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Questions From Listeners: Two Today

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(File Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)

(File Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – I thought we could spend this week answering questions from listeners. The questions are composites of the many questions we get here at WBZ Radio.

Also, a heads up on a new Money Matters newsletter. So many listeners call or e-mail that they have missed a segment and where can they get a copy. Well now every Monday morning you can get the previous week’s segments sent to you. To sign up you will need to go to cbsboston.com/newsletters.

First Question: Is there a tax ramification for redeeming credit card reward points? I took my reward points as cash and had it transferred directly to my bank account.

Short Answer: No! Longer Answer: Rewards and discounts issued by credit card companies and frequent flyer mile programs are not considered taxable income.

The IRS in a ruling in 2002 announced that it would not pursue the question of whether frequent flyer miles, and rewards and other promotional discounts awarded by credit card companies to cardholders, was taxable income. They are treated likes rebates, a return of your money. And I am sure the paperwork involved would have been very taxing to the IRS!

Another Question That Comes Up Frequently: What should my budget look like? And, as most times, I answer with a question. What are your responsibilities? How many folks in your household? Babies? Elderly parents? Animals?

What works for one family may not work for another. Kiplinger magazine came out with some numbers for an average family. But just for the record, I don’t know any average families. All are unique.

These numbers are for after tax monthly pay -

Mortgage/ rent            30%
Food                              15%
Debt payments            10%
Utilities                         10%
Transportation             15%
Savings                          10%
Clothing                        10%
Entertainment             10%
Miscellaneous              10%

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