Have you ever wondered if there exists a free alternative to your cumbersome excel sheet that you make use of to track your assets, liabilities, monthly income, cashflow, expenses, networth and lots more including all of your retirement accounts, credit cards, bank accounts including checking account, savings account, CD’s, daily trading accounts, retirement accounts including 401K, IRA, 529, 403(b) and lots more all 100% FREE?
An all in one solution to track your financial progress in beautiful visual way is Personal Capital
One interesting point to be noted while making use of personal capital software happens to be that this powerful visual interface that makes personal finance management a breeze comes 100% FREE of cost
I’m making use of personal capital software to track and manage my personal finances. All I can say is this saves ton lot of time and it would be a smart move to track all your accounts in one portal. List of items that be tracked and managed includes :
1) All Your Accounts, All in One Place – This is 100% true. You can add your checking account, savings account, CD’s, 401K accounts, 403(b), 457, traditional IRA, Roth IRS, Solo 401K, HSA, FSA , personal brokerage trading accounts such as charles schwab account, TD ameritrade account, etrade, Vanguard, Fidelity, Prudential, Capital one and lots more options to choose from. Also, track your debt by adding credit card accounts like bank of america credit card, chase credit card, discover credit card, citi card as well as credit card from merchant vendors like walmart, target, costco and lots more. You can add your jewelry, worth of your house, worth of your car, cash investment value in accounts as manual entry
Interestingly all the account balances are tracked and manged 100% FREE and automatic by personal capital and you can see the net worth changing each and every day in your personal capital dashboard
2) Dedicated Financial Advisors – Once you sign-up FREE for Personal Capital account you will get an opportunity to schedule a free call with financial planner from personal capital team. Based on your portfolio allocation you get advice on case by case basis from them for FREE
3) Personalized Investment Strategy – This is a FREE service offered by personal capital financial advisor during initial free call. They offer overview of your allocation and provide you great advice on full financial picture of your portfolio
Tax season is the favorite season to talk more on money, taxes, savings, Wouldn’t it be interesting to get rewarded for paying your taxes appropriately in the form of cashback. Now, ebates does offer fantastic cashback for simply starting your tax filing from within ebates. Choose from one of the many different taxstore options available, shop around and start tax filing
Ebates a popular cashback site literally offers free money for starting the purchase from their website. This free money comes in the form of cashback. I started using this last month. I got my first cashback cheque yesterday. Today morning I started shopping around for best fee with tax filing software inside ebates website. Interestingly I found lots of interesting cashback bonuses while using tax filing software from within ebates
Here are the cashback percentage that are calculated on total amount spent towards tax filing as fees before taxes while your taxstore shopping starts at ebates
H&R Block – 9% cashback
e-file.com – 31% cashback
FreeTaxUSA – 25% cashback
TaxAct – 10% cashback
e-smart Tax – 10% cashback
intuit Payroll – upto $22.50 cashback
Note that taxes for 2018 are due april 17th 2018. File taxes, save money as cashback today from ebates
Home buying process starts with choice of mortgage programs. There are ton lots of mortgage options to choose from. 30 year fixed mortgage vs 15 year mortgage comparison has often been considered most complex decision. Most popular options are 30 year fixed, 15 year fixed. There are less known fixed rate options like 20 year fixed, 10 year fixed rate mortgages
To start with how do I determine which is the best mortgage option? If you would have zeroed down on your home purchase the next big step is to shop around for best mortgage rates and pick the right mortgage option. There are ton lots of articles that does discuss the pros and cons of choosing the correct mortgage term. In this article we want to give our honest perspective on what could serve you better
1) Interest rate – We did a quick analysis on many different interest rate options this year. Probability shows that 10-year fixed rate mortgage is the lowest APR option. It is very interesting to note that this is cheaper than 5/1ARM mortgage. If you are someone who would be interested in saving a lot on interest, 10-year fixed rate option is the best. The second best mortgage option appears to be 15-year with second best lowest APR. This is substantially lower than 30-year fixed rate. 20-year fixed rate mortgage is an average option with balanced repayment time frame
Conclusion : If you are interest rate conscious and want to save a lot, consider choosing between 15-year fixed or 10-year fixed rate mortgage
My tax consultant says that my mortgage interest is tax deductible. Why should I choose a lower time frame?
All of us get enticed by this. If you carefully analyse this is not tax credit but only tax deduction. Say, you are in 40% tax bracket and choose to take mortgage interest tax deduction. Still you are paying 60% out of pocket.
