Practice What You Preach

 

“You say there’s a lesson that you wanna teach, well here I am baby, practice what you preach”

I hope you read that lyric with Barry White’s baritone’s voice playing in your head. Today’s topic is universal; all over the board. It can be applied to relationships, religion, friendships, marriages, finances, etc., etc., you name it, it can be applied anywhere, even to what Barry was referencing…sex. I once was at a place in my life (last month) where I needed advice on pretty much everything. I wanted to get opinions and feedback from others to ensure that I was making the proper decisions. While most of the advice was good, I found it problematic that the advice that I was given was not being practiced by the same people who had done the “preaching” and honestly, I have found myself as well on the not practicing what you preaching end.  Generally speaking, it is always easier to give advice than actually follow the advice you give. That is because you are the outside person looking in on the situation, so you can give advice without any biases. Yet, once you find yourself smack dab in a similar situation, you forget about all that Dr. Philing you had been doing.  You begin to make adjustments here and there and give exceptions to the rules. You forget that you dated a level 10 chick on the fugly scale, but you clowning your boy on the women he dates. You take to Twitter and Facebook to drop Think Exist quotes knowledge on your statuses/tweets, yet you don’t take the message of those quotes you post and apply it to your own life. Or you talk about starting anew, yet you stage an offering to get real offerings..**side-eye**

What’s worse is once you realize this person is great at giving advice, but just not great at following it, you begin to question their advice, feedback, words, etc., from that point onward. You listen, but you take it with a grain of salt and in the worse case, you become a cynic.  You become that cynic because this is a person that you probably have trusted, believed and revered. You looked to this person for advice, yet if they say one thing and do the opposite, it’s hypocritical and we all know that hypocrisy is never respected. I close this post by saying that some advice is good, but your own thoughts should never be put on the back burner for someone else’s- unless you intend on jumping off a bridge. Only you know what’s completely best for you and your life, “ya dig?” If you have found yourself in a place where someone loved to give you advice, but wasn’t following their own advice, what do you do? How do you handle these folks?

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Finance Corner: Banks vs. Credit Unions

Recently I have had numerous people tell me that I should invest in putting money in a credit union. I never really understood what credit unions were. In my ignorance, I thought that credit unions were only for the rich people and that banks were for normal people. In reality, credit unions actually handle money better than corporate banks.

Credit unions offer lower interest rates on loans than banks and higher dividends on your deposits which in turn keeps more money in your pockets. For instance if you needed a car loan, a credit union will more than likely offer you a lower interest rate than at a bank.

Your money is more protected at a credit union than a bank. Think about the corporate scares we have had lately with corporations such as Bank of America, we finally realized that our money could potentially be unsafe.

Credit unions also help you make better financial decisions considering the things in your life. Instead of pushing you to sign up for different things that will cost you more money, credit unions provide all avenues for you to choose; helping you to pick the right road that is best for you.

I’ve decided to look into joining a credit union. I am still learning about them but I’ve provided some info that I have come across to you guys. I encourage you all to research yourself to see if they are something you would possibly want to be apart of.

Finance Corner: How Are You Doing Your Taxes This Year?

If you’re my age, which is young, you’ve been in the filing taxes game for a couple years now. I handle my taxes myself thanks to my mother being as dependent as she is. Most people are completely clueless as to how to file their taxes, so they take them to H&R Block and pay an extreme amount of money. At this point in your life, you shouldn’t have too many things to file, which means that there really is no need to be paying outrageous amounts to file your taxes. If you want to handles this years filing on your own, T.L.C. suggests these two online software programs for your needs:

TAXACT

This is the software I was using in the beginning up until this year.

 

TURBOTAX

This is the software that I used this year; which is probably the one that I am going to stick with.

