The Internet is awash with technology and finance blogs that help people manage their money wisely. Some focus solely on taxes while others deal with insurance, investing, legal issues related to business operations, and estate planning. Technology now plays a key role in all forms of personal finance, but whether or not the general population will listen is another point. It’s not unusual for people to build their own Pro-forma estate plans, for example, before even calling an attorney or CPA for help.
This trend toward informed financial planning on the part of consumers is a good thing. Most attorneys and CPAs welcome informed clients and can more easily assist people who have “done their homework” on topics like forming a corporation or buying life insurance. What are the most common reasons that individuals turn to technology resources, like advanced software, and specialized blogs for help with their finances? Here are the top four:
Tax issues can be particularly challenging for people who don’t regularly deal with the IRS or the federal tax code. It’s usually a simple enough task to use software to file an individual tax form. But when it comes to more complex chores like knowing how to depreciate a major asset, figure the tax on life insurance settlement proceeds, swap one piece of real estate for another, or purchase a small company from a business broker, you need help. If you don’t hire a professional to assist you, an advanced software package can sometimes get the job done.
Purchasing a Home
Mortgages can get complicated, especially for first-time homebuyers and people who own several properties. There are ever-present tax issues, upkeep expenses to track, valuation calculations to make, and much more. Fortunately, there are specialized software packages that can handle most of the heavy lifting in all these areas. Some of the larger real estate websites feature built-in software solutions for all aspects of home buying and make the job of purchasing a home much easier than it used to be.
Forming a Corporation
Legal do-it-yourself websites are some of the best places to begin the journey toward forming a corporation. You might still have to hire an attorney or CPA to do portions of the task, but a software program can get you started with the considerable amount of paperwork that comes with incorporating. Then, when you do consult with a professional, your fee will be much lower because the attorney or CPA won’t have to assemble all the basic documents.
Calculating Social Security Benefits
Part of every financial plan for individuals is coming up with a solid estimate of Social Security benefits. At SSA.gov, the built-in software programs are designed specially to help people find out what their benefits will be. There’s also a sophisticated calculator that can help you decide whether to start taking benefits at age 62, at full retirement age or even later. It’s an important decision and can have a major impact on the total amount of benefit payments you receive in total.