Category: finance

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

In the past, our grandparents prided themselves of living being completely debt free. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, banks have expanded as the Fed has pushed money into the economy to allow them to loan it to American citizens. As money got tighter, the Federal Reserve would push out more. Banks now had the money to loan to the American people so every person could own a home and an automobile. Initially the only debt that most people would have would be that of a mortgage and possibly a car loan. People were still staying virtually debt-free until plastic was created. Prior to credit cards, the stores had layaway plans where a person could come in and put a deposit on an item to hold it. They would come in and make payments on the item until it was paid in full and at that time take it home. I remember as a child my family getting their first TV on layaway. It was an exciting day when the final payment was made and we were the proud owners of a television set. Then in the 1970s credit cards were pushed into American culture and the idea of why wait when you could charge it and have it now. This is when the idea of staying debt-free was blown to pieces.

When the economy almost imploded in 2007, many Americans woke up to the facts of what we have become financially. People like Dave Ramsey came out and spoke strongly of how Americans should get out of debt and be beholden to nobody. Now, Americans are buried under a mountain of debt and have no idea how to get out without filing for bankruptcy. It seems that becoming debt-free is a thing of the past and no longer possible. Well, that is not necessarily true and people can eliminate their debt but for some it will be a larger task.

For someone that has a large amount of unsecured debt, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy might just be what the doctor ordered. In a Chapter 7, all unsecured debts can be included in the bankruptcy discharge including, credit cards, personal loans, payday loans and medical bills. This is huge for someone who overindulged on their credit cards over the last 10 years. Creditors were quick to give everyone and anyone credit prior to the collapse of 2007. It was no surprise to hear of people having $100,000 limits on their credit cards. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen to these people. For these individuals, a quick trip to a bankruptcy attorney could start the process and turn their life around.

Posted in finance, Payday Loans, Uncategorized

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

ATMs vs. Personal Teller Machines

  • Personal Teller Machines offer almost every transaction option available at the teller line. ATMs offer the ability to make a withdrawal or deposit.
  • Personal Teller Machines provide flexibility in cash withdrawal denominations – choose from 5 different denominations. ATMs allow for single denomination only.
  • Personal Teller Machines allow a customer to request and print an official check, unheard of using an ATM.
  • Personal Teller Machines are easy to place, occupying a single square foot of retail space. ATMs are large and typically require some construction to implement.

Self-service kiosks may not replace ATMs, but they do represent a new way to touch the customer, improve customer satisfaction, increase up-sell and cross-sell and gain big operational improvements in the branch.

ATM’s Have Pretty Much Been the Same Since 1967

Ground-breaking in its introduction of “convenience” to the banking customer mindset, the first ATM was installed in 1967 by Barclay’s Bank in London. Since then, the positioning and technology applications have remained largely unchanged. As users we have become “trained” on where to find and how to use an ATM – mostly outside the bank branch and to make a withdrawal or deposit. That has been the extent of our self-service experience where banking is concerned for more than 40 years.

Enter “The iPhone Effect”

Since smart phones have pervaded our lives, consumers have become increasingly demanding of technology that is cool, simple and connected. They want to use this technology to do more and more of their daily tasks, and banking is no exception. So the major banks have focused tremendous resources on developing online banking to meet the needs of these customers while their retail locations – the brick-and-mortar bank branch – has remained largely unchanged.

Until now.

The swift move of consumers to online banking has reduced, but not eliminated, foot traffic in retail branch locations. Banks understand that the physical branch remains critical in establishing relationships with new account holders, as well as addressing existing account holders’ financial decisions. Customers still want that human interaction. However, the Great Recession has forced the banks to find ways to reduce expenses AND offer a better retail experience to their customers.

Enter the “Branch of the Future” concept: a way to implement state-of-the-art technology and branch design to maximize both the staff and a smaller space. Self-service kiosks are an instrumental part of the concept, allowing customers to manage their own transactions with the comfort of an easily accessible staff member nearby to step in and help if needed.

