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If you've ever wondered where to get started with your financial plan, your 1040 is the best place to start. And here are three tips on how to start your financial plan with your 1040. 1st take a look at your filing status. Are you single? Are you married? Are you a qualified widow? That's a great place to start. So if you're single for instance, and you don't have disability insurance, you should get it. Are you a qualified widow? You get two years to take that status, and in those two years you should do everything over with your financial plan. Change your beneficiary designations, update your estate plan, buy more life insurance if you need to. The second item is to take a look at your income. If you're retired and you have tax exempt income, and you also have social security income.  It's possible that up to 85% of your social security benefit will be taxed if your combined income is over $44,000.  So take a look at all your investments and whether you have a municipal bond interest that's affecting your tax ability of your social security benefit. And the last thing is if you're self employed, you can now take advantage of something called the qualified business income deduction.  And that will allow you to take up to 20% off your income and reduce your tax bill by even more than you thought you could just by filling out your normal expenses on your Schedule C. So if you want to get started with your financial plan, look at your 1040, there are plenty of lines there that you can go through and each line tells a story.  And we'll build a better financial plan for yourself.

If ever you wanted to create a financial plan but didn't know where to start, your 1040 tax return is as good a place as any. Every single line tells a story about your financial life. And every single line can help you build a sound financial/retirement plan. Here are three lines, among many, to consider:

What's your filing status?

It's the very first line on your 1040 tax return. Are you single? Married filing jointly? Married filing separately? Head of household? Or a qualifying widow(er)? If you're single, for instance, check whether you own a disability insurance policy outside of your workplace? You should. The probability of becoming disabled is greater than the probability of death. Disability insurance protects you against the loss of income due to a disability.

Are you collecting Social Security?

If you're collecting Social Security (line 5a), it's possible that your benefit is being taxed and it all depends on your combined income. What's that? It's the result of adding together your adjusted gross income (line 7), tax-exempt interest (line 2a) and one-half your Social Security. So, if you're married filing jointly and your combined income is more than $44,000 then up to 85% of your Social Security benefit will be taxed. What to do? Look for ways to lower your combined income. Maybe reduce your muni bond holdings?

Are you self-employed?

If you're self-employed, you might be able to take advantage of something called the qualified business income deduction (line 9). The deduction allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income (QBI) to lower your taxable income. Ask your tax preparer if you qualify for this tax-saving opportunity.

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