How to Save for Retirement & Receive Credit on Your Taxes

Dear Taxpayers:

It is possible to save for retirement and receive tax credits for it! It is well worth looking into these savings options to receive tax breaks while saving for the future. These retirement savings accounts are called Traditional IRA, and Roth IRA. Contributing to IRA accounts allows you to grow your money tax-free!

To qualify for benefits in both IRA and Roth IRA, you must have work earnings that are higher than the amounts contributed. Someone who is not currently working or has earned less than the contributed amount will not qualify for the credit.

The maximum amounts that can be contributed for a tax credit on both IRA accounts are $5,500 if you are under age 50, and $6,000 if you are over 50 years old. That is the amount that you can contribute from your yearly income, and that qualifies for credits on an IRA and a Roth IRA

On a traditional IRA, the amount added is not only tax-free, but it also lowers your Tax Liability for the year. In a traditional IRA, money remains tax-free as long as it is not withdrawn before retirement age. If you do remove the money before retirement age, you will be liable for taxes. This is because the money went into the account untaxed; penalties will depend on the reasons for removing the money.

Contributing to a Roth IRA allows you to grow your money tax-free! It is different from a 401k because it is more flexible in case you need to withdraw any money before retirement age. This is because funds contributed into a Roth IRA account will have already been taxed, it is the earnings from them that will be tax-free. The earnings from it must remain in the account until retirement age, or they will be subject to tax and penalties.  For more details, see Publication 591-A (2018) https://www.irs.gov/publications/p590a.

Both IRAS can be opened up to April 15th of 2019, for a tax break in 2018 taxes. For more information on calculating your tax benefit contact your tax preparer, investor, or check out the details under https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/roth-iras.

Attentively,

The StateChoice Team

Family Motorcycle Insurance Policies on Upward Trend

If you felt there was an increase in the number of motorcycles traveling on the road today, you were correct in your assumption. There’s no better feeling than riding on a bike on the open road. And a bigger upward trend is families getting a motorcycle insurance package together. 

The rise in popularity has been gained due to the median age of motorcycle riders rising from the late 20s to the early 40s. This has help peak the interest of a rider’s siblings, life partner and children to get involved with their passion. The positive of this increase is everyone receiving proper training on how to safely ride a motorcycle. 

The Ease of Learning to Ride a Motorcycle

Too often, newcomers to the motorcycle community fail to realize that maneuvering a manual transmission bike is far more complicated to master than learning on an automobile. Plus, they’re unprepared to handle the speed of the far more popular models, which can accelerate to up to 100 MPH in a blink of an eye. 

Motorcycle insurance agencies like StateChoice in West Hartford, CT believe the learning curve for new riders is greatly enhanced if a family member is an active rider. They can convey how the bike becomes more stable at higher speeds because of the longer wheelbase and larger tires. Motorcycles are very fuel efficient as they average close to 44 mpg, and the newer models can reach up to 85 mpg. Plus, an experienced rider can suggest the proper protective gear to wear as all of this information provides better safety on the road.

How Motorcycle Insurance Policies are Created

The usage of a motorcycle does come into play when choosing an insurance policy. Family group plans work best for the casual weekend rider. The annual mileage number will impact heavily a group’s rate. The more you ride, the higher the premium will become. And if someone in the family plan is using their motorcycle for business purposes, then they become ineligible for the insurance policy. The person in question might be required to purchase a personal business policy. If not, then the entire can enjoy a discount on the family policy rate.

How Your Relationship Status Can Affect Your Insurance

Who you live with and your relationship to them can have an impct on your premium. As your relationship and living status changes, make sure to update your policy. Without your policy properly updated, you could have too much or too little coverage on your vehicles.

Single with Roommates

Whether your home is owned or rented, you should have a policy that covers your home and your possessions. Anyone can cause damage to your home whether it be your guests, your roommates, or yourself.

If you are renting, you should be purchasing renters insurance. Each person whose name is on the lease needs their own policy. If one name is not on the lease and they do not have a policy, then their possessions are likely covered under the policyholder’s insurance.

If you’re living with roommates, your insurance company may even want to add your roommates to your auto insurance. This can serve as a preventative measure in case they have access to the vehicle an could potentially get into an accident with it. It would be much worse to have your roommate damage your car and then find out it will not be covered.

Cohabiting

Most states (including Connecticut) require insurance companies to recognize domestic partners under the same auto policy. Depending on the company, if you and your significant other are not domestic partners, you may need to purchase separate policies as roommates would do.

Sharing a home does not necessarily mean that you are sharing a car, but if your partner uses your vehicle at all, they should be listed on your auto insurance policy.

Some couples may elect to insure themselves separately due to driving records or easy payments. However, you might be eligible for a discount if you combine your insurance policies into one.

Married

Once you get married, your spouse will be covered under your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance. However, you still need to inform your insurance agent of your status change (maybe even invite them to the wedding!).

Make sure to review your coverages to make sure you are covered for all of your new additional possessions. For example, you may want to schedule your engagement ring and wedding bands as they are often worth more than what your insurance will cover.

If you are married but separated– with your spouse living elsewhere–they are no longer considered an insured on the policy.

Your auto insurance should also be combined. If your spouse gets into an accident while driving your car, you want to make sure you’re covered. Not to mention, you’ll likely receive a discount by combining your policies.

Divorced

If you and your spouse are divorcing, and one of you is keeping the home, you will need to reissue the deed in the sole owner’s name.

The homeowners policy is tied with the deed and insures whoevers name is listed there. If both names are on the deed, deleting your spouse from the policy is not enough.

You’ll also need to get a new title issued for your car if both spouses are listed as owners. Keep in mind that when an accident occurs, the other driver goes after the car owner, not the driver.

Umbrella Insurance

Your umbrella policy increases liability coverage for both your home and auto insurance. As with all of your other policies, your umbrella policy should be reviewed anytime you make big life changes.

Whether it is combining households or divorcing, your coverages need to be adjusted to fit your new life.

Need to reassess your policies? StateChoice can review your coverages and make recommendations, even if you are not currently insured with us. Give us a call 860-232-1234.


For more info see article in The Hartford where this information was found.

Do You Need a Death Certificate to File a Life Insurance Claim?

After a loved one has passed away, there are many different things you need to do. One of the things you need to do is to let their life insurance company know they have passed away and file a claim for an insurance payout. Here at StateChoice, serving the greater West Hartford, CT area, we know many people have never done this before. As such, you may have questions. One question you may have is whether you need a death certificate to file a life insurance claim. Here is the answer to that question. 

Do You Need a Death Certificate to File a Life Insurance Claim? 

You do not need a death certificate in order to file a life insurance claim. You can let the insurance company know your loved one has passed away and begin the process of filing the claim without a death certificate. However, it is important to understand that an insurance company cannot pay out on a life insurance claim until they have the certified death certificate. The certified death certificate proves the individual is deceased and shows how and why the individual passed away. The clock for paying out the claim does not start until the death certificate has been submitted to the life insurance company. 

Life insurance helps to ensure that your final expenses do not become a financial burden for your loved ones. If you do not have life insurance, it may be something you want to consider purchasing. Here at StateChoice, serving the greater West Hartford, CT area, we can help explain various types of life insurance plans to you and help you select the one that best suits your needs. Call us today to learn more. 

New Year’s Resolutions: How to Follow Through

Yes folks, it is indeed that time of year again. Co-workers chit chat about how they are going to completely transform. Family members press wondering what you are doing next to become a better person. Often times people feel discouraged at this time of year; how many times do I have to swear I’m going to give up Gluten before I realize I can’t do it? However, rather than feel discouraged, we should take our past resolutions, and learn from them. Why didn’t I succeed last year? What can I do better?

I do not wish to be in the group of those discouraged and let down. The Journal of Clinical Psychology found that 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions last year were successful in achieving their goals. This may sound bleak, but in reality this is far better than the mere 4% of those that refuse to make resolutions.

As a result, no matter how discouraged you feel, this is not the year to be a naysayer. Join the camp of hopefuls, still making resolutions and fighting to be a part of the 46%. To give you an extra hand, here are tips on how to make your resolution a reality.

Keep your resolutions simple.

Often times people see New Year’s resolutions as a time to change their entire lives. If your goals are too large, it will be way more difficult to stay focused. The best approach is to stay focused on one or two of your most important goals.

Choose carefully.

What resolutions should you focus on? Stick with the one which will have the biggest impact on your overall wellness (whether that be mental or physical).

Plan and set schedules.

Setting a time-frame can make sure that you stay on track and keep yourself going. If you tell yourself you are going to lose weight, you can put this off for months. However if you tell yourself that you will lose 10 pounds by February, then you will have to buckle down.

Don’t give up!

This one may seem obvious. It may also seem like it’s easier said than done. However, we have to remember that slip-ups are inevitable. Do not lose hope! Do not let yourself make up excuses to give up, you are better than that!

With these tips in mind, you are in the best possible place for self-improvement. Remember to keep it simple, but to work hard. Don’t lose hope, we are all on our own journeys of self improvement.

Workers Comp and Seasonal Hires

The holiday season is a time of year when many companies do a lot of seasonal hiring for their busiest days. Whether you are in manufacturing, run a delivery service, have a retail establishment, or own any type of business that employs temporary help, it’s important to understand your Workers Comp coverage needs.  If you are in the greater West Hartford, CT area and want to make sure that you have the protection that you need, the team at StateChoice can help.

Workers Comp is Still Required for Seasonal Hires

Even though you are not required to provide your temporary employees with health insurance and other benefits that you may offer to permanent employees, you are still required to carry adequate Workers Comp coverage. If you are unsure if your current policy is sufficient for coverage of your seasonal employees, now is the time to check! In addition to Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and other taxes, Workers Comp insurance is required for all types of employees that you hire. While there are many differences between the Labor Laws affecting permanent employees and those that are temporary or seasonal, Workers Comp is required for all types of workers.

Business owners may not be sure if their current coverage is sufficient and it is always a good idea to make sure that you have the necessary protection before you need it. Your commercial insurance agent can help you gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are adequately protected.

Don’t be caught without the Workers Comp coverage that you need for this holiday season. If you are a business owner in the greater West Hartford, CT area, contact StateChoice today to schedule a policy review, and discuss your coverage options that are available to meet your Workers Comp needs.

10 Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

The holidays are upon us, which means purchasing thoughtful presents for our loved ones is top of mind.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your significant other, your children, or your grandchildren we’ve compiled a guide that will help make checking people off your list easier.

Gifts For Your Significant Other

Something Sweet

Sweet treats are always a great gift idea—especially when they can be delivered right to your door.

Toffee Boutique offers milk chocolate, dark chocolate and vegan toffee options so you can find the perfect nutty, crunchy treat for your loved one.

Vegan Treats Bakery ships dairy and egg free sweets like cannolis, cakes and truffles country-wide.

Cost: $7.49 and up

Something Sentimental

A membership to Ancestry.com will allow your significant other to unearth details about their family history and gain access to records and photos.

Cost: $99 to $199 for Ancestry.com subscription (AARP members can save 30 percent)

Something Memorable

Giving the gift of an experience is a great way to make memories and possibly learn something new.

Whether your loved one has always wanted to learn how to bake, ride in a hot air balloon, or take dance lessons TrulyExperience.com allows you to customize the experience.

You can even book an extraordinary getaway to places like Romania and Switzerland. If you do decide to travel, these apps will make it easier and these tips will help you prep your home before you go away.

Cost: From under $100 to over $5,000

Gifts For Your Children

Something Spicy

Hot sauce is the perfect stocking stuffer for your adult children. They can mix it into homemade salsa, put it on pizza, stir it into chili and so much more. Horsetooth Hot Sauce offers individual bottles of hot sauce and barbeque sauce – or you can purchase a gift box.

Cost: starting at $6

Something That Will Last

Holiday cards, senior portraits, newborn snapshots, wedding shoots– the list is endless when it comes to moments your children want to capture. Support a local photographer and give the gift of a photo session or purchase prints.

Cost: prices vary depending on photographer and length of session

Something to Help Relax

Everyone could use more relaxation in their lives. Give the gift of yoga by purchasing a membership to Yoga Download, where your son or daughter can access hundreds of classes online with nationally known instructors.

Cost: $120 for a one-year unlimited subscription (or $18 a month if you prefer to pay monthly)

Something Sleek

AfterShokz wireless headphones transmit sound via bone vibrations meaning they sit outside the ears, allowing the wearer to hear what’s going on in the world around them as they walk, jog, or bike. These sleek headphones come in cool colors, from pink to ocean blue to metallic green.

A bonus: they can also be used with Bluetooth technology for making and taking calls on the go.

Cost: starting at $99

Gifts For Your Grandchildren

Something Indulgent

Whether your grandchildren are five or 25, FunkyChunky has a variety of indulgently crafted gourmet popcorn and pretzel flavors that make for delicious stocking stuffers.

You can order individual canisters or gift sets with flavors like peppermint bark and peanut butter cup.

Cost: starting at $3.50

Something Shiny

Chicky Chicky Bling Bling sells embellished headbands, clips, hair bows and jewelry.  From soft pastels to vibrant hues, from playful patterned prints to glittering designs, these accessories will make dressing up a blast.

Cost: starting at $1.00

Something Educational

Kiwi Crate will send your grandchild a kit each month containing a fun project that focuses on building skills in science, technology, engineering, art and math. You can pick from different age ranges and interests. These crates are educational, creative, convenient and entertaining.

Cost: starting at $16.95/month

This handy guide should help make your holiday shopping a breeze – leaving you with more time to enjoy sitting around a fire, spending time with family and friends, and taking in all that season brings.

 

 

Content supplied by The Hartford Social Share. Original article: https://extramile.thehartford.com/technology/unique-holiday-gift-ideas/

Four Reasons Why You Should Purchase Commercial Insurance Now

Business owners in West Hartford, CT should never procrastinate about finding an appropriate commercial insurance policy.

Unfortunately, an average company faces a plethora of potential liabilities and needs to be adequately insured to enjoy true financial security. At StateChoice, we recommend that business owners find the right commercial policy before it’s too late.

The following are just four of the many reasons why you should find the right commercial insurance policy now:

You are legally required to have commercial insurance.

The biggest reason to get commercial insurance is that you’re legally required to do so.

If you use commercial vehicles to run your business, you need to acquire commercial auto insurance. Also, you may legally need workers compensation insurance if you employee people at your company.

These are just two examples of situations where a company is legally required to have insurance.

It can give customers more confidence in doing business with you.

Depending on what industry you’re in, customers may only want to do business with you if you’re insured. Commercial insurance allows your company to be more stable so that customers don’t worry when doing business with you. 

Lawsuits can happen at any time and are very expensive.

In this litigious society, it’s not hard for an individual to sue your company. The resulting legal costs could be astronomical.

Commercial insurance could save your company from the financial ravages of a lawsuit.

You need to protect your company’s assets.

Your company’s assets are at risk if you don’t have commercial insurance. Without company equipment and resources, you may not be in business anymore.

If you’re ready to purchase commercial insurance for your West Hartford, CT business, we’re here to help. Contact us at StateChoice to explore our policies.

Our Favorite Tailgating Snacks

Everyone knows that one of the best parts of football season is food. Whether it’s tailgating or watching games at home with friends, football is best enjoyed with loved ones and snacks. We have compiled together our favorite office recipes! Take a look below to see what each of your favorite StateChoice employees nominated as their favorite tailgating food!

1. Slutty Brownies

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Let’s start sweet with some dessert. Angie loves to make slutty brownies for her guests. These delicious treats are a twist on a brownie. They start with a layer of cookie dough, followed by Oreos, and are topped off with brownie. Check out a recipe here to give it a try!

2. Pulled Pork Chili

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Chris couldn’t decide between chili and pulled pork, and we didn’t want to decide either! So instead we present to you, Pulled Pork Chili. Chili is a staple at all parties whether as a meal or a dip. This twist uses pulled pork instead of ground beef, PLUS it can be made in a slow cooker for an easy meal! Check out the recipe here!

3. Pepperoni Bread

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June is a big fan of tailgating food and one of her favorite things to make is pepperoni bread! Roll together pizza dough, cheese, and pepperoni with some marinara sauce for dipping and you’ve got handheld pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza as an appetizer before pizza? Try the recipe here!

4. Anticuchos

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When it comes to food, Cathy insists you try everything Peruvian! For this reason, she suggests anticuchos as her go to tailgate food. These skewers are made of grilled cow hearts. If you bring the grill to every tailgate, this bite size beef is a necessity! Check out the recipe here.

5. Pigs in a Blanket

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Pigs in a blanket is simple, classic, and my favorite tailgate food. You can’t go wrong with mini hot dogs wrapped in crescent dough! They are easy to make and sure to be a hit, especially served with a variety of dipping sauces! Follow this simple Pillsbury recipe!

6. Ropa Vieja

Rui loves all types of slow-cooked meats, but ropa vieja is for sure a favorite! Typically this dish is made using flank steak which easily shreds into tender pieces of meat. At the end of the day, this dish is good with any meat you have at home! Rui loves it served over rice with a side of platanos maduros. Check out the recipe here!

7. Wings

Wings are of course a classic for tailgating! Nellie says wings are a staple at her house when it comes time to watch a game. She likes various different flavors, but we all know buffalo is the classic. Check out this recipe here to have the best wings at every tailgate.

Fall Activity Bucket List

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As the air gets crisper and summer comes to a close, excited Pumpkin Spice lovers everywhere are planning fall activities to fill the season. Whether it be picking apples, jumping in leaves, or attending fall festivals, there are plenty of activities to fill the fall season. Here is our bucket list of must do fall activities

Celebrate Oktoberfest with beer and sausages

Re-watch your favorite scary movie on Halloween (Nightmare before Christmas? Hocus Pocus? Halloweentown?)

Throw a Halloween party

Give out candy to trick o’ treaters

Thanksgiving with friends and family

Go apple picking

Tailgate at your local football game

Bake a pie (apples and pumpkins and pecans, oh my!)

Get lost in a corn maze

Play a game of two-hand touch football

Go for a hike

Go for a hayride

Take a drive to admire the fresh fall foliage

Make a pinecone bird feeder

Buy something from a bake sale

Make rice krispie treats

Jump in a pile of leaves

Eat a candy apple (or make them yourself!)

Make butternut squash soup

Drink hot spiced cider

Eat a slice of warm pumpkin bread (see bake sale above)

Carve your own pumpkin

Make your kid’s (or your own) Halloween costume

Get spooked in a haunted house

Breath in the cool, crisp air

Dig up your sweaters from storage

Listen to the sound of leaves crunching under your feet

Spend a day antiquing

Build a bonfire

Collect pinecones to decorate for the holiday season

Watch a kids’ soccer game

Attend a fall festival (or 2 or 3 or maybe 7?!)

Remember what you’re thankful for so of course enjoy all of these activities with your loved ones.