Not Your Father’s ATM

Personal Teller Machines act as an extension of the teller line because they are integrated with a bank’s core system, avoiding the ATM rails and associated fees. While ATMs allow for a few standard, specific transactions, Personal Teller Machines empower customers to complete 80 – 90% of the transactions traditionally handled by a teller in a fraction of the time

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Posted in finance, Uncategorized

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

Financial freedom is an end state that many people hope to achieve. Some do it by sheer hard work. Some do it by leveraging on others. Others use a variety of different ways to do so. The truth is, out of the many who aspire to achieve financial freedom, only a special few actually achieve real financial freedom doing what they do.

We live in a generation of globalization. The many influences through media and internet about the lifestyles that people adopt globally do impact how we regard money. The pictures on print media, images on advertisements and videos in movies do impact the way we perceive the norm of money habits. Saving money is definitely not one of the strong messages that appear anytime often in these media.

We live in a generation of consumerism. Shopping is becoming more convenient. We can do it at the brick and mortar shops or simply buy online with the simple clicks of our mouse. Our perception of money is porous to the influence from global trends of lifestyle. This encourages easier spending and more dilute concept of saving money.

Without conscious effort, it is easy to give in to these larger forces of influence and sideline your financial future.

What if the start to achieving financial freedom is something basic and doable for everyone? What if it is something simple enough that can be done immediately if you put your heart to it?

This simple start is saving money.

As simple and no-brainer as it may sound, saving money is not the easiest thing to do for everyone.

Setting aside money is the basic first step to gathering enough capital to move on to grow your wealth. It is really important to learn to cultivate a good and disciplined way of saving money so that there is enough pool of funds to keep for rainy days, invest or use for furthering our financial goals.

One simple way to do so is to adopt the “save first, spend the rest” mentality whereby a fixed amount is always set aside for savings first when you receive your income. Whatever is left after you save can then be used for expenditures. This ensures that you can save regularly.

An alternative way is to have an arrangement with the bank, which you credit your income into, to transfer a fixed sum of money from your account into a savings account on a monthly basis. This is a hassle free and enforced savings method.

There are many ways to get started with saving money. The important thing is to get started. Saving money alone is definitely not going to make you rich. However, saving money does give you the basic building blocks on which you can move on to larger goals like growing your wealth and reaching financial freedom.

Thank you for reading! I am Zach Chen, a writer, infopreneur & self-help mentor. My vision is to inspire & impact the world to live a happy & fulfilling life. I live life passionately and would love to help as many people do the same too. I share tips, write e-books, produce downloadable courses to help people around the world live a happier life through realizing financial freedom, emotional freedom, action freedom and time freedom.

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Posted in Credit Counseling, Debt Management, finance

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

Have you saved any money for emergencies? How much have you saved in case you were laid off? Do you compile credit card debt instead of using your savings for emergencies? Do you have a problem with saving money vs. spending it? Have you tried it on your own and not been successful? Do you know there must be a better way?

Do you find it frustrating when you see other people having financial success? Wouldn’t you like to be one of those who don’t struggle and experience tremendous financial success? Don’t struggle any longer. Here are your 8 tips to build a solid foundation of savings for your future success.

    1. Write every purchase and deposit in your check register when it occurs. Be prompt. This way your checkbook and funds available balance is always current and accurate. You cannot overspend and you are aware of your balance. You won’t ruin your budget because it is current.


    1. Balance your checkbook weekly with your online bank register. Correct any errors in your check register such as missed entries. Add a check mark next to the balance amount on the date so you know where you were most recently accurate. Check the entries that have posted and keep this current.


    1. Use your credit cards if you need to and only if you are able to easily pay the complete balance by the end of the month or statement due date. You won’t incur any late fees or interest fees if you completely pay the balance early and on time.


    1. Withdraw $200 every week with an automatic transfer to a money market account – and do not use those funds unless there is an emergency. Act as though you were making a car payment and that money is gone and unavailable. Be disciplined and strong here. This is where you are paying yourself over $10,000 per year ($10,400 specifically).


    1. You can increase this incrementally by adding as little as another $50 per transfer adding another $2,600 per year for a total annual savings of $13,000 per year. This is your gift to you. Impressive!


    1. Next, deduct all of your regular expenses for this pay period right away in your check register and mark the actual date this will occur for each item.


    1. You are predicting your future budget here. This will give you an accurate financial picture of your available balance for the pay period and incidental expenses. We often imagine we have more available than the reality exposes.


  1. Watch your money market balance grow each week and enjoy the satisfaction in knowing that you are a saver – not a spender. It doesn’t take any discipline at all to spend money, and it takes a great deal of strength to save it.

Be powerful. Pay yourself first – over $10,000 per year and build your solid foundation of savings for your future success. You can do it. Be strong.

Posted in Budgeting, bussiness, finance, Payday Loans

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

Smart consumers will always want to steer clear of unnecessary debt. However, this does not mean that you need to renounce necessities or things that you yearn for in this life. The key is to be realistic. Develop sensible spending and saving habits. This in essence is called personal financial forecasting. Your plan must shape proper handling of money.

Develop spending policies that are easy to achieve. You must not fight the desire to spend. Instead, understand the need for reasonable expenditures without falling into financial liabilities. It is essential to convert said guidelines into routine practices. Make your decisions anchored on what is ideal for your personal funds.

Create a rational budget. Keep track of your earnings and how much you spend for at least three months. Keep a log book if possible and retain all receipts. Create expense categories such as food necessities, household utilities, clothes, travel, and entertainment. Find out ways to limit expenses that you can channel towards savings and paying off bills. Make it a point that you always have money for credit card balances and basic monthly purchases.

Strive to earn additional income. This is a sure way of not turning out short on your monthly budget. It is also the ideal way of controlling your finances. It is as simple as earning more if you want to buy more. Deposit more money to your savings account. You will surely need this in times of emergencies.

Choose the right credit card. This may not be an easy decision since a lot of cards proliferate in the market. In fact, you can find sales representatives of credit cards selling their products almost everywhere. However, credit cards are essential to consumers so you have to find a way of getting the suitable credit card without being over-stressed. It is important to identify the different categories of credit cards. Opt for a low interest credit card has very minimal interest rates. Purchases you make will not lead to unmanageable interest costs. Consumers, who carry over balances, will find this card as a practical option. It is a solution for consumers who are not capable of paying the full amount of monthly credits. The low interest card also offers huge savings and permanence while you settle your balances.

These are just some of the useful pointers in avoiding debt. Spend time to assess your present situation. Focus on saving rather than splurging. It will come in handy especially on rainy days.

Posted in Bankcruptcy Medical, Credit Counseling, finance, Uncategorized

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

A CPA who is approached by a client about one of the abusive arrangements and/or situations to be described and discussed in this article must exercise the utmost degree of caution, not only on behalf of the client, but for his/her own good as well. The penalties noted in this article can also be applied to practitioners who prepare and/or sign returns that fail to properly disclose listed transactions, including those discussed herein.

On October 17, 2007, the IRS issued Notice 2007-83, Notice 2007-84, and Revenue Ruling 2007-65. Notice 2007-83 essentially lists the characteristics of welfare benefit plans that the Service regards as listed transactions. Put simply, to be a listed transaction, a plan cannot rely on the union exception set forth in IRC Section 419A(f)(5), there must be cash value life insurance within the plan and excessive tax deductions for life insurance, in excess of what may be permitted by Sections 419 and 419A, must have been claimed.

In Notice 2007-84, the Service expressed concern with plans that provide all or a substantial portion of benefits to owners and/or key and highly compensated employees. The notice identified numerous specific concerns, among them:

1. The granting of loans to participants
2. Providing deferred compensation
3. Plan terminations that result in the distribution of assets rather than being used post-retirement, as originally established.
4. Permitting the transfer of life insurance policies to participants.

Alternative tax treatment may well be in the offing for such arrangements, as the IRS intends to re-characterize such arrangements as dividends, non-qualified deferred compensation (under IRC Section 404(a)(5) or Section 409A), split-dollar life insurance arrangements, or disqualified benefits pursuant to Section 4976. Taxpayers participating in these listed transactions should have, in most cases, already disclosed such participation to the Service. Those who have not should do so at the earliest possible moment. Failure to disclose can result in severe penalties – up to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for corporations.

Finally, Revenue Ruling 2007-65 focused on situations where cash value life insurance is purchased on owner employees and other key employees, while only term insurance is offered to the rank and file. These are sold as 419(e), 419A (f)(6), and 419 plans. Life insurance premiums are not inherently tax deductible and authority must be found in Section 79 to justify such a deduction. Section 264(a), in fact, specifically disallows tax deductions for life insurance, at least in some cases. And moreover, the Service declared, interposition of a trust does not change the nature of the transaction.

Posted in Bankcruptcy Medical, bussiness, finance

September 20th, 2017 by Suzi Elton

There are ‘do’s and don’ts’ with creating wealth. With many of the basic principles of wealth creation time-tested, the laws of wealth will teach you how to create and attract wealth using specific strategies and systems that bring results.

Some people have made wealth and lost it, right? These 3 laws will exhort you to continue working hard, to give part of your money to help others and to share your knowledge about wealth creation.

How do you Keep and Share Your Wealth?

It is not difficult. Just read on and you will see why.

Law 1: Remember how you got here: Through hard work so continue that way.

Certain behaviours, mindsets and strategies enable you to be rich, successful and wealthy. It was not easy getting here so don’t ever undo all the years of hard work and growth by breaking these Laws of wealth.

When you become wealthy remember those people who helped you so much and the others who received great value from you. Shun selfishness and arrogance. Don’t become over protective, possessive or paranoid about your wealth; continue in the same way using the same principles that have got you where you are.

It is very easy to get carried away with it all and end up with nothing, or even worse than that. Do not flaunt your wealth; you will lose it faster than saying hey!

Be therefore wise, consistent, thoughtful, gracious and understated.

Law 2: Give back: pass the money on to others you feel would benefit from it.

You really can’t take your money with you so think of giving it back: to children and grandchildren to educate and benefit them for their future businesses and careers and to foundations that would use it wisely for the benefit of less fortunate people. You got here adding value to other people’s lives, so do the same when you go. That will add a huge amount to your life.

The many ways to give money to others that save tax and don’t make them feel guilty or indebted are gifts and education and funds to set up businesses and property and investments and all such things. If undecided, contact a qualified financial advisor for advice.

Law 3: Pass on your knowledge: help others become wealthy too and feel good.

If it feels good to be wealthy and successful, it feels even better to pass on your knowledge to help others become rich too and happy.

Passing on your knowledge is a must. Not only are there so many people out there who could use it, but also you would be assuring everyone this inalienable right.

In any case you have achieved this height through adding value to other people’s lives, so why not continue? Your life will become so much more abundant.

This strategy is not really about giving money as it is about education. You remember, teaching somebody to fish is far better than giving them fish?

You can’t imagine what fun it is to teach your kids, friends, family, and thousands others using the internet about the Laws of wealth and success. Doing so can even make you increase your wealth substantially.

It is Stephen Covey who said that once we have learned, we should all be teaching. So think how you can help other people be wealthy, successful and happy. This may be your way of giving. And in the present world, nothing pleases a lot of people more than wealth. So, put joy into somebody’s life.

Posted in Budgeting, Credit Counseling, Debt Management, finance, Wealth Building

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