Here are some great tips on how to repair your credit score. Even if you're just starting out and may not have had a chance to build your credit, these tips can be useful.
ONE: Keep amounts you owe low. By maintaining either no balance or a low balance then that can have a positive impact on your credit score.
TWO: Make Your Payments. Don’t skip payments and try to be on time each month. By being delinquent or missing payments you can do some serious damage to your score.
THREE: Don’t open too many accounts in a short period of time. New accounts will lower your credit score. And new accounts on a rapid basis can make you appear too risky.
Mastering your cash is an essential part of your financial situation. To become successful with your money, you need to understand your cash flow. The purpose of this is to ensure you are living within your means and saving for the future.
Here are the steps to come a cash flow master:
1) Calculate your total monthly income. Make sure you don’t leave anything out – employment income, second job income, gifts, etc.
2) Calculate your total monthly expenses.
Break your expenses into fixed, variable and savings.
- Fixed expenses are items that will be there every month. These items are necessities. They will probably not be the same amount each month, but you will always have them from month-to-month. Such as rent, mortgage, car payment, utilities, etc.
- Variable expenses are items that are not essential to living, but make life a little more enjoyable. These can be eating out, hobbies, entertainment, etc.
- Savings. I recommend treating savings like a fixed expense. You should pay yourself before any of your variable expenses each month. By putting money into savings you will help create your cash cushion for those rainy days.
3) Subtract your expenses from your income. Once you have done this, you will notice one of three things:
- Break-even: you do not have any extra income or have too many expenses each month – nice work! This is your goal!
- Surplus: You are making more money then what you need for your expenses. Look into increasing your savings goal or paying off any debt.
- Deficit – You are spending more than you are making. You need to cut out some expenses or try to make more money.
I recommend tracking your expenses to get a good idea of just how much you are spending. It’s important to be clear and honest with your cash flow statements. Track spending for 90 days to get a good idea. Expenses are those that you spend cash for, transfer money, swipe a debit card or credit card or write a check for. Make sure you keep a notebook handy to track everything.
Once you have tracked for 90 days you can compare to your list from #2 – your expenses. Make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.
If you have questions on how to create an accurate cash flow statement, give us a call at 573-686-3053. We’re here to help you.
It’s important to keep up with current online best practices to protect your online banking access. Here are the recommendations for those who use ACH (Automated Clearing House) for electronic transactions and wire transfers.
ONE: Setup a dollar limit at your bank for all ACH and wire transfers
TWO: Require a second approval for all ACH and wire transfers before being processed
THREE: Require a second token number or code to be entered before sending an ACH or wire transfer
FOUR: Create templates for common ACH and wire transfer transactions
FIVE: Dedicate a computer to be used specifically for online banking and is not used to access email or other websites
SIX: Monitor your account activity throughout the day
If you have any questions to make sure your online banking is secure give your bank a call or call us at 573-686-3053.
We’re excited to be hosting our third annual Tax Day Luncheon on Friday, April 14th from 11:00 – 1:00. Come join us to celebrate another successful tax season. We’ll be having lunch and we’ll be giving away door prizes. It’s going to be a great time! Don’t miss it!
Can you believe March is almost over? Tax Season is in full swing over here at Denton & Associates. We’ve been busying preparing tax returns and helping clients with their tax needs. Have you started preparing your tax return? This year's deadline is Tuesday, April 18th. We're only 21 days away from the deadline. Stop putting off your return. Give us a call to get your appointment scheduled with one of our Certified Public Accountants. Call us at 573-686-3053.
Watch our very own Megan Valenzuela, CPA on Business Today for Fox23. She's talking about what to bring to your tax appointment and the importance of bookkeeping for the small business owner.
Did you know someone is posing as the IRS to target taxpayers? They call and say that are with the IRS and are needing more information or payment.
They sound convincing, but do not give any confidential information or payment over the phone. It could be someone trying to scam you out of your money and confidential information.
The scammers will try to put pressure on those on the other end of the phone. They will threaten to send the police to your home for failure to pay or revoke your driver’s license.
Do not be fooled! Even the caller ID will say they are the IRS, but they aren’t! The caller ID may even show a local number.
