All Articles Tagged "finances"

Are You Ready For Uncle Sam? Important Tax Tips For Parents

February 3rd, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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It’s that wonderful time of year that we all love to hate. Tax season can be a huge blessing or a major curse–depending on what you did throughout the previous year. While there might not be a ton you can do at this moment to correct your mistakes, it’s good to get some advice that can help maximize your return. Got kids? You might want to check out these tax tips for parents.

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Inquire about head of household

If you’re a single parent you might want to hold off on filing “single.” Sure it makes sense but double check to see if you qualify as head of household that helps to claim a higher deduction and pay less taxes. Those who are unmarried, had their children live with them for more than half the year and provided financially for their household tend to qualify.

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How One Woman Saved $10,000 And Moved To The Caribbean

January 21st, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Sarah Knight, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have With People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do, saved $10,000 in one year and moved to the Caribbean with her husband in 2015. While many assume Knight and her husband are just a couple of financially privileged New Yorkers on some “Eat, Pray, Love” BS, Knight has assured the masses that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In an essay on Refinery 29, Knight revealed that while she and her husband — who are both in their mid-30s — were building a vacation home in the Dominican Republic they decided they wanted to move to the country permanently instead, at least for half of the year. In order to do so, Knight decided to save three months of her publishing executive salary as she transitioned into a full-time freelance writer and editor.

For Knight, her three-month salary equaled $10,000 which was also half of her mortgage, bills, insurance, groceries and spending money. After she divided the $10,000 by 365 days, Knight determined she would have to save $27.40 ever day to ensure she and her husband’s dream of waking up in the Dominican Republic daily became a reality. Although some may think saving nearly $30 a day is impossible, Knight shared these essential tips on how you, too, can save money to reach your financial goals.

Decide What You Can Live Without
For Knight, that meant: unnecessary cab rides, hardcover books, two glasses of wine at a restaurant, an outfit from her favorite designer store, manicures, pedicures.

In total, Knight saved $191.80 a week by living without these items.

Bann All Holiday And Birthday Gifts

In order to further accomplish their #FinancialGoal, Knight and her husband decided to ban giving new clothes, shoes or electronics as holiday and birthday gifts.

Say No To All Social Events

This may be hard for many, but Knight and her husband declined every wedding, baby shower or social event that required them spending an exuberant amount of money.

Pass on Sport’s Games Or Concerts

Knight and her husband also decided to give up their usual Broadway show or Yankee game outings. So this means you’ll have to say no to King Bey if you’re serious about making your paper stack.

By decreasing how much she spent, Knight learned how to pay off her old debt without accumulating more. She also learned how not to live paycheck-to-paycheck for the first time in over a decade. With this new-found knowledge, what will you give up in order to become financially free?

Serious About Money In 2016? How To Stop Flexing And Start Saving

January 20th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Do you ever feel like keeping up with the Joneses is keeping you from your savings goals? Try something new in 2016 and find out if ditching these status symbols can earn you thousands in savings.

Do You Tell Your Kids You’re Broke?

December 2nd, 2015 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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“Can we go see ‘The Lion King’?!” ask your five-year-old daughter, while you’re getting her dressed for school. It’s a question that comes up every morning when they start showing these Broadway theater advertisements. Yesterday it was ‘Cinderella.’ Usually you tell her that you’ll be going soon, but today you just wanna be honest. “We don’t have the money.”

Holiday shopping is not always a spending spree. Sometimes you’ve just got to tell your kids you’re broke…

She looks at you like, not that again, we never have any money. You want to say something comforting, but the truth is, money has been tight and a lot of those fun things you used to do when money was more plentiful have been put on hold. The money issue is being addressed, but you and the hubby are doing well to put three square ones on the table a day. It’s a reality that you would like to shield her from because while you want her to know that money is necessary to do and buy things, you don’t want her to start feeling poor, that without money she can’t have a life. It’s a concept that you’re still coming to terms with as an adult. One that started when you were young and saw your mother struggling to make ends meet.

So you have a real question about how to deal with your daughter during this challenging financial time. Do you tell her when you don’t have money for things or do you just say no without an explanation like your mom did you? ‘No, because I said so,’ was her go-to answer.

