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Review Category : Investments

Five Financial First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

In all of the financial transactions we make in our lives, there are few that pale in comparison to the excitement of making the purchase of your first home.   Many years ago, the first time homebuyer merely began with a starter home, but expectations have significantly increased today with new homebuyers wanting all of the modern up to date amenities included in their first home.  Oddly enough, the first time home purchase is often made with as swift a decisions as buying a new car although the purchase may be ten times the size of a new car.   Here are your five smart money moves to make so you can avoid the pitfalls and traps that most new homebuyers make. Falling In Love With Your Mortgage Pre-Approval:  Just because you are pre-approved for a $400,000 loan doesn’t mean you can actually afford a $400,000 loan. “Listening to the mortgage lender when they tell you that you are pre-approved for a ...

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Is It Worth Going To Conferences?

When you work for a large corporation, you don’t have much of a choice about whether or not you go to the company conference.  They are often filled with workshops, PowerPoints, happy hours, and every once in a while a late night story that you really don’t care to share by the time you get back home.  However, there are industry conferences that are being put on all the time.  In the financial services industry alone, I counted well over 100 conferences I could attend ranging from technical competency training to practice management.   So, is it a smart money move to attend a conference over the next year? Here are seven tips to consider to determine if it will be worth going to an upcoming conference: Determine Where Your Biggest Personal Or Business Bottleneck Is At This Time- If you are going to spend the money to go to a conference, make sure the agenda matches what skill sets you ...

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Girl Scout Capitalism

Who’s got a case of the munchies? Purchasing a box of Thin Mints®- our round, mint-flavored cookies with a delicious chocolaty coating- helps a girl learn money management.  She handles money, keeps records, tracks orders- activities that are essential to running a successful business. (girlscouts.org) Well, 13 year old Girl Scout Danielle Lei and her mom recently showed us all a thing or two about American capitalism when they had some Tag-A-Longs® and other Girl Scout flavors in tow for sale at a San Francisco medical marijuana clinic. We can all learn a thing or two about business from Danielle Lei.  Talk about the notion of free enterprise.   Danielle typically sold her Girl Scout cookies outside of a Safeway, but with her mom’s approval they set up shop in front of the Green Cross which is a medical marijuana clinic in San Francisco.  What happens when supply meets demand?  Within two hours on President’s Day, Danielle sold a whopping 117 ...

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Save Big, Save Little for College

For many of us, one of the biggest expenses that we’ll have is paying for our own or our child’s college education. Personally, I knew that I wasn’t going to have a “Free Ride” during college. Although I played Division III college basketball, I still maintained 4 jobs in college and used the tutoring services so that I could qualify for as many academic scholarships as possible and to pay down some of my student loans before I graduated.  According to the College Board, statistics show that over the past 30 years the average annual increase for college tuition has ranged from 3-5% above and beyond inflation(Consumer Price Index). I recently had the chance to interview Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Tutor.com/former CEO of Match.com, about the different ways to help students save and pay for college. Below are a few tips that Ginsberg shares with our readers. “Save Big” Ginsberg says. Many people transition from paying for day care to ...

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The Flappy Bird Economy

If you have kids or teenagers in your family, then it’s likely you have seen the highly downloaded app called Flappy Bird. Sometimes the simpler the game is, the better off it does because anybody can play the game. Consider apps like Tetris or Candy Crush or Angry Birds which absolutely killed it with downloads. The goal of the game is really simple. Just touch the screen to flap your bird up or down guiding the bird between various heights of piping that have a narrow entryway for your bird to fly through. The game is incredibly addicting! Dong Nguyen mysteriously put this post up on Twitter on February 8th @ 2:02 P.M. “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” There was massive speculation around why he took down Flappy Birds as it was reported he was making $50,000 a day. Some say that the pipes ...

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The Biggest Investment Mistake You Make Every Year

We all know that investments can be for short term, medium term, or long term.   Investments are often thought of in terms of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, etc.    Some people invest their money in private ventures and some in public companies.   Business owners will almost always tell you the best investment is their business.   In my opinion, the biggest investment mistake each and every person makes on a yearly basis is not setting aside enough of their personal income to invest in themselves.   Investing in yourself can be personally, professionally, and financially rewarding.   Here are my top five ways to invest in YOU! Advance Your Education- There are so many outlets today to gain extra knowledge and education.  It doesn’t have to be done necessarily by going back to school full time.   You could do a three day executive course or just sign up for one night class.  You could take an online course on a site like ...

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How Does The My RA Work?

Trapped in my office by the Snowpocalypse that hit Atlanta on last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to watch the State of the Union (#sotu) Address delivered by President Obama.   There is a whole lot of financial topics we could talk about on Your Smart Money Moves, but I’d like to review the topic around the new proposed investment vehicle called the MyRA.  Since we already have the SEP-IRA, SIMPLE-IRA, Rollover IRA, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Beneficial IRA, etc., wouldn’t it have just been easier to call it the My IRA instead of the new urban dictionary word called MyRA? The concept behind the MyRA account would be a new type of bond within a Roth IRA-type umbrella.  Contributions would not be tax-deductible, but earnings would be tax-free when you withdraw it in the future.  It’s unclear about how closely the rules on this account shadow the rules of the current Roth IRA. The investment vehicle would be a new ...

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Retirement Assumptions: What’s Your Legacy Goal?

When you are building out your long term retirement plan, a financial advisor will often have to make many different types of assumptions. I have authored numerous articles around this topic. You need to consider market downside risk, interest rate risk, inflation risk, liquidity risk, tax risk, sequencing risk, and several others. Often, one major mistake made around the discussion regarding building a quality retirement plan is actually having the end in mind. What do you want your legacy to be when you pass on? This is a crucial conversation to have at the onset of your overall comprehensive financial plan. Consider this for a moment. If you tell your financial advisor nothing, he or she will likely build out your retirement plan analysis by using a ‘death age’. From the conversations you have with your planner or from some default number in the financial planning software, you will arrive a set age usually in the 85 to 90 range. ...

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What If You Were Down 27%?

The Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) rose 72.37 points, or 0.4%, to 16,576.66 on the last trading day of 2013. For the year, the index of blue-chip stocks was up 26.5% — its best performance since 1995.   The media, can sometimes be our friend or our foe.  Unfortunately, because our lives are so busy we often just get snippets and sound bites of information about our investments and money issues.   When you hear the DJIA had a banner year, your first thought is often “did my investments do as well as the stock market?” Most investors have a very short memory of their original risk tolerance, goals, or objectives when they start analyzing returns on their money.   Without setting proper expectation, banner years in the stock market like 2013 can send you into the depths of unhappiness because you may feel you missed out on a golden opportunity.  However, what happens if you were down 27% or even 33.84% as ...

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Could Stamps Be A “Forever” Investment?

There is a reason you want the Your Smart Money Moves blog by your side.   Over three and half years ago, I wrote you a blog about buying forever stamps.  Did you take advantage of my advice?  With any overall financial plan, the one silent killer people often leave out is inflation.     Especially when it comes to the actual cost of buying your basic staples like groceries, gas, and utilities. While there has been a substantial increase in business being done on the internet, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will raise prices effective January 26th, 2014 to 49 cents for the first ounce of a first class stamp.   This would essentially be a 6.5% increase.   Bulk mail is also going up by 6% and with a raise to 33 cents, postcard will be up 10% versus 3 ½ years ago. How can you make a smart financial decision?   Load up on Forever stamps! Issued in 2007, the first forever ...

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