A Voice from the Eastern Door

Lifestyle / Ohwistha


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  • Medical Bill Mix-Up

    May 9, 2013

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: My husband and I are interested in purchasing a new home through the HUD-184 Native American Mortgage Program. We both have good jobs and have always worked hard to maintain our credit, but when I pulled our credit report last month it shows a $1,500 outstanding medical collection. It’s from the private hospital where our daughter was born two years ago. Indian Health Service had originally told us they would pay it, but now they’re telling us they can’t. We can probably afford to pay it if necessary, but it’s just not fai...

  • Your Savings Account

    Feb 21, 2013

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: Some of my friends have suggested that I open a savings account, but I don’t know how to do that. I looked into it online a little bit, but it just seems kinda confusing. Can you help? ~ Signed, Save Me Dear Save Me: Congratulations! Opening your first savings account is a big step toward taking control of your personal financial matters. And don’t worry, because it’s not difficult to do. You probably already have a checking account, which many would consider their basic “day...

  • Control Yourself!

    Feb 7, 2013

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: Just shoot me now! I’m always buying things on impulse. It happens while waiting in line at the grocery store, while surfing the web, or even walking through a store on my way to the food court for lunch. I usually feel bad afterwards, but my budget feels even worse. What can I do? ~ Signed, Grabby Dear Grabby: Welcome to the club! You are not alone in your impulsive habit of buying things you really don’t need or even want. Lots of people do it. And it is so much easier now...

  • Going Overboard

    Dec 13, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: I’ve been stung with some charges to my bank account for occasionally spending more than I have in the account. These “overdraft” costs really foul me up. How can I avoid overspending my checking account so I don’t get charged these extra fees? ~ Signed, Dinged Dear Dinged: I remember once when I was younger I wrote a check for an ice cream cone - $1.75. I still remember that number because my check bounced and I had a $30 overdraft fee. $31.37 for an ice cream cone - no ice cr...

  • A Good Habit

    Nov 21, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: I can’t save money! No matter how much I think about it and really want to do it, I just can’t seem to put anything aside out of my paycheck. What’s up with that? ~ Signed, Buffalo Nickel Dear Buffalo Nickel: Living paycheck to paycheck and not saving a dime is a habit – a bad one! You need to replace it with a good one. How about the habit of paying yourself first? On your paycheck stub, there are always deductions made before you get your “net” pay or take-home pay. They a...

  • Hungry Coyotes

    Nov 15, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: My tribe just finalized a major land claims settlement with the federal government. Some of the money will be given out to tribal members as per capita payments. I am looking forward to getting about $50,000 in a few months or so. The problem is I really need the money now. Someone called me and told me they can give me the full amount now, minus some processing fees, if I just sign a few forms. Is this a good deal? ~ Signed, Hanging in There Dear Hanging in There, Hmmmm,...

  • It’s YOUR Money!

    Nov 8, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: It’s tax time and I have a lot of money coming to me. I was thinking of taking out a loan against my tax refund because why should I wait if I don’t have to? ~ Signed, Tired of Waiting Dear Waiting: How would you feel if you loaned someone $2,000 and they waited a year to pay you back? Then, to make matters worse, they only gave you $1,700? Sound ridiculous? Most of us would probably think so, but if you’re like millions of Americans who pay to have their taxes prepared every year, this might be what is happening to you....

  • Lender of Last Resort

    Nov 1, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: What about those credit card offers you get when you are at a department store? The ones that promise a discount on your purchase? Is there a trick to them? Someone told me they affect your credit score. ~ Signed, Wondering Dear Wondering: “Apply today and get 10 percent off your purchase.” Sound familiar? Seems like every store you go into these days wants to sign you up for a credit card. You might want to think twice though before taking advantage of what might appear as a convenient discount. An in-store application for cr...

  • Wait A Minute

    Oct 25, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: I have been shopping a lot lately and have run up all of my credit cards. I love to shop but I can’t afford all these bills. What should I do? ~ Signed, Shopaholic Dear Shopaholic: Ask yourself this question: Do you control your money or does it control you? There are a lot of reasons why people shop. Feeling down? How about some retail therapy, as they call it – shop ‘till ya drop. You might feel better for a while, but the party’s over when you get that credit card bill. And then all of a sudden your money is control...

  • A Wild Ride

    Oct 18, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: I am turning 18 next week and will be getting my Minor’s Trust payment. I am psyched! I am thinking of getting a Cadillac Escalade or maybe just a Land Rover. I was wondering, what color do you think I should get it in - black or gunmetal grey? ~ Signed, Built for Speed Dear Built for Speed, Whoa there! Let’s take a step back here and take a deep breath. You have a lot more to think about than the color of your car. You’re about to receive a large amount of cash, and you want to make sure that money lasts longer than the new c...

  • Managing your Ohwistha

    Oct 11, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: I have no idea where to start to create a budget. It seems that before the month is over, I’m outta cash. More month than money! Can you help me keep track of my expenses? ~ Signed, Unbalanced Dear Unbalanced: Definitely! Creating a budget is the way to go to get a handle on making your money last as long as your month. Creating a budget, however, can seem overwhelming. Getting started is the hardest part, but it gets easier with practice. The first thing to do is figure out w...