If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail. The IRS will never make a phone call their first point of contact with someone. If you receive any notices, letters or statements from the IRS, it’s best to bring them to your tax professional.
If you receive any calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS and need payment, please be cautious. Call your tax professional before giving any credit card or payment information to the IRS over the phone.
What will your family do if something should happen to you? Do you have a plan to help replace your income if you can no longer work?
You need to think about it. Really think. Will your family be able to pay the mortgage, keep the electricity on, and put food on the table if all of a sudden you’re down to one income, or no income? Will your children still be able to attend college, debt-free if you’re no longer there to financially support them?
If your family depends on your income to survive then life insurance is a necessity. If you should die, life insurance replaces your income and if you should become disabled due to an illness or accident and can no longer work the same or bring in the same amount of income, disability insurance provides income.
Another reason to have life insurance is to help with any debts that you may have when you pass away. A lot of Americans have a mortgage, credit card debt, personal loans, and car loans. Being prepared with life insurance will help cover living expenses, including mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt.
Having the right type and the right amount of insurance can bring peace of mind.
Insurance is one of those things that we hope we never need, but are sure thankful to have it. If you would like to sit down to look at your situation to make sure you have enough coverage then give us a call at 573-686-3053.
Do You Need Life Insurance?
Do you know how your family will provide for itself, financially, if you’re gone? What will happen if they no longer receive your paycheck or retirement money?
Think about it.
Will your wife or husband be able to pay the mortgage payments, will they be able to afford electricity or even put food on the table? What would happen if your family was down to only one income?
If your loved ones depend on you for financial support then you should take a look at life insurance and disability insurance. Having the right type of insurance is imperative when you have young children or when you provide majority of the household income.
Another benefit of having the right type of insurance and the right amount is to have peace of mind once you’re gone. Your loved ones will not have to worry about final costs or bills if you have insurance in place.
Everyone hopes that nothing bad or life-altering will happen. But it’s best to be prepared. We can help. Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a meeting with Dairel to see what type of insurance would best fit your needs and to get a plan in place.
Be cautious of an IRS Phone Scam
Did you know someone is posing as the IRS to target the elderly? They call and say that are with the IRS and are needing more information or payment.
They sound convincing, but do not give any confidential information or payment over the phone. It could be someone trying to scam you out of your money.
The scammers will try to put pressure on those on the other end of the phone. They will threaten to send the police to your home for failure to pay or revoke your driver’s license.
Do not be fooled! Even the caller ID will say they are the IRS, but they aren’t!
If the IRS needs any information from you, then they will typically contact you by mail first. The IRS will hardly ever call someone, unless you have an audit ongoing. If you receive any letters or statements from the IRS that you are not expecting, it’s best to bring them to your tax professional.
If you receive any calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS and need payment, please me cautious. Call your tax professional first to be sure before handing over any credit card or payment information.
Is Your Beneficiary Information Up-To-Date?
Do you know who you have listed as a beneficiary on your 401K, retirement accounts, life insurance, or bank accounts? It’s important to keep that information as up-to-date as possible.
Designating someone as a beneficiary on your account says you want that person to inherit that specific account’s worth.
I have a Will that lists someone different then on the individual account, what will happen?
Well your designation on the specific account will inherit it, regardless of what your Last Will and Testament states.
This is a big deal for those that have been remarried and haven’t got around to updating your beneficiary information. Changing your Last Will and Testament will not update your beneficiary information for your retirement accounts, insurance policies or bank accounts.
Also, there are tax implications you need to consider. You should talk to a tax professional who has experience in estate planning to make sure you’re on the right track. Dairel can help you, give him a call at 573-686-3053 today.
Do Want to Help Your Grandchildren with the Cost of College?
One question we get asked quite a bit from our clients that have grandchildren is “how can I help them with college? It’s so expensive?”
Well, we can help you create a plan that your grand kids can benefit from – no matter their age! We’ve helped clients with education accounts for newborns, for those grandchildren that are already in school to getting ready to head off to college. It’s never too late to do something, but it’s easier the earlier you start.
