August News Update | McIntosh & Associates, Inc.

Credit Score Changes

There are big changes coming to the way our credit scores are calculated. Financial professional Mindy McIntosh talked with WSMH about how these changes will impact all of us and offered tips to boost your credit score. Pay your bills on time and make your monthly payments in full. This will always be a positive on your credit report. If you have credit card debt now, I recommend using the “snowball effect” to pay it off. LEARN MORE


Schooling College Students About Financial Responsibility

Classrooms at universities and colleges across the nation will be back to classes soon. You might have a child, grandchild, niece or nephew who is all set to spend their semester studying, socializing and living on their own. You have prepared them for college life by teaching them how to grocery shop, prepare simple meals and do laundry. Often, however, college students head to school with little knowledge about making a budget and managing money. LEARN MORE


Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or social security number, to commit fraud. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name. LEARN MORE


Book of the Month: The Road to Wealth

An authoritative and accessible resource for every stage of your financial life. With answers you need to more than 2,000 personal finance questions in a compassionate, straightforward, and easy to understand way. Whether starting a new job or planning for retirement, buying a first home or investing in the stock market, this book helps you make the most of what you have.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

– Walt Disney

Classic Chicken Parmesan

A simple, tasty take on a classic dish! Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds), halved
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cups marinara sauce
6 ounces mozzarella, shredded
Olive oil for cooking

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F
Mix together breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a 12″ skillet on medium high.
Coat each piece of chicken breast in egg and cover them with the breadcrumbs.
Place coated chicken breasts in skillet and fry on both sides until it browns.
Move fried chicken breasts to a baking dish and cover completely with the marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella.
Place baking dish in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and serve.

Maximize Miscellaneous Deductions

The IRS allows some tax deductions that do not fit into specific categories, such as whether an employee can claim the purchase of work uniforms. Knowing how to navigate these deductions can provide extra relief to help reduce taxable income and owed debts. Here is a breakdown of some items to keep in mind if you intend to claim miscellaneous deductions.*

How much can you claim?
Taxpayers can typically only claim miscellaneous deductions if the total sum of what they’re claiming exceeds 2% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, if your AGI was $55,000, then your miscellaneous deductions must total at least $1,100.

What can you claim?
Some common deductions include the following expenses:

  • Costs incurred from finding a new job in the same field of work
  • Tools you must use to do your job
  • Dues you pay to unions
  • Travel and transportation for work
  • Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. Visit IRS.gov to learn more.

Know These Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Heart disease comes in many forms, and includes a condition called cardiomyopathy. This occurs when the heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick or rigid, and in rare cases, muscle tissue is replaced with scar tissue. Early-stage sufferers may show no signs of the disease, but symptoms often reveal themselves as the condition worsens.

Here are common signs of a weakened heart:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing, especially when exerting yourself.
  • Your legs, ankles, feet, abdomen and neck veins are swollen.
  • You always feel fatigued.
  • Your heartbeats are rapid, pounding, or fluttering, which may indicate an irregularity in your heart rhythm.
  • You often feel dizzy, lightheaded or faint.
  • Chest pain, especially after a heavy meal or exerting yourself.

If you experience two or more of these symptoms regularly, consult with your doctor right away.

Tip courtesy of The American Heart Association

Improve Your Home Environment with Natural Lighting

Natural light can do wonders to brighten and freshen rooms. Studies show that sunshine also has positive effects on the body. When exposed to sunlight, we can do everything from producing more serotonin to potentially healing faster from surgeries. By swapping out your artificial lights with natural lighting, you will also decrease the amount you rely on electricity.

Here are some ways to improve natural lighting at home:

  • Keep your windows clean: When dust and dirt collects on your window, it decreases the amount of light you let in. Keep the windows clean to maximize your sunlight.
  • Swap wood doors with sliding glass doors: Glass doors will allow additional light to come in, which can help you cut down on energy from light bulbs.
  • Paint your walls with lighter colors: Dark paint absorbs sunlight that comes in through the windows. Paint your walls with light colors to reflect sunlight and brighten your space.
  • Hang a large mirror: Install a large mirror on the wall opposite of a window. Doing so will double the amount of light and reflect it more deeply throughout the room.