Jocelyn Black Hodes

Jocelyn Black Hodes
What is Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

What is Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

Annual percentage rate (APR) is what you pay for borrowing, expressed as a single percentage that represents the actual yearly cost over the term of a loan. This includes any fees or additional costs associated with the transaction. It can…

7 Financial Red Flags

7 Financial Red Flags

I vividly remember being in my kitchen a couple years ago and having to decide between two bills to pay: our mortgage or day care. My husband has recently gotten laid off for the second time in four years, and…

How Much Is My Home Worth?

How Much Is My Home Worth?

How can I found how much my home is worth?
Diane, Los Angeles, CA

Whether you are planning to sell your home, refinance or take out a home equity loan or line of credit, you need to know the current…

What is capital gains tax

What is capital gains tax

What is the capital gains tax, and how can I calculate mine? — Elyse, New Jersey

We all know that the IRS wants a piece of everything we earn, whether it’s our salary or investments. Generally, the capital…

What is the inheritance tax

What is the inheritance tax

What is the inheritance tax?
Receiving an inheritance usually comes with paying an inheritance tax, depending on where you live or where the deceased lived. An inheritance tax is a state tax (or county tax, in one case) imposed on…

10 habits to get rich

10 habits to get rich

As a financial advisor, I have occasionally found myself feeling envious of certain clients. Not because of their wealth — but because they were disciplined and determined enough to do all the right things that enabled them to accumulate their…

What is self-employment tax

What is self-employment tax

What is self-employment tax, and how do I figure out how much I owe?
The self-employment tax, aka the SE or SECA (Self-Employment Contributions Act) tax, is essentially the same as the FICA tax that is paid…

How Much Is Homeowners Insurance?

How Much Is Homeowners Insurance?

How much is homeowners insurance?

This is one of the first questions you should ask when preparing to buy a new home. That’s because you need to have a good idea of your total potential housing expenses when determining…

Smart strategies to save on homeowners insurance

Smart strategies to save on homeowners insurance

If you own a home or are planning to, homeowners insurance is a necessary expense that, ironically, you hope you never have to use. All homeowners insurance policies are not created equal. There are many variables that can make a…

What Is the Alternative Minimum Tax?

What Is the Alternative Minimum Tax?

What is the alternative minimum tax, and how do I know if I owe it?

The alternative minimum tax, or AMT, is an income tax levied by the U.S. government on certain individuals, corporations, estates and trusts and was…

How much house can I afford

How much house can I afford

I’m about to start house hunting for my very first home. But before I do, I’m curious: How much house can I afford? 
The most dangerous thing you can do when house hunting is to…

Tax saving strategies for 2013

Tax saving strategies for 2013

With the end of the year quickly approaching, you are probably focused on finalizing travel plans and squeezing in last-minute holiday shopping. There’s a good chance that the last thing on your mind is tax planning. However…

Bad money habits from childhood

Bad money habits from childhood

Whether we realize it or not, how we were raised has a tremendous impact on how we make decisions as adults. Sometimes the results are positive, certainly. But other times the results are detrimental to our well-being, especially when…

What Is My Tax Bracket?

What Is My Tax Bracket?

What is my tax bracket?
Your tax bracket determines the rate at which your income is taxed. How much of your income is taxed depends on your state of residence and filing status, which may be as single, married filing…

Do I Really Need a Financial Advisor?

Do I Really Need a Financial Advisor?

While many people avoid working with a financial advisor because of the presumed cost, hiring a trustworthy, qualified advisor can actually be the best investment you make. Experts generally recommend seeking out an advisor prior to a major life event…

Does Gifting Stock Reduce My Tax Bill?

Does Gifting Stock Reduce My Tax Bill?

Are there tax advantages to donating stock to charities rather than cash?

While donating cash to charities is most common, investors can get more bang for their charitable bucks by gifting stock instead. Either strategy can help reduce your income…