There are three main ways to help your grandchildren with college costs:
Gifts: You can make an outright cash gift your grandchild each year. However, there is a limit on the amount you can give that is set by the IRS. To avoid the gift tax liability, give us a call to see what that amount is because it’s subject to change.
Direct Payments: You can make direct payment to the college or university. Now, these payments are only for education costs. They do not cover dorm fees, meals, or book. Making direct payments might avoid the gift tax limit, but you should be sure to ask your tax professional to be on the safe side.
Education Accounts: You could setup a Coverdell education savings account or a Section 529 plan for your grandchild. These plans offer tax-free growth of the amount you contribute. Age, income and contributions limits apply so you will need to talk to your financial professional for more information.
To discuss any of these options or to find the one that best fits your needs and wants, please give us a call at 573-686-3053. We’ll be happy to take a look and create the best plan for you.
Just Married? Find Out What Tax Forms and Changes You Need to Know
Were you just married or know someone getting married? Well, the IRS has a form for that. Actually, several forms. Let Denton & Associates help you make the process simpler!
We are in the middle of wedding season and there will be quite a few couples walking down the aisle. Just remember as you’re getting married or attending weddings that there is a form for that!
Name change? Change in tax withholding? Address change? There are forms for all of those!
If either party is changing their name then you will need to file for a new Social Security Card. The name on your Social Security card will need to match your tax return.
The paperwork you filled out when you started your job will need to be re-done. Your combined income will change after you say “I do,” which may change your tax bracket. However, there might be a benefit to filing “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.”
You need to talk to a tax professional to get a plan that’s best for you and your new spouse. Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to discuss what options are best for you!
Divorce and Your Taxes
Divorce can play a role in causing a list of tax problems for you. Some problems might be smaller than others. However, talking to a tax professional during the proceedings can help.
When going through a divorce, I can advise you and help plan for several issues. If you and your spouse have joint liabilities – such as a mortgage, car loan or credit cards this can play a role in the decisions you need to make now. Also, taking into consideration joint assets like an IRA, savings account or home can be important when going through a dissolution.
Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to talk to a tax professional. We can help you through the divorce proceedings to make sure you’re on track for your taxes.
Our Summer Hours Are Starting
Starting May 27th we will be beginning our summer hours here at Denton & Associates. We will be open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm. Our office will be closed on Fridays through the rest of the summer. If you need assistance from anyone, please feel free to give us a call at 573-686-3053. Thank you.
Starting A Small Business
Do you need help getting your small business off the ground? There are a few things you might need to consider first.
What kind of business do you want? There are several types of business entities out there: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, and S corporation. The kind of business entity you choose will determine how you need to file your taxes.
Our Certified Public Accountants can help you determine the best entity for your small business. We can answer your tax questions to make your startup less overwhelming.
Most businesses need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like a Social Security Number for your business and is used as an identifier for tax purposes.
Also, it’s essential to keep accurate records and financials to track your business expenses and prepare your tax returns. Our staff of CPAs and bookkeepers can help you find a system that works best. We have access to an account software that will allow you to track your expenses and income for financial statements, cash flow statements and tax return preparation.
For any questions, please give us a call at 573-686-3053. We would be happy to schedule a meeting to answer any of your business tax questions.
How Bad Is It If I Can’t Pay My Tax Bill?
The problem of not paying your tax bill can be minimal if you decide to do something about it or it could be detrimental if you ignore it.
The IRS offers alternatives if you cannot pay your taxes when our file your return. However, you just have to do something. Here are some of the alternatives the IRS offers:
If you need help deciding on an alternative and need assistance contacting the IRS, then give us a call at 573-686-3053. Owing taxes and not being able to pay isn’t ideal, but dealing with it can really help negate a bad situation.
Then you have to work at it. You have to save, spend smarter and then you’ll actually have fun managing your money.
Let’s be honest, to have more money then you need to have your finances in order. You need to develop the right money mindset, create attainable financial goals, build a cash cushion, and pay off your debts.
Want to know where to start?
You need to create a budget. And stick to it!
One of my top tricks for creating a realistic budget that you can easily use is to carry it with you. I recommend using tools that can be accessed from anywhere. I personally use Google Sheets for our family budget.
