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Review Category : Retirement

Are Your Elderly Parents Being Financially Exploited?

Picture this scenario at the bank: A woman walks into her branch with her 25-year-old grandson and they’re ready to transfer $4,000 or so out of Grandma’s account into his. Is the grandson running a scam? And, if so, can the bank do anything to stop it?  Maybe, yes, on both counts.  “People are literally being robbed every day through scams or financial exploitation from members of their own family,” said Debra Whitman, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at AARP.   The average victim can lose $120,000 to financial exploitation, according to AARP research. Repeated, out-of-the-ordinary cash withdrawals are a big clue to exploitation and scams.  (source: Detroit Free Press) In fact, every year it is estimated that 2.6 billion dollars are lost by elder financial abuse and the problem only seems to be getting worse and worse.  The initial threat for most of our elderly parents were the dreaded robocallers.  The imposters that would pose as the Social Security department or 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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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 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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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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Five Money Moves To Make When You Turn 50

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience something really special.  Several of my college roommates were turning 50 years old, and there was a multiple person birthday gathering in Washington, D.C. that I attended.  As we reminisced about the good old days in college and I watched their children run around (most of them six to eight years old), it occurred to me that my very own friends are going to be starting down the backstretch towards retirement.  It’s hard to imagine that for some of them they will be 65 years old when their kids either get into college or graduate college, so does this mean they will take a different path to retirement? Either way, there are smart money moves you should be making when you turn 50.  I know this first hand because the two co-founders of oXYGen Financial (Kile Lewis and myself) both turn the age of 50 this year.   While we started oXYGen Financial to ...

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Mortgage Rates The Lowest In One Year: Is It Time For You To Consider A Refinance?

With the Fed recently raising interest rates, people have already started to write and call me about whether or not it is still a good time to refinance.  You will likely see more offers from your current mortgage company, broker, or bank looking to get you locked in before the Fed raises rates again in 2019.  Here are my smart money moves for three key points to know when you make a final decision about whether a refinance is good for your property. There Is NO Rule Of Thumb – I love these random articles out there that say your mortgage rates need to be down by a certain percentage for a refinance to make sense. In fact, Investopedia recently wrote, “The typical rule of thumb is that if you can reduce your current interest rate by 0.75-1%.” This makes very little sense to me as this is going to be a math equation, because all refinancing costs money.   What you are ultimately ...

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The Biggest Changes To The U.S. Retirement System In 10 Years

This hasn’t become law yet, but in a sweeping house bill known as SECURE (Setting Every Community Up For Retirement), new legislation is coming that will be the most sweeping changes we have ever had to our retirement system in more than a decade.  The house passed the vote recently 417-3, and it doesn’t look like there is much impeding the process from the Senate or even President Trump.  So, what do these changes mean to your wallet? Annuities May Hit Your 401(k) Soon Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen pensions offered by companies dwindle down to a microscopic level.   While more and more baby boomers and Gen X’ers worry about saving enough for retirement, there is no real great option in 401(k)’s to guarantee someone a lifetime income.  Target funds were designed to help make it easier to choose simple investments in your 401(k), but this legislation would now allow 401(k) providers to offer an annuity as an ...

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How Will The Tariffs Affect Your Every Day Wallet?

The stock markets continue to see increased volatility as the tariff and trade war between the United States and China continues to heat up. We’ve quickly realized that one tweet, media story, or heightened news coverage can send the markets soaring or spiraling in a day.  Here’s a recent example of a tweet: The reality is that these negotiations are extremely difficult, and nobody really likes to see them be prolongated.  Think about the most difficult negotiations you have probably done in your lifetime which is the buying or selling of a home and how your emotions ran high over $10,000 or $20,000 of negotiations when someone asked you to repair a cracked window or a lock that didn’t work. We are in an unprecented $420 billion-dollar trade gap right now which really means we buy a lot more stuff from China than they buy from us.  The tariffs (which really are a tax) act as a way for us ...

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