Giving: The Humane Society

28 03 2012

It’s that time again – our Second Annual Collection Drive for Animal Shelters (in memory of Stoli).  This year our collection drive benefits a wonderful animal shelter – The Humane Society!  Backed by 11 million supporters in the U.S. and around the world, The Humane Society of the U.S. is leading the way to a better future for all animals.  They have many chapters throughout the U.S. that conduct animal rescues and advocacy and offer shelter and food for abandoned and neglected animals.  Explore The Humane Society in your state and help change the life of an animal.

The breakdown:

  • $190 cash donations
  • 2 realms of paper
  • 50 cans cat food
  • 8 samples dog food
  • 3 grooming brushes
  • 4 cat toys
  • 6 packages cat treats / 8 packages dog treats
  • 2 dog coats




Are Six Figures the New Minimum Wage?

28 03 2012

Source:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/first-person-earn-more-100-000-still-feel-151200753.html

This is a great article that I hope challenges everyone’s financial decision-making.  A few things to point out:

  • spending $1,000 on food per month
  • building a new home at the height of the market
  • new car purchase
  • buying individual stocks to fund your child’s college education
  • lack of research in housing market

I hope this article ignites a spark within everyone regarding financial choices made every day.





The Truth about Extreme Couponing and the Coupon Information Corporation

27 03 2012

Couponing.  We’re fans of it.

Extreme Couponing.  Beware.

The Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) has released these two alerts regarding the recent television show “Extreme Couponing” aired on the TLC network.  Couponers should be aware coupon fraud is present.  Couponers are also urged to follow the rules of the specific coupon (expiration date, purchase quantity, etc.).  View the CICs press release regarding extreme couponing and review their website regarding coupon fraud.





Statistics/Quotes: 03/21/2012

23 03 2012

Outstanding student loan debt = $870 billion.  Outstanding car loans = $730 billion.  Outstanding credit card debt = $693 billion.—Forbes





Tax Time Savings Bonds

22 03 2012

If you haven’t filed your taxes – hurry!  The deadline is April 17, 2012. 

And, if you’re a saver, heck even if you aren’t a saver . . . . . watch this video.  Tax time savings bonds help you to save.  Ask your tax preparer about Tax Time Savings Bonds!

“For as little as $50 today, you can start giving your loved ones the future of their dreams, while they are still dreaming. Tax Time Savings Bonds grow with your loved ones. When they are ready, so is their money. Just select the amount you want to save from your refund and you’ll receive your bond in the mail.”





Does my Child’s Retirement Account affect their Ability to obtain Financial Aid?

22 03 2012

Parents nation-wide are worried about their child’s eligibility for college financial aid.  This is especially true for those parents with children whom have a small retirement nest egg from earned income.

The facts – retirement accounts (such as Roth IRAs, 401ks) are not reported to the Financial Aid board (FAFSA) if distributions (a/k/a withdrawals) are not being made.  Once assets are withdrawn, they are considered “income” and will be factored into the FAFSA application.  Besides, it doesn’t make ‘financial sense’ to withdraw funds from retirement accounts prior to retirement age – you will end up paying early withdrawal penalties and taxes on money withdrawn.  The best advice is to withdraw funds during retirement age in intervals.

A great article about the topic is found here.





Tear down your Barriers to Saving and Cross the Bridge to your Financial Success

21 03 2012

Featured in Military.com’s Money Section, Military Saves’ Newsletter – March 2012 and FINRA Foundation’s Save and Invest

What barriers stand in your way when it comes to saving?  Everyone faces challenges at some point in time.  However, failure to overcome these obstacles may prevent and delay your financial success.

Postponing to save can be costly in the long-run.  The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) states “the more years you have to save, the more effective it is. So the earlier you begin. . .and the longer you are able to leave the money in your account, the greater the opportunity you have to enjoy the benefits of compounding”.

You will see from the chart below that postponing saving two years yields a loss of $440.  It may not sound like much, but every little bit helps in the grand scheme of saving.  In fact, that’s the theme for Military Saves – “Start Small, Think Big”.

 

What are some obstacles when it comes to saving?

“No pain, no gain”

  • High expenses.  [You] “My bills make up my entire paycheck”. [Me] “Allocate money into savings from a portion of your entire paycheck”.  If you feel like your expenses overpower your income, review your expenses and decide which to cancel or minimize.  Remember, to live within your means but below your needs.  That means take home pay should always exceed monthly expenses.
  • Low Income.  [You] “If only I earned more, I could save more”.  [Me] “You can save money with the income you currently earn”.  The stigma associated with high-income earners saving more is false.  Truth: financial problems don’t discriminate. It affects all ages and social classes.  Statistics have shown modest income earners whom saved diligently have an extremely high net worth.
  • Lack of Time.  [You]  “I don’t have time to save”.  [Me] “Your time to save starts today”.  Set a day to review your current financial situation every month.  And each month forward set aside time again to conduct this review.  The fact is – you cannot afford to procrastinate.  As America Saves states “One of the most important things you can learn in life is how to save money.  It’s the first step to getting where you want to be. . . . once you start it gets easier and easier”.
  • Lack of Information.  [You] “Saving is hard, I don’t know where to find knowledgeable information about it”. [Me] “You’re in luck, there are plenty of resources for military and civilian alike”.  Your boots on ground for financial success is a click away.  Military Saves’ Resources and Save and Invest can point you in the right direction.

Lets turn your barriers into bridges!

“A penny saved is a penny earned”

  • Begin with a BudgetThe use of a budget helps identify money that enters your household and how the money will leave.  When your finances are written down it becomes increasingly clear as to where you stand financially per month and identifies areas where you can scale back spending and increase saving.  Action Plan Track your Spending.
  • Change your Thinking.  Stay motivated, push forward and choose to save.  Find your tribe – surround yourself with those people who share your financial goals.  Avoid keeping up with the Jones’.  Remain positive and stay on track with your saving goals.
  • Shed Debt.  See what Military One Source has to say about shedding debt.  Saving may not feel like an option when debt is lying heavily on your shoulders.  However, paying off debt will free up funds for depositing into a saving or retirement account.  Action PlanManage your Debt.
  • Programs Offer Help.  With tax time around the corner, Bonds Make it Easy points out how easy it is to purchase bonds from your tax return.  The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is another great resource for saving with expenses charged to each TSP account being approximately 25 cents per $1,000 of investment!

Excited about saving?  Track your progress with FINRAs Savings Calculator!  Your mission:  break down the stumbling blocks you face because the cost of waiting to save can be detrimental to your financial health.








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