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How To Organize Your 2014 Budget

Even though exercise and diet remain the top two New Year’s resolutions that most Americans have, the next few days might provide you with some opportunity to visit your overall 2014 spending plan.  It can be a painful process sometimes building out a spending plan (or budget) as your self-reflection may often reveal ugly spots that you just don’t want to see. The first and most important step toward a financially successful 2014 is to get a reality check around where your dollars and cents were actually spent in 2013.   Here are my six tips on how to organize and set up a household budget.  This is the bedrock of what has created a successful personal financial plan for my household for many years. Gather The Last 12 Months Of Fixed Expenses– Fixed expenses are generally expenses that do not change much over the course of the year.  An example of this would be your rent or mortgage.  Most of ...

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Setting and Making Realistic Financial New Year’s Resolutions

It is almost that time of season when you will begin to ponder your new year’s resolution.  Will it be exercise?  Will it be a new diet? Or will it have something to do with improving your family finances.  Making resolutions (or goals) can be a very difficult process because it often makes you face some of your own realities like it or not.   When you decide to set goals that are realistic, I have been a big cheerleader over the years to use the S-M-A-R-T goal setting system.  Here is how it works. *S is for Specific– Be very specific about what you are trying to accomplish.  Don’t tell yourself you want to pay down debt.  Instead, give yourself a specific goal such as paying off $10,000 of debt. *M is for Measurable– Have a way to track your progress.   In the last example, make a chart for paying off $833 a month and cross it off each month ...

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Your 2013 Year End Smart Money Moves

Believe it or not, 2013 will be a footnote in the history books in just three weeks.   As you scurry around to shopping malls and local outlet stores to find presents and stocking stuffers; make sure you don’t forget important money items, that can be worth a lot more than a plate of cookies on the fireplace mantle.  We often overlook some of these items, because we simply run out of time or they just pass by us because we don’t know about them at all.  Here are some year end ideas from the Your Smart Money Moves Column. Do you have a will/living trust? If they don’t have a written one, then the state they live in will have one for them.  My guess is that you don’t want the state to decide how your parent’s assets should be distributed.    The will has many features to it, but most importantly it allows for your parents to essentially say which ...

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VIDEO | Top 5 New Years Resolutions

Published on: January 21, 2013 @ 11:00 It’s hard to imagine that another year has passed by so quickly.   In the wake of the fiscal cliff coming down the stretch, it seems ironic that we would be discussing financial New Year’s resolutions.  http://bit.ly/UMnENB  You would think that our politicians and policymakers alike could learn a little bit from my top five this year.    No matter how all of the information gets relayed to us about this fiscal cliff, you can be 100% certain of simple mathematics.   You cannot make progress when your expenses exceed your revenue and more often than not leverage will get you in deep financial trouble.    If you can learn that basic financial principle from what you have witnessed with our country’s finances, you’ll be much better off when you plan your own in 2013.   So here are five financial New Year’s resolutions that can make a dent in your bottom line. ...

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What will you do with 2% more in your paycheck?

If Santa Clause didn’t come down your chimney with anything good this year, Congress has decided to give you a stocking stuffer for the New Year.   With nearly 160 million workers that will benefit from the extension of the reduced payroll tax that passed just before Christmas, it’s time to figure out whether you’ll be naughty or nice with your gift.   The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act temporarily extends the two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, continuing the reduction of your Social Security withholding rate from 6.2% to 4.2% of wages paid through February 29th, 2012.  (source: www.irs.gov) Of course, this is supposed to have no effect on your future Social Security benefits.  Yeah, right! If you weren’t aware, this payroll tax cut was in effect for all of 2011.   This means that for those who earned W-2 income last year up to your first $106,800 of waged income, you actually got a 2% pay raise in ...

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5 Smart Financial Moves To Start The New Year Off With A Bang

The holiday season brought snow on Christmas Day to the state of Georgia along with some relief around tax breaks that helped both the wealthy and the unemployed. It seemed like everyone’s stocking got a gift or two, but the reality of all these tax breaks will sneak up on us a few years from now. As the New Year gets kicked off, there are some key things you want to be taking action on in respect to your overall financial plan. Rates will not stay low forever – If you have the situation where you can afford to buy a piece of real estate or potentially refinance your home, this would be the time to take advantage of doing that if you haven’t jumped on the wagon already. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you should consider getting that locked into some type of fixed rate program. If you cannot refinance and are stuck with a higher interest ...

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