Review Category : Budgeting

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 ...

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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.  ...

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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 ...

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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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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What To Do When You Inherit An IRA

The other evening as I was checking client e-mails, a client sent me a short note inquiring about something her sister did with an inherited IRA and quickly after hearing the story I knew it was even too late to give advice.  The sister had told the IRA custodian to make a check out to her Father’s estate and this would cause tax consequences that are irreversible. Inherited IRA’s can be just like a dozen eggs…once you crack the shell it is impossible to put it back together.   When a loved one passes away, there is a wide array of emotions, and this could affect how you make short term financial decisions.  Especially when you don’t know all of rules or have various siblings chirping in your ear.  It is one of the most important times to seek out financial help from a professional. The overall rules for inherited IRAs are extremely complicated.  It really depends if you inherit the ...

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