Archive for December, 2014

Do This Before 2014 Ends

Posted on December 29, 2014 by Saldutti

The holidays are a busy time of year – and expensive too. That’s why it makes sense to take a break from the hubbub and look for some last-minute ways you can save money on your taxes.  Here are the top moves to make from the Daily Worth: 1. Stuff money into retirement accounts. It may be too late to max out your 401(k), but you can put up to $5,500 into an IRA or Roth IRA, even if you have a workplace plan. (The limit is $6,500 if you’re 50 or older.) Then set yourself up for more retirement…

Merry Money: Christmas Movie Trivia

Posted on December 24, 2014 by Saldutti

Did you know It’s a Wonderful Life was considered a box office failure? Or how much money Will Farrell turned down to star in Elf 2? Neither did we, but the folks at DaveRamsey.com decided to look it up.  What they found was surprising – get ready for some not-so-commonly known numbers related to popular Christmas movies. $500,000: Brian Jones spent $500,000 to buy and restore the Cleveland-area house used in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. Jones, a huge fan of the film, paid $150,000 on eBay and then spent a year and $350,000 renovating the home to match…

It's Better to Give Than to Receive

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Saldutti

Michael Norton is a professor at Harvard Business School. Smart dude, right? Well, he’s got some news for us: money can buy happiness. But only if you spend it on the right people. Upworthy outlines Norton’s 2011 TED talk and gives us these 4 reasons to spend your  money on other people (because science). 1. Too much money makes us selfish and antisocial – The perfect example of this is winning the lottery. We all know it would be a dream come true to win the lottery, right? Mmm, maybe not. People who win the lottery often go into debt…

Don't Make These Mistakes This Holiday Season

Posted on December 21, 2014 by Saldutti

We all make mistakes – especially around the holidays.  It’s easy to overdo it for the sake of others. But when we’re exhausted and stressed, we miss out on the magic of the season.  This year, bring back the Christmas magic. Best-selling author and syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey indicates these 5 simple mistakes, that can cost you time, money or meaning – and zap the joy right out of the holiday. 1. Focusing on the External – If you can’t be content until your house is Martha Stewart-perfect and your menu is Barefoot Contessa-worthy, you may need some perspective….

Shifts in Debt Create Challengess for ARM Professionals

Posted on December 19, 2014 by Saldutti

A recent credit report study from TransUnion found that the composition of loans that people typically carry has materially changed for both the youngest and oldest segments of the population during the last decade. Not only did economic forces prompt change, but general demographic shifts have changed the composition of outstanding credit among different age groups in the U.S. It makes logical sense that student loans are now dominating the composition of loans for younger Americans. Indeed, more young people today are foregoing other types of debt to service their swollen education loans.  This matters to companies in the debt…

Consumers Keep Same Holiday Budget Despite Low Gas Prices

Posted on December 18, 2014 by Saldutti

Despite their age, income and education levels, most Americans agree on one thing: they are not allocating more money toward shopping this year. Millennials are the only age group who had the lowest propensity to hold back on their spending this year with 71% of them who said they would not spend more this year, compared to 84% to 86% among their older counterparts. “There is still a prevailing sense of unease when it comes to discretionary spending and the lack of emergency savings,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com chief financial analyst. “But with some Millennials, even loads of student…

Family Time: Big Holiday Fun on a Small Budget

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Saldutti

Too many people think you have to spend big bucks to have big Christmas fun.  They splurge on gifts, traveling, food, and entertainment and then shrug it off by saying “It’s Christmas.” That creates Santa-sized trouble if your money is tight. That’s why it’s a better idea to go for less expensive holiday activities.  Is that even possible? You bet! Check out these 6 surefire ways to have a big blast with little cost, from best-selling author and syndicated radio host, Dave Ramsey: 1. Decorate cookies together – Buy some sugar cookie mix at the store along with sweet toppings…

'Tis the Season to Be Shopping – But Maybe Not in Jersey

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Saldutti

According to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, less than 40% of New Jersey residents shopped on Black Friday.  This number – however dismal it may seem in light of a growing economy – was higher than the 28% of Americans nationwide that Bankrate.com anticipated would shop on Black Friday this year.  Its expectations for Cyber Monday were also right on par, just 25% of New Jersey residents made online purchases that day. The poll estimated that 40% of shoppers made all of their purchases online over Black Friday weekend, while just a third shopped in-person. At least 25% spent money both…

Now or Later? Prioritizing Your Debts

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Saldutti

We often hear about good debt and bad debt. That’s probably because we’d all be depressed if financial experts went around referring to bad debt and worse debt. After all, it’s challenging to live without owing somebody something. If you want to buy a house with cash, by the time you save up enough, it may be time to head to the retirement home. If you’re saving up to buy a car free and clear, you may have to spend a lot of years riding the bus. Most people get through life by borrowing money. So, sure, there’s good debt…

Is Santa's Job Worth $140,000?

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Saldutti

According to the 2014 Santa Index, a “study” created by the all-purpose insurance information site Insure.com, Santa Claus would earn $139,924 annually if he were paid fair wages for all of the jobs he handles. Researchers at the site come up with the estimate by adding up the various tasks that constitute Santa’s job description. It goes without saying that Santa has quite a unique skill set, including roles as a reindeer handler, professional shopper, cookie taster, and private investigator (knows if you’ve been bad or good). The bulk of Santa’s estimated salary comes as a result of overseeing the…