It’s a question you pose to your girl Milla during a play date. Milla is originally from Hungary and off of one paycheck, holds down a family that consists of her unemployed husband, two kids–ages four and seven–her hubby’s out-of-work brother and two-year-old niece. She is never not broke. What does she tell the kids?

“Just last week I bought them some new clothes and didn’t realize that I had dipped into our grocery money. So I explained to them that milk for cereal was more important and I took the stuff back.” She promised to get the clothes on her next pay check. “It’s important that they know it takes time to buy things. That’s why I give them money for chores. Even if it’s making their beds and brushing their teeth. I want them to know the value of money.”

On one hand you get it, but is seven and four-years-old too early to start earning their keep? What if they start wanting to be paid for everything? “Look ma, I wiped my a*s. Where’s my $5?”

Perhaps it’s wisdom from someone older that you seek. You call your friend PaMela who you know from a California Goddess group. She’s got four grown kids and from prior conversations you know she went through it.

During the toughest times, what did she tell the kids?

“Well,” she recounts, “There were times when I had to tell them that we couldn’t afford a tree or presents for Christmas, but we would eat well. That was my motto. As long as they didn’t go to bed hungry. During those crucial times when our lights got turned off I told them that no one knows our situation unless you tell them, so always keep your head up.” The good news is the kids didn’t get too scarred because they’re all doing well. Two own their own Daycare business, one is a news anchor on the number 1 news channel in Hartford, Connecticut and one is a cable tech.

Okay, perhaps you’re making too much of this. It sucks to be strapped for money, but nobody is dying. The kids always have something to eat and they will survive you having to tell them no for a while. Sometimes you will explain that the reason is money, other times they won’t get the details. When you really think about it, a lot of times money isn’t even the reason you tend to say no. Sometimes what they want isn’t necessary.

Once again, this is less about them and more about you and your insecurities around money. How it starts making you feel like your wealth as a mom is dependent on how much you can spend. It’s not true. PaMela shared a story about how they huddled around a candle and played cards when the lights got shut off. Far be it from you to romanticize the situation, but it sounds like it brought them closer together as a family. Maybe this is an opportunity to get creative and do some things you wouldn’t normally do. Funny, because just the other day you pulled out a deck of cards.

Game of Fish anyone?

Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom Daily, right here or visit PopMomDaily.com. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

This Weekend On Café Mocha: MC Lyte Launches The #EducateOurMen Initiative

November 20th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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This weekend on Café Mocha, MC Lyte opens up about her #EducateOurMen initiative and how the White House will help legislate it. Listeners can also expect to be educated on financial slavery by Reverend Deforest Soaries from MyDFree.org who will provide three tips on how to effectively save money and why payday loans are a no-go.

Once you’ve been educated on how to increase prosperity in the community, visit www.salutehertour.com to win a new 2016 Hyundai Sonata by uploading a video and nominating a modern woman in your life.

And don’t forget to catch the ladies of Did Y’all See discuss the issue of Black women butchering their bodies for the sake of butt implants.

Watch all Did Y’all See episodes on our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/MadameNoire.
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Visit Café Mocha Radio for air times around the country and on SiriusXM Channel 141. #CafeMochaWknd

The 10 Priciest Places To Raise A Family In The U.S.

October 27th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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By Catey Hill, MarketWatch

In some areas of this country, it costs parents well into six figures just to get by.

The amount that a two-parent, two-child family needs just to pay the bills (but not have money left over for savings) ranges from about $50,000 to more than $100,000 depending on where they live, according to data released by the nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank the Economic Policy Institute.

“This does not mean a middle-class lifestyle,” says Elise Gould, a senior economist with EPI. “This is just living, no savings.”

The study looked at 618 metro areas and calculated the cost of living in each based on the costs of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and other necessities (such as school supplies and clothing), as well as taxes.

Perhaps surprisingly, child care is the single most expensive line item for these families: In 500 of the 618 areas that EPI looked at, child care was parents’ biggest annual expense, averaging about $12,500 a year nationwide and climbing above $30,000 a year in one city.

