• Podcast,  Student Loans

    Let’s talk STUDENT LOANS with David Hessel, CSLP (Certified Student Loan Professional)!

    You’ve asked & we (finally) answered – let’s tackle student loans!

    According to the U.S. Department of Education, outstanding Student Loan Debt has now reached a staggering 1.56 TRILLION in 2020. Over 44 million Americans have outstanding student loans and the average debt per individual is $32,731 – WOAH!

    It’s time for us to Face The Fear of Student Loans – understand what they are, how they work, and find the best way to pay them off!

    Here’s a bigger view of David’s White Board

    To learn more about David Hessel, click here: www.davidhessel.com

    To get the details on student loan planning, click here: www.studentloanprofessional.com

    To get in touch with Face The Fear, email: facethefearfw@gmail.com

    Here is a summarized list of Q&As:

    1. “Do you need to be of a certain profession or in a certain field to utilize the extended or graduated programs while in the overall 10-year repayment plan?” Nope! Everyone with federal student loans has access to these, but there are many things to consider before jumping into one.

    2. “When does it make sense to put my student loans in deferment?” If you need to stop your payments, you do need to apply and be accepted for this. This is because interest will not accrue during this time period. You might do this if you become unemployed, if you have economic or medical hardship, etc. Interest will not accrue while in deferment

    3. “When does it make sense to put my student loans in forbearance?” You have a total of 3 years to be in forbearance. Remember, interest continues to accrue while you are not making payments. So really, this tends to make sense when you need a very short-term payment relief.

    4. “Can I use forbearance or deferment if I have private loans?” The unfortunate answer is no. You can speak with your lender and try to change the terms of your loan but the options available for federal loans are not available for private loans.

    5. “Can I spread the ‘tax hit’ when student loans are forgiven over time or is it all taxed as income in one year?” The short answer is that it is taxed in one year. However, when working with a CPA, depending on your situation, there are ways to strategize the taxation. When working with my clients, we calculate the anticipated tax amount and immediately set up a savings/investment bucket for those dollars over the course of their student loan repayment plan.

    6. “Can I be 3, 4, even 5 years into paying my student loans and still switch to a repayment plan?” Yes, you can do this at any time! It is a voluntary program, so you must reapply / show income every single year. If you do not reapply you will be automatically switched back to the 10-year plan. For my clients, we just set reminders every year, so we never forget. Thankfully, the Government has worked on their online submission process and applying is getting easier and easier.

    7. “For PSLF, do I need a specific type of qualified loan?” In short, to apply for PSLF you need 3 things: 1. You need to work for a qualified employer full time (talk with your HR rep or visit https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#qualifying-employment) 2. You need to make 120 qualified payments (10 total years of payments) 3. Your loans need to be DIRECT loans. (These started after the year 2010, so anyone with loans prior to 2010 will usually need to do a direct consolidation)

    8. “If I have worked for a qualified employer while working towards PSLF and then switch to another employer that is not qualified, is there any sort of partial forgiveness of loans?” Unfortunately, the answer is no.

    9. “What has changed for my student loans with the CARES Act?” Start listening at 48:18

    Lastly, here’s a disclaimer: GVCM is an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm, headquartered at N14W23833 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 350, Waukesha, WI 53188. PH: 262.650.1030. David Hessel is an Investment Adviser Representative (“Adviser”) with GVCM. Additional information can be found at: https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Global View Capital Insurance, LTD. (GVCI) insurance services offered through ASH Brokerage and PKS Financial. David Hessel is an Insurance Agent of GVCI. Global View Capital Advisors, LTD is an affiliate of Global View Capital Management, LTD (GVCM).

  • Real Estate

    One Thing That Will Put You Ahead When it Comes to Buying A Home

    Written By: Aubree DeVisser

    I’m sure you have heard from one person or another who is on the hunt for a home that it hasn’t exactly been easy. So, why not do everything you can to set yourself up for a smooth and successful home-buying process?

    Here is one thing you can do to gain a competitive advantage, accelerate the process, and know how much you can afford.


    Going to an agent and choosing a lender is your first step. Receiving that pre-approval letter really should be the key you want to have in your pocket for when that dream home becomes available.

    What exactly is a preapproval? It’s when you gather information such as your job status, income, credit score, etc. and the lender uses that information to give you a number that represents the amount you can afford to borrow for a home. (You can do this all from your phone if you prefer it that way, email me to get the link to the app!)

    So, why does this help you? As I stated before, there are three main reasons.

    1.) You gain a competitive advantage.

    Who doesn’t want that? Especially now when bidding wars and multiple offers are something most buyers will have to deal with, you want to have every advantage you can get. A preapproval letter from your lender says your serious. It says I’m all in. I want this and I’m ready to prove that. Not to mention it shows the sellers that you actually have the funds ready to go if the offer was accepted and that’s obviously important and reassuring to them.

    2.) Move forward, faster

    Think about it this way. You write an offer in a multiple offer situation and the sellers need to close ASAP. If they see that you’re preapproved and have done all that work ahead of time, that’s time saved and you’re ahead of anyone else who hasn’t done that yet. Then, as soon as that offer is accepted you’re ready to move on to all the other details.

    3.) Dream home without the dream loan

    This one is really important for you and whomever you’re buying a home with. You need to get preapproved so you know what you can afford. Let me tell you a quick story. A couple goes to look at a home. Falls in LOVE with it. Wants to put in an offer. (Most people won’t even accept offers without a preapproval letter) Let’s just say they accept it. They go to a lender. Their loan amount is $20,000 less than the home price. UH OH. NOW, WHAT.

