Review Category : Budgeting

Mortgage Rates The Lowest In One Year: Is It Time For You To Consider A Refinance?

With the Fed recently raising interest rates, people have already started to write and call me about whether or not it is still a good time to refinance.  You will likely see more offers from your current mortgage company, broker, or bank looking to get you locked in before the Fed raises rates again in 2019.  Here are my smart money moves for three key points to know when you make a final decision about whether a refinance is good for your property. There Is NO Rule Of Thumb – I love these random articles out there that say your mortgage rates need to be down by a certain percentage for a refinance to make sense. In fact, Investopedia recently wrote, “The typical rule of thumb is that if you can reduce your current interest rate by 0.75-1%.” This makes very little sense to me as this is going to be a math equation, because all refinancing costs money.   What you are ultimately ...

Read More →

Are Mothers Losing Income Equality When They Have Kids?

Request a FREE no obligation consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net The pay gap between men and women is still not close to equal, but there are more signs when it comes to motherhood that the gap is widening even more. For example, one study showed that for women, incomes drop 30% after giving birth for the first time and never catch up. That’s according to a working paper by Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais and Jakob Egholt Sogaard published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in January 2018. The study used Danish administrative data from 1980-2013. (source: CNBC) Also called the “motherhood penalty,” women start falling behind men in terms of their rank and their probability of being promoted just after the birth of the first child, the researchers found. About a decade later, women’s earnings plateau around 20% below the level just before becoming a parent. (source: CNBC) So, is this motherhood penalty something that will continue, and just what can be done to ...

Read More →

Invest 2% Of Your Income In You

When we think about investments, we often direct our attention to categories such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.   What we don’t think about often is our most valuable asset, which is our ability to earn an income and how we can grow that income faster.  Almost 20 years ago, I met an extremely successful business owner who gave me a simple lesson: Invest 2% of everything you earn back into your ability to grow your income. So, what does this mean exactly? Investing in you is like diversifying your portfolio investments.  It means that you might take a chance and invest in that side hustle you think could be a business.  It means investing in a training course or advanced education that could further your current career.  It means investing in a personal coach who could improve your business performance.  It could also mean investing in an exercise or nutrition program that could give you more stamina every day ...

Read More →

The Three Most Important Letters In Retirement R M D

What is a required minimum distribution? (*) You’ll sometimes hear that you have important financial decisions to make when you turn the age of 70 ½.  The IRS has never seen a nickel of tax revenue on account you may have started in your early 20’s, so now they are wanting to get their due.  An RMD or required minimum distribution is the amount that the tax laws require you to take out of certain types of retirement accounts once you reach the age of 70 ½. If you have a traditional IRA, a 401(k) account, 403(b), or other types of retirement plans, then you’ll generally have to start taking RMDs once the provisions of the law kick in. The rules apply to certain inherited retirement accounts as well, so be very careful when you inherit an IRA. Required minimum distributions must be made in cash, and you’re generally required to complete the withdrawal by the end of the calendar ...

Read More →

How Much Should You Be Tipping?

There was an excellent story written a few years ago interviewing Michael Lynn, who had written more than 50 papers on tipping.  In his excerpts (source: PBS) he said there are five basic motives for tipping. Some people tip to show off. Some people tip to help the server, to supplement their income and make them happy. Some people tip to get future service. And then other people tip to avoid disapproval: You don’t want the server to think badly of you. And some people tip out of a sense of duty. There are people who tip to reward servers for service. If the server does a great job, I want to express my gratitude so that is another motivation for tipping. But how strong is that motivation? My research suggests it’s not terribly strong. I find the relationship is so weak that it would be wrong to use tipping as a measure of service quality. People often say that’s ...

Read More →

Four Ways Your Kids Can Ruin Your Retirement

Retirement generally only happens one time in our life.  It is that transition period where we hope our work, parental, and personal responsibilities dissipate to the point where we only have to worry about ourselves.  It is a time in our lives where we don’t have to be on a time clock, don’t have to worry about checking e-mail, and there are no meetings that we have to be at on the schedule of someone else. Nobody really tells you what kinds of responsibilities come with having children until you actually have a child.  You work hard to raise your child the right way, and you hope one day that they will be a fully self-sufficient individual.  Your greatest fear may be your own children’s failure to launch.  Here are four ways your children can ruin your retirement: Their Debt Becomes Your Guilt Many parents believe it is their responsibility to make sure their child graduates college with no debt.  ...

Read More →

Financial Moves To Make When You Become A Freelancer

Imagine this: You recently lost your job or your job lost you, and now you have decided to take some freelance consulting job to pick up some spare cash. Or, you are finally starting that side hustle you’ve always dreamed of and your Etsy store is about to be up and running. Sound familiar? You fill out a W-9 in order to get paid, and a few weeks later a check comes in the mail made out to you.  You are overwhelmed with excitement because this is the first time no taxes have been taken out of your paycheck and you are feeling flush with cash.  At some point in 2020, you’ll be getting your first 1099’s in the mail, but what should you be doing here in 2019 to make sure your ducks are in a row come tax filing time? The reality is that most of you who earned your first 1099 will likely file Schedule C (sole ...

Read More →

Four Bizarre Tax Deductions You May Have Never Seen Before

It’s no secret that people come into the office all the time asking the question, “Can I Take This As A Tax Deduction?”  It’s important to get a high-quality CPA on your side as they will be the person who can give you the ultimate yay or nay, but in order to even suggest a tax idea, you have to understand the nature of being creative.  In 2018, many small tax deductions vaporized, but for those that own side hustles or small businesses, there are still opportunities to potentially use bizarre type tax deductions. 1.            Can you deduct plastic surgery? – This year, one important tax deduction is completely gone. It is form 2016, which is for unreimbursed employee expenses normally reported in the itemized deductions Schedule A of your tax return.  That means all of the salespeople and executives who took deductions for mileage, meals, and entertainment not allowed by their employer are now officially out of luck.  However, ...

Read More →

Five Most Common Tax Questions People Are Asking This Year

It’s that time of year.  Unless you needed your refund quickly and your documents were in complete order, you are now beginning to organize your stack of documents to get your taxes filed for 2018.  With all of the news about people getting smaller refunds, lots of taxpayers are worried about actually having to stroke a check when they complete their taxes.  The new Trump tax plan that took effect last year had many changes that people were unaware of or didn’t pay attention to during the course of 2018.  This has triggered a handful of questions which I will answer here in the Your Smart Money Moves column. Why are refunds smaller this year? – This is actually a pretty easy one to answer.  When the new tax laws took effect in 2018, most people quickly realized they had received a bump in their paycheck.  However, what most people didn’t do was make a new calculation on the new ...

Read More →

Five Money Moves To Make When You Get The Pink Slip

The Pink Slip. It’s the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services. You’ll often hear the corporate rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you’ll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list. We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time. While getting a pink slip is an awful feeling, it’s also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together.  Here are my four smart money moves to make when you get laid off from work. 1. When is your last paycheck? – It’s truly amazing to me how many people don’t ask the very simple questions when they get the heave ho from their employer.  You will want to ask specifically when your last day or work is and what the expectations are of you over the next 30, 60, or ...

Read More →