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The TOP RATED Personal Finance Blog and Retirement Guide for Generation X and Y by Ted Jenkin
Updated: 14 hours 52 min ago

What If Someone Stole My Tax Refund?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 07:25
With the deadline looming for taxpayers, the crunch will be on for people scrambling to get their final documents together and submit their official tax return.   Imagine this scenario.    You submit your tax return only to receive a rejection notice from the IRS several weeks later saying that they have already received a tax return submitted by you already.   How’s that for a situation that is sure to rock your world. Unfortunately, in today’s world all you really need are some social security numbers and the internet to start winning at the tax return identity theft game.  According to the USA Today, a government report in November said the IRS issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over last year to criminals who were using other people’s personal information.  Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the “scale, scope, and execution of these fraud schemes” has grown substantially in size. What should you do if someone stole your tax refund? Don’t panic.  You will likely only figure this out...

Are The Elite Private Colleges Worth The Price Of Admission?

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 07:30
It is apparent that college education costs and health insurance are the two arenas that have defied gravity over the past six years through this recovery. With college tuition escalating at a much faster rate than normal information and continued pressing coming on family savings, the average household today may wonder if getting a diploma from an expensive prestigious private college is worth the ticket of admission. If your son or daughter is lucky enough to have the qualifications to get into the ultra-elite schools (such as Harvard), then my answer is yes. There is a short list of impressive schools that have a strong alumni base stretched out across the United States or have the really high end credentials necessary to help a student make a major impact with their career in the short term. There are many very good private colleges that cost $50,000 to $60,000 a year beyond the short list of these prestigious school, and these schools may not be worth the money especially if you...

Living Paycheck to Paycheck is Not Living At All

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:30
Are you one of the many young professionals making good money but have little or nothing to show for it?  It’s ok to fess up because you are not alone.  A matter of fact, based on a study by Reuters 68% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/us-usa-survey-paycheck-idUSBRE88I1BE20120919.  Yes, you’re reading correctly: over two thirds of people surveyed find it hard to make ends meet each pay period.  So how does this happen?  First, let’s start with some simple math. Salary (total compensation) = $80,000 Annual After Tax Take Home Earnings (amount left after  taxes and health care costs are withheld, assuming a 25% tax bracket and $5,000 for healthcare  = $55,000 Paycheck (amount paid bi weekly) = ~$2,100/paycheck or ~$4,200 each month Now that we understand some basic numbers we can begin to realize where your true take home pay begins.  And just like any CFO of a large corporation, it’s equally important to focus on what cash is going out as much as what is coming in. Based...

The Biggest Financial Mistake People Make During Divorce

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 07:30
Divorce can often bring about tumultuous times for a family. Sometimes they can go very smooth and others can literally be the ‘War Of The Roses’. In the midst of being between the lawyers, couples often make financial mistakes that can lead to problems down the road. The number one mistake that I have seen amongst divorcing couples is their lack of consideration around liquidity of assets. It’s pretty common after a separation that one spouse will end up with the primary residence and in turn the other spouse may wind up with a commensurate amount of assets between brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and savings accounts. While the math may show a true 50/50 split of the overall net worth of the couple, the reality is that one of the spouses will be stuck with a paper asset that could be tough to dispose of if cash flow becomes an issue. This can also occur when one spouse is the owner of a closely held business as well. It can...

Fantasy Sports Insurance?

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 09:12
Ok, I’ve heard it all now.  I’m not a fantasy sports guy, but as a numbers person I can understand the attraction.  More than $1 billion is spent each year on Fantasy Sports leagues.  League fees can run from free to $1000.  The more the 25 million people playing in paid leagues can pocket real money.   Those that are spending money find it frustrating to draft a player who gets injured in real life and have to be sidelined on their fantasy team.  An injury can ruin your fantasy lineup and your season could be over just as it is getting started.  Industry studies show that the average fantasy player spends $467 annually on various sports leagues. Along comes a businessman to create FantasyPlayerProtect.com which provides insurance to reimburse league entry fees plus up to $250 for other expenses like subscriptions to research your players.  With their tag line being  ‘Injuries Happen – FantasyPlayerProtect has your back’, you are able to insure up to 5 players on your team.  The...

Can the Government Inherit your Estate?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 09:34
By: Patrick R. Norris* When a new couple comes to visit me to set up the base of their first estate plan, one of the common questions that I often receive is: “can the government really inherit [or take] my property if I don’t have a Will?”.  This is a question that always make me smile because while the technical answer is “yes”, a much more practical answer is “highly doubtful”. You see when someone does not have a Will, the laws of their State essentially make a Will for them.  State statutes place your relatives in an orderly line for inheriting your estate.  So long as they are living, the first person in line receives your property when it comes time to inherit.  If they are not living, the next person in line just steps up to inherit. If you do have a [valid] Will, the State Statutes are “trumped” and your Will (not State Law) dictates who inherits your Estate.  This is one of the many important reasons...

