Things billionares do differently

I have always followed the train of thought that you should find a mentor and model their characteristics of success. The article “‘Shark Tank’ investor Daymond John says 3 things set billionaires apart” lists a few things billionaires do that have helped them become successful.  The one I found amazing was they are frugal when dealing with business issues.  I urge you to take the time today to read the article and compare your daily activities to the ones listed in the article.  It might just be the one thing that helps you start making positive changes in your daily life.  Here’s the link to the article on the business insider website:

http://www.businessinsider.com/daymond-john-what-sets-billionaires-apart-2016-1?amp;

Be the best you can be today!

 

 

 

Ways to make tax time less painful!

It’s the time of year to begin gathering your information to file your tax return. I want to help make the process easier and less daunting for you this year. Turbo Tax has great advice to help minimize the stress of tax season and you can find tips on the IRS website.

First, have your files organized and ready for tax preparation time. This process should begin at the beginning of each new tax year. I suggest creating a file folder or binder for all your tax documents that can be used throughout the year to collect the information necessary for filing your return. Keep all receipts and statements that you think may be used for your tax return. Once it’s time to file your taxes, all documents should be ready and available for you and your tax preparer.

Make sure to have all dependent information available when filing tax returns. All dependents’ social security numbers are required on your tax returns whether they are a qualifying child or a qualifying relative. Specific rules apply for qualifying relatives, but it is worth the time to determine whether or not you can take the deduction (https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Family/Rules-for-Claiming-a-Dependent-on-Your-Tax-Return/INF12139.html). The personal exemption allowed for each person in 2015 is $4,000.

Decide whether or not you want to complete your own return using Turbo tax. The IRS has a great website with information to help you make this decision (https://www.irs.gov/Filing/E-File-Options). If your taxes tend to be complicated, it might be best to hire a knowledgeable and certified tax preparer. I completed my family’s taxes for many years, but found it easier and more beneficial to hire a tax professional. It saves time and the cost is offset by the additional deductions that I was unaware could be taken.

You can save on taxes by contributing to a retirement account each year. If the contributions are deductible, you will save on taxes and will be building up your retirement account. There are specific rules for each type of retirement account, so contact a tax advisor to make sure you take full advantage of this deduction.  Even if all contributions are not deductible, it is still beneficial to contribute to your retirement account.

If you have enough deductions, you can choose to itemize deductions which should save money on your taxes. The 2015 standard deduction for single is $6,300 and for married filing jointly its $12,600. Your itemized deductions would need to be larger than the standard deduction or you should just choose the standard deduction. A few of the deductions that can be itemized include:

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Home Mortgage expense
  • Interest expense
  • Charitable contributions
  • Business use of home or car
  • Work-related education expenses

If you or a dependent child had qualified education expenses for tuition and fees, you might qualify for additional tax deductions. If you aren’t eligible for those deductions you might still qualify for the American opportunity tax credit or the lifetime learning credit. For more information, go to the website at https://www.irs.gov/uac/Am-I-Eligible-to-Claim-an-Education-Credit%3F.

To speed up the process of receiving your tax return, file the return electronically and have the refund electronically deposited into your checking or savings account. It will speed up the process considerably and you will not have to worry about the check being mailed.  I remember a time several years ago that our state tax refunds weren’t mailed out until the summer.  You don’t want to have to wait that long for your refund!

Doing your homework when it comes to taxes can save you thousands of dollars. Claim every deduction you are qualified for and lower your tax bill. While it may seem like a daunting task, being diligent with your taxes can be rewarding!

 

7 Ways to Ensure Job Security from 48 Days by Dan Miller

For those of you who are employees, how can you ensure that you are secure in your job? While there may not be a 100% guarantee for job security, Dan Miller has listed 7 Ways for helping to ensure job security. I took the time to watch Dan’s video found at http://www.48days.com/true-job-security and decided I would pass the information along to you.

