Water, Water, Everywhere

Finance
By Ina Fernandez, CPA A client commented on the fact that although he was carrying insurance coverage significantly in excess of the value of his home, he still wasn’t covered for damages from the “flood of the century” that hit the Detroit area recently. Unfortunately, he isn’t alone.  Many beleaguered home and business owners are finding this out as well, when they finally get through to their insurance carriers.  If your home is located in a flood plain, most banks require you to carry flood insurance.  For the rest of us, we may well find ourselves truly soaked, treading water, or… (fill in your own pun here). What is covered by typical flood insurance policies? Unfortunately, standard insurance policies do not cover floods; you need a separate rider on your…
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Never Too Young to Budget

Finance, Life Coaching
For the summer, I decided to work on saving and budgeting, because I really need to understand these two concepts for my future. I know when I go to college, I don’t want to end up broke without choices. So I thought I would share some lessons I learned that may help you too. Grab a pad and pencil and let’s get started. DO’s Every time you get money, try to use the envelope system. This is where you take three to four envelopes and give them labels. The first label is giving: you put ten percent of the money you earn in that envelope, so all that money goes to giving, maybe people in need of help or charity. The second envelope is for saving for yourself. Again, you…
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A Rose by Any Other Name…

Finance
Well, I beg to differ from the Bard’s famous quote from Romeo and Juliet:  “What’s in a name…?”  There is plenty in a name, particularly when it comes to investment professionals. If you are contemplating using a professional to manage your investments, it is important to know the difference, as each are regulated differently and may have different legal obligations to their clients. Investment Advisor:  This is a person (or firm) paid a fee to give advice on investments to their clients. They are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state securities regulator. Investment advisors provide advice that is individually tailored to their clients’ needs using securities like stocks and bonds, or mutual funds. They are considered “fiduciaries,” the highest standard of care, and as such,…
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The Piggy-bank Is Back!

The Piggy-bank Is Back!

Finance
“Mom, how much should I save?” my daughter asked, hoping to start out on her first real job the right way. Savings was also on the mind of a woman I met recently at a networking event. She mentioned that she put away her small bills on weekdays and larger bills over the weekend, and before she knew it, she had saved a surprisingly large sum, which she took to the bank. Good for her. So here are a few tips and rules of thumb that will answer my daughter’s question. Start with a Budget:  If you never seem to have extra cash to put away, start by analyzing your expenses for a month. Allocate what you spend into two pockets: “needs” and “wants.”  “Needs” are expenses that are necessary…
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The Tax Man Cometh (Again)

The Tax Man Cometh (Again)

Finance
April 15, Tax Day, is coming up fast. So before you grab that cup of coffee and a green eyeshade to get ready to do some serious number crunching, here are a few tips that might help. Get Organized Whether you are a do-it-yourself tax preparer or use a tax professional, you will need to get some documents together before you sit down to fill out the forms. Organizing documents by category will make it easier to input information and reduce the time (and fees) you will pay a preparer. Here is a quick checklist. More comprehensive lists are available from tax service providers or finance websites. Personal data: social security numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse, and dependents. Income: W-2s for wages; 1099s for retirement, dividend,…
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What is Bitcoin?

What is Bitcoin?

Finance, Technology
If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve no doubt heard the term “Bitcoin” thrown around fairly often. So what exactly is it? Simply put, Bitcoin is a digital currency that exists solely in cyberspace. It was created in 2009 by mathematician Satoshi Nakomoto, a man so elusive and enigmatic that many doubt his very existence. Bitcoin is traded, generated, and stored on a peer-to-peer network using virtual wallets for each user. The rate and overall number of Bitcoins generated is limited, making it free from the perils of inflation that plague traditional official currencies. Bitcoin has been gaining in popularity, circulation, and media coverage of late, and while the number of businesses willing to accept it is growing, many people remain skeptical of its value and stability. In his…
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