Review Category : Featured Articles

4 Rewards Discounts You’re Not Getting

I’m a big fan of making sure to find ways to get something for things that hit your cash flow on a regular basis. People usually do this by choosing a rewards credit card that gives you points, miles, or cash back for purchases you make on the card. This makes a ton of sense because most debit cards do not give you a darn thing for using them for purchases. The money just comes out… and we move on. But let’s take it a step further to see how we can even get even more of a benefit for some things we do as we live our financial lives. I am now a fan of signing up for Customer Loyalty programs with all my favorite local retailers to get discounts and special offers for frequenting their businesses. In this day and age of digital footprints, I’m ok with giving up some of my information (i.e. my cell phone number ...

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Want to Increase Bottom Line, Law Firms Should Raise Salaries

The following is adapted from The Case for Culture, How to Stop Being a Slave to Your Law Firm, Grow Your Practice and Actually Be Happy by Eric Farber.  Turnover in business is rampant and frankly it is killing your bottom line.  Two major factors are at play, first, more than 50% of employees in the United States are looking for a new job, second, the cost of turnover has been said to be as high as ten times the annual salary of an employee.  That is a lot of money.  So, often, when people are trying to build a great culture in a company (and a law firm is a company) I suggest look at your employees salaries and most small and medium law firms need to raise them up.  Not only does it let people know you’re serious about keeping good people, but you’re serious about keeping them happy.  Frankly, when it comes to skilled employees, like most ...

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Buying a House Might Not be a Great Investment

For most of us, owning a home will be the biggest investment you have.  But is it really a good investment, or is it just a place to lay our heads at night?   You have to live somewhere, and as I like to say, “you can’t take a brick out of your house to put food on the table.”  Many people hold the belief that a house is a good investment.  And I agree it is a worthy goal.  But the desire for owning bigger houses is widespread, especially among high income earners.  So, let’s explore the numbers by looking at the S&P Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index.  Over the last 10 years after the recession, the annual return of the index is 4.21%.  If you go further back to 2000 to include the Real Estate run up and bubble, the annual return is only 4.11%.  In comparison, the S&P500 over the last 10 years averaged 10.99%. You might ...

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Your Money – You Can’t Take it with You

At age 70 ½ the government (Uncle Sam), wants you to start taking money out of your tax-deferred retirement accounts.  You know, your 401K, your IRA.  Any retirement account that you have put part of your income into over the years to avoid paying tax on it.  Now they want you to take a RMD (Required Minimum Distribution).  That’s IRS talk for, you’d better start paying taxes on that tax-deferred money.  They figure, you have avoided the taxes long enough and they want their cut, before you leave this earth. So, if they force you to take money from your retirement, how do you determine how much?  Well there is a calculation to come up with the minimum distribution amount.  Most people have multiple accounts from changing jobs and not rolling over old accounts to consolidate.  You start by taking the total account value on December 31st of the previous year of all retirement accounts (except ROTH IRAs); and you ...

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Steps to Take When You Lose a Loved One

The population is aging, and we find ourselves more and more having to deal with the loss of loved ones.  It can be a very emotional time.  While their estate documents might be all in place, the documents especially control what happens months after their passing. So, what happens after death until the will kicks in?  Having a checklist in place for family members to follow can reduce their stress, as they go through the grieving process.  Use these steps as a guide to set up your own checklist. Letter of Instruction.  This should be a document that tells family members important information like any prearranged funeral plans, organ donations, any desired service details. Make Funeral Arrangement.  If your loved one did not put together a Letter of Instruction, then making all the arrangements usually falls to the closest relative.  This can be difficult for grieving spouses, so a next of kin may need to step in to help. Notify ...

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Wedding Bliss On A Budget

When thinking about what topic to write on for my blog post this week, I decided to write about something that I personally learned a lot about this year: weddings. My husband & I got married in April and it was an eye opening experience. Of course I knew the cost of weddings were increasing at an exponential rate, but I had no idea how to navigate these treacherous waters and ensure we made it on the other side without incurring debt. Here are a few tips I learned for my own wedding that will hopefully help you along the way: Venue: Admittedly, I lack creativity and patience. For me, it made sense to go for an all inclusive venue to cut down on stress. However, if you are better at this than I am, look for a venue that will let you express your creative side and make your own decorations. You can also shop around prices for your ...

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Is it Time to Dodge the Draft?

No, you are not going to have to avoid a Government draft. But with winter coming, you might want to do somethings about that drafty house.  Some simple inexpensive projects could save you up to 18% on your energy bills this winter.  Here are four projects you should look at doing. Durable Weather Stripping.  Take a look at your exterior doors.  If you can slide a piece of paper between the door and the frame, then you are probably losing energy.  Bronze strips bought at your local hardware store are about $20 and easy to install on your own. Insulate the Attic Hatch.  If you have the traditional pull-down ladders to get to your attic, you will notice that was not build with any regard to energy saving.  A supper easy fix is to get an attic tent.  This is exactly like it sounds.  It is insulated fabric that you staple to the attic floor over the latter hatch.  It ...

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Why I Kicked My College Graduate Out of the House

When my oldest child was about to graduate from college earlier this year, I made a strategic decision: We were going to kick her out of the house and get her living on her own. Do you think I am a bad parent? Or, am I taking the steps that more parents should today–getting their children to be responsible for their own finances despite the inevitable struggles? When my daughter graduated in May, my wife and I gave her a specific deadline: By the end of the summer, find a job, find an apartment, and find out exactly what your monthly expenses will be when you are living on your own.   Even though we’ve done well enough that we could have given her a bunch of cash or let her stay at home for a couple of years to build up a nest egg, my wife and I agreed that this was the best option for her. And it’s the ...

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Green Eggs and Van

When my son was a small child, he loved when I would read him Dr. Seuss books.  Stories like ‘Oh the Things you can Think’, or ‘To think I saw it on Mulberry Street’ were some of his favorites.   Maybe it was the funny stories.  Or maybe it was the made-up words.  But he kept asking me to read them again and again.  What he did not realize was that he was learning some important lessons about money, math and being an entrepreneur from the books.  Here are a few of the Dr Seuss lessons that I love. ‘Horton Hears a Who’ has great lessons for business owners, who can find it a challenge to delegate work.  Entrepreneurs realize that there are no small rolls in a company.  And successful companies need good leadership and management. “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.  My favorite point in the book is where the smallest suggestion can be transformed into something ...

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Do this with your 401(k) as the market tanks

There’s one market correlation you can count on: When the markets plummet, calls to 401(k) plan providers go up. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re also reaching for the phone — or just looking for reassurance that your nest egg will still be OK. Read full article here: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/05/what-experts-say-you-should-do-with-your-401k-as-the-market-tanks.html ...

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