According to the AP, via CNN Money, there’s already scammers out there trying to trick you into giving out personal information, claiming to be the IRS. They are telling people that they need to verify their personal information in order for them to receive the economic stimulus plan rebate. These people are the scum of the earth, aren’t they? And you can bet that they are targeting the elderly and college students. College students are usually naive, and they feel that the elderly are more vulnerable and gullible to give out personal information. Someone could be stealing your grandmother’s identity and wiping out her life savings as we speak.
By Erik Folgate
When I was in college, my first car had finally broken down. I needed another car, but I didn’t have any money to get another one. I didn’t want to go to a bank to get a loan for a car, because I was didn’t want to pay all of the interest and I didn’t want the possibility of it getting repossessed if I could not make the payment. After several discussions with my dad, he agreed to pay for the car and I would pay him a set amount each month until the loan was either paid off, or he felt that I had paid enough towards it for him to give me the title. I didn’t have to pay any interest, and if I was a few days late, I wouldn’t be penalized. It seemed like a sweet deal at the time, but once I started driving that car and paying payments to my dad, it just didn’t seem right. He wasn’t a jerk about it, and he didn’t hold it over my head, but I didn’t like the idea of owing my dad money. I thought to myself, “My family shouldn’t feel like my bank.” At some point in your life, your money and your family will mix together. You may not want it to, but it will. However, you can choose how you deal with money when it comes to you and your immediate and extended family. Borrowing money, lending money, and starting business from family can be very alluring, because you are close to that person and you feel like you can trust them. I understand why families borrow money from each and start businesses together, but I am going to give you a few reasons why you should not do it and how to avoid it.
No, I’m not talking about buying from the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. Although, you can do that, too. But many of us are snobs when it comes to clothes. We want “new” clothes. We like the smell of new clothes, we like the thrill of buying new clothing at the store. We usually wear that outfit the next day after we buy it. But, is everything always best when it’s new?
Here are five articles of clothing that I think are best as used or just as good when they are used:
By Erik Folgate
This article from USA Today summarizes what Hillary Clinton spoke about on an ABC Sunday Morning show. She described her plan for funding her universal health care program, but the most revealing detail of her plan was that she would garnish the wages of those workers who could afford health care coverage, but chose not to buy it or participate in a universal health care plan.
Clinton Said, “I think you can automatically enroll people, and you will then say, ‘You’ve got to be part of this.’”
Is getting out of debt or investing for retirement more important to you?
This is an interesting debate. Many young people leaving undergraduate and postgraduate studies aren’t too concerned with getting out of debt right away. Many of my wife’s friends who will be leaving with considerable student loan debt from medical related degrees say that they would rather invest their big paychecks rather than use it to pay off the debt.
By Erik Folgate
A Money Crasher’s reader sent me an email the other day with this question, so I thought that I would share my opinion with all of you.
Are lease-purchase homes a good idea? I recently heard of them, and I am wondering if that would be a good option for us.
It all depends on the situation, how committed you are to actually purchasing the house, and the terms of the agreement. I wish that I could just say a simple “yes” or “no” to the question of whether leases with the option to buy are a good idea, but like everything else in life, it’s complicated. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to leasing a house with the option to buy.
It’s that time of year again when we watch a football game involving teams that many of us don’t care about with overblown headlines, cheesy commercials, big parties, and GREAT food. Most people usually say that the best part about Super Bowl parties is the food and the commercials. Super Bowl weekend has become more about the parties than it is about the game. I love Super Bowl parties as long as I’m not throwing it. All I have to do is bring one dish and feast on everyone elses munchies. If you’re the poor soul with the big house and the sweet, big-screen TV, then here are some tips for saving money on your Super Bowl party this year.
By Erik Folgate
No matter how thoroughly you construct your budget, you will never be able to predict each and every future expense. Creating a general Rainy Day Fund is a good place to start in allocating unexpected costs, but sometimes several storms converge and you’re suddenly caught in a hurricane with little more than a cheap poncho to keep you dry. The best way to prepare for such a deluge is to identify as many potential squalls as possible and do what you can to avoid them.
