It’s Time to Get Your Federal Taxes in Order, Part 1

This year, for 2018, it’s more confusing than ever to try to get yourself ready for income tax season and decide on your deductions, if any, because of the changes that the tax bill passed earlier this year in congress. So you should start to get your federal taxes in order now.

There have been some important changes in the tax law, so now it's time to review your 2018 federal taxes and make any last-minute necessary moves.

Check Your Withholding

The IRS says that checking your withholding can help protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time next year. The average tax refund was $2,825 in 2018, up $9 from 2017, based on IRS data. Continue reading

The Retirement You Have Always Dreamt Of?

I’m willing to bet that almost every one of you has dreamt about the day when you no longer have to deal with your 9-5 workday routine. I have to laugh though when I think about me and that kind of timeframe. I certainly didn’t 9-5 most of my work life, especially in my jobs in retail management. More often than not my work hours spanned an earlier start time at around 8 a.m. and ran into evenings, weekends, and holidays with many weeks running 6 days.

If you're working, you may have vivid retirement dreams about the day your time becomes your own. But not so fast...things may not be as rosy as they seem.

In fact, I’d guess that I almost never worked a 40-hour week and typically did 50-55 hours as a matter of routine. So, yes, I can honestly say that I did dream of the day when I would sleep in, roll out of bed whenever I felt like it, and then do pretty much anything I’d ever want to do without worrying about the old clock on the wall! Continue reading

Racism, Prejudice, and Finances – The Ugly Truth

Today’s post is about a very difficult subject for most of us to discuss: financial racism and prejudice. It’s not the standard “save and earn some money” post and if you aren’t in the mood for a frank, tough read, I’d advise you here to skip to another blog today. But if you are still here, read on.

Financial racism is rampant in the U.S., and it has a profound economic and social effect. Being aware of systemic racism is the first step to stopping it.

Racism and prejudice in America is in our faces every single day whether we choose to recognize it or not. It’s not just politics and it’s not just finances, it’s not just social and it’s not just religious. It’s all of the above. Continue reading

The Decisive Way to Obtain Your Financial Security

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I have been around for a while now, almost 70 years. I’ve read a lot of books and seen and met a lot of pretty successful and unsuccessful people along the way. You get some insights about that stuff as you put some years on, and one really big takeaway from all of my experience is in the end actually pretty obvious. It’s something that you know almost from your childhood and those years like the ones I’m talking about simply reinforce what you know each day, over and over. And it is simply this: Everyone wants financial security, everyone!

Everyone wants financial security, but there's one sure way to get it. Read on for the decisive way to insure your financial future.

My experience is that it’s the “how to achieve financial security?” question that is the core of all the hub-bub about it, more than just the who, what, when, or why questions. We can all agree on those questions but it’s the “how” that mostly stumps us. So many opinions.
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Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money, Part 2

Last time, I began reminding you of the common yet tricky retailer strategies that you will be facing now that the holiday season is actually here. Trick or treat doesn’t just apply to Halloween now that it’s in the rearview mirror for a while. The retailers like to extend that into the entire November-December shopping time frame and that translates into what is the only and/or most profitable time of the year for 99% of them. The war they wage and win is no accident. Don’t be fooled into thinking it starts on Black Friday and ends on Christmas day. Thinking that November doesn’t really matter when it comes to wheeling and dealing is wrong. November has many promotions waiting to tempt you from Veterans Day promos to “pre-Thanksgiving” and even more yet to be named.

It may be difficult to go out shopping and not spend a lot of money, but these retail tricks are making it even harder. Here's what to look out for.

We covered five ways they fight to get your money on Tuesday. Here are five more that you will be up against so you should be ready to deal with them before you shop the 2018 holiday season! Continued…
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Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money, Part I

Happy Halloween! My wife and I just returned from our annual candy shopping to prepare for the trick-or-treaters who’ll be knocking on our door tomorrow. Yes of course we have waited until the last possible moment, couponed, loyalty clubbed and sale’d our way into the event as per usual! Ok, we’re a little bit obsessed with savings and that’s because we normally don’t stock up on Milky Ways and Snickers bars. Not that we don’t love our candy bars and treats. It’s just that between the two of us we’ve probably reached our quota allowed of them, and shamefully I reached my lifetime allowance of them in 1997. Thank goodness that the number of kids are growing in our neighborhood and we will be generous so hopefully no leftovers to tempt us. Suzanne won’t even let me open the bags until at least noon on October 31st!

It may be difficult to go out shopping and not spend a lot of money, but these retail tricks are making it even harder. Here's what to look out for.

But, truth be told, Halloween shopping is just the first of the many battles you will face over the next 60 days! The real shopping war is on right now and retailers are preparing to get every penny they can from you and here’s how! Continue reading

How I Cured My Money Worries…And You Can Too!

Worrying about your money can get downright scary and depressing. Facing our fears about our financial situation can be stressful even when you just start to think about them. But there’s a better answer to your money worries than just lying in bed at night fretting about bills you need to pay, dodging the phone calls from collection agencies, and avoiding opening your mail just to see more bills because you’re too scared to even look at them.

Like everyone else, I have money worries, but I used good financial practices to "cure" them. If you're ready to be free of your money worries, read on.

When it comes to finances, if you’re spending too much and living beyond your means, you will become stressed to the max. Not being completely honest with yourself about where you are financially and even worse, not knowing where you are at financially will cause you to have a hard time in exercising any self-control when it comes to your spending. You will pay a huge price for that. Continue reading

What Does the Price of Oil Have to Do with the Price of Tea?

“What’s that got to do with…?” is an expression that is often used to show an irrelevance or non sequitur in a subject of discussion you are having. It’s an idiom and in its most common form like this, it is a retort to an irrelevant suggestion. I find myself saying it often these days but in reality, I really shouldn’t say it.

The price of oil is rising and while there isn't much we can do about that, we do need to do something to prepare for the costs that will rise with it.

 

Economic discussions draw conclusions that every economic action somehow affects everything else that happens economically. The idiom in my example is trying to say that the “price of tea” is the farthest logical connection from the price of oil and is a sort of butterfly effect (the butterfly effect refers to the concept that small events are causes that can have large effects on us all). But is it? Well, surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle said over and over again back in the day! Continue reading

Credit Cards Can Really Rock and Here’s Why!

One of the warnings that personal finance gurus often give is “be very careful with your use of credit cards”! I’ve said it myself and the reason why is that so many of us are just so damned cavalier when it comes to credit card spending. We lack self control, overuse our credit cards, fail to track our spending, buy impulsively, and either can’t or won’t be able to pay for that overspending. When all of that occurs, it causes a spiral into high interest payments, growing debt, damaged credit ratings, and eventually a possible financial disaster! Danger, Will Robinson, danger!

Credit cards offer lots of benefits if you know how to manage them, but credit card bonus offers may be the best benefit of all.

But, hold on a second, please. To be fair (and smart), credit cards are not evil in concept. In fact, credit cards can really rock and let me tell you exactly why! Continue reading

9 Steps to Get Your Finances Back on Track

For today’s guest post on getting your finances back on track, please welcome fellow personal finance blogger Marc from Vital Dollar.

Many of us find, at least at some point in our lives, that our financial situation isn’t as strong as we’d like. For most people, that means debt and maybe even poor spending habits.

When you need to get your finances back on track, here's a step-by-step process to making things work, including how to achieve your goals in the future.

It could be student loans, car loans, credit cards, medical bills, or some other type of debt. Regardless, if you want to take control of your money and get your finances back on track there are some steps that you should take. Continue reading