    Their dreams are shattered. They can’t buy the home. Everyone is frustrated. The home-buying process is probably ruined for them. They realize their dream home is way out of budget right now and that’s DEVASTATING.

    So, if you take anything away from this reason, take this:

    Know what you can afford. Don’t break your own heart. Make it easier on yourself, and everyone else, and get preapproved before actively going out to look at homes.Then you can work on a budget and accurately see and know what you can borrow and what you can afford. (Need help planning and saving and want some guidance? We can help!)

    I hope this was helpful and if you’re ready to start looking, or are already looking, that you consider these three reasons to put you ahead in that home-buying process!

    Are you a first time home buyer and want to be part of a community of other first-timers with some helpful tips and tricks? Check this group out!

    Have questions about buying your first home? Contact Aubree DeVisser here!

  • Budgeting,  Insurance

    5 Ways To Face Your Finances At Home (and Reward Yourself, Too!)

    Written By: Kaitlyn Duchien

                It’s day #423 (or something like that) in self-quarantine. Chances are, you’ve already watched an ungodly amount of Netflix, forgotten to shower more than once, finished a book you started 5 years ago, picked up knitting, and even tackled spring cleaning! Congrats! But, with the President’s recent decision to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April, you’re probably wondering what on earth you’re going to do to pass the time now. While watching The Office for the 15th time is definitely a valid option, let’s consider using this as an opportunity to check your financial pulse and discover ways to cut costs, save a little extra, and even increase your generosity!

    Perusing through your bank statements might not sound like the most exciting way to spend your Friday night. We get it. But, we believe it will pay off – big time! That’s why we’ve also included a few ideas to reward yourself after you’ve checked each of these 5 money management tasks off your to-do list. (You’re welcome).

    • Budget: Make It. Modify It. Live it.

    If you’ve never created a budget before, there’s no better time than the present! But, where do you start? For some do-it-yourself-ers, you may want to pull up your credit card and bank statements and create your own Excel spreadsheet detailing your income, spending habits, outstanding debts, and savings goals. For others (like myself), creating an Excel spreadsheet sounds about as fun as watching paint dry. If you can relate, check out these budgeting apps and templates to help you get started:

    Ultimately, how you create your budget is much less important than simply having one in the first place. The goal is to understand where your money is going every month, allowing YOU to have control over your finances. If you’re not sure what happened to your paycheck, then your money has control over you (and that ain’t cool). No matter how you decide to budget, make sure it is a repeatable process that you can frequently revisit and revise as needed.

    As you grow and evolve as a person, your budget should, too. That’s why – if you already have a budget – now is the time to review it and see how well you’re staying on track. Are there any specific categories where your spending is a little too high? Any small expenses that are adding up over time? Are you saving as much as you’d like? If not, can you automate your savings from your paycheck to your savings or your investment account to make it easier?

    REWARD: Once you’ve created or reviewed your budget, reward yourself by breaking out your favorite board game or card game (or ordering a new one online) and having a game night! You can even plan a virtual game night by video conferencing with friends or family who share a common game.

    • Subscriptions: Automatic Payments Are Great, Except For When They Aren’t

                While reviewing your budget, you may have discovered that you’ve been paying for subscriptions or memberships that you haven’t been using (or getting your money’s worth out of). Spend 30 minutes identifying which subscriptions you don’t use and cancelling your membership. Or, instead of canceling the subscription all together, you may have the option of freezing the subscription or skipping a month if you just won’t use it right now, but might in the future. Here are a few ideas of automatic payments to look out for:

    • Streaming Services (Maybe you started that 7-day free trial on Hulu to watch one specific movie and forgot to cancel it afterwards.)
    • Transportation Services (Think: bus, train, or toll-road pass that you aren’t using right now due to working from home.)
    • Gym Memberships (While many gyms automatically froze their member’s accounts, you might want to double check that you aren’t being charged while the gym is closed.)
    • App Subscriptions (Trying to figure out why the $3.99 charge from Apple or Google Play is showing up on your bank statement? Click here to find out what app subscriptions you are paying for and how to cancel them.)

                While email subscriptions aren’t necessarily costing you money, now might also be a great time to go through your 10,528 emails and unsubscribe from unwanted messages. It’ll unclutter your inbox, clear your mind, and even reduce your spending by eliminating marketing campaigns for items you don’t need (but apparently MUST have). Unroll.me is a great tool that will identify email subscriptions you are currently receiving and unsubscribe you in a couple easy clicks.

                REWARD: Once you’ve canceled those memberships and deleted at least 9,627 emails, reward yourself by watching a movie or documentary about someone who inspires you.

    • Bump Up Your Saving and Investing

                For many people, the Stay At Home orders have resulted in reduced spending as many daily activities such as travel, eating at restaurants, going to the movies, working out at the gym, or even getting a haircut have been temporarily eliminated. Instead of wallowing in self-pity about how much you miss your favorite Starbucks drink or how badly you need to get your hair done, take advantage of the money you aren’t spending by intentionally putting it in a savings or investment account.

                Also, due to the recent stimulus plan announced by the Treasury Department and IRS, many Americans will be receiving a payment of $1,200 (for single persons) or $2,400 (for married couples) if certain qualifications are met. If you are fortunate enough to not depend on the check to meet basic living expenses, consider using the funds to pay down high interest debt, transferring the money to your savings or investment account, or even donating to a charity you support. Leaving the funds in your checking account could lead to making unnecessary online purchases, just because you know the money is there to spend.

