Why I Haven’t Been Writing About The Bailout

Wow, today the Dow dipped below 9,000.  These certainly are trying times for investors like you and me.  But at the end of the day what can we do about it?  I look at it this way, if this is armageddon and I’m going to hell in a handbasket, shifting my money from the market to treasuries is not going to do a heck of alot of good.  I’m screwed either way.  If there are no jobs and no economic growth what does my nest egg mean for me anyway…I’m 30 for God’s sake. 

Let’s say I let this crisis make me a more conservative investor, sticking my money in treasuries for the rest of my life.  Getting 1% over inflation isn’t going to help me much in the long run.  My savings rate is going to have to be pretty damn hefty to live for 30 years into retirement.  

I woud much rather take the market risk that our country will not grow as a capitalist economy than the inflation risk of parking my money in low yield investments and outliving it!  We are at a 39% decline right now.  We have seen this in the past and thrived.  I believe in the economy and what the future holds for our country.  I know I have naysayers, many even in my family.  But I still believe in modern portfolio theory and our economy.  Only time will tell.

 

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834

There Goes My Plan To Retire Tax Free To A Tropical Island

After years of threatening to do so, Congress has passed a law that will tax the assets of those who revoke their citizenship and leave the country to avoid taxation.  The assets of the ex pat will be taxed on their way out of the country as if they had been sold.  In addition any assets gifted to a current US citizen will be taxed at the rate of 45%.  These laws apply to individuals with a net worth of more than 2 million.

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834

Ladies, Make Sure You Have Enough To Take Care Of Yourself!

Allstate was running an ad awhile back that reminds us of some important facts:

The average woman spends 11 years out of the workforce taking care of family, costing her an average of $659,139 in earnings.

Wow!  Considering that women live longer and make less money anyhow, this is quite scary!

How do they suggest remedying this problem?  The following three suggestions are made:

1)  Make every earning year count in the form of increased participation in 401(k) plans.

2)  Promote Spousal IRAs.

3) Educate: Offer financial seminars for employees and spouses.

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834

What Is Covered By Health Savings Accounts And What Isn’t

These items qualify:

Abortion
Acupunture
Alcoholism
Ambulance
Artificial Teeth
Bandages
Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Birth Control Pills
Contact Lenses
Crutches
Dental Treatment
Eyeglasses
Eye Surgery
Fertility Enhancement
Hearing Aids
Home Care
Hospital Services
Laboratory Fees
Long Term Care
Medical Services
Medicines
Nursing Home
Nursing Services
Optometrist
Organ Donors
Osteopath
Prosthesis
Psychiatric Care
Psychologist
Sterilization
Smoking Cessation
Surgery
Therapy
Transplants
Vasectomy
Vision Correction Surgery
Wheelchair
Wig

These items DO NOT qualify:

Babysitting, child care and nursing services for a healthy baby
Controlled Substances
Cosmetic Surgery
Dancing Lessons
Diaper Service
Electrolysis or Hair Removal
Funeral Expenses
Future Medical Care
Hair Transplant
Health Club Dues
Household Help
Illegal Operations and Procedures
Maternity Clothes
Medicines and Drugs From Other Countries
Non Prescription Drugs and Medicines
Nutritional Supplements
Personal Use Items
Swimming Lessons
Teeth Whitening
Vet Fees

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834

What Do Shoe Theives and Wall Street Execs Have In Common?

What do shoe theives and Wall Street execs have in common?  Ability to bilk the system because of lazy oversight and bad systems by regulators and law enforcement.

I was in the shoe store this weekend and a mother and daughter duo were stealing shoes.  It was blatantly obvious due to  the empty boxes they were leaving in their wrath of retail shrinkage.  I approached the counter to pay for my winter boots and asked the cashier, who clearly saw what was going on, why she didn’t call the cops or do anything? 

Cashier: “The cops will take two hours to come and I will have to detain them.  God knows what they will do in those two hours.”

Me: “Then why the hell am I paying for these boots?” 

Cashier: “Because you have a conscience.”

Me: “You really aren’t going to call the cops?”

Cashier: “No.”

Me: “AAAAAAAAHHHHH. You realize I am paying for the shoes they just stole.  Will you please just call them?”

Cashier: “No, what’s the point.”

Bottom Line: Lazy oversight by regulators and poor law enforcement screws the good guy on all levels of society.

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834

Why Having Nothing To Wear Is Making You Broke

Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop, buy a new outfit or two, but I have never been the type of woman who stands in front of my closet saying…I have nothing to wear.  Maybe it is my oversized sense of self or just my decisive nature, but it is just something I don’t do.  Many of my friends agonize over this decision daily, ultimately resulting in the purchase of more (and more and more and more) stuff.

The thing about stuff is, you will NEVER have enough, there never comes a point where you will say, yep, that’s it.  Anyone remember Amelda Marcos, the wife of a Philipino dictator in the 80s?  She had 3,500 paris of shoes.  Nuff said.

If you are trying to get ahead financially, this infinite money suck, called your closet, is not an asset to your financial health.  My suggestion is, set a monthly clothing number.  You will probably spend it the first week of the month, I always do!  And the number will vary wildly from person to person based on your income and other monthly outlays but setting up monthly limits will tame your inner Imelda and help release your inner Warren Buffett:)

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834

Health Insurance When You Aren’t Covered By An Employer or Medicare

Money Magazine had an interesting article this month about a man who is financially ready to retire at 56 but is not sure how he will handle medical coverage until Medicare kicks in at 65.  This article jumped out at me because even as a very healthy, normal weight, self employed, 30 year old, I have had trouble getting coverage.

The article suggests the following:

1) Get in shape. Aim for optimal heath at least a year before you apply for insurance.  This will help you qualify for insurance and better rates. 

2) When you schedule your annual checkup, ask your doctor to review your medical history with you for accuracy.  If you have applied for individual life, health, disability or long-term-care insurance within the past seven years, the industry may already have a file on you.  You can get a copy of it from MIB.com.

3) Shop for individual health insurance months before you leave your job. ehealthinsurance.com is a good place to start as well as nahu.org.

4) Evaluate how your private health insurance option measures up against COBRA.  Through COBRA you can stay on your previous employer’s insurance plan for 18 months, but it isn’t cheap.

5) Ask for an estimate of your premiums and assume these will grow at 10% annually as they have recently.  Add up what you will pay until you turn 65.  This unfortunately may dim many people’s chances at early retirement.

5) If you cannot get individual coverage after COBRA you will be HIPAA-eligible, guaranteeing certain backup coverage.  States make available last resort insurance if you are HIPAA eligible.  Be wary, these plans are very costly.

6) Some states (NJ, NY, VT, MA, ME) mandate guranteed group plans for businesses with even one employee, which may make sense if you plan to do any type of freelance work.  Go to statehealthfacts.org.  Even if you are not in these states you may be able to get insurance through your local chamber of commerce.

Whatever approach you take, please, please, please take this seriously as it is quite difficult to get insurance once you are on your own!  Take it from someone with experience!

Please contact Dollars & Sense Education to bring our seminars to your company or organization!

Dollars & Sense Education – Raising Your Financial IQ!
http://www.daseducation.com
nicole@daseducation.com
215-499-3834