An Excerpt from TaxAssurances’ Upcoming Book on Teaching Children About Money

A discussion about taxes can get complicated because there are different details and deductions and other things that go into it. But here’s a simple way of understanding taxes.

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The main message here, if you make $10 then $3 of that has to go to pay taxes to the government.

Now let’s dig deeper. The best thing to remember about taxes is that once you make over $6,300 or $10,000 for the year, you have to start paying taxes on the money you make.

There may be three different places where the taxes you pay go.

#1 is the IRS or the federal government in Washington DC.

#2 is the state you live and work in. Although many states don’t have a tax on your income.

#3 in very, very rare situations is to the city that you live and work in.

Now, it’s also worth noting that when it comes to paying federal taxes to the IRS, the more money you make the more of a percentage of income has to be paid in taxes. This is called a progressive tax.

Here’s how it works, let’s say you make $15,000 for the year. In this situation, your federal or IRS tax rate may be 10% of your income. That would make your tax bill $1,500 ($15,000 x 10%) for the year.

On the other hand if you make $150,000 per year your tax rate may be 28% and your tax bill will be $42,000 ($150,000 x 28%) for the year.

There are different details involved in how to figure out how much you should pay in taxes for the year based on the amount of income you make, but here is a more detailed summary of how our federal progressive tax system works. hhh

Again, there are many more details that go into how much has to be paid in taxes. But you have time to worry about that later for the most part.

Now when it comes to paying taxes most people that work for a company have the taxes taken out of their paycheck. That process makes paying taxes pretty ease. Here’s what the form looks like when you first start a job and want to have your federal taxes taken out of your paycheck (Your state and city would have their own separate form to fill out if necessary).ppp

The most important box here is box #5. Why? Because that box determines how much tax is taken out of your paycheck every pay period. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the number in box #5 the more taxes are taken out. If you put 0 (the number zero) here, the most possible taxes will be taken out of your paycheck.

If at the end of the year it turns out that you paid more taxes then you were supposed to, the government will give you back the money as a refund. On the other hand, if you didn’t pay enough in taxes during the year the government wants you to pay the remainder of what you owe.

So how do you know how much you made for the year and how much you paid in taxes for the year? By getting this W2 form from every job you worked at for the year.rrr

Each company has to give you a copy of this form by January 31 of every year. Again, the information on it provides a summary of what happened the prior year from January 1 to December 31. You use this W2 and a number of other pieces of information to prepare your tax return from late January until mid-April. Usually April 15.

So what are the number in the different boxes? Here’s a quick summary:

Box #1 – How much you made that is taxable for the year.

Box #2- How much you paid to the IRS for the year.

Box #17- How much you paid in taxes to the state you work and live in.

Box #19- How much you paid in taxes to the city you live and work in.

Obviously there are more boxes here but we just wanted to highlight the ones you would pay attention to the most.

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Money Clubs for Children

zealblack2bboy2band2bpiggy2bbankStarting an after school money club with a few other classmates can go a long way in the development of a child’s understanding of money. They can not only arrange trips to the bank together but they can also sit down every so often and talk about how money affects their lives. This provides a great experience that can go a long way in a child’s understanding of money.

Today many schools do not make money management a part of their daily curriculum. There are a number of very valid reasons why. Something has to be done however to bridge the money intelligence gap. The reason, at a certain point every child will grow up and have to be money smart. Without lessons on money they will have a financial intelligence gap that could hinder them. It won’t help with their family and it won’t help their work life.

Take Children to the Bank

Clubs can do a number of things to promote childhood understanding of money. As mentioned earlier members can take monthly trips to local banks. While they are there, club members can deposit allowance, birthday and holiday money they get from family and friends. They can talk with the tellers, bank managers and other employees about their accounts and how they work. They can also go over many other aspects of banking.

Children Share Reports on Money with Each Other

The young members of the club can also do reports on different aspects of money management and share those finding with their fellow members. They can go over the history of money, report on how salaries work or explain to each other how bills are paid. However, no matter what the money report is about each member gets something that they might not have received before. Those who have, can add to the conversation.

Parents Share Money Ideas with the Club

Another great way for children to bridge the money intelligence gap is to have parents come into the meetings with their own experiences with how to handle money. Parents can do this on their own, through the PTA or working with the local bank representatives.

Children look up to adults and parents especially. Parents can work together on the right ideas and presenters to give their children the best lesson they can on how to handle money.

Children of all ages can start or continue the process of learning about money management along with everything else they need to learn. The challenge however has been how to make that learning happen on a regular basis. Starting and expanding a money club can go a long way in encouraging that learning process.