 

Both programs run similar. They each come with different options in the form of free, basic, and some kind of premium. You shouldn’t have too many things to file so basic or free should work decent. This year was actually the first year I used basic only because it was a new program I was trying out. In both programs, you get to file your federal taxes for free but your state taxes cost. They are both very straight forward but I tend to lean more to Turbotax only because the language is slightly more basic than Taxact, which means there is no way you could really miss anything that you need to include.

The main aspect that really amazed me about Turbotax is that they were able to pull my W2 from my job’s payroll system; meaning I didn’t have to put a thing in; i just double checked all of the numbers to make sure they were the same as the hard copy that I had. Everything was correct!

H&R Block takes your money just to do these simple things yourself. I encourage you all to try filing your taxes yourself while it’s still easy. Once your married, get involved in real estate, and start needing to itemize things, then go ahead and take it to someone else; but for right now if you have simple filing needs, don’t waste your time.

The Key To Making Money According to Peter

I’m a hustler—I know how to flip it. I know how to get back on my feet. A lot of women out there don’t know how to do that. All [they] got is a 9-to-5 check coming. They don’t know how to flip it. They aren’t risk takers like men are. You feel me? You know, most women. Some women are.

-Peter Thomas, UPTOWN Magazine

After reading the Peter Thomas interview with UPTOWN magazine, I was left, 1. entertained and 2. intrigued. For those who don’t know of Peter Thomas, he is the husband to Cynthia Bailey of the Real Housewives of Atlanta reality show.  I was left entertained mostly for his tell-it-like-it-is personality and his blunt views on all of the Atlanta “housewives.” However, I was more intrigued at the above quote, particularly the latter half because one thing we women know how to do is get back on our feet.  It was just something about it that struck a chord with me, because it was something that I had always wondered about and quite frankly, he had a point.  I thought about this quote for a while and asked:

When it comes to money, why do women tend to play it “safer” than men?

 

After reading the article, a male friend and I discussed the quote. I instantly had an answer, or so I thought:

Me: I think women are less likely to take risks with  finances because we have more responsibilities, children for example.  With more and more women being the sole caretaker of their children, fathers have that option of taking risks, because if they happen to fail they have no one depending solely on them.

Friend: True, and you guys do like stability, but what about women with no children?

Hmmm….What about women with no children? Why are women so reluctant to take risks with  money? For example, there are plenty female Real Estate Agents, but fewer Real Estate Investors.  Read any book by Donald Trump or Robert Kiyosaki and the underlying theme will most certainly be TAKE RISKS.  I can’t speak for all women, but I do know we like to spend money.  When we work hard for something, regardless if your “work hard” definition is different from mine, we want to see it, possibly save some and enventually enjoy the fruits of our labor. Men, on the other hand, love to make money, specifically making more money than what they have.  Let’s just say that they’re never completely satisfied with what they have at the moment. If there is any chance of making or obtaining something that they don’t currently have and want, even if that means risking it, so be it; the thought of having more outweighs losing it all.  We women tend to think entirely different; granted,we DO apply that persistance and aggressiveness to success and our careers and really, who doesn’t like making money? However, when it comes to money and making more of it, we tend to have a “content” attitude. We know that there could be more of it coming in, but we’re happy with what we have at the moment, (insert: “I can’t complain” statement here).

Could it be for lack of knowledge? Fear of failure perhaps? Intimidation of the male dominated investing careers??? What is it? Guys, help a sister out, because if you don’t stop, then we won’t stop, continuously to, GET MONEY! The word according to Biggie

~THE QUEEN

Finance Corner: Mint vs. Pageonce

It’s January. The craze that was holiday shopping has finally subsided and the only thing you can think about is how are you going to pay for all of the stuff you’ve bought. It’s that time of the month when credit card bills begin to roll in and you see the dramatic increase in your balance. How do you manage all of the balances you now have to think about paying off/down?