Here are the 10 priciest places to raise a family of two parents and two children.

1. Washington, D.C.
A family of four needs $106,493 just to get by in Washington — making this city the most expensive place for parents to raise two children. Child care here is particularly pricey at $31,158 a year on average — the highest in the nation.

2. Nassau-Suffolk, New York
Generations of city dwellers have headed to Long Island to raise their kids, but apparently not to save money. The Nassau–Suffolk County region is the second most expensive place to raise two kids in the U.S., costing families there $103,606. You’ll likely spend a lot on rent (a median of $19,356 a year), as well as on taxes ($16,822) and other necessities ($13,881 on average).

3. Westchester County, New York
Like Long Island, this suburban region outside New York City is notably pricey for families — $99,592 on average. The area shares many of the characteristics of Nassau–Suffolk County, including high taxes ($15,589 a year on average).

4. New York City, New York
The Big Apple takes the No. 4 spot on this list — requiring a family of four to make $98,722 just to get by. The good news: City dwellers get a break (not surprisingly) on transportation costs — at least compared with their suburban neighbors in Westchester and Nassau–Suffolk County.

5. Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
A family of four in the Stamford-Norwalk area needs $97,350 to pay the bills — and gets hit particularly hard by housing costs ($22,290 a year), other necessities ($15,603), and taxes ($15,487).

6. Honolulu, Hawaii
You’ll pay — dearly — to live amid the sunshine and sand of Honolulu. It costs a family of four here $94,092 to get by. Food costs ($11,244) are the highest in the country, thanks in large part to extra shipping expense.

7. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, New York
These towns typically aren’t known for ultra-posh living, but due in part to high housing costs (which plague many towns near New York City), these municipalities collectively claim the No. 7 spot on the list. It costs a family of four $92,837 to pay the bills in this area.

8. Ithaca, New York
Living in this charming college town (it’s home to Cornell University and Ithaca College) won’t come cheap — it costs a family of four $92,603 to get by. This high cost is due to high taxes and rents, and may be skewed slightly upward thanks to the costs of child care in New York state (the EPI data used a statewide survey of child-care costs).

9. San Francisco, California
Despite housing costs that are the highest in the country (a median of $23,472 a year), this city only takes the No. 9 spot, with housing offset partially by child-care costs that are much lower than in much of New York ($10,815).

10. Danbury, Connecticut
With high housing and child-care costs, as well as high taxes, it will cost a family of four just over $89,000 to pay the bills in this city.

This article originally appeared on MarketWatch.com 

Do you live in any of these high-priced cities?

Teach Your Kids To Save With ERNIT: A Modern Day Piggy Bank With A Digital Heart

October 21st, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Please meet ERNIT, an app and a physical piggy bank that helps kids learn healthy financial habits like setting goals and managing allowance in a world moving quickly towards digital currency.

According to a recent study by Goldman Sachs, the use of mobile phone payments alone will nearly double by 2017.​ And American youth are falling behind when it comes to financial literacy compared to other countries. American high school students’ performance in the international PISA Financial Literacy Scale was well below the international average.

ERNIT helps parents spark conversations about money​ in a stylish way.​

ernit piggy bank

Using Ernit is easy and fun for the whole family with these four steps:

  • Set a savings goal with the ERNIT app: Whether it’s for a teddy bear, a new bike or even a charitable donation.
  • Start to save: F​amily and friends can contribute directly from their bank account and children accept these contribution by pressing ERNIT’s snout
  • Watch ERNIT respond: Each time a contribution is made, ERNIT lights up, blinks its eyes and makes a happy sound.
  • Celebrate savings: Once a goal is reached kids can transfer their money to an external bank account or another ERNIT goal.

You can find Ernit on Kickstarter and can be purchased with a $59 pledge.

The Cost Of Parenthood

October 21st, 2015 - By Clarissa Joan
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Like most parents, we love our children and we desire that they have the best of everything. If they need it, we would like to provide it.

But what is the actual cost of parenthood? 

What should we anticipate spending over our children’s lifetime? And how do we make the best decisions for our kids, our wallets, and ourselves simultaneously?

