Archive for April, 2009

Stimulus Bill 2.0 & Taxpayers Tax Credits and more – Part 3

I started out on Tax credit blog series and posted already 2 blogs(Taxpayer Tax credit and New Home buyer Tax credit) talking about useful Obama’s Tax credits which many tax payers like you and me can use. In this 3rd part of the series,  I am collected some details and providing insight about the energy credits.

ENERGY TAX CREDIT: Weatherizing homes will save money


The stimulus 2.0 bill provides about $50 billion aimed at ushering in a clean-energy future and includes tax credits for Americans to weatherize their homes and buy hybrid cars. 


The bill extends and modifies the tax credits for qualifying products as established in the Energy Tax Policy Act of 2005. Qualifying products purchased between February 17, 2009 and December 31, 2010 are eligible for a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the product cost. The maximum amount of homeowner credit for all improvements combined (including windows, doors, roofing, insulation, HVAC, and water heaters) is upto $1,500 during 2009 and 2010.

The bill sets aside $5 billion to weatherize more than 1 million modest-income homes, saving families an average $350 a year. It devotes $6.3 billion to improve federally backed and public housing projects with new insulation, windows and furnaces. Higher-income households can make similar improvements and get expanded tax credits.

While many analysts cheered provisions to weatherize homes as both an instant way to create jobs and put money in consumers’ pockets, some say other initiatives are insufficient and won’t deliver a quick economic boost.

The bill also has provision to give tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that buy plug-in hybrids to spur a new generation of cars which is a good to help the environment and help Detroit.
But automakers won’t have plug-in hybrids and battery-power electrics in showrooms until next year at the earliest. “To roll that into a stimulus is almost misleading,” echoed by many analyst .

As usual, there are caveats to this tax credit as well. Here is some I collected from web:


Tax credits are now available for home improvements:

  • must be placed in service from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010
  • must be for taxpayer’s principal residence, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems (where second homes and rentals qualify)
  • $1,500 is the maximum total amount that can be claimed for all products placed in service in 2009&2010 for most home improvements, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems which are not subject to this cap, and are in effect through 2016
  • must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement to qualify
  • for record keeping, save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement
  • improvements made in 2009 will be claimed on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010) — use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version) — it will be available late 2009 or early 2010
  • If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters.

You can get more detail breakdown at energystar.gov

Vijai’s 2 cents:

I myself currently researching into getting some energy efficient windows and doors for my house if they can promise good energy and money savings. It is good way to go green and get green(money) back.

But the usual energy star rated windows and door won’t cut the deal. What you need is, any replacement window or door you buy has to be an U-Factor and SHGC of .30 or less. If the window company won’t show you the NFRC sticker certifying the ratings, walk away. If you’re unsure or suspicious, visit the NFRC at http://www.nfrc.org. You can verify ratings in the product directory or contact them directly. This article from Ezinearticles.com has some more details.

So if its going to cost me $2500 for the total project and I can get the maximum credit of $1500. My investment is only $1000. If I can get $50 savings per month, I can recoup my money in 2 years, its all savings after that. You can get some manufacturer and retailer details at nfrc.org

Some content sources are: usatoday.com, energystar.gov

Sharebuilder helps to build your own portfolio

I started my sharebuilder account last year. I started one few years ago when they just came to the market. I didn’t really build any portfolio since I was new to stock trading and investing. Also I was more into short term trading at that time. No, I fell I should have done it.



 


Anyway, its never late than ever. Sharebuilder is now owned by ING. I like their professional and quality service. They also give good offers. I got an offer thru COSTCO for free $90 to open and fund the ING Sharebuilder account. I funded and bought few stocks. I got

Sharebuilder is not a quick rich trading platform or a online trading service. You can still do all those using their brokerage service but sharebuilder is mainly for a long term wealth building purpose. It works under dollar cost averaging methodology.

What is dollar cost averaging?

You do systematic funding to the account and setup an investment plan to buy equities for that amount in regular intervals. It just purchases those equities/stocks in the setup intervals. If the equity/stock is selling less, it will buy more shares. If its selling high, it will buy less shares for the amount. That way, your average cost of the shares will be average price spent for the stock. It works out well on a long term. Some investment experts really don’t agree with it but it is good way to start investing for longer term.

Here is my small current portfolio in sharebuilder which I started building for last 6 months and its already up 30%.

If you want to start investing and creating your own portfolio, you can do with a free $25 bonus from INGDIRECT.Click here to get the bonus. Hurry up, I only got 5 referrals remaining.

Happy investing!!!

Why America is in Trouble:A Humorous View but true fact

Many of you might have seen this stuff or similar version of this funny email. I got this as a forwarded email from a 6/7th grader. Whether its your first time or not, this one will surely break a smile on your face at same time will make you think a lot about US economy.

I will share my thoughts at the end, so read on joke for now.


————————–



John Smith started the day
early having set his
alarm  clock  (MADE IN JAPAN)
for 6 am.  
While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA)  
was perking, he shaved with his   
electric razor  (MADE IN HONG KONG)  
He put on a   
dress shirt MADE IN SRI LANKA),
designer jeans   (MADE IN SINGAPORE)  
and  
tennis shoes   (MADE IN KOREA)
After cooking his breakfast in his new  
electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA)
he sat down  with his  
calculator (MADE IN MEXICO)    
to see how much he could spend today. After setting his  
watch (MADE IN TAIWAN)   
to the  radio  (MADE IN INDIA)   
he got in his car  (MADE IN GERMANY)  
filled it with GAS (from Saudi Arabia)
and continued his search  
for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.
 
At the end of yet another discouraging   
and  fruitless day  
checking his
Computer   (made in MALAYSIA),  
John decided to relax for a while.
He put  on his  sandals  (MADE IN BRAZIL),
poured himself a glass of
wine  (MADE IN FRANCE)    
and turned on his   
TV  (MADE IN INDONESIA),
and then wondered why he can’t  
find a good paying job
in AMERICA
AND NOW HE’S HOPING HE CAN GET HELP FROM
A PRESIDENT….MADE IN KENYA

————————–


Vijai’s 2cents:

First of all, I was amazed when got this funny stuff from a 6th grader. It shows, nowadays kids are not only into video games they are watching CNN as well. If they don’t know about the current mess, they won’t be able to really understand the humor to forward it. They are not spoiled afterall. It is somewhat encouraging.

Secondly, it sounds funny but it is in a way projecting true color of the current US economy. It clearly shows currently lot of things are manufactured out of US and we are just consuming it. It proves the fact, our economy is a true consuming economy. It is ok to be a consuming economy if a country manufactures its own product instead of just importing them.

If we are not manufacturing, there won’t be any plants, no jobs, no raw materials to be used, no production of goods. Overall product cycle is missing which surely is one of the major problems of america.
 
What do you think? Just share your thoughts.

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