Tricks To Spend Less Money At The Store

Stores and restaurants are really really smart at figuring out how to get you to spend more money.   These are time tested marketing techniques that you won’t even think about before or after you make your purchase.  The key for these stores, restaurants, and outlets is to make you feel good…..like you got a deal or you are special or you are one of the exclusive few that got this opportunity.   The goal is to separate you from your money.   Here are six traps to watch out for that will trick your brain into spending more money. THE NO DOLLAR SIGN TRICK —This one is most seen when you eat out at an upscale restaurant. You’ll notice that they will list a meal with the number 15 (note NO $$) or they will actually spell out in some artsy fartsy font By not showing you an actual dollar sign it literally makes you think less about money thus tricking your ...

Read More →

Six Ways To Not “StubHub” Your Toe On Sporting Tickets

I happened to be out in St. Louis last Friday night when game six took place between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.   When I realized that the game would take place as the same time my travels had me in town, I decided to go on to StubHub to see what the prices looked like to get a ticket.   It seems as if concerts and sporting events go live in today’s world, you can’t even get a ticket direct anymore.  The ticket brokers are the only place you can actually buy a ticket unless you want to scalp the good old fashioned way.  When the prices came up minimally at $100 a ticket for ‘standing room only’ and went as high as $2,700 for front row type seats, all of a sudden the local bar at Gio’s didn’t seem to be such a bad idea.   So, how can you save money when shopping for sporting tickets?  ...

Read More →

Five Insurance Policies Every Small Business Owner Needs

This is the weekend you finally decided it’s time to start your own business.    You’ve had enough of the corporate rat race and now you want to take matters into your own hands.   After you determine whether you want to set up as a sole proprietor, LLC, S-Corporation, or C-Corporation, there will be a litany of items to strike off the checklist to make sure the business is up and running.   One of the key areas that most small business owners ignore is getting the right type of insurance policies set up as they initiate their new businesses.   Even as the business gets established, business owners often ignore getting the right type of protection in place to insulate their business in case of unforeseen circumstances.   Here are five insurance policies every small business owner needs. Disability Insurance– The challenge that most new business owners don’t understand is that if you show no verifiable income, you’ll have no chance of getting ...

Read More →

Six Financial Moves To Make When You Lose A Spouse

Almost 25 years ago, my father passed away.   My mother was a 5th grade school teacher and we had one of those households where dad predominantly took care of the finances even though both of my parent’s held down full time jobs.   When my father died, it not only left my mother in a complete state of shock, but she also had no roadmap provided to her on what steps to take to get the financial house in order.   In many households, one spouse usually controls and manages 80% or more of the family finances.   Should you have a spouse pass away, here are six financial moves to make that can help you during this difficult transition. Handle Funeral Expenses– Funerals can end up becoming a very expensive proposition. Did you make arrangements and prepay burial expenses?  Were their specific instructions around burial in the will?  It’s important that those who are helping you with final and funeral expenses understand ...

Read More →

5 Gifts That You Can Regift

Who really knows how long the practice of ‘regifting’ has been going on as a true tradition? Don’t get mad at me for bringing this subject up because I’m not ‘Miss Manners’, and I know you’ve all done it at least once in your lifetime. Regifting became a really popular term after the famous “Label Maker” Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine track down well known suspected regifter Dr. Tim Whatley. Jerry had received the label maker from Dr. Tim after Elaine gave the label maker to Dr. Tim for Christmas. Here are five gifts worth holding on to for a future regift. Wine– For most of us, we won’t be able to tell the difference between a $10 bottle and a $50 bottle. It’s not like you would care anyway whether Wine Spectator gave it 92 points or 72 points. If your wine rack is full or you just aren’t a big drinker then no harm, no foul. Keep ...

Read More →

$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, ...

Read More →

What Happened To My Precious Pandora?

As I pulled up my favorite Pandora station, Red Hot Chili Peppers, I anxiously awaited the install of some cool track like Scar Tissue or Give It Away.    Instead I was greeted with a movie trailer-like 30-second ad followed by a plumbing ad followed by a ‘what’s your favorite sandwich’ Panera ad.   A song later, I got hit with another ad and then followed up by yet another.   The frustration seeped quickly through my blood as all I wanted to do was listen to a few tunes of my favorite rock band.   It dawned on me recently that new technology launched through apps or a website is really exciting when it is unencumbered by the fact that eventually it will need to make money.   Think about these examples below. FACEBOOK– Facebook is still one of the most widely used social mediums that exist today.  However, like all technology machines built for growth it inevitably needed to produce a profit.    It ...

Read More →

Think Before You Click The Button

My Your Smart Money Moves Column has an underlying theme of always trying to get you to think.  While often it’s about money saving opportunities or financial planning strategies, I’ll throw in a different article here and there to make you consider what is going on in life.   One of the bigger worries I have for most of you, with the increasing amount of purchases you make through the internet, is catching the dreaded disease ‘clickyitis’. (Wouldn’t it be cool if I made the slang dictionary in a few years with this one?   Clickyitis is the trap that retailers get you into by clicking in a Pavlovian type response to the very buttons they want you to click without even knowing you are spending more money.   How does this happen? Go Daddy (www.godaddy.com) –  Now, when you register a domain with Go Daddy, they first automatically fill the extra $7.99 box (in the middle by the way) instead of the ...

Read More →

Should I Pay Off The Mortgage?

One of the more difficult questions that I get from both younger and older people alike is whether or not it is a good idea to pay off their mortgage. If you have locked in a low interest rate recently when they were hovering around all time lows, you are probably happy about not having to shop for a new mortgage. If your rate is in the 3% to 4% range, you may be wondering if you should take your excess monthly discretionary income to pay down your home note faster. Or, would it be a better idea to take that cash and invest it for the long term. This decision has both financial and emotional ramifications, so let’s review the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage. The first part of this analysis is the black and white calculations on whether your money can work harder for you than the interest rate you are paying on your debt. ...

Read More →

Three Apps That Are Downright Creepy

In the decade where we have seen the proliferation of the ‘app’, not all apps are turning out to be useful.   When I have conversations with people about their smart phone apps, it quickly dawns on me that most people have downloaded hundreds of apps only to really use a half dozen or so on a regular basis.   Some apps are really cool and can help you become more productive while others are simply downright creepy.   Here are three that you might want to be on the lookout for when you are out and about on the town. SCENETAP (www.scenetap.com)- Scenetap is an app that will help you avoid the dreaded bar hopping from joint to joint only to realize that the bar isn’t full, or instead, its full of a crowd you don’t want to hang out with on a Saturday night.   This app can tell you how crowded a bar is in terms of its capacity, the male ...

Read More →

Here’s Why Your Friends Are Going Broke

Most of the time when we talk about personal finance, topics including credit card debt, savings, investments, insurance, and coupons creep into the discussion.   Since nobody wears their net worth pinned to their chest, we truly have no inkling what our neighbors real personal financial situation is at any given point and time.   What I promise you to be true is that what appears to be an ocean of success around you is merely nothing more than a mirage of many people living on an obligatory basis to pay their bills.   Your friends will never tell you they are drowning in quicksand, but people around you are going broke every day and here are the reasons why. EGO– Your ego is something that can make you stronger or become an insurmountable obstacle to achieving success.  Remember, your ego is the part of your mind that contains memory.  It is ultimately what shapes your planning and your reality.   When it comes ...

Read More →

He who hestitates…SAVES! Why it’s always worth the wait.

By: Genna Jenkin The Your Smart Money Moves Mom Hello, my name is Genna and I am a sales-a-holic.  I am in recovery, but everyday is a struggle.  I believe my addiction is congenital as I come from a long line of bargain boasters and I am hoping it doesn’t present itself in any of my children.  You know the types, they share legendary tales of high-end purchases made for next to nothing, often on items they didn’t really need. Our current culture totally feeds into this type of mentality.  We are constantly bombarded by flash sales, daily deals and reality television showing us all of the ways we can beat the system and get what we want (and more) for a rock-bottom price.  This, combined with wanting to provide our kids with all the things we didn’t have can make for a financial nightmare. The operative word  here is “want”.   We have all heard the much debated argument of ...

Read More →

Put Down the Registry Gun

By: Mary Kennon Lewis With a gleam in his eye and the registry gun in hand, my husband was a dad-to-be on a mission. We were completing our baby registry and being assisted by a sales associate who was at the top of his game. This associate walked us through each aisle of the store, expertly showing off items that were a “must have” for any new baby or parent.  As we walked and listened, I noticed my husband pointing and clicking like a madman at anything and everything that was recommended (and a few more items, I later saw). Two hours later, we walked out of the store confident that we had left no stone (or bottle, in this case) unturned. We had been schooled on everything from how loud each breast pump sounded when running, to each accessory available for the stroller we had chosen. What we weren’t schooled on, but found out after our little bundle of ...

Read More →

You Are A Sole Proprietor: How About A Solo 401(k)

I am seeing more and more people quit the corporate America lifestyle and venture into becoming their own business owner.  This shape of a business owner can be a freelancer, consultant, or someone who actually starts up a ‘brick and mortar’ operation.    Many of these folks will ask questions about whether they should incorporate their business, which I have discussed in other articles.    Once they become profitable, they often ask which kind of retirement plan would suit them the best.   For someone who is a sole business owner, the Solo 401(k) has been around for about a decade and provides a great alternative to helping maximize your retirement contributions.   Here’s a little history on the Solo 401(k) and how it can be a smart money move for your business. The Solo 401k came about in 2002 after Congress passed Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). EGTRRA added some small paragraphs to the tax code that put ...

Read More →

Public School Is Not A Free Ride

By: Genna Jenkin The Your Smart Money Moves Mom Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net Barely a week into our back to school routine and I’m already aware of some very disconcerting patterns forming.  The kids’ interest in helping get their lunches together is waning, bedtimes are not being adhered to and I’ve badgered them all about their homework more times than I’d like to count.  However, the most troublesome of all, is that every evening I find myself with my checkbook “paying” for my children’s public school education. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that public education in this country can tend to get the proverbial short end of the stick, so I am well aware for the need to ask parents for some financial assistance.  It’s the changes I’ve seen since I enrolled my oldest in kindergarten (12 years ago) that concern me.  I’m sure that everyone with school age children can identify with the lengthy and detailed ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series Lesson 10 – Passion, Persistence, and Perseverance

Lessons one through nine of my entrepreneur series were lessons extracted from my own business and other business owners across the country over the past twenty years.   Undoubtedly in your first year of business, you will make your fair share of mistakes like anyone starting a new venture.   There are so many valuable pieces of wisdom to learn as an entrepreneur, but here are my big three traits you must have to truly succeed in your business. Passion – Many business ventures people conjure up in their heads often revolve around the dreams of making a lot of money.  While building your wealth can be an outcome of a successful entrepreneurial pursuit, passion around your dreams is what will get you through the good times and the bad times.   When you get out of bed every day with emotions that are so compelling around what you are doing, it becomes easy to motivate others to get excited around that dream.    ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business: marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly subpar.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to face with ...

Read More →

Should I Loan Money To A Friend?

All of us have had awkward money scenarios happen to us in our lives. There are the immediate face-to-face confrontations when a personal friend asks us for money while out on the town. Or what about the time that your college roommate asked you if they could borrow $5,000 or $10,000? Remember when your 2nd cousin said they would be starting a business and were wondering if you would invest $25,000 in the new venture? So, how do you handle a money situation that may make you lose sleep at night? Here are three smart money moves steps to diffuse the problem. Step 1: Empathize. Listen, and Show that you’ve heard by recapping what specifically the other person is wanting to do with the money. Make sure you initially understand it from their point of view. Indicate that you know that economic times are tough, and their individual circumstances are particularly difficult. In a certain sense you need to be ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 5 – You Must Hire Professional Consultants

Since many new entrepreneurial ventures are often started on a shoestring budget, where you spend your financial resources can be a prickly situation. Far too often, I see new business owners who in some sense are really penny wise but pound foolish as the old adage goes. When is the right time to get yourself legal help? Do you really need an outside person to do your books or can you do it yourself? Does it merit having a financial person talk to about entity planning and business structure? Can’t you just figure this stuff out yourself? Even with many years of corporate experience, I faced these same questions when I opened my business. The costs for some of these professional feels like a waste of money when you need those precious resources for things like marketing, staffing, and technology. However, I will tell you that a big mistake in any of the areas below can be a brutal blow ...

Read More →

Five Items To Always Buy Used

Since we pretty much live in a throwaway society, the savvy shoppers that know how to snap up good deals on those items others are readily willing to depart with can snag themselves a smart money moves deal.   Some garments of clothing such as socks, underwear, and shoes are never to be bought used unless you want to think twice every day you slip them on your body.   However, there are purchases that can really last for a long time and improve your bottom line if you shop the right way.    Here are my five items to always buy used. Office Furniture- Whether you are searching for new office furniture for that space you have leased or the home office you recently built out, there is a glut of office furniture on the market place.     Remember, that many companies have gone out of business over the past five years and this can allow you to grab a great deal by ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

I am not a professional athlete.  However, I would imagine that the rookie year on any of the professional sports circuits has to be daunting in nature.   Not only are you in front of some type of large crowd, it takes some time getting used  to all of the decisions you have to make to be the best of the best in what you do for a living.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs can make first year decisions which can put a major dent in the first year of your new entrepreneurial venture.  Even someone who has a lot of corporate experience cannot understand the firefight of being a business owner until you have to meet your first payroll.One great idea my business partner and I have put into place in our business is the 48 hour rule.   We’ve set criteria around what a ‘key’ decision is for our business and once we have made a decision on the direction ...

Read More →

How do you build business when you go to networking events?

By Van Pappas, CFP ® I’ve been to many networking events in my life.  When I went to my first one, I asked myself what I wanted to get out of it.  Make a Sale? Meet more people?  Build my personal brand?  Even in this fast paced technological world, the old saying “people do business with people they know, like and trust” still holds true.  One of the best places to showcase yourself for this purpose is at a networking event.  So how do you build business when you are at a networking event? Active Listening While I have come up with a couple of variations of my elevator speech over the years, I have found that listening and asking the right questions is far more important.  Successful people listen to find out exactly what the other person is about.  The purpose of the event is to make connections and there is no better way to make a connection than ...

Read More →

Doing A Wedding On A Budget

Will you marry me?    That magical phrase is shared between two people in love every day whether it be on a baseball scoreboard or with the entire family watching on in the living room.    Today student debt for Generation Y graduates is approaching an all-time high.  About two-thirds of college grads in the Class of 2013 will graduate with some student loan debt. The average debt for these students is about $28,000. (source: www.usatoday.com).  The real question couples should be asking when they tie the knot is “Am I marrying you or your debt?”   It’s important to have these discussions as financial items including your credit score can have an impact on loan status and job employment as you grow your future together.    If you both agree that money is tight, what are the best ideas on how to do your wedding right but still have fun within a reasonable budget?   Here are five smart money moves tips for you ...

Read More →

3% Interest Rates Are Going, Going, Gone!

“The financial crisis that began in 2007 was the most intense period of global financial strains since the Great Depression, and it led to a deep and prolonged global economic downturn. The Federal Reserve took extraordinary actions in response to the financial crisis to help stabilize the U.S. economy and financial system. These actions included reducing the level of short-term interest rates to near zero. In addition, to reduce longer-term interest rates and thus provide further support for the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve has purchased large quantities of longer-term Treasury securities and longer-term securities issued or guaranteed by government-sponsored agencies such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Low interest rates help households and businesses finance new spending and help support the prices of many other assets, such as stocks and houses. By law, the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy to achieve maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates” (source: federalreserve.gov) Does this all mean as the economy ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 3 – Know Your Role As The Owner

As an entrepreneur starting a new business, you often have to wear the hat of cook, dishwasher, accountant, and general manager.   However, one of the biggest mistakes a young owner will make is not quickly clarify their role within the organization.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs will try to control every aspect of a new business which inevitably slows the growth of the organization.  In some cases, it can make hiring and training new people so difficult it can be destructive to the success of a company. One of things I recommend to new business owners is to draw a T chart with one axis being things you like to do and one access being tasks that you are good at.    What you should quickly try to figure out in the early stage of a new company is to list all of the items that you are good at and those tasks that you like to do.    After figuring out ...

Read More →

Why Your Kid Needs To Be On Social Media

I knew as soon as I wrote this title that it seems to defy Jenkin logic. Why in the world Ted does my kid need to be on Social Media? With all the Instagramming, Facebooking, and Twittering, do I really need my child exposed to more technology and creepazoids who are trolling the Internet? My general thought around this has historically been no, but it is becoming increasingly hard to avoid the allure of freebies that can come by simply being plugged into social media. For those that thought this was a fad, you are quickly seeing a transformation around the future of how our children will do much of their communication. How is it possible that having your kids connected to social media can make them more smart money moves in their life? Here are three examples of how this change occurs: Example 1: BurgerFi (In Restaurant Giveaways)– For the past few weekends, my family and I have tried ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series | Lesson 2: Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition. Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generations of revenue to pay the bills of the business. However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself. If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product or ...

Read More →

Can You Pay 0% Capital Gains Tax?

Most of us have heard through the major media outlets how tax law changes will adversely affect our overall income taxes here in 2013. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that when your expenses consistently exceed your revenue, cost cutting alone won’t improve your bottom line. This means that raising various types of taxes will definitely be one strategy to increase revenue in order to pay off the massive U.S. debt. The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 was passed by Congress on January 1st, 2013 and was only a partial resolution to the fiscal cliff; just wait until fiscal cliff part II which will look more like ‘Hangover Part II’, Mike Tyson tattoo and all. While the ATRA did impose more taxes on the upper end of the scale and raised capital gains taxes on the very upper end of the income brackets, there is a unique opportunity for many Americans to look at their overall ...

