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In Honor of Financial Literacy Month: Back to Basics

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and that means it’s a great time to reflect on your finances, and think about what we can be doing to improve financial literacy for our children, and for others around us.

One of the best places to start when it comes to improving your finances is the basics.

It seems unnecessary to go back to basics; after all, many of us feel like we have the basics down pat.  However, no matter how advanced we think we are in the world of finances, it never hurts to have a refresher on the responsible use of money.

Here are some of the basics to get back to during financial literacy month:

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What Do Your Property Taxes Pay For?

So often we look at our property tax bills and decide—based on the whole bill—that our taxes are too high.

I know I do.

The problem with that view though is that property taxes are never a single number, but a combination of several.

Most of us tend to think our property taxes are too high, but then we get a bit hung up on the components.  We may want a lower tax bill, but at the same time we might support high spending levels in certain areas, or even just one in particular.

There are constituencies behind each category of our property taxes, which is why it’s so hard to get lower taxes overall.

So What Do Your Property Taxes Pay For?

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7 Online Service Alternatives that Save Money

It seems you can do everything online these days except wash your clothes — and some genius will no doubt figure that out fairly soon.

One of the great benefits of the Internet is the many ways it helps us save money.  From tax filing to wedding registries, the World Wide Web has a lot to offer.

Consider the following seven ways you can save with a computer, tablet or smartphone.

1. Online Car Insurance

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Visa® Black Card™ Review – A Luxury Card That’s Expensive But Full of Benefits

For years, American Express has had the luxury/executive card market to itself with its wildly successful Platinum Card®.  Visa® has entered the upscale luxury card market with its Black Card (the card is backed by Barclays Bank Delaware).

The Visa Black Card is working to differentiate itself from other credit cards with its appearance and exclusivity.

The Visa Black Card is made with carbon (no, you shouldn’t concern yourself with how a card looks but it is kind of neat that’s it’s carbon – maybe it could come in handy in a MacGuyver situation?).  Also, membership is limited in order to ensure top-quality service for members.  That’s a big distinction from most of the plastic credit cards on the market today.

Let’s take a look at the features and benefits that the Visa Black Card offers, shall we?

Visa Black Card Benefits

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How the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 Can Help You Save with Your Business

For many small business owners, being able to find every advantage is important — especially during tough economic times.

What many small business owners don’t realize, though, is that there are some provisions that help them save with their businesses.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 provides you some opportunities to reduce your tax liability, saving money for your business.

If you qualify for the provisions in this law, the money you save can be used to go back into your business, helping you grow.  Plus, the tax breaks can help you stay afloat when you are struggling.

Here are some of the ways the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 can help your business:

Treating Section 179 Property as an Expense

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Withdrawing Money From a Roth IRA: How Does It Work and When Can I Do It?

Roth_IRA_Nest_Egg

Withdrawing money from your retirement account is something you only really want to do in retirement.

That’s obvious.

What is also obvious is there are definitely times in life when you find yourself with a significant cash crunch and that nest egg looks ripe for the harvest.

Unfortunately for a majority of your retirement account options any early withdrawals are disastrous.

You get hit with fees and taxes; your overall withdrawal can easily be reduced by 25-40%… which means you just have to withdraw even more money to get to the amount that you actually need to use.

It’s a lose-lose situation: you’re paying a lot in fees and taxes while also losing out on potential growth of the account in the future.

unless you’re using a Roth IRA.

Withdrawing Money from a Roth IRA

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Student Loan Debt Bubble – Is This Our Next Economic Crisis?

As if the student loan problem wasn’t already approaching crisis levels, it may get a lot worse.

In 2010 more than $100 billion worth of student loan debt was taken out, making the total amount that Americans owe for education now more than $1 trillion.

The average graduate leaves school with $25,250 in student loan debt and faces decades of payments.

Although the recent student loan reform may ease the burden by making it possible to lower the payments based on the borrower’s level of income, some students face loan payments that are higher than they would pay on a modest size home mortgage.
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