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I'M GOING TO FINCON 2019 BABY!

Uncategorized Jul 17, 2019

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I am so excited! I was blessed enough to get a full scholarship to FinCon this year. Not familiar with what FinCon is? You can read about it here: https://finconexpo.com. I have been wanting to go for years but either didn't have the money or couldn't take off. This year, I have no barriers and I am going! I was also able to secure funding for my lodging so all I have to do is pay for gas and parking. Wow!

I plan on meeting as many people as I can while I'm there. I hope to meet some of my favorite bloggers and podcasters so I can tell them in person how much of an inspiration they have been to me. I can't wait to finally meet the people from the different blogging and podcasting communities I'm a member of. We have been supportive of one another without even meeting in person. It’s amazing!

I also hope to get closer to perfecting my craft. FinCon will have breakout sessions on everything blogging, podcasting, vlogging, etc. and I want to take it all in. Is there a way to...

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CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2019

Definition

Certificates of deposit, also called CDs, are savings vehicles that have a fixed maturity date and a fixed interest rate

Why It's Important

CDs generally have higher interest rates than a regular savings account or money market at the bank. But, there is a catch! Remember, in the definition, CDs have a fixed maturity date so your money is tied up until that date. If you want to access your funds early, they will penalize you by charging an early withdrawal penalty. Typically, the farther the CD maturity date is away, the more interest they are willing to pay you. For instance, currently, these are the CD rates at Ally Bank:

  • 3-month 0.75%
  • 9-month 1.25%
  • 18-month 2.35%
  • 5 year 2.85%



So, as you can see, you get rewarded for having your money tied up for longer periods of time.

Use caution: The interest rate on Ally's regular savings account is 2.10%, so would it really make sense to get a 3 month or 9 month CD? Probably not. You are getting more yield having the money in a...

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CANCELLATION OF DEBT

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2019

Definition

A cancellation of debt may occur if the creditor can't collect, or gives up on collecting, an amount you were obligated to pay.

Why It's Important

You may be thinking "Oh, this is awesome! Cancel all my debt, please and thank you!" But, not so fast. When a creditor forgives or discharges your debt for less than what you owe, it triggers a taxable event. The amount forgiven is then reported to the government as income from the creditor. You are required to report the canceled debt on your tax return for that year. You will receive a 1099-C from the creditor which gives you all the information you need for your taxes. 

If the creditor sends you a 1099-C, they can no longer try to collect the debt. It is over with! If they still try to collect the debt after sending a 1099-C, do not put it on your taxes and give the creditor a call.

If the debt was secured by property and they take the property as a result of not paying the debt, the IRS looks at it as you sold the property...

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FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION

Uncategorized Jun 12, 2019

Definition

A government entity that operates under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Why It's Important

The Federal Housing Administration has been making FHA loans available since 1934. These are special home loans backed by the government giving more people access to buy their first house. In comparison to a conventional loan, FHA loans have lower thresholds for qualifying. They also allow low down payment amounts (as low as 3.5%) and lower closing costs. 

I am an advocate for FHA loans and believe that if you can't qualify for a conventional loan, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. Most lenders do provide both conventional and FHA options. Be sure to ask!

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ANNUITY

Uncategorized Jun 05, 2019

Definition

Annuity is a fixed sum of money paid to an individual each year

Why It's Important

Annuities can be an effective retirement income strategy.  They are created and sold by financial institutions.  But, how do they work?  Let me explain.  The financial institution takes your money and invests it.  You pay into it every so often (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) during the accumulation phase.  Once the funds enter the annuitization phase, the financial institution starts paying the you funds from that "bucket" of money.  The annuitizaion phase is agreed upon in the contract between the you and the financial institution.
Annuities were made to provide people with a steady stream of income.  Some common annuities are defined pension benefits and social security.  Also, if I win the lottery tomorrow (let us pray), I can opt for an annuity or a lump sum.  The annuity will pay out a certain amount every...

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REALIZED LOSS

Uncategorized May 29, 2019

Definition

A realized loss is the loss that is recognized when assets are sold for a price lower than the original purchase price.

Why It's Important

Losses suck!  Ok, that wasn't politically correct but they really do.  No one wants to lose money in the stock market but sometimes you do.  It is all part of the risk that you are taking when you invest money.  When you buy something (let's say a stock for ease of explanation), you are setting up your cost basis or book value.  If I bought 1 share at $2.00, $2.00 is my cost basis.  In a month, that share is now worth only $1.00. At that point, without doing anything with it, I have an unrealized loss of -50%.  I decide I don't want that stock in my portfolio anymore so I sell it.  Now, I have a REALIZED LOSS of $1.00.
Believe it or not, this is not all bad news!  Yes, I am sad that I lost a dollar BUT now I can write off that loss on my taxes to offset any gains in other investments....

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TICKER SYMBOLS

Uncategorized Apr 24, 2019

Definition

Also called stock symbols, ticker symbols are abbreviations that identify publicly traded shares on the stock market 


Why It's Important

Ticker symbols are how you can find what stock or mutual fund you would like to invest in.  When you use brokerage firms, like TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, etc., you have to put in the ticker symbol to buy and sell shares.  Don't know the ticker symbol of the company or fund you are looking for?  No worries!  A quick Yahoo Finance search will provide the information you need.  Some popular ticker symbols are:

GOOG - Alphabet (Google)

WMT - Walmart

NFLX - Netflix

FB - Facebook

SPY - S&P 500 Index Fund

There are literally thousands of ticker symbols out there!  I challenge you, this week, to do a quick search of a company you are interested in or that you purchase from and find out what the ticker symbol is.  Share with me on social media what you found!

*The information provided is...

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DEPRECIATION

Uncategorized Apr 10, 2019

Definition

Depreciation is when an asset loses its value over time.  It has various methods and treatments according to the companies' policy.


Why It's Important

Cars are an asset that depreciates rather quickly.  That is why they say once you drive off the lot, it has already lost some of its value.  Some conventional wisdom uses the 3 year rule:  Only buy a car that is 3 years or older because the first 3 years is when it loses most of its value.  Why not let someone else take that hit instead of you?  If you do get a new car, go for a brand that depreciates slowly.  For instance, I used to have a 2016 Honda CRV that I bought new off the lot (Read about its ending here).  When I got rid of it in 2018, I was only in the negative $3,000!  That is a huge deal being that the average loss is 31% by year 2.  Here is a good article on car depreciation from Edmunds: How Fast Does My Car Lose Value

Cars aren't the only things that...

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DON'T BLOW YOUR TAX MONEY! MONEY MOVES TO MAKE NOW BEFORE IT'S ALL GONE

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2019

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I have been getting questions lately on what people should do with their tax money, so I wanted to compile a list of some of my favorite tax money moves:

PAY OFF DEBT
OMG!  This is my personal favorite way to use my tax money because that is currently where I am in my money journey.  I throw almost every single penny towards debt now.  Why? Because I have a goal to accomplish!  When it comes to my goals, I am all in 100% until it is completed.  So, yes, I probably could spent my money on other things but debt payoff is my top priority so it goes there.  

Pay up your rent
If you are renting your home, put that extra money towards paying up your rent.  When I was barely making it, I would take my refund and pay my rent for 3-5 months.  It was such a relief to have one of my most significant expenses taken care of so I could finally breathe a little bit.

Buy that car
I see people getting a lot of flack for buying a car with their tax money....

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EPS

Uncategorized Mar 27, 2019

Definition

EPS stands for earnings per share.  This is how much of the company's profit they are sharing with stockholders on a per share basis.


Why It's Important

EPS holds a lot of weight when investors are evaluating stocks.  I think an example will better illustrate why:

Let's say we hold share of Walmart.  As a market (collection of potential buyers), we think Walmart's EPS will be $1.00.  Walmart posts their earnings and *shocker* the real EPS is only $0.50.  Walmart's stock then goes down because they are not making as much profit as the market thought they were and investors start selling to get out of the bad investment.  It also works in the opposite direction.  Let's take the same example but they really post earnings of $1.50.  Now, the stock will go up because more people are buying.  Walmart is more profitable than the market thought.

When evaluating stocks, it's important to see how profitable a company is before you dive...

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