If most of you all aren’t familiar with Mint and Pageonce, they are online money budgeting programs that are there to help you manage balances, create budgets and just see exactly how and where your money is making an impact. They also provide alternatives to the accounts that you currently have, helping you to save money. Let’s take a look at Mint first:

Mint can provide you with a list of all of your transactions like you see in this view. By simply clicking a specific account, you can all see all purchases, payments, and fees that have occurred. You can also add categories to each transaction so that Mint, can specify where your money is going according to specific categories such as food, entertainment, clothing, gas, etc.

Also, you can create budgets and goals for yourself. If you plan to buy a car, house, or pay off your credit card by a certain time, Mint will give you an estimate of the amount of money you need to put aside each month in order to reach your goal. It also let’s you know if you are ahead or behind schedule.

Pageonce is the program I am currently using. I love and use Mint as well but I’m a Gemini, therefore I have issues saying with one thing. Pageonce is very similar to Mint; although the layout is slight different and I actually like it better. Also Pageonce is more than just a finance helper; you can also check your email, flight reservations, and the next video in your queue in Netflix. It does just about everything all within the same program, giving you an easier way to manage things in one web program.

As you can see, Pageonce is a whole lot more versatile than Mint. Be advised that both of these programs need your sign in information in order to get access to your accounts and give you the most up to date information. I know that most people would be skeptical, but the site is https protected meaning nothing should come harm to your information.

Give one of these programs a try; you will be surprised how much your savings vs. debt is and then you will realize that you really need to get to work!

New Poll: Whats Your Christmas Spending Style??

Tis the season folks!! We all know how hard things have been economically these past few Christmases, so this year, CT wants to know how you guys plan to handle your Christmas  shopping. Doing it big?? Buying on a budget?? Drafting IOU’s?? Let us know!!

Introduction to The Finance Corner

We’re at a time when the economy is low, jobs are scarce, and the things we use to depend on such as social security are not a sure thing for us in the future. As young adults we need to be smart about the decisions we make at this point. Although the economy is down in many areas, there are ways to take advantage of it; hence the Finance Corner. The purpose of the Finance Corner is to shed light on little things that we can do to secure our lifestyles now and in the future. Most of us are struggling in our finances because of the decisions we make, and these same decisions that we make now can alter our future. There are ways to have fun, be young, and explore without being constantly broke. Hopefully the things you see talked about in the Finance Corner will help you save a few bucks, or at least consider some future ideas. So let’s start with Homeownership. I know it’s a big one.

Unless you’ve been in a cave these past few years you know that many houses have gone into foreclosure or people have simply been kicked out because they can’t afford their mortgage payments. As sad as the situation may be for that person or family, it can work to your advantage. Prices for houses are at an all-time low. If you are in the position, it would definitely be in your interest to invest in some property.  There are many programs and incentives for first-time homebuyers. Add that together with low interest rates and closing costs, you could come out pretty decent in expenses. Remember: The economy is at its lowest point right now, and when something is this down, it has no way but to go up. So that property that you bought a few years ago that was dirt cheap could suddenly be worth a whole lot more in a few years,; so if you want to sell that property, it can go towards a bigger house, or another expense that you need taken care of. So since this is the first installment I’m not going to make it extremely long, so I’ll end this one with some main points and then in the next installments I’ll get to the stuff that most of us can actually afford to do right now lol.

v  Take ADVANTAGE of the low prices in the economy.

v  Check around for first-time homebuyer incentives, they usually give you a few thousand just because this is the first house you’re buying.

v  Make wise decisions, don’t just jump for the first house you like, look around for the things you like and continue until you find a house that suits most of your needs.

v  Don’t go beyond your price limit. That’s how some of these people got into the situations they are in now.

v  Plan out your payments to see if a certain amount is feasible to pay every month without you eating canned beans for dinner.

v  Location is key because if a property is really cheap and there’s really no reason as to why it is, you might find out when your car gets broken into. LOL this one is just a guess. Seriously, location is important because it is one of the determining factors in the increase the house’s all around property price.

The economy will bounce back….eventually. Make sure you’re the one riding the top of that money wave.

T.L.C. aka The Management

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