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Uncategorized Jun 05, 2019


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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Uncategorized May 29, 2019


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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Uncategorized Apr 24, 2019


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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Uncategorized Apr 10, 2019


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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Uncategorized Mar 31, 2019


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:

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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Uncategorized Mar 27, 2019


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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Uncategorized Mar 20, 2019


EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. 

Why It's Important

This is one measure you can use to determine a firm's financial performance.  What does this have to do with personal finance?  Well, if you are evaluating investments you would want to invest in companies with strong financial performance.  You would look at a variety of factors including the EBITDA.  

The equation for calculating it looks like this:

EBITDA = Net Income + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation

You are adding back in some values that the net income already took out.  Unfortunately, not all measures are perfect.  If they were, I would be extremely rich by now!  EBITDA does not account for the cost of capital (land, machines, equipment) so it can be a little misleading especially if the business relies on credit a lot to make those purchases.

When you are conducting research, always make sure you are evaluating the target company...

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Uncategorized Mar 13, 2019


A tax deduction lowers a taxpayer's tax liability by reducing the amount of taxable income.

Why It's Important

You have probably heard a lot about tax deductions and tax credits during tax season, so I wanted to debunk what they are.  I covered tax credits so now it's all about deductions.  Deductions are usually expenses that you pay throughout the year that can be subtracted from your gross income.

All taxpayers can either take the standard deduction or itemize their deductions.  You can't do both!  If itemizing your deductions gives you a bigger tax break, that's the route you would want to go! 

Some examples of deductions would be charitable donations and business expenses.  Let's look at a simplified example:

Income: $30,000
Donations: $300
Business Expenses: $2,000

Taxable income (from subtracting all deductions): $27,700
Uncle Sam will only tax $27,700 of the $30,000 I made. 

I highly recommend talking to a tax...

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Uncategorized Mar 06, 2019


A tax credit is an amount of money that taxpayers can subtract from what they owe the government

Why It's Important

You have probably heard a lot about tax deductions and tax credits during tax season, so I wanted to debunk what they are.  I will cover deductions next week.  Tax credits are available for anything from going to school to making energy efficient upgrades to your home and many things in between.  

As I mentioned, tax credits lower the amount of tax you owe so, what if you don't have a tax liability (owe)?  Well, there are two different types of tax credits.  

Non-refundable tax credits, like mortgage interest and adoption, do not apply if your tax liability is 0.  

Refundable tax credits, like the earned income tax credit, still apply even if it lowers your tax liability to below 0.  Refundable tax credits are the most beneficial because you get the full dollar amount regardless of your tax liability or income, therefore, raising...

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Uncategorized Feb 27, 2019


Debt consolidation is when you take several debts and get a loan to pay them off, therefore, providing you with one monthly payment instead of multiple payments

Why It's Important

I will probably do an article soon on debt consolidation and credit card balance transfers since they kind of fall under the same boat.  

The premise is that you are just restructuring your debt (moving it around) instead of paying it off.  If you have a bigger balance outstanding, then more than likely your interest payments will be, therefore, keeping you in debt longer than if you just paid them off individually.  

Additionally, they may restructure your debt to a longer term, thus, reducing your payments, so you think you are getting a deal.  In reality, you are just signing up to be in debt longer.  

Don't play around with debt, just get rid of it!  

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