Five Tips To Improve Your Credit Score

It’s never too late to improve how you use credit.  Whether your credit score is high or could use some work, here are some tips to maintain your best credit score. BE ALERT. Checking your credit history for errors or unfamiliar/suspicious activity should be done on a regular basis. Identity theft is a problem, and if left undetected, can harm your credit. Georgia state law enables consumers the right to a free credit report once each year. You can pull your report at www.annualcreditreport.com. BE ON TIME. One of the biggest factors in pulling down your credit score is paying bills late. Pay on time every month and you will see your score rise. APPLY FOR CREDIT ONLY WHEN NEEDED. Only apply for new credit cards if you really need them. Multiple loan applications within a short time period will often harm your credit score. CREDIT UTILIZATION RATE. Your credit utilization rate is your total amount of debt divided by ...

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What Itemized Deductions Will Look Like In 2018

To itemize or not to itemize, that is the question?  With all of the tax law changes recently passed by President Trump in the GOP tax bill, one of the considerations you’ll need to get your arms wrapped around quickly is whether you will want to itemize your deductions when you file your taxes in 2019 or you will simply use the standard deduction. For 2018, the standard deduction amounts will increase from $6,500 for individuals, $9,550 for heads of households (HOH), and $13,000 for married couples filing jointly, to $12,000 for individuals, $18,000 for HOH, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. Since the personal exemption is being completely eliminated, you’ll need to do the math about whether this was a good deal for you or not.  For those married couples filing jointly, if you have three or more children, I actually think you went backwards on the new tax plan if you were filing the standard deduction. For ...

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Never Worry About a Traffic Ticket Again

We all (well, most of us) have been in this dreaded position before. You’re in the car, listening to music or your new favorite podcast, and you hear sirens. You start pleading: “No, no, no, please not me. Not today.” It is when the police car does not pass you by & the blue lights stick around that you realize a ticket is most likely in your future. Minor traffic violations that result in a ticket are more of a nuisance than anything. Traffic tickets can not only result in an increase in insurance premium, but the most annoying part is often initially when 1) you have to pay an extra expense this month that you weren’t budgeting for and 2) you really just don’t have the time. This is where the new startup TIKD comes in. They know your struggle, and using their own phrase, they want to be your “Traffic Ticket Champion.” You simply enter the amount of ...

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Five Items To Buy After Christmas

When the Starbuck’s Christmas cups go away and your neighbors begin to take down their decorations, the last thing in the world you probably want to do is to be thinking about shopping considering you’ve been fretting about it for the past month.  While it may feel like we get deals galore thrown in front of our faces during the month of December, once Christmas season is over, you may be able to snag yourself a really good deal if you know what to buy.  I’ve put together a quick your smart money moves guide on five items you might want to consider buying after December 25th (mind you that it’s probably better about the second week of January). Electronics – While you can get a really good deal on video game consoles and cameras, the one electronic I would really keep my eye on are high definition televisions. Remember, each January the Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las ...

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Five Things You Didn’t Know About The GOP Tax Bill

With the GOP Tax Bill on the verge of passing, President Trump has suggested that this 1.5 trillion-dollar tax cut will be a HUGE Christmas present for the entire United States of America.  As with any type of new tax reform, there will be items you hear in the media about the winners and losers.  You’ll also hear about the major bullet points including the income tax brackets, the corporate tax cut to 21%, the small business pass through tax cuts, and certainly the minimization of state, local, and property income tax deductions on your itemized deductions.  What really separates us from our competition is to work hard on digging several layers down to give you some insight into the small tax changes that you won’t hear about that could affect your bottom line. Here are five things you didn’t know about the GOP Tax Bill Say Goodbye To The Home Equity Loan Deduction – The part of this bill ...

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What a Stupid Question!

So, how many times have you asked someone in the financial world a question and they make you feel stupid? Not only stupid for asking the question, but just plain stupid? That’s what often happens when working with people. There used to be stocks, bonds and cash. There used to be whole life insurance and term life insurance. There used to be disability insurance. There used to be health insurance. Now we have BDC’s and REIT’s and PPL’s and variable life insurance and variable universal life insurance and indexed life insurance and indexed universal life insurance and ETF’s and UIT’s and PPO’s and HMO’s and 401k’s and Roth 401k’s and IRA’s and Roth IRA’s and long term care insurance and then long term care riders and hybrids and properly structured life insurance and improperly structured life insurance . . . You get the point. The financial world of our parents and grandparents doesn’t exist today. It’s become much more complicated ...

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5 Things You Need To Know About The Bitcoin Before You Invest Your Money

It has become clear that the new gold rush people are talking about is the Bitcoin.  The problem is that most people have no ideas what the Bitcoin is exactly, how it works, or the way that a transaction happens with this currency.  When they start talking about the Bitcoin on major TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, then you know it’s time to get educated about this kind of investment before you jump into the deep end with your portfolio.  Here is your guide on five things you need to know about the Bitcoin before you invest your money. What Is The Bitcoin? In the simplest of terms, the Bitcoin is a digital currency peer to peer online payment system.  It is created through something called block chain technology, but at its heart it is simply a peer to peer payment system.  What makes something like the Bitcoin unique to modern currency is that there is no central ...

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Would You Pay $450 Million For A Piece Of Art

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, “Saviour of the World,” sold for $450,312,500 Wednesday at auction, Christie’s said. The price, which includes a buyer’s premium, makes it “the most expensive painting ever sold at auction,” the auction house said in a recent statement. The previous record for the most expensive painting sold at auction was $179,364,992 for Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger” (“Women of Algiers”), according to Christie’s. The highest price previously paid at auction for a da Vinci was in 2001 for his “Horse and Rider,” a work on paper, which went for $11,481,865.  This begs the question about whether or not it is a good idea to add collectibles into your overall portfolio and which collectibles may make sense if you have no real interest in collecting anything at all. With all of the hoopla going on this year in California, one might stop and think that fine wine could be a good collectible as part of your overall holdings. In fact ...

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