  • Pick A Corner

    Oct 4, 2012

    Dear Dr. Per Cap: I’m worried about my finances. I can’t keep track of monthly bills, and I never know how much I have in my bank account. I owe a lot on my credit cards and just can’t keep up. I make a good salary and have a monthly per-capita payment that helps, but I’m still in debt. I keep trying to get organized but it is too much. What should I do? ~ Signed, Too Much Dear Too Much: When I was a kid I kept all of my toys in the basement. I had shelves and a couple of toy boxes for storage, but sooner or later they’d all wind up on the fl...

  • The Long & Short of It

    Sep 27, 2012

    Welcome to Ask Dr. Per Cap, a financial advice column to help you travel on the winding roads toward financial independence. I will draw upon my experiences – some good, some bad! – to help you learn skills, tricks and strategies to take control of your financial future. And if we succeed, well, hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes I did because you’ll know better. I’ve had a handful of great teachers in my life, and not all were school teachers. I met one of my best when I was 19 – Pete, the boyfriend of my older sister. Pete taught...

  • Managing Your Ohwista

    Aug 30, 2012

    Canada’s New Polymer $20 Note—A Means to Remember OTTAWA, Aug. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - For most of us, references to Vimy Ridge only hint at a distant high school history lesson on the First World War. But with the passing of Canada’s last veteran of the First World War in 2010, it is becoming increasingly important for us to remember the sacrifices of a generation of men and women whose lives were touched by war. Each November we don our poppies as a symbol of remembrance, but this year we’ll have another reason to pause and take note. The new pol...

  • IRS deadline is April 17th

    Barbara Montour CPA|Apr 12, 2012

    United States Tax filers will have until Tuesday, April 17, to file their 2011 tax returns and pay any tax due because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls this year on Monday, April 16. According to federal law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have two extra days to file this year. Tax filers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file their 2012 tax returns. An extension...

  • Here Comes the New Polymer $50 Note

    Mar 29, 2012

    OTTAWA, March 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada’s new $50 polymer notes have arrived just in time for spring. These innovative notes will continue to provide Canadians with access to world-class bills that are more secure and also last at least 2.5 times longer than paper notes. Polymer notes are as easy to handle as paper bills but feel different so they may take a little getting used to. The new $50 note uses transparency and metallic imagery like the polymer $100 but this time around, the design on the back takes us to Canada’s northern frontiers wit...

  • Tax Time

    Barbara L Montour, CPA|Mar 22, 2012

    Taxes are already a four letter word in our society. Each year the IRS introduces more legislation to ensure Americans are compliant and unable to escape filing. Unfortunately, this legislation affects our beliefs and practice of tax exempt people. I meet many clients who avoided the process for years and with gentle guidance are able to tackle this annual task with much more confidence. A tax return is generally initiated by an individual receiving an IRS form (W2, W2G, 1099,etc) from a source of revenue. Even self employed individuals...

  • Managing your Ohwistha

    Mar 15, 2012

    Contributing to your retirement is one way to ensure you will have an income upon retiring. These contributions also have tax advantages in the year in which you contribute. Your contributions to an employer sponsored retirement plan are deducted from your taxable wages(not taxable income) in the year of contribution. Payments toward an Individual Retirement Account may reduce your tax liability depending upon your personal circumstances. These same contributions may provide you a tax credit if you meet the guidelines below. As always to get... Full story

  • IRS Has $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2008 Income Tax Return

    Barbara Montour CPA|Mar 1, 2012

    WASHINGTON — Refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for one million people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2008, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2008 must be filed with the IRS no later than Tuesday, April 17, 2012. The IRS estimates that half of these potential 2008 refunds are $637 or more. Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made q...

  • Elders

    Feb 23, 2012

    There are many elders in the community who have questions regarding the tax status of their social security and pension income. If Social Security is your only source of income you do not have to file a tax return, unless you asked to have federal taxes deducted from your benefits and you are entitled to a refund of taxes. On Tuesday, February 28th BDO Chartered Accountants and Advisors will be hosting a tax clinic for Akwesasne Elders. United States Tax returns will be processed and efiled at no cost to fully retired elders of Akwesasne. Barba...

  • Managing your Ohwistha

    Barbara Montour, CPA|Feb 2, 2012

    Claiming your dependent children has many dimensions, it’s important to understand what constitutes a dependent, if they qualify as an exemption and credits. Each situation if different and consulting with a tax professional regarding your personal situation will give you the most comfort in determining your child’s status on your tax return. Here are tips from the Internal Revenue Service for parents. Your kids can be helpful at tax time. That doesn’t mean they’ll sort your tax receipts or refill your coffee, but those charming children may he... Full story

  • Managing your Ohwistha

    Barbara Montour, CPA|Jan 19, 2012

    Here are some facts from the IRS in determining your tax filing status in the United States. It is always best to have the differences and your personal situation explained to you by a tax professional. Determining your filing status is one of the first steps to filing your federal income tax return. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction,... Full story

  • Ten Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer

    Barbara Montour, CPA|Jan 12, 2012

    Many people look for help from professionals when it’s time to file their tax return. If you use a paid tax preparer to file your return this year, the IRS urges you to choose that preparer wisely. Even if a return is prepared by someone else, the taxpayer is legally responsible for what’s on it. So, it’s very important to choose your tax preparer carefully. This year, the IRS wants to remind taxpayers to use a preparer who will sign the returns they prepare and enter their required Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Here are ten tips...

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