Google Sheets is a great tool because you can use it on a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. So no matter where you are, you can pull it out and look at it. This will really help you stay on track.
Google Sheets acts and functions very similarly to Microsoft Excel. So if you’re familiar with Excel then you should be able to utilize Google Sheets without any problems.
Having a budget that you can take with you is vital to stay on top of your money. You will be able to track your spending as its happening, just like a check register! The best part, no more guessing whether or not you have room in your budget for eating out or that last-moment splurge at the store. You will know for a fact if it’s in the budget.
If you need help getting your budget started, please give me a call at 573-686-3053. I’ll be happy to sit down with you and take a look at your monthly income and expenses. You have to start somewhere and it’s best to not put it off for too long.
“I don’t have enough _____.”
We always can find something that we need more of. More discipline when it comes to working out and eating right. More money so we can do more. More talent so we can become a world famous singer or actor.
However, we have to stay present and aware of our blessings because it’s so easy to fall into the “not enough” mindset.
When comes to our money, watching our negative thoughts on having enough is most important. Whether you’re rich, poor or in the middle. The way you see your financial well-being comes from the inside.
To help you erase this scarcity mindset, we’ve come up with a quick exercise:
- write out three things you’re grateful for in this moment
- set your intentions each and every day
- make sure you’re saving some for a rainy day
- surround yourself with positive, up-beat people and avoid the negative ones
- don’t spend more than you make
Jordan is our newest staff member to join our team. He came to us in June 2015. He is the first person to greet our clients as they walk in the door at the office and usually the first person they reach when our clients call in. Jordan assists, Meredith our Marketing Director in all of our client touches.
Jordan lives in Poplar Bluff and is working towards a degree in Business Administration. He enjoys playing golf, fishing and watching the St. Louis Cardinals.
Meredith spent lots of time during summer break at the office. She would follow her dad around pretending to be just like him. I guess, after growing a little older she decided to join the family business. Meredith joined Denton & Associates in the summer of 2014 as the Marketing Director. She has since passed the Series 6 and 65 exams and is a licensed financial advisor. Meredith is currently studying for the Certified Financial Planner® designation.
Meredith enjoys learning every facet of Denton & Associates and prides herself on being available to all of our clients. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and her Master of Business Administration from Missouri State University.
Meredith resides in Poplar Bluff with her husband, Justin and their three dogs: Maggie, Tiny and Bud. Meredith and Justin are excited to be expecting their first child, a son, in early May. She enjoys traveling, taking the boat out on the lake during the summer, and spending time with family and friends.
Tammy moved to the Poplar Bluff Area back in the summer of 2005 with her twin sons, Branden and Tristen. She joined Denton & Associates a few months after getting settled in town and has never looked back.
Tammy is our lead bookkeeper, earning her Certified Bookkeeper designation in 2007 and her Payroll Certification in 2015. Tammy is our go-to person for many of our business owners. She handles their payroll needs, prepares financial statements and helps prepare their sales tax and payroll tax payments.
When she’s not in the office you can find her spending her time with the Wappapello Lady Eagles, volunteering to help local families in need. She enjoys spending time at the lake, family cookouts, camping, fishing and reading.
In the second part of our meet-the-staff series, we’d like to introduce you to Jill. She has been with Denton & Associates for over 24 years and is the glue that keeps this place together.
Jill and her husband, Curt enjoy traveling across the country together. Their goal is to visit all of the major baseball stadiums in the nation. They have visited many together and are slowly crossing them off their list one-by-one. Jill also has one son, Jordan who currently works for Denton & Associates at the Front Desk. This office really is family ran and operated!
Jill and her team has dominated the Park Department Volleyball league for several years and have no desire to give up their title. You can usually catch her during the week cheering on her team and coaching them to another victory.
Jill earned Associate of Arts in Business from Three Rivers College and she earned her Bachelor of Science in Finance from LaSalle University. She also holds the designations of Certified Fund Specialist and Registered Paraplanner.
As we’re beginning another tax season here at Denton and Associates, we want to take the time for you to get to know us. We’re going to be doing a little “Meet the Staff” series here on our blog. For a quick get-to-know-us, check out the About tab at the top of the page.
Let’s start our series off with introducing our leader, Dairel L. Denton, Jr.
Dairel has lived in the Poplar Bluff area for most of his life. He graduated from Poplar Bluff High School in the mid-1970s and attended Southeast Missouri State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. While attending college, he met Genise. They’ve been married for over 36 years and have two children, Melissa and Meredith.
Dairel loves bragging on his two girls – Melissa is an attorney living in the St. Louis area and Meredith is following in her dad’s footsteps to become a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner®.
Dairel and his wife share their home with two dogs, Zella and Cotton. Dairel likes to only claim Zella has his and is adamant on telling others that Cotton is Genise’s dog. But don’t let him fool you, he’s just as sweet and caring to Cotton as he is to Zella.
Dairel enjoys traveling to tropical locations with his wife. He has visited the Caribbean several times and always finds something else to love when he goes. He loves trying new places to snorkel and enjoys spending time on the beach reading a good book.
Recently, Dairel was named as an Endorsed Local Provider from Dave Ramsey for his expertise in tax services. He is proud of earning that designation and is happy to serve Poplar Bluff and the surrounding areas to bring Dave’s teachings to others.
Dairel is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner®. He is happy to help you, your family and your business reach their goals. Feel free to give him a call with an financial planning or tax related question. He loves being able to assist his clients through life and help them reach their business and retirement goals.
Money can be a great thing. It helps you keep your heat on in the winter and your AC in the summer. It fills your grocery cart with food for your family and your gas tank to get around. However, it’s easy to let your money control you.
Your financial situation can become all-encompassing if you let it. There are tips that I’d like to pass on to you that will help you become the boss of your money.
1) Budget your money. I am a firm believer that everyone should have a budget. Having a money-guide will help prevent you from overspending. You’ll be able to put some away for a rainy day and prepare for your long-term goals.
2) Have a weekly money date. Each week you need to sit down with your check register, bank account and your budget. See where you stand for the week. Do you need to cut back? Can you a little more into savings then you thought? If you aren’t present with your money then you’ll miss out on opportunities.
3) Build your support team. It’s imperative to surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed. Pull your spouse in or someone that’s important to you. Make sure they have the same mindset you do when it comes to money.
These are some of the great steps you can take starting today to really get control over your money. If you need help, please give us a call at 573-686-3053.
When becoming more financially sound you need to know where you stand. Shopping malls have the store directories that look like a big map of the entire complex. There are three steps to working those maps: 1) know where you currently are 2) know where you want to go and 3) map out a route. Typically, the first thing you do is look for the giant red star on the map that states “You are here.” Then you find the store you want to go to, map out the quickest route, and start walking.
You may know where you want to go, but you can’t map out a proper plan without finding where you currently are at.
There are several ways to help you determine your giant red star on your life’s map. Take a hard look at your financials, your bills, you savings, and your current retirement planning. By seeing where you stand then you’ll be better equipped to create a roadmap.
We can help you create the best roadmap to reach your goals. Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a meeting with our financial professionals to talk about your roadmap.
The next step in becoming more financially sound is mastering your cash flow. We’re not only talking about the money that is coming in, but also the money that is going out. The most financially successful people are on top of every aspect of their money.
They know what comes in, what goes out and how much is being saved. How do they know where every dollar is going? By using a budget.
A budget is a simple tool that can really help you become the master of your finances. I recommend to everyone to use a budget for their monthly expenses. It helps you see where your money is coming from and where it’s going. You can really stay on top of the mindless spending by tracking every dollar.
A lot of people cringe at the thought of having a budget, but I’m here to tell you that it’s one of the most beneficial tools to help you become more financially sound. A budget doesn’t have to be too complicated. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.
The main components of a budget are:
Know when and how much income is coming in
Track expenses – bills, paying towards debt, grocery shopping, gas purchases, and any other purchases made
Amounts going towards savings, retirement planning and other goals
If you need help getting started on your family’s budget, then give us a call. We’d be happy to sit down with you and take a look at your cash flow to help you master your budget. Call us at 573-686-3053 and we’ll be happy to schedule time to talk to you about your finances to make sure you’re on track.