Dan lists the 7 ways as:

  1. The need for wisdom – Even though you may have obtained knowledge through your education and degrees, Dan suggests that is just as important to have wisdom as to how to apply that knowledge. Have you ever meet someone who is extremely intelligent yet can’t even figure out how to change a light bulb? They have the knowledge but they haven’t learned how to apply wisdom using that knowledge. Employers are looking for wise employees. Some of the best workers and employees may not even have the education that we consider necessary, but they have the wisdom that makes them a great addition to the company.
  2. The changing models of work – Many people today have learned to work in different ways so they become consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, entrepreneurs, etc. No longer is it a requirement that you work as someone else’s employee. Now you can become your own boss much more easily than in the past with the use of technology.
  3. Make your life intentional –Make an effort to meet new people and make new friends from different cultures, backgrounds, faiths, etc. It can be a very lonely existence without making friends along the way.  You need people and they need you.
  4. The power of relationships – Understand that no one becomes successful by himself. Relationships are extremely important. Look for ways to connect with other people and to help them. Remember, life is not always about “me.” It should be about “we.” Do you know people that all they ever talk about is “I” did this and “I” did that even though they are part of an organization? I have news for those people. They are not indispensable. Someone can be hired that can do the exact same job, as well as, if not better than they were doing, at least in most situations.
  5. Serve those around you – Dan says that you need to learn to serve more people. As a consequence you will be able to make more money. Don’t always just look for ways that serving will benefit you. Make it part of who you are.
  6. Have a pleasing personality – It doesn’t cost you anything extra to be nice to other people. Learn to smile and listen well to everyone. Be pleasing to talk with and be generous with your resources. You never know how much someone is hurting and just needs to feel that someone cares about them.
  7. Know your gifts and talents – What makes you unique? The gifts and talents that you possess are part of who you are. Work to build on those gifts and talents and you won’t have to simply rely on a degree. People who work in their gifts enjoy what they do.  Remember that not everyone needs the best education to become the best they can be.

I urge you to take about 6 minutes and 32 seconds of time today to watch the video by Dan Miller. It was an inspiration to me this morning as it made me stop and take a look at myself and to consider what I am doing. I plan to use these 7 steps to see where I can make improvements and I hope you do the same!

 

 

 

 

Tools to help you get out of debt!

It’s a new year and many people have made their New Year’s resolutions. If you have made the conscious decision or resolution to reduce debt in 2016, there are a few tools that can be helpful on this journey.

Tool #1: The “When will I be debt-free?” calculator calculates the date you will pay off your loans based on the amount of the loan, the interest rate, and the amount of your monthly payments. Go to http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/debt-free/. The debt-free calculator will also calculate how much interest you will pay while paying off the loan. By simply changing the amount of the payment by a few dollars each month, you can see how much interest and time can be saved.

Tool #2: Another useful tool for debt reduction is https://www.mint.com/. The mint.com website has lots of great free tools to help you manage your personal finances. Some of the categories offered are:

Under the Goals tab you will find additional topics such as paying off credit card debt, paying off loans, saving for an emergency, saving for retirement, saving for college, etc. You can even create a custom goal. When you choose the custom goal you are allowed to give the goal a name, category and amount. The software even allows you to upload a picture to go with the goal. Choose the date you want to reach the goal and the monthly amount to save is calculated. This is a great website for money management! Mint.com even sends you reports on your finances.

Tool #3 and #4: Fidelity.com offers budgeting and debt management calculators and tools. The savings planner helps you create a plan for paying off debt and for saving money. The budget snapshot contains a calculator that helps you look at your monthly expenses to see if you have a deficit or a surplus of funds at the end of the month. These tools can be found at: https://www.fidelity.com/calculators-tools/budgeting-debt-management.

Tool #5: The Credit Card Payoff Calculator is another calculator that can be used for getting out of debt. The calculator allows you to determine your payoff goal in months and will calculate how much you need to pay each month to reach the goal. It also calculates total interest paid on the loan. The website for the Credit Card Payoff Calculator is: https://www.mydebtsolution.com/learning-center/online-debt-tools.