Keep this in mind when you file your taxes. If you are borrowing for your principal residence
1.1) Federal income tax deduction – mortgage interest rate, property taxes, mortgage insurance are tax deductible
1.2) State income tax deduction – property taxes are tax deductible. This varies from state to state
It would be better to have a quick consultation with your tax attorney as soon as you have chosen to give contract on your first home to get to know more details on tax deductions you can avail the current year or forthcoming year based on your adjusted gross income
2) Amortization Schedule – This is something that I did carefully look over. For simplicity, I’ve done analysis of 30-year fixed versus 15-year fixed amortization schedule comparison. Here is what I found:
2.1) In case of 30-year fixed we may have to wait 12 year 4 months for the principal amount to exceed interest amount. People claim that if we have excess funds in a particular month, we choose to pay that towards principal that month. Still we pay high interest rates. As I mentioned in first step, the interest rate deduction is only 40% and 60% excess is a loss only
2.2) If we look at the amortization schedule of 15-year fixed, about 63.3% of the amount goes towards principal from first mortgage re-payment, where as in case of 30-year fixed about 31.5% of the repayment is considered towards principal to start with
Say, you would have held the house for 5 years, the difference in the amount repaid might be around $300 to $500 on an average loan. That boils down to $18000 to $30000 in excess in case of 15-year fixed loan. About $11394 to $18990 is repaid towards principal. In case of 30-year fixed the amortization is different. Hence, it would be better to go with 15-year fixed if you can afford to do so
3) Age of the home buyer – If you are just out of college you want to max out 401k, IRA, 529 college funding in addition to your home mortgage. If the excess money needs to be invested on pre-tax basis 30-year fixed is the best
401K, HSA, IRA contributions happen on pre-tax basis and has much bigger tax saving compared to repayment in excess in post-tax basis
If you make sufficient money to contribute towards 401k, HSA, IRA and then pay 15-year mortgage go for 15-year mortgage. Otherwise, 30-year fixed can be a good choice
3.1) If you are above 30 years of age and still done have sufficient retirement funds to start with the best option would be 30-year fixed
3.2) If you are above 30-years of age and have decent retirement funds, can make retirement investment contribution with 15-year mortgage go for it. Ideally after 15 years your home is debt free, you can use it to finance college education expenses of your kid. By 45 years of age you are free of tension and can focus on your kids education next 5 years, focus on retirement next 5 to 7 years
3.3) If you are above 40 years of age, depending on how much you make choose to balance retirement and mortgage
In any of the above cases only mortgage is risk free. Other investment options are in mutual fund and are subject to fluctuation. Even the home prices might go up or come down. You always need your own shelter and make nothing out of rental. Hence, go for it today
Now, it is possible to access your prescription records as well as you past payment history online form Walgreens. This is an interesting feature offered for free by Walgreens Pharmacy
Why do I need to access these records?
You can access details on prescription, payment history that can be used for filing your taxes
If you own HSA (Health Savings Account) account if there is an audit this comes handy
FSA (Flexible Spending Accounts) reimbursements mandates prescriptions that can be accessed from here
If you would like to share details on your health with family, friends this comes handy
How do I access my prescription records and payment history?
Navigate to the website of Walgreens Pharmacy
Register for free and access details
Are you interested in purchasing a new mattress? Are you confused as to how to go about this process. Every task can be successfully accomplished through great planning. Plan perfect to achieve great is the strategy. All you have to do is prepare a checklist (even write it down in a piece of paper) before starting a mattress search
1) What is your budget ?
Maximum budget and minimum budget should be fixed. It is always possible to have a tolerance of +/-5% of this budget. Cheaper you make it best is the deal. This helps us locate the price range and look out for mattress easily
2) When should I go for a mattress?
Always look out for season deals. This is the halloween, thanks giving, christmas season and best time to look out for great deals. Have the list of major websites listed and search for deals online. Some stores offer interesting deals with shipping and handling free if the purchase is above certain limit. Read the instructions carefully before finally using the credit card to checkout the mattress. It is best time to get $200 and more money saved through deals. Use this money for bedding sets, and mattress maintenance
3) Is mattress financing good?
If you want to purchase a product look out for 0% interest financing. this helps us pay our money in installments at no extra cost. Most mattress makers and dealers offer financing as less as 6 months to about 2+years at 0% interest rate. This depends of cost of the mattress you purchase. This helps a lot. You can invest the money in Fixed deposits/CDs and make interest in that tenure. Be careful and see when the deal expires. If you miss it interest rate could go as high as 12%.Have an eye on it.
4) What type of mattress should I go for?
Having fixed everything else this is a important step – tempurpedic, latex foam, spring are the types. Pick the right one
5) Do I need a peer review?
Nothing is as great as peer review. If you don’t get a chance to try the mattress in shops ask for peer review. This helps us take good decision.
I went out for a shopping today. I was looking at the cost of groceries that I use on a daily basis including tooth paste, soaps,tissue papers, body wash to name a few. When I noticed the price tag I was able to see that the price of my regular toothpaste is up by 20 cents. It was one year since I had gone for a grocery purchase.
How can your bulk grocery shopping help you save money?
Most of us concentrate on major items like bedding, bath, clothing, electronics to save during thanks giving day. Most of us miss to see that by purchasing groceries in bulk for next 2 years( look at expiry date. Most of them can be used beyond 3 years), we can save closer to 20% to 30% on our grocery purchase. Depending on number of family members it may vary between $20 to $50.
1) Purchase tooth brush for your family in bulk
2) Purchase toothpaste in best deals available during thanks giving, christmas sale
3) Purchase soaps, body wash solution
4) Purchase detergents for washing clothes
5) Purchase room cleaning solution, toilet cleaners, grease and stain remover for kitchen – This can be used for as long as 3 to 5 years
6) Purchase new mob, gloves used while cleaning stove
These are some common simple purchases often overlooked during special days that come with deals like thanks giving day, labor day sale, memorial day sale, independence day sale and lots more. Make it a point not to miss this during this purchase. Always penny saved is penny earned.
I filed my taxes yesterday and chose to pay the taxes using my Chase Freedom credit card instead of direct ACH transfer from my bank account. The CPA was against this as he had mentioned that I’m making a foolish decision by wasting 1.89% towards processing fees. Here is what I explained him that I’d like to share as money saving tip today
1) I applied for chase freedom credit card last month after doing rough math of my taxes. Chase freedom card comes with $150 cash back bonus that can also be redeemed in form of Chase ultimate rewards that can be used for many different purposes including travel. In my earlier post I’ve given full details on why I’m maintaining my Chase Sapphire reserve credit card inspite of paying $450 annual fees. The ultimate reward points that I earn towards meeting this spending limit can be redeemed towards travel 1.5 times its value as ultimate reward points can be combined and transferred from Chase freedom card onto Chase Sapphire card. The equivalent cash value becomes $150 x 1.5 = $225
2) In addition to this I earn 1% cashback on my spending in Chase Freedom credit card
3) Chase freedom comes with 15 months 0% APR on purchases. So, I dont have to repay this amount in full. Typically if I repay the minimum balance with $1 extra every billing cycle for next 15 months it is more than sufficient
4) I can park this money in safe instruments like one-year CD. Currently the average rate on one year CD is 2.10%. With 15 months interest it comes around 2.15% APY
Now, let us do simple math on processing fee and see if we make more
Processing Fee = 1.89%
Income Earned by Parking in CD’s = 2.15%
Cash back rewards = 1%
Cashback rewards + sign-on bonus rewards towards travel = 1.5 times $150 plus your tax bill
As a whole I save 0.50% minimum towards this if I make use of Chase Freedom credit card. You can apply for Chase Freedom credit card and get this approved today. Interestingly there is no annual fee ($0 annul fee) on Chase Freedom credit card
Reserve Bank Of India the premiere financial regulatory body in India has released a circular on May 7th 2012. According to this NRI’s (Non Resident Indians) who currently maintain NRO account with any of the banks present in India can have their funds transferred to their NRE account
This is a gift move much awaited by many NRIs ever since interest rates have been sky rocketing in NRE accounts. According to current rate on an average the investments gets doubled in about 7 years and 5 months to 7 years and 10 months in case of 10 year NRE fixed deposit
NRE has an additional advantage that NRI’s dont have to pay a single penny towards Indian Income taxes. However in case of countries like USA , the FBAR law that has come into effect since January 29th 2012 has mandated the declaration of investment and earnings on foreign investment of US residents. It is good to check with your CPA on this
What are the steps to move money from NRO to NRE?
NRO interest income is taxavle in India. Even with DTAA submission tax comes around 15% in case of US residents. Hence it is a good idea to make a move from NRO to NRE.
Though the steps are not properly documented RBI circular states the following facts
1) Transfer of about 1 million USD pr year is permitted
2) Taxes must be paid properly before moving NRO to NRE. TDS deduction is automatic in most banks and this is taken care of by them. Some banks are willing to waive penalty during this move. Please check with your banker to know more details
3) Forms including 15CA, 15CB and A2 must be filled with the help of your auditor in India and we need to submit the same to the bank
Utilize this opportunity to save and grow rich
Following the RBI policy change to transfer money from NRO to NRE account directly without repatriation need forms 15CA and 15CB have become the talk of the tow. So, NRI’s who make monthly income abroad make it a habot to transfer funds on a monthly basis. In the case most of them have multiple fixed deposits/special term deposits as banks call it variously opened under their NRO account.
If they wish to proceed with NRO to NRE transfer what should they do? Is it sufficient to submit one 15CA and 15CB form or more forms.