As first time parents, we spent hours researching products, toys, and clothing options for our newborn baby. Then we bought the best stroller, car seat, high chair, and activity centers well in advance of when we would actually need them. Once our daughter was born, I breastfed her, wore her in the baby carrier, and she barely used any of these items.

That’s when we realized that diapers, wipes, clothing, healthcare, and eventually baby food each month, all the daily needs of infants, created the real costs of parenthood. We never factored how much our monthly expenses would increase due to parenthood, and as our children get older, the cost keeps rising.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture annually tracks Expenditures on Children by Families per year. It was estimated in 2013, that the average American family of two parents spends about $245,000 over their child’s lifetime from infancy to their high school graduation. Excluding housing and transportation costs, which were the biggest expenditures, families spend on average $138,000 on childcare, food, clothing, and healthcare for their child.

This means that on average, children add about $7,500 per year to the annual household budget.

How many parents in America can save $138,000 by the time they reach labor and delivery?

Personally speaking, we did not, and we now have two children to care for. We, also, have not talked about paying for college, which adds another $50,000 to $150,000 to the budget.

So how do we do pay for our love of parenting?

Our spending habits have changed drastically from life without children, to life with one child, to life with two children. The good news is that The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms life with more than one child gets cheaper per capita. For instance we spent less money preparing for our youngest child, because she uses her sister’s stuff.  

Items we spent hundreds of dollars on that were barely used the first time around are now getting sunshine and slobber. For example, we spent $300 on the 4Moms MamaRoo swing chair that our oldest sat in maybe twice. Our youngest daughter, however, loves to spend an hour or two in it each day. Thank God!

Before having multiple children, we bought baby clothes in abundance months in advance. Now we wait to assess what we already have, when we actually need it, and if there is a sale or coupon that will make the purchase even sweeter. I also take my emotions out of the shopping experience. No more buying something just because it is cute.

Food is the second biggest item on the list of expenditures for children. I still breastfeed both our girls, but they also eat table food. For our oldest daughter, we bought all organic baby food, because we did not feel like making it. But now, we have found joy in using our food processor to make our own. As much as I loved the neat little pre-made packages food, I have to admit that making it at home is much more cost effective.

We don’t pay for childcare, because we are fortunate to work from home. (See How to Afford Being A Mother: Work From HomeHowever, in a year or so, we will have to consider pre-school options for our oldest. In our current situation, an extra $5000 – $12,000 per year for private education is not ideal, but if the public schools in our neighborhood are not up to par, we will opt out.

Everyone likes luxuries and expensive experiences, but I must admit we have spent less money on these sorts of things since becoming parents. Priceline’s bidding feature has become our best friend when traveling.

We are not fans of debt, so budgeting, short-term cash savings, finding ways to increase our income, and/or cost cutting are our major money management strategies in our home. I’d love to hear some of your strategies for managing the cost of parenthood.

Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing. She is the Communications Associate at Impact America Fund.

 

I Like You But Not Your Financial Situation: Why Being Financially Compatible Is Important

October 19th, 2015 - By Erica R. Williams
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I don’t want a broke man. There, I said it.

Now, before you begin judging or attacking me with Kanye lyrics, let me explain. My stance has nothing to do with wanting a man to take care of me, or a desire to “marry rich.” Instead, it has everything to do with me wanting a partner who has the means to take care of himself and a family if need be. While some look for physical or emotional chemistry in a relationship, there is so much more required to ensure a healthy partnership. You have to make sure that you are financially compatible, or you could go from lovers to enemies. My belief is that if a man isn’t able to take care of himself, chances are, he isn’t interested in taking care of a family.

According to a Utah State University study, couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about them once a month. Basically, the more frequently you argue about money woes, the more likely you are to call it quits. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an argument over who has the money to pay the electricity bill to be the cause of my relationship’s demise.

Let’s be clear, the amount of money or lack thereof is not the only cause of relationship drama. Before you enter a relationship with a man, it’s important to find out where his mind is with the concept of money. Is he frugal? Does he waste too much money? Do you share the same money values?

In another survey, published in the Forum for Family and Consumