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!
Now is the time to get into practice of working on a last quarter EOY (end of year) review of annual goals and a once over of your money situation. This week’s episode focus is on re-balancing the financial snapshot which may include everything from your different types of insurance to investments to savings, credit card interest rates and more. Review your financial picture and bring things into focus that may need a last minute tweaking for staying on point to meet whatever goals exist, while there’s still time to see a difference. Goals can range from reducing credit, credit balances, interest rates or saving enough for a great holiday season. If you have no specific goals, now is also a good time to maybe get some into focus, regardless of where you are, you may want to be better. Review and re-balance inflows and spending. Get On Game and Stay On Game.
Don’t Be a Sucker, Don’t Pay Into Usury. Be 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.
What’s The Truth About an Emergency Fund, Other Than The Fact That You Need One?
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.
Solar Panels are Readily Available and for FREE! (a little bit free)
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.
There are a lot of questions, concerns and just plain old curiosity surrounding the Brexit situation. Following our own financial meltdown in the United States and all of the crazy things that followed ranging from job losses, to people literally walking away from their homes and mortgages to portfolios getting completely crushed. People lost money like it was going out of style. So what’s up with Brexit, is it something like that? Will there be those sorts of residual problems? News reports are talking about 401k’s and IRA’s potentially taking a hit. What should someone do if anything right now? Financial Advisor, Camari Elllis breaks down the Brexit, the EU, Euros and what you should consider before making any presumptuous money moves.
OR… Maybe there is a OPPORTUNITY presenting itself loud and clear, just yelling “Over here, now is the time!” Remember Baron Rothschild, “buy when there is blood in the streets”.
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.
Fast Cash for the cashless, that hopefully can’t pay it back.
This week’s episode highlights the downside of going after fast cash offers from payday lenders. Fast Cash offers have lured many in with the hopes of taking care of small urgent or even emergency events. However, fast cash payday lenders have been cited for their Nefarious predatory lending practices in many states, so much so that they have been banned. More and more states around the country are focusing on getting rid of fast cash payday lenders and now the federal government has targeted them as well with new guidelines. Consider options to getting fast cash in a hurry without potentially paying 400% and burning your bank account to the ground in the process.
This week’s episode highlights some of the pros and cons of investing in your employee stock program. If you work for a major company that is traded on the stock exchange, there may be more to your compensation than meets the eye via Employee Stock Purchase programs
There many ways to earn more and make the most of your employer even if your a lower level employee. You may be able to invest in your employer stock at a discount, which in the end is a net increase to your compensation. Your employer may have a pension plan that is invests in company shares or may offer you stock options. There are many ways you may be able to get a hold of company shares even at a discount, whichever way is available to you make sure to look it over carefully and don’t dismiss the potential opportunity.
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.