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Amelia Josephson

Mortgage, Home Buying and Credit Card Expert

Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia's work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.

Posts by Amelia Josephson:

by Amelia Josephson Apr 16, 2019

To get preapproved for a mortgage, you’ll need a few documents detailing your income, assets and debt obligations. This helps banks and other mortgagees determine exactly how much they’re willing to lend you. Getting preapproved also helps you understand how much house you can afford, so you won’t get your heart set on a home outside your budget. We’ll walk you through this checklist. We can also assist you with finding a financial advisor who can guide you through the entire home-buying process. Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 16, 2019

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are popular investment securities that track stock market indexes, a particular commodity, bonds, or a particular category of assets like tech stocks.  A leveraged ETF is a particular type of ETF that uses debt or financial derivatives to boost the potential for returns. However, this also applies to losses, making leveraged ETFs somewhat risky investment choices. But like other investment, you must thoroughly evaluate them before making any final decision about whether they should occupy a spot in your portfolio. Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 16, 2019

When you’re ready to take withdrawals from your IRA, you’ll find there are plenty of rules to follow. Failure to stick to these guidelines could have serious ramifications. The most notable among these is a 10% penalty tax on IRA withdrawals made before age 59.5. Beware, though, as traditional and Roth IRAs have two distinct sets of requirements. As always when making nuanced financial decisions, it can be helpful to consult a financial advisor. Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 12, 2019

The idea behind a 401(k) is to provide tax-deferred retirement savings that can grow, untouched by you or the government, until you reach old age. As a result, if you can wait until age 59.5 to take… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 11, 2019

A non-deductible IRA is a retirement plan you fund with after-tax dollars. So you can’t deduct contributions from your income taxes as you would with a traditional IRA. However, your non-deductible… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 09, 2019

So you took the plunge and bought a house, with a mortgage to match. You may be wondering if you need life insurance to cover the mortgage in case something happens to you before it’s paid off.… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 08, 2019

If you’re considering buying a new home, a tax abatement may provide an incentive that’s hard to pass up. These beneficial tax programs allow for a long-term break on your property tax bill. Savings… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 05, 2019

Think you want to help people manage their money and meet their ultimate financial goals? If so, you may be wondering how to become a financial planner. The process for becoming a financial planner… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 05, 2019

When saving for retirement, it’s common to have overlapping goals. Most of us want to save enough to generate a comfortable monthly income, avoid outliving our savings and leave something for our… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 05, 2019

For many Americans, Social Security benefits represent one of their only sources of retirement income. Established in 1935 thanks to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Social Security works as a forced… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 05, 2019

A Roth 401(k) brings many of the benefits of a traditional employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement savings vehicle. But with a traditional 401(k), you save for retirement with pre-tax dollars and write… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Jan 29, 2019

If you own an investment property and collect rent from your tenants, it’s important to declare that rental income on your taxes. You can, however, deduct expenses you incur to maintain your rental… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Jan 18, 2019

In December 2017, President Trump signed the new tax plan into law. This new plan changed the federal income tax brackets for the 2018 tax year, which you will file in early 2019. (If you’re… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Aug 08, 2018

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009. In many states, it’s the federal minimum wage that holds sway. However, some states, counties and cities have enacted their own laws establishing a… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Jul 09, 2018

Military veterans with disabilities have access to special government grants. One such grant is the HISA grant, which veterans with disabilities can use to make their homes accessible. Read on to… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Jul 07, 2017

SAH grants are flexible grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA offers SAH grants to veterans and servicemembers with certain service-related disabilities. Qualifying veterans can use… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Jul 03, 2017

SHA grants are grants available to servicemembers and veterans with certain kinds of service-connected disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers SHA grants to help veterans adapt… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Aug 20, 2018

The title of certified financial planner® (CFP) carries a lot of weight. It indicates that the bearer has put the time and work into obtaining CFP certification. Anyone can say they can help you with… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Mar 12, 2019

Looking for a financial advisor can be a tricky task. It’s hard to know what kind of financial advice you need, and how much you should pay for that advice. One important distinction to understand is… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Apr 26, 2018

Many of us have dreamed of moving to California and enjoying what the Golden State has to offer. But not all California destinations are equally desirable. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the… Read more

by Amelia Josephson May 15, 2017

If you read the fine print of credit card offers, you’ll notice that credit card companies say their interest rates are variable. That means they can change in response to changes in the Prime Rate.… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Feb 28, 2018

Transferring money is easier than it used to be, but it can still be a difficult and expensive chore. When you’re transferring money you probably want to maximize security and convenience while… Read more

by Amelia Josephson May 01, 2017

According to a 2016 World Bank report, $56.3 billion in remittances left the U.S. in 2014. What are remittances? Remittances are monies that someone living in a foreign country sends home. Let’s take… Read more

by Amelia Josephson Jan 30, 2019

The state and local tax (SALT) deduction allows taxpayers of high-tax states to deduct local tax payments on their federal tax returns. The new tax plan signed by President Trump, called the Tax Cuts… Read more

by Amelia Josephson May 08, 2017

Do you still need to pay for mortgage insurance if you get a VA loan? The short answer is no. There is no monthly mortgage insurance with VA loans. Unlike regular loans, which require mortgage… Read more