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Review Category : Budgeting

Would You Spend Less Than $100 On An Engagement Ring?

Buying an engagement ring can be an emotionally draining purchase. For most people, it’s more than jewelry: It’s a symbol of love and affection and of the serious commitment they want to make to a lifelong partner.  For years, it’s been bandied that the diamond industry spearheaded this notion that you have to spend 3 months of your salary on an engagement ring.  As we have witnessed millennials and now generation Z changing the way we do many things in their lives, are they going to change what we spend on engagement rings?  How much is love worth? In a recent study that was one, here is what late-stage millennials and generation Z had to say about engagement rings:  Engagement rings should cost… Less than $100: 11 percent of Gen Z and 8 percent of young Millennials  Between $100 and $999: 43 percent of Gen Z and 31 percent of young Millennials  $1,000 to $2,499: 28 percent of Gen Z ...

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Why Your Parents Financial Advice Might Be Wrong (Sort Of……..)

A recent study that came out on CNBC showed that when it comes to debt, Gen Xers are now at the top of the class.  Especially in the category of personal debt where the average Generation X individual (ages 39 to 54) has racked up $36,000 of personal debt.  This is on top of the student debt that is still lagging in the background and potentially taking on new college debt for their children. I think about the advice I got from my parents and the advice that I am giving today.  We all need to consider that as life evolves, so may some of the traditional financial advice that we give when it comes to money decisions.  Here are four areas where parents’ financial advice may be (kind of) wrong: Go To College And Get A Degree:  Let me say up front, I’m not advocating that a college degree is a bad idea.  But we need to consider what’s ...

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Do You Want To REALLY get FREE College Money?

The debates are on and every presidential candidate is promising thousands and thousands of dollars of FREE college money. Wouldn’t that be nice? Now that the kids are back in school and the football season is in full swing, most families don’t realize that applying for free financial aid is literally right around the corner for the school year in 2020. The problem is that most people don’t understand how the college aid process actually works and often sell themselves short of getting free money that could help offset the growing cost of college. Here are seven mistakes that could crush your ability to get free money for 2020. Filling out the FAFSA form AFTER October 1st– If you are interested in getting the most possible money from the Free Application For Student Aid, then you must fill out the forms by October 1st.   Some of the financial awards are issued on a first come first serve basis, so when ...

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How To Save $2000 Per Year

This past month we finally had enough after receiving our cable bill that again crept up to over $280 per month from our local cable provider which was littered with equipment, taxes, and random unexplained charges. For years the cable companies operated like the monopolies that earned them that moniker, yet every year we would call in to the service line playing as good of an Oscar role as we could muster to bluff like we were calling into cancel. We would say that we had some place better to go, while knowing there was someone on the other end laughing their ass off, mocking us while hitting the mute button thinking we were full of shit, as there was no other island we could travel to.  Until now! It went something like this: Me: “Ya, our cable bill is now $280.00 again, we are thinking of canceling. We don’t need 270 channels, you made us get a house phone, ...

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How I Kicked My Post College Kid Out Of The House- And You Can Too!!

It’s official – apparently you can to home again. A recent TD Ameritrade survey found that 50% of “young millennials” plan to move back home with their parents after college. The survey polled 1,027 members of Generation Z (which the survey defines as ages 15-21), 1,026 millennials (which the survey defines as ages 22-28) and 1,001 parents. This issue is actually very personal for me. With my oldest child Olivia having recently graduated college and two others at home closely following in her footsteps, I made a strategic decision. I needed to kick Olivia out of the house and get her living on her own as soon as possible.  You know I love my kids more than life itself.  You know I only want the best for them.  But I remember the struggles I experienced when I started living on my own with less than $100 in my bank account. I lived on a waterbed and ate a steady diet ...

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Americans Are Paying Billions In Hidden Fees

We’ve all thought about it before when buying a ticket to a concert or a sporting event.  How did the price of the seat come up at $200 a seat and then by the time we checked out it cost $250 a seat?  When you last set up your phone bill and they told you it would be $50 a month all in and then you got a bill for almost $70 a month, didn’t you wonder what made up that extra money? A recent study done by Consumer Reports showed that 85% of Americans have experienced a hidden or unexpected fee over the past two years for a service that they have used. In 2018 alone surprise charges included more than 7.6 billion in reservation changes and baggage fees for the airlines and almost 3 billion in resort fees for hotels throughout the United States.  Are we all getting chewed up by these unknown and hidden fees? Who Are ...

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Did You Just Get A 6.2% Raise At Work?

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people still don’t understand our payroll tax system.  When you work as a W-2 for an employer, both you and your employer are going to pay certain payroll taxes.  The two main types of taxes are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Medicare tax.   Both you and your employer pay 6.2% into FICA up to $132,900 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  Depending on your pay grade and what bonuses you have earned, you may have already received a raise in your paycheck and don’t even know it. The reason is, once you hit the $132,900 limit, you will no longer be paying into Social Security. Unfortunately, since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $132,900 in a particular calendar year, your HR department won’t send you a notice that you now have an extra 6.2% in ...

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Should I Loan Money To Friends and Family

Every quarter the Federal Reserve reports on national household debt, and every quarter we’re reminded of the trillions of dollars that Americans owe in credit cards, student loans, mortgages and more. But what about FF debt — aka loans from the Bank of Friends and Family? (source: finder.com) Getting by with a little help from your friends is nothing new, but especially with peer-to-peer lending and digital wallets making lending to people we know easier, we wondered how much do we rely on our loved ones? And how much do these loans contribute to our national debt? (source: finder.com) What Finder found is that we borrow money for much bigger expenses than to cover lunch (despite what your Venmo feed may say) — to the tune of $184 billion annually. That’s a figure that is more than student loan and credit card debt combined and deserves a closer look. (source: finder.com) How did they calculate how much we borrowed from friends and family?  ...

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Be Careful About The New Trend: Drunk Shopping

A new CNBC and Acorns study found that while nearly 90% of both men and women sometimes make impulse purchases, nearly a quarter of men said they shelled out more than $100 the last time they made an impulse buy, compared to just 16% of women. The Invest in You Spending Survey was conducted by CNBC and Acorns in partnership with SurveyMonkey from June 17–20. A diverse group of 2,803 Americans was polled across the country, ranging in ages from 18 to over 65. Of the total, 1,320 were men and 1,498 had a college or graduate degree. This survey may be surprising to many of you, but not to me.  You see, women are browsers by nature and men simply are not.  You’ve never heard of three men who are talking amongst themselves and say, “You know George and Bill, do you guys have any interest in heading in town tomorrow to do some window shopping?”  In fact, that is ...

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Five Money Moves To Make When You Turn 50

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience something really special.  Several of my college roommates were turning 50 years old, and there was a multiple person birthday gathering in Washington, D.C. that I attended.  As we reminisced about the good old days in college and I watched their children run around (most of them six to eight years old), it occurred to me that my very own friends are going to be starting down the backstretch towards retirement.  It’s hard to imagine that for some of them they will be 65 years old when their kids either get into college or graduate college, so does this mean they will take a different path to retirement? Either way, there are smart money moves you should be making when you turn 50.  I know this first hand because the two co-founders of oXYGen Financial (Kile Lewis and myself) both turn the age of 50 this year.   While we started oXYGen Financial to ...

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