Sucker Free Money

Don’t Be a Sucker, Don’t Pay Into Usury. Be Sucker Free.

Stay Sucker Free.
Stay Sucker Free.

Usury is the practice of having or charging notoriously high interest, costs and fees attached to borrowing money.  Federal and local governments try to protect consumers from the worst of the worst when it comes to such practices, but it’s usually after whatever company has already made a really good run and ripped off many people along the way.  In the most conspicuous ways it can be seen in credit card rates, car loan rates, housing loan rates, (sure you’ve heard enough about the housing crisis to feel like an expert on the subject) and short term loans.  Short term loans and fast cash payday loans probably being the most economically damaging of the bunch.  Still, there’s the hidden usurious tactics, yes hidden, such as the 22% fee on money transfers and so on.  Then there’s interest and fees on money that already belongs to you, instead of gaining or receiving interest, secondary financial companies are charging you for your own money.  I know, crAzy RiGht? What kind of Sucker pays to get his or her own money.  Be “Sucker Free”, don’t work for your money and then pay for your own money.

-Miles.

The Emergency Fund

What’s The Truth About an Emergency Fund, Other Than The Fact That You Need One?

The Emergency Fund
The Emergency Fund

Typical standard advice is to have an emergency fund of 3 – 6 months worth of expenses in the case of an emergency, which depending, seems to be at least a monthly occurrence for many.  This episode talks to the advice of nearly a year worth of household expenses sitting in an account just waiting for an emergency to happen.  That would be great!  Now, here’s a piece of everyday reality pie… if most people aren’t saving enough for retirement, people have a hard time following advice on how to just LIVE into retirement healthy, people don’t get their car oil changed until it’s literally turned into ink and finally, a high number of people are living paycheck to paycheck.  All that being said, guess what? A lot of folks don’t have 3 – 6 months of emergency savings.

All hope isn’t lost though, folks are devising ways to make it in case of emergency.  And as much as the finance gurus warn against it, a good number of those people rely on their retirement fund or anything else they can reach for.  Friends and family support systems and even the family car may have to go if things get tight before you get your money right.

-Miles

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Solar Panels are Readily Available and for FREE! (a little bit free)

Man installing Solar Panels
Man installing Solar Panels

Typically, when you see the word FREE, you should run the other way.  But there are several companies offering to install solar panels for FREE and reduce your electric bill in the meantime.  This might deserve a little checking out considering the cost of electric production and usage.  Between figuring out what a Kilowatt Hour actually means, then how much it costs, electricity delivery charges and all the rest it just may make sense to at least find out what’s up with these FREE solar panels.  This might be a way out if you have electric everything, like heat, hot water, oven, etc.  And of course, there’s fine print.

-Miles.

Do You Need a Business Coach?

Do You Need a Business Coach?

Do You Need A Business Coach to Succeed?

It seems everyplace you look these days there are coaches for whatever goals you aspire to reach.  Business Coach, Finance Coach, Relationship Coach, and, and… How do you size up the right coach for you and your aspirations? Take the Business Coach for example, there are many things to think about before getting yourself involved with a self described business coach.  Not to mention, the questions needing answers to properly vet just the right business coach.  Before moving forward the very first thing will be to understand what your needs are.  What areas actually need coaching?  After figuring out what you may need, gaps to fill and shortcoming to get over, then there’s the coach.  Not to worry, there are videos and coaches that are glad to coach you on finding or becoming a coach.

-Miles.

 

Assets vs Liabilities

Assets vs Liabilities

The Basics: Assets vs Liabilities

Here's what a relationship liability might look like
What a relationship liability might look like

In this week’s episode of MWPF, it’s the basics of identifying the assets vs liabilities and investments.  Is that house, car and jewelry an investment or an asset? There’s usually a lot of discussion here and a large part is due to the sometimes changing status of things we buy or consider ourselves investing in, for example something that may start as a liability because of costs attached to maintain it, may turn out to become an asset at some time or another.   Most controversial of all, are the intangibles such as relationships, knowledge, skill, education and even social status in regards to whether they are assets or even investments.  Do you invest in your social status or intimate relationships?  Are your relationships liabilities that cost you to maintain them and keep up appearances.  On the landscape of Assets vs. Liabilities there’s much more than just your house.

 

-Miles.

Invest in Economic Trends

Invest in Economic Trends

Playing Economic Trends.

There are economic trends that are going on right in your everyday space, some of which we all take part in oftentimes and can invest into as well.  Many of these trends offer opportunity to not just be a consumer but also make money from the trend itself, for the long run.  In this episode, some insight on what’s popping up all over neighborhoods around the country. storage spaces.

Public Storage. Leader in its category
Public Storage. Leader in its category

The Storage Space business is booming all over the country regardless of community type or status. including communities in transition such as gentrification, revitalization, urbanization, and even bedroom communities are seeing big business move in.  At the front of the line is a company called Public Storage with some competitors not very far behind.  You probably have seen some of these places in your area, and yes, they are investment opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of.

 

-Miles.

Car Buying Lease or BUY?

Car Buying Lease or BUY?

Lease OR BUY?

