Here’s Why Your Friends Are Going Broke

Most of the time when we talk about personal finance, topics including credit card debt, savings, investments, insurance, and coupons creep into the discussion.   Since nobody wears their net worth pinned to their chest, we truly have no inkling what our neighbors real personal financial situation is at any given point and time.   What I promise you to be true is that what appears to be an ocean of success around you is merely nothing more than a mirage of many people living on an obligatory basis to pay their bills.   Your friends will never tell you they are drowning in quicksand, but people around you are going broke every day and here are the reasons why. EGO– Your ego is something that can make you stronger or become an insurmountable obstacle to achieving success.  Remember, your ego is the part of your mind that contains memory.  It is ultimately what shapes your planning and your reality.   When it comes ...

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I Need A Pension Plan

We know that for years that planning for retirement was a three legged stool.   Pension plans, social security, and then whatever personal savings and investment plans you could muster up over the course of your lifetime.   With a great deal of uncertainty looming over social security and pension plans dwindling away from large corporations, I continue to stress to people that retirement planning feels more like a pogo stick than it does a stool. Product companies understand that the greatest way to attract customer is figure out how to fill a void in the marketplace.   As investors struggle to figure out the best way to plan for retirement, a fairly new type of fixed product has been gaining traction called a Deferred Income Annuity (DIA).   A deferred income annuity is a newer type of annuity that is essentially a mixture of a single premium immediate annuity and a single premium deferred annuity. With a DIA, the idea behind the vehicle ...

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Five Celebrities That Know How To Save Money

Most of the media generated stories about celebrities consist of shock and awe showing situations resembling the Titanic sinking into the ocean.   When it comes to personal finances, we read about those who didn’t pay their income taxes, stars that spent themselves into bankruptcy, and estate plans that went decidedly south after their death.    However, there are celebrities who understand a thing or two about money and here are five famous people who know how to improve their bottom line. Teri Hatcher Understands Used Cars– Teri Hatcher became famous through the Superman shows she did with Dean Cain and then hit a home run with the Desperate Housewives television show.   She’s reported to have a net worth of over $50 million dollars.  “I don’t spend my money on sports cars or new million-dollar houses. I drive my cars for 10 years until they have 100,000 miles on them.” (source www.msn.com)    Used car buying is a smart money move that can ...

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Do I Still Need A Landline?

My wife and I were recently on vacation and had a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride the Orient Express.   It was truly magical to be jettisoned back into the early part of the 19th century sitting on plush armchairs, dining with fine china, and silverware that was actually made of silver.   As we journeyed from Cheltenham to Southampton in England, we got into a lively conversation with couple sitting across from us in the train car.    This couple was retired and after a discussion around mobile phone technology, they gave us some food for thought around why to sill have a landline. I want to get to know my daughter-in-law–  One of the most interesting comments they made during the trip is that home phones allow both partners from the family to pick up the phone.   In today’s world, if you have a child that is married you might generally call only their mobile phone.   This doesn’t give ...

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You Are A Sole Proprietor: How About A Solo 401(k)

I am seeing more and more people quit the corporate America lifestyle and venture into becoming their own business owner.  This shape of a business owner can be a freelancer, consultant, or someone who actually starts up a ‘brick and mortar’ operation.    Many of these folks will ask questions about whether they should incorporate their business, which I have discussed in other articles.    Once they become profitable, they often ask which kind of retirement plan would suit them the best.   For someone who is a sole business owner, the Solo 401(k) has been around for about a decade and provides a great alternative to helping maximize your retirement contributions.   Here’s a little history on the Solo 401(k) and how it can be a smart money move for your business. The Solo 401k came about in 2002 after Congress passed Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). EGTRRA added some small paragraphs to the tax code that put ...

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AMEX Points: Try The Clearance Rack

People often ask me what is the best type of credit card to get when it comes to frequent flier or cash back awards. I’ll cover some of my favorite reward cards in other post, but in today’s blog I thought I would share how to make the most of your AMEX card.   Sad to say, but most people who carry the GOLD or PLATINUM card don’t ever look at or use most of the benefits of card.   What most consumers are aware of is that with each purchase they rack up 1 point for every dollar they spend.   So how do you make the most of your rewards?  Check the CLEARANCE rack.  Here’s an example of three items you can get in the clearance section on AMEX membership rewards today. (source: AmericanExpress.com) When you click the membership rewards link in your AMEX account, you’ll notice on the far right hand side a link called ‘specials’.  If you click this ...

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Three Reasons NOT To Lease A Car

Ownership is still one of the greatest feelings in the world.   I’m not talking about a house you have with a big mortgage because you really don’t own it yet.  The day you pay that puppy off will truly be cause for celebration.  It’s a feeling that less than the majority of people get to experience in America.   When it comes to your automobiles, I’m a much bigger fan of owning versus leasing.   The one time in my life I had a leasing experience back in 1993 with my Nissan Altima, I felt like an upside down pineapple cake by the time it was all said and done.  Since that purchase, I will only buy used cards and I will only own them.  Here are three reasons why NOT to lease a car. The Mileage Limit– When it comes to leasing a car, you need to make sure you always read the fine print.   Typically, the lease will stipulate some ...

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5 Ways To Save Money At Department Stores

Gasp! Gasp! There’s nothing worse than having a white coated clinician spray some newly branded perfume on to a card and waft in your face as you gently stroll through the front doors of the department store.   You can get lost in a department store.   Some of them have three or four floors or if you take a trip over the pond to London take an afternoon to enjoy the ultimate department store in Harrod’s.   We shop at different department stores for different reasons, but here are five smart money moves tips for you if you choose to spend an afternoon trolling through racks of clothes and up and down escalators looking for a bargain. Start At The Clearance Racks– The upscale department stores are chock full of great merchandise.  Unfortunately for you, they don’t put it in the front of the store when you start shopping.  Work your way to the back of the store or to a particular ...

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4 Money Tips For The Dog Days Of Summer

This is the rainiest summer season I’ve experienced since I moved to the state of Georgia.   Of course people complained about the rain, but then again a few summers back there was even more complaining about the serious drought the state was experiencing. Historically the Farmer’s Almanac states that the Dog Days of summer are from July 3rd to August 11th, but with this year’s rain it will likely move closer to Labor Day.   So what can you do as the Dog Days of summer wind down to clean up your financial plan?  Here are my four smart money moves to consider from now until the end of the year. 1)    Get Educated On Your Workplace Health Insurance Before Open Enrollment– With The Affordable Care Act enrollment set to begin on October 1st, 2013, decisions centering around your family’s health insurance are right around the corner.   Year after year, insurance companies continually blow up your company’s previous plan before installing ...

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