When You Realize The Best Things In Life Are Free

Sometimes, people will make fun of me for driving a car with 204,000 miles of wear and tear on it.    There isn’t a month that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “Ted, when are you going to get a new car?”  On top it, I’m not the kind of person who buys myself much anymore.  I don’t spend a lot money on clothes, I don’t have an expensive hobby, and I don’t even wear a watch anymore.   You’d think I was bunkering up for a financial Armageddon, but in reality a few years ago I realized that no matter how much money you make the best things in life are free. Growing up as a child, we would have NEVER even thought about going to a four star hotel.  Now, for most families it isn’t even about taking a vacation.  It’s about the style points associated with the vacation.   “Hey, have you gone to the Ritz Carlton in …..?” ...

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Diamond Jewelry Valued For More Than the 4 C’s

People are flocking to jewelry stores around the country to buy that special someone something that sparkles. So what makes one diamond more valuable than another? Ask any diamond and jewelry professional, and they will tell you the factors that influence the value of diamonds are much more complicated than the commonly referred to 4 c’s: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight. But, the 4 c’s are really just the beginning of the factors that make up the value of a diamond. I call the remaining considerations ‘Characteristics,’ making a fifth c if you will. Characteristics include any properties that may affect the overall value of the stone, such as the construction of the diamond, the nature of imperfections, as well as natural or man made characteristics. Proper Ratio of Depth and Table Percentages – Depth and table percentages will affect the value of a diamond because they are an indication of a well-proportioned stone. If a depth percentage is too big ...

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Use The KISS Principle

Today it is more complicated than ever for the average investor to really understand how to pick a mutual fund.   Most novices may choose a fund if it has a 4-star or 5-star ranking.   Or they decide to pick a fund because they did a Google search for best returns and then select one from the top of list.  The truth is, most investors today would be lucky if they could name one or two actual positions that their mutual fund owns if they were asked.  In my opinion fund companies could become more friendly if they used the Keep It Simple Stupid principle. First, mutual fund companies should provide consumers some sort of simple x-ray software so when they choose to buy multiple funds from a fund company, an investor can at least have some idea about how much the different funds overlap.  Far too often, I see consumers who own three or four different mutual funds only to ...

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Listen To What The Baby Has To Say

I am a complete marketing junkie, so I have to give props to financial companies that take risks to launch edgy marketing campaigns.  Historically, investment companies are boring advertisers showing couples taking a bicycle ride, smelling the roses on their front porch, or some actor looking all serious on camera about the ‘serious’ investment company.   I was a bit melancholy this year to see the last installments of the E*Trade baby commercials which completed a tremendous six year run of ad spots. For a marketing campaign to be successful, it has to leave a mark etched in our mind that will last for many years to come.  Think about slogans like Nike’s Just Do It or Wendy’s Where’s The Beef that you can remember just like it was yesterday.   When the E*Trade baby aired during the Super Bowl in 2008, the commercial made us all laugh while at the same time beginning the drip the ideas of what we could ...

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Your Earnings Power Is All About Supply And Demand

Really? Doesn’t my formal college education matter?  Or whether or not I have an MBA?   Could the simple economic principle of supply and demand really dictate how income is earned in America?   Let’s take a look inside at what you desperately need to know if you want to earn more money in your career. I’ve been practicing financial advising for over 23 years and the people who truly build up extremely high level of incomes typically fall into three categories: Business Owners Sales People who rise in companies for staying in the same place more than 10 years What does this have to do with earning income? Well, there are certain skills in business that are trainable and certain skills in business that are learnable.  Gaining a keen understanding about which ones can make you money and why will dictate whether you too are successful in making lots of money. THOSE EARNING UNDER $100,000 The lowest general form of earners ...

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Selling Jewelry to Help Pay for College

Over the years I have met people who have sold their jewelry for hundreds of different reasons from saving the rain forests and donating to charities, to paying medical bills and forming a new business. We have helped clients pay for weddings and divorces, debt relief, retirement and to help family members in financial need. I can relate to all of these life events, but as a father, the one I relate to most easily is paying for my children’s education. We have helped many graduates pay off the debt that they have acquired while getting an education. We have also helped many parents and grandparents contribute to 529 plans – a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to help save for future college costs. Jewelry proceeds that are invested early have the time to grow tax free within a 529 plan and jewelry sold today, to pay down debt that could’ve accrued over the years, presents a much better financial footing ...

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Social Media May Be Your Best Freshman Class

It’s likely that students starting college in September have spent the past four years of their lives become experts at social media mediums including Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. Without ever taking a class on social media, these platforms are indelibly integrated in the way an 18 year old communicates with their friends and family. In 1987, I didn’t even have a computer to bring to Boston College with me. Rather than give advice on student loans, budgeting, and other financial topics, I’d like to encourage the upcoming freshmen going to college to expand their social media networks and learn how to use these platforms to build their future. You see, it’s simple that life teaches you it’s not what you know but who you know that will ultimately get you further in life. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to become an excellent student, but rather leverage your expertise and begin to build your networks out today so when you ...

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I will be getting my first 1099 . . . Now What?

