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Review Category : Financial Independence

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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Impeachment and the Stock Market

A lot of people are nervous about the stock markets after the latest drama with the President and the potential for his removal from office. After Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry in response to the President’s dialogue with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky concerning former VP Joe Biden’s son, the US markets quickly fell. Investors were shaken by the potential of removal of President Donald Trump from office. By the time the closing bell rang, most sectors in the US were in the red after starting the day in the green. How does this process work and what history do we have to draw on for past performance of the stock market during impeachment proceedings? The answer to the former I can lay out for you, the answer to the latter is a bit harder to gather answers from. From October 1998 to February 1999, stocks rose despite the Clinton impeachment. But the ...

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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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The October 1st Deadline For Small Businesses

After an owner makes heads or tails at the end of the year, they will usually determine whether or not money is left behind for setting up some sort of long-term retirement plan within their business.   Since there are so many people setting up individual LLC’s or home-based side businesses, you need to keep a close eye out this time of year for setting up one kind of retirement plan, a SIMPLE IRA.   The deadlines are just around the corner in the next few weeks, so could this be the right type of retirement plan for you? A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees) was first available to small business owners in 2001. A SIMPLE IRA plan is an IRA-based plan that gives small employers a simplified method to make contributions toward their employees’ retirement and their own retirement. Under a SIMPLE IRA plan, employees may choose to make salary reduction contributions and the employer makes matching or ...

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Here’s The #1 Reason People Cheat On Their Taxes

Cheating.  It’s a morality question we talk about with our kids, our work colleagues, and even with ourselves.  It is OK to cheat.  In a recent poll, 10% of Americans say it’s OK to cheat here and there on your taxes and the number of people that say it’s OK to cheat is up 3.5% versus one year ago.  In fact, in a Credit Karma survey that interviewed 2,000 people, only 6% of the people actually confessed to the fact that they have cheated on their taxes in the past.  So, what’s the number one reason that people cheat on their taxes? Let’s talk first about what cheating really means.  There is a big difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.  Tax avoidance is perfectly legal.  These are strategies such as using your 401(k), tax deductible IRA’s, pension plans, health savings accounts, and many other legitimate legal tax strategies that you can use under the current tax code.  Tax evasion ...

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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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