Basic Social Security strategies for couples

Social Security is, like many government programs, rife with confusion.

For those nearing retirement age, it would be wise to plan now to create the benefits strategy that will maximize their retirement income while allowing them to enjoy life how they wish.

Most experts, such as those at USA Today, recommend using benefit optimization software or an advisor to find the ideal outcome since there are a myriad of situations that affect benefits.

Maximize Benefits by Delaying (70/70)
Mathematically, delaying social security benefits until both partners have reached the age of 70 will normally maximize potential benefits. This is true because according to the Social Security Administration, benefits rise an average of 8 percent per year (for those born after 1943) for each year delayed past full retirement age until the age of 70.
Delaying will ensure the maximum possible income for both partners.

The 66/70 Strategy
This strategy works best if both partners are about the same age and have earned similar incomes throughout their careers. In this scenario, it could be best to use what’s called a restricted application.

Forbes outlines the plan by explaining that one partner will first file for benefits promptly at age 66. Immediately after that, the other partner will file a restricted application for spousal benefits (50 percent of the other partner) and begin collecting those. Meanwhile, the second partner will receive benefit increases over the next four years while they continue to work.

After four years, the second partner files for their own benefits which will end their spousal benefit and put both partners on their own full retirement amounts. If both partners are destined to live a very long life this strategy may not be ideal, but it does offer a good mix of income and life enjoyment!

An Argument for Claiming Early
Most experts agree that claiming social security benefits early is a poor choice, but Fidelity Investments says it can make sense in some cases. If one or both partners are experiencing health issues or expect to have a shorter life expectancy for any reason it might be worthwhile to take benefits as soon as possible to maximize enjoyment during those non-working twilight years!

3 Reasons To Shop Home Insurance In Cypress

Being a home owner in Cypress, TX has its benefits. You want to be a responsible homeowner and this means shopping for home insurance. You don’t want the first policy offered to you. Instead, it’s best to make some comparisons. When you know more about why you should shop for home insurance, it will be easier to do it.

It’s Affordable

It might seem time consuming to shop home insurance in Cypress, TX. However, when you work with one of our agents at InsureUS, we will be able to help you find competitive premiums. This will ensure you have an affordable premium to enjoy through the year. Plus, you don’t have to do all the research with the individual insurance companies.

There are Many Options

There are more options than you might think with home insurance. This includes getting the coverage where you need it the most: your belongings, your home, and for liability. Not all insurance companies offer the same level of coverage. This is why it’s important to take the time to shop the various options so you have what you need.

You Need Financial Protection

Financial protection is a must when you’re a homeowner. Unfortunately, things happen all the time. You can’t predict if a storm is going to damage your roof or someone’s going to break into your home and steal all of your valuables. The reason for shopping home insurance is to get a good premium that you can rely on. When you have financial protection in place, it will make it easier to contact the insurance company to file a claim. They will then take care of you so that you don’t have to spend a fortune out of pocket.

Learn more about shopping for home insurance and to get help every step of the way by contacting InsureUS today.

 

Roofing Contractors – What Do They Do?

They are workers who replace and repairs roof on commercial buildings and homes. Many are self-employed but there are some construction firms that will hire many roofing contractors to do major projects like installing roofs on housing projects that have recently been constructed. They work year around. Some builders have become roofing contractors because of their knowledge of home construction. Before a roofing contract can start getting clients, they must obtain a business license, which is a form of legal authorization to operate a business in the county, state, or city. They will also have to go through a certification process. This involves spending time working with an experienced roof contractor to gain a good understanding of the work they do.

When a homeowner has damage to the roof that was caused by fires, storms, water leaks, and other similar event they will normally hire a roofing contractor. The contractor will inspect the roof to determine the extent of the damage. They will calculate the cost of buying the materials that will be necessary to repair the damage and give the homeowner the estimate of the repair costs. Labor costs are included in the estimate. Most homeowners will get price estimates from several roofing contractors before making their choice as to which one to hire. Some contractors will lower their estimates in order to win the contract when they know that there will be others bidding to do the job.

Roofing contractors are also hired by homeowners to install a new roof. Most contractors specialize in certain types of roof like tile or metal roofs. If it is a large roofing project contractors will often hire sub-contractors to help with the installation. In some areas, government entities will offer cash incentives and tax rebates to homeowners who install solar panels. Some roofing contractors specialize in installing these panels. Those that specialize in solar panel installation have previously worked as electricians. In some areas a contractor who installs solar panels have to be a licensed electrician or will have to hire a sub-contractor that is in order to complete the work.

Before agreeing to insure a commercial or residential property, some insurance companies may require that the owners pay to have a roof inspection first. The reason is that roofs are among the most expensive part of a home or building to replace. If the roof is in a state of disrepair, the insurance company may refuse to insure the home or building. When a roofing contractor performs a roof inspection, they will accept a flat fee for the work. The contractor will give the insurance company a roof inspection report and if repairs have to be made the owner will have to make them before getting insurance.