5 Reasons Why You Should Lease and 5 Reasons You Should Buy

Maybe lease today and maybe buy tomorrow.  The idea is that it really depends on your needs or circumstances, and as we all know, both variables change from time to time.  Lease options have come a good long way to reach the everyday leisure driving consumer.  For that matter, so have creative financing offers that go up to seven years now.  First you have to figure out which kind of driver and consumer you are.  Do you need to own your car and do what you want however you want and whenever to your heart’s content or are you cool how the car is already set up and primarily use it within the norm about 10k – 15k miles per year? Commuting or just leisure? A tinkerer that likes to hook your car up no matter what with rims, tints and a growling exhaust? Of course there’s an argument to be made either way, measure your needs and choose wisely, it will be a financial decision that may last a few years to come.

 

-Miles

Life Insurance, The Essentials Interview

Life Insurance, The Essentials Interview

Life Insurance Essential Interview with Kissy Ariza, Life Insurance Rep.

I met with Kissy Ariza, a very personable and knowledgeable, high energy local NY area life insurance representative to ask some popular questions about getting life insurance.  Many folks already understand the importance of having life insurance of some kind, somewhere with some company.  Most of us even remember the “insurance man” who used to come around from time to time, and our parents bought whatever policies they could afford.   Not so much in our busy lives today.  Hence, there are a lot of misgivings and out right un-truths out there about insurance.  One thing however is for sure, a good ironclad policy is a key part of any good personal financial planning.

Kissy Ariza was able to dispel some common misconceptions, verify some known truths and even offer some serious take away information.  In this interview she gave some invaluable points that make it easy to understand why life insurance is such a big deal and necessary part of your finance arsenal.

-Miles.

Holiday Spending: Stay Focused on Your Finances

Holiday Spending: Stay Focused on Your Finances

Holiday Spending: Now is the time to stay focused and watch your budget.

Keeping in mind that the end of the year is also a heads up of the new year to come.  Regardless of how you celebrate in the name of what you celebrate or where, being mindful of your finances should help make the holidays that much brighter for you.  Typically by this time of year I have some idea of what monies I have available to spend and to what degree the gift giving will go.

Holiday Saving Club Accounts let your save a little all year slowly and gain interest
Holiday Saving Club Accounts let you save a little all year slowly and gain interest

One trick I’ve played on myself is to let the FSA reimbursement checks accrue in an account, in a folder, on my desk or someplace and then use them to make the holiday budget.  This accrual method has worked for me for years, works just as good as any Christmas Club type plan.  Good thing about this accrual type approach is it lets you target and budget, even if you want to splurge a little bit and take a trip or buy something a little more expensive than usual all while staying in the same pattern of saving, bill paying and keep up with the household economics such as heat and new blankets for the winter.

 

Unless your the savviest shopper, this is a sucker's game
Unless your the savviest shopper, this is a sucker’s game

Consumer Traps Turned Up During Holiday Time

Be on the lookout for the 15% off game.  Stores off their own credit cards to shoppers and entie them by offering something like 15% of more off of the entire purchase today.  This is a Sucker’s game unless you are the best of the best when it comes to due diligence, what’s known as a sophisticated shopper.  Don’t let your ego take advantage of you, you may not be as sophisticated as you think.  These store charge anywhere from 20% to 30% or whatever the legal limit is and very few folks squeak by without getting caught up paying the heavy fees at least once, and once is all they need.  Just think of it this way, they offer you 10% off to have an opportunity to charge you 30% extra. Stay focused. Not to mention this makes you think you’ve extended your buying power, wrong again.  You’re only extending the opportunity to buy more stuff at a potential 30% hike.  Who wants to buy something that costs $100. for $130. instead???  Well, that’s what it becomes. Stay on budget and steer clear.  Let the less than savvy shoppers take this deal, it allows the retailer to make those deep discounts and Black Friday deals, that you pay cash or debit for.

 

Better Ways to Gift Money

Stock Certificates as GIFTS
Stock Certificates as GIFTS

The holidays also another opportunity to learn, teach or usher in new habits of personal finance management.  One of the not so advertised or marketed gifts is the gift of stock ownership, while it’s difficult to stack up against a new watch, trendy shoes or game console it may serve well a an add on or secondary gift that may outlast all of the foregoing.  Sort of the “teach a man to fish… ” idea, very inexpensive to buy one, two or even ten shares depending on your budget in the name of the person your buying it for and have the stock certificate sent to them. An actual stock certificate of ownership with the stated number of shares denoted on it.  You’d be surprised how such a gift may knock some one’s sock off, introduce them to the world of finance and investing and take things in another direction altogether for them.  Learning to become more than just a consumer and shifting toward an investor.

Like Netflix? How about the stock alongside the Smart TV pre-loaded with it.
Like Netflix? How about the stock alongside the Smart TV pre-loaded with it.

Great for kids as they will come to understand they can actually own a part of some of their favorite companies and brands such as Facebook, Netflix, Disney, Sony, Microsoft, Footlocker and many other well known companies.  You can Buy Stock Certificates as Gifts Here for more information on gifting stock certificates.

Happy Holidays 2015.

-Miles