- Get help - @taxgirl aka Kelly Phillips Erb has some last minute tax help for you.
- It’s FREE – April 21-29 entrance fees are being waived for all US National Parks for National Park Week.
- Credit Score – 7 items your credit report won’t reveal.
- Charge it – When not to use pre-paid credit cards.
- IRA mistakes – 8 common mistakes to avoid.
Recently, CNNMoney wrote an article about what you could do with $10,000. Some of the items on their list seemed practical like buying a used car while others just didn’t seem to apply to the typical American family. With so many people struggling financially, the list should have taken that into consideration rather than suggesting investment strategies.
- Pay off credit cards, pay day loans or other debt-The average American consumer has $6,355 in credit card debt. Avoid the debt snowball by paying off your high interest credit cards and other loans.
- Home repairs/maintenance-Your home is not only an investment it is an asset that needs to be cared for in order to maintain its value. Routine maintenance is an inexpensive way to extend the life of your heating/cooling system, septic tank, gutters, etc. By repairing leaking plumbing, roofs or windows you not only protect your investment you avoid costly repairs in the future.
- Upgrade old systems-Sometimes it make sense to replace rather than repair inefficient heating systems, hot water heaters and other appliances with newer more efficient models. You can save water, energy and money while helping the environment. In addition, many of these upgrades have tax incentives.
- Buy a newer used car-Owning a car is expensive between payments, insurance, gas and maintenance. If your car is old and unreliable you need to factor in the cost of repairs. By purchasing a well maintained, more reliable used car with cash you can avoid the headaches and be debt free. Hopefully it gets better gas mileage and has a warranty which will save you money too.
- Start an emergency fund-When an emergency pops up and you don’t have money to pay for it that's how the debt snowball starts. By establishing an emergency fund you will have the money to pay for life’s emergencies.
- Update your skills-Increase your earning potential by taking continuing education classes in project management, computers or foreign languages. Many local colleges as well as some school districts offer classes at affordable rates.
- Get your life in order-A will is essential if you have dependents and/or any assets. Obviously it is also important, as a parent, to dictate who will have custody of your minor children if both of their parents/guardians are deceased. Having a health care proxy and power of attorney is also important. These items should not cost thousands of dollars but they do provide peace of mind.
- Save for a rainy day-Even if you’re debt free, don’t need a new car and your emergency fund is well funded there is no reason you have to waste your money. Buy an IRA, fund your retirement and save your money for your next car.
- Home makeover, the mini edition-Give your home a new look without breaking the bank by replacing faucets, lighting fixtures, hardware and counter tops. Painting cabinets, walls and moldings can create a maximum impact for minimal cost.
- Buy a home-While you can’t buy a home for $10,000, it can be used as part of your down payment. Interest rates and home prices are low right now so it is a buyer’s market.
Perhaps you don’t have an extra $10,000 to do any of the things listed. Maybe you need to do some of them right now, like buy a car or fix your roof and you’re wondering what you are going to do. The money has to come from somewhere, you don’t have a money tree in your back yard and you don’t want to get deeper into debt. If you have an asset that provides periodic payments such as an annuity from a structured settlement, an investment annuity, pension—even royalty payments, you may be able to sell a portion of your future payments for a cash lump sum payment.
Rescue Capital specializes in providing cash for periodic payments and we can help you get the money you need. We walk you through the process every step away the way. No high-pressure sales tactics or gimmicks. We treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve. Call for your no-obligation, free asset evaluation today at 866.688.3532.
In every aspect of our daily life we come face to face with fine print. From service agreements to advertisements, you are sure to see fine print containing hidden fees, restrictions or reoccurring charges. Consequently, even purchases that on the surface seem minor can have huge affect on our finances.
Why don’t people read?
Whether it is lack of time or inconvenience, many people are too busy to read the details of contracts, agreements or advertisements. Others are too embarrassed too admit they don’t understand what they are reading. Businesses outline the details of their offer in the fine print including hidden charges. The fine print is what protects their interest.
What happens if you don’t read?
Unfortunately, if you sign a contract, agree to terms or buy something without reading the fine print you are still bound by its terms. You are giving your rights to the other party. If there is a dispute later, you will lose especially if the agreement contains an arbitration clause, which prevents you for suing.
Service contracts-Cell phone carriers, cable companies and many other service providers have early termination fees if you decide to discontinue service before the contract ends.
Free trials-Sometimes you are offered a free trial of a vitamin or beauty aid. In exchange, you are subjected to service fees, shipping or reoccurring billing that requires you to call to cancel.
Leases-Leases are no fun. They restrict your use of the apartment, define how you can alter the apartment (no nails in the walls) or levy fees for bounced checks as well as breaking the lease.
Memberships-Many times they entice you with a free item such as a credit report, book or movie. Other times, it is a discounted item that lures you in. Regrettably you agree to a service with reoccurring billing or you are required to buy several items at full price before you can end the contract.
Restocking fees-Sometimes, if you want to return the item, you are subjected to a restocking fee. This is common in consumer electronics, equipment as well as furniture where the fees can be as much as 50%.
Software Licenses-Most people don’t read them but they typically limit the software company’s liability, define acceptable use as well as define restrictions. To demonstrate that most people don’t read the terms of software agreements; Playstation in the UK added a clause where you agreed to sell your soul. It turns out 1 in 10 people didn’t bother to read it and sold their soul to Playstation.
Financial Documents-If you don’t read your financial documents you could be in for a big surprise. Sometimes interest rates change after a trial period and other times you don’t qualify for those low interest rates after all. Credit cards, checking accounts, certificate of deposits (CD), annuities and IRA accounts can have service fees, penalties and other charges hidden in the fine print. Even some structured settlement purchasers may hide additional fees in their contracts.
What should you do?
Read everything thoroughly or have a lawyer or trusted advisor read it for you. Ask questions. Make sure you understand everything. Make sure the terms are clearly spelled out. Do the math? Does everything add up to what they told you? Make sure there are no mistakes such as the wrong price or a higher rate. Always retain a copy of the contract for your records and know what you are signing. If the salesperson or other employees try to rush you along, won't show you the contract or give you time to read it-they're hiding something.