Review Category : Gen X & Y Financial Advice

Four Financial Moves For Government Workers During The Shutdown

Tesla came out with a big announcement the other week that they were laying off 7% of their workforce.  We never really know when our company is going to do that reorganization, deliver some pink slips, or dust off a set of severance packages to get some people out early from the company.  We can’t always predict when these things are going to happen, but we can certainly prepare by having a financial plan in place. Do you know how much you have in emergency reserves? How much monthly income would you need to survive if you didn’t have a paycheck for 3 months? What is saved up in all of your retirement plans? What are all of the benefits you have access to currently at work? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking now in the event that something happens to your job and it’s no longer there to pay the bills.  With the ...

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How To Crush Your Debt In 2019

With the Fed raising interest rates again before the end of the year, variable rate interest loans such as home equity lines of credit, variable rate student debt, and most importantly credit cards will be on the rise for 2019.  The mean credit card debt of U.S. households is approximately $5,700 according to the most recent data from the Survey of Consumer Finances by the U.S. Federal Reserve.  If you consider that credit cards can get into the 20% range for finance charges, this means that interest alone on credit cards could be more than $1,000 per household.  If you don’t have your hands around your debt situation, here are my five smart money moves to crush your debt here in 2019. Understand How You Got Into Debt- There are lots of reasons that we can into debt. You should be asking yourself how this situation happened in the first place. Was it because you had some unusual one-time expense ...

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Five Ways To Prepare For A Recession

Almost half of U.S. chief financial officers believe a recession will strike the U.S. economy by the end of 2019, with the tight labor market and growing trade tensions driving economic jitters among corporate America. Additionally, more than 80% of U.S. CFOs think a recession will strike by the end of 2020, according to the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey released Wednesday. (source: wsj) While there has been a significant amount of good news about the economy, the heightened market volatility, rising interest rates, and companies now having trouble to find and keep qualified employees has many people nervous.  Not to mention the fact that it seems there isn’t a week that goes by where CNBC doesn’t have a scroll at the bottom saying, “Global Worries Send Markets Downward”. We can never predict exactly when a recession will hit us, but here are five tips to prepare for a downturn in the economy. Get your emergency reserve to 6 ...

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Why Your Saving Rate Is More Important Than Your Investment Return

Investors love to focus on their investment return. From 2009 to 2017, it was hard not to get excited about the double digit returns even the average investor could achieve. While it was nice to see those large returns, it really just made up for the 40% drop in the 2008 Market Crisis. And it is highly unlikely that we will repeat those returns over the next 10 years. So that brings us back to the expectation that over a long period of time we should hit the S&P 500 historical market average of 7% (1950 to 2009 adjusted for inflation and dividends). What about the savings rate. Well, Americans suck at saving. Personal savings in the United States averaged 8.82 percent from 1959 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 17.30 percent in May of 1975 and a record low of 2.20 percent in July of 2005. In 2018 we are saving only about 6%. (US Bureau of ...

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How to Choose the Best Credit Card in 2019

How you use your credit cards, and which ones you use, can have a long-term effect on your personal finances. Credit cards may not be at the top of the list for things to consider when it comes to wealth building, but their use can often reduce your available investment dollars by creating unnecessary expenditures through interest, fees, and more. Taking the time to learn how to choose the best credit card goes a long way toward managing your finances wisely. According to Statista, “The credit card debt in the United States amounted to approximately 0.83 trillion U.S. dollars in the second quarter of 2018.” $830 billion of debt may be hard to get your head around, so let’s put it in perspective. A report from CNBC reported that the average household with revolving credit card debt carries a balance of $6,081. While that may not seem like enough to wreck someone’s finances, consider that if only the minimum required ...

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Should You Get Divorced Before The End Of 2018

Divorce is never an easy thing to go through no matter what time in life this may happen to you.  The trauma that it may create for you, your children, and other family members may make day to day financial decisions go to the bottom of the pile.   Many people wait to try to get their financial house in order after they complete the divorce proceedings.  With the new Trump Tax Rules here in 2018, divorce may become even more painful in the future. The new alimony rules, included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, apply to divorce or separation agreements executed after December 31st, 2018.  These changes will only intensify the divorce process because at least one of the spouses in the divorce will likely be taking a huge financial hit.  Effectively, January 1st of 2019 alimony payers will no longer be able to deduct alimony payments from their tax returns on new divorces.  Old alimony deals will ...

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Why aren’t teens getting their driver’s license?

In 1986, when I turned 16, I couldn’t get to the DMV fast enough to get my driver’s license.  For those of us teens of the 80s, getting a driver’s license was a big deal.  We could finally get out from under the thumb of our parents.  We did not have to beg for a ride.  Whether it was to meet up with friends at the mall or cruise the Micky Ds parking lot looking for trouble, the driver’s license gave us  freedom. Today’s teens just don’t seem to have that same desire.  Data from a University of Michigan study show that nationwide high school seniors who have a driver’s license has dropped from 85.3% in 1996 to 71.5% today.  And the Northeast has the lowest rate at 64.8%. So why the change? Well first off, today’s rules are a lot stricter than back then.  I remember the first chance I had after getting my license was to cram as ...

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Do We Have Data Breach Fatigue?

After another monumental data breach this past week from Marriott/Starwood, we were once again exposed to the real threats and realities that exist with our information held within the systems of large corporations where we spend money.  Marriott has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but it believes it contains information on approximately 500 million guests.  They believe for approximately 327 million of these guests, the information hacked included name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, and other pertinent information.  There is still no definitive information on whether or not credit card information could be decrypted by the hackers.  Class action lawsuits are already flying off the shelf. It almost seems as if once per month we are barraged with some new data breach from large companies seeing what has happened with Equifax, Yahoo!, and now Marriott recently.  Many Americans may already believe hackers have their information from ...

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Five Last Minute Tax Tips

Tax season is upon us and you might be asking what can you still do that can potentially reduce your overall tax liability.  Here are 5 big deductions that people often don’t ask about or overlook come tax time. Charitable Mileage- Most taxpayers are very good at keeping receipts of their cash donations that they make to the organizations they donate to during the course of the year. One of the deductions few taxpayers pay attention to is the charitable mileage deduction.  For 2018, you can deduct .14 cents per mile driven for rendering gratuitous services for charitable organizations.  Don’t forget fees and tolls as well (irs.gov). Consider the amount of time that you give gratuitously during the course of the year for your religious organizations, charitable causes you support, or possibly coaching a one of your kid’s teams. Non-Cash Charitable Contributions Most taxpayers literally get a blank receipt from the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or some other charitable organization and ...

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4 Lessons About Making Money and Giving Back

This post was sponsored by Regions Bank, member FDIC. All opinions are my own. I recently attended a tremendous event called “Making Moves While Giving Back”, a Regions Next Step – Real Talk event series at the Gathering Spot in Atlanta.   It had some of the brightest and best young leaders in the city, such as Gwen Cole, Joey Womack, Briana Holmes, and Labriah Lee talking about how they have taken control of their lives professionally while also being able to give back philanthropically in the community.  For anyone wanting to lead a “boss” life personally, professionally and philanthropically, this event filled the bill because it really got to the root of how to be a good decision maker in your financial life including great advice on how to reach the goals that you want to achieve. Here are four financial lessons I took away that you’ll want to keep by your nightstand: Learn How To Say No Sounds like a ...

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