What Are REITs? – Earn Dividends While Investing in Real Estate

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One of the realities that I recognize in my life is that I am really not that interested in being a landlord.

However, the idea of having real estate in my portfolio is one that is of interest to me.

So, how do I go about adding real estate to my investment holdings without becoming a landlord, or needing huge amounts of capital to buy property?

You can use a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to help you out.

What are REITs?

Real Estate Investment Trusts are collections of investments related to real estate.

They have a different structure than ETFs, but they are similar in that you can trade them on an exchange.  REITs are considered equities, even though they represent a collection of holdings related to real estate.  In addition to exchange-traded REITs, there are also private REITs and non-traded REITs.

There are a number of REITs to choose from, each with its own way of doing business.
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What is Social Security Tax?

When you get your first paycheck from a new job you might be surprised to see how many different deductions reduced your earnings.

You’ll see deductions for Federal income tax, state income tax if your state charges it, and a whole host of acronyms of other taxes.

One of those taxes is social security tax.

We’ve all heard of it, but what exactly is Social Security tax?

What is Social Security Tax?

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How to Control Your Emotions When Shopping

When I was a teenager, I went back-to-school shopping with my best friend and got suckered into buying more clothing than I needed or had money for. 

The saleswoman was smooth and knew all of the right things to tell a 16 year old girl who was nervous about going back to school and looking just right.  That saleslady upsold me on everything—I even bought the matching socks and earrings at her suggestion.

An hour later, embarrassed and a bit angry, I returned everything.

I bought my clothes with my own money from my part-time job, and I simply didn’t have the money to buy that much.

My experience was not unique, but unfortunately, many people now don’t return the items or better yet, stop themselves from buying them in the first place.

We don’t think of shopping as walking through an emotional minefield, but many times that is just what the experience is like.

One of the best ways to combat this minefield is to take your emotions out of shopping, which is easier said than done.  However, knowing why your emotions come into play when shopping can help you better control them.

How to Control Your Emotions When Shopping

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Six Essential Health Care Open Enrollment Tips

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Fall is here and that means beautiful foliage, football, apple cider and open enrollment forms.

If you have a full time career where health care is provided, each year you are likely given a stack of forms that include the option to change your health care options.

Much like your 401(k), many of these forms come with a memo from your human resources department telling you what to check, where to sign, and some charts that you may not understand.

Of course, not all open enrollment packets are the same but let’s look at some essential health care open enrollment tips to remember. Continue Reading

Paying for a Good Education in the Beginning or the End?

When I was in graduate school, I met a man who was Puerto Rican and spoke Spanish. 

His wife was Korean and spoke Korean.  When they had a daughter, they made the conscious decision to only speak English to her so that she wouldn’t be confused by the languages.

I still look at that situation and mourn the tremendous opportunity to learn three languages that this child missed.

Imagine the job opportunities for a trilingual speaker who speaks Spanish, Korean and English!

My husband is Japanese, and while I speak a bit of Japanese, I am by no means conversational.  (Just ask my husband’s mother; I still panic when she calls because I only know a few conversational phrases.)

We determined when we married that we wanted to raise our children to be bilingual; however, that is difficult when mom doesn’t speak the language and dad is at work 10 hours of the day.

We decided to pay tuition to send our children to a private Montessori Japanese language school.  We resolved to invest money in our children’s education upfront, fully aware that the money we spend now is money we won’t have available when they go to college.

Why Invest in Education Upfront?

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Should I Use the Home Office Tax Deduction for My Home Business?

Everyone that wants to be audited, please raise your hand.

No one?

Simply mention the phrase “home office tax deduction” and most people instantly think of an audit.

To say there is quite the stigma surrounding taking a home office tax deduction would be an understatement.  On one hand, many individuals assume if they claim deductions for using part of their home for business purposes that they will automatically incur the wrath of an IRS audit.  On the other hand, being able to write off a bunch of legitimate costs is extremely tempting and could save business owners and their employees a lot of money at tax time.

So should you use the tax deduction from running your business out of your home?  What can you claim and what are the risks?

How to Stop Fearing the Home Office Tax Deduction

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5 Tips for Helping You Stick with Your Investment Strategy

So, you’ve made an investment strategy, and you’re ready to get started.

That’s great!

Investing is one of the best ways to build wealth over time.

The hard part, though, is sticking with your investment strategy.  How are you going to stay on track?

If you want to make sure that you keep with your investing strategy, here are 5 things you can do to help you maintain your focus:

1. Remember the Big Picture

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