We have all heard the lawyer jokes, haven’t we? Ones like “How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving!” Well, as funny as that one is, it’s not a laughing matter when you actually need an attorney to help you in real personal or business matters. Whether it’s to prepare your will, make estate plans, resolve a tax issue, handle a personal injury claim, evict a tenant, draw up a business contract, defend against a civil lawsuit, or even handle a criminal proceeding, lawyers are invaluable professionals in navigating the complex legal maze and protecting your rights.
The interesting part of needing the help of a good lawyer is that most of us really don’t know where to look or even begin. Unless you’re someone who has unfortunately dealt with lots of legal issues, you may think you can just look in the yellow pages, run a quick search on the internet or call some number you see advertised on TV. That’s probably not the best idea. But there are some ways you can find a lawyer who will meet your needs and become a real asset to you. Continue reading
Every year, Thanksgiving gives us a wonderful opportunity to sit around the table and celebrate with our family and friends by sharing the many things we have to be thankful about. It may be the fact that we can simply gather together and share the love or that we have our health or a roof over our heads and food on the table. There is always something to be thankful for! I hope for all of us it’s not just a day off from work or another day to watch football or shop for a bargain, even though for many people that may be how they spend part of the holiday. I hope it’s much more than that for you.
Having said that, I thought today on the eve before the eve before (at least here in the US), I’d look at Thanksgiving from a slightly different angle:
What was the single best financial decision or action this year for which I am most grateful? (click to tweet)
For more than 40 years I was deeply involved in planning and executing sales promotions in all kinds of retail environments. One of the things that has evolved over those years are the retail pricing strategies. Terminology is important and what is sold as “sale” items are not exactly what you might think they are. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? An item “on sale” years ago was just that. It was at a higher price yesterday and it’s lower today, thus on sale. Well, let me introduce you to Retail Speak 101 and see if you still think it’s that simple.
Retail Speak 101
Almost like a secret language, retailers advertise prices using terms that sound straightforward, but actually mean something very specific. Here’s a guide to deciphering the code. Continue reading
We all hear the news about climate change as well as the weird and sometimes disastrous weather patterns that seem to be news events almost every day in some part of the world. I guess it’s worse for me in the sense that I can actually remember when it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I find that’s not always the case anymore and the temperatures here in New Jersey sometimes seem like they’re 60-something degrees almost all year round. I may be exaggerating, slightly, but the weather has changed. When I hear some weather guy reporting that the temperatures in September were the warmest ever recorded for the month, and that they’ve broken the record now 5 out of the last 7 years, we have to admit that global warming is having an effect, don’t we?
That’s one reason I finally opened my wallet and got the ball rolling on getting a new front door along with a storm door! I was finally ready after freezing my rear end off for several years to pull the cord and fix it. I’m sure it will pay off in keeping us warmer and saving on our heating bill, enough to make me feel really foolish that I didn’t do it before now. Continue reading
Healthcare coverage is critical to your finances as well as your health. Even if you are healthy now, an accident or sudden health issue could put both your well-being and your finances in jeopardy. In addition, if you do not maintain your medical coverage, you may be required to pay a penalty on your tax returns.
Healthcare open enrollment is here and over the next few weeks, you will likely have to make some very important decisions regarding your medical insurance coverage for 2016. Whether it’s your healthcare insurance options from your employer or union, your Medicare choices, or your Affordable Care Act options known as “Obamacare”, the decisions you make now will have a significant impact on how much your healthcare costs will be in the next year. Continue reading
Writing about saving money is a feel-good way for me to share my knowledge with all of you. Since I’ve started, I’ve covered a number of ways that you can cut your grocery bill, home energy costs, shopping expenses and many more areas where we regularly spend our money. Some are smaller ways, and others help you to save big money, like shopping around for car insurance. But I wanted to share some other ideas with you. Each of them is different and if you make them into regular habits, you can save a substantial amount.
Bold Ways to Save Big Money
1. Give Up Your Car
The cost of a car is way expensive. You may have monthly payments in the hundreds, car insurance costs through the roof (here in NJ, it’s the highest in the country), maintenance and gasoline, plus license and registration fees. Continue reading
As a savvy consumer, you probably do some research before you spend your hard-earned money, whether it’s for a night out at a fine restaurant, a hotel stay as part of a leisurely vacation, or purchasing goods such as electronics or clothing. How often have you spent those dollars only to find out that the restaurant or hotel wasn’t quite what you were expecting? How much time have you spent exploring your plans and checking out online user reviews? Did you trust what you read? That’s the question I’m asking today and what I have learned about online user reviews can help you wade through some of the clutter and get to the real story.
There have been many articles written and surveys taken about the reliability of the reviews we see online for various services like hotels, restaurants, contractors, and of course, products. Some are positive and others are negative. According to a survey done by BrightLocal, the results for 2015 show that 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, but 72% will do so only if certain criteria are met, with 31% needing to believe the review is authentic. Continue reading
It was just a few years ago that my 12-year-old nephew asked his grandmother for a CD on his birthday. She was so proud that the young man was interested in looking for ways to build his finances that she wanted to open a new CD for him right away. I had to laugh just a little when I explained to her that he wasn’t asking about an interest-bearing certificate of deposit from the bank, but rather a new compact disc just released by his favorite rock band! There’s a lesson here somewhere, but that’s for another post on another day.
Today we are talking about CD’s (certificates of deposit), the kind that can help you round out your financial portfolio and help you reach your financial goals. The strategy is called laddering, and it helps you make some decisions about the terms and interest rates. Longer terms mean higher interest rates for CD’s (in general) and shorter terms mean faster access to your money. A CD ladder strategy helps you balance higher rates with more frequent access to your funds. Continue reading
Ready or not, holiday shopping is here with the arrival of November 1st this weekend. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving on November 27th this year has the stores preparing right now for what they expect will be their single biggest day of sales for 2015. It kicks off the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that will determine their fate for a successful holiday season.
I have been through Black Friday sales over 40 times in my retail career and have seen it all, from the bargains of a lifetime to sometimes completely foolish offerings purchased by a frantic public. Continue reading
October is the time of year that my mind wanders into the macabre. I can’t help it. It’s Halloween time in just a few days and frankly, I have to admit that I love being a little bit scared. And really, don’t we all? We pay good money to watch horror, gore and grizzly scary stuff in movies and at haunted hayrides, and so it just figures that we must love being totally frightened! But there is one area that I am seriously afraid of and I try to avoid like the plague, and that’s combining scary stuff with money stuff.
Protecting my money comes in third on my short list of money priorities right after earning money and saving money. You would be horrified if you stopped for a second and considered the many ways people torture themselves making frightening and shocking decisions every day of the year. In the spirit of the season that is upon us, let me scare the living daylights out of you right now. Continue reading