Article by: Lora Davis
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Your house pays you back at tax time

When you do your taxes this year, it probably won’t be much of a comfort to know that in February 1913, the personal income tax was born.
Bravo.

But the good news is that if you will be writing out a check this year, you might want to ask yourself if a nice, fat mortgage interest deduction would come in handy next year.

For many people, it certainly will. Mortgage interest is tax deductible. This means it is one of the expenses that reduces the amount of income on which you pay taxes.

Many, if not most, people who do not own houses, also do not itemize their deductions. That makes sense because if they added up all their potential deductions, the deductions would not be greater than the standard deduction. For 2016 the standard deduction for heads of household will also rise to $9,300 (up from $9,250 in 2015) but the other standard deduction amounts will remain the same: $6,300 for singles and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly. Personal exemptions will be $4,050 in 2016, up from $4,000 in 2015.

The beauty of the mortgage interest deduction is that it allows you to deduct all the interest you pay on your home loan. During the first years you pay on a home loan, nearly everything you pay is interest — up to 75 percent of your payment.

That nice deduction can reduce the taxes you owe, while allowing you to live in the house you want.

Owning a home also offers you some subtle protection from inflation. Inflation is an increase in the general level of prices for goods and services over time. So you notice that your grocery bill is going up and your dollars buy less, that is inflation, according to investopedia.com.

According to inflationdata.com, in 2016 inflation was about 1.7 percent. For 2017, Kiplinger’s predicts inflation to head to 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates are ranging from 4.2 percent to 5.2 percent on 30-year fixed rate. That is an increase of at least 2 point from 2015 and 2016 but still very low.

If you buy a home this year, and inflation continues to increase, you’ll soon be paying off your home with cheaper dollars. Your food will cost more; your luxuries will cost more; rent will cost more. But your mortgage is going to stay the same.

Meanwhile, inflation will also have some effect on home prices, forcing prices up. Right now, in most parts of the country, home prices are low because there are a lot of houses on the market and fewer buyers than five years ago. That means, right now you can get a lot of house for fewer dollars. In coming years, however, as the supply of houses for sale decreases, the pressure of inflation plus a reduced supply of houses, will force home prices up. In 10 years, your home purchase today will be a bargain and you will be living in a home you love while paying prices locked in the past! It’s like being a financial time travel!

Questions to Ask Before You Have a Home Built

Verify Credentials

Don’t settle for just any custom home builder; find out all you can about them. Ask them how long they have been in the business and why they enjoy it. Ask them about their challenges and how they have overcome them. Find out about other homes they have built in the area and go take a look at them. Check online to see if there are complaints against them.

Once you find a terrific custom home builder to work with, ask them about their credentials. This includes insurance and licensing. Ask them about their crew and what types of checks they conduct on them to make sure they have the right skills for the job. A professional isn’t going to bat an eye at your questions or avoid answering them.

Models and Selecting Details

Most custom home builder providers have models you can walk though and look around. Others only offer those images on a computer for you to look at. Talk to them about the various floor plans they offer and how you select your colors and other details. If there is something unique you want to have added, make sure they can do this before anything gets started.

Change orders can be tough to accommodate when it comes to building a home. They can also be costly in terms of the materials and the time involved. The building shouldn’t begin until are completely sure about what you want and all of those details have been fully discussed. Take all the time you need to make your final selections.

Budgeting

You may have a bottom line in mind when it comes to your new home. It is important for the custom home builder to know this figure and to respect it. They can share with you what they can offer for that price. They may have a land/home package for you to think about. It is also possible you are buying the land separate and hiring them just to build the home.

There are other factors you need to take into consideration though. This includes plumbing, wiring for electricity, and other factors. The builder of your home should be able to share these needs with you as they do have to be factored into the overall cost. Typically, they will subcontract that work so you are only paying one person to get the job done.

In other instances, you may be able to pick those subcontractors. Find out what the process will be in advance so you can be prepared for what you are responsible for. If they are going to cover the subcontractors, ask who they are and conduct your research. You need to be confident they can do an excellent job for you.

Scheduling

Ask about the other homes they have on their agenda and when they will finish them. It isn’t uncommon for a custom home builder to have more than one crew. This allows them to work on various projects. The crews may all work on certain aspects of any given home. This allows those with certain skills to use them to complete certain tasks.

Find out how long it will be for them to start the construction of your home and when it will be completed. There can be delays with permits, inspections, weather, and other variables they can’t control. However, they should be able to give you a reasonable timeframe for the work to be done.

It is important to us for you to have the home you really want. We hold ourselves to very high standards so you can get the best possible results. We have the experience to create an amazing home for you. Working with us, we can help you to design it and to ensure everything is taken care of. Safety is a top priority for us and we ensure all building codes will be followed every step of the way. We are selective about who we obtain our building materials from. We only use the best quality products so your home will look amazing when you move in as well as down the road. Check out http://mikeblakehomes.com to get an idea of what we can do for you.

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