As many tax payers discovered from the last tax season, it was better to take the standard deduction and not itemize deductions. Will your expenses exceed standard deduction amounts for your 2019 taxes? As a taxpayer, you will have to take a good look at your expenses each year to see whether you itemize or take the standard deduction.
Here's information you need to consider when filing your 2019 taxes:
* Medical and dental expenses —If they are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you get a deduction.
* State and local taxes — You will not be able to deduct state and local income, sales and property taxes if your deductions exceed $10,000. It's $5,000 for married taxpayers filing separate returns.
* Miscellaneous deductions — These job-related expenses cannot exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.
* Home equity loan interest — You won't be able to deduct interest that you paid on home equity loans except if you took out the loan to buy, build or substantially improve your main home or second home.
* Charitable contributions limit modified — The limit has increased from 50 percent to 60 percent of your adjusted gross income. You may be able to deduct more of your cash contributions.
* Casualty and theft losses deduction has been modified — Net amounts are deductible only to the extent that they're attributable to a federally declared disaster.
* The deduction for moving expenses is suspended — There are exceptions if you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty and don't get reimbursed by the government for the expense, you can deduct it from your taxes.
* Repeal of deduction for alimony payments — These payments are no longer deductible. Note that alimony and separation maintenance payments are no longer included as income, so you won't need to report these payments on your tax return.
Many taxpayers will opt to not itemize deduction because the standard deduction is nearly doubled.
Good News - You may be able to deduct more of your total itemized deductions if they were limited in the past due to the amount of your adjusted gross income.
We recommend that you consult qualified professionals and/or IRS regulations as you approach the tax filing date...April 15!
Your humor for today!
This is a great video of what creative, retired guys do in their spare time!
This is your dose of humor for today…hope you enjoyed it!
Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the historical civil rights leader. His birthday is actually on January 15, but is observed on the third Monday of January each year. King was an American Baptist minister and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.
King is best known for his role in civil rights in using nonviolent civil disobedience which were based on his Christian beliefs. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and served as its first president.
He helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1963 he helped organize the March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
In October 1964, King was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. During the final years of his life, he expanded his focus towards improving poverty levels and the Vietnam War.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., called the Poor Peoples Campaign. However, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee before that event took place.
Martin Luther King was awarded two honors posthumously – the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
The federal holiday to honor Dr. King was created by a bill signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.
A point of interest – King’s legal name at birth was Michael instead of Martin (his father’s name was Michael as well). The elder King changed his and his son’s name in honor of the German reformer Martin Luther after attending the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin in 1943.
To celebrate this special day, King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech text can be found by clicking the link provided below.
Click Link for “I Have a Dream” speech.
Aging in Place!
What is that?
Have you thought about what and how it applies to all of us Over 50?
From a Senior Resource Website to further define the term “Aging in Place”:
“We are using the term “aging in place” in reference to living where you have lived for many years, or to living in a non-healthcare environment, and using products, services and conveniences to enable you to not have to move as circumstances change.”
As people grow older, a significant concern is that they may have to leave their home. They like their comfortable setting in a familiar community and the many memories that go along with it.
They feel that a certain amount of control is lost when a person leaves their home. They want to have “control” which is the basis of their feelings of dignity, independence and quality of life. One’s home is a strong element in the sense of security.
There are several reasons for this strong aging preference:
1. Comfortable Environment
2. Feelings of Independence
3. Safety and Security
4. Familiar Environment
5. In close proximity to family
6. Convenience to Services
We also want to address the basic challenges of aging. Some of them are subtle and not so obvious. However, they usually include some of the following:
To keep all of this in perspective, here are the facts!
In 2000, there were just over 35 million American citizens aged 65 or older. By 2030, according to the US Census Board, there will be about 70 million Americans aged 65 or older. It makes this age group almost 20% of the total US population.
Living in an “Aging in Place” home may be a wise choice!
There’s no doubt that Winter is upon us, and you will love these crock pot recipes. The colder weather calls for warm, home cooked meals, doesn’t it?
These are the days when your crock pot becomes your best friend! “Throw-all-the-ingredients-in-and-walk-away” is definitely my kind of recipe!
We’ve gathered some of the best “comfort food” recipes for you to enjoy below!
Just click on each title for the recipe. Enjoy!
1. Crock Pot Tater Tot Casserole
Yes, you can Prevent a Stroke.
It starts with some simple things to do and don’t do.
80% of strokes can be prevented. Age, family history, and ethnicity factors cannot be controlled.
You can reduce your chances of a stroke by taking simple steps – Monitor your blood pressure, see your health care provider for evaluation and possibly medications to get to a healthy number.
Other ways to prevent a stroke:
1) Don’t smoke
2) Get tested for diabetes
3) Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked
4) Maintain a healthy weight
5) Limit alcohol to one drink per day
6) Lower your stress levels
Did you know that certain risk factors can increase your chances of having a stroke?
Here are guidelines to follow to help you prevent a stroke:
Identify – Review your risk factors and identify your personal risk.
Reduce your risk factors – Work to reduce your stroke risk by lifestyle changes and possibly necessary medication.
Recognize and Respond – Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Memorize the four points of the “FAST” symptoms shown below.
F – FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A – ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T – TIME: If you observe any of these signs, Call 9-1-1 Immediately.
You may have identified personal risk factors. If so, work with your healthcare provider to reduce your personal risk.
Some risk factors for stroke are simply not controllable. Learn more about the age, gender, ethnicity, and other factors that are most at risk for stroke.
This is perfect for football season…a football-shaped meatloaf!
Use your favorite meatloaf recipe (or use the one below) and form it into a football shape with a nice ketchup-based sauce and cheese strips for the lacing.
How yummy and fun is that? Your friends and family will be impressed with your creativity. This football-shaped meatloaf is sure to please the “foodies” in the group!
Recipe makes 8 servings
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup dried bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and bread OR cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5×9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
3. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.
5. The finishing touch is cheese strips for the lacing.
(A variation to this football-shaped meatloaf is to substitute some of the ground beef with ground turkey.)
This Football-shaped Meatloaf is sure to please your party guests!
New Year’s Eve is almost here, and most of us enjoy celebrating, however, some of us prefer non-alcoholic beverage choices. These “mocktail” recipes are special enough to wow your guests on New Year’s Eve, and the best part is they’re great for any age too! Enjoy!!
Click on the titles for the full recipe.
1. Sparkling Raspberry Mocktail
Pair the grape juice with a few other ingredients and you have an elegant non alcoholic drink on your hands!
Something that makes this raspberry mocktail pretty and tasty are the ice cubes. Make them the day before or you can make them in the morning or early afternoon so that by evening they are definitely ready to go.
Enjoy These Refreshing Mocktail Recipes!
Happy New Year 2020 from Colorado Springs Over 50!
We are looking forward to a happy, healthy, and successful 2020 and wish the same for you and yours.
Here is a list of Quotes for the New Year by renowned people that will guide you as you traverse through the 365 days of 2020 – Enjoy!
1) “Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” Charles Kettering
2) “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
3) “Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you have always wanted to do but could not find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you do not think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You will look 10 years younger. Do not be afraid to say, I love you. Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.” Ann Landers
4) “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain.
5) “Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man His Son hath given; While angels sing with tender mirth, A glad new year to all the earth.” Martin Luther
6) “All of us every single year, we are a different person. I do not think we are the same person all our lives.” Steven Speilberg
7) “Be always at War with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you, a better person.” Benjamin Franklin
Happy New Year 2020 – Make It A Great Year!
Most people enjoy the holidays, because it’s generally a festive and fun time of the year! It’s also one of the busiest! There are lots of parties to attend, social events to plan, family get-togethers, shopping to be done, and cookies to be baked. Add seasonal weather to the mix, finances, cold and flu season and a super long “to-do” list and this time of year can also take a big toll on our health. With all the fun and celebrating it’s easy to forget ourselves sometimes, but it’s so important to remember to take good care of yourself and remain heart healthy during these stressful and busy weeks!
Here are some easy tips to lessen the stress, strengthen your heart and be heart healthy this holiday season.
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff (or the big stuff)
No doubt, all of us have long to-do lists this time of year. Sometimes you can plan way ahead and still not have things work out like you planned. It’s ok! Learn to be gentle on yourself, and when things get overwhelming, force yourself to simplify. Scale back your to-do list. Delegate some errands to your partner, children or friends. Space out your shopping and baking, and don’t overbook your schedule with events and social gatherings. Take deliberate time out of your day to relax and regroup. Force yourself to take a nap! What’s important is that you aren’t stressing yourself out needlessly. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that less is more!
2. Sneak in some exercise
Just because you’re “busy” doesn’t mean you’re staying active. Sometimes the cold weather keeps us from our regular exercise routines, and the stress of the holidays can also cause us to overeat and hibernate on the couch a little too long! Park a little farther when you’re out shopping to add some steps to your day. Walk around the mall a little longer than you have to. Dance in the kitchen to Christmas songs on the radio while doing the dishes. Stressful day? Pull out the yoga mat and do some deep breathing and stretching in the evening. Just be sure that you are mindful about moving your body through the Winter months. Your heart will thank you!
3. Be wise about portion control
We are literally surrounded this time of year by rich food and alcohol. Sometimes it’s easy to justify a little gluttony when you’re “celebrating”, but when you’ve been celebrating for 2 months, you can come out the other side 15 pounds heavier and with a higher cholesterol count if you’re not careful! Treating yourself is ok, but always make sure the bulk of your calories are coming from real, unprocessed foods. Fill up on the healthy stuff first, and you’ll feel less inclined to eat a sample of every dessert.
4. Make sure you’re getting enough rest
Insomnia and sleepless nights can take their toll on our bodies when we constantly have lists of things we need to do going through our brains. Sometimes it feels impossible to shut it off. One good tip is writing down everything you need to do the next day. If you have it on paper, sometimes it’s easier for the brain to let it go. Take time to relax each evening with a good book, a warm bath or a warm drink. Try to stay away from electronics in the late evening, and make sure you’re room isn’t too warm. These are helpful for a good night’s sleep. No matter how busy you are, always aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. A well rested body is a healthy body and helps keep the heart healthy! According to Dr. Mercola, there are definitely consequences of not getting enough sleep!
5. A joyful heart is a happy heart
There’s a lot to be said about having a positive outlook and being of good cheer. Not only can a good attitude benefit those around us, but it can keep our blood pressure from rising and keep stress away too! There’s a direct correlation between mental and physical health, so keep your mind positive. Look for ways to serve others, and look for the good in every situation and your whole body will thank you!
Stay heart healthy and ‘heart happy’ during the holidays!
Colorado Springs Over 50
We would love to hear from you on ideas you would like us to investigate and write about.