The Five Things You Can Do Now to Get Your Finances in Order This New Year

30 January 2018

The Five Things You Can Do Now to Get Your Finances in Order This New Year
  1. Create a new budget for the new year by reviewing last year’s actual expenses vs. budget. In my opinion, living below your means is rule #1 in personal financial planning. Regardless how much you make, if you do not save enough for your future, it would be difficult to achieve financial independence down the road. If you use expense tracking tools such as Quicken, www.mint.com or your own Excel worksheet, now it is the time to generate your cash flow statement by category to see how well you did in year 2017 by comparing actual spending to the budget.

    You should pay attention to the categories that are discretionary such as shopping, dining out, vacationing, entertainment and home improvement as they are the ones you have most control over. If you are overspending right now, consider this tip “Cutting Out The Fat”. Direct your money to the things and experiences that give you the highest Emotional Return on Investment (EROI), because these purchases bring you happiness weeks and months after the purchase. Go through your expenses for the last 1 to 3 months, and rate them from 1 to 5 (one being low EROI and five being high EROI). Cut out the expenses with 1 and 2 ratings and keep the ones with 4 and 5 ratings. Do this exercise now and revise your monthly budget.

    Another way to help you plan your cash flow is setting your discretionary spending at 20% (or your own percentage based on your monthly budget) of your take home pay. For example, if your take home pay per month is $5,000, then your discretionary spending is $1,000. Your weekly discretionary spending budget figure is $250. This can be set up to come from a separate checking account that you monitor closely, or you can just start using cash as an exercise toward getting into the habit of spending on the things that really matter. If you find that cash is tight after four to five days, you probably will tell yourself to hold off on buying that pair of dress shoes until next week, when you have extra cash in your purse.

The Highlights of GOP Tax Bill

18 December 2017

The Highlights of GOP Tax Bill

There is a tax bill, but there is no tax reform as it does not simplify the tax codes and will keep tax professionals very busy over the next 12 months to figure out a series of cuts and tweaks. These changes will not affect year 2017 tax returns. These are the highlights of GOP Tax Bill, a final reconciled version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 that appears to be heading shortly to President Trump for signature:

What Should You Do Now to Protect Your Identity?

26 September 2017

What Should You Do Now to Protect Your Identity?

This month, we were told that 143 million Americans had key identifying information stolen through the credit reporting company Equifax.  In addition, we just learned that Equifax purchased an identification protection service called ID Watchdog on August 10, two weeks after Equifax discovered the data breach but a month before disclosing it publicly.  Law enforcement officials from about 40 states are in the process of investigating Equifax’s behavior before and after the data breach.  At this time of uncertainty, what should you be doing right now to protect your identity?

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