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Teaching Children the Value of Hard Work

21499q0bflrr39zHard work and doing a good job are valued at every level of society. Whether the work is done by a teacher’s assistant that makes $17,000 a year or the leader of a multibillion dollar data storage company, hard work is recognized as playing an important role in everyday life.

Wealth Requires Hard Work

Many people make the mistake of thinking that if someone starts off with a silver spoon in their mouth they’re going to be on easy street and won’t have to work hard. Granted it’s not the same as starting off as the single child to a lazy parent. However, the great equalizer over time is a dedication to hard work.

This is demonstrated in the fact that roughly 80% of millionaires are first generation wealthy. By contrast, lottery winners in many cases no longer have the money they won after 5 or 10 years. Why? They believed they no longer had to work to keep up with the new expenses created by their wealth.

Hard Work with Chores

The hard work ethic is something that parents in all income brackets can give to their children when they’re young. That process can start when parents give chores to their children to do around the house. Not only do the chores show young people how to work hard, but they also show them how to be accountable and responsible. That responsibility means that they are answerable not only for themselves but other family members as well. They are depended on and that carries a valuable lesson throughout their lives.

Hard Work after School

As they get older, the lessons of hard work can be learned in the work children do outside of their normal school work. So whether it’s a part time job after school or a school club they are part of, the parent by allowing their child to participate supplements their school education.

And obviously when they graduate from either high school or college they are tasked with the responsibility of working. No matter where they go it’s a valuable lesson they carry forward with them into the future.

So if you’re a parent wondering how you can instill a work ethic in your child, you can always start by letting them take on that responsibility in the home. Dishes, moping dusting, mowing the lawn are all great ways to get them on the road to learning the value of a hard day’s work. Again, dedication to hard work can be the great equalizer in making sure that young people are good contributors to society.

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Parents Should Have Life Insurance

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Once a person becomes a parent, there is no reason for them to go without having some sort of life insurance policy in place. Improving the life of a child is a parent’s primary responsibility. With a policy, a parent can continue their legacy even if for some reason they are no longer around.

Insurance Can Be Budget Friendly

Many parents may think they can’t afford a life policy. However, there are a number of options that do make it affordable for almost any budget. There are pros and cons with each choice, but having something basic in place is much better than not having anything at all. Especially since a child’s future depends on it.

Whether it’s simply keeping a roof over their head or paying for their potential college education, parents want to make sure the future needs of their children are taken care of. Again, it’s their primary responsibility.

So what types of policies are available to a parent?

Term Life Insurance

For starters, a term policy can be set up so that it cost nothing more than a Whopper meal sandwich from Burger King for the month. This makes it much more budget friendly then a cell phone, Netflix or cable TV. Common creature comforts parents find themselves spending money on each month. Under tough financial constraints, a term policy is a great alternative.

One of the downsides to a term policy however, is the fact that it only covers a parent for a certain period of time. That’s the term.

So for instance, if a parent buys a 10 year term policy and something happens to them 11 years after they bought the policy, then their children won’t get any money. The same holds true for a 20 and 30 year term policy. The insurance in essence expires and would no longer pay benefits to the children.

Also, unlike a number of other insurance policies (namely permanent policies) it would not accumulate any cash value. Cash value that could be used for any number of plans or emergencies that may come up in the future.

Permanent Life Insurance

Term insurance can be converted into a permanent life insurance policy. Permanent life insurance policies can also be bought on their own. They are called permanent policies because they are just that, permanent. Meaning, as long as the parent pays the monthly premium, they will have insurance for the rest of their life. Something not available with term life insurance policies.

There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to a permanent policy. They fall under the following categories; universal life insurance, variable universal life insurance and whole life insurance. Each selection has benefits many parents find attractive.

Like I said before, one of the more attractive benefits of a permanent policy has to do with the fact that it accumulates a cash value along with being a pure life insurance policy. Any parent that owns a policy like this has the best of both worlds. An available cash value and life insurance.

The main shortcoming with permanent insurance is the monthly cost. Typically it’s going to be more expensive on a month to month basis than term insurance. Once more, not attractive to some budget weary parents.

Buy Insurance When You’re Young

Buying life insurance at an early age is like giving a gift to your future self. The younger you are, the less expensive the payments every month. And the payment in most cases stays the same throughout the life of the policy. Imagine if you could pay the same amount for gas at the pump that people paid 20 years ago. That’s the idea.

And if budgets aren’t constrained, it makes sense to purchase life insurance even if someone doesn’t have any children. Why should they wait until they’re older and it becomes more expensive? Also, why should they wait to develop a medical condition that might prevent them from getting any insurance at all?

So if you’re a parent, make sure you somehow work life insurance into your budget. And yes, you may need to stretch yourself a little thin. In addition, you may never use it. But you can rest assured, that if you ever do need it, it will help secure the future needs of your child.

 

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