How to Earn More on Your Bonus with Max

Bonus season: It’s time to jet away.

It’s almost bonus season, which means it’s time to think about what you’ll do with the money you earn — and how you’ll get that money to work harder for you. In today’s rising-interest-rate environment, your bonus can earn more before you spend it. 

Where should bonus checks go? Researchers have found that it’s experiences that make people happy, not objects. Spending money on vacations, theater tickets, parties, and memorable dinners out can lead to more happiness than big-ticket purchases like cars, jewelry, or clothes. Some people also find happiness at the nexus of things and experiences, for instance with summer homes, which are both an asset purchase and a venue to get family and friends together.

Investing for the long term is also smart. A bonus is a good way to pre-fund a higher-education 529 account for college-bound children or grandchildren, for instance. Tax rules allow you to contribute 5 years’ worth of your allowable contribution at once; check the IRS website for details. Or set aside an amount you’d like to put into equities or fixed income investments, and use dollar-cost averaging to buy a small amount each week or month. This method allows you to you get the best average price for the whole investment.

Many choose to keep their bonus mostly in cash, either to wait for an investment opportunity to become available — if the market falls, for instance — or because they’re anticipating an expense in the future, like a tuition bill or a private-equity fund capital call. Some firms also have regulatory or compliance rules around what investments employees can buy, leading many professionals, like attorneys and traders, to keep their bonuses in savings accounts.

While that money is in the bank, it’s only smart to make sure it’s earning the most interest possible. Many investors may not realize it’s possible for a bonus check to earn more than 1% in interest in FDIC-insured savings accounts — ten times the national average.

At Max, the focus is on helping individuals and their financial advisors earn more on cash within their portfolios, while keeping within federal deposit-insurance limits for safety. Letting your bonus grow with interest means more money to spend later when you decide what to do with it. Learn how.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

What to Do with Your Extra Max Interest This Summer

Mackinac Island's celebrated Grand Hotel.

Mackinac Island’s celebrated Grand Hotel.

It’s summertime — and Max members continue to accrue extra interest on their cash in the bank. We’re taking a look at some of the fun things you can do with the money you earn, which you wouldn’t be earning without Max optimizing your cash.

If you keep $1 million optimized through Max, you’re going to earn about $2500 additionally this summer. Some ideas to consider:

  • Video Drone

Drones are a great way to see new terrain or get fantastic video from the sky. For the sport-minded, there’s also drone-fighting. This $2300 camera quadcopter has 4K video and 2 controllers, one for the remote pilot and one for the cameraperson.

  • The Perfect Chair

Is it time to update your decor? Coveted handmade furniture and pottery from Vermont’s husband-wife duo Charles Shackleton and Miranda Thomas always looks tasteful. The couple recently opened a new Brooklyn shop, giving their works access to elegant brownstone living rooms. A pair of walnut Ricardo chairs upholstered in green fabric is $2600.

  • Pastry Chef Boot Camp

Learn to make better eclairs than you can buy in a fine French patisserie. A 3-day dessert boot camp at the ultra-serious Culinary Institute of America’s Napa Valley campus will show you how. $2600 for two people.

  • Make a Difference with Robinhood

Fight poverty by supporting Robinhood, the largest nonprofit in New York doing this work. Max members can set their Max accounts to donate some or all of the interest they earn directly to Robinhood.

 

A Max member with a $250,000 account will earn an extra $625 this summer. Some fun ways to spend it:

  • Luxury Fitness Classes

Boutique fitness studios are the new trend. They’re more personal and rigorous than a typical gym, with classes that make you work hard. SLT (Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone) has attracted serious fitness nuts in New York City and elsewhere. $680 for a 20-pack of classes will keep you in good shape all summer.

  • Championship Golf Clubs

Up your game with some of this year’s hottest new clubs.

Driver: Cobra King F6+ Pro $400

Fairway wood: Ping G $270

  • Historic Island Resorts

Off the coast of California south of Los Angeles is the celebrated Catalina Island, a historic resort long popular with Angelenos. At the Avalon, a top-rated hotel, you can recline on the rooftop terrace while looking out into Avalon Harbor.  Two nights in a king room with a garden view will be about $700 on a weekend this summer.

Or visit the Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, an elegant resort where midwesterners have been vacationing since 1887. For about $700, a deluxe room at the hotel includes breakfast, lunch, and a 5-course dinner.

  • Meet the Animals

Why jostle with crowds to see the animals at the San Diego Zoo when you can meet them up close? The world-famous zoo’s exclusive VIP Experience is $599 per person, plus zoo admission, and comes with behind-the-scenes interactions, a personal tour guide, and lunch.

  • Leave Holding the Bag

Suede envelope clutch bags are sweeping the fashion magazines. The Christopher Kane studded suede clutch is $645 while Mansur Gavriel’s Flamma suede envelope flat clutch is $695.

  • Buy the Cow

For $500, the international nonprofit Heifer will donate a female cow to a needy family in the developing world. A cow yields milk for the family’s children as well as income, since they can now sell milk to others. The money they earn can pay for food, school, and housing, helping them climb out of poverty. Heifer is one of the most respected development nonprofits.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

5 Tips for Making the Most of Tax Time

IRS-hqYou’ve been smart all year long about how you organize your finances. Now that tax season is here, make sure you’re doing everything necessary to take advantage of your efforts during the past year. Here are our best tips for preparing for April 15th:

– Keep It Together

Prepare a file, and into it put all tax-related documents — W-2s, 1099s, and other forms — as they arrive in the mail. When you’ve collected all the forms you receive from employers, banks, and funds, sit down and scan them to your computer as PDFs (or take a photo of each on your smartphone) so that you can easily send them to your accountant. You’ll then be able to store them on your own computer or on a cloud storage service like Dropbox so that if you get audited any time in the next 7 years, you’ll have the necessary documentation close at hand.

– Know Your Interest

Gather 1099-INT statements, which detail the interest you’ve earned, for all your bank and brokerage accounts . If you’re a member of MaxMyInterest.com, you can use the new Consolidiated Tax Reporting feature to automatically gather all your 1099’s for you and put them into one password-protected PDF that you can print or forward to your accountant.  Couldn’t be simpler.

– Watch Your Calendar

If you are required to file taxes for different states or municipalities, such as New York City, you may have to keep notes on which days you are physically present in each place. To document these moves, be sure to keep taxi receipts, airplane boarding passes, and other papers that can prove where you were on a specific date. Scan them in case your accountant needs them in an audit.  For a more streamlined 21st century solution, try MileIQ, an innovative iPhone/Android app that leverages the GPS in your phone to automatically track your location and deductible mileage in an IRS-compliant manner.

– Track Your Deductions

If you’re entitled to take deductions for items such as mortgage interest or money you’ve contributed to a 529 college-savings account, be certain your accountant has the right documents to provide proof. Check your returns prior to filing to ensure these deductions have been properly incorporated into your returns.

– Make Charity Count

Keeping a spreadsheet of your charitable donations during the year helps at tax time.  You can maintain a running tally to ensure you’re donating your target percentage of income. Your accountant will also need printouts or digital copies of receipts for your donations. Don’t forget to include anything you’ve donated in kind, from school auction items to charity thrift shops.

Tax time is also a good time to review your investment strategy.  Were you careful about tax loss harvesting to match capital gains and losses?  Are your dividends and interest producing regular cash flow that you might want to divert into other investments?  If you’re not earning at least 1.00% on the cash portion of your portfolio, you might consider a service like MaxMyInterest.com to help generate incremental yield while keeping your cash FDIC-insured.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page