Smart Money Moves When You Have Water Damage

Opening your front door and stepping in water or standing in your kitchen and watching water pour through your ceiling are not images most homeowners like to imagine, yet water damage is the fastest growing claims category for insurance companies. As with most things being prepared is the best way to avoid costly mistakes and ease an unpleasant situation. First, before it happens, know what your homeowner’s policy covers.  Many policies have exclusions for sewage damage and some newer policies are excluding water damage. Water damage claims average $5,000 – $8,000 and some claims can exceed $30,000.  Review your policies and if coverage is not there, have it added. So, you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of rushing water.  You find the supply line to the toilet has ruptured and water is out into the hallway and cascading onto the first floor.  Now what?  As soon as possible, turn the water to the supply ...

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Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

I had the opportunity to spend the last few days at another professional conference in California.   You get to see some great speakers at these events including politicians like Jeb Bush and ex-athletes to help you get inspired to reach your dreams, and at this particular conference Mr. Ben Stein himself.    I had always imagined Ben Stein to be this tall lanky guy with his thinly framed spectacles lodged on his most recognizable nose.    It turns out he can’t be more than 5′ 4″, looks like he hasn’t missed a meal lately, and treks around in black vans like sneakers.    As a respected author, comedian, and economist, I was excited to hear his perspective on today’s economy.   Here are four things I learned from Ben Stein today. 1.) Without Two Moves We Would Have Hit The Great Depression Part Deux – According to Ben (or Benji as his family affectionately calls him), Bank Of America’s bailout of Merrill Lynch which ...

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IRS Announces Tax Changes For 2013

It’s that time of year where if you haven’t done some year end tax planning, you are sure to be behind the eight ball when it comes to saving as much money as you can with smart overall financial strategies.   Every year about this time, the IRS puts out changes that will affect what happens when the new year begins.   Here are some of the key things that you will want to know especially as you go through open enrollment season and assess your payroll deductions for the year ahead. 401(k)’s The IRS has increased the limitation on the maximum amount you can put away in 401(k), 403(b), and other types of retirement plans from $17,000 to $17,500. Depending on your marginal income tax rate (and where tax rates ultimately settle for 2013), this could save you several hundred dollars just by adjusting your percentage slightly up in your paycheck.  If you are over 50 or turn 50 in 2013, ...

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10 Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Can Make

There are 10 Mistakes that Entrepreneurs make that can prohibit them from creating a very successful business.  By learning how to avoid these mistakes you can get your business started up quickly, draw top line revenue, and be able to create a very profitable entity for yourself.  So here are the 10 mistakes that business owners and entrepreneurs make. Mistake #1 – Undercapitalization –There are many businesses out there that simply don’t think about how they are going to growth the business from a financial point of view.   Do you have the right lines of credit?  Are you going to equity out part of the company?  Or, are you going to try to fund your growth through the cash flow each month knowing you may sacrifice your own pay?  Have I assessed the appropriate pro forma analysis to figure out my real profit and loss in the business?  Should I lease or buy equipment? Essentially, what is the best way ...

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Does C.D. Now Stand For Crummy Deal?

One of the biggest frustrations I have heard over the past couple of years is what do to with your cash.  Most checking accounts that people have to day do not bear any interest at all.    In addition, the majority of savings and money market accounts will pay somewhere between .25% and .75% unless you have landed a teaser rate at the bank.    If you don’t pay attention closely to it, your cash at the brokerage house (Schwab, Fidelity) may actually be earning .01% on a yearly basis.   Even with the teaser rates from small and big banks alike, certificate of deposits which were one of the cash go to instruments for many families have now withered away to all time lows as well.    Even if you park the money away for 3 to 5 years, you are still well behind inflation after the interest you earn.   This means it is more important than ever that you figure out how ...

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Can You Invite Just “One Person” To A Wedding?

Since more and more couples have to pay for their own weddings, it has become paramount to think about your guest list.   Traditional weddings could have easily been with 200 to 300 guests, but today’s weddings can be small and intimate or even at a far away destination in an exotic location.    I’ve noticed as of late hearing friends and co-workers talk about getting a wedding invitation without a ‘Guest’ or a ‘plus-one’ attached to the invitation.  This almost guarantees that you will be sitting at a card table like Thanksgiving with all of the other ‘plus-zero’ guests at the wedding.  So, is it appropriate to send out a wedding invitation to just one individual without letting them bring a date or guest? I’ve given this a lot of thought and the customary traditional rules would say that you should give the option of allowing someone to bring a guest especially if they are over a certain age.   However, with ...

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Three Mistakes With Retirement Planning Assumptions

When you last did your projections for retirement through the tools offered from your 401(k) plan or the book your financial advisor put together, are you sure the assumptions that were made were explained to you clearly?    Or, did you challenge each assumption made within the financial plan to be certain that the assumptions matched your level of risk tolerance.   The assumptions made within your financial plan can be very conservative or very aggressive depending on your viewpoint about planning for your retirement.   Making assumptions is something we do every day in our lives.   Essentially, as assumption is nothing more than something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof.  In other words, it is belief without proof.   When it comes to your retirement, you need to ask about these three assumptions or your retirement plan may really be nothing more than a pipe dream. 1.) Inflation Assumption – Most financial plans give you or a financial advisor a ...

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Why I Won’t Be Suze Orman’s Friend On Facebook

We get invitations all the time from people who want to be our friends on Facebook.   Sometimes it can be friends from your childhood, co-workers, your boss, or some creepy person from a far away destination.   Once you click “yes” for someone becoming your friend, you literally let them into your life and potentially the history of what you have done depending on your timeline.   We also get a chance to ‘like’ the pages of our favorite companies and also some of our favorite celebrities on Facebook.  Once you decide to like them, you in essence become their friend because every time they make a post or put up a video or picture it comes through your feed on your main Facebook page.   After reading Suze Orman’s Facebook pages, I must admit to you that I can never be Suze Orman’s friend on Facebook. First of all, let’s talk about favorites.   Among the four favorites that show up is none ...

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How Much Should I Set Aside For Estimated Taxes?

This is your first year in business and it has just dawned on you that there is nothing coming out of your paycheck.     You know that you have got to pay taxes somewhere along the way, but you have been spending the paychecks like 100% of it is net income to you.    This frequently happens to people the first year that they get in business as it can be very confusing on how to estimate your income taxes so you don’t run into hot water come tax time.  I’m often asked by small business owners and individual 1099 earners about the best way to plan for estimated taxes, so here are some tips that should help you manage this in the best way possible. As a business owner, you have a litany of options on how to set up your business.   You can choose to stay as a sole proprietor, set up an LLC, set up an S-Corporation, or choose ...

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