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Review Category : TOP Financial Articles

The Colleges With The Best Return On Investment

When we manage money for people we get asked this question all the time.  The investor who gives you $100,000 to manage typically wants to know in advance what you think the expected return on investment is with their cash and over what time frame.  Typically, most investors want to know how long it will take you to double their money.   With today’s student debt approaching almost $30,000 (source: Forbes), should we be choosing and ranking school by return on investment? Payscale, a company who diligently tracks salaries in the United States, recently came out with its 2014 report on collegiate return on investment.   You’ll note some of the best schools in the country are at the top supporting my theory about paying only for the elite colleges and universities in the United States.  However, the most amazing part of the study is that clearly engineering and technology driven schools blow away the rest of the field. Harvey Mudd College ...

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Living Paycheck to Paycheck is Not Living At All

Are you one of the many young professionals making good money but have little or nothing to show for it?  It’s ok to fess up because you are not alone.  A matter of fact, based on a study by Reuters 68% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/us-usa-survey-paycheck-idUSBRE88I1BE20120919.  Yes, you’re reading correctly: over two thirds of people surveyed find it hard to make ends meet each pay period.  So how does this happen? First, let’s start with some simple math. Salary (total compensation) = $80,000 Annual After Tax Take Home Earnings (amount left after  taxes and health care costs are withheld, assuming a 25% tax bracket and $5,000 for healthcare  = $55,000 Paycheck (amount paid bi weekly) = ~$2,100/paycheck or ~$4,200 each month Now that we understand some basic numbers we can begin to realize where your true take home pay begins.  And just like any CFO of a large corporation, it’s equally important to focus on what cash is ...

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What To Do When You Come Into A Large Sum Of Money

Coming into a large sum of money is a game changer for people of all ages.  Unfortunately, there are lots of different decisions to consider upon receipt of these windfalls which causes most individuals and families lots of consternation on what are the smart money moves.  Whether these dollars are received from inheritance, cashed out stock options, or a gift, it is imperative that you make a smart plan or you can easily squander your newfound fortune.  Recently, I helped several folks from different walks of life when Airwatch was bought out by VMWare.  This instantaneously created a new set of millionaires.   Here are the ‘your smart money moves’ ideas to make when you come into a large sum of money. Do Nothing For 60 Days (unless you are right at the end of a tax year)–  When people inherit property, cash out stock options, or receive a gift, far too often I see people immediately buy themselves something or ...

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Should You Ever Borrow On A 401(k)?

For some of you a dreaded financial question may stare you in the mirror at some point in your life. Should you borrow against your 401(k)? While all initial responders in your body say no, there could be a few instances where borrowing against a 401(k) may actually make sense. Here is my smart money moves take on when to make yourself a loan. In general, it is not a smart financial move to borrow against your 401(k) plan. There are many individuals who are quitting their job and considering starting up a new business. In order to start their new entrepreneurial venture, they will likely exit from their current employer. The additional problem is where will the new entrepreneur find the capital to open up their new business? Instead of cashing in your old 401(k), one tremendously creative option to potentially fund a new business is to set up your new corporation and create a Solo 401(k) plan. Solo ...

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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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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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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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5 Tax Tips Before You File

It’s the beginning of February and your tax documents will be piling up by the day as a new mail from your mortgage companies, banks, and investment companies are sent out to you.   As you begin to stack up your pile of information to bring to the CPA or accountant, did you ever wonder if there are still ways you can save money on your 2013 income taxes before you hit the SEND button to the IRS?   Here are my 5 smart money moves on tax tips before your file away for another year. Contribute To An IRA- Whether this is a Traditional IRA or for small business owners/freelancers a SEP-IRA, these types of IRA contributions could still potentially be tax deductible for the 2013 calendar year even though the contributions and accounts were opened in 2014.   The biggest mistake individuals make is not investigating how these vehicles work or the adjusted gross income limits that would make things like ...

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The #1 Moving Destination Is Atlanta?

As a small business owner, we face challenges every single day. It’s always nice to see great news or interesting articles about our hometown city, so I thought this one was worthy of sharing with you on Your Smart Money Moves if you hadn’t seen it or saw a caption somewhere in your LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter feeds. According to www.businessinsider.com, last year, truck rental giant Penske told us the No. 1 moving destination in America was Atlanta. The year before that, they told us the No. 1 moving destination in America was Atlanta. And the year before that. And now we learn that this year, everyone is … still moving to Atlanta. People complain about a lot of things in Atlanta or sometimes affectionately called Hotlanta.   They complain about the traffic.   Now, I lived in Boston and Washington, DC where the traffic was way worse than the traffic here in Atlanta.  And I think anyone who is from L.A. can attest to the fact that ...

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