Read More →

Is It Time To Call Mr. Handyman?

Like many of you, my home is filled with different types of small appliances. When something major goes kaput in our homes like the air conditioning, the refrigerator, or the stove, we don’t really think twice about the cost of calling a repairperson. Many of us had some type of mini refrigerator in our college dorm rooms or possibly our first apartment, and many homes today carry lots of small appliances, whether in tricked out basements or in the master bedroom. This past week, we had a mini refrigerator die on us and became confronted with this very simple question. Should we get someone here to fix it or just buy a new one? What do mere mortals like us who can’t play Tim The Toolman, nor do they want to on a Saturday afternoon, do to fix the problem? I haven’t written a blog post on this yet, but it has occurred to me that some serious analysis should ...

Read More →

Are You Worried About A Stock Market Crash Again?

“Our imagination is the most important faculty we possess. It can be our greatest resource or our most formidable adversary. It is through our imagination that we discern possibilities and options. Yet imagination is no mere blank slate on which we simply inscribe our will. Rather, imagination is the deepest voice of the soul and can be heard clearly only through cultivation and careful attention”- Pat Allen (source: notable-quotes.com). Our brains are constantly being fed information about the stock market every day. The end is coming. The run will continue. Get in. Get out. For most of us, this noise can be information overload and send our brains into a virtual state of shock. With markets hitting all-time highs this year, many people have become concerned that we will see a repeat of dot-com bubble crash in 2000 and the recent 2008 market crash. So if you are worried about a 3rd Armageddon in the past 15 years, what smart ...

Read More →

How To Save Money On Shoes

Many women (and now men) have a decent shoe collection in their closet. As parents, we know that after spending lots of money on clothes for our kids, shoes can come in a close second for the family budget. Between growth spurts, general wear and tear, and special events, kids can change shoes faster than Vin Diesel drives in Fast 6! One of the smart money move habits we can all get into this year is thinking about using different strategies to reduce our shoe costs. Here are five of my tips on how to keep light on your feet while keeping your cash in the wallet. 1)   Buy Out Of Season– With most items we buy in life, buying during the peak season is primarily when you will pay the highest dollar amount for anything especially shoes. Most parents will begin the process of stocking up on school supplies and running their children over to the shoe store to ...

Read More →

Prepaid Option Or Fill It Up Before You Get To The Airport?

Now that Memorial Day has passed and summer is coming in full stride, many of us will go on some type of vacation for some fun in the sun.   If you end up renting a car, most agencies know that they are the last stop between you and your vacation.  Thus, you will most likely end up playing a game of rapid fire at the checkout counter, getting the keys to your rental car, as well as answering questions about insurance and gas options before you take the car.   One of the key questions that the rental car agency will ask you is, “Do you want the prepaid option for gas or do you want to fill it up yourself before you return?”    Hardly ever does anyone ask questions or do any type of analysis on this question, and it can cost you big money if you don’t answer it correctly.   So, here are four ‘smart money moves’ questions to ...

Read More →

National 529 Day

Today is National 529 Day.   Just another day on the calendar to get you thinking about how you will support your children’s college education.   I have noticed over the past several years that college education is one of the areas that people in their 40’s and early 50’s are WAY behind in when it comes to planned savings.   I’m also seeing much more discrepancies between spouses and partners alike about what is the best way to plan for this goal.  Should your kids go to an in-state school?  Should they go to the college of their choice?   Should you plan for an ivy league private school?   What happens if they just cross the border and go to a state school in a bordering state?   Imagine you get home from work one day and your child has the magical letter from that college or university that you both always dreamed they would attend?     Will you have a plan in place that ...

Read More →

What’s Next . . . Step On The Scale Please!

Making smart money moves are important within all facets of our lives. Although we often think about money when it comes to bills, purchases, and investments, our overall health and wellness can be one of the largest costs included in our overall budgets. Relative to this, our diets and the way we eat can have a major impact on our personal finances day in and day out. If we end up having diabetes, high blood pressure, or extremely high cholesterol, these health issues can cost us thousands of dollars each and every single year to treat. Several years ago, the USDA (www.usda.org) released a report that stated medical costs that come as a result of obesity related problems are about $10,000 higher than they are for those with a healthy normal weight. What would it mean to put $10,000 back in your cash reserve, your children’s 529 college education fund, or your retirement savings? Back in the early 1990’s, the ...

Read More →

Will You Lose Your Home Mortgage Deduction In 2013?

Last Friday, I spent a chunk of my day at the Georgia Regional Financial Planning Association conference. I was a panelist at the event, but one of the reasons I attended was to see a friend of mine Michael Kitces speak on all of the tax law changes here in 2013. He is one of the best tax management advisors that I know of in the industry. As I have shared before in my blogs, tax management will be as important if not more important than asset management over the next decade. With all of the recent fiscal cliff changes, the tax law has become even more complicated and requires a close eye here in 2013 when income to tracking your gross income, capital gain sales, and potentially triggering out things like stock options or selling a piece of rental real estate. One of the main questions taxpayers will face this this year is whether or not their home mortgage ...

Read More →

What do Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, and the word SALE have in common?

None of us like the idea of going bankrupt. The whole notion of losing all of our money or being in a financial position where we tell ourselves we have to give up and wave the white flag can be a simply awful feeling. We’ve seen over the past decade some colossal meltdowns of investments that, at first glance, appear to be bullet proof until they turned out to be massive Ponzi schemes and frauds such as in the cases of Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In the flick of a switch, those millions and millions of dollars in investments became a black hole of nothingness seemingly overnight. So what in the world do these guys and the world SALE have in common? In helping many people manage their budgets and family finances, words like SALE, FREE, and ZERO are some of the most dangerous words in the English language. If you’re not careful with how you make up your ...

Read More →

Summer Camps Mean Money Blues For Mom and Dad

The school year is rapidly approaching graduation season, which means for most parents’ the question of what to do with the kids for summer is looming in front of you.   Summer camps leave kids with memories of sleeping in bunk beds, learning to ride a horse, swing a tennis racket, or the time that their traveling baseball team won the state championship.     For parent’s today the cost of many full time day camps can cost $300 to $500 a week.    Sleep away camps can cost $10,000 or more.   Weekly specialty camps for sports like tennis, swimming, or golf can be extremely costly as well.    For many families, camp is not always a budgeting item that parents’ put as a line item in the beginning of the year.   Camps can often cause a dent in a parents’ cash reserve that they have to make up in the fall just in time to spend money for the holiday season.  What are some ...

Read More →

Preventive Medicine For Your Home

We all know that one the largest assets we will own in our lifetime is our home.   I’ve never really seen a ton of good articles on the cost of home ownership, but having personally owned over a half dozen homes, I can tell you that all homes required their fair share of upkeep.    Even though we may not be in the market to sell our homes, we are constantly watching the sale of our neighbors homes or checking out the prices on websites like Zillow to see where the value of our home stands.     We can convince ourselves that our home is in tip top shape until the time we get an offer on the home contingent on the dreaded home inspection.    A good home inspector gets paid in part to look within every nook and cranny in the house to find out what may be wrong with the property.    After the inspection, we can almost become incensed that ...

Read More →

Is Your Retirement Plan Full Of Swiss Cheese

Last year, I did a piece on retirement planning assumptions.    As I continue to see more and more plans done by other financial advisory firms, I become more concerned about consumers.    Most projections that are done in business or in your personal household need to carry assumptions.   These are the variables in the equation that allow to make a reasonable assessment about what needs to be done when you are trying to achieve your goals.  When you last did your projections for retirement through the tools offered from your 401(k) plan or the nifty 35 page book your financial advisor put together, are you sure the assumptions that were made were explained to you clearly?  You may have left feeling great about yourself only to realize now that your plan is full of gigantic Swiss cheese like holes.   Here are ten assumptions you need to consider within your plan.  I highly recommend as a smart money move you use conservative ...

Read More →

How to Complain the Right Way

Rule #1: The customer is always right. Rule #2: Refer to rule #1. For many years, large corporations have talked about the golden rule of customer service.    The golden rule is to make sure that no matter what the customer is always satisfied.    This has largely meant over the years that if a customer would complain about a dissatisfactory experience, someone on location or in customer service would figure out how to make it right.  They might even go above and beyond the call of duty to make some type of concession if there is a serious problem.  This usually leads to perhaps a free months’ worth of service, a discount on the next purchase, or free item.  However, rule #1 has gone by the wayside for many big companies recently that have lost the art of customer service.    This makes me wonder that perhaps we, as customers, have lost of the art of how to complain? Here’s a story ...

Read More →

Are Not For Profits Becoming For Profits?

There are many types of businesses that you can begin if you are thinking about starting a career change.   I’ve noticed as of late that more and more people are beginning not for profit organizations with the intent of really making a profit.  Seems like an oxymoron if you ask me, but doesn’t it make you wonder how many individuals work for any organization that is supposed to be in the business of not making a profit yet there are countless people employed by that organization that make six figure incomes? We wonder why college is becoming so expensive.   Colleges and universities are supposed to be nonprofit organizations.    These very colleges have billion dollar endowments, coaches that make millions of dollars a year and professors that are all earning six figure incomes.  Why shouldn’t they have to bear the same tax load as an organization as every other company does in America?   Look at the hospitals throughout our country that ...

