Tag Archives: personal finance

Money Monday: 5 Quick Ways to Save Money

Do you want to have more money?

“Silly question, right? Who doesn’t want some extra cash? The good news is, there are simple things you can do in just 20 minutes to avoid wasting your hard-earned dollars. Jump right in and get started to take advantage of the savings.”

save money

Photo by 401kcalculator.org

1. Ask your credit card company for a reduced interest rate or an annual-fee waiver

2. Cancel a service that isn’t providing value

3. Raise your insurance deductible (if you can cover it)

4. Optimize your home’s energy efficiency

5. Optimize your car

Read all about these ways to save money on Money.CNN.com’s article here: “5 ways to save money in 20 minutes or less.”

Money Monday: Financial realities of owning a home

Let’s consider some of the financial realities about owning a home.

homeIn an opinion piece in the Fresno Bee newspaper, the writer made the case for why Congress should keep a tax incentive to encourage Americans to be homeowners. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, the author’s points on the financial positives of homeownership were beneficial and worth a read.

  • “Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth, providing both equity accumulation and tax benefits over time. In 2013, the median net worth of homeowner families was $195,400, while the median net worth of renters was $5,400, according to the Federal Reserve.”
  • “Homeownership strengthens communities, encourages higher civic participation, boosts children’s educational performance, lowers crime rates, and improves health-care outcomes. Moreover, homeowners bring more stability to neighborhoods because they tend to move less often.”
  • “Homeownership helps provide predictability. Individuals can enjoy steady and consistent housing costs thanks to the tax incentive that allows them to own a home. That’s because a fixed-rate mortgage payment might not change for 15 to 39 years, while rents typically increase 2 to 3 percent a year.”
  • Read more of this article here: “Want to create wealth? This is one way to do it.”

Money Monday: Credit card mistakes to avoid

“Credit cards can be a dangerous thing when abused, but when used correctly, they actually offer a number advantages that cash simply can’t match. To make the most of your credit card, be sure to steer clear of these major blunders.”

(Money.CNN.com. “10 huge credit card mistakes.” Maurie Backman. 12 May 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/12/pf/credit-card-mistakes/index.html?iid=SF_LN)

  1. Paying your bills late
  2. Only making your minimum payments
  3. Making out your credit card limits
  4. Read about 7 other credit card mistakes to avoid here

Money Monday: Increase your credit score

Quick ways to up your credit score.

“Most people don’t put much thought into their credit scores until the time comes to apply for a loan. If you expect to need financing in the next few months and aren’t convinced your credit score is high enough to get you approved, you’ll need to act quickly to improve your chances. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to boost your credit score in record time.” (“4 tips to increase your credit score fast.” Maurie Backman. 8 May 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/08/pf/credit-score-tips/index.html?iid=Lead)

One way to increase your credit score? Ask for an increase in your credit limit. But read CNN’s article for more tips! 

Read all of CNN’s article on increasing your credit score here: “4 tips to increase your credit score fast.”

Money Monday: Cut Down on Your Retirement Costs

Unless you plan on working part-time instead of fully retiring, you may need to cut down on your cost of living in order to live within your means.

retirement

Photo credit: 401kcalculator.org

Here are a few suggestions on how you can cut some costs:

1. Downsize your living space

Not only will downsizing your home most likely help with mortgage and utility costs, but it may also cut down on the required time spent maintaining the house and yard.

If downsizing sounds ideal, please give me a call to see how I can help sell and/or buy your next home! John A Silva – (619) 890-3648

2. Sell unnecessary vehicles

If both of you are retiring, then you may be able to get away with one vehicle for the both of you, cutting significant upkeep, registration and insurance costs.

3. Enroll in Medicare on time

Sign up within the initial seven-month time-frame allotted (three months before your 65th birthday until three months after). Otherwise, you’ll be paying more for those doctor visits.

Read all of Money.CNN.com’s suggestions here: “Slash your retirement costs with these 5 tips”.

Money Monday: Reasons Not to Purchase a Home with All-Cash

Even if you have the financial means to put in an all-cash offer, you may not want to do so.

All-cash offers can be more appealing to home-sellers, but you also need to take into consideration the other aspects of paying so much cash upfront.

All-cash offers in today's real estate market

  1. Will you have enough liquidity left? At least a few thousand dollars left in your pocket is ideal. You may have repairs, upgrades you desire to make, and increased utility and maintenance costs for your new house — not to mention your typical costs and unexpected financial needs (such as medical bills or suddenly losing employment).
  2. What if you easily qualify for a mortgage? Interest rates are still on the low-side, and by obtaining a mortgage to purchase a house, you would be able to keep a large chunk of your finances.
  3. Paying all-cash means you miss out on a tax break. When you have a mortgage, you are able to receive a tax break on the interest paid to the mortgage lender.
  4. & 5. reasons are available to read at Finance.Yahoo.com: “5 Reasons Not to Purchase Your Home With Cash.”

Money Monday: Last-Minute Tax Advice

With just a day before the April 18 deadline to file your taxes, here’s a few last minute tips.

  1. File! Even if you don’t have all the money to pay, it’s much better to file a return than to not file at all. “The penalties for not filing a tax return are 10 times greater than those for filing but not being able to pay taxes due.” (Money.CNN.com. “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/13/pf/taxes/tax-tips/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
  2. You can file for an extension. It’s simple and quick to do on the IRS website, and it will buy you some time. Just be aware that late-payment penalties will be tacked on, beginning after the April 18 deadline.
  3. You can still get professional help. One place to go for help is the VITA program; the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides specially trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers that can help taxpayers with basic income-tax preparation needs.” (Money.CNN.com. “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/13/pf/taxes/tax-tips/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
  4. Two more key tips available here on Money.CNN.com: “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.”

Money Monday: Preparing to Buy a Home

Buying a home — it’s a big decision; one that you should prepare for in advance.

buyers and sellers real estate disclosures“One of the most important things a first-time homebuyer can do is prepare their budget for this big financial event.” (“How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/prepare-budget-buying-first-home-123000854.html)

And there’s a few key ways that you can get your budget in order:

  1. Work on getting your credit score up
  2. Save for a down payment on a house
  3. Prepare for extra costs when buying

Read more on Yahoo’s financial advice on prepping your budget before buying here: “How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”.