                Lastly, if you are financially able, now may be a good time to increase your percentage of automated payments into your savings or retirement accounts. Even bumping up your contributions by 1-2% could make a big difference to your long-term savings goals without feeling much of a difference to your take-home pay. If you’re not sure how to automate or increase payments from your paycheck, reach out to your company’s HR department or directly to your bank.

                REWARD: Boom – you’re slaying your savings goals! Reward yourself by building an epic fort out of bed sheets and blankets. You can even “camp” by making s’mores in the oven and having an indoor bonfire.

    • Insurance – Are You Covered?

                The topic of insurance might make you want to pour yourself a big glass of your favorite beverage. (Go ahead – we’re not judging). The reality is that most of us have some form of insurance (auto, health, life, etc.), but we don’t know much about how it actually works. Since you’ve got a little free time on your hands, do some research on the insurance that you own. Make sure you understand the basics – like how much the insurance costs vs. what benefits it provides. Along those lines, evaluate whether you are overinsured or underinsured in any area and make adjustments accordingly. Here are a few places to start:

    • Health Insurance: If you have health insurance through an employer, ask your HR department for a copy of your health insurance plan documents. Make sure you’re aware of your deductible, or how much you owe out of pocket before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest. If you have access to a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and a High Yield Savings Account (HSA), it might be a good idea to keep at least your annual deductible amount in your HSA. Your contributions to your HSA will be tax deductible, the interest earned in the account is tax-deferred, and if you end up needing to use the funds to pay for a qualified health care expense, the money will come out tax-free.
    • Auto Insurance: Chances are, you’ve got it (or at least you should). But how do you know if you’ve got enough insurance and what exactly it covers in the case of an accident? NerdWallet provides an excellent resource of key car insurance terms. Use this as a reference while reviewing your benefits summary, which you can usually find on your car insurance website or by calling your local agent. Also, Insurance.com provides a great calculator for determining how much coverage you realistically need.
    • Life Insurance: Or should we say, Love Insurance. Really – this is the only insurance you’ll buy that won’t benefit you in any way. But, it could mean the world to your loved ones if you pass away unexpectedly. Some employers provide basic life insurance coverage for employees (something like 2x annual salary). Check with your HR department to see if this is the case (and to make sure your beneficiaries are up-to-date). However, the reality is that coverage through your employer may not be sufficient to take care of your loved ones if they suddenly lose your income. Remember: if you own a house, a car, student loan debt, credit card bills, etc., your loved ones will be responsible to continue paying these obligations even without you around. Use these tools to figure out if you are properly insured:
    • Disability Insurance: Same concept as life insurance applies here. Some employers provide basic disability insurance coverage for employees, but you’ll want to check with your HR department to see if this is the case. However, often the coverage provided may be extremely minimal and won’t come close to meeting all of your basic needs if you are unable to work. Here are a few resources to determine if you need additional coverage:

                REWARD: By the time you’ve brushed up on your insurance coverage, you may have already finished your first drink of choice. Why don’t you pour yourself another and host a Virtual Cocktail Party with friends and family? You deserve it.

    • Charity – When The Best Way You Can Help Is Staying At Home

                As we are bombarded with media headlines about the pandemic and, at the same time, urged by our political leaders to stay at home, it can leave us feeling helpless. We know the world is hurting, but the best way to help prevent the spread and flatten the curve is to keep to ourselves. But, this doesn’t mean we can’t still make a huge positive impact right from our own living room.

    If you are fortunate enough to have money leftover after taking care of your basic needs, consider donating to a charity that is actively meeting the needs of those most affected by COVID-19. Even $5 could provide several meals to a child who normally receives their nourishment through school breakfast and lunches. Find an organization that you believe in and make a donation, big or small. Not only will it provide resources to those who need them most, but it will also allow you to be actively involved in fighting the COVID-19 battle. CharityNavigator.org lists multiple organizations responding to COVID-19, along with a description of the nonprofit and detailed information about the needs it is meeting. Leave a comment below sharing the charity that you are supporting and why it means something to you!

    REWARD: Giving to charity provides the best reward of all: joy in knowing that you have made a positive impact on the world.

  • Face The Fear

    How to Support Local Businesses During a Pandemic

    Written By: David HesselFiduciary Financial Advisor in Brookfield Wisconsin

    Social distancing is the main strategy being used across America to help prevent the virus from spreading. Events have been canceled, gatherings of large groups of people are prohibited, schools have temporarily closed or moved online and nonessential businesses are required to close, reduce their hours or minimize their offerings.

    Small and local businesses are likely to suffer greatly, but if communities are vigilant, there are several ways you can still support your favorite spots. 

    Tip #1: Purchase Gift Cards

    Considering buying a gift card for your favorite coffee shop, restaurant or bar to visit at a later time, or get them as gifts for a friend or family member. Some cafes and eateries may even accept payment online, eliminating the need to visit in person.

    Tip #2: Buy Local Produce 

    If your community has a local farmer’s market, visit and stock up on vegetables, fruits or local proteins. If you are a weekly customer, consider purchasing a bit more than usual, as the market may have to close in weeks to come. Freezing, canning or finding creative ways to utilize these local veggies and fruits is another way to spend the extra time allotted from social distancing.

    Tip #3: Shop for Products Online

    If a restaurant or coffee shop that you love sells products online, consider checking out their offerings and ordering a few. Whether it’s a branded t-shirt, hat or coffee maker, purchasing products from local businesses can help sustain them during the pandemic. You can also consider purchasing artwork or albums online from smaller artists or musicians who will miss out on extra sales from canceled events, art shows and concerts.