Tool #6: The Debt Eliminator found at http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/debt-eliminator allows you to enter debt that you have along with the minimum payment and interest on the loan. It will then calculate a summary of your debt including the average interest rate, balance, and total monthly payments. Next, it asks if you have any additional funds that can be paid on the balance monthly. Finally, you receive a plan for paying off the debt.

Tool #7: A different debt eliminator calculator at http://tcalc.timevalue.com/all-financial-calculators/personal-finance-calculators/debt-elimination-calculator.aspx gives a very detailed amortization schedule for debt reduction. Simply enter all of your debt information along with your debt payoff strategy and your debt payoff schedule and graphs will be calculated. Suggestions for different debt payoff strategies will are also given.

Check out these tools that can help you speed up the debt payoff process. Take time to find the tools that will be most helpful to you in your situation. Make paying off debt one of your financial priorities this year. You will be so glad you did!

Debt-free piggy bank

 image provided by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

Seven traits of debt-free people

A recent article I read from http://www.DaveRamsey.com listed 7 characteristics or traits of debt-free people. My hope while reading the article was that I possessed some if not all of these characteristics.

In the article, two different family scenarios were given. The first family only made $35,000 per year but found a way to pay off $40,000 of debt in 24 months. The second family made $100,000 per year but could not pay off any of their debt. What made the difference in the two situations? The article mentions that one family has a spending problem. Sound familiar? They can barely make the minimum payments so they are in a continuous debt cycle. Again, does this sound familiar?

What could help this family get out of the continuous debt cycle? They need to decide they’ve had enough and will not continue down the same path. My family had to make that decision, as well.

Here are the 7 characteristics found in people who are debt-free:

1) They are wise. I don’t know about you, but I thought I was wise about money. However, I realized I wasn’t wise about spending. There is a difference in the two.

Debt-free people know that to get out of debt and change their outlook on debt and spending. They have learned to view debt as if it were a disease that could destroy them. If you found out you had a disease would you do all you could to find a cure even if it included making changes in your lifestyle? That is how these people look at debt.

2) They are patient. Oh, this is a tough one for most of us. I am not a very patient person, but I had to realize that patience was necessary in order to get out of debt.

Learning to delay purchases until you can pay cash can sometimes be trying but is definitely worth it. My family learned to be patient and it has really paid off. We can make large purchases with cash if we will just wait a little longer. That is not always the easiest thing to do when you see other people buying new things all the time but we don’t want to be like ordinary people who are in debt.

3) They are confident. You have to learn to not care what other people think. What I mean is that it doesn’t matter if they think you should get a new car or buy expensive items. When you are working on paying off debt, you have to realize that you are doing things differently so others may not understand. That’s alright because you know the rewards that come along with being debt-free. Be mentally prepared to say no to activities and purchases that don’t fit into your plan. Mental toughness needs to be developed.

4) They are goal-driven. I have discussed this is past blog posts. Not only will debt-free people set goals, they will set a plan of action and then follow it. What is a goal if you don’t take action to reach the goal? It is simply a statement.

5) They are responsible. How many people today do you know who are not responsible? In order to become debt-free, you have to be responsible for yourself and your actions. Responsible people tend to reach their goals. Take responsibility today for your spending and get it under control so you can be financially independent very soon.

6) They are not materialistic. Debt-free people realize it’s not all about the stuff. How many people do you know who have to rent storage units because they have so much stuff? Been there done that. Things don’t make you happy. If they did, wealthy people would all be happy and poor people would never be happy.

7) They are willing to make sacrifices. People who are debt-free know it will take sacrificing to reach the goal of becoming debt-free. They know you don’t have to sacrifice for the rest of your life, but you have to now for the future. Temporary sacrifices for financial freedom.

Get tired of being indebted to others and make the choice to eliminate debt this year! You will be so glad you did and will wonder why it took you so long!

http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/7-characteristics-of-debt-free-people?et_cid=4964396&et_rid=4c6dc34ccb43ea556dac816d2af8ef32&linkid=Art1Copy