You recently lost your job or your job lost youJ and now you have decided to take some freelance consulting job to pick up some spare cash.   You fill out a W-9 in order to get paid, and a few weeks later a check comes in the mail made out to you.  You are really excited because no taxes have been taken out and you feel flush with cash.   At some point next year, you’ll get your first 1099, but what should you be doing here in 2014 to make sure your ducks are in a row come tax filing time? The reality is that most of you who earned your first 1099 will likely file Schedule C (sole proprietor) with your first year of income.   Some of you may set up an LLC, but are still uncertain what you can deduct or how exactly incomes taxes will be paid.  Here are some your smart money moves tips for you. ...

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Why Is It So Hard To Spend Money In Retirement?

The number one concern for most people approaching retirement age is that they will run out of money. It is such a great fear amongst individuals and families that many people actually deprive themselves of the number one objectives they had for retirement. Having fun! When you are working 40, 50, or 60 hours a week and raising a family, you often dream about what you will do when work is optional. You daydream about taking the vacations to destinations you have never seen like Australia. You ponder the idea of spending three months sitting beachside and purchasing that cool convertible you always wanted your whole life. So, what’s stopping you? It isn’t the kids. It isn’t the work. It isn’t the weather. Why is it so hard for retirees to enjoy the money they saved for that very purpose of enjoying when work becomes optional? Without proper planning (and even sometimes with proper planning), the fact is that most ...

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My ATM Receipt is My Check Register

If you make 50k, 100k, or 500k, you might still be living paycheck to paycheck.  With more and more people using their ATM receipt as their check register and not reading their bills before clicking yes from online bill pay, this problem continues to grow in American.  What’s neat about oXYGen Financial is that we believe each family is the ‘CEO’ of their family finances and should treat it as a business. No family has an infinite amount of revenue, so what is the smartest way to run the family profit or (lossL) statement to maximize cash flow to reach your financial goals? Thus, we like the language of spending plan for the profit and loss versus budget. Make sure you calculate your family revenue- include not just salary, but if you are going to earn overtime, bonus, raise, commissions, stock options, etc. Build a strategy to minimize income taxes.  Of course, the more you are able to keep the ...

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$5 Or Less Cheap Eats Lunches In Atlanta

If you make $100,000 or more, you might wonder why you could still be living paycheck to paycheck. The truth is that dining, entertainment, and travel expenses continue to be a huge part of creating a personal spending plan for your family.  A good CEO (that’s you) knows that listening to their Private CFO® (that’s me) can help make a major dent on the bottom line.  You probably aren’t going to stop eating out a few days a week for lunch, so one idea is to simply look for the places around where you work to find lunch for $5 or less.   Most casual fare chain restaurants are designed to get you to $10, where a local joint can still get you to $5 or less. Victory Sandwich Bar (www.vicsandwich.com) – Where can you get any sandwich for $4?   Go to the Victory Sandwich Bar.   I might recommend the Mulligan (pimento cheese and ham) or consider the Weed Eater (hummus, ...

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I Make $100,000 And Live Paycheck To Paycheck

I’ve been practicing financial planning for over 21 years, and there is a new financial phenomenon spreading like cancer.    I haven’t come up with a name for this group yet, but there is a growing population of people between the ages of 30 to 50 who make more than $100,000 per year and are literally living paycheck to paycheck.   Are these people lacking a college education? No!    Are these people lacking a comprehensive set of benefits from their employer? No!   Are these people who are having lots of money garnished from their paychecks every two weeks? No!   So how is this group getting so far behind financially while making so much money? According to a report from the Consumer Federation of America and the Consumer Planner Board of Standards, Inc., 38 percent of household live paycheck to paycheck.   In 1997, this figure was 31 percent.  (source: huffingtonpost.com)  A report from earlier this year found that 43 percent of Americans don’t ...

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What If I Need A Cash Advance?

It is never fun being behind on paying your bills.  With more and more people living paycheck to paycheck, we often get the question, “what happens if I need money in a pinch?”   That question can spur many different responses based upon your individual financial situation, but what happens if you have to look for some sort of cash advance to hold you over until the next paycheck.   Obviously, you want to exhaust all of your options before you go for the cash advance.  We don’t recommend cashing out of retirement plans like your 401(k) as many people will when they look for cash as the taxes, penalties, and loss of compounded interest on your money could be detrimental to your long term retirement plans.  I need a Cash Advance – So, what to do? There are many companies that offer these types of programs to get a small loan between $100 and $1,500.  For example, companies like CashNetUSA are ...

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Roommate Issues – Just say Buxfer!

With the economy tightening, and many people living paycheck to paycheck, we are seeing a return to more roommate situations to share expenses.   This can range from the traditional 2 bedroom apartment, to a single family residence renting out a room, or someone creating a basement apartment. When you have one or two roommates, usually one person takes the lead in handling the bills and tracking the expenses.  This can often be an arduous task, and lead to arguments over whether the numbers are accurate. One great website that can track those pesky roommate expenses is www.buxfer.com. This website is a free personal expense management site with one specific area dedicated to helping you track expenses between multiple parties. Using a site like this can keep the accounting simple, and avoid putting the little yellow sticky on your roommate’s door asking for this month’s portion of the telephone bill. 11680 Great Oaks Way, Suite 175 | Alpharetta, GA 30022 Phone ...

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9 financial tips for Generation Y

9 financial tips for Generation Y. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of employees between 21 and 32 say that they're living paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent survey by insurer Metlife. Nearly three-fourths of respondents are concerned about making ends meet.Fortunately, you can get off to a sound financial start with these nine tips. ...

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