    Tip #4: Purchase Books from a Local Bookstore

    While forms of entertainment are canceled or prohibited, reading is an excellent way to stay busy and productive. Picking up some books from the bookstore for yourself and your family can help small businesses stay afloat. Since more and more stores are closing, it’s a good idea to go as soon as you can or call to see if they’re going online.

    Tip #5: Order Food for Delivery or Take-Out 

    While some restaurants are closing completely, others are still able to offer delivery and take-out options. Consider ordering food from a local restaurant for pick-up, and tip a bit more to help out the workers who will be missing out on a large portion of their pay. You can also opt for delivery, if possible. Some delivery platforms, like Grubhub, are doing things such as eliminating commission fees for independent restaurants.

    Tip #6: Donate Your Refund

    If you were scheduled to attend an event, concert or show that was canceled, donating your refund back is an immense help to organizations, artists and performers who will no longer be able to exercise a central portion of their livelihood. You can also choose to donate the refunded amount to other individuals, organizations or restaurants. 

    Tip #7: Help Local Businesses to Market Themselves

    Spread the word about your favorite coffee shops, restaurants and stores. You can do this by leaving online reviews, interacting with their social media posts and sharing their accounts with your own following. These small marketing efforts can go a long way when it comes to attracting new patrons.

    Preventing the spread of this pandemic requires effort from each individual, state and country. Just as health risks are on the rise, however, the financial implications are also increasingly wearisome. By supporting local businesses in creative ways, you can help sustain your favorite shops, restaurants and bars through the upcoming hardships.  

    1. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200315-sitrep-55-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=33daa5cb_8

    Looking for more guidance on how to be financially stress-free? Schedule a 30-Minute Phone Call with David HesselFiduciary Financial Advisor in Brookfield Wisconsinhere or send him an email at dhessel@gvcaponline.com.

    You can find the original article here.

    GVCM is an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm, headquartered at N14W23833 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 350, Waukesha, WI 53188. PH: 262.650.1030. David Hessel is an Investment Adviser Representative (“Adviser”) with GVCM. Additional information can be found at: https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Global View Capital Insurance, LTD. (GVCI) insurance services offered through ASH Brokerage and PKS Financial. David Hessel is an Insurance Agent of GVCI. Global View Capital Advisors, LTD is an affiliate of Global View Capital Management, LTD (GVCM). This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

  • Videos

    Face The Fear Coffee Chat #1

    Welcome to our first Face The Fear Coffee Chat! Nicole and I are now both working from home, so we decided to try a new “podcast” format. Join us as we chat about how life has changed over the last couple weeks and how we can stay mentally, physically, and financially healthy during our #selfquarantine. #StayHealthy #StayHappy #StayAtHome

    P.S. We apologize for the sound issues – we’ll get those fixed for the next Coffee Chat! Stay tuned for our next Coffee Chat! We’ll host a Zoom meeting for anyone to join. 🙂

    Small Businesses we LOVE:

    -Moxie Mavens Accessories – moxiemavensco.etsy.com

    -Kaula Marie Photography (Central Illinois) – www.kaulamarie.biz Kaula is a photographer who will be shooting Kaitlyn’s wedding in August! She has e-gift cards at 40% off available for purchase on her Facebook page! (www.facebook.com/pg/kaulamariephoto/posts/?ref=page_internal) Buy an e-gift card now and use it for family photos, engagement photos, wedding photos at any time (they never expire)!

    -Pollen and Pastry (Central Illinois) – https://www.pollenandpastry.com

    – Sassie Cakes (Fort Wayne, IN) – http://www.sassiecakes.com

    – HT2 Cocktails (Fort Wayne, IN) – www.ht2fw.com

    – Mi Pueblo (Fort Wayne, IN) – https://mipueblofortwayne.com

    – Col’s Place (Madison Heights, MI) – https://www.colsplace.com

    – The Office Coffee Shop (Royal Oak, MI) – https://www.theofficecoffeeshop.com

    Please share your favorite small businesses in the comments below so we can support them, too!

    Also, please comment below with your ideas of how to stay busy, have fun, and be happy while we #StayAtHome!

    Contact Us: facethefearfw@gmail.com

  • Podcast,  Taxes

    Face The Fear Podcast – Taxes with Tony Brita, CPA!

    Due to the impact of COVID-19, the IRS has instated some tax relief measures, such as extending the tax payment (not filing) deadline until July 15, 2020 for certain individuals. Find the most recent information here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

    Tax season is here! Feeling overwhelmed?? We’ve got your back. In this episode of Face The Fear, we are joined by Tony Brita, CPA, to discuss ideas for tackling your taxes. Here are a few questions we cover:

    • What is the biggest tax mistake you see people (or millennials specifically) make? How can they avoid these mistakes in the future?
    • What are a few misconceptions people have about taxes and the IRS?
    • How should a married couple decide if they should file single or jointly? What are the pros and cons of each option?
    • What are some common ways for Millennials to reduce taxes that are often overlooked?
    • Is there an online program that you would recommend for those who may have relatively low incomes and an uncomplicated tax situation?

    ***We are not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsing TurboTax.

    Questions? Email us at facethefearfw@gmail.com!

    Tony Brita’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-brita-cpa-8352622b/

    Face The Fear: 

  • Taxes

    How to Get the Most Money Back on Your Tax Return

    Written By: David HesselFiduciary Financial Advisor in Brookfield Wisconsin

    Between gathering the necessary paperwork and working through complicated scenarios, tax season can be a stressful time. You’ve worked hard throughout the year, and you want to be sure you’re taking the right measures to get the maximum amount back on your return. Achieving this, however, takes diligence and research.

    5 Considerations to Make During Tax Season

    By taking a look at your whole financial picture, you’ll have a better idea of the actions you can take to minimize your tax obligation and maximize your return. While this can take some time, it’s worth thinking through all of your expenses in order to increase your potential to receive a sizeable tax return. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of five key considerations to make when aiming to maximize your return.

    Consideration #1: Claim Your Retirement Tax Deduction

    You can make a contribution to your IRA (up to $6,000 if under 50 and $7,000 if 50 and older) up until the filing deadline to receive a tax deduction.1 If you are covered by a plan at work, you’ll be eligible for either a partial or full deduction depending on whether you’re filing separately, jointly or if you’re single or the head of the household. If not covered by work, you can claim a full deduction.2

    Consideration #2: Claim All Other Possible Deductions

    Many expenses can qualify as a deduction, meaning they can be claimed to help minimize the amount of taxable income. Common qualified expenses include charitable contributions and state and local income, sales and property taxes. However, there are a number of other deductions that all taxpayers should remember. This includes anything related to work education, including tuition, books, supplies, transportation and travel costs.3 If you needed to complete work to maintain a professional certification, for example, anything related to doing so may qualify. Other deductions relating to work include unordinary travel expenses or anything you spent on job-hunting to land the job you are currently in.

    Consideration #3: Make Sure to Claim All Dependents

    A dependent is not limited to children, as it could be a relative who lives in your home as a member of your household. For example, a relative who is not physically or mentally able to care for themselves. If the individual has an income of less than $4,200 and is not a dependent on another individual’s return, they may qualify as your dependent.4 Additionally, the person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. alien or U.S. national.

    As of the Tax Cuts and Job Act changes in 2017, personal exemption deductions were suspended from 2018 until 2025. However, until then, you can still receive tax credits for children and dependents.5 You may receive up to $500 in tax credits for a qualifying dependent who is not a child of yours. However, this credit may be eliminated or reduced if your adjusted gross income exceeds $200,000 when filing alone or $400,000 when filing jointly.5

    Consideration #4: Consider Itemizing Deduction if You’re Able

    If the sum of your allowable deductions is higher than the standard amount, it’s recommended to itemize your deductions.6 In some cases, you’ll be able to get a bigger refund than taking the standard deduction. If you’re at the cusp of the standard amount, double-checking your receipts and expenses over the year may be an important step in determining whether or not to itemize your deductions. You can itemize deductions on expenses such as medical and dental care, mortgage interest, charitable giving and theft losses.6 However, in certain cases, you’ll be required to opt for one or the other. If you file a joint return with your spouse and you wish to itemize, for example, you and your spouse both must then itemize your deductions.

    Consideration #5: Claim Refundable Tax Credits

    Unlike a deduction that minimizes what you owe or a nonrefundable tax credit that only refunds up to what you owe, a refundable tax credit is money returned to you – such that even if you owe $0, you’ll be sent the remaining balance from the IRS. Refundable tax credits come in many forms. For example, credits may be given to those with expenses in a foreign country in order to avoid double taxation.7 You can also receive a credit when contributing to retirement savings, paying adoption fees or paying higher education expenses.

    If you’re dealing with a complex tax scenario, you can always lean on the assistance of a CPA. Reach out if you’re looking for trusted CPA recommendations. Filing for your taxes can feel like a daunting task, but taking the extra time and effort to make sure you’re taking full advantage of your tax return can pay off.

    Looking for more guidance on how to be financially stress-free? Schedule a 30-Minute Phone Call with David HesselFiduciary Financial Advisor in Brookfield Wisconsinhere or send him an email at dhessel@gvcaponline.com.

    You can find the original article here.

    1. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-ira-contribution-limits
    2. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/2020-ira-contribution-and-deduction-limits-effect-of-modified-agi-on-deductible-contributions-if-you-are-covered-by-a-retirement-plan-at-work
    3. https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513
    4. https://www.irs.gov/publications/p503#en_US_2019_publink1000203270
    5. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5307.pdf
    6. https://apps.irs.gov/app/vita/content/globalmedia/4491_itemized_deductions.pdf
    7. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-tax-credit

    GVCM is an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm, headquartered at N14W23833 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 350, Waukesha, WI 53188. PH: 262.650.1030. David Hessel is an Investment Adviser Representative (“Adviser”) with GVCM. Additional information can be found at: https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Global View Capital Insurance, LTD. (GVCI) insurance services offered through ASH Brokerage and PKS Financial. David Hessel is an Insurance Agent of GVCI. Global View Capital Advisors, LTD is an affiliate of Global View Capital Management, LTD (GVCM). This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

  • The Market: 101

    How To Face The Fear of COVID-19

    Written By: Kaitlyn Duchien

    We know what you’re probably thinking. “Great. ANOTHER PSA about COVID-19. Just what I wanted to see.” We get it. At Face The Fear, we battled whether or not we should add another voice to the already overwhelming media noise bombarding you from every angle. But, we also felt it would be insensitive to go silent on an issue that is seriously impacting the lives of our audience on a physical, mental, emotional, and financial scale. So – if you’re sick of hearing more about COVID-19 – you have permission to close out of this article and move on with the rest of your day (no hard feelings). But – if you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, or scared about everything happening in the world – stay here, friend. Let’s talk about it openly and share some ideas for how to take care of your body, mind, and wallet. 

