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Prepaid Option Or Fill It Up Before You Get To The Airport?

Now that Memorial Day has passed and summer is coming in full stride, many of us will go on some type of vacation for some fun in the sun.   If you end up renting a car, most agencies know that they are the last stop between you and your vacation.  Thus, you will most likely end up playing a game of rapid fire at the checkout counter, getting the keys to your rental car, as well as answering questions about insurance and gas options before you take the car.   One of the key questions that the rental car agency will ask you is, “Do you want the prepaid option for gas or do you want to fill it up yourself before you return?”    Hardly ever does anyone ask questions or do any type of analysis on this question, and it can cost you big money if you don’t answer it correctly.   So, here are four ‘smart money moves’ questions to ...

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National 529 Day

Today is National 529 Day.   Just another day on the calendar to get you thinking about how you will support your children’s college education.   I have noticed over the past several years that college education is one of the areas that people in their 40’s and early 50’s are WAY behind in when it comes to planned savings.   I’m also seeing much more discrepancies between spouses and partners alike about what is the best way to plan for this goal.  Should your kids go to an in-state school?  Should they go to the college of their choice?   Should you plan for an ivy league private school?   What happens if they just cross the border and go to a state school in a bordering state?   Imagine you get home from work one day and your child has the magical letter from that college or university that you both always dreamed they would attend?     Will you have a plan in place that ...

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What’s Next . . . Step On The Scale Please!

Making smart money moves are important within all facets of our lives. Although we often think about money when it comes to bills, purchases, and investments, our overall health and wellness can be one of the largest costs included in our overall budgets. Relative to this, our diets and the way we eat can have a major impact on our personal finances day in and day out. If we end up having diabetes, high blood pressure, or extremely high cholesterol, these health issues can cost us thousands of dollars each and every single year to treat. Several years ago, the USDA (www.usda.org) released a report that stated medical costs that come as a result of obesity related problems are about $10,000 higher than they are for those with a healthy normal weight. What would it mean to put $10,000 back in your cash reserve, your children’s 529 college education fund, or your retirement savings? Back in the early 1990’s, the ...

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Will You Lose Your Home Mortgage Deduction In 2013?

Last Friday, I spent a chunk of my day at the Georgia Regional Financial Planning Association conference. I was a panelist at the event, but one of the reasons I attended was to see a friend of mine Michael Kitces speak on all of the tax law changes here in 2013. He is one of the best tax management advisors that I know of in the industry. As I have shared before in my blogs, tax management will be as important if not more important than asset management over the next decade. With all of the recent fiscal cliff changes, the tax law has become even more complicated and requires a close eye here in 2013 when income to tracking your gross income, capital gain sales, and potentially triggering out things like stock options or selling a piece of rental real estate. One of the main questions taxpayers will face this this year is whether or not their home mortgage ...

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What do Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, and the word SALE have in common?

None of us like the idea of going bankrupt. The whole notion of losing all of our money or being in a financial position where we tell ourselves we have to give up and wave the white flag can be a simply awful feeling. We’ve seen over the past decade some colossal meltdowns of investments that, at first glance, appear to be bullet proof until they turned out to be massive Ponzi schemes and frauds such as in the cases of Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In the flick of a switch, those millions and millions of dollars in investments became a black hole of nothingness seemingly overnight. So what in the world do these guys and the world SALE have in common? In helping many people manage their budgets and family finances, words like SALE, FREE, and ZERO are some of the most dangerous words in the English language. If you’re not careful with how you make up your ...

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Summer Camps Mean Money Blues For Mom and Dad

The school year is rapidly approaching graduation season, which means for most parents’ the question of what to do with the kids for summer is looming in front of you.   Summer camps leave kids with memories of sleeping in bunk beds, learning to ride a horse, swing a tennis racket, or the time that their traveling baseball team won the state championship.     For parent’s today the cost of many full time day camps can cost $300 to $500 a week.    Sleep away camps can cost $10,000 or more.   Weekly specialty camps for sports like tennis, swimming, or golf can be extremely costly as well.    For many families, camp is not always a budgeting item that parents’ put as a line item in the beginning of the year.   Camps can often cause a dent in a parents’ cash reserve that they have to make up in the fall just in time to spend money for the holiday season.  What are some ...

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Preventive Medicine For Your Home

We all know that one the largest assets we will own in our lifetime is our home.   I’ve never really seen a ton of good articles on the cost of home ownership, but having personally owned over a half dozen homes, I can tell you that all homes required their fair share of upkeep.    Even though we may not be in the market to sell our homes, we are constantly watching the sale of our neighbors homes or checking out the prices on websites like Zillow to see where the value of our home stands.     We can convince ourselves that our home is in tip top shape until the time we get an offer on the home contingent on the dreaded home inspection.    A good home inspector gets paid in part to look within every nook and cranny in the house to find out what may be wrong with the property.    After the inspection, we can almost become incensed that ...

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