A quick review of the focus of the blog and the Miles Weekly Personal Finance Podcast, a vehicle by which to inform, educate, entertain, and cover the basics of personal finance, small business, investing, savings. The primary objective if there is one at all, to close the gap of “information asymmetry” and raise the minimum threshold of financial literacy to anyone that subscribes to the podcast or keeps up with the blog. In communications lingo The “A” End is the originating end or point of origination, for us that would be Episode #1 and Blog Post #1. Conversely the “Z” end is the terminating end, whereas the communications sent have been received. But don’t be fooled, the end also becomes the beginning and Z becomes A to start the cycle all over again. This is “Episode Number “Z”, we have reached the terminating end of these communications …successfully I might add. end.
Episode 65 is an interview Mr. Mark Clayborne of www.startupcreditrepairbusiness.com and author of an www.amazon.com bestselling book on personal credit repair “Hidden Credit Repair Secrets”. Mark Clayborne has established himself as an authority in the personal credit repair industry and now helps entrepreneurs get started in the business of credit repair as well. In this interview we discuss Fico scores, paying bills, credit utilization, the high cost of bad credit and authorized users among many other valuable and informative details. Mark Clayborne’s business model is all about how to get your personal credit on the right track.
After the much advertised delay in sending out refunds, it’s finally time. In this week’s episode, the focus returns to that once a year so-called pay day that everyone gets all worked up about. “The Tax Refund” Like a windfall, a breathe of fresh financial air. Sometimes it’s spent in our minds 19 times before we even get it, just the idea of getting it. The tax refund is maybe one or two steps away from becoming a holiday, just so folks could have even more time to go spend some of that tax refund money. The car dealers, creditors, retailers and anyone else that typically have slow January sales are all anxiously waiting as they know people are getting the refund checks. Maybe there should at least be some slick moniker like “SupeR Black Friday” or maybe “GAAP Friday”. Either way, there’s a lot of opportunity at this time of year for both making good moves or setting the stage for trouble during the rest of the tax year.
Pay attention as you get yourself all wrapped up into Valentine’s Day. The flowers, cards and candy. Watch your spending and the spending of your courtier, if your paying close enough attention you’ll be able to see early signs of good financial behavior or terribly irresponsible spending. Either way while you sitting at that pre-fixe overpriced cold dinner looking into each others’ eyes, it’s a good time to ask, “hey, so how’s your credit?”. Pay attention to the surprise in their eyes, or the pleasure to share such information in an attempt to communicate their openess to discuss finance and the future. And when the bill comes back with no surprise “declined” comment, you realize …they might actually be a keeper.
This week’s episode focuses on the recent news surrounding “The Fiduciary Rule”, which has investors, retirement savers and would be investors trying to figure out just what exactly is “a fiduciary” to begin with. We’ve come to expect certain business relationships to work in our favor such with a lawyer, our doctors and even the little league coach sometimes, the same applies to many of the professionals that help us invest for the long term. Investing for retirement, such as IRA’s, 401k’s and similar plans that are handled or managed by investment advisors fall under the rule of fiduciary responsibility. However, new rules expand this definition to include more people who may be involved or have an influence on retirement investing guidance. And those new rules focus squarely on the people you trust to steer you and your money in the right direction for your “best interest”. And, not just steer your money into their pockets.
During the holiday season is by far the time when pre-paid cards and gift cards are given out the most all year long. Pre-paid Cards and Gift Cards are an easy one shot, quick trick, when it’s hard to think of something as a gift. It’s easy to stop in a local Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s and now even the local Dollar Tree and grab one of these pre-paid cards or gift cards on the go.
Convenience comes at a cost, and sometimes it’s a very high cost. There are too many alternatives to list when it comes to pre-paid cards and gift cards. What’s really crazy is that among the alternatives …buying stock in the very company that sells the pre-paid cards and gifts cards may be the best alternative of all. A quick look at the stock price of company that sells and markets the Green Dot (NYSE:DOT) card at the local Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) reveals the stock is up around 45% year to date for 2016! With that sort of return on investment, it would be better to give the company stock as a gift instead of the actual pre-paid card. Dang!
In this episode, a review of Porter’s 5 Forces and how they shape small business. Which forces may be working in your favor and which forces are working against you and your small business like the force of a hurricane. In this overview a look at each of the five forces and how they may apply in most any small business. At any given time or another one of these may be driving business to or away from you, in either case, it’s good stuff to know and good business sense to employ. It’s hard work
Be careful, a lot investment schemes and even some scams are looking to get over over like a fat rat. Investment schemes and scams are nothing new, as matter of fact, these things are always refreshed and updated for modern times. Whether it’s Ivan Boesky, Madoff, some new unknown investment company promising real estate profits or a foray into Forex. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions …and look for the tell tale signs.
Annual “Open Enrollment” selections, elections and options are typically around October and November of every year. Most employees carryover the same options year after year, sometimes this is a big mistake, they’re leaving money on the table and that is not how the game is played. Much like you would review every line of tax deductions for expenses and credits at tax time, the same should be done to ensure annual elections are “optimized”. Everyone wants to get the most for their money, with that in mind making a decision for the entire year can be tricky. It’s necessary to consider everything from frequency doctor visits, dental visits, eye care, prescriptions, relocating or even if you don’t go to the doctor much more than preventative care and checkups here and there.
Consider everything from possible savings by reducing coverage, adding life insurance amounts, and of course the possible tax advantages of an FSA or HSA to help offset those wonderful co-pays and deductibles. I always wondered who came up with the “co-pay”, like really, a $10. co-pay?!?! Why? It’s always been a pain to make sure you have $10. or $15. in my pocket just for the co-pay!
What’s up with voting? What’s up with this current Presidential election? Usually the largest number of people turn out to vote in the general election, people seem to take it personal. That’s a good thing, not so good is that once they’ve made their choice for president, they go back home and go to bed for more four years. People miss out on all of the voting in between the four years, the voting for everything from local mayor, prosecutor, sheriff, the board of education to the city council and consequently all of the people that the foregoing hire or appoint while they are in office. Essentially, a mini administration.
Guess what that means? Ultimately, the local vote can be more meaningful to the quality of your everyday life in a far greater way than the once every four years presidential election. But make no mistake about it, the BIG election does get all the attention. Lest we forget, beyond the annual and biannual elections, use everything you do as an opportunity to vote. Every Year is Election Year.