    1. Let’s Get Physical (At Least 6 Feet Apart)

    Unless you’ve been living in complete isolation (oh wait – that’s what you’re supposed to be doing), you already know about what COVID-19 is, how to detect the symptoms, and what preventative measures you can take to keep yourself (and others) safe. In case you need a refresher, you can find all of the most current and factual information from the CDC here. Also, just a friendly reminder, we are all humans and must work as a collective unit to overcome an issue like this on a global scale. That means thinking about the wellbeing of others before yourself. If you have a strong, healthy immune system, take a moment to be grateful for that blessing! But, also acknowledge that this blessing comes with responsibility. While your body might have a supercharged defense system capable of attacking and defeating the virus, others are not so lucky and depend on you to help them stay healthy. Don’t take your health for granted. Show some love for others by washing your hands, cleaning your space, and maybe leaving behind a package of toilet paper for your neighbor? 

    2. It’s Making Me Mental

    If today’s news is making you feel like you’ve somehow landed on set of the next zombie apocalypse movie, you’re not alone. Words like “pandemic” and “quarantine” are scary, especially when the last time you heard them was while binge-watching The Walking Dead (no judgement – we’ve been there). Everyone processes information differently, and some may experience higher levels of mental and emotional stress than others. There is no right or wrong way to feel in response to the media messages you are receiving. However, chances are, you’ve experienced a negative impact on your lifestyle to some degree as a result of recent world events. With that said, it is just as important to take care of your emotional health as your physical health. Case in point: research has emerged revealing a correlation between negative emotional responses and lowered immunity. So, let’s take care of our mind and emotions so our body can take care of itself. Here are a few ways to give your mind and soul some TLC (all in the comfort of your own home):

    • Find a few new healthy recipes you’d like to try and get cooking! If you’re wanting to avoid the grocery store, try out a meal kit or grocery delivery service. I just received my first box from Imperfect Foods, a company that delivers high quality food deemed “not pretty enough” to be sold in most grocery stores. We received a week’s worth of groceries (including fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and fancy cheeses) all for $52. (P.S. Face The Fear is not sponsored by any food delivery service. We just genuinely like the companies linked above).
    • Plan a Facetime date with friends or family! Is there a friend or relative you haven’t chatted with in a while? Now is the perfect opportunity to catch up. Check in on loved ones, share your thoughts and feelings about current world events, and strengthen your support system. You can even get creative by watching a movie, playing a board game you both have at home, or sharing a meal “together” – all over video chat. Technology is a beautiful thing.
    • Have you been avoiding the gym because of all the people who never wipe down their machines after use? (You know who you are). Or maybe you’ve been wanting to save some money on a gym membership by starting an at-home workout routine? Here’s your motivation! Physical exercise will not only keep your immune system at the top of it’s game, but it will also provide your brain the endorphins it needs to combat stress. YouTube has millions of free at-home workout videos – from yoga, to strength training, to dance, to Jazzercize. Time to get your Jane Fonda on.
    • Unplug. Seriously. Turn off your phone, computer, and TV for an hour. Give your brain a break from the information overload that can so easily lead to emotional exhaustion. While it is important to stay informed about world events, too much information (especially inaccurate information) can be harmful to your overall wellbeing. Instead, use that hour to read a book, watch a movie, start a new project – anything that will completely remove you from the current media madness. 
    • If stress is severely impacting your ability to perform normal daily activities (such as eating, sleeping, and working), please reach out to a health care professional or contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration at 800-985-5990. 
    • We’d love to hear your creative ideas for how to take care of your emotional health at home. Share them in the comments below.

    3. Facing The Fear of Our Financial Future

    Along with all of the media coverage about COVID-19, you’ve probably heard that the stock market had a rough week last week. The S&P 500 dropped 20% from its recent peak, an official signal of a bear market. This is due to the uncertainty that comes with how COVID-19 will affect labor, supply chain, travel, safety, and multiple industries at large (think: cruise lines and hospitality). With the market on a roller-coaster ride, it can be easy to panic and want to pull any invested funds out of the market (such as money in your 401k or IRA). However, a correction is a natural part of the market cycle and actually provides a lot of potential benefits for long-term investors. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a Millennial (or Gen Z) who’s got 40-50+ years until retirement. This means you have 40-50+ years to ride the market roller coaster and eventually retire with a significant return on your initial investment (averaging around a 10% annual return, looking back over the last 30 years. P.S. Past performance does not guarantee future results).  

    Side note: you might also be hearing that, currently, the stock market is “cheap,” meaning you can buy more stocks with less money. So, as a Millennial, this may be an excellent opportunity to think of increasing the percentage of your 401k or IRA contribution, or opening an investment account for the first time. Ultimately, if you buy into the market when prices are low, you’ll get more bang for your buck (one facet of dollar-cost averaging). Think about it this way: you have $100 to spend on toilet paper. Each roll costs $10, so you can buy 10 rolls. What happens when Walmart has a 50% off sale on toilet paper? Now, each roll only costs $5 and you can buy 20 rolls! (PSA: just because you can buy 20 rolls does not necessarily mean you should). Stocks function in a similar way. When the price of a stock decreases, you can buy more of them with the same amount of money and increase your potential for earnings if you’re willing to hold those stocks over a long period of time. (As always, when it comes to investing, make sure you work with a financial professional to help you achieve your specific financial goals). 

