Monthly Archives: February 2015

Potential Tax Changes In 2015 For Borrowers Looking To Reduce Their Burden

The IRS announced some changes that may effect you this year, including federal income tax brackets and rates that could effect your 2015 tax return. Other changes include 2015 retirement plan contributions limits. You may now contribute up to $18,000 to your 401(k) and many of the 457 plans has been increased from the previous $17,500. Also effected is the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. For those who started saving in a 401(k) or 457 plan late in life, the catch up contribution limit has been increased from $5,500 to $6,000.

For those singles and heads of households who are making contributions to a traditional IRA, your deductions will be phased out if you are already covered by a workplace retirement plan and if your modified adjusted gross incomes are between $61,000 and $71,000. This cap has increased by $1000 this year as in 2014 it had been between $60,000 and $70,000 in 2014. For married couples if one spouse is making an IRA contribution but is also covered by a workplace retirement plan, that spouses the new income phase out range is set at $98,000 to $118,000, up $2000 from the $96,000 to $116,000 in 2014. If one spouse contributes to an IRA but is not covered by a workplace retirement plan, yet is married to someone who is covered then the deduction is phased out if the couples combined income is between $183,000 and $193,000, also up $2000 since 2014.

Taxpayers who are making contributions to a Roth IRA face an AGI phase-out range of $183,000 to $193,000 for married couples who are filing jointly and singles or heads of households in the same situation are looking at phase out ranges of $116,000 to $131,000. Sadly for a married individual filing a separate return who happens to be covered by a workplace retirement plan the phase out range remains the same at $0 to $10,000.

For those who rely on saver’s credit, the AGI limit for low and moderate income workers is now set at $61,000 for married couples who are filling jointly and set at $45,750 for those who are heads of household. For married people who are filing separately as well as singles the AGI phase out limit for saver’s credit is set at $30,500 up only $500 from $30,000 in 2014.

The tax brackets are as follows:

Married and filling jointly:

Up to $18,449 = 10 % of taxable income
$18,450 to $74,900 = $1845 plus 15% of the excess over $18,450
$74,900 to $151,200 = $10,312.50 plus 25% of the excess over $74,000
$151,200 to $239,450 = $29,387.50 plus 28% of the excess over $151,200
$239,450 to $411,500 = $51,577.50 plus 33% of the excess over $230,450

The tax bracket for singles is as follows:

Up to $9224 = 10 % of taxable income
$9,225 to $37,450 = $922.50 plus 15% of the excess over $9,225
$37,450 to $90,750 = $5,165.25 plus 25% of the excess over $37,450
$90,750 to $189,750 = $18,481.25 plus 28% of the excess over $90,750
$189,750 to $411,500 = $46,075.25 plus 33% of the excess over $189,750

Now here is the weird tax jump:

$411,500 to $413,200 = 119,401.25 plus 35% of the excess over $411,500 which would cost you over $73,326 in extra taxes from the last bracket all over an increase of up to $1700 in income!

is committed to leading the way in 2015 with consumer lending and loan offers, we help borrowers uncover savings on credit cards, debts and personal loans.

Bad Credit Home Loans Are Available Again in 2015

If you have bad credit and feel that home ownership is out of reach for you, well that might not be the case. If you would like to buy a home but your credit is not as good as you would prefer it to be it does not mean that you cannot get a mortgage. This is not to say that getting a mortgage with bad credit is easy either, in fact it can be a rather difficult task to do. Yet the benefits of home ownership make the time and effort well worth it. When you rent you are making someone else wealth, when you own your own home you are making wealth for yourself, even if you have a mortgage for 30 years you are still creating wealth for yourself with every payment on the principle. Payments to your principle equal equity in your home and equity can be cashed out should you ever sell your home, it is also a way to secure a loan should you ever need one. Last but not least property values can increase.


To obtain a conventional mortgage you are likely going to need a FICO score of 620 at a minimum. You should as a rule of the thumb also have 12 months of on time payments listed on your credit report for all of your bills and loans, especially your loans. Your debt to income ratio which is the amount of your income that goes towards debts needs to be no higher than 43% as a general rule of the thumb as well. These of course are general guidelines and exceptions can and are made, especially for those who are rather close to this mark. If you are close to these guidelines by all means apply for a traditional mortgage, you may very well get it.

Now if your credit and current life style situation does not meet the above criteria, that doe not count you out on a mortgage. You can always go for an FHA loan through the Federal Housing Administration which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. What is the difference between an FHA loan and a loan through a traditional lender? The FHA helps people obtain loans without needing to meet every single requirement traditional lenders often require. Many people going for an FHA loan also cannot meet the closing costs and other fees associated with a mortgage so the FHA also helps here with lower down payments even as low as 3.5%. The FHA partners with banks and insures at least part of the loan. This in turn allows banks to take on a higher risk pool of borrowers.

This means you could apply for an FHA loan with a FICO score as low as 580
. Banks still have the final say and can deny someone with a score that low so it may take you awhile before you find the right lender willing to work with you. You can always work on bumping up your score just enough, and if a bank turns you down you can always ask them what the minimum is that they are looking for as far as an FHA loan goes. Once armed with this information you can do what is needed as far as your debt to income ratio, credit utilization and credit score goes. It is not that hard to bump your credit score up by 50 points for example.

What We Can Learn From Abraham Lincoln and Money Tips

Abraham Lincoln: Interesting credit and money facts about the 16th president
President’s Day weekend is just around the corner. Before the holiday weekend starts, things are going to get a little geeky here on Taking a break for the normal information about consumer credit scores, scams, deals and identity theft, we are going to dig in to a bit of presidential history.


As many people may already know: President Abraham Lincoln had interesting ties to credit, loans and debts. Here are some fun credit and money facts about Abraham Lincoln in honor of President’s Day:

• Abraham Lincoln was the first of four presidents who worked as a credit reporting correspondent for Dun & Bradstreet. Before the information age, credit reporting was conducted by sending agents to investigate a business or a business owner in person. Abraham Lincoln was well known for sending back detailed and humorous reports. “Of one of them, he described a grocer in his home town of Springfield, Illinois as possessing a rat hole in his shop that ‘would bear looking into.'”
• Abraham Lincoln’s portrait appears on both the penny and the five dollar bill. The 16th president has been on the penny since 1909 and the five dollar bill since 1928. Lincoln was also on the hundred dollar bill between 1869 and 1880.
• Abraham Lincoln often served as a consumer advocate. In one case, an impoverished old woman was being charged $200 to obtain a $400 pension. Lincoln sued the pension company and won. In another case he defended a mentally ill woman against mortgage fraudsters.
• Abraham Lincoln was a supporter of a national banking system to provide affordable credit to help build American industry.
• Abraham Lincoln once turned down a loan request for $80. Calling his step-brother “idle” Lincoln writes: “You are now in need of some money; and what I propose is, that you shall go to work, “tooth and nail,” for somebody who will give you money for it.”
Lincoln also offers to match every dollar his step-brother earns on his own as a way to get him out of debt: “Now, if you will do this, you will be soon out of debt, and, what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But, if I should now clear you out of debt, next year you would be just as deep in as ever.”

Tips For Managing Soaring Health Care Expenses In 2015

Health care spending in the US doubled in the last seven years according to a report by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of course, anyone who has been to the doctor or pharmacy recently has experienced these soaring costs first hand. In a Forbes article:


• Total health care spending in 2013 amounted to $3.9 trillion. That’s 16% of the US GDP and $6,000 for every person in the population.
• Health care costs grew at more than double the national inflation rate in 2014.
“It’s 50% more per capita than the next biggest spender — which is Switzerland — are we getting value for our money? And the answer unequivocally is, no, we’re not.”
• “The Kaiser Family Foundation Survey shows that 69% of employers were offering coverage in 2000. That number is now down to 60%.”
• There are currently 32 million uninsured Americans.
With no end in sight to these soaring health care costs, what can consumers do to protect themselves? Here are some tips for keeping health care expenses under control:
• Always be covered by some form of health insurance. Even expensive health insurance is more affordable than paying medical bills on your own.
• Research health insurance programs that may be available in your area. Call 1-877-KIDS-NOW for information about low cost health insurance for children from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Ask your employer about the availability of health care “cafeteria” plans or “flexible spending” plans. These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax income to pay for health care costs.
• Ask your doctor to prescribe generic versions of expensive medications. In many cases this can reduce your co-pay costs.
• Visit the doctor for preventative care when possible. A visit to the doctor in advance is much less expensive than a visit to the emergency room.
• Keep an emergency savings account and a few credit cards with high credit limits available to deal with unexpected health care costs.
• Review medical bills closely for inaccurate or double billing. Errors in medical bills are very common.
You can read more about the increase in health care costs and more about the issue of affordable health care here.

Share your feedback with the ediorial team from about rising health care costs and your experiences with these bills and additional tips you may have to help keep your costs lower in 2015 as you work towards saving money!