Great 2018 Back To School Money Moves

For most people in Atlanta, it is back to school time this week for your children. For many of you across the country, it’s only a month to Labor Day and then everyone will be in full speed back to the grind.  As the dog days of summer approach us and with school back in session, here are five great back to school money tips you should review today! 1) There are alternatives to student loans for college – With student loans at an all-time high and many students having to stay in state because of the rising cost of college, will there be alternatives on how to deal with this menacing situation of paying for college?  Over the past year, several large schools have started to offer a new program where instead of taking out debt, the student offers a percentage of their future income back to college in a unique structure that is different than traditional student debt. ...

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How To Avoid A Big Tax Surprise In 2019

With only five months left in 2018, it is probably time you start thinking about what your income taxes will look like before the end of the year.  The 2018 Trump tax overhaul not only changed the entire tax table system, but there were serious alterations for individuals and small businesses that could throw a real knot in your income taxes if you don’t carefully plan.  The challenge for most families is that they plan reactively versus proactively often only thinking about taxing when it is time either write a check or collect a refund.  Here are my five ways to avoid a big tax surprise come March or April in 2019.   Review Your Withholdings And Do A Mock Tax Projection The IRS did an overhaul of the tax withholding tables and most people didn’t change their withholdings from Married 1 or Single 2 or wherever you had your overall withholdings. The big question you want to start with ...

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Bad Credit Card Moves To Make

When the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was put into place, credit card holders were supposed to benefit from the new regulation.    Consumers would receive new notifications for rate fee increases, statements would inform consumers on how long it would take to pay off balances, and credit issuers were required to mail bills at least 21 days before the due date.     Now that some time has passed since the Dodd-Frank Act, consumers are still struggling with all time high levels of credit card debt and the fine print coming from credit card companies are smaller than ever.   Here are five things you should keep an eye on so you don’t get stung by the credit card companies.   Late Fees – Late fees are a big source of ways that credit card companies earn money. Since many of us pay our bills through automatic payment, you should make sure you pay your credit card bill a few ...

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How To Settle Your Money Arguments At Home

Many families worry about their financial plan and whether or not they will run out of money.  Some families are living paycheck to paycheck and trying to figure out a better way to budget their monthly dollars.  However, money arguments are one of the leading causes about why couples ultimately split up.  According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis, 22% of all divorces are caused by money issues.  So, how do you stop those money arguments at home? #1 The Dreaded Spender Saver Couple It is important to try to understand your spouse’s money personality as we all have a unique way we think about money shaped often by how we were raised as a child.   The most critical item for a couple where you have one person who is very frugal and the other who can often be frivolous is to set concrete unified family financial goals.  This means really sitting down and figuring out the financial priorities ...

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When Is The Right Time To Refinance?

With the Fed recently raising interest rates, many people have started to wonder if they should act on the refinance now or wait to see what happens with interest rates.  If you are buying a new home, thinking about refinancing your mortgage, or just wondering where this is all headed, it is a good time to start crunching the numbers and examining the current mortgage you have in place.  So, when is the right time to refinance? Side note: There is “Rule Of Thumb” – the rule of thumb really boils down to a math equation which I will lay out for you here in the article. Question 1: What Is This Going To Cost You? There is always a cost to refinance. Sometimes you will hear on television these deals that say no closing costs or no cost to refinance.  What some companies do is simply roll those closing costs into the newly refinanced loan so instead of refinancing ...

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How Much are Your Family Jewels Worth?

interviewed Kathryn Kinev who is the owner of www.jewelcreations.com. Kathryn is a Goldsmith, Platinumsmith, Gemologist, Custom Designer, AND an appraiser. I’ve had clients inherit jewelry, including myself, and the value is some unknown number. I think some of the things I have came from my grandfather but now that both of my parents are gone, we have no way of knowing who owned it. Kathryn has so many years of experience she can look at the pieces and determine the date it was made within an approximate 10 year window. When she showed us an appraisal for just one ring, the appraisal included 4 sheets of paper to detail her research and findings. I was also impressed when she told the story about one of her award winning pieces that she designed. The 6 gems sat on her desk for 2 years as she would look at them and be with them. Then, in the middle of the night, the ...

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Who’s in control of your ILIT?

I recently wrote about the importance of reviewing your estate plan and life insurance values every 3 years. Well, also look at who is in control of the ILIT, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, that you setup many years ago. I have a friend who wanted to review the values of his life insurance policies that are owned by an ILIT and then realized the insurance company wasn’t notified of the death of the trustee of the ILIT nor were they notified who was appointed as the new trustee. He then found out the new trustee wasn’t paying attention to mail from the insurance company and most likely threw away annual statements. Kind of awkward conversations to have. ILIT’s are great planning tools. Not as much now since estate tax laws have changed and the amount of money that can pass from one generation to the next has increased. But as they say, what goes up must come down, as in ...

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Is It Time To Do The Holidays In July

It’s July.  Why in the world would we want to start thinking about holiday time in December right now.  One of the biggest financial hangovers people have in their budgets is when they overspend during the holiday season.  Now that we have hit July, I have some smart money moves tips that can put a few of those dollars back in your and maybe even take some of the stress out of your life.  Here are five money ideas for doing Christmas, Chanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate with your families in December to save you some money. What’s On Sale Now – When you are out and about at the stores, you should always take a peek at the clearance racks. You might find some cool piece of clothing, shoes on sale, or some piece of technology that is being upgraded to a new version.  For sure, all summer clothes will start to go on sale, so this can be ...

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