We ALWAYS notice when something gets more expensive, but do we notice it when prices fall? We should, because the prices probably won’t be falling forever, so you need to take advantage of falling prices when you can. Sometimes recessions aren’t such a bad thing, because we often tighten up our finances which lowers demand and causes prices to fall in a lot of industries. Also, our wonderful friend called technology is also causing a lot of industries to make things more efficiently and drop prices. Remember when it was minimum $1,500 to buy a flat panel TV? Now you can get a 32″ for about $400! This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s some major things that are getting cheaper and helping many of you out according to the bureau of labor statistics data on consumer price index.
If you’re in your 20’s or early 30’s, then you’ve probably either seen an episode of “Saved By The Bell” or you’re one of those freaks that’s seen every episode and still watches the re-runs on TBS in the morning. It was an iconic TV show for our generation. I’m not sure why it gained so much popularity. It was just one of those addicting shows that any pre-teen would get hooked on whether it was 1990 or 2010. Surprisingly, the show did tackle a lot of deep issues that teens face every day, and it even dealt with some financial issues. Some of these lessons learned might seem like a little bit of a stretch, but I know you get bored reading about private mortgage insurance and mutual fund load fees, so take a trip down pop culture memory lane with me for a little bit.
I worked from home today, not because the World Cup was on, but because we were hiring new landscapers and I wanted to talk to them before they started working on our yard. BUT, since a huge World Cup match for the U.S. was playing at 10am this morning, I got my laptop, and started working in the living room while casually paying attention to the game. I saw ANOTHER goal that was taken away by a referee who probably has a chip on his shoulder towards the United States, and I saw a lot of missed opportunities by the U.S. to take control of the game. Then, it happened — one of the most dramatic moments in U.S. soccer history. Just when it looked like the U.S. team would be flying home tomorrow, Landon Donovan cleaned up a miss from Jozy Altidore in the 91st minute of the game to win it and advance to the next round. Your finances are just like that goal from Landon Donovan. Your finances ALWAYS have a chance, as long as you are patient and persistent. Here are five lessons you can learn from watching the World Cup this year:
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.