Investing during a recession

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

When things get lean, it’s natural to want to tighten your belt and save money wherever possible. But should you stop investing completely? It’s an entirely personal decision. Get some facts and insights about investing during a recession below to help you determine what will work for you.

Is It a Good Idea to Invest During a Recession?

It depends on a few factors, including what you’re referring to when you say “investing.” If you’re talking about funding a 401(k), you probably want to continue doing so unless you would be unable to pay your necessary bills and living expenses.

But if investing means the stock market or other similar options, you should seriously consider your financial situation. If you already have emergency savings and have disposable income to risk, investing can be an option. This is especially true if you won’t be touching your portfolio for a while, so you have time to weather the ups and downs associated with a recession economy.

But you do want to be aware of the bear market trap so you don’t fall into it. Bear traps occur when a lot of investors have bought into certain stock. This increases the selling pressure, which just means that there are buyers for the stock but not a lot of stock to be had.

Institutions that want the stock to move higher may push prices lower via short sales or other strategies, making it appear as if the prices are falling. That can scare people into selling the stock. In the long run, however, the stock maintains its price or increases in value, so selling early can mean losing out on future gains. This is just one reason you might want to work with a professional advisor when investing.

7 Tips for Investing During a Recession

1. Be Patient and Think Long-Term

Buying and selling stocks rapidly to turn huge profits is mostly an event seen in movies and television. And while it’s not impossible for pros to luck into a big win, this is not typically how individuals should look at investing. It may take time for your investments to pay off, especially if the economy as a whole is struggling, so it’s important to avoid being guided by emotions and rely on logic and sound financial advice.

2. Commit to a Personal Investment Plan

A personal investment plan is a written document that includes your financial goals and what types of limitations you might have, such as what you can afford to spend on investing. Creating such a document ensures you have a logical, well-thought-out guide to turn to when things do get tricky. If you feel tempted by a seemingly perfect investment, for example, your plan can remind you what you can realistically put into this new investment.

3. Use the Dollar-Cost Averaging Strategy

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy used by many investors, including some professionals. Its goal is to potentially reduce the volatile nature of a single purchase. The DCA strategy works like this:

  • You decide how much you’re going to invest in certain assets within a set period
  • You divide that budget over that time and make periodic purchases of the asset
  • You do this despite the price of the asset at any given time

The goal is to build up the investment for a long-term gain strategy. This is actually how most 401(k) investments are managed.

4. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

But don’t think that you have to buy tons of assets to be investing for the future. If you have limited funds to invest with, it can be tempting to buy up stock that is cheap just to get some quantity. But cheap stock isn’t always a great investment, and it might be better to buy a smaller number of shares in a well-trusted company with a history of strong stock performance.

5. Consider Funds Instead of Individual Stocks

Another option is to consider funds, which spread your investment over numerous stocks. You’ve probably heard that you have to diversify your portfolio. That just means investing in numerous types of assets so that if one doesn’t perform well, you have other gains to make up for the loss.

A mutual fund is an investment option that’s already diversified, for example. Plus, it’s a convenient way to add numerous assets to your equity portfolio without buying and managing numerous stocks yourself.

6. Rebalance When Necessary

While investing is a long-term strategy, active investing can’t be a set-and-forget strategy. You have to make efforts to rebalance your portfolio—or ensure someone is doing that for you—from time to time.

Rebalancing just means aligning your assets with your target goals. For example, you might have a goal of 60% in stocks and 40% in other assets. But if your stocks gain rapidly during a few years, outpacing the gains of your other assets, you could have a 70/30 split. If your goal is still 60/40, you would rebalance by selling stock, purchasing other assets or both.

7. Invest in Recession-Resistant Industries

Recession-resistant industries are those that don’t tend to succumb to downturns in the economy, often because they’re necessary. Examples of industries that have historically weathered recessions well include healthcare, technology, beauty, retail, construction and pet products.

Note that because a company is in a recession-resistant industry doesn’t mean that company itself is necessarily resistant. It’s always important to be discerning about which stocks you invest in. For example, if the company doesn’t have strong financial leadership or has known money problems, it may not matter what industry it’s in.

Review Your Finances and Decide What’s Best for You

Ultimately, only you can decide whether investing during a recession is right for you. Start by reviewing your own finances. Some things you might want to look at include:

  • What kind of savings you have. Having emergency savings is important, especially in a recession. Before you start investing, you may want to build yours.
  • Your income and expenses. You need disposable income before you can invest. That means that your income should be more than your expenses.
  • Your credit history. Buying stocks and investing typically doesn’t rely on you having good credit. But before you start building wealth, get a good look at your credit reports to ensure there’s nothing lurking that you might need to attend to. If you find any surprises, consider reaching out to Lexington Law for help disputing inaccurate items and working to make a positive impact on your credit.

And if you do decide to invest—during a recession or otherwise—consider working with a financial advisor to help you navigate the complexities of managing your portfolio.


Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

25 Best Travel Jobs | Make Money While Traveling The World

Are you looking for the best travel jobs? Are you wondering, “How can I make money and travel?”

The best travel jobs give you a chance to make money while pursuing your passion of travel.

Travel is a dream for many, but it doesn’t have to just stop there — you can side hustle, or earn a full-time income while traveling the world.best travel jobs

best travel jobs

Whether you want to make extra money or if you’re looking for a full-time career, this list of best travel jobs may help you reach your goal to travel more.

Yes, it is quite possible to make money and travel full-time.

Making money holds many people back from traveling more, but it doesn’t have to.

This is because there are many different types of best travel jobs that can make your travel dreams become a reality.

We sold our house, moved into an RV, and started traveling over 6 years ago, and we’ve now been living on a sailboat for around 3 years.

I’ve been location independent since 2013, and have been traveling full-time since 2015.

Because I work a job that allows me to make money while traveling, I have been able to travel extensively, while also being able to pay my bills and save fully for retirement.

Over the years, I’ve met many full-time travelers. There have been people who have saved up enough money to travel for an extended amount of time, those who are retired, those who find odd jobs on the road, those who work some of the best travel jobs I’m about to tell you about, and more.

The majority of the people I have met are not bloggers or Youtubers. I know you see a lot of that online, but the reality is there are many people traveling while working more traditional jobs. 

Everyone has their own way of doing things to make full-time travel work, so I’m sure you can find something that will fit you the best.

Related content to best travel jobs:

Here are 25 best travel jobs.

 

1. Find remote work

Many, many of the people that I have met who travel full-time have remote jobs.

By remote jobs, I mean that they simply work full-time or part-time for an employer through their laptop. These aren’t jobs that pay you to travel or jobs that require international travel. Instead, they are just regular jobs that can be done online.

So, these people are able to work from anywhere, but they usually need to be available Monday through Friday during certain hours — just like if they were going into the office.

Because of the events of 2020, many companies have moved their employees to remote work, and there are many companies that plan to stay that way. Jobs like analysts, programmers, customer service reps, human resource management, and more can all be done remotely. And many big companies — Amazon, American Express, Siemens, Microsoft, etc. — have announced plans for staying remote or making it optional for the future.

If your company currently doesn’t allow for remote work and you’re interested, you can see if they are willing to work with you. Make a plan to meet with your boss and be prepared with reasons it would work for them too, and then talk about the possibility.

You can learn more about what makes remote work one of the best travel jobs in Remote Work: Work, Live, and Travel Where You Want With Remote Jobs. You’ll learn:

  • What a remote job is
  • How to make money as a remote worker
  • How much a remote job will pay
  • How to find remote work

What jobs allow you to travel the world?

What jobs allow you to travel the world?