What To Do When You Come Into A Large Sum Of Money

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:15
Coming into a large sum of money is a game changer for people of all ages.  Unfortunately, there are lots of different decisions to consider upon receipt of these windfalls which causes most individuals and families lots of consternation on what are the smart money moves.  Whether these dollars are received from inheritance, cashed out stock options, or a gift, it is imperative that you make a smart plan or you can easily squander your newfound fortune.  Recently, I helped several folks from different walks of life when Airwatch was bought out by VMWare.  This instantaneously created a new set of millionaires.   Here are the ‘your smart money moves’ ideas to make when you come into a large sum of money. Do Nothing For 60 Days (unless you are right at the end of a tax year)-  When people inherit property, cash out stock options, or receive a gift, far too often I see people immediately buy themselves something or sell assets too quickly.    Make sure you take a complete...

Your Smart Money Moves with oXYGen Financial – 04/01/14

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 08:59
Taped 04/01/14 Listen every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. on ROCK 100.5 | Atlanta’s Rock Station to “Your Smart Money Moves” with The Regular Guys and oXYGen Financial. Ted Jenkin, CFP® and Kile Lewis, CRPC® are the founders of oXYGen Financial, and our chief financial officers. All your money questions answered Breathe easier at http://oXYGenFinancial.net

10 Ways Grandparents Can Help Their Grandchildren

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 07:15
Grandparents can play a very important role in their grandchildren’s lives.  It doesn’t matter whether they live right down the street or halfway across the country.    Grandparents have so much life experience they can share unbelievably important life lessons and also have. Open a college savings account- There is so much pressure on the boomers and gen x’ers that opening a 529 plan or some type of college savings account can be a huge help to your grandchildren. Attend one of their events- Unfortunately, both parents can’t always make all of the games or concerts.  Sitting front row for your grandchildren’s events will mean the world to them. Take them on a trip- Whether you take the entire family or just the grandkids, taking them on a cruise or a vacation is a great way to help them have fun especially if your kids cannot afford at least one special trip. Share your top three mistakes in life- It can take a lifetime to assess what things really went right...

Stop Trying To Impress People With Your Money

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 07:20
If you are really trying to get wealthy, there are important life lessons to learn that will make you a smart money moves person.   It’s very difficult to pull down your guard when it comes to money.  You might be ashamed or embarrassed around poor financial decisions you made, and then tend to overcompensate by spending too much money just to prove that you can keep up with your friends or neighbors.  Here is a great post on how to build up your bank account and leave the right impression on others. You don’t have to dress for success anymore- Has anyone seen Mark Zuckerburg as of late?   Jeans and a hoodie will do just fine.  Don’t worry about the label on your clothes or your pocketbook. It just doesn’t matter. Be a leader- Perhaps you can be the one to suggest walking around a local fair or flea market, or even going to a free park to throw a Frisbee around while you bring some sandwiches.   Not all activities...

Three Ways To Lower Your Family Mobile Phone Bill?

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:15
Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows.   That seems to be the prevalent thinking today when it comes to your family mobile phone bill.   Your youngest wants the latest and greatest in technology to impress their friends, and your oldest texts faster than you can run the 40 yard dash.  With a drawer full of old plugs, cords, and adapters, it is almost becoming a full time job to keep up with managing your family mobile phone bill.   Here are three very smart money moves for you to consider to keep your monthly bill in check. Who Is Your Top Ten?- Most of the mobile phone companies will offer some type free minute program around your top ten friends and family you call the most.   Between my phone, my wife’s phone, and the three phones my children have, we did an inspection to see which numbers were called the most in order to access the most amounts of free minutes.   If your family has 25% to 50%...

Is It Time To Take A Sabbatical?

Sun, 03/23/2014 - 07:54
The corporate treadmill is pushing people to the point of breaking. With longer hours, more responsibilities, and 24/7 access to your e-mail through technology, you achieved your dream of making it up the corporate ladder. Only one problem. You don’t like it. You like the money, the perks, the benefits, but it is killing you and it’s hard to talk about it because nobody wants to hear your story. Well, I do. Imagine escaping the 8 to 8 (since 9 to 5 isn’t even available anymore) daily grind and spending a month in Tuscany, taking a cruise around the world, or simply tucking your feet in the sand without a care in the world. Wouldn’t that be unbelievable? Can you feel the sun beating down on you while you kick back and have a Corona with lime? The phrase sabbatical is actually derived from the biblical Sabbath which in ancient times allowed people for periods of rest and rejuvenation. Admit it, a long getaway weekend isn’t exactly allowing you to...

