About the author  ⁄ Van Pappas

Van Pappas

Van Pappas, CFP® - Van is a native of Atlanta. He holds his undergraduate degree in Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate. As a planner for 15 years, he earned his CFP designation from Kaplan University. He is currently the Chairman and founder of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Chamblee. In 2012, he noticed the value of helping the X-Y Generations and decided to merge his practice with oXYGen Financial. Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

Can Amazon Get Bigger?

Well, Yes. It seems all we heard about in 2017 was Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.  Weather it was the news of their purchase of Whole Foods, the super successful PrimeDay event, or the addition live Thursday Night NFL games on their video service; it seems that CEO Jeff Bezos (the richest man on the planet) knows exactly how to make Amazon grow. When you look at one of Amazon’s biggest competitors, Wal-Mart; you will see that Amazon’s Market Capitalization is almost double that of Walmart ($558Billion to $286B)1.  But the interesting number is annual sales revenue. Walmart is crushing it at number one in the world at $486 Billion annually.  While Amazon is only at $89B per year.  This might be an indication that there is still plenty of revenue to gain from the competition.  So how is Mr. Bezos going to grow Amazon in 2018. Business to Business. Amazon’s business platform lets small businesses order supplies from other businesses. Their ...

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Five Tips To Improve Your Credit Score

It’s never too late to improve how you use credit.  Whether your credit score is high or could use some work, here are some tips to maintain your best credit score. BE ALERT. Checking your credit history for errors or unfamiliar/suspicious activity should be done on a regular basis. Identity theft is a problem, and if left undetected, can harm your credit. Georgia state law enables consumers the right to a free credit report once each year. You can pull your report at www.annualcreditreport.com. BE ON TIME. One of the biggest factors in pulling down your credit score is paying bills late. Pay on time every month and you will see your score rise. APPLY FOR CREDIT ONLY WHEN NEEDED. Only apply for new credit cards if you really need them. Multiple loan applications within a short time period will often harm your credit score. CREDIT UTILIZATION RATE. Your credit utilization rate is your total amount of debt divided by ...

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There’s No Short Cuts To Getting Out Of Debt

From time to time a prospective client will come to me with lots of Credit Card debt.  They want to know what they can do to get out of debt?  My answer is always the same.  There are no short cuts. Every time they will ask if they should use one of the debt-settlement companies that you see on TV.  You know the ones that promise financial freedom.  What most of the companies do is convince you to stop making payments to the creditor.  Some have you send the money to them to hold while they try and negotiate with the creditors to take a lump sum for less than what is owed.  On the surface it seems like a good idea.  Why wouldn’t the creditor want to negotiate for something now, rather than writing off the debt completely. But reports from the Center for Responsible Lending and the Federal Trade Commission point out that debt balances increase on average ...

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The Secret Your Cell Phone Carrier Does Not Want You To Know

These days we look to save on our bills where ever we can.  One area to look at is our Cell Phones.  What if I told you that you could save 50%-75% off your bill?  Three of the big carriers, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all have invested in secret sub-brands to try and attract the consumers who are more price sensitive.  What they do not tell you is they use the same network as their parent company. Sprint has Boost Mobile.  T-Mobile has GoSmartMobile and AT&T has Cricket Wireless.  You use the same towers, get the same service and generally only pay $25-35 per month. So what about those of you on Verizon?  Well they will not tell you outright, but they have a deal with Tracfone.  Verizon does not want anyone knowing they have this sub-brand as they feel it will diminish the Verizon brand.  Tracfone has a service called Total Wireless, which runs on the Verizon 4G network ...

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Ways To Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a huge burden on many Americans.  Once you have accumulated the debt, it feels like it is impossible to get out from under.  While getting your current spending under control is the first step (and you may need a financial counselor to help you); there are some things you can do to help pay down the debt. Here are some strategies on paying off that credit card debt.   Paying more than the minimum.  This is a must.  Dig through your cash flow and find a way to cut out expenses, so you can increase your monthly payment to the credit card. Use the calendar to your advantage.  If you can make more than a minimum payment, a proven way to pay more is by make separate additional payments.  Try making a separate half payment every 14 days. Laddering.  Most people with credit card debt have debt on multiple cards.  Make a list of all the ...

