$917 million will be gone in a month

We all like the idea of being able to get FREE money. Whether it’s when we find a few bucks of loose change in our couches, or it’s Fall and we pull out that jacket we haven’t worn in almost a year only to discover a $20 bill lodged in one of the pockets; then there’s always that moment you find a gift card stuck at the bottom of then dresser drawer and now have $25 bucks to spend at your favorite store. Additionally, in less than a month, the IRS has put a special group of people on notice that their tax refund will “fly away in the wind” if they don’t file soon. The IRS claims that refund, which will total over $917 million nationally, may still be waiting for a rough estimate of a million taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds exceed $500. ...

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Is Private School Worth The Cost?

When you move into a new city and have children, one of the biggest questions you will ask the local real estate agent is “how is the local school system?”    As you ponder the notion of living in the city or potentially moving out to the suburbs, where your kids will be educated can be the subject of heated family debate.    Even if you live within an existing area now, you may be faced with the challenge of whether to move to a suburban area with good school system to avoid the cost of private school or determine that private school is a must for your children.   With many private elementary, middle, and high schools charging rates that rival college costs it can leave you with an extremely arduous decision around when to do private or when to do public.    Is private school really worth the cost?   Here are my smart money moves to think about. COST – Let’s look ...

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Three Money Lessons I Learned From My Parents

I don’t think we can often appreciate everything that happens to us growing up as a child.   We know that our formative years can very much outline and shape the way we think and act as an adult.    We know that in some households money never gets discussed with the kids and in others there are detailed discussions about how to create a household budget.    These money lessons we learn as kids have a much deeper meaning in how we think about money than we can ever know in our adult years.   Here are three money lessons I learned as a kid and how they shaped my thinking around handling my family finances today. LESSON – Credit Card Debt –  My father unfortunately enjoyed buying things before he earned them.    He spent a great deal of money on credit cards for vacations, sporting event tickets, and his hobbies such as stamp collecting.    While I never knew for many years that ...

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The Hampton Inn Has Valet Parking?

I’m pretty certain that many of you like to score a ‘deal’ just like me.  Whether it comes in the form of a 2 for 1 at your favorite restaurant or a 50% off sale at the department store, getting a deal just makes you feel like a winner.    Time and time again as I give you ‘smart money moves’ tips, I’ll notice little things in life that can make a difference in your wallet when you pay attention to your purchases.    Several months ago, I gave you my thoughts on the whole ‘additional tip’ line when it comes to guaranteed gratuity/ additional gratuity and how it is presented with your dinner bill.    This past weekend, the Hampton Inn gave me some blogging fodder for the week as I reviewed my check out bill. My daughter is part of a swimming club in North Georgia.   At periodic times during the year, they have an interstate meet at an overnight destination.   ...

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VIDEO | Grocery Shopping with Peter Lynch

Published on Nov 29, 2012 For the past three years, I have been an avid personal finance blogger discussing everything from managing your wealth to mitigating your tax liability. No matter how substantive the topics I wrote about in the personal finance sector, the big question was whether someone would actually read my content. As bloggers, we often believe that our most recent post will change the lives of millions, but in reality only a handful of people may click through your e-mailed link to read your weekly blog post. The art of creating effective titles is incredibly important because if your title and opening paragraph are catchy and interesting, your readers are more inclined to check out the rest of the article. Take the title I opened up with in this article. Did it make you at least a little bit curious about what happened when Peter Lynch went grocery shopping with me at Whole Foods the other day? Or ...

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What Halloween Taught My Kids About Romney, Obama, and How The Economy Works

I suppose every parent hopes to teach their kids important lessons about life.  The lessons that you teach them about decision making, money, friendship, family, and much more will in part determine how they do as adults when they are primarily making their own decisions.    As my kids grow older every year, slowly but surely the tremendous fun I have had over the year trick or treating with them on October 31st is fading away.   This was the first year where my oldest daughter didn’t go out trick or treating with a costume and the two younger ones aren’t far behind.   So how did Halloween teach my kids something about how our economy works? We’ve been having some discussions at home about the difference on how the candidates think about business and how money should be distributed (or redistributed).      When the two kids finished their massive candy assault on the neighborhood, they both wound up with huge bags of candy.  ...

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How Much Does Your Community Benefit From You Spending $100

I recently came across a staggering article around what is deemed today as Marketplace Fairness.    The 2012 International Council Of Shopping Centers had a promotional infographic regarding the following question . . . How Much Does Your Community Benefit From You Spending $100?    What they found is that a local retailer was able to retain about $68 within your community.    If A National Retailer moved in they were able to retain $43 within your community.   However, the most silent killer of all was the online retailer who retained $0 within your community.    In fact, the article went on to demonstrate that for every $1 million dollars of sales, a local retailer was able to create 4 jobs whereas an online retailer was only able to create 1 additional job.  It’s likely that one job isn’t in your community. Sometimes a bargain isn’t always what it seems.    Since online merchants aren’t currently required to charge sales tax, local retailers can be ...

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Life Insurance: Why Do You Think 1 Million Dollars Is A Lot Of Money?

I’m excited to take part in the life insurance movement with Good Financial Cents.  Having been a practitioner involved with life insurance over the past 21 years, I have unfortunately had to deliver my fair share of insurance checks.   When I met people who have lost a loved one and now have to build them a financial plan, never once did I hear them say, “Boy, I’m so angry my life insurance agent sold me too much insurance!”    Rather, I hear horror stories from widows who cannot understand why their husband didn’t take out more life insurance.   Or, they assured their spouse that they would be ‘well taken care of’ if anything happened to them.   This is the story for many families across America. In the last six months, I’ve seen both friends and family who are in the 40 to 45 year old range dealing with major medical issues.   I’m 42 and when people told me about 10 years ...

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When Smaller Saved Us Money

I live in Atlanta, so I do my very best to try to see all of the tourist attractions within my hometown city. Some people call them staycations, but there are really many day trips you can take to enjoy local attractions — especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. My wife and I happened to go to the High Museum to check out one of the special venues in the city of Atlanta. The pieces within the museum are a wonderful juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary art. We went specifically because there was an exhibition contrasting photographs of New York City and different parts of the South, including New Orleans. When we were browsing through the different photographs of people and places, there was one photo of an entire block of stores in New York City in the 1960s. What was so amazing is that amongst the dozen or so stores in the photograph, not one of ...

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