Here is the simple reply from banks on this question
Forms 15CA and 15CB are used for repatriation now in our case transfer from NRO to NRE account (internally referes to savings account as NRO FC to NRE FD is not feasible) on a ONE TIME BASIS
For each and every repatriation we need to provide different 15CA and 15CB forms.
Say you have opened FD’s from January to December of last year you need to wait until December (if you wish to take advantage of 1 year interest rate) of this year break all FD’s put it onto NRO savings and have this transferred onto NRE in a single shot
If not close FD’s from January upto June, put it in NRO savings, transfer money from NRO to NRE savings. Submit one form 15CA and 15CB for this purpose
Wait for further maturity close it one by one, submit 15CA and 15CB for each and every transfer (remittance)
Plan good before you initiate this transfer process
Can I submit Multiple Form 15CA and 15CB during a year?
ARBI has opened gates to transfer money from NRO to NRE account. Since then this is a common topic of discussion. To give a lime light on how to safely transfer your money with minimal loss in interest here are the pointers to be followed
1) Obtain form 15CA from your auditor. Form 15CB and A2 are to be filled by you. Submit all the three documents to your bank
2) In a year we can transfer upto 1 million USD from NRO to NRE account
3) This internally means that we can submit any number of form 15CA and 15CB (multiple submission allowed) considering the fact that the amount to be trnasferred doesnt exceed 1 million USD
Do I need To Submit Form 15CA,15CB for NRO to NRE Transfer?
We have discussed about the RBI circular that permits the transfer of money from NRO ro NRE account. This is high time to save on taxes at India. The next question is about the necessity to submit forms 15CA, 15CB to the bank branch to initiate this transfer.
So, is it needed to submit these documents?
Simple answer is YES. The logic works this way
1) Maximum 1 million USD can betransferred from NRO to NRE per year subject to payment of taxes
2) The user can choose to initiate transfer from NRE – This money needs to be properly validated by bank
RBI has clearly specified that the steps are the same as NRO repatriation onto foreign account except that it is a local NRE account
So, can I transfer my NRO FD’s to NRE FD’s?
Simple answer is it may be not possible. NRO savings to NRE savings is the possible way to have this transfer.
Talk to your bank manager and auditor to start next steps
Green card the much enticing residential status in countries like USA, permanent residency status in canada, blue card status in Europe to name a few offers plethora of benefits. In addition it closes plenty of investment avenues to Indians who can otherwise avail it as an NRI (say in temporary work visa rather than permanent residential status)
So, LIC policy an enticing insurance investment run by government of India is not open to green card holders. So, if you are an NRI planning to settle in foreign land it is advisable not to go for LIC policies
Why should I not go with LIC policy?
Most of these policies are life based (i.e) will give full benefits in case of unexpected event like death or say after its maturity tenure called policy term. Most of it is well above 5 years.
In case of a usa immigrant say for example the person can choose to maintain H1B status for 6 years maximum. In current scenario people file their GC on first or second month of USA arrival to get their GC 5 years down the line. In case of canada it is just 2+years to obtain a permanent residency. Considering these factors, it is advisable not to go for LIC policies
I already hold a LIC policy. What should I do?
If that be the case calculate your surrender value and this is the amount you can expect after getting GC/permanent resident status
Surrender value = (number of term paid/policy term)*Sum assured + (sum assured/1000)*bonus
For calculating bonus, refer to chart released by LIC each year
Where do I get details on LIC bonus chart?
LIC bonus details are accessible when we log into our LIC profile with online registered user account. This gets deposited once the bonus is declared on an annual basis
Is bonus taxable at India?
Though many auditor say it is taxable if surrendered before the term it is advisable to contact your auditor in India to get details on income tax policy
Is there a reliable link on LIC website that talks more on this?
Yes. There was a link in lic website talking more on this
Please refer to the following question :
Are Green Card holders and Foreign Nationals of Indian Origin treated as NRIs?
No, Green Card holders and Foreign Nationals of Indian origin are not treated as NRIs for the purpose of allowing Insurance. They are treated as Foreigners and the underwriting rules as those prescribed for foreigners will be applicable. As of date this link is not available. IF you have any questions contact LIC helpline
Got GC/Citizenship Invested in India LIC – Alert Read on :
This is GC season. Many were uncertain about their future and had their investment made in India in safe instruments like LIC policies. LIC proved to be an excellent tax saver tool, hefty bonus returns and was an enticing option around 2005-2009.
If you’ve already invested in LIC or planning to invest in LIC policy it would be right time to reconsider your investment. As per guidelines from LIC india investment in LIC is not open to green card holders, US Citizens.
Norms that provide full details can be obtained from LIC website