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How To Avoid A Charity Donation Scam During The Holidays

After a New Jersey couple recently launched a fundraiser for a homeless man last year, donations poured in as hearts were ripped out about this tear jerking story. We see charitable causes all the time that pull the purse strings of our wallet, especially during the holidays. The story of the homeless man and the $400,000 GoFundMe money unraveled in the past few weeks and we learned about the money that completely disappeared. Everyone behind the GoFundMe campaign were playing America, but inevitably they were outed. As we approach the season to be jolly, here are some tips on how not to get scammed when giving to charity. 1) Start With The IRS- Yes, the IRS. The IRS website has a Tax Exempt Organization Search you can use to see if the charity is in fact a legitimate organization. Remember, you want to be asking two very important questions. One, is the organization you are giving to a tax-exempt organization ...

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The Greatest Tax Strategy You Never Heard Of Before

It’s been a good decade for people.  Stocks have gone up.  Real estate has gone up.  You might have even benefited from a liquidity event where you owned stock in a private company that has now gone public.  What’s interesting is that most people left to their own device make a big mistake of letting the tax tail wag the dog.  If you have an appreciated piece of real estate or stock, you’ll be inclined not to sell it because you are worried about paying a massive capital gain tax.  What if I was to tell you that there is a way to really apply the age-old adage that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Enter the greatest tax strategy you never heard of before….The NIMCRUT. What does NIMCRUT actually stand for…. NI = Net Income:Only trust income is paid by the unitrust.* You control the level of income distributed. M = Makeup provision: Amounts not paid ...

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After this holiday season, who are you cutting out of your will?

I usually tell clients to read their will around the time of their birthday, every 3 years. This year, it’s January and I’m thinking “Hmmmm. Who wasn’t so nice to me this year around the holidays? Do they need to remain in my will?” All joking aside, it’s good to read your will every few years just to see if there are any additions or deletions to make. It’s also worth paying your attorney for an hour or two of their time to make sure everything is up to date with current tax laws and current state laws that pertain to estate planning that may have changed effective January 1st. For instance, I know Georgia made some change to one of the estate planning documents recently. Always check with your attorney but I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a revocable trust in addition to having your Will, Healthcare Directive, and Durable Powers of Attorney in place. In states ...

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I Take The Blame

When I called one of my best clients to wish him a Happy Birthday, on his 81st birthday I might add, he started the conversation with “I planned to call you today or tomorrow. You’re getting blamed for something here.” I responded, “I am fully responsible! Now what did I do?” He proceeded to tell me that he and his wife have been planning something and every time one of them would question their plans, the other one would just say “Mark would tell us to do this.” And they’re probably right. I would tell them to do it. We then spent the next 25 minutes looking at Google maps of Kuaii and sharing stories about traveling to Kuaii. My clients just rented the house and booked the flights for 10 days on Kuaii with their 2 sons, their 2 daughers-in-law and their 14 year old granddaughter. How awesome!!! I’ll gladly take the blame for this. I say I’ll take ...

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Will It Cost 1 Billion Dollars To Run The Presidential Campaign?

It’s hard to ascertain whether or not we will begin to see a Presidential campaign this summer or a continuation of a new reality show called ‘Who Wants To Be America’s Next President? While we are sure to see mudslinging in television ads and scandals come out of the woodwork, the stark reality is that from a financial perspective these campaigns are moving to epic proportion. Even Donald Trump who is a billionaire simply cannot afford the price tag to run a campaign in today’s bulging budget to get to the White House. So, where does all of that money go? Advertising- While the apparent part of this are the countless number of hard hitting ads we are going to see, people forget just how much will be spent on digital advertising this year through mediums such as Facebook. In addition, there is a huge cost for banners, signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and buttons that will be spent during the ...

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Diamond Jewelry Valued For More Than the 4 C’s

People are flocking to jewelry stores around the country to buy that special someone something that sparkles. So what makes one diamond more valuable than another? Ask any diamond and jewelry professional, and they will tell you the factors that influence the value of diamonds are much more complicated than the commonly referred to 4 c’s: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight. But, the 4 c’s are really just the beginning of the factors that make up the value of a diamond. I call the remaining considerations ‘Characteristics,’ making a fifth c if you will. Characteristics include any properties that may affect the overall value of the stone, such as the construction of the diamond, the nature of imperfections, as well as natural or man made characteristics. Proper Ratio of Depth and Table Percentages – Depth and table percentages will affect the value of a diamond because they are an indication of a well-proportioned stone. If a depth percentage is too big ...

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Why Wouldn’t Student Loans Be Forgiven?

Last week I was invited on to NBC 11 Alive news in Atlanta to discuss this recent article (http://cnb.cx/1ubs042) that shared a study where it was discovered that 24% of all Millennials expect that their student loans will ultimately be forgiven.   That’s a downright scary statistic.  One in four of the kids who are borrowing money to pay for their current college education expect that they won’t have to repay the very debt that they borrow.   How can this be?  Isn’t this generation the most educated of all time?   What is going on in America?   Here is my smart money moves take on the details and where this is headed. First things first, I’m not really sure at all why we are surprised by this sentiment.   Back in the real estate crash of 2007 & 2008, how many people simply handed over the keys to their properties, walked away from their homes, and came out unscathed by never fulfilling their ...

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Til Debt Do You Part

My team is extremely fortunate to get to work with so many successful Gen X’ers. Many of them have done phenomenally well in their careers, and then begin considering marriage at a much later stage in life toward their late 30’s to early 40’s. This often brings up the question when we do financial planning with them about whether or not it is a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement. There are pros and cons to getting this type of agreement, but the one important item many couples do not remember to put in these agreements when they execute them is what will happen with the DEBT. Most couples remember to talk about the bank accounts, the retirement accounts, the family inheritances, the real estate, and the closely held businesses. However, most people assume that all prenuptial agreements are only dealing with people who have significant wealth. What happens when a couple gets married and you still have outstanding ...

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Three Financial Moves To Make When You Get Promoted

There are few things in life that deserve a glass of champagne more than a well-earned promotion.  After years of blood, sweat, and tears, your company has finally recognized your efforts and decided to move you into a more meaningful role within your company.  Sometimes, only title are associated with these promotions, but more often than not there will be financial rewards as well.   This is exactly your time to fall into the lifestyle inflation trap and make some really smart financial moves that will pay dividends down the road. The Pay Raise– Generally, a new promotion will also mean more responsibility which often equals more pay.  If your salary jumps by $10,000 or even $50,000 dollars this will mean a significant bump in your cash flow for your family.   What should you do with this money?  Is it best to add to your 401(k)?  Start paying down the mortgage?  Or time to purchase that new vacation home?   With pay ...

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5 Gifts You Didn’t Know About For The Holidays

One of the reasons I love having clients is that I get to meet all kinds of different business owners. There are those that have been entrepreneurs for their whole lives and others who woke up one day with a dream of creating a product that could change the face of an industry. Now that it is holiday time, I thought I would share with you some stocking stuffers and other gift ideas that you won’t see on mainstream lists and items that will leave your family quizzing you on how exactly you found that item. Just say you heard about it on YourSmartMoneyMoves and enjoy these five gift ideas for the holidays. Pet Applause (http://etsy.me/1A1klG2)- Cindy Patrick has come up with a truly genius idea in the card and memory book business for pets. Aren’t you sick and tired of the same old thank you cards? If you are a pet lover, you will love her ‘Thank You Furry ...

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