Financial Considerations For The First Marriage After 40

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 07:30
You almost gave up hope that you would meet Mr. Right.  Or maybe it is Ms. Right.  However fate struck lightning and you finally met the person that you are convinced you were meant to spend the rest of your life.    At some point, reality sets in as the wedding date gets closer and it starts to dawn on your that there may be real discussions that need to be had around money and financial goals.   Not something you typically discuss when you are enjoying fine dining, front row concerts, and swanky hotels on the beach. Remember, everybody has a financial story.  Especially the person that you are about to wed.   It is important to peel back the artichoke to better understand your partner’s attitudes and feelings around money and planning for overall financial goals.   Here are my five smart money move financial considerations for those that are getting married for the first time after 40. Should you get a pre-nup?   This is a super tricky questions, so I’ll say...

Your Smart Money Moves with oXYGen Financial 3/18/14

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 18:36
Taped 03/18/14 Listen every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. on ROCK 100.5 | Atlanta’s Rock Station to “Your Smart Money Moves” with The Regular Guys and oXYGen Financial. Ted Jenkin, CFP® and Kile Lewis, CRPC® are the founders of oXYGen Financial, and our chief financial officers. All your money questions answered Breathe easier at http://oXYGenFinancial.net

Should You Ever Borrow On A 401(k)?

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 07:30
For some of you a dreaded financial question may stare you in the mirror at some point in your life. Should you borrow against your 401(k)? While all initial responders in your body say no, there could be a few instances where borrowing against a 401(k) may actually make sense. Here is my smart money moves take on when to make yourself a loan. In general, it is not a smart financial move to borrow against your 401(k) plan. There are many individuals who are quitting their job and considering starting up a new business. In order to start their new entrepreneurial venture, they will likely exit from their current employer. The additional problem is where will the new entrepreneur find the capital to open up their new business? Instead of cashing in your old 401(k), one tremendously creative option to potentially fund a new business is to set up your new corporation and create a Solo 401(k) plan. Solo 401(k)’s were generally designed for a business owner of one...

VIDEO: How To Start Your Watch Collection

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 17:06
Read the full post here : http://bit.ly/1hoDtnb

Four Affordable Watches For Men To Start Your Collection

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 09:09
There was a phase in my life where I got into watches for a year or two.   Today, I’ll only wear a watch once or twice a week since my phone pretty much tells me the time at the click of a button.   You’ll hear people bragging a lot at work or social events about their watches.   Rolex has always been the gold standard, but they will name drop watchmakers like Panerai, Bell & Ross, Tag, and Breitling all as ‘if you really want to impress watches.   Most of price tags on these watches are in the several thousand or more category, so can you start your watch collection for less than $1,000 bucks and still look like a million?  You betcha!  Here are four watches that I would take a look at for yourself or for someone as a gift to start out a really cool collection. Jack Spade Conway 38mm Watch-  I have always had an eye for watches that are fashionable that not many people wear.  I...

Five Best All Time John Candy Movies

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 08:01
It’s hard to believe that John Candy has been dead for 20 years.   On March 4th of last week, the 20th anniversary of his death passed by all of us.   Since John Candy was one of my favorite comedy movie heroes growing up as a child, I would be remiss not to spend at least one Your Smart Money Moves articles talking about my five favorite all time movies that he starred in or had a guest appearance.   I suppose I could tie in a cheap Saturday night or Sunday afternoon by camping out in your house and watching a double feature with some $1 box candy and some microwave popcorn, but I just flat out think that John Candy was awesome. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles- Of all the John Candy movies I love, this has got to take the top spot.   The scene of he and Steve Martin going the wrong way on the highway and John Candy saying to Steve Martin, “How would they know which way they...

Your Smart Money Moves with oXYGen Financial 3/11/14

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:39
Taped 03/11/14 Listen every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. on ROCK 100.5 | Atlanta’s Rock Station to “Your Smart Money Moves” with The Regular Guys and oXYGen Financial. Ted Jenkin, CFP® and Kile Lewis, CRPC® are the founders of oXYGen Financial, and our chief financial officers. All your money questions answered Breathe easier at http://oXYGenFinancial.net

Five Financial First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 07:30
In all of the financial transactions we make in our lives, there are few that pale in comparison to the excitement of making the purchase of your first home.   Many years ago, the first time homebuyer merely began with a starter home, but expectations have significantly increased today with new homebuyers wanting all of the modern up to date amenities included in their first home.  Oddly enough, the first time home purchase is often made with as swift a decisions as buying a new car although the purchase may be ten times the size of a new car.   Here are your five smart money moves to make so you can avoid the pitfalls and traps that most new homebuyers make. Falling In Love With Your Mortgage Pre-Approval:  Just because you are pre-approved for a $400,000 loan doesn’t mean you can actually afford a $400,000 loan. “Listening to the mortgage lender when they tell you that you are pre-approved for a (certain amount) of dollars and then thinking this is what...

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