February 2014 Benchmark Bulletin

Your Personal CFOs

Ok, so as you’ve probably heard by now, the stock market (S&P 500) has had a rough month, being down roughly 3.6% for January (according to MarketWatch.com). The media spin is what drives us nuts more so than the market volatility. “Wall Street has worst January in years!” – Newscast, and headlines such as this can be found all over the place. Is 3.6% that exciting? Our short term recommendation is to actually embrace and enjoy the media over this weekend. Root for the Broncos or Seahawks with friends and family or simply enjoy the food and commercials. According to AdAge.com, the average 30 second commercial averaged approximately $4 million and according to Bloomberg this morning, U.S. consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in 3 years. Allow the media to entertain you this weekend – not frighten you.“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.”
– Marshall McLuhan

The Frugal Habits of Millionaires
We’ve all heard the saying “it takes money to make money.” So how can you find extra dollars to save and invest? If you want to improve your financial position, take a page from a millionaire’s playbook and consider putting these habits into practice.
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Married Filing Jointly or Separately? The Choice Is Yours
Because of a number of special rules, your combined income tax will often be lower if you file married filing jointly than if you file married filing separately, but that is not always the case. You should generally calculate your tax both ways and choose the filing status that results in the lower combined tax.
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Filing Your 2013 Federal Income Tax Return
For most people, the due date for filing a 2013 federal income tax return is April 15, 2014. Here are a few things to keep in mind this filing season.
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Are you ready to retire?
There are several important issues you should consider before making the important financial decision of when to retire.
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How much can I contribute to my IRA in 2014?
The amount you can contribute to your traditional or Roth IRA remains at $5,500 for 2014, $6,500 if you’re 50 or older.
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