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10 Reasons Why You Can Cut the Cable Cord Now

Did you know that the average cable bundle has 189 channels but the average subscriber only watches 17 of them  (or less than 10%) according to a Nielson study in 2014?  Consumers would like to pay for only the channels they watch and free themselves from the shackles of the cable bundle by cutting the cable cord.  Let’s look at the top 10 reasons why consumers can cut the cable cord now! 70+ Channels of Free Over the Air Channels For those here in Atlanta there are over 70+ free channels available via an HD antenna including all of the major networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW and PBS.   These are delivered in High Definition (HD) quality which is better than cable/satellite. 100+ Cable channels available through streaming apps Most people don’t want to give up some of their cable channels such as ESPN, CNN, Fox News, etc. Services such as Sling TV and Sony Playstation Vue with ...

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How To Use Periscope In Your Business

If you have not been paying attention over the last year, a new app call Periscope (bought by Twitter in 2015) is gaining a lot of popularity.  This is a live streaming application.  Users can broadcast a live feed from their mobile device.  The company has not released its current number of users, but they have access to parent company Twitter’s 310 million users.  Their blog site states that over 200 million broadcasts have been streamed and over 110 years of live video are watched every day. So what can you do to integrate this technology into your business. Start by taking viewers behind the scenes of your business. People like to connect on a personal level.  Interacting with your customers and prospects to show them how your business works gives them a glimpse of who you are. Invite customers to have a live conversation. One of the features of Periscope is that viewers can leave real-time comments.  Hold a ...

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Going Digital With Your Filing Cabinet

When I was 12 years old, I found an old term paper in a box of my father’s things.  It was about creating a Cashless Society.  It intrigued me as a child on other things we could get rid of in our society.  My biggest desire was to get rid of paper.  I hated it.  So as a teenager and young adult, the idea of being paperless was exciting to me.  By the mid 90s scanner technology and cost had reached a point where I could start to realize my digital dream. I began scanning every bill, invoice, statement and tax return I had.  Fast forward 20 years and now my filing cabinet is 100% completely digital.  Here are 5 things you can do to achieve my dream of a Paperless Society. Ditch the receipts. Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Fast Food joints.  Unless the receipt is something you can deduct on your tax return, then there is no reason to ...

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5 Ways Pokémon Go Can Help Your Business

In the 70’s we had the Pet Rock, in the 80’s it was Cabbage Patch Kids, the 90’s was Beanie Babies and today we have the latest craze, PokemonGO.  The difference with this fad is that it is attracting the attention of adults.  Some are the young adults that might have played with the original Pokémon games and cards from 20 years ago.  But it is even attracting the 40 somethings, and if Grandma hears enough about it, we might be seeing our senior citizens playing as they go on their daily walks. So for those that are still messing with their Pet Rocks and have not heard about PokemonGO, here is a simple explanation.  Using a phone App, the player wanders the real world hunting for animated Pokémon monsters.  Gathering Pokémon, builds your collection and makes you more powerful to battle other players in game Gyms. The game is causing people to walk in areas where they might not ...

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5 Steps to becoming a LinkedIn Leader

These days there are so many social media platforms it is overwhelming.  Each service caters to a specific social activity.  When it comes to doing business, LinkedIn stands out at the top of the pack.  If you already have a LinkedIn profile, you know it serves as a kind of online resume.  But if you just hope someone is looking at you, then you are missing out.  No matter what business you are in, using the site to form connections can be a great benefit.  So how do you increase engagement on the site to become a LinkedIn leader?  Try these steps. Request connections/send messages regularly. Spend at least 30 minutes each week searching for new connections to build your network.  Ask your current connections for introductions to relevant people in their networks.  Also look to join groups that will drive the type of connections you are looking for. Send ‘thank you’ messages when you make a new connection. Make ...

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