At Money Crashers, we are big advocates of working with a financial coach or counselor rather than a financial advisor if your financial goals are geared more towards preparing a budget, a plan to get out of debt, and seeking ways to save money in your daily life. Trusted financial advisors and planners are good sources for some of the more technical questions about investing, insurance, and estate planning, but they often neglect the part about being in the right situation to start investing or estate planning. Ansley Sebring, owner of her own financial coaching company called, The Budget Author, is based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She left the corporate world to be a self-employed financial coach because she saw the huge need for personal financial education during a time when jobs were being lost, real estate values were down, and people were waking up to the fact that they had WAY too much credit card and other consumer debt. I interviewed her recently about making the switch to being an entrepreneur while maintaining the role of mother of two children, wife, and owner of a company.
Ever since I got the iPhone 3G about 16 months ago, it has been a gateway drug to Apple for me. I was so in love with it, that it caused me to buy an iMac, and then a 13″ Macbook Pro. I’m officially a Mac junkie, and I’ll never go back. You can go ahead and make fun of me, but having dealt with Windows PC’s for the past 15 years of my life and constantly being frustrated with them, I’ve drank the Apple Kool-Aid. That’s why I spent an hour and a half of my life on Monday following the live blog from Engadget about the keynote speech from Steve Jobs about their newest gadget, the iPhone 4. If you’ve already got an iPhone, then you’re probably either waiting for June 15th to pre-order it or you’re or the fence about whether you should upgrade. Or maybe you’ve been rocking an old Nokia cell phone for a while, and you’re wondering what smart phone you should upgrade to. Whatever your situation is, I’m going to throw a down and dirty review of the iPhone 4 and give you my not-so-unbiased opinion about whether you should get it or not.
I do a lot of freelance work that I run through a separate business entity, and I’ve been a lot more sensitive to how start-ups and small businesses portray themselves to the public and on the Internet. I completely understand that small businesses should act and look as professional as possible to potential clients and other businesses, but there is a difference between acting professional and trying to look and act like something you are not. I’ll give you a few examples of what I am talking about:
Falsely Misrepresenting Client Work
Every day I see people my age and younger post STUPID stuff on their Facebook wall or Twitter feed. I cringe every time I see it, because they don’t even realize who’s looking at that content or who could be looking at it in the future. We used to treat Facebook like it was just a place for only you and your best friends to connect and share anything and everything together. Twitter started out as a great way to vent and spew out whatever was on our minds at any given moment and get instant feedback. But, now a lot of employers, bosses, and human resource departments are searching for your name on Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and it’s VERY easy to find you. This kind of makes you think twice about posting that photo of you doing a keg stand in college, eh?
I recently started an internet marketing side business to help small businesses use grassroots strategies to market online using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media strategies to market their business. I started it with a partner who is also my best friend. While I don’t recommend getting into business with a friend or family member, we’ve known each other for a long time, and there were no virtually no start-up costs to start the business. What we do is mostly consulting, managing, and web developing, so if we dissolve the business tomorrow, neither one of us lose money. However, everyone’s startup is different, and there are two major things you should consider when forming a business: personal liability and tax savings. Today, if you’re making more than a couple hundred dollars a month from your small business or side business, you shouldn’t be operating as a partnership or sole proprietorship. Forming an LLC or an S Corporation is the right move for many different reasons, but which one is better? Let’s take a look at both.
For those of you that are a part of a religious institution such as a church, temple, or mosque, you probably wonder if it’s prudent to be tithing while trying to get out of debt or save up for a large purchase. There is a lot of debate among this topic, and I think it’s worth thinking about if you’re devout in your religious faith. I’m going to explore this issue in the context of Christianity. Tithing is the act of giving back a portion of your wages or earnings back to God as a symbol of showing Him that what’s your is not really yours, it’s God’s property. In Christianity, the tithe is 10% of your wages/earnings that is donated to your home church. This is not only a symbolic gesture, but it helps support the church and the charities and missionaries that the church supports. There are some really good Christian personal finance blogs out there that have talked about the issue of tithing and getting out of debt in the past.
There’s nothing fun about the tax day deadline. If you haven’t filed yet, you may want to consider filing for an extension. If everything is ready to go and all you need to do is file, then do it online and through one of our favorite e-file websites, and enter a chance to win a FREE iPad. A few retailers are trying to make tax day a little more enjoyable by offering some nice deals and freebies. For those of you that owed taxes this year, you’ll take what you can get, right? Visit these retailers to get some free stuff and discounts.
After a ton of hype, Apple’s iPad came out two Saturdays ago, and ever since then there have been thousands of articles written about it and the analysis has been all over the place. Some people are having a hard time figuring out who it’s right for and who it’s not. Some of you are just wondering why there’s so much hype surrounding it in the first place. The reason is because it is being tabbed a tablet computing device, but it’s much different than tablets from the past. It has no traditional keyboard, it uses a mobile operating system, you can interact with it like no other computing device, and it is razor thin. I’ve been reading a lot about the iPad, and I’ve made some opinions about who it works for, so here is my list of who it might be work for and who it will not.
I always cringe when people spend hundreds of dollars to have their computer diagnosed and fixed by the Geek Squad at Best Buy or the local computer shop. I completely understand that some people are just not computer savvy, but if you are active on a computer, you can self-educate yourself on some basic principles to help keep your computer healthy and your bank account a little bigger. Here are a few things you can do to keep your computer from losing performance.
Upgrade Your RAM
Traveling is one of the harshest activities we engage in against the environment. We take transportation that pollutes the air, we produce a lot of waste, and we’re typically less conscious of conserving resources. I’m not a tree hugger, and I don’t come down on people for not recycling, because I think it needs to be a personal conviction to be better stewards of this Earth and our resources. There are several ways to travel greener AND save money at the same time.
Here are 4 tips that I try to follow:
Last week, I finally took the plunge and switched my alliances with PC and Windows and switched to Apple. I bought a 21.5″ Apple iMac with 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card with 256MB memory, and a 3.06GHZ Dual Core Intel processor. I should just move to San Francisco and start wearing black turtlenecks, because I will never go back to the days of Dell and Microsoft. It’s been 4 days since I first started using it, and I love it. My ability to quickly create screen casts, web videos, manipulate and edit photos, and work in several different programs all at once has vastly improved. I don’t know what it is about the Mac OS or the programs designed for Macs, but they load and run SO much quicker than Windows and Windows-based programs. For example, Firefox opens instantly, whereas, even in Windows 7, Firefox hesitates to open for about 10 seconds. Ever since I bought an iPhone about a year and a half ago, I’ve had the itch to switch my computers to Apple, but the price tag had always deterred me from making the switch. I never thought I’d be able to spend less than $1,700 to $1,800 for what I wanted, but I ended up getting this iMac for $999, which was exactly my threshold for what I was willing to spend. How did I do it? Read below: