The IRS Always Sends A Bill First

safety-first-283x300Recently there has been a rash of phone scams concerning taxes.  Many people have paid money over the phone, believing that they would be in trouble with the US government if they did not.  As a certified public accountant, I wanted to make sure you understand that the IRS will always send you a letter first.  They do not make cold calls demanding money.  Please read this article to better inform yourself about the scams currently in play, and remember that the IRS will not call you, they will send a bill.

Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season

No Cash? No Problem.

Stamp with text no cash accepted inside, vector illustrationHow would you feel about this sign at your favorite restaurant?  Going cashless is the latest tactic some businesses are employing in an attempt to streamline their process.  Not all patrons are happy about this practice and some have been so vocal against it that stores have amended their policies.  It’s a fascinating thought that we have made the full circle back to credit/debit cards.

Where a Suitcase Full of Cash Won’t Buy You Lunch

Use The Food You Have

Fridge-organizing-tips-placement-veg_335_354_largeEver feel convicted about wasting food when you clean out the refrigerator?
Then try the ideas offered in, Tips to Reduce Food Waste.  Practices as simple as letting vegetables have room to breathe in the cripser drawer and using leftover seafoods and meats to make stock can greatly reduce the amount of food that spoils before it can be consumed.  This article not only offers food saving alternatives but better ways to use all parts of fruits and vegetables, including recipes to try at home.  Imagine the feeling of opening an empty fridge and knowing that you and your family ate everything that was in there leaving no waste.

 

Owning a Piece of The Dream?

home-that-didnt-sellGrow up, get married, own land…

That’s been the American dream for ages.  Owning a home or piece of property has always been viewed as a sign of wealth and as a good investment.  What if that is no longer true?  Robert J. Shiller for the Economic View section of the New York Times brings this idea to light in his article, Why Land and Homes Actually Tend to Be Disappointing Investments.  Shiller points to many causes but one of the most intriguing is the decrease for demand of urban land, specifically home plots; with the development of micro-housing.  A current trend that is changing the way many live in “downtown” areas.  Where this movement will be in ten or even twenty years still remains to be seen, but if it goes the way Shiller predicts, the need for rural land will be so low that farmland may be converted back into wildlife preserves.

 

Buy Only What You’ll Use

7Give yourself time to think about every purchase.  That’s what Carl Richards, for the New York Times suggests in his article, New Rule: All Purchases Subject to a 7-Day Mental Quarantine.  We have a similar process in our house for purchases made at Goodwill.  If you bring it home, you must clean it and incorporate it into your life within seven days or it goes back to Goodwill.  In many ways, this compares to the seven-day item quarantine Carl’s family is currently using.

During the quarantine, the person desiring the object must answer the following questions: How much did it cost? Are you replacing something you already own? Why do you think it’s amazing? And if it’s food, are you sure you’ll eat it?  Once the time limit has passed, it is much easier to make an ‘informed’ decision and not end up with something you’ll never wear, use or eat.  Give it a try and let us know if it works for you in the comments.

Look At Me Now

What does it look like to others when you use your cellphone?  Ever caught yourself watching TV and checking Facebook at the same time?  The photographer Eric Pickersgill explores our relationship with media in his photographic project, “Removed.”  Mr. Pickersgill recruited friends, family and strangers to pose as if they were holding their phones or electronic devices.  The results were both fascinating and shocking to many.  Seeing themselves so focused on media instead of the person next to them, Eric and his wife created rules such as leaving their phones in the car when they go out to dinner.  Both feel like they’ve gotten to know more about each other and grown closer in the last six months.  Take a look for yourself and listen to his Ted Talk, then see how you feel about the part electronics play in your life.

What do you look like when you look at your electronic device?

Have You Written a Money Letter?

imageDear Reader,

Did you know that writing a simple “money” letter to your children will have more of an impact on their spending habits than just telling them your thoughts and feelings about money?

This week, why not think back to your biggest money successes and failures (these are often most helpful), put pen to paper and send your child a note that can have a deep and lasting effect on their lives?  If you’re lucky, they’ll listen to your advice and you might even find yourself featured in a book, like Gail Shearer did when her daughter Kimberly wrote the book, Smart Mom, Rich Mom, based on the money letter she received from her mother.

Need advice on just what to say?  Check out this article from the New York Times, The Money Letter That Every Parent Should Write.  

Who Has The Higher Unemployment Rate?

332b3fe64e5d6d2d9812a09fc0267f2dThis month, many high school graduates walked the stage and are now preparing for the next step in their education.  Will the college training they seek really help them get a better job and make more money?  According to the current unemployment statistics, the answer to that question is, Yes.  Quoctrung Bui for the New York Times highlights this point in the article, The One Question Most Americans Get Wrong About College GraduatesEven when the economy is down and college grads have difficulty finding work, those with degrees have a better chance of acquiring sustainable jobs that ultimately make more money than their non-degreed counterparts.

 

Grandparents Help With College

Grandparents Help With CollegeAs college expenses continue to increase, grandparents are beginning to step-in and offer assistance to their grandchildren. John F. Wasik, for the New York Times offers sound advice for those wishing to help with their grandchildren’s college expenses.   The Best Way to Help a Grandchild With College.  There are many aspects to be considered in order to maximize your monetary support of a student, such as when the money is applied or whose name appears on the account.  Read the full article to learn more about the amazing gift of higher-education that you can share with your grandchildren.