Read More →

Georgia Came In Second To Last In The SEC?

At the end of 2012, the average national credit score in the United States was 696, but some states scored way above that average while others fell dismally short of the average. (source: equifax.com).    While the SEC has always been strong in college football and other athletics, the South came in at the very bottom when it comes to credit scores.  States such as Vermont and North Dakota were up in the 721 range, while Louisiana (669), Georgia (667), and Mississippi (661) were the three states at the bottom of the heap.    FICO scores can range between 250 and 850, and having a credit score above 750 has always been considered excellent while falling below 650 can be considered sub-prime when it comes to lending.   So, why did Georgia rank near the bottom and what can we do to fix it? 1. Pay off past due balances — Your payment history makes up roughly 35% of your overall credit score.    ...

Read More →

Beef Jerky, CVS, and a Pop Math Quiz

Since we are peppered with advertisements today for coupon, deals, and once in a lifetime offers, we all have to become smarter consumers and shoppers to make the best financial decisions in our lives.   However, since the amount of time we have to get basic tasks done seems to be shrinking every day, we can get trapped in convenience stores by the way they position and market products to us.   This past week, I saw a great example that I thought would be interesting to illustrate my point. I’ve grown a small addiction to beef jerky, turkey jerky, and any spicy flavor that they come up with these days.   If you enjoy eating jerky, you may have noticed the recent spike in prices at grocery and convenience stores alike.    I had a hankering for some jerky on the way home the other evening, so I stopped off at CVS to see which package of tasty treats I was going to ...

Read More →

Should My Wife Quit Her Job?

I saw this question on Yahoo the other day and thought how many times clients have asked me this question over the years.   It used to be a wife question, but there are many women who are doing incredibly well in the workforce so you have stay at home dads and moms alike today.  Here’s the question. . . .  My wife and I just had our second child and I work from home. She works in an office about 30 minutes away. I make approximately 2-3 times what she makes and now she went back to work and I stay at home with the kids and work but it is a nightmare. If we put the kids in daycare, it would cost us just about everything she takes home in a month so that’s not an option. The only thing is that she has very good medical benefits that would cost us $1000 or more per month regularly. We ...

Read More →

How To Pick A Credit Card

We often pull out our credit cards during this holiday season much like a Ninja warrior would unleash their Samurai sword from its sheath.   Credits cards can be our friend or our foe depending on how we choose to use this weapon.  During this peak month of shopping, every store you purchase merchandise from will tempt you with a big discount at the cash register to get a store card Johnny on the spot.  I’m not a big personal fan of carrying revolving credit card debt, and I don’t recommend it is a habit you get into within your financial life.  Going to work every day to pay obligations can lead to a high amount of stress.  Credit cards, when used appropriately, can actually help you in the positive column by potentially rewarding you with extra cash back, frequent flier miles, or some type of point structure to redeem prizes behind door number three.   So, how do you actually pick ...

Read More →

Is Georgia One Of The Best Tax States To Retire In Today?

Inevitably all of us have the dream of being able to make work optional. I’ve written lots of articles regarding the subject of retirement, but as we approach another Presidential election you may need to consider which state to live in when it comes to saving money in taxes. Outside of how you like the overall lifestyle of the state in which you live, where your family resides, and other factors, taxation certainly should be in the top five list on where you choose to make your final place of residence. Since states are changing their laws all the time, I wanted to share that I think Georgia will continue to be a top ten player for retirees over the next twenty years. I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Susan Garland who is the editor for the retirees section of Kiplinger and we had a candid conversation around their article of the 10 most friendly tax ...

Read More →

Credit Card Ramadan

I really don’t know a ton about the whole concept of Ramadan besides what I have read.  However, the part of this ritual which is most interesting to me is the idea of a long term fasting period.  Though fasting is generally discussed to be only for adults, children as young as the age of eight willingly participate in this long term tradition.   This whole idea of fasting is an interesting concept at it relates to how you look at your financial picture.  With Credit Card debts continuing to reach all time highs, I thought it would be interesting to discuss what a 30 day credit card Ramadan might look like and what it could mean to uncovering what is really going on with your money. What would the concept of a financial credit card Ramadan look like?   Well, we have become so accustomed to doing everything we do today through the swipe of card.    You go out for a ...

Read More →

What Not To Eat In Your Car

The exciting part of writing my own blog is that I get to comment on a few silly topics from time to time. Most of these come from observations I have just watching people through the daily trials and tribulations of life. Having been in and around salespeople the past 21 years, I have witnessed many a salesperson trying to fit in a lunch or dinner while driving on the road hustling to make it to their next appointment. Sometimes at the end of the week, you can ascertain pretty quickly where you stopped to eat by checking out the stains on your clothes as you bag them for the dry cleaner. As most of you know, dry cleaning bills can add up pretty quickly between the shirts and suits you drop them off for cleaning every week. Before I give you my list of what not to eat in your car, let’s set some ground rules. If you are ...

Read More →

How Much Does Your Community Benefit From You Spending $100

I recently came across a staggering article around what is deemed today as Marketplace Fairness.    The 2012 International Council Of Shopping Centers had a promotional infographic regarding the following question . . . How Much Does Your Community Benefit From You Spending $100?    What they found is that a local retailer was able to retain about $68 within your community.    If A National Retailer moved in they were able to retain $43 within your community.   However, the most silent killer of all was the online retailer who retained $0 within your community.    In fact, the article went on to demonstrate that for every $1 million dollars of sales, a local retailer was able to create 4 jobs whereas an online retailer was only able to create 1 additional job.  It’s likely that one job isn’t in your community. Sometimes a bargain isn’t always what it seems.    Since online merchants aren’t currently required to charge sales tax, local retailers can be ...

Read More →

4 Tax Law Changes We Need To Make Permanent

With the presidential election beginning to heat up in America over the next several months, we are all going to hear a lot about income taxes.  We all know that with thousands of pages of tax code, it is impossible for the average citizen to really understand all of the different ways they can save money in taxes.  There are many tax law changes set to take effect in 2013.   If I had the opportunity to set the wheels in motion to make some tax law changes that would be permanent and easy to understand, here are four of them that I would recommend we change to become permanent. 1. Social Security Taxation –   From the day you begin working and earning waged income, 6.2% of your paycheck (the last couple of years 4.2%) goes toward your future social security benefits.    This is also known as your Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax.     You only see the 6.2% that comes ...

Read More →

I’m a Freelancer – Should I Set Up a Corporation?

If you are starting a business as a freelancer, you have a choice of the legal type of business structure (entity) that you choose. There are advantages and disadvantages among becoming a Subchapter S Corporation, a C Corporation, a Limited Liability Corporation, a Sole Proprietor, or a Partnership. Since there are both legal and tax implications attached to each type, it is best to get your lawyer, financial advisor, and/or accountant involved in the decision making process. Most people want to pay a little tax as possible, and incur the least amount of paperwork overhead when running their own business. In this article we will detail the facts that you need to consider, along with their consequences, so you can have a good starting point of reference when you meet with your legal and tax professionals. About Being A Sole Proprietor This type of entity will happen de facto if you choose no other form of entity for your business. ...

Read More →

Can Tom Cruise Teach Us About Divorce?

We all know divorce can be a costly process no matter where you are financially in your life.   With the recent break up of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, there is another Paparazzi story brewing on how much it will cost Mr. Mission Impossible to make this divorce possible.   Famous comedian and movie star Robin Williams once said, “I believe the word divorce comes from the Latin for a man having his genitals ripped out from his wallet.” (source: telegraph.co.uk)    So what smart money moves can we learn from the third divorce Tom Cruise is going through with Katie Holmes?  Well, here are four financial ideas to potentially help you if you have to go through separating your assets in a divorce? Try To Minimize Legal Fees – Going through a divorce will be hard enough on you emotionally.   If you and your ex can maintain a reasonably amicable relationship, you could save more than 50% of your legal costs ...

Read More →

Is It Time To Negotiate Your Next Purchase?

Over the past ten years, we’ve seen the proliferation of shopping websites all competing for our business.    There are websites where we can quickly compare the different prices from different vendors whether it is buying a television or a washer and dryer.    They say in life that everything is negotiable and I recently had a chance to see a new website called Netotiate. Netotiate allows you to not only price shop a given purchase, but it actually allows you to go one on one with the vendor negotiating with them on that particular item.   The first thing you do on the website it to pick a product.  Netoitate not only shops for that specific item, but then gives you an opportunity to work with specific store owners who are willing to haggle on the price.     You give the price that you would like to pay for that item to the store owner and Netoitate will tell you the odds that ...

