How to Choose the Best Credit Card in 2019

How you use your credit cards, and which ones you use, can have a long-term effect on your personal finances. Credit cards may not be at the top of the list for things to consider when it comes to wealth building, but their use can often reduce your available investment dollars by creating unnecessary expenditures through interest, fees, and more. Taking the time to learn how to choose the best credit card goes a long way toward managing your finances wisely. According to Statista, “The credit card debt in the United States amounted to approximately 0.83 trillion U.S. dollars in the second quarter of 2018.” $830 billion of debt may be hard to get your head around, so let’s put it in perspective. A report from CNBC reported that the average household with revolving credit card debt carries a balance of $6,081. While that may not seem like enough to wreck someone’s finances, consider that if only the minimum required ...

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Should You Get Divorced Before The End Of 2018

Divorce is never an easy thing to go through no matter what time in life this may happen to you.  The trauma that it may create for you, your children, and other family members may make day to day financial decisions go to the bottom of the pile.   Many people wait to try to get their financial house in order after they complete the divorce proceedings.  With the new Trump Tax Rules here in 2018, divorce may become even more painful in the future. The new alimony rules, included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, apply to divorce or separation agreements executed after December 31st, 2018.  These changes will only intensify the divorce process because at least one of the spouses in the divorce will likely be taking a huge financial hit.  Effectively, January 1st of 2019 alimony payers will no longer be able to deduct alimony payments from their tax returns on new divorces.  Old alimony deals will ...

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Why aren’t teens getting their driver’s license?

In 1986, when I turned 16, I couldn’t get to the DMV fast enough to get my driver’s license.  For those of us teens of the 80s, getting a driver’s license was a big deal.  We could finally get out from under the thumb of our parents.  We did not have to beg for a ride.  Whether it was to meet up with friends at the mall or cruise the Micky Ds parking lot looking for trouble, the driver’s license gave us  freedom. Today’s teens just don’t seem to have that same desire.  Data from a University of Michigan study show that nationwide high school seniors who have a driver’s license has dropped from 85.3% in 1996 to 71.5% today.  And the Northeast has the lowest rate at 64.8%. So why the change? Well first off, today’s rules are a lot stricter than back then.  I remember the first chance I had after getting my license was to cram as ...

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Do We Have Data Breach Fatigue?

After another monumental data breach this past week from Marriott/Starwood, we were once again exposed to the real threats and realities that exist with our information held within the systems of large corporations where we spend money.  Marriott has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but it believes it contains information on approximately 500 million guests.  They believe for approximately 327 million of these guests, the information hacked included name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, and other pertinent information.  There is still no definitive information on whether or not credit card information could be decrypted by the hackers.  Class action lawsuits are already flying off the shelf. It almost seems as if once per month we are barraged with some new data breach from large companies seeing what has happened with Equifax, Yahoo!, and now Marriott recently.  Many Americans may already believe hackers have their information from ...

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Five Last Minute Tax Tips

Tax season is upon us and you might be asking what can you still do that can potentially reduce your overall tax liability.  Here are 5 big deductions that people often don’t ask about or overlook come tax time. Charitable Mileage- Most taxpayers are very good at keeping receipts of their cash donations that they make to the organizations they donate to during the course of the year. One of the deductions few taxpayers pay attention to is the charitable mileage deduction.  For 2018, you can deduct .14 cents per mile driven for rendering gratuitous services for charitable organizations.  Don’t forget fees and tolls as well (irs.gov). Consider the amount of time that you give gratuitously during the course of the year for your religious organizations, charitable causes you support, or possibly coaching a one of your kid’s teams. Non-Cash Charitable Contributions Most taxpayers literally get a blank receipt from the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or some other charitable organization and ...

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4 Lessons About Making Money and Giving Back

This post was sponsored by Regions Bank, member FDIC. All opinions are my own. I recently attended a tremendous event called “Making Moves While Giving Back”, a Regions Next Step – Real Talk event series at the Gathering Spot in Atlanta.   It had some of the brightest and best young leaders in the city, such as Gwen Cole, Joey Womack, Briana Holmes, and Labriah Lee talking about how they have taken control of their lives professionally while also being able to give back philanthropically in the community.  For anyone wanting to lead a “boss” life personally, professionally and philanthropically, this event filled the bill because it really got to the root of how to be a good decision maker in your financial life including great advice on how to reach the goals that you want to achieve. Here are four financial lessons I took away that you’ll want to keep by your nightstand: Learn How To Say No Sounds like a ...

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How To Avoid A Charity Donation Scam During The Holidays

After a New Jersey couple recently launched a fundraiser for a homeless man last year, donations poured in as hearts were ripped out about this tear jerking story. We see charitable causes all the time that pull the purse strings of our wallet, especially during the holidays. The story of the homeless man and the $400,000 GoFundMe money unraveled in the past few weeks and we learned about the money that completely disappeared. Everyone behind the GoFundMe campaign were playing America, but inevitably they were outed. As we approach the season to be jolly, here are some tips on how not to get scammed when giving to charity. 1) Start With The IRS- Yes, the IRS. The IRS website has a Tax Exempt Organization Search you can use to see if the charity is in fact a legitimate organization. Remember, you want to be asking two very important questions. One, is the organization you are giving to a tax-exempt organization ...

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The Greatest Tax Strategy You Never Heard Of Before

It’s been a good decade for people.  Stocks have gone up.  Real estate has gone up.  You might have even benefited from a liquidity event where you owned stock in a private company that has now gone public.  What’s interesting is that most people left to their own device make a big mistake of letting the tax tail wag the dog.  If you have an appreciated piece of real estate or stock, you’ll be inclined not to sell it because you are worried about paying a massive capital gain tax.  What if I was to tell you that there is a way to really apply the age-old adage that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Enter the greatest tax strategy you never heard of before….The NIMCRUT. What does NIMCRUT actually stand for…. NI = Net Income:Only trust income is paid by the unitrust.* You control the level of income distributed. M = Makeup provision: Amounts not paid ...

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