The 4 Most Common Tax Return Scams and How to Protect Yourself

tax_brick_scams

It’s tax season which typically means hours gathering your data and slogging through the year’s records

Most don’t look forward to tax season, but the usual tax time headache can get even worse if you’re the unfortunate victim of a tax scam.

Every year, there seems to be more ways scammers find to rob you of your tax refund.  According to CNNMoney, nearly 2/3rds of Americans get a tax refund, and the average refund in 2011 was more than $3,000.

With that kind of money at stake, it’s no wonder scammers continue to find creative ways to get their hands on your cash.

As you prepare to file your taxes this year, be aware of these four common tax return scams:

Continue Reading

How to Invest in Real Estate Without Speculating

Let’s get one thing straight: the kind of real estate investing you often see on the television flipping shows is not true real estate investing.

Sure, it involves putting money into a deal and expecting to make something back.  And yes – sometimes these individuals make incredible profits.

However, the kind of real estate seen on the flipping shows is more closely related to the buy-wholesale, sell-retail model of a clothing store at your local mall than it does to real estate investing.

As Glen mentioned in his popular article, Seven Ways to Get Rich Quick, many people have tried to “get rich quick” by buying real estate only to lose it all when the market dropped out.

Flipping houses, as well as most development, raw land purchases, and betting all your chips on “black” is not investing but rather “speculation.”

Speculation involves taking a high risk with the potential of earning a high reward, often in a short period of time.  Investing involves taking calculated but dependable risks with the assumption of earning solid returns.

It’s important that for you, as someone looking to grow their financial position in life, to make that distinction in your mind now, rather than later.

Now, don’t get me wrong: house flipping can be fun, profitable, and entertaining.

However, flipping houses involves heavy risk with a smaller hope of return.  It’s a business, at best, and while it can be exciting and profitable if done correctly, it’s not what I want to talk about today.  Millionaires are generally not made through speculation (at least not for the long haul.)

Let’s talk a bit about what true real estate investing looks like, without the speculation added.

Continue Reading

The Best Prepaid Debit Cards 2014

credit card on computer keyboard

As banks add more fees, and as it becomes difficult for some consumers to obtain accounts at some of the big banks, prepaid debit cards are becoming popular.

Prepaid debt cards look a lot like “regular” debit and credit cards, sporting the logos of major payment processors like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.  You can use them anywhere major credit cards are accepted, so it makes them convenient.

However, no matter how much like a credit card a prepaid debit card is, it’s important to understand the difference.

Credit Card vs. Prepaid Debit Card

With a credit card, you are borrowing money up to a certain limit.  You use the money first, and then repay it later.  Additionally, if you carry a balance, you end up paying interest on that balance.

A prepaid debit card functions differently.
Continue Reading

Five Ways Fantasy Baseball is Like Personal Finance

baseball_glove_ball

I had my draft for my fantasy baseball league I’m in earlier this week.

I’ve been in the league with these particular guys now for over ten years.  It’s not a money league but we’re real competitive nonetheless.

I gotta say I’m real excited!  Real baseball starting soon (go Mets!!) and I love following baseball along-side my fantasy league.

As I was going through all of my work for the draft I realized that fantasy baseball is a lot like personal finance.  We could probably learn a thing or two about personal finance from fantasy baseball.

Without further ado here are five ways fantasy baseball is like personal finance:

Fantasy baseball and personal finance

Research

Continue Reading

Free Newsletter to Keep you Free From Broke!Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber email marketing