Read More →

When Smaller Saved Us Money

I live in Atlanta, so I do my very best to try to see all of the tourist attractions within my hometown city. Some people call them staycations, but there are really many day trips you can take to enjoy local attractions — especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. My wife and I happened to go to the High Museum to check out one of the special venues in the city of Atlanta. The pieces within the museum are a wonderful juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary art. We went specifically because there was an exhibition contrasting photographs of New York City and different parts of the South, including New Orleans. When we were browsing through the different photographs of people and places, there was one photo of an entire block of stores in New York City in the 1960s. What was so amazing is that amongst the dozen or so stores in the photograph, not one of ...

Read More →

What Can Go Wrong With Buying A Short Sale?

Anytime a buyer has a binding contract on a short sale they run the risk of the seller’s lender not approving the short sale.  Having negotiated hundreds of short sales, we’ve compiled a few other situations that all buyers and potential buyers need to be aware of since they could affect the outcome. Closing Costs:  Lenders follow very stringent guidelines for how much they will pay in closing costs.  You see, the lender pays the closings costs, not the seller.  The seller does not have money to pay closing costs.  The lender is already facing a loss in accepting a payoff for less than is owed, so they want to minimize their other costs as much as possible. The buyer’s lender should be familiar with the rules the shorting lenders follow for determining what they will pay in closing costs and should take this into account when doing a pre-qualification or pre-approval .  For example, if the shorted loan is ...

Read More →

Who Will Take Care Of Mom and Dad?

Haven’t you been sitting around with your brother(s) and sister(s) and had the infamous discussion on who ranks where on Mom and Dad’s favorite list.   While siblings usually joke around who is at the top of the ladder, usually someone cracks the comment, “I’m sure they cut me out of the will years ago.”   For Generation X’ers, you are probably beginning to see the early stages of your parents slowing down or perhaps one of them had a mild health scare over the last five years that got you thinking who is going to take of Mom and Dad?    Before each one of your brothers and sisters rush to put their finger on their nose and scream “NOT IT!”, it may be time to have a serious discussion about who will bear the responsibility should your Mom and Dad need someone by their side for financial or medical decisions. I believe that over the next 5 to 10 years, the ...

Read More →

How Can My Portfolio Completely Avoid Risk?

With Moody’s Investment Service downgrading more than a dozen global banks to reflect declining profitability, the Euro Zone looking to be in grave financial crisis, and the U.S. Economy having a gloomy shadow in the distance, many investors are asking how to find investments that carry no risk.    Some of these investors are folks that are retired and looking for current income while others are at the 20 yard line approaching the end zone of their retirement day.    So where do you find an investment that carries no risk? Unfortunately, every single type of investment carries some inherent risk.    Learning how to balance out that risk or being timely with your investments on knowing what risks to take at what time can ultimately determine success or failure in your overall investment plan.   When it comes to today’s main risks facing investors, here are the three big I’s with respect to investing and risk. Inflation Risk– Inflation risk, sometimes known as ...

Read More →

How Does Boredom Equal Making Money?

Have you ever heard that phrase, “you should try to be brilliant at being boring?”   With all of the technological advances in computers, hundreds of channels on the cable TV, and music any way that you want it, don’t you find more people quickly getting bored at what they do?    People surf the internet looking for that funny new You Tube video, only to be quickly bored and searching for their next two minutes of laughter.    Every night, loyal Facebook members log in to check out the days events looking for a quick picture of their friends, and then shut themselves down after reading 10 or 20 posts unless something really catches their attention.    With nothing to do, Twitter in its own right is simply a way for many to just idly throw their thoughts our there if they’ve got nothing better to do.     Does all of this instant excitement make it harder for people to go to work without ...

Read More →

5 Homemade Gifts For Under 5 Dollars

With Mother’s Day just past us and Father’s Day around the corner, those of us that have kids look forward to getting some type of handmade card or some ceramic object that we aren’t sure whether they are supposed to be a mug or a tray to hold our jewelry.    However, with money still being tight across America, is there a way to use your imagination to make some cool gifts while keeping money in your pockets.  I’ve scoured dozens of different sites, and here are five cool gifts that you could make for under $5. 1.) Candles With Personalized Printing– If you stop in a high end store like Jonathan Adler, a scented candle can cost you almost $60.  By getting a candle and a stamp pad you could make something really cool for almost any occasion! (source: The 36th Avenue) 2.) The Photo Jar- Who needs a pricy frame from Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel when you ...

Read More →

Your Butt Dialing Costs Us All Big Money

We’ve all done it before.    It’s that infamous term people call ‘pocket dialing’ or ‘butt dialing’.   It’s that time when you get a call from someone unexpected and after the third time you’ve said ‘hello’, you realize that the phone calling you from the other end is lodged somewhere deep in the pocket of somebody else who has no idea you are eaves dropping on their conversation.    It can be embarrassing at times.    Remember that morning after where you check the sent and received calls from the night before and aren’t quite sure why you called three or four of the names on the list.   Pocket dialing can be a costly ‘un’smart money move especially if you leave the wrong message for the wrong person at the wrong time.  Recently, I read a story about how this phenomenon is costing us all big money. Nearly 40% of the time a New York City dispatcher answers a 911 call, there’s no ...

Read More →

Does Your 401(k) Offer An “In Service” Distribution?

For Generation X clients, the majority of their retirement savings are in the company 401(k).   While you do have a multitude of options of what you can do with your 401(k) if you leave your employer, often people feel like they are stuck if they stay with the same employer for a long period of time.  This is especially true with larger companies as most of those plans offer a limited number of investment choices and several target retirement funds.     I’m amazed that many people I sit down have never heard of whether their company offers an in service withdrawal or an in service distribution which can give them greater investment control of their 401(k) assets.    Since we have had two major market meltdowns over the past 12 years, 401(k)’s offer limited power to help you risk mitigate against a market crash.   This is why you need ask your employer today, do we offer an in service distribution? So, just ...

Read More →

Please Slap My Hand When I Spend Money!

For Generation X, I’ve noticed something over the past couple of years around money that seems to becoming a trend.    Even though you are college educated (maybe an MBA), have a great job as a VP of company, and have traveled to several countries around the globe, you’ve reverted to the behavior you had when you were in college.   The simple rule is this.  If there is money in your pocket, then it’s sure to catch fire sooner than later and burn a hole in your pocket.    It doesn’t matter if it is a new pair of boots you see in a magazine, a remodeling of your bathroom that could probably wait, or staying at the best hotels like a Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons.   Gen X’ers have seen a terrible recession over the past few years, but the trend is returning that spending money is a hard habit to break.   Gen X’ers have that Cyndi Lauper slang in ...

Read More →

The Key Differences Between Index Funds & Traditional Mutual Funds

Kalen Smith writes about investing, retirement, and economic policy on Money Crashers Personal Finance. For the sake of convenience, many investors do not look to manage their own portfolios or choose their own investments. Investors who don’t want to take the time to manage their own portfolios may be interested in purchasing shares in either an actively managed mutual fund or in an index fund. Although both types of funds seek to make things easier for investors, they have different objectives that may make one more appropriate than the other for certain investors. Differences Between Index Funds & Actively Managed Mutual Funds An index fund is set up to match the performance of a particular index, such as the S&P 500. The fund accomplishes this by simply purchasing the same investments in the index it represents, and since the securities in many indices stay relatively constant, there is no need for frequent buying and selling of index fund holdings. An ...

Read More →

The Government Likes Annuities Now?

As all of us know, the idea of working for one company for 20 or 30 years is a dream most of won’t ever realize in our lifetimes.   Historically, if you worked for one company for your whole career, you could retire with a pension.   A pension is really another similar term for the word annuity which means that you would receive a consistent stream of income for the rest of your life that you could not outlive.   In many cases, you can also get a spousal option to have the annuity continue upon your death to your spouse even if for a reduced amount of income. As pension plans have largely been replaced over the past 25 years with the 401(k) savings plan, the combination of employee/employer savings rates and overall rates of return have led many people to having a 201(k) at this point in their lives.   With ‘retirement’ lurking in the not too far distant future, many ...

Read More →

5 Tax Mistakes Business Owners Make

Part of putting together an effective tax management strategy is gaining an understanding of what you can and cannot deduct from your tax return.   I see business owners that make mistakes every single day.  Every CPA or accountant seems to have a slightly different slant on the tax code, but here are a few that may be able to help you increase your bottom line as you grow your business. Wrong Entity Structure – If you are getting into business for the first time, it’s really important to sit down with someone qualified to discuss entity structure.    The reality is that you can set up your business as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability Corporation, S-Corporation, C-Corporation, or having multiple structures depending on how many businesses and whether real estate you own will be involved with the business.   Since these entities all work slightly different, a huge tax mistake I see owners make is having the wrong structure for the ...

Read More →

Suze Orman’s New Prepaid Debit Card – Is it really a good thing for consumers?

It’s official.   Suze Orman is now in the game of selling financial products to consumers.    This past week she launched her new card called “The Approved Card” which is supposed to be a low cost alternative to other pre-paid debit cards in the market place.    While Suze gets on television to espouse the latest and greatest ways to make good decisions for your financial future, is a prepaid debit card something consumers need to make their financial picture better? Let me remind you some important notes about Suze Orman.  First and foremost that she isn’t a licensed financial advisor.    In fact, she hasn’t had a securities license since May of 1991.   There are tens of thousands of hard working licensed financial advisors out there trying to help clients every day.   While she spends countless numbers of hours on television trying to tell consumers to stay away from ‘high-priced’ products and avoiding paying people fees and/or commissions, it’s ironic that she ...

Read More →

Your Kid Has An I-Phone. Who Pays The Data Plan?

I’m pretty sure Apple can’t be hurting even though Steve Jobs is not at the helm anymore.   My kid’s went back to school last week and mentioned to meet the glut of Apple products that other students got from Santa Clause over the holiday season.    Apparently, even the elementary students stocked up on I-Pads, I-Touch, and the middle/high school students racked up on the I-Phones.     We all know that none of these technology gadgets are cheap to buy.    However, one of the topics that people don’t like to discuss is who will bear the cost for the data plan.  This is where the real dollars and cents add up over the long term. Parents will have varying opinions on this, but I’m of the opinion that when you child hits high school that you want to have them own part of the monthly data plan.  Each year that they get older, you should have them bear more and more of ...

Read More →

How Much Should I Leave For A Tip?

Even though I have workaholic issues, I did manage to do a few fun things with my family over the holidays.   We caught some movies, saw an Atlanta Hawks basketball game, went to the Peach Drop, and most certainly managed to eat out at some local restaurants.    Every once in a while, I’m just befuddled on how we got to where we got to in America.   There are large issues politically and financially that are facing us, but it just wouldn’t be a smart money moves column if I didn’t gripe just a little bit about the whole notion of ‘gratuity added’ on my bill at the restaurant. First off, let’s remind everyone just what the word ‘tip’ means as it pertains to leaving extra money at the end of a meal at a restaurant.  Dictionary.com defines tip as a small present of money given directly to someone for performing a service or task.   In most countries, tipping is not ...

Read More →

When Are Companies Going To Learn To Just Shoot Straight?

I’m excited that 2012 is here and consumers are starting to realize that they can win the money battle when they know something is just flat out wrong with a new offering from their provider.    Large companies need to begin to realize that the consumer today is evolving.   They don’t mind paying a fair price for a good product or service.  Sometimes they will even pay a premium if the value is created for them.   However, what they won’t put up with anymore are these made up fees that are broadly titled like they are doing something good for the consumer when in reality it is just another tack on fee to add to the bottom line.    All companies need to understand that the consumer can handle that prices will go up.   They just want to know what it is without any gimmicks or tricks in a straight forward way.   Instead, we keep getting these insulting fees added to bills ...

Read More →

What will you do with 2% more in your paycheck?

If Santa Clause didn’t come down your chimney with anything good this year, Congress has decided to give you a stocking stuffer for the New Year.   With nearly 160 million workers that will benefit from the extension of the reduced payroll tax that passed just before Christmas, it’s time to figure out whether you’ll be naughty or nice with your gift.   The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act temporarily extends the two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, continuing the reduction of your Social Security withholding rate from 6.2% to 4.2% of wages paid through February 29th, 2012.  (source: www.irs.gov) Of course, this is supposed to have no effect on your future Social Security benefits.  Yeah, right! If you weren’t aware, this payroll tax cut was in effect for all of 2011.   This means that for those who earned W-2 income last year up to your first $106,800 of waged income, you actually got a 2% pay raise in ...

Read More →

Charitable deductions – Are these meant for donations inside our country or outside of our country?

I happened to be watching 60 minutes the other evening with another interview with President Obama.   After the interview, they did a short piece on Howard Buffett who is slated to take over as Chairman of the Board for Berkshire Hathaway in the near future.     Mostly, the story was about Howard being a farmer and the great charitable work he is doing around the world.    They discussed that Warren Buffett gave over 31 billion dollars to the Bill Gates foundation which is also spending a great deal of money helping those that are underprivileged around the world. While I was watching the program, several things occurred to me that I thought might of interest for the smart money moves readers.  First and foremost, it seems to me that we are very concerned with how to raise more revenue in this country to balance out our budget.   Part of the proposed solution is to potentially increase the estate or death tax ...

Read More →

5 year-end tax strategies for your small business

It’s that time of year to start thinking about your 2011 taxes and what moves you might be able to make to save in taxes! Here are 5 ways to cut your 2011 business taxes: 1. Equipment Deductions – The legislation enacted at the end of 2010 already provides a very generous write-off for business owners in 2011. Buy your new equipment and place it in service before 2012. You can combine an enhanced Section 179 deduction with “bonus depreciation”. For 2011, the maximum deduction for qualified equipment is a staggering $500,000 and does not phase out until $2,000,000. The bonus depreciation for the equipment, which was previously 50%, increases to 100% for qualified assets acquired and placed in service before the end of 2012. Since it is expected that these two breaks will be downsized in 2012, take advantage of this tax break before 2011 is over! 2. Bad Debts – Most business owners have the most trouble collecting ...

Read More →

The New Rule: Field Goal Bill Paying

Nobody likes paying bills.   Not longer than a few years ago, most people met the end of the month with the dreaded feeling of writing out checks and licking the back of envelopes—UGH!.   Over the past five years, many people in the United States have transitioned their bills from the check stuffing days to now merely having to fill in an amount and simply point and click.   With some providers sending you an e-bill alert now, you may not even have to remember when to pay the bill. I’ve learned over the past couple of years that the next generation of bill payers (your Generation X and Generation Y crowd) uses something that I like to call the Field Goal Rule when it comes to deciding whether or not to click the ‘pay now’ button.   Here’s how the rule works.   When a particular bill comes such as cable television, cell phone, or local water bill comes, a bill payer has ...

Read More →

5 Reasons You Aren’t Rich . . . Yet

Everybody at some point of their life has that dream of having enough money to do whatever they want whenever they want irrespective of cost.   Well, even if you do think about cost, that idea of becoming rich enough to walk in and tell your boss this is your very last day.   If you want to get rich, here are five things that may be in getting in your way from achieving financial independence, purpose, and freedom. You care what your neighbor’s think–  There are still many people holding on to their overpriced real estate waiting for it to come back.   In the meantime, the mortgage along with all the fixins you really couldn’t afford when you bought that house are killing your bottom line.    I believe most people are hanging on to those properties today along with the country club membership because of their egos and fear about what their neighbors will think.   It’s hard to swallow your price ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101- Generation X Series- You Won’t Make Hay Forever

Generation X is classically defined at people born between the years 1965 and 1979.    Pretty much those of you in your early 30’s to the mid 40’s.  However, having given personal financial advice to thousands of people, I can tell you that many of you who were born 1960 to 1964 fit within the Generation X type of financial and personal attitude.   In week two, I wanted to share with you the attitude you need to have as the CEO of your family finances called  – you won’t make hay forever. Since many of you either just celebrated your 20 year college reunion or your 20 year high school reunion, it is always a life moment that gives you a chance to pause and reflect.   Could you remember those days in high school or college where you didn’t have any money, and worked just hard enough to afford some beer money for the weekend or a tank of gas for ...

Read More →

Is An Equity Indexed Annuity A Good Idea?

With all of the ups and downs in the stock market, many investors have been asking this question, “Is there a way to make money in the stock market and still have a way not to lose my principal is the market goes down?”    While investment companies have scrambled to find different investment solutions to help the baby boomers with this particular issue, the sales of a product called an equity indexed annuity have been booming.  An equity-indexed annuity is an annuity that earns interest that is linked to a stock or other equity index. One of the most commonly used indices is the Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Stock Price Index (the S&P 500).   It can be a very complex choice on whether to purchase one of these products in your portfolio. Note: (all information below was taken directly from www.finra.org) What is an Annuity? An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company in which the ...

Read More →

5 Ways To Make More Money Now

If you can’t decrease your overall expenses, then maybe it’s time to figure out how to start making more money.   You could change careers.   You could pick up a second job.  Or, you could really dig in to the many different sites on the internet to try to pick up some spare change.    Many people I know give away items in their home thinking there is no value to what’s in the junk drawer.   Perhaps you have books, cd’s, or old items sitting on some shelves in your basement.   Either way, here are five ideas for you to pick up some money now to pay some of those late bills, or stash some cash for upcoming holiday season. DVD’s and CD’s –   When DVD’s first came out, everyone was collecting their favorite flicks.  Now, almost everyone I know has a cabinet full of movies including Scarface, Caddyshack, and whatever else came in that first six DVD’s for a penny deal.  ...

Read More →

Resell Your Coupons?

Are you one of those people who bought a big entertainment book that sat in your glove compartment until the end of the year when you realized you used only three coupons?  Or worse yet, did you recently spend money on a Groupon that you swore you would use only to let the money dwindle down the drain?  Once you buy a super deal voucher whether it is from Groupon or another coupon site, what do you do with it if you simply aren’t going to use it?    I guess you could put it on eBay, Craigslist, or just write it off as a loss.   However, a whole number of coupon / deal reseller sites have cropped up today to allow you to sell your deal to another willing buyer. Deals Go Round (www.dealsgoround.com), is labeled as a site where daily deals get a 2nd chance.   This site allows you to set up a deal wallet to allow you to ...

Read More →

Are Diamonds as an investment an alternative to the stock market and gold?

During a time when the only thing for certain seems to be economic uncertainty, have you considered investing in diamonds? For months now, you’ve watched your stocks and other investments see-saw while watching gold prices rise. Now, more than ever, is the right time for a diamond investment. After all, wouldn’t it be great to enjoy a diamond both to wear in a piece of jewelry and for investment purposes?! The diamond investment market has seen a robust recovery since the economic collapse devastated the luxury goods market just a few years ago. Numerous factors play into rising prices, but among the most significant is the recent news of De Beers cutting diamond mining production. With a marked increase in demand from China and diamond supplies simply drying up, De Beers has reduced production in order to extend the life of their mines. As a result, we expect to see prices continue climbing as the divide between supply and demand ...

Read More →

The Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous

I hoped the title of this article would grab your attention because it is really about you and your neighbors.    This article is about you and your friends from college.    It is about you and your family members.   It is about time that we all say enough is enough and drop that front we are all putting up about how we can keep up with the rich and famous.  That we can keep up with what our neighbor’s are doing with these lavish kitchens, movie rooms, and fancy backyards.   That we can match everything that all of our college friends are doing financially.    The modern day rich and famous have led many people in mainstream America down the path of struggling and not so famous.   Yet, we hide behind our egos just to make sure nobody knows the real situation. I get the luxury of seeing hundreds of financial cases every year which is why I wanted to write this ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series Lesson 10 – Passion, Persistence, and Perseverance

Lessons one through nine of my entrepreneur series were lessons extracted from my own business and other business owners across the country over the past twenty years.   Undoubtedly in your first year of business, you will make your fair share of mistakes like anyone starting a new venture.   There are so many valuable pieces of wisdom to learn as an entrepreneur, but here are my big three traits you must have to truly succeed in your business. Passion – Many business ventures people conjure up in their heads often revolve around the dreams of making a lot of money.  While building your wealth can be an outcome of a successful entrepreneurial pursuit, passion around your dreams is what will get you through the good times and the bad times.   When you get out of bed every day with emotions that are so compelling around what you are doing, it becomes easy to motivate others to get excited around that dream.    ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101 – College Education Planning – What kinds of money are available?

Last article we talked about FAFSA forms, federal student loans, and the process of when you should be filing for financial aid.   Many people get confused from the multitude of different loans that are available to them.   In my opinion, the massive federal deficit we are in now will only shrink the available amount of loans for students in the future.   It is important to understand how these loans work so you can set up the very best program for money that will need to be borrowed during your children’s college years. It is important to remember that this is a major difference between a grant and a loan.   A grant is something that does not have to be repaid whereas a loan is something that does have to be repaid.   Since there are a half dozen different types of grants and loans, do your own due diligence on how much free money you can get.    Here are some highlights ...

Read More →

Should you buy a ‘combined’ insurance policy?

As technology changes, we are always looking for the latest and best upgrades so we are on the cutting edge.  Just like the technology sector,  the world of insurance policy design and implementation is constantly changing.  One of the most recent designs to hit the market is buying something called a combined insurance policy.    This kind of insurance policy is typically a cash value type life insurance policy combined with a long-term care rider.    Is this a good idea to combine both into one policy, or should you be looking at two separate policies to cover these risk management needs within your financial plan? Families have always bought life insurance (term or permanent insurance) over the years to cover for the short and long term needs in the event of a premature death of one of the partners our spouses in a family unit.  The amount of insurance a family needs has been long debated, but it’s best to use ...

Read More →

Retirement Is A Washed Up Word

I’m going to perform a small magic trick here at Your Smart Money Moves.   I am going to help you reduce a huge amount of stress with the wave of my magic wand.    I want to officially retire the word ‘retirement’, and poof there it is — gone!   Now, you don’t have to worry about what date you have to retire. According to Webster’s dictionary, the word retirement means “to withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.”    The etymology dictionary (www.etymonline) traces the word retirement back to the 1640’s.    Germany was the first country to make the word somewhat popular in the 1880’s.     The United States didn’t really start thinking about the world retirement until the 1930’s, and you didn’t see the term ‘retiree’ in our vocabulary until 1945.   Now, the word retirement means many different things to all walks of people in the United States.    In the financial services world, it is the calculation of ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business including marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly sub par.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to ...

Read More →

I am officially couponed out!

I don’t think couponed out is a real phrase.   But if it was, that is exactly how I think most of us would be feeling these days from the onslaught of daily deals we get.    Many years ago, I remember my Mom picking up the Sunday newspaper to pull out the coupon section to begin clipping.   Coupons were neatly laid out in one section of the newspaper, and you could quickly cut out the five or ten that you thought you would use for your Sunday grocery shopping.  Every once in a while in the Parade magazine insert there was an additional coupon for something like coffee or yogurt that you could add to little pile of coupons.  Putting that scissor to the Sunday paper was almost cathartic in nature as you could feel the savings coming in your pocket.   When you went food shopping, the supermarket may have also had its own insert that you put in your shopping ...

Read More →

Personal Finance – 101 – College Education Planning – The timer is winding down

A few weeks ago I wrote two articles outlining the types of assumptions you should consider for college education within your overall financial plan.   I also shared a number of different savings vehicles you could use to park away dollars for this goal.    As you get closer to this goal, remember it is important to pull back on the risk in the investments you take.   Several years ago in 2008, many parents got hurt because the funds they saved for college were nearly cut in half when the stock market dropped by 50%. Beyond your savings, your other consideration is to decide how you might fill the gap between what you saved for your kid’s college education, and what it will cost between tuition, room, board, fees, etc.   While all of us can only hope our child wins an academic or athletic scholarship, it is best to plan conservatively and assume you will have to design a strategy to save ...

Read More →

As Coffee Prices Go Up . . .

In the past year, the price of a pound of coffee beans has more than doubled on the commodities market in New York, to $2.23 a pound as of Thursday, May 24th of this year.  Roiled by everything from changes in the Brazilian crop to the cost of transportation from Africa to increasing demand from a growing middle class in China and India, the fuel of choice for many has become so precious there are reports of thieves stealing containers of beans at ports or even stripping trees in the fields. (source: m.knoxnews.com) What it has meant to most of us is that cups of coffee you get at Starbuck’s or Dunkin’ Donuts will be rising as well as the coffee you bring home in the supermarket. So what can you do to make a smart money moves during times when your favorite beverage of the day is soaring through the roof? Save last night’s coffee –  The apple must ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101 – College Education Planning – What Types Of Savings Vehicles Can You Use? —

Last week I discussed some of the assumptions you should be thinking about when it comes to planning for the goal of paying for your children’s college education.    Once you figure out the important metrics for each child on how much money you need to save monthly, the next step is to determine which of the myriad savings vehicles out there will serve you best in reaching your goal.   Since the tax laws and legal laws are different from state to state, I highly recommend you consult a financial advisor and/or a CPA before you make any final decisions as each of vehicles have tax and/or control implications down the road.    Here are few types of options that you may consider when investing your lump sum or monthly savings. 529 Plan Or Prepaid Plan – 529 Plans are usually where I get the biggest questions when it pertains to college planning.   Essentially, 529 plans are a way to save after-tax ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 2 – Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition.   Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generation of revenue to pay the bills of the business.   However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself.   If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product ...

Read More →

Is Multi Level Marketing A Good Business?

I can still remember being in my freshman year at Boston College when someone called upon me to share in the money making opportunity of a lifetime called the ‘money tree’.     It sounded like a great idea because you could really help people help other people make money.   Essentially, the person recruiting you asked you to give them $50, and then your job was to recruit 10 people who gave you $50.   You get to be in the club once you give your recruiter the $50.  It went something like that, but what I remember most is that it seemed like a good idea that all I had to do was give $50, and then simply recruit a few others to make $500.   The hard part of actually having to recruit people to give you the $50 is where the rubber meets the road in these types of schemes. Multi level marketing has been around for a long time.   Amway ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101 – College Education Planning – What Are Your Assumptions?

You get home from work one day and your child has the magical letter to open from that college or university that you both always dreamed they would attend.   It’s possible the school is your alma mater or perhaps it is the Ivy League university you always thought your child was possible of being a part of for the next four years.   As you open the letter, you read that your child has been ‘accepted’ into the new freshmen class.  You begin to realize that maybe you haven’t done your homework on how you are going to pay for the college education.  Over the next four weeks, I will examine some of key areas you need to be thinking about when you plan for this type of financial goal. Many financial plans that I see done on families often use blanket assumptions.   When you start thinking about college education planning, it is important to have lengthy discussion with your financial ...

Read More →

Can Reality TV Save You Money?

I don’t watch a ton of reality television, but I guess it is hard to ignore that more than half the programming on network and cable channels alike are reality based.   Programs about housewives, chefs, real estate agents, swamp guys, aspiring musicians, pregnant teenagers, and people all living in a house together somewhere.  That’s true unless you watch hoarders which means those that were living in that house are now buried underneath some rancid lettuce, an old board game of Chutes and Ladders, and a lifetime supply of Good Housekeeping magazines.    Doesn’t it seem like the reality television boom is out of control?    What can we learn from this that can save us money?   Here is my official thought.   No need to pay for therapy ever again because there are three opinions I have formed from watching these shows. 1) We are all insecure –  I truly believe that we all have insecurities of some type.   For some people they ...

Read More →

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Have you ever heard that saying that money can burn a hole in your pocket?   Although you can find many different meanings for this expression, over the past decade I have seen spending run out of control on a personal level.   Eating out using to a perk for most families, and now an $80 meal during the week is the norm.    Picking up a luxury item only happened on special days like holidays or birthdays, but now people buy them whenever they are in the mood.   We have been conditioned over the past decade to always make sure we get the BEST!   Of course, why wouldn’t any of want the best if we could afford to buy it with our hard earned money. Credit cards have given many people power.    When you have money in the bank you feel like you have power.  With just a swipe of your debit card, you have the power.   Yes, because you have money ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101 – Your Benefits Package At Work: The Extras

One of the most overlooked parts of an overall financial plan is the benefits package you receive from your employer.   Last week I reviewed the area of disability insurance and how to best protect your overall income.    Depending on the size of the company where you are employed, you will find many different types of unique benefits.   Each of these benefits can be easy to gloss over come open enrollment season, but analyzing your overall budget and how these benefits fit in with your plan can be paramount to reaching overall success.  Here are handful extra benefits you may have that should be examined. Legal Plan – A basic legal plan through your employee benefits package can cover many items including legal consultations, wills (including certain types of trusts), living wills, powers of attorneys, deeds, and potentially more based upon the type of overall plan.   If you carefully consider the years you may need these types of legal services, it ...

Read More →

I Like My Wallet

Google announced Thursday of last week that they wanted their Google powered cell phone to be your new wallet.  They essentially announced that a new payment system will link your smartphone to your credit card or a reloadable prepaid credit card.  The new product is called Google Wallet, and it lets a shopper pay for purchases and access promotional offers right on his or her personal smartphone.   This type of technology is widely used in Asia and several other countries. (www.ajc.com) STOP!  Stop right there in your tracks!   I am here for the record to say that I truly like my Wallet.  Now, I don’t quite carry a George Constanza wallet on me, but there is a magical moment that happens when you get to take out your wallet, peek inside to see all of your cards and money, and then prominently display your payment method to the merchant of your choice.    As I mentioned in one of my recent ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101 – Your Benefits Package At Work: Disability Insurance

One of the most overlooked parts of an overall financial plan is the benefits package you receive from your employer.   Last week I reviewed the areas of life insurance.    For younger employees, the area of income protection can often be far more important than the area of life insurance.   This week, I will cover how to analyze the group protection you have at work for disability insurance.  If your employer doesn’t offer this coverage currently, it should be at the top of your list to get yourself some individual disability insurance coverage.   Disability coverage can be some of the most confusing coverage to understand, and the real details about your policy are within the benefits manual you receive from your employer. You will generally have two types of coverage through your employer.   Your short term disability (STD) coverage will normally take effect somewhere from 0 to 14 days after your disability, and may last somewhere up to six months to ...

Read More →

What is really cheaper?

I was having a discussion the other day with a client of mine when we got on to the topic of rising costs.   As you have all seen, the cost of gas, food, and just about everything else seems to be skyrocketing.    Many of us will be forced soon to decide if we want to hold on to that 16 miles per gallon SUV, find any coupons we can to cut our grocery bill, and look to make major purchases in non peak times to lower our capital outlays.  While the media is telling us that things are getting better, I continue to see more and more home inventory show up from people who had to walk away from their homes, and people uprooting their kids in prospects of finding a job that pays more money. It did make me wonder, what is really cheaper today with all of the supposed advancements and improvements we made in the last twenty ...

Read More →

Should You Watch The Misery Index?

They say that misery loves company.  The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index. (source: www.miseryindex.us) When things are going well like they were in the mid 2000’s, we saw our discretionary income rising and it made it feel like we could afford anything that our hearts desired including real estate, cars, and fancy vacations. When we are in the midst of economic times like those of the mid 200’s, it can really feel like nothing can wrong.  Then we saw the downturn of the market in the late 2000’s, stock ...

Read More →

Can Anyone Make Change For A $100?

What is going on with the math skills in America? With more and more young people using ATM cards, debit cards, and credit cards to make their purchases, I am beginning to wonder if anyone can make change of a $100 bill anymore. A few disclaimers about $100 bills in general before I tell you why I ask this important question. Number one, what’s the deal with people who work in $8.00 an hour jobs that actually check the $100 bill to see if it is counterfeit. The FBI can’t figure this out with all of their sophisticated technology, but Doris at the hot dog stand at the airport is going to figure the case out by holding the bill up in the light and swiping it with a highlighter pen?  Second, do convenience stores really not accept $100 bills or it is just that nobody there can make change for a $100 bill as well?  Just checking. So . ...

Read More →

Personal Finance 101 – What Is A Buy-Sell Agreement?

For many business owners, the value of their business is one of the largest components of their overall net worth, and the business itself is the result of years of hard work and investment.  Most business owners want to preserve the built up value of the business for themselves and their family while also ensuring that the business legacy they have helped create continues for years to come.  The best solution is a well-considered Buy-Sell Agreement. A Buy-Sell Agreement is a contract entered by owners of a business that specifies when and how ownership in the business will be sold or transferred.  The agreement can be a stand-alone agreement or incorporated into a partnership or operating agreement for your business. Buy-Sell Agreements are not “one size fits all”, so careful attention should be given to the details. Most business owners have heard of the importance of a good Buy-Sell Agreement, but many push this planning to the “back burner” to ...

Read More →

Paying Too Much For Car Insurance?

How to Save Money on Your Auto InsuranceYou may have good reason to complain about the cost of your auto insurance, but have you tried to do anything about it? If you're resourceful and willing to do a little homework, there may be plenty of ways to lower your premium. And we're not necessarily talking chump change--a few simple steps can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars a year. ...

Read More →

VIDEO | Back to the Brown Paper Bag!

Take your lunch to work just one more day per week than you do now. I know that eating out lunch is a lot of fun, so I wouldn’t recommend cutting it out entirely. It will take you a lot of discipline to eventually make that habit stick. However, with the average cost of going out to lunch being approximately $10 dollars, this could help you save $40 more per month by bringing in your lunch one day per week. ...

Read More →

VIDEO | Pass on the Extended Warranty

Pass on extended warranties. In my opinion, spending $129 for an extended warranty on an item that costs $300 just simply doesn’t make any financial sense. Usually, employees of your larger electronics chains have their “bonuses” tied to extended warranties, so beware before you consider buying. ...

Read More →

VIDEO | Using Entertainment Books and Saving Money

Money Advice From The Money Guys At oXYGen Financial – Entertainment Books Get an entertainment book for 2009. With our busy world of hustle and bustle, we are always out and about doing chores and errands.   Often, we don’t have the time to shop for coupons for restaurants, entertainment, or some of the national chain stores.  For just $15 to $25 dollars, you can get yourself an Entertainment® book for your city.  By using this book when your are shopping, dining, or doing fun activities, you can save yourself roughly $1,000 per year (this is what I saved last year).   If you save that $1,000 per year in an account that hypothetically earned an 3% rate of return over 25 years you could have an additional $37,111 in an account at retirement.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All returns are for illustrative purposes and not indicative of any particular investment.  Investment value will fluctuate with market conditions.  ...

Read More →

Morning Cup of Joe – The Money Guys At oXYGen Financial

Drink your morning cup of Joe at work. With all of these fancy gourmet coffee shops, it can really dip into your wallet if you stop to get your morning coffee there every day. By skipping the upscale coffee house and drinking it at work you could save approximately $400 per day or $20.00 per work week. ...

Read More →

oXYGen Financial – Bundling Services

Money Advice From The Money Guys At oXYGen Financial – Bundling Services Visit oXYGen Financial – Atlanta’s Premiere Financial Solutions Combine your cable, internet, and telephone service. I used to have three separate carriers handling all three of these services in my household.  By combining all three of these services together, my overall monthly bill went down by approximately $83 per month.   You should always weigh the pros and cons of these different services, but if you hypothetically invested this $83 a month in an account that earned 3% rate of return over 25 years, you could have an additional $37,111 in an account at retirement.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All returns are for illustrative purposes and not indicative of any particular investment.  Investment value will fluctuate with market conditions.  Just another breathe easier® tip from your money guys at oXYGen Financial, Inc., 11680 Great Oaks Way, Suite 175, Alpharetta, GA 30022 – Call us for ...

Read More →