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What Expenses Qualify for Housing Allowance

Introduction Welcome to the third installment of our series on the Minister's Housing Allowance, a unique provision designed for those in spiritual service. In our previous posts, we have demystified the eligibility criteria, historical background, and the methods for calculating this allowance. Today, we'll dive into what expenses can be covered under the Minister's Housing Allowance.  It is essential to understand what expenses qualify, as it enables ministers to determine their allowance and avoid any potential pitfalls accurately. So, let's explore! What Expenses Are Covered? The Minister's Housing Allowance covers a wide range of housing-related expenses, including but not limited to: Rent or Mortgage Payments: Monthly rent or mortgage principal and interest. Property Taxes and Insurance: Real estate taxes and homeowner's insurance. Utilities: Gas, electricity, water, sewer, and other essential utilities. Maintenance and Repairs: General upkeep, including repairs to the structure, painting, etc. Furnishings: Furniture, appliances, curtains, and other related expenses. Often Overlooked Expenses: Some expenses may not seem immediately apparent but can be included in the housing allowance: Lightbulbs: Yes, even the cost of lightbulbs can be included. Landscaping and Lawn Care: Expenses related to maintaining the yard or garden. Pest Control: Regular or one-time pest control services. Cleaning Supplies: Items used to support the cleanliness of the [...]

August 28, 2023|Categories: Financial Advising|

Calculating Housing Allowance

Welcome back to our comprehensive guide on the Minister's Housing Allowance! In our previous post, we explored the essence of the housing allowance and the eligibility criteria. Now, we'll venture into one of the most critical aspects of this provision - the calculation process. With various factors at play, including the Fair Rental Value (FRV), actual expenses, and designated allowance, understanding how to calculate the housing allowance accurately is vital. This post will unpack these elements and explore different scenarios clarifying this multifaceted subject. Whether you're new to ministry or well-versed in these provisions, this guide is aimed at equipping you with the knowledge to navigate this unique financial landscape confidently. Calculation of the Housing Allowance Calculating the minister's housing allowance is integral and complex and involves several considerations. This part of the guide aims to provide a detailed view of how the allowance is determined, including the fair rental value, actual expenses, designated allowance, and the applicable limits. Fair Rental Value The Fair Rental Value (FRV) plays a crucial role in the housing allowance. It's the amount a property would rent for on the open market. The FRV sets the maximum amount you can exclude from a minister's gross [...]

August 18, 2023|Categories: Financial Advising|

 Introduction to the Comprehensive Guide on the Minister’s Housing Allowance

 Introduction to the Comprehensive Guide on the Minister's Housing Allowance Navigating the financial landscape can be daunting for anyone, but some unique provisions and rules can offer advantages and complexities for clergy members. One significant provision in the U.S. tax code tailored for ministers is the 'Minister's Housing Allowance.' While it offers a financial breather, understanding its intricacies is crucial to make the most of it and avoid unintentional missteps. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the Minister's Housing Allowance, highlighting its importance, eligibility, tax implications, and more. Whether you're a minister starting your journey, a seasoned clergy member, or someone assisting the ministerial community in financial planning, this guide is crafted with you in mind. In our kickoff post, we'll dive into two foundational topics: The Introduction to the Minister's Housing Allowance: This section offers an understanding of the housing allowance, its purpose, and the historical background leading to its inception. Eligibility Criteria: Not all who serve in religious capacities qualify for this allowance. We'll delve into who does, the nuances of the term "minister of the gospel," and other essential criteria. We invite you to journey with us through this guide, ensuring you're well-equipped to navigate the [...]

August 10, 2023|Categories: Financial Advising, Household Money, Taxes|

Blessings and Stewardship: A Christian Guide to Handling Inheritance

An inheritance can is as a profound blessing. It's an opportunity to honor the legacy of loved ones, utilize resources God has provided, and navigate toward a stronger financial future. However, this blessing also brings a significant responsibility, as the Bible emphasizes wise stewardship's importance over earthly possessions. Prayerful Consideration In all things, the starting point should be prayer. Take time to seek God's wisdom before deciding about your inheritance. James 1:5 teaches, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." Avoiding Hasty Decisions Proverbs 21:5 says, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." It's crucial not to rush into decisions about your inheritance. Instead, learn, understand, and seek advice to make the most informed decisions. Many "swindlers" and well-meaning salesmen will offer advice that may not be best for you. Don't feel rushed. Take your time and let your emotions settle before making any decisions. Debt Reduction and Elimination The Bible warns against the dangers of debt. Proverbs 22:7 teaches, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." [...]

August 4, 2023|Categories: Financial Advising, Investing|

Managing Your 401k During Career Transitions: A Faithful Approach to Financial Stewardship

Explore your options when changing employers in our in-depth guide on managing your 401(k). Learn about the advantages of keeping your 401(k) with your former employer, transferring it to your new job, or choosing a rollover IRA. Get insights on how each choice impacts your long-term financial planning. Optimize your retirement savings with smart 401(k) rollover strategies.

July 4, 2023|Categories: Investing, Retirement|

Turning Tax Confusion Into Tax Savings: Understanding Tax Deductions and Credits

Dive into this comprehensive guide to decode the tax jargon and discover the power of deductions and tax credits. Learn the difference between standard and itemized deductions, explore refundable tax credits, and get the lowdown on 'the above-line deductions that could help you qualify for additional tax credits. With this knowledge, you'll be better prepared for tax season and potentially save thousands of dollars. The key to tax savings is just a click away!

June 7, 2023|Categories: Taxes|

Stock Market Recoveries: Riding the Wave of Renewed Prosperity

Stock market recoveries are an inevitable part of the economic cycle, allowing investors to regain lost ground and make the most of renewed growth. Understanding the characteristics of market downturns, the timing of recoveries, and how to avoid common mistakes during bear markets can help investors optimize their strategies and benefit from market upswings. However, you cannot capitalize on the upswings if you sell out of the market. This article will delve into these topics and provide insights on capitalizing on a market recovery. Characteristics of Market Downturns Market downturns, or bear markets, are characterized by a decline in stock prices of 20% or more from their recent highs. Bear markets typically accompany increased market volatility, negative investor sentiment, and a slowdown in economic growth. Various factors, such as economic recessions, geopolitical events, or changes in monetary policy, can trigger these downturns. While the duration and depth of a bear market can vary significantly, they are generally followed by a period of recovery and growth, marking the start of a new bull market. Recovery in the Economic Cycle A market recovery typically begins during the latter stages of a recession or economic slowdown when investor sentiment improves. This phase is [...]

April 25, 2023|Categories: Investing|

Think You Cannot Afford Private School – Ohio’s EdChoice May Be Able To Help

If you have not seen the news, our schools are a mess. Teachers are pushing personal and political agendas. School boards allow boys to enter girls' sports, locker rooms, and bathrooms. Unsurprisingly, public schools are down almost 2,000,000 students since the pandemic started, and many are going to private schools. If you are like my family, private school costs are highly prohibitive. We have four children, and at over $6,000 per year, we cannot afford to send our children to private school. But we found a way.   Our youngest child started school in 2014. In 2015 our second child joined him. That was the year tuition became hard to pay. As the year progressed, my wife and I had many conversations about our distrust of public schools and the expense of private schools. That's when she found Ohio's EdChoice Scholarship Program.  The EdChoice Scholarship Program offers two types of scholarships: Traditional EdChoice and EdChoice Expansion. Each has specific qualifications to meet to be eligible. Traditional EdChoice Scholarship The Traditional EdChoice Scholarship targets students assigned to or attending underperforming public schools in Ohio. To be eligible for this scholarship, your child must meet the following criteria: Attend or be assigned to [...]

April 17, 2023|Categories: Raising Kids|
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