2. Become a blogger

Blogging is great because you can work from anywhere. I know I’m biased, but it’s definitely one of the best travel jobs out there.

Blogging is what allows me to travel full-time. I make a great income and have enough saved to retire whenever I would like. Blogging also allows me to have a flexible schedule, meaning I can enjoy many of the places I travel to.

As a blogger, you may make money through advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored partnerships, reviews, creating your own product, and more.

You can create your own blog here with my easy and quick tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $2.95 per month, plus you get a free domain name when signing up through my guide.

Related content: How To Start a Blog Free Course

3. Become a park ranger

Becoming a park ranger can allow you to really get to know a new place, and you can transfer to different parks to visit new areas.

The website ParkRangerEdu.Org is a great place to learn more. According to the site, earning a college degree in a relevant major such as earth science, forestry, conservation, biology, and more can be very helpful to becoming a park ranger.

As a park ranger, you may help protect the park, wildlife, visitors, and more, and may work at the visitor center, as law enforcement, protecting animals, guiding tours, and so on. It all depends on the position that you are looking to fill.

This would be one of the best travel jobs for people who love to be outdoors.

 

4. Cruise ship worker

If you want to know what jobs allow you to travel the world, working on a cruise ship is definitely one of them. You can work and travel through the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and more.

We went on a cruise many years ago and met a man who was sitting in the hot tub waiting for his wife to get off work. She was a balloon artist on the cruise ship, and he got to join the cruise and stay with his wife. She didn’t work a lot of hours, and they both seemed extremely happy with their travel and living situation.

There are many different types of opportunities to find on a cruise ship, including:

  • Daycare/childcare worker
  • Cleaning crew
  • Boat crew
  • Photography team
  • Salon/spa
  • Fitness center
  • Restaurant server or cook
  • Entertainment

Those are just a few of the jobs you can find on a cruise ship, and there are over 300 cruise ships in the world, and hundreds of workers on each cruise ship.

With a job on a cruise ship, you would live on the cruise ship and many of your expenses, such as room and board, may be paid for by the cruise ship company. You may also make a salary and tips.

 

5. WWOOFer

WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and it’s an organization that connects visitors with organic farms around the world.

WWOOF allows volunteers to choose an area and country to travel to and volunteer in at a farm. The stay can range from a few days to several months, depending on what is agreed upon.

In return for your food and provided accommodations, you may work 4-6 hours a day on the farm. 

This is one of the best travel jobs if you are looking for an affordable way to travel the world. You won’t make a full-time income, but it sounds like a fun way to visit new areas.

 

6. Freelancer writer

A freelance writer is something that you can work on from nearly anywhere. And, it’s one of the best online jobs because there is a growing number of freelance writing jobs.

A freelance writer is someone who writes for different companies, such as websites, magazines, books, and more. They don’t work for one specific company, instead, they work for themselves.

So, this means that you can have a flexible schedule and travel full-time.

My friend Holly has a successful freelance writing career and has earned over $200,000 each year writing online! 

Learn more about one of the highest paying travel jobs at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.

 

7. Au pair

Au pairs are like nannies, but they go to live abroad with a family in a foreign country so they can learn the language, experience the culture, and travel. Au pairs don’t usually get paid a salary, but their host family pays for food and stay and gives the au pair some spending money.

Working as an au pair is one of the best travel jobs for anyone out of high school, in college, or younger adults who want to travel.

My sister was an au pair in Italy a few years ago. It was an interesting experience, and she had both positives and negatives from it.

In the blog post linked to below, she talks about:

  • How much an au pair can earn
  • The positives and negatives of being an au pair
  • Tips to find a host family to work for
  • Questions that you should ask the family before moving in with them

You can read more at How To Become An Au Pair And Travel The World.

 

8. Campground worker (workamper)

Campground workers or workampers are people who work at a campground in exchange for free stay and sometimes pay. There are many campgrounds across the country looking for workampers, and this can be one of the best travel jobs for people who like to camp.

You can find amazing campgrounds that are on the beach, in national parks, state parks, forests, and more. Pretty much any kind of campground can use workampers.

After RVing full-time for many years, I have met many happy workampers who enjoy their jobs. And, it’s something that I would definitely do myself!

After all, you get to stay for free, and many times you’re even paid to stay in some of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s a great way to make RVing work full-time.

As a work camper you may be:

  • Answering phones and making reservations in the campground office
  • Cleaning RV sites and bathrooms
  • Helping RVers learn their way around
  • Making food for visitors

As a workamper, the way you are paid can vary. Workampers can be paid with an RV site to stay in, at an hourly rate, or a mixture of the two.

Many times, campgrounds prefer a couple as well.

Related content: How To Make Money While RVing

 

9. Outdoor guide or instructor

If you’re the adventurous type, then becoming an outdoor guide or instructor is one of the best travel jobs available.

You will need some sort of skill level in order to safely do this, of course.

Outdoor guide or instructor jobs may include:

  • Hiking guide
  • Rock climbing guide
  • Scuba diving guide
  • Wilderness and survival guide
  • Kayaking/rafting guide
  • Fishing guide
  • Surfing instructor

As a guide or instructor, you may work for yourself, work for a park, a summer camp, or for another company.

 

10. Flight attendant

Many people desire to become flight attendants because of the travel opportunities that you are given.

There are strict requirements for becoming a flight attendant, but you may receive super discounted flights for you and companions. This can be a great way to travel while you’re working, and when you’re not on duty as a flight attendant, you can explore new places.

 

yacht crew travel jobs

yacht crew travel jobs

11. Yacht crew

Working as part of a yacht crew is a super interesting travel job. And, people are always looking for help on their boats, whether it’s a small 30 foot sailboat or if it’s a 200 foot mega yacht.

My husband has delivered two sailing catamarans for a total of around 4,000 miles (that doesn’t even include the amount of sailing he’s done on our boat), and we’ve both been offered crew jobs on several other occasions as well.

Being on a yacht crew doesn’t always pay (full-time jobs do pay well, though), but it does allow you to travel because that’s literally the job!

As yacht crew, you may be working as the:

  • Captain
  • Mechanic or engineer
  • Server
  • Chef
  • Cleaner
  • Crew

Now, working on a boat is not easy. It’s usually quite hard work, but it can be extremely rewarding and one of the best travel jobs if you’re interested in sailing.

To find travel jobs on a boat, a lot of it is about networking. Simply hanging around the docks may help you get some jobs, there are websites that you can join which connect crew to boats, and agencies that can help you find yacht jobs as well.

 

12. Photographer

We’ve met some amazing photographers ever since we started traveling, and I’ve always thought this would be one of the best travel jobs.

There are so many different kinds of photographers that make a living traveling the world. These include National Geographic photographers, people who travel around the world chasing crazy races and taking pictures of them, people publishing amazing photos on Instagram, and so on.

This is a very creative job that many people dream of.

 

13. Take surveys or take part in focus groups to make money traveling

Taking surveys definitely won’t be a full-time job, but it may help you make some extra money while traveling. It’s perfect if you’re looking for traveling jobs with no experience.

Some survey sites I recommend include:

  1. American Consumer Opinion
  2. Survey Junkie
  3. Swagbucks
  4. InboxDollars
  5. Branded Surveys
  6. Pinecone Research
  7. Prize Rebel
  8. Opinion Outpost
  9. User Interviews

With survey companies, it’s a good idea to sign up for as many as you can so that you can get the most surveys opportunities each month.

 

marine biologist travel jobs

marine biologist travel jobs

14. Marine biologist

Becoming a marine biologist was definitely something that I dreamt of as a kid. I can thank movies for that, haha.

Now, I live on a boat so I guess that’s the next best thing!

As a marine biologist, you may work for a university, the government, or a nonprofit organization that is focused on the water. You may work with wildlife, doing research, working as a naturalist, researcher, consultant, guide, or in some other role.

This travel job clearly requires more education and training than many of these other jobs, but if your dream is to travel and spend a lot of time near the ocean, this is something to work towards.

 

15. Proofreader

This is one of the best travel jobs because it allows you to travel full-time and be your own boss.

Proofreaders look for misspelled words, punctuation mistakes, and formatting errors, and they contract out their services to other business owners.

As a proofreader, you may be editing and proofreading articles, blogs, website copy, advertisements, emails, and so on.

You can learn more at How To Become A Proofreader And Work From Anywhere.

 

16. Travel nurse

Travel nurses are RNs (registered nurses) working short-term positions at healthcare facilities. Whenever there are nursing shortages, which happen often, travel nurses help healthcare facilities fill these roles.

I have had several friends become travel nurses, and I’ve also met a few travel nurses while traveling. Travel nurse jobs usually last around 3 months and can come with many benefits, and they also tend to pay quite well.

 

17. Write your own eBook

Writing your own book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, is a great way to make money and travel full-time.

My friend Alyssa self-published her first book and has sold more than 13,000 copies. Her book was all about RVing, and she earned over $6,500 in one month alone, all while traveling.

You can learn more about making money while traveling by writing your own eBook at How Alyssa is making $200 a DAY in book sales passively.

 

18. Find items to resell online

If you’re traveling full-time, then you may come across items to sell quite often because you are visiting so many different places. 

I’ve met people who travel the country in vans or RVs and pick up items as they travel. They sell their inventory online and ship items out from wherever they’re staying.

Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, and countless others are great places if you decide to sell items online.

You can learn more at How I Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.

 

How can I make a career in traveling?

How can I make a career in traveling?

19. Work as a freelancer

Freelancers are people who work for others and businesses hire them for one-time gigs or long-term contracts.

Freelancing is a growing field because companies are hiring more freelancers instead of full-time workers because it’s more cost-effective for them. 

In addition to some of the freelance jobs I’ve already mentioned (writing and proofreading) there are many, many other freelancing gigs such as:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Graphic design
  • Web design and development
  • Video editing
  • Sound design
  • Programming

There are so many different types of services you can offer as freelance work. It makes this one of the best travel jobs for lots of different types of workers.

20. Sell printables on Etsy

This might surprise you, but you can travel while earning a living selling printables.

Printables are digital files that can be bought and sold nearly indefinitely, and because they are delivered online, you don’t have to ship anything or store physical products.

Some examples of printables you can sell while traveling are:

  • Grocery shopping checklists
  • Gift tags
  • Candy bar wrappers
  • Printable quotes for wall art
  • Holiday printables

You can learn more at How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy.

 

21. Teach English

Teaching English is a very popular travel job. Whether you’re teaching English online or if you find a school in a foreign country (such as China or South Korea), teaching English is one of the best travel jobs because it’s in-demand and can take you to so many different places.

In this section, I’m mainly going to talk about teaching English online, as that’s very popular these days.

You do not need to be a teacher to teach English online or speak another language, which is great. You only need to speak English.

Typically, you can earn around $14 to $22 per hour by teaching English online.

There are a couple of companies I recommend signing up for if you want to travel and make money as an online English teacher:

  1. VIPKID
  2. Education First

Learn more at Make Extra Money By Learning How To Teach English Online.

 

22. Amazon Camperforce

Amazon has a program where they hire RVers to work at their company “picking, packing, stowing, and receiving” packages. 

If you’re an RVer, Amazon’s CamperForce program is one of the best travel jobs because it’s pretty flexible and easy. They offer hourly pay, a completion bonus, referral bonuses, and paid campsites for those that join and complete their CamperForce program.

23. Ecommerce shop owner

There are so many different things you can sell online, everything from clothes, home decor, electronics, outdoor equipment, and much more. And unlike a brick-and-mortar business, ecommerce shop owners don’t necessarily need to store inventory or handle shipping.

If you’re unfamiliar with this idea, it works this way because of something called dropshipping. Your online store is the middleman between the wholesaler and customer.

That makes running an online store one of the many jobs that allow you to travel because you can manage your online store from your laptop.

Learn more about running an ecommerce store in How Jenn Makes over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.

24. Peace Corps

Working for the Peace Corps as a volunteer could be one of the most life changing travel jobs. I’ve heard it is a very rewarding experience as you will travel to places you’ve never thought you’d visit while helping people along the way.

But, the Peace Corps isn’t for everyone. This is technically a volunteer position, and volunteers live with hosts in the community. You are paid a small monthly stipend that is enough to live on in a developing country. 

25. Virtual assistant 

Many individual and small business owners hire virtual assistants (VAs) to help with tasks that don’t need to be completed by the business owner. It’s a way for business owners to free up their time and focus on more important tasks

Virtual assistants work online doing things like billing, scheduling, basic website tasks, responding to customer requests, and more.

As long as you have an internet connection, you can work as a virtual assistant from anywhere in the world. 

You can learn more in How Kayla Earns $10K From Home As A Virtual Assistant.

What are the best travel jobs?

There are many different travel jobs that may interest you. It’s all about finding the one that you are passionate about, the one that pays the bills, one that fits your skill level, and so on.

There are pros and cons to each type of travel job, so there is no single solution — it’s all about finding what will fit you best.

As a recap, some of the best travel jobs talked about above include:

  • Remote jobs
  • Blogger
  • Park ranger
  • Cruise ship worker
  • WWOOFer
  • Freelancer writer
  • Au pair
  • Campground worker
  • Outdoor guide or instructor
  • Flight attendant
  • Yacht crew
  • Photographer
  • Take surveys or take part in focus groups
  • Marine biologist
  • Proofreader
  • Travel nurse
  • Write your own eBook
  • Find items to resell online
  • Freelancer jobs
  • Sell printables on Etsy
  • Teach English
  • Amazon Camperforce
  • Ecommerce shop owner
  • Peace Corps
  • Virtual assistant

Are you interested in finding travel jobs? What would your dream travel job be?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

10 Cities Near Tampa To Live in 2021

From its year-round sunshine to its annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival, there are tons of reasons to love living in Tampa. However, apartments in some neighborhoods don’t come cheap.

Fortunately, you don’t need to live in the Big Guava to enjoy everything it has to offer. There are lots of cities near Tampa that provide easy access to all the region’s amenities and attractions while maintaining a unique charm of their own.

So, before you commit to leasing an apartment in Tampa, you might want to consider these 10 alternative towns instead, all within 50 miles of downtown:

Temple Terrace, FL. Temple Terrace, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 9.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,075 (down 14.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,101 (down 25.6 percent since last year)

For renters who want to enjoy the Tampa lifestyle and save some money in the process, Temple Terrace is the perfect option.

This affordable town is just a hop, skip and a jump from Tampa. In normal traffic, you can get from your front door to the Amalie Arena or the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in around 20 minutes.

Of course, residents don’t have to leave Temple Terrace to find things to do. This Hillsborough County city features tons of amenities, including the Claw (an 18-hole golf course) and Temple Crest Park.

Temple Terrace is also an ideal spot for college students in need of an off-campus apartment. The University of South Florida is just a few minutes away by car, bike or bus.

Find apartments for rent in Temple Terrace
Buy a house in Temple Terrace

Largo, FL, one of the cities near tampaLargo, FL, one of the cities near tampa

Photo source: City of Largo / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 22.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,222 (up 5.6 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,409 (down 4.6 percent since last year)

Largo is the third-largest city in Pinellas County, which means endless amenities and attractions for the whole family. History buffs will enjoy the Pinellas County Heritage Village, naturists will appreciate John S. Taylor Park and everyone will have fun at the Highland Family Aquatic Center.

If you have kids (or are planning to start a family in the near future), you will also be excited to know that Largo is close to some excellent elementary schools. Curtis Fundamental Elementary School and Pasadena Fundamental Elementary School both receive 10/10 grades from Great Schools.

Should you choose to move to Largo, you will also be just a short drive away from some of the nation’s best beaches including Indian Rocks Beach and Belleair Beach.

Find apartments for rent in Largo
Buy a house in Largo

Clearwater, FL. Clearwater, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 23.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,295 (up 1.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,550 (up 4.9 percent since last year)

No list of cities near Tampa would be complete without mentioning Clearwater.

This coastal burg is one of the best places to live in the Tampa Bay area. Its picturesque beaches and trendy bars offer renters a uniquely fun and relaxed lifestyle.

This Pinellas County city is also an ideal spot for young professionals. Companies like Tech Data, BayCare Health System and the Suncoast Hospice Foundation have sizable footprints in the area and are always searching for new talent.

Clearwater is the most walkable city on this list. So, if you enjoy taking a stroll with your family in the evenings — it may just be the ideal place for you to rent your next apartment.

Find apartments for rent in Clearwater
Buy a house in Clearwater

Palm Harbor, FL, one of the cities near tampaPalm Harbor, FL, one of the cities near tampa

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 24.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,235 (down 1.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,466 (down 2.3 percent since last year)

Renters who want to move to Pinellas County, but would prefer somewhere a little quieter than Clearwater or Largo, are sure to love Palm Harbor. This town is almost entirely residential, save for a few charming golf courses.

The real beauty of this city is its location. A short drive can get you to a wide variety of stunning parks, beaches and recreation areas. And just 30 minutes in the car will get you to Tampa International Airport and Raymond James Stadium.

If you decide to move to this quaint burg, you can’t miss the Taste of Palm Harbor festival in October. This annual event offers you the chance to try a plethora of delicious foods and drinks made by dozens of local eateries.

Find apartments for rent in Palm Habor
Buy a house in Palm Harbor

Plant City, FL. Plant City, FL.

Photo source: City of Plant City / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 24.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $913 (up 6.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,160 (up 9.5 percent since last year)

Plant City is just off Interstate 4, which makes it a breeze to get from this small town to the heart of downtown Tampa. For most residents, this drive should take no more than 30 to 40 minutes.

Convenient commuting isn’t the only reason to live in Plant City, though. This historic burg also offers a large number of breweries, bars and restaurants. It is even home to the Keel and Curley Winery.

However, without question, the Florida Strawberry Festival is the main attraction in Plant City. This annual event lasts 11 days and features scores of rides, art exhibits and dining options.

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Tarpon Springs, FL, one of the cities near tampaTarpon Springs, FL, one of the cities near tampa

Photo source: City of Tarpon Springs, FL City Hall / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 28.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $931 (up 2.6 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,087 (up 3.5 percent since last year)

Tarpon Springs might be home to just 25,577 residents, but it boasts the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States. As such, this picturesque town’s culture is quite similar to that of a small village in Greece.

Each year, Tarpon Springs hosts an Epiphany celebration in which kids go diving for a cross, and the local priest blesses the waters and the boats. The event attracts visitors from throughout the United States and abroad.

Of course, you don’t have to enjoy Greek culture to love living in Tarpon Springs. The city also features lots of parks, bars and recreation areas.

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Lakeland, FL. Lakeland, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 35.5 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,138 (up 10.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,328 (up 1.9 percent since last year)

Lakeland is the largest city in Polk County. It is best known for its abundance of quaint antique shops and early 20th-century architecture. These features give it a look and feel that is unlike that of any other city in Florida.

This unique locale is perfect for families. It offers tons of recreation areas as well as some of the best schools in the area. Lincoln Avenue Academy is particularly popular with local parents.

Because it is on Interstate 4, Lakeland residents also enjoy easy commuting in and out of Tampa. In normal traffic, the journey takes around 45 minutes.

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Dade City, FL, one of the cities near tampaDade City, FL, one of the cities near tampa

Photo source: City of Dade City, FL / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 38.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,147 (up 6.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,308 (up 3.7 percent since last year)

Dade City is the county seat of Pasco County. By population, it is the smallest town on this list. As a result, it is also one of the quietest and most family-friendly.

Though Florida is generally quite flat, Dade City features a collection of rolling hills that offer residents some stunning views from their apartment balconies.

Like most cities near Tampa, Dade City offers an abundance of green space for renters to enjoy. Dade City Dog Park is especially popular with people who want to help their canine companions make new friends.

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Bradenton, FL. Bradenton, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 45.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,331 (up 8.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,573 (up 10.5 percent since last year)

At just 14.18 square miles, Bradenton is the smallest city on this list. However, it packs a lot of amenities into its limited space. This Manatee County town offers residents a baseball stadium, a science and nature museum and a performing arts center.

There are lots of job opportunities in Bradenton, especially in the healthcare sector. Companies like HCA Healthcare, HealthMarkets and Universal Health Services have offices in the region and regularly hire new employees.

Should you decide to rent an apartment in Bradenton, you will also have beaches like Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island just a stone’s throw from your front door.

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Spring Hill, FL, one of the cities near tampaSpring Hill, FL, one of the cities near tampa

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 47 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $904 (up 1.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,359 (up 45.0 percent since last year)

Spring Hill is undoubtedly one of the most affordable cities near Tampa. With one-bedroom units averaging $904 per month in this Hernando County town, you’ll have a tough time finding better value for money anywhere in Central Florida.

Its low cost of living isn’t the only thing that brings renters to Spring Hill, though. This charming city features a wildlife sanctuary, an adventure park and a country club. It is also just a short drive to the world-renowned Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

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Make one of these cities near Tampa your next home

Don’t delay. Find your home in one of these cities near Tampa with Apartment Guide today.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Adoption Tax Credits (Federal & State) – Requirements & Eligibility

The decision to adopt a child is a big one for any prospective parent, and one of the concerns often has to do with costs. Adoption-related expenses can vary widely depending on whether you work with an agency, adopt from foster care, work directly with the birth parents, or adopt internationally.

Fortunately, there are federal and state assistance programs that minimize financial obstacles to adoption.

Federal Adoption Tax Credit and Adoption Assistance Programs

The U.S. Tax Code provides two separate assistance programs for prospective adoptive parents. Both programs help cover qualified adoption expenses, which the IRS defines as:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
  • Court costs and attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses (including meals and lodging while away from home)
  • Other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child

To qualify, you must pay the expense to adopt a child under the age of 18 or someone of any age who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care. Qualified expenses don’t include expenses paid to adopt a stepchild.

Adoption Tax Credit

The federal adoption tax credit is worth up to $14,300 per child for the 2020 tax year.

Parents who adopt a “special needs” child automatically qualify for the maximum credit, regardless of their actual adoption expenses. The IRS’s definition of a special needs adoption might differ from definitions used elsewhere.

The adoption must meet all three of the following criteria to qualify as a special needs adoption:

  1. The child was a citizen or resident of the U.S. or its possessions when the adoption effort began.
  2. The state determined that the child can’t or shouldn’t return to their parent’s home.
  3. The state determined that the child probably wouldn’t be adoptable unless it assists the adoptive family financially.

Based on those criteria, foreign adoptions aren’t considered special needs. Also, U.S. children with disabilities might not be regarded as special needs if the state doesn’t consider them difficult to place for adoption.

Income Limitations

However, the amount of the federal adoption tax credit phases out for high-income taxpayers. It begins to phase out once your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) reaches $214,520 and phases out entirely at $254,520.

The credit phases out proportionally if your income is between $214,520 and $254,520.

So if your income is $234,520 — the midpoint of the phase-out range — the amount of your credit is cut in half. If your income is $224,520 — one-quarter of the phase-out range — the amount of your credit is reduced by 25%.

The income limits apply whether you’re single or married and file a joint tax return with your spouse. The adoption tax credit isn’t available if your filing status is married filing separately.

Refundability

The adoption tax credit is nonrefundable. In other words, if it reduces your tax liability for the year below zero, you won’t receive the excess as a tax refund.

However, you can carry any unused credit forward for up to five years, using it to offset your tax liability in the future.

When You Can Claim the Credit

The rules for claiming the credit depend on whether the adoption is domestic or foreign.

Domestic Adoptions

If you adopt a U.S. child, you can claim adoption expenses for the tax year following the year of payment, even if you never finalize the adoption. However, any costs you used to claim the credit on an unsuccessful adoption will reduce the amount you can claim for a subsequent adoption.

For example, say you started the adoption process in 2018, but the adoption fell through. You used $3,000 of expenses to claim the adoption tax credit on your 2019 return.

In 2020, you made another attempt to adopt, spending $10,000, and successfully finalized the adoption that year. When you claim the adoption credit on your 2020 tax return, you can only claim $7,000 of expenses ($10,000 – $3,000).

Foreign Adoptions

If you adopt a child who isn’t yet a citizen or resident of the U.S. or its possessions, you can only claim the credit in the year the adoption becomes final.

For example, say you start adopting a child from Ukraine in 2019 and spend $5,000 that year. You cannot claim the adoption tax credit in 2019 because you didn’t finalize the adoption.

In 2020, you spent another $8,000 and finalized the adoption. You can use all $13,000 of expenses to calculate the credit on your 2020 tax return.

You can claim the federal adoption tax credit by completing Form 8839 and attaching it to your federal income tax return, Form 1040.

Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits

Some employers reimburse employees for adoption expenses. The IRS offers a tax break for these benefits as well, as long as the adoption assistance program meets the following criteria:

  • The program benefits all eligible employees, not just highly compensated employees.
  • The program doesn’t pay more than 5% of its benefits to shareholders or owners (or their spouses or dependents).
  • The employer must give reasonable notice of the plan to eligible employees.
  • Employees must provide reasonable substantiation (such as receipts or other documentation) to show that the payments or reimbursements are for qualifying expenses.

If the program meets that criteria, then the payments or reimbursements don’t count as taxable income on the employee’s federal income tax return, and the employer doesn’t have to withhold federal income tax from the payment. However, the employer must still withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Adoptive families can take advantage of both the adoption tax credit and the income exclusion. However, you can’t claim the exclusion and the credit on the same expenses, and the maximum dollar limit ($14,300 for 2020) still applies.

For example, say you have $15,000 of qualified adoption expenses in 2020, and your employer’s adoption assistance program reimburses a maximum of $9,000. You can use the remaining $5,300 of expenses to calculate your adoption tax credit on your 2020 tax return.

That’s the $14,300 maximum dollar limit, minus the $9,000 of expenses already reimbursed by your employer. You won’t get any tax benefits for the remaining $700 of expenses ($15,000 – $14,300).


State Adoption Tax Credits

Many states offer tax credits for families who adopt children from the public child welfare system. Here’s a summary of tax credits available in each state as of the 2020 tax year:

State Tax Credit Amount
Alabama Yes Up to $1,000
Alaska No income tax
Arizona No
Arkansas Yes Up to 20% of the federal adoption tax credit claimed
California Yes Up to $2,500
Colorado No
Connecticut No
Delaware No
District of Columbia No
Florida No income tax
Georgia Yes Up to $2,000
Hawaii No
Idaho No
Illinois No
Indiana Yes The lesser of $1,000 or 10% of your claimed federal adoption tax credit
Iowa Yes Up to $5,000
Kansas Yes 25% of the adoption tax credit claimed on your federal tax return (up to $1,500)
Kentucky No
Louisiana No
Maine No
Maryland No
Massachusetts Yes Income exemption for adoption fees paid to a licensed adoption agency
Michigan No
Minnesota No
Mississippi Yes Up to $2,500
Missouri Yes Up to $10,000
Montana Yes Up to $1,000
Nebraska No
Nevada No income tax
New Hampshire No tax on wages
New Jersey No
New Mexico Yes Up to $1,000
New York No
North Carolina No
North Dakota No
Ohio Yes Up to $1,500
Oklahoma Yes Tax deduction for up to $20,000 of expenses
Oregon No
Pennsylvania No
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes Tax deduction for up $2,000 of expenses
South Dakota No income tax
Tennessee No tax on wages
Texas No income tax
Utah Yes Up to $1,000
Vermont No
Virginia No
Washington No income tax
West Virginia Yes Up to $4,000
Wisconsin Yes Up to $5,000
Wyoming No income tax

The rules for claiming adoption tax breaks vary by state and can change from year to year, so talk to your tax advisor to make sure you qualify.


Final Word

Adopting a child can strain family finances, but tax credits can help offset the costs.

And once you’ve finalized the adoption, remember you may be able to take advantage of several more tax breaks for parents. This includes claiming your adopted child as a dependent and claiming the child tax credit and the child and dependent care credit.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Adoption Tax Credits 2020 (Federal & State) – Requirements & Eligibility

The decision to adopt a child is a big one for any prospective parent, and one of the concerns often has to do with costs. Adoption-related expenses can vary widely depending on whether you work with an agency, adopt from foster care, work directly with the birth parents, or adopt internationally.

Fortunately, there are federal and state assistance programs that minimize financial obstacles to adoption.

Federal Adoption Tax Credit and Adoption Assistance Programs

The U.S. Tax Code provides two separate assistance programs for prospective adoptive parents. Both programs help cover qualified adoption expenses, which the IRS defines as:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
  • Court costs and attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses (including meals and lodging while away from home)
  • Other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child

To qualify, you must pay the expense to adopt a child under the age of 18 or someone of any age who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care. Qualified expenses don’t include expenses paid to adopt a stepchild.

Adoption Tax Credit

The federal adoption tax credit is worth up to $14,300 per child for the 2020 tax year.

Parents who adopt a “special needs” child automatically qualify for the maximum credit, regardless of their actual adoption expenses. The IRS’s definition of a special needs adoption might differ from definitions used elsewhere.

The adoption must meet all three of the following criteria to qualify as a special needs adoption:

  1. The child was a citizen or resident of the U.S. or its possessions when the adoption effort began.
  2. The state determined that the child can’t or shouldn’t return to their parent’s home.
  3. The state determined that the child probably wouldn’t be adoptable unless it assists the adoptive family financially.

Based on those criteria, foreign adoptions aren’t considered special needs. Also, U.S. children with disabilities might not be regarded as special needs if the state doesn’t consider them difficult to place for adoption.

Income Limitations

However, the amount of the federal adoption tax credit phases out for high-income taxpayers. It begins to phase out once your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) reaches $214,520 and phases out entirely at $254,520.

The credit phases out proportionally if your income is between $214,520 and $254,520.

So if your income is $234,520 — the midpoint of the phase-out range — the amount of your credit is cut in half. If your income is $224,520 — one-quarter of the phase-out range — the amount of your credit is reduced by 25%.

The income limits apply whether you’re single or married and file a joint tax return with your spouse. The adoption tax credit isn’t available if your filing status is married filing separately.

Refundability

The adoption tax credit is nonrefundable. In other words, if it reduces your tax liability for the year below zero, you won’t receive the excess as a tax refund.

However, you can carry any unused credit forward for up to five years, using it to offset your tax liability in the future.

When You Can Claim the Credit

The rules for claiming the credit depend on whether the adoption is domestic or foreign.

Domestic Adoptions

If you adopt a U.S. child, you can claim adoption expenses for the tax year following the year of payment, even if you never finalize the adoption. However, any costs you used to claim the credit on an unsuccessful adoption will reduce the amount you can claim for a subsequent adoption.

For example, say you started the adoption process in 2018, but the adoption fell through. You used $3,000 of expenses to claim the adoption tax credit on your 2019 return.

In 2020, you made another attempt to adopt, spending $10,000, and successfully finalized the adoption that year. When you claim the adoption credit on your 2020 tax return, you can only claim $7,000 of expenses ($10,000 – $3,000).

Foreign Adoptions

If you adopt a child who isn’t yet a citizen or resident of the U.S. or its possessions, you can only claim the credit in the year the adoption becomes final.

For example, say you start adopting a child from Ukraine in 2019 and spend $5,000 that year. You cannot claim the adoption tax credit in 2019 because you didn’t finalize the adoption.

In 2020, you spent another $8,000 and finalized the adoption. You can use all $13,000 of expenses to calculate the credit on your 2020 tax return.

You can claim the federal adoption tax credit by completing Form 8839 and attaching it to your federal income tax return, Form 1040.

Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits

Some employers reimburse employees for adoption expenses. The IRS offers a tax break for these benefits as well, as long as the adoption assistance program meets the following criteria:

  • The program benefits all eligible employees, not just highly compensated employees.
  • The program doesn’t pay more than 5% of its benefits to shareholders or owners (or their spouses or dependents).
  • The employer must give reasonable notice of the plan to eligible employees.
  • Employees must provide reasonable substantiation (such as receipts or other documentation) to show that the payments or reimbursements are for qualifying expenses.

If the program meets that criteria, then the payments or reimbursements don’t count as taxable income on the employee’s federal income tax return, and the employer doesn’t have to withhold federal income tax from the payment. However, the employer must still withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Adoptive families can take advantage of both the adoption tax credit and the income exclusion. However, you can’t claim the exclusion and the credit on the same expenses, and the maximum dollar limit ($14,300 for 2020) still applies.

For example, say you have $15,000 of qualified adoption expenses in 2020, and your employer’s adoption assistance program reimburses a maximum of $9,000. You can use the remaining $5,300 of expenses to calculate your adoption tax credit on your 2020 tax return.

That’s the $14,300 maximum dollar limit, minus the $9,000 of expenses already reimbursed by your employer. You won’t get any tax benefits for the remaining $700 of expenses ($15,000 – $14,300).


State Adoption Tax Credits

Many states offer tax credits for families who adopt children from the public child welfare system. Here’s a summary of tax credits available in each state as of the 2020 tax year:

State Tax Credit Amount
Alabama Yes Up to $1,000
Alaska No income tax
Arizona No
Arkansas Yes Up to 20% of the federal adoption tax credit claimed
California Yes Up to $2,500
Colorado No
Connecticut No
Delaware No
District of Columbia No
Florida No income tax
Georgia Yes Up to $2,000
Hawaii No
Idaho No
Illinois No
Indiana Yes The lesser of $1,000 or 10% of your claimed federal adoption tax credit
Iowa Yes Up to $5,000
Kansas Yes 25% of the adoption tax credit claimed on your federal tax return (up to $1,500)
Kentucky No
Louisiana No
Maine No
Maryland No
Massachusetts Yes Income exemption for adoption fees paid to a licensed adoption agency
Michigan No
Minnesota No
Mississippi Yes Up to $2,500
Missouri Yes Up to $10,000
Montana Yes Up to $1,000
Nebraska No
Nevada No income tax
New Hampshire No tax on wages
New Jersey No
New Mexico Yes Up to $1,000
New York No
North Carolina No
North Dakota No
Ohio Yes Up to $1,500
Oklahoma Yes Tax deduction for up to $20,000 of expenses
Oregon No
Pennsylvania No
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes Tax deduction for up $2,000 of expenses
South Dakota No income tax
Tennessee No tax on wages
Texas No income tax
Utah Yes Up to $1,000
Vermont No
Virginia No
Washington No income tax
West Virginia Yes Up to $4,000
Wisconsin Yes Up to $5,000
Wyoming No income tax

The rules for claiming adoption tax breaks vary by state and can change from year to year, so talk to your tax advisor to make sure you qualify.


Final Word

Adopting a child can strain family finances, but tax credits can help offset the costs.

And once you’ve finalized the adoption, remember you may be able to take advantage of several more tax breaks for parents. This includes claiming your adopted child as a dependent and claiming the child tax credit and the child and dependent care credit.

Source: moneycrashers.com

More Monthly Child Credit Payments, Higher Child Care Credit, and Other Tax Breaks in Biden’s Latest Plan

In March, the American Rescue Plan Act made several tax credits better. And, in one case, it requires the IRS to send monthly payments to families with children. However, the enhancements are only temporary – they only apply for the 2021 tax year.

The Biden administration sees those temporary improvements as simply a first step. So now President Biden wants to extend the expanded tax credits and continue supporting low- and middle-income families, as well as low-income workers without children, with tax reductions beyond this year.

That’s the goal of the tax-cutting provisions in the president’s American Families Plan. The $1.8 trillion package would also do many other things for ordinary Americans, such as providing universal pre-school, free community college, guaranteed family and medical leave, caps on child-care costs, and much more. All these – along with the extended tax credit enhancements – are designed to “build a stronger economy that does not leave anyone behind.”

It’s way too soon to tell if any of the tax credit extensions – or any other part of the American Families Plan – will make it through Congress and be signed into law. There will be stiff resistance from Republicans in Congress, and a few Democrats are likely to push back on some of the more costly items, too. Biden’s plan is just the starting point for further negotiations, so we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress from here. But in the meantime, we can take a look at the 4 tax credit enhancements that President Biden wants to extend. If you qualify, you’re already going to save a lot of money in 2021. If the extensions become law, you could pocket even more cash in 2022 and for years to come.

1 of 4

Child Tax Credit

picture of a happy family at home on their sofapicture of a happy family at home on their sofa

For tax years before 2021, the child tax credit is worth $2,000 per dependent child 16 years old or younger. It begins to phase out if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is above $400,000 on a joint return, or over $200,000 on a single or head-of-household return. Once your AGI surpasses $400,000 or $200,000, the credit amount is reduced by $50 for each $1,000 (or fraction thereof) of AGI over the applicable threshold amount. Up to $1,400 of the child credit is refundable for some lower-income individuals with children. But you must also have at least $2,500 of earned income to get a refund.

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the 2021 credit amount is increased to $3,000 per child ($3,600 per child under age 6) for many families. Children who are 17 years old qualify for the credit, too. The credit is also fully refundable for 2021, and the $2,500 earnings floor is eliminated. In addition, the IRS will pay half of this year’s credit in advance by sending monthly payments to families from July to December 2021. (To see how much you’ll get, use Kiplinger’s 2021 Child Tax Credit Calculator.)

The new American Families Plan, if enacted, would generally extend the 2021 child tax credit enhancements through 2025 (including, presumably, the monthly payments). There would be one important difference, though. The new plan would make the credit full refundable on a permanent basis.

For more on the 2021 credit, see Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs.

2 of 4

Child and Dependent Care Credit

picture of young children gathered around a preschool teacher who is reading a bookpicture of young children gathered around a preschool teacher who is reading a book

The American Rescue Plan also expanded the child and dependent care tax credit for 2021. This will boost tax refunds for many parents when they file their tax return next year.

For the 2020 tax year, if your children were younger than 13, you were eligible for a 20% to 35% non-refundable credit for up to $3,000 in childcare expenses for one kid or $6,000 for two or more. The percentage dropped as income exceeded $15,000.

The American Rescue Plan made several enhancements to the credit for the 2021 tax year. First, it made the credit refundable for the year. It also bumped the maximum credit percentage up from 35% to 50%. More childcare expenses are subject to the credit, too. Instead of up to $3,000 in childcare expenses for one child and $6,000 for two or more, the 2021 credit is allowed for up to $8,000 in expenses for one child and $16,000 for multiple children. When combined with the 50% maximum credit percentage, that puts the top credit for the 2021 tax year at $4,000 for families with just one child and $8,000 for families with more kids. The full credit will also be allowed for families making less than $125,000 a year (instead of $15,000 per year). After that, the credit starts to phase-out. However, all families making between $125,000 and $440,000 will receive at least a partial credit for 2021. (For more information, see Child Care Tax Credit Expanded for 2021.)

The American Families Plan would make these enhancements permanent. If it becomes law, parents paying for childcare will continue to see lower tax bills and/or higher refunds until their youngest kid turns 13.

3 of 4

Earned Income Tax Credit

picture of a fry cook standing with arms folded in front of a grillpicture of a fry cook standing with arms folded in front of a grill

The earned income tax credit (EITC) provides an incentive for people to work. And, under the American Rescue Plan, more workers without qualifying children will qualify for the credit on their 2021 tax return and the “childless EITC” amounts will be higher.

For 2020 tax returns, the maximum EITC ranges from $538 to $6,660 depending on your income and how many children you have. However, there are income limits for the credit. For example, if you have no children, your 2020 earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than $15,820 for singles and $21,710 for joint filers. If you have three or more children and are married, though, your 2020 earned income and AGI can be as high as $56,844. If you don’t have a qualifying child, you must be between 25 and 64 years old at the end of the tax year to claim the EITC.

The American Rescue Plan expanded the 2021 EITC for childless workers in a few ways. First, it generally lowers the minimum age from 25 to 19 (except for certain full-time students). It also eliminates the maximum age limit (65), so older people without qualifying children can claim the 2021 credit, too. The maximum credit available for childless workers is also increased from $543 to $1,502 for the 2021 tax year. Expanded eligibility rules for former foster youth and homeless youth apply as well.

Under the just-released American Families Plan, the credit enhancements for childless workers will be made permanent. If enacted, the enhancements for workers without children would join other changes made by the American Rescue Plan that continue past 2021 to:

  • Allow workers to claim the EITC even if their children can’t satisfy the identification requirements;
  • Permit certain married but separated couples to claim the EITC on separate tax returns; and
  • Increase the limit on a worker’s investment income from $3,650 (for 2020) to $10,000 (adjusted for inflation after 2021).

4 of 4

Premium Tax Credit

picture of a stethoscope laying on several one-hundred dollar bills picture of a stethoscope laying on several one-hundred dollar bills

The premium tax credit helps eligible Americans cover the premiums for health insurance purchased through an Obamacare exchange (e.g., HealthCare.gov). The American Rescue Plan enhanced the credit for 2021 and 2022 to lower premiums for people who buy coverage on their own. First, it increases the credit amount for eligible taxpayers by reducing the percentage of annual income that households are required to contribute toward the premium. It also allows the credit to be claimed by people with an income above 400% of the federal poverty line. According to the White House, these changes will save about 9 million families an average of $50 per person per month.

The American Families Plan would make these changes permanent to lower health insurance costs beyond 2022.

However, it’s not clear if the American Families Plan would extend the suspension of advance payment repayments. When you purchase insurance through the exchange, you can choose to have an estimated credit amount paid in advance to your insurance company so that less money comes out of your own pocket to pay your monthly premiums. Then, when you complete your tax return, you’ll calculate your credit and compare it to the advance payments. If the advance payments are greater than your actual allowable credit, the difference (subject to certain repayment caps) is subtracted from your refund or added to the tax you owe. If your allowable credit is more than the advance payments, you’ll get the difference back in the form of a larger refund or smaller tax bill. The American Rescue Plan suspended the repayment of excess advanced payments for the 2020 tax year. (If you already filed your 2020 tax return and repaid any excess advance payments, the IRS will automatically adjust your return and send you a refund if necessary.)

We suspect that the American Families Plan wouldn’t extend the repayment suspension. This, we believe, was and is intended to be a one-year-only rule to help people struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: kiplinger.com

The Cost of Living in Atlanta in 2021

It’s hard to resist Atlanta’s charm, food and culture — but how does it stack up against your budget?

Atlanta is widely known for its busy airport, pollen counts, mild weather and most recently, for lending itself as the background for several Hollywood movies.

Despite being a big city, Atlanta’s southern charm remains intact as it welcomes many transplants every year. It’s hard to resist a move to Georgia capital with its diversity and robust culture, but what does that entail from a budget standpoint?

While others look to more expensive hubs like Los Angeles and New York City, Atlanta’s cost of living remains significantly more affordable while still providing a thriving economy and amenities.

Right now, for example, Atlanta rents are 49.23 percent lower on average than in New York. However, while its cost of living is 1.1 percent above the national average, this is quickly changing as housing demand increases with newcomers. Get to know the cost of living in Atlanta, from transportation to goods and services.

Housing costs in Atlanta

Atlanta’s housing market — whether you’re renting or buying — is not for the faint of heart. The average rent in Atlanta has gone up 0.11 percent to $1,655 per month for a one-bedroom in the past year. This average rent fluctuates dramatically per neighborhood and amenities offered.

Midtown, Old Fourth Ward and Buckhead are among the most expensive neighborhoods with average rents between $2,180 and $2,500 per month for a one-bedroom. Neighborhoods close to the average rent in Atlanta include Morningside, Westside, Home Park, Kirkwood, Edgewood and Lindbergh.

But if you’re looking to stay inside the city and save a little, you can find an apartment in Ormewood Park for $1,382 a month on average or Embry Hills at $1,260 per month.

The average home price in Atlanta at this time is $380,418. However, this is mainly dependent on the neighborhood. As of March 2021, home prices are up 7.7 percent compared to last year, according to Redfin. Most homes sell in less than 30 days.

cost of living in atlanta - brunch

Food costs in Atlanta

We can’t talk about Atlanta without food. The city currently houses incredible chefs across every cuisine, thanks to its diverse population. You can find anything from Southern fare to authentic Thai, Malaysian, Filipino, Mexican and more locally.

Atlanta’s cost of living for groceries is about 5 percent above the national average. Expect to see eggs for $1.25, ground beef for $4.61 a pound and bread for $3.65.

Utility costs in Atlanta

In the South, we love porch weather. Thanks to Atlanta’s mild winters, you get to enjoy the outdoors most of the year.

But, the city didn’t get its nickname “Hotlanta” for nothing, so know that in the summer, your energy bill will go up.

Thankfully, Atlanta’s utility prices are 15.3 percent below the national average. You can expect your total energy costs to be around $120.82 each month.

For the internet, the city has a limited amount of providers, but your bill will hover around $67.49 a month.

Atlanta skyline.

Transportation costs in Atlanta

Yes, the rumors are true — Atlanta’s infamous traffic is real. The city takes a spot on the worst traffic listicles year after year. The average commute is 35 minutes, according to a recent study. However, once you’re off the highway, the stress tends to diminish as you have more options to get out of your car and get around.

Hop on MARTA, Atlanta’s public transportation system, and use the rail and bus system to navigate the city. The options amount to a 49 transit score. It’s not as expansive as the subway in New York, but it makes your commute a little easier to Buckhead, Midtown, the airport and OTP (outside the perimeter).

MARTA allows frequent riders to save by offering a 7-day pass for $23.75 and a monthly pass for $95.

MARTA also connects with the Atlanta Streetcar that navigates the downtown and Edgewood neighborhoods with 12 stops. A round-trip Breeze card will cost $5 (with up to four transfers), and one ride on the Streetcar costs $1 (with no free MARTA transfers).

Atlanta’s bike score is 46, but some neighborhoods are more bike-friendly than others. Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park and Cabbagetown have bike lanes all over that quickly drop you on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. The BeltLine loop connects all of the city’s 45 neighborhoods. With a walk score of 55, you can also get to know the City in a Forest via foot.

If you decide to drive, motorists are wasting up to $1,043 annually and 50 hours searching for parking. You’ll also spend on average $2,233 a year on gasoline.

All in all, the cost of living for transportation in Atlanta is about 2 percent above the national average.

Atlanta skyline in Piedmont Park.

Healthcare costs in Atlanta

Whether it’s a routine check-up or a more serious health mishap, navigating healthcare systems is never easy. Since everyone’s health situations are different, it’s difficult to come up with overall healthcare spend in Atlanta, but here are some cost guidelines.

In Atlanta, you have access to quality healthcare at Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospital. Atlanta healthcare costs are 2 percent above the national average.

A regular doctor visit costs $119.80 on average while a prescription drug can set you back $459.02 on average (without insurance of some kind). You can pick up ibuprofen at your local pharmacy for $8.71 on average.

Goods and services costs in Atlanta

Beyond essential bills, Atlanta remains on par with the national average across different categories. You’ll goods and services will hover around 2.3 percent above the national average.

Atlanta’s neighborhoods are very pet-friendly, so if you get a pup to walk around the city with you, vet services cost $56.23 per visit on average.

More a movie buff? A ticket to a new release on average costs $14.15.

For exercise, you have plenty of choices from pilates, yoga studios, kickboxing and even 24/7-access facilities. A yoga class will average more than $17, but many luxury apartments in the city include a small gym as an amenity if you’re looking to stay on budget.

Luckily, you can have a great time for free as well around the city with plenty of outdoor opportunities at city parks like Piedmont Park and the Atlanta BeltLine.

Ponce City Market in Atlanta, cost of living in atlanta

Taxes in Atlanta

Understanding what county and part of the city you live in will make it easier to decipher your taxes. In Atlanta, the sales tax rate is 8.9 percent — that’s 7 percent for DeKalb and Fulton counties and 1.90 percent additional for the city of Atlanta. In this case, if you spend $100 shopping at Ponce City Market, you’ll pay $8.90 in sales tax.

The state has two sales tax holidays a year, including a back-to-school event. Georgia does not tax grocery items. However, prepared food, alcoholic beverages, dietary supplements, drugs, over-the-counter drugs and tobacco all require taxes applied to purchases. The state’s income tax rate is 5.75 percent for the highest bracket currently.

How much do I need to earn to live in Atlanta?

Most financial advisors recommend keeping your rent payment at 30 percent of your gross income or less. You would need to make at least $66,200 annually to afford a one-bedroom apartment on average in Atlanta. Currently, a one-bedroom costs $1,655 per month on average.

For perspective, an average Atlanta resident makes around $69,000 a year. Want to know where you stand with your current budget? Use our rent calculator to get a high view of how it would change after moving to Atlanta.

Living in Atlanta

Everyone says come to Atlanta in the fall for its beautiful autumn colors, crisp 70-degree weather and outdoor hiking. Yes, it’s not always “Hotlanta.” The cost of living in Atlanta offers access to big city amenities while still finding small corners for recreation and the outdoors. The city’s technology, supply chain and other industries are quickly growing for more job opportunities.

Find great apartments for rent or homes to buy in Atlanta today.

Cost of living information comes from The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

The Stimulus Law Just Made it Way Cheaper to Buy ACA Health Insurance

There are times when it is extremely frustrating to deal with federal bureaucracy.

And then there are times when it works like a charm.

Eleven years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which gave every American the opportunity to acquire health insurance, the federal government found a way to make coverage more accessible. Thanks to the latest stimulus law, almost everyone who buys or has bought health insurance through the ACA exchange will see a decrease in their health premiums, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to Health and Human Services, anyone earning $19,000 or less will not pay a premium at all, and people who make more than $19,000 will see a significant reduction in their premium, up to as much as $1,000 a month.

This change should help the millions of people who lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic — a staggering 20.6 million people, according to USA Today. While many people have managed to find work again, either with their former employer or a new one, millions remain unemployed or underemployed.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest changes to health premiums through the ACA.

What’s Changing and Who is Affected

This ACA coverage option will apply for 2021 and 2022, depending on your employment status. It does not apply to undocumented immigrants, or Americans who live in states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. You will discover your coverage status when you apply for Obamacare.

The changes are also retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021, which means if you already have health insurance under the ACA, you will be refunded any amount you paid in the first three months of 2021 over your new, lower premium. Healthcare.gov warns that the changes to premium charges may take a while to get fully integrated into the system, so those who already have insurance through the ACA should continue to pay their current premium until the system updates, at which time refunds will be issued and a new premium will be established.

Health insurance under the Affordable Care Act covers the standard comprehensive benefits, which includes prescription drugs and mental health services.

What You Need to Apply

To apply for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, you begin at www.healthcare.gov. But before you do that, you’ll need to assemble information you will be asked, and it is much like the information you assemble in order to file a tax return.

You will be asked:

  •  Your income from 2020. That includes your unemployment compensation. The online form you use to file certification for unemployment provides the information on the total amount you have received in unemployment benefits . Your income for the purposes of the ACA is identical to that listed on your tax form.
  • Less common income sources. If you withdrew money from a 401(k) or an Individual Retirement Account, that counts as income to the ACA as well.
  • Family information. You will also be asked for information about each person in your household, even those not applying for coverage under the ACA. This means you will need information on anyone who files taxes and any tax dependents in your household or in your care.

How the ACA Marketplace Differs from the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service asks for your tax information once a year, and changes in your tax status do not need to be reported until you fill out your next tax form.

But the ACA Marketplace is different in that regard. If, after you sign up for health care under the ACA, you get a job that offers you health coverage, you must contact the Marketplace immediately. Your premium will change if it is determined that your health care option from your employer is considered affordable (in today’s insurance market, that is not always the case).

Either way, you will be allowed to maintain your Marketplace coverage rather than take your employer-offered coverage. That will be a slightly complicated decision that is one of the benefits (or penalties, depending on how you look at things) of getting a job that offers health care coverage.

What if I am Paying for a COBRA Account?

COBRA is the federally guaranteed health insurance coverage program that allows workers who lose their employer-provided health insurance to extend coverage for a period of time.

Under the American Rescue Plan, your COBRA payments will be covered for six months.

Where to Ask Questions

Starting at www.healthcare.gov for answers about getting and paying for coverage under the ACA. There is also a toll-free phone number for Marketplace questions: 1-800-318-2596.

Unlike the IRS, getting questions answered about ACA coverage via a phone call is easy.

Kent McDill is a longtime journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com