Updated February 16th: I have updated the economic stimulus calculator to reflect a more accurate amount that you will receive based on the actual signed bill that was passed into law this week by President Bush. Email me with any questions about it by clicking on the “submissions” button above.
There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding the proposed 2008 Economic Stimulus Plan propose by Congress last week. It has not been signed into law, but Bush is scheduled to sign it once it has been finalized. Any bill that puts more money into your pockets is going to generate a lot of interest. Read more about my thoughts on the package, and the only real ways to stimulate the economy with the money you get back.
If you’re scrambling for last-minute ways to cut your tax bill for 2007, you are in luck. Apparently, the IRS understands thos of us who are procrastinators, so they will allow you contribute up until April 15th, 2008 towards your IRA for it to count towards your 2007 contributions. this article via Yahoo Finiance from CNN Money, outlines the details.
Here are the fast facts:
- Make Your contributions before April 15th, 2008, but make sure that you clearly state to your brokerage firm, financial advisor, or bank that you want the contributions to count towards your 2007 contributions.
If you walk into an electronics store this weekend, you’ll most likely see a big promotioin for sales on Hi-Def LCD, Plasma, and DLP televisions. Retailers will be putting together their final push to try to persuade you to buy a big-screen TV for Super Bowl weekend. Frankly, I think it’s insulting that retailers think we would go out and purchase a big TV just for one game that hardly ever features a good matchup. Does anyone really think that Eli Manning is going to beat The Golden Boy and New England? And by the way, it will snow in Miami before New England thinks about not playing Brady in the Super Bowl.
By Erik Folgate
Have you heard the news? The IRS is going to be sending YOU money this year, instead of you sending THEM money. But, there’s a catch. They’re just giving you back your own hard-earned money! Yes, it’s a nice gesture for Congress to send us some tax money back, but is it really going to stimulate the economy? I think all it’s going to do is stimulate the big-screen TV sector, but who knows.
Read this article to get the whole story about the stimulus package Congress is going to pass. Here are the highlights and lowlights of the bill:
Here are some great tips about your W-2 from JK Lasser. Your W-2 is the most important tax document that you’ll receive, so don’t lose it! And make sure you’re looking out for it in the mail this week and the next.
Mailboxes and tight waistbands are usually the last reminders of holiday excess. But what’s coming in the mail isn’t all bad news. Arriving with the holiday bills are the Forms 1099 and W-2 that are critical to preparing your tax return and claiming your refund.
WHO? Employers are required by law to furnish a Form W-2, “Wages and Tax Statement”.
By Erik Folgate
I wrote the article below in the midst of watching the market drop 300 points in the morning, then from about 12pm to 3pm, it rallied to post a gain of 300. I told you not to panic! So, is this enough proof to show you that you shouldn’t drink the doom and gloom Kool-Aid that the media wants you to believe? Check out the closing marks for the Dow.
For those of you that lived during the days of Jimmy Carter, you shouldn’t be worried right now. You saw the highest mortgage interest rates in history, high unemployment, and horrible stock market returns. I just don’t see the big signs that say we’re heading for two years of economic decline.
Yes, I saw the stock market this morning. It’s not looking good. There’s no reason to panic, though. We still have one of the most robust, dynamic economies in the world. The free market will correct itself, and it will bounce back. A couple of you have wrtitten comments showing your concern about the way your 401k or IRA has looked lately. For those of us that are young and we’ve never invested during a recession, it is scary for us. Believe me, it hurts every time I check out my retirement account. The total has been falling and falling and falling, and yeah, you get the picture. It’s happening to you too. But, never fear. I am going to convince you to stay optimistic even if the media talking heads and so-called economic experts are correct about this recession we’re going to slip into in 2008.