    For current information about COVID-19: please visit the CDC’s website here

    Got questions? Email us at facethefearfw@gmail.com.

    Don’t forget to leave a comment sharing how you’ve been taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally!

    And remember: WASH YOUR HANDS (not just during a pandemic). Society (and your mother) thanks you.

  • Insurance

    I Was A Caregiver For My Mom, But I’ll Never Ask My Son To Do The Same

    Original Article Written by Meredith Rainey on ScaryMommy.com

    She asked for a napkin to wipe the spaghetti sauce from her mouth, but all I had was a tissue, so I handed her that. She clumsily wiped her lips and cheeks, missing a few spots, and handed it back to me. She hardly ate at this point—she was so thin and weak, on painkillers, and had lost interest in food. I was happy to oblige when she surprised me by requesting a spaghetti dinner. She only ate about a dozen noodle strands, but it was something and she enjoyed it.

    Flashbacks of my mom’s battle with ovarian cancer sneak up on me, sometimes out of the blue, but more often when I’m in the trenches of daily life with my 11-year old son. As I fold his video-game themed t-shirts and sort his endless socks, I sometimes imagine him in my place, with a family of his own, worried about how he’ll care for me if I need it.

    I think about how I traveled to my parent’s house after a full day’s work at least three days a week (and on weekends) to give my poor dad a few hours of relief. After caring for my mom for more than two years, his skin was pale and his usual sparkling smile had dimmed. Even his posture was noticeably different; the gravity of being my mom’s full-time caregiver had weighed down his body, mind, and most importantly his heart.

    At this point, my mother was dependent on my father, brother, and me to help her with dressing, bathing, eating, and getting in and out of bed. My parents didn’t have any private insurance to cover such services, so we all pitched in. My brother and I had long since left the nest and were leading our own adult lives in different cities. Thankfully, we were still close enough to help ease my dad’s burden and be there for our mother as her long battle with ovarian cancer began to enter its final chapter.

    My father owned his own printing business for more than four decades. When my mom first got sick, he still worked full-time. As her condition worsened over the course of two years and he struggled to balance her needs, he made the difficult decision to sell his business and work for the buyers part-time. Eventually, he was forced to give up working entirely.

    The financial hit my parents took during this period was not nearly as damaging as the mental and emotional toll it took on my father. He was a very extroverted guy and work was one of his regular social outlets. When he gave that up and was home with my mom full-time, he in large part stopped being himself.  My mom didn’t want people to know she was sick, so that meant my dad didn’t have support outside of our immediate family. As for me and my brother, we struggled with balancing my mom’s care with full-time jobs and relationships, while managing the stress, sadness, and guilt that often goes along with having a loved one with a chronic health condition for which there is no easy fix.

    My story is not unique. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, taking care of a loved one is a reality for more than 40 million Americans who provide an estimated value of $470 billion a year in unpaid caregiving services. Many of these people also fall into the “sandwich generation” and are squeezed between caring for both their parents and children at home. In fact, a recent survey from T. Rowe Price found that 35 percent of parents with 8- to 14-year-old kids are also caring for an aging family member. Imagine having to ensure 24-hour care for a loved one while working and maintaining all of your regular parenting duties. It’s a lot to expect of anyone.

    While being able to provide care is in some ways a blessing and most are happy to do it, it’s not easy. The physical and emotional burden of caregiving is somewhat obvious, but it also has a financial impact. According to the same AARP study, family caregivers over the age of 50 who leave the workforce to care for a parent incur average income and benefit losses of more than $300,000.

    As I reflect on my own experiences with family caregiving, I shudder to think about my son being in my shoes one day. While I know he’d willingly do whatever might be needed for his dear old mom, it’s not a responsibility I want him to bear, especially not alone. I’d rather he have the luxury of being able to manage my care rather than having to provide it himself.

    I’m fortunate to work for a company that has taught me the value of creating a plan and exposed me to the many options that exist to help make caregiving a little easier on those who provide it. I’ve learned that planning ahead and evaluating options to cover some of the cost of future care can not only ease the burden on family members, but also help protect retirement savings by providing a dedicated source of funds to cover care costs. I also know that thinking about and planning for these things now, while I’m young and healthy, will give me and my family more options at a lower cost than if we put it off and hope that we never have to deal with it.

    If there was any blessing in my family’s caregiving experience, it was that my mom was able to spend her last days in the place she felt most comfortable—at home. I didn’t know it at the time, but that night I served her spaghetti was the last night I saw her alive. As I walked out of my parent’s bedroom at the end of that visit, my mom told me something that I have carried with me ever since. Her last gift to me was to share her philosophy and an indication of her faith despite knowing she was very short on time. She said, “Meredith, kick your feet up and don’t worry about a thing. I love you.” I love you too mom. So much.

    Original Article Written by Meredith Rainey on ScaryMommy.com

  • Credit Cards

    How Do Credit Cards Work?

    **This article has been edited for Face The Fear’s website. Original Article written by Kelly Dilworth at CreditCards.com


    When used responsibly, a credit card can help you finance new purchases, shop securely or earn rewards in exchange for spending. But with high APRs and a range of fees, they can also be risky. Here’s a closer look at modern credit cards and what you need to know about them.

    Some loans – such as purchases you make on a charge card – are expected to be repaid quickly. For example, a charge card requires you to pay off your purchases in full when you receive your monthly bill.

    Other loans, such as credit cards, give you more time to pay off your purchases and only require you to pay a minimum amount each month. In exchange for allowing you to carry over your debt from month-to-month, your credit card will charge you interest.

    The amount of interest you’re charged will depend on the card you choose and your credit history. For example, travel cards tend to charge higher amounts of interest. So do cards that are designed for consumers with low credit scores.

    Unlike charge cards and installment loans, credit cards give you a revolving line of credit (often called your credit limit) that allows you to borrow up to a certain amount.

    For example, if you have a $5,000 credit limit, you’ll be allowed to charge any amount you want, up to that $5,000 limit. However, you won’t be able to charge any more than $5,000 until you’ve paid down your balance or have been given a credit limit increase.

    Common credit card charges

    Most credit cards charge a wide range of fees. However, the fees are typically tied to optional services, such as balance transfers, cash advances and revolving balances. As a result, you may not have to pay any fees at all if you use a no annual fee credit card, pay off your purchases in full each month and only use your card to make new purchases.

    Here are some common charges you might encounter on your credit card:

    • Standard APR: Your annual percentage rate (APR) determines the amount of interest you’ll be expected to pay if you carry a balance from one month to the next. Most credit cards are variable-rate credit cards, meaning their APRs are tied to a benchmark interest rate called the prime rate. However, some cards are fixed-rate credit cards and so their APRs are unaffected by the prime rate.
    • Balance Transfer APR: If you transfer an old balance to your new credit card, your balance transfer APR will determine how much interest you’re charged on your transferred balance.
    • Cash Advance APR: If you borrow cash from your credit card – for example, by writing a credit card check or taking out cash from an ATM – you’ll be charged a special cash advance APR that’s often significantly higher than your regular APR.
    • Penalty APR: Your credit card issuer may also charge a higher APR, called a penalty APR, if you fall behind on payments. 
    • Annual fee: Some credit cards charge a fee just for owning the card. For example, if you open a rewards card with extra generous benefits or get a secured card for consumers with bad credit, you may be charged an annual fee.
    • Balance transfer fee: If you transfer debt onto your new credit card, your card issuer may charge you a percentage of the total amount you transferred. Balance transfer cards usually charge a fee of $5-10 or 3-5% of the transferred balance.
    • Cash advance fee: Your card issuer will also charge you a percentage of the amount you borrowed if you take out a cash advance.
    • Foreign transaction fee: Some credit card issuers also charge a percentage of any transaction that you make abroad or in a foreign currency. Foreign transaction fees tend to be 3% of the purchase. If you’re going to be traveling overseas, a card with no foreign transaction fees can help you save.
    • Late payment fee: Your credit card issuer may also charge you a fee each time you pay your bill after your payment due date. Under federal law, a late payment fee can’t exceed $40.

    See related:  Picking the right credit card

    Credit card benefits and promotions

    Many card issuers also add special promotions and benefits to their credit cards in order to attract new customers and encourage existing cardholders to continue using their cards. As a result, your card may offer:

    • An introductory APR: Some credit cards offer new cardholders a low or 0% APR on new purchases for a set period. For example, a card may offer to temporarily waive interest for a year or more.
    • An introductory balance transfer APR: Some credit cards also offer a promotional interest rate on balances you transferred from other loans or cards. For example, you may be given a year or more to pay off the transferred balance before you’re charged any interest.
    • Fee waivers: To attract customers, some credit cards waive common fees, such as balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees.
    • Rewards: Many cards also offer a rewards program. For example, you may be offered cash back, points or travel miles in exchange for using your credit card.
    • Sign-up bonuses: Some credit cards also offer a one-time rewards or cash back bonus when you first sign up for a credit card. They often require you to spend a certain amount in a set time period in order to receive the bonus.
    • Ongoing bonuses: A credit card may also offer other kinds of bonuses throughout the year. Depending on the card, you may receive a bonus when you redeem your rewards or when you spend a certain amount.
    • Credit card benefits: In addition, many credit cards offer purchase protection and travel insurance benefits, such as extended warranty, car rental insurance and travel accident insurance. Most cards also offer zero liability fraud protection, so you don’t have to worry about losing money if your card information is stolen.
    • Additional card perks: Some rewards cards with annual fees also offer other credit card benefits, such as travel credits, airport lounge access and more.

    Federal protections

    Credit cards are also subject to a number of consumer protection laws, including:

    • The Credit CARD Act of 2009: This law offers a number of protections for consumers, including protection from sudden rate increases and excessive fees.
    • The Fair Credit Billing Act: Among other protections, this law gives consumers the right to dispute fraudulent or inaccurate charges.
    • The Fair Credit Reporting Act: This law gives consumers the right to access their credit reports once per year from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – for free through AnnualCreditReport.com and dispute errors on their reports.

    See related:  8 things you must know about credit card debt

    How to get a credit card

    You’ll need an established credit history, with a track record of on-time payments, in order to qualify for most credit cards. However, some credit cards are easier to get – even if you’ve never used credit before.

    Secured credit cards are designed to help cardholders build a positive credit history. In exchange for a refundable deposit to help secure the loan, you’ll be given a card that you can use to make a limited number of purchases. Over time, you’ll build a positive credit history by making on-time payments.

    Once you’ve built up a track record of using credit responsibly, you’ll eventually be able to qualify for other cards – including cards that offer rewards and other benefits.

    Kelly Dilworth is a former staff reporter at CreditCards.com. She began her career in journalism at The Atlantic in 2007, then detoured into nonfiction book publishing for several years. She returned to journalism in 2010 and since then has written about everything from 20-somethings with Herculean credit scores to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions.