Credit history
- Monthly payment for the mortgage
- Monthly payments on other mortgage loans (second-lien loans made at the same time as the first-lien mortgage)
- Monthly payments for other housing-related expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner’s association fees
- Amounts paid on all other debts
- Monthly debt payments compared to monthly income, aka debt-to-income ratio
Taking all of this into consideration, the lender must determine that a borrower has sufficient income/assets and a debt-to-income ratio that would enable the borrower to comfortably afford their monthly mortgage payment.
Join us to celebrate Hopland Passport on Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, 2014, from 11:00am to 5:00pm each day.
With fifteen participating wineries pouring their best wines, incredible food pairings at each stop, and opportunities to experience tours, art, and live music, Hopland is the place to be for wine lovers on October 19th and 20th.
Two full days of fun from 11AM to 5PM! Receive a Passport logo glass, entry to all wine tastings, food pairings and entertainment at all 15 wineries. Passport Weekend passes are $45 online or $55 at the event. The online store CLOSES on Thursday, May 1st at noon, so please purchase your tickets early to get the discounted price. For more information, see the Passport Details page.
From author: “Just outside the castle a community room dedicated to wine tastings of the local wine producers.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Look for this logo when considering your new roofing materials (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Homeowners Tax Breaks on their House (Part 2)
Improving your home can also be a tax write-off. Maybe you added a room addition, installed a new roof, or made general improvements to increase the value of your home, all of these things can help to reduce your tax liability and they can also increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell.
If you’ve installed energy-efficiency appliances or upgrades, you can offset your tax bill to the IRS, dollar-for-dollar for up to 10 percent of the amount that you spent on specific home energy-efficiency upgrades. That means items such as energy-efficient water heaters or insulation can help you at tax time. However, the cap on this deduction is a mere$500 (there are cases when it’s less. Check with your tax accountant for details).
With so many people working form home, the home (business) office is not only convenient but also a tax write-off. A new 2013 tax deduction allows homeowners who have an office in their house to claim $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet (a simpler formula than previous tax years). So a room that’s 8×10 can save you $400.
Keep in mind that tax deductions are always on the government’s chopping block and some, like the energy tax credit, are gone after the 2013 year and not expected to return for future tax years.
There are many fees and expenses associated with owning a home. Don’t try to guess which things will help lower your tax bill. Instead, compile all of your home’s documents and receipts from the previous year and bring them into your tax accountant for advice. Often there are areas where you can save a little more, but you won’t know until you try.
Personal Income Taxes Ver7 (Photo credit: StockMonkeys.com)
Homeowners Tax Breaks on their House (Part 1)
Tax season can make most of us cringe. But, if you’re a homeowner, make certain you meet with experts to see how you may benefit at tax time by owning a home.
Minimizing your tax liability is always the goal. Start first by getting all your paperwork together. Hopefully you’ve kept good, clean records of everything pertaining to your home. Remodeling projects can often be deducted, so go through your files and search for the paid invoices. However, repairs to restore items to their original state usually aren’t tax deductible.
If you haven’t kept good records, now is the time to start. It’ll pay off in 2015 when it comes time to do your taxes. Here are a few tips to get you ready for tax season this year and beyond.
The largest savings is the mortgage interest deduction. Homeowners love this one because, especially in the early years of a loan, it can save tons of money. The deduction can be claimed on both primary and secondary homes. Two requirements: your home is less than a million dollars and you itemize your tax return.
Find your property tax statement for the end of the year. Your property taxes paid are deductible for a s long as you won the home. This is another tax savings that you’ll be able to record on your Federal form. Property taxes are taken as an itemized expense.