Here is a great skit from Saturday Night Live making fun of people who have no concept of not paying for something if they can’t afford it. I got a good laugh out of it.
By Erik Folgate
Right now is a great time to buy a used car, because new car sales are lagging from the current state of the economy. Car dealerships know this, so they are focusing their attention on offering great deals on used cars with various promotions. I recently saw a TV commercial for a Toyota dealership boasting a Corolla for under $11,000, and I thought, “wow, that’s a good deal”. Then, I realized that it was for a 2007 Corolla, not a 2009. It was one of those types of car commercials that you would normally see for a new car where the car is driving down a highway somewhere in the hills of California. It tricked me into thinking that they were advertising a new car. Buying used cars a little different than buy a new car, so here is a step-by-step guide to help you on your search for a “new” used car.
By Erik Folgate
What is the debt cycle?
The process of spending more money than you make on a consistent basis that forces you to borrow money each month to reconcile the deficit.
How To Get Out Of The Debt Cycle
- Cut up your credit cards. It’s the only way to stop using them. If you eliminate the temptation to use them, you will force yourself to find a way to pay your bills and expenses each month without using them.
Mint.com rolled out a new feature on their website this past Tuesday that gives users financial advice based on their unique money situation. The financial advice is automated and based on a set of core principles pre-determined by the Mint.com team. Instead of only tracking your net worth and budgeting habits, Mint will now start giving targeted financial suggestions and recommendations based on the financial information it gathers from you on a daily basis.
Here is the press release:
Mint.com Launches Beta Test of First Advice Feature
Financial Fitness provides actionable steps to better financial health
By Erik Folgate
There are many people struggling right now to pay their mortgage and other bills because they either lost their job or bought a house they could not afford. However, for every person struggling right now, there are a majority of people who are doing just fine in this economic climate. Yes, most of us saw our retirement accounts rapidly decline, but there is plenty of time to recoup those capital gains lost. Many financial blogs are focusing on those of you who need help the most, but the rest of you are being left out. So, here are five money tips for those of you who are NOT struggling with money right now.
Happy Earth Day. I always liked those old commercials that had the slogan, “Earth day is every day!”. It’s such a true statement, but I also don’t like when environmental extremists try to run my life. It seems like the environmental movement has spun out of control, and soon they will be taxing me every time I pass gas. They have already proposed taxing cow farts, so I am assuming we will be targeted next.
I live in Florida, which was one of the hardest hit states by the bursting of the housing bubble. If you live in Florida, Nevada, Arizona, California, New York, or other states that experienced a rapid downturn in the housing market, make sure you don’t get sucked in by loan modification scammers.
- If the loan modification company wants money up front, it’s probably a scam. In the state of Florida, it is now illegal for non-lawyers to take money up front for loan modification services.
For those of you who are Dave Ramsey fans or those who are looking for a positive message about the economy and your finances, Dave Ramsey will be hosting a town hall event all across the country on Thursday, April 23rd.
Here is the link to the official site to find a place near you that is hosting the event: Dave Ramsey’s Town Hall for Hope
By Erik Folgate
President Obama asked employers to start making adjustments to federal withholdings starting April 1st for the Make Work Pay Tax Credit. This was a stimulus-based tax credit that passed in the recent economic stimulus legislation passed in February. Last year’s stimulus plan sent lump-sum checks to individuals and couples with the hopes of these individuals putting the money back into the economy. This year’s plan will systematically distribute the tax credit in your paychecks.
Who Is Eligible?
I just finished my taxes, and we will be receiving a nice refund due to two tax credits. Have you completed your taxes yet? If not, you need to get on it! This is really late for me. I usually have them finished by the end of February, but I was a procrastinator this year. Going through my taxes gave me a ton of information to pass along to you all that could be helpful for you if you have not filed yet. Here are some tips and information for all of your last-minute tax filers.
The Tax Software I Used
Here are some questions that I frequently get emails about and questions I hear from friends and family.
Should I cash out my 401(k)?
This depends on your age. If you are in your 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s, there’s no reason to jump ship on your 401(k) or IRA. You have plenty of time to recover from the losses. If you are in your 50’s or early 60’s, you may want to consider going to a very conservative position with your investments such as bond exchange traded funds or mutual funds.
Should I invest in gold right now?
By Erik Folgate
This week was another very significant week of business and financial news. The Federal Reserve announced they would print up to $1.2 trillion dollars into buying up treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities. More money printing means more worries about mass inflation. The dollar took a sharp hit the next day valued against the Euro and British pound. Many of you are worried about your retirement accounts and investment portfolios with good reasons. You don’t need to act like the country is crumbling, but you should start thinking about your investment choices based on your age and risk tolerance.
Recently, my best friend bought a used Toyota Yaris from a co-worker. Before he bought the car, he asked me for my advice about how to go about doing it. There a few questions to ask yourself before you start looking for a new/used car:
Back in October, I left my day job to help my wife pursue a career as a physician assistant in childhood neurosurgery. We moved to Orlando, and even though I worked out of my house, I had a specific territory that I covered as a claims adjuster, and I was unable to transfer to the Orlando area. So when I left, I transferred my beaten down 401(k) money, which lost about 35% in 3 months, to ING’s rollover IRA through Sharebuilder. I liked the dollar-cost averaging investment incentives that Sharebuilder offered, but I did not do enough research about what products they offered to purchase through their brokerage firm. They only offer ING mutual funds, which discouraged me. So, I started looking into ETFs.
By Erik Folgate
When President Obama announced his budget plan, one of his tax proposals was glossed over by the media, and I wanted to get your opinion about it.
Starting in 2011, President Obama plans to reduce the charitable giving tax deduction from 100% to 28% of your charitable contribution for families who earn over $250,000 in adjusted gross income. Right now, if you give $100 to your local charity, you can deduct $100 from your adjusted gross income, which determines how much tax you owe on your annual federal taxes. Obama has coined families making more than $250,000 per year as “wealthy”, so he is imposing a reduction in this tax deduction to 28 percent. For families that this applies to, they will only be able to deduct $28 per $100 they give to charity on their taxes.