DISASTER IN JAPAN: Why You Need An On Line Safety Deposit Box

With the recent disaster in Japan and our experience in the United States with Hurricane Katrina just a few short years ago, it made me think about what kind of smart money moves you should make around protecting your documents.  If a Tsunami or some natural disaster wiped out your house today, what would you do if you lost all of your important financial papers? Or what might you do if you were in another state or country at the time of this disaster? Maybe it is time to consider having an electronic safety deposit box. An electronic safety deposit box works like a physical one in many ways.  The main purpose is to organize documents that are important in your life into a safe place in case anything happens.  You can store wills, tax returns, deeds, insurance policies, passports, copies of credit cards, pictures of your valuable belongings, and much more. This type of safety deposit box is web ...

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Keep The Trophy

We all have our pet peeves in life that get under our skin.Every season my kids are engaged in some type of sports program within the local community. They have played in many different sports, and the one thing that gets me each and every season is when the league decides to hand out participation trophies for all of the kids that lose. Look, after twenty years in the business world I can tell you exactly what you get paid for participating . . . nothing.  The big question we ask people at work is whether activity, effort, or result matters most. Unfortunately, many people believe at work that effort is what should count the most towards a reward system and not the results. It didn’t work that way when I started work after college twenty years ago and it doesn’t work that way today. Not only do I think these trophies are a complete waste of my good money ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Retirement Planning – Types Of Retirement Investment Vehicles

Last week in Retirement Planning 101, I discussed what kind of assumptions you can use to figure out the island we call ‘your number’.  Once you figure out your number, there are really two very important ships that will get to that number.  First, how much money do you need to save on a monthly basis to get to your number?   Second, what rate of return on an after-tax basis do your assets need to earn to reach the retirement number?  This week, we will review some of the vehicles you can use to work toward your retirement goal. Employer sponsored retirement plan (401(k), 403(b), 457) – Most employers whether they be companies, schools, hospitals, or government agencies will have a retirement plan they sponsor that allows you to save for retirement.  The 401(k) plan is probably the most widely known of all of these plans.  401(k) plans allow employees to put away dollars on a pre-tax basis into an ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Retirement Planning What Are Your Retirement Assumptions

You often see the commercials on television today asking the question, “What’s Your Number”?   What they are really referring to is the notion of how much money do you need in order to be able to retire.  It’s funny that most people I talk to today don’t really call it retirement.  They really think about the term of making work optional.  This means having the ability to do what they want when they want irrespective of money.   Over the next four weeks on Your Smart Money Moves, I am going to share with you how to really think about the personal financial area of retirement planning. I have always thought about my ‘work optional’ number being the amount of money I actually need on a debit card when I retire to maintain my standard of living the way I want it when I go ‘work optional’.   The mistake that I see in many financial plans is that the assumptions made ...

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Spend Those Airline Miles Now!

In the past twelve months we have seen major mergers and takeovers in the airline business. We had low fare king Southwest buy another low cost carrier Air Tran. We also had the big merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Like many industries, the airline business is shrinking down to just a handful of carriers. Will that mean higher prices for us?  Well, the airline industry has lost $50 billion in the past 10 years, including $11 billion of red ink in 2009 alone, according to the International Air Transport Association. So what changes can you expect? Most of the articles around this topic discuss higher ticket prices, more bag fees, and ancillary charges both in the air and on the ground. Like many mergers and acquisitions, when two businesses collide there is the initial phase of cost cutting to figure out where the big money saves may happen in the business.  After that comes the entire business transformation ...

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How do your next door neighbors spend their money?

Didn’t you always wonder what your next door neighbor spends on their money on every year? Or maybe you were curious on whether you spend more or less than you should based upon your current income levels? The answer to these and many other questions can be discovered on a new website called www.bundle.com. Bundle is a fresh new website still in its testing stage that aggregates data from many different vantage points to give you incredible details on what people just like you spend from utilities to home repairs to dining out. For example, if you are ages 36 to 49, are married with kids, and make $100k to 125k, here are the statistics according to Bundle. They say in Alpharetta, GA that the average demographic spends $1,144 in food and drink, $1,723 in shopping, and $405 in travel and leisure. Perhaps Bundle hasn’t been to Alpharetta as of late to see what kind of shopping is being done ...

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Generation Y’s goal? Wealth and fame.

Generation Y's goal? Wealth and fame. Eighty-one percent of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed in a Pew Research Center poll released today said getting rich is their generation's most important or second-most-important life goal; 51% said the same about being famous. ...

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Have you shopped your gas bill lately?

I don't know if you've noticed, but the natural gas price to oil price is at an all-time low when you look at the spread differentials between natural gas and oil. Many of the gas companies will lock your overall gas rate on your bill from anywhere from 12 to 18 months on a fixed rate dependent on your local gas company. ...

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