Last Minute Fiscal Cliff Deal Kicks Can Down Road and Links

As expected our saints in Congress “came through” at the last possible moment to kick the proverbial debt, tax, and spending can down the road for a little bit.

A deal was struck, the middle class was “saved” — or was it? — and everyone can focus on using this small planned victory in the next election cycle.

…said the cynic.

Nonetheless your taxes won’t be jumping up by 27% next year.  Instead, a 2% discount in the Social Security tax that has been in place for a few years will disappear.  Many will moan and complain about having less money in their pockets and how this is a tax increase.  I see it more as you used to be able to use a coupon someplace, but now the store isn’t accepting 2% off coupons anymore.  The drop from 6.2% tax to 4.2% was meant to be temporary to boost the economy.

Considering the rate has been 6.2% since 1990, hasn’t been below 5% since 1973, and hasn’t been below 6% since 1988… I’d say it is the removal of a discount.  But people will still complain about losing 2% next year, and that’s understandable I suppose.  Just realize that you shouldn’t have had that extra 2% for the last few years, move on, and try to save or earn more money this year.

You can cover that extra 2% in Social Security tax easily by implementing a great financial plan to pay off your debt, earn more money, and save for a rainy day.  Here are some articles to help you do just that:

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How to Take Charge of Your Financial Destiny

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With a new year underway, it’s time to seriously consider how you will take charge of your own financial destiny.

Too often, it’s easy to sit back and let someone else have too much control over your finances.

Instead of remaining a victim of circumstance, make it a point to take charge of your financial destiny in the coming year.

Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny

Your Money Attitude is Everything

The first step is to pinpoint your money attitude.

Your financial attitude has a lot to do with whether or not your feel as though you can take charge of your financial destiny.  Many of us think of our finances as something outside our control.  We are worried that the boss will fire us.  The market is doing poorly and that is the reason our finances are failing.
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4 Steps to Make Sure You Are Financially Protected from the Next Natural Disaster

Millions of people are still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. 

The rest of the country is watching with sympathy and helping with relief efforts.  All of us, those directly impacted by Sandy, and those who were not, can learn from this storm and make sure that we are properly protected financially from natural disaster.

People often buy a house and take out a homeowner’s policy at the same time.  Then, they dutifully pay their premium every year.

What they often don’t do is revisit their insurance policy to make sure that they have enough coverage as years go by.  Most people just don’t think much about their insurance–until they need it.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you have enough insurance to protect you and your assets in the event of a natural disaster or other home damaging event:

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The Myth of Get Rich Quick

There are some myths that never die no matter how many times they’re disproved and no matter how many people get burned chasing them down.

Get rich quick is one of those myths.

In our minds, we know get rich quick isn’t legitimate, and we’ve been told as much again and again by parents, teachers, friends and coworkers.

Then why does it seem that there’s some part of us that might believe that get rich quick is possible?

Because sometimes rich looks like get rich quick—to us

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6 Steps to Take in a Financial Emergency

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Every now and then, financial catastrophe strikes.

You never know when you will run into a financial emergency.  Sometimes, things are simply out of your control.

When a financial emergency arrives, though, it’s important to take control as quickly as possible.

While you can’t control what happens in terms of an unexpected financial setback, you can control your reaction to it.  When you find yourself dealing with a financial emergency, here are 6 steps you can take to get back on track as soon as possible:

1. Take a Deep Breath, and Evaluate the Situation

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Just Because You Can Spend More, Doesn’t Mean You Should

One of the things I heard a lot when my husband and I were shopping around for a new house a few years ago was this: You can borrow this much!

This much invariably turned out to be more than we were strictly comfortable spending.

One lender (specializing in no-doc loans for the self-employed) was even prepared to approve us for a mortgage loan with a payment that would have amounted to about 42% of our monthly income.  This was in the heady days just before the mortgage market crash and the financial crisis.

I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready to buy a home, but I knew I wasn’t comfortable with a payment that large.

Home buying isn’t the only time you need to be guarded in your spending decisions.  You might be told that you can “afford” a certain monthly car payment, or think that it’s easy to buy a brand new electronic device if you put it on a credit card and pay only the minimum payment.

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Victim of Identity Theft? Here Are Your Next Steps to Protect Yourself

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One of the fastest growing crimes in identity theft.

It’s the theft of information about you — information that can be used by fraudsters to pretend to be you and get access to a number of perks using your good name.

Whether your credit card number has been stolen, or whether someone is using your information to qualify for a car loan, it’s possible for someone else to pretend to be you.

Your stolen identity can impact you and your finances.

Obviously, if someone steals your credit card information and makes purchases, that can impact your abilities to use your own financial resources — at least until you take action.  If someone is using your card for purchases, you could be denied when you go to make purchases later.  And, if someone uses your information to open a loan, it shows up as your debt in your credit report.  If the fraudster isn’t making payments, it’s your credit that is sunk.

Once you realize that your identity has been stolen, it’s important to take action.

Here are the steps to follow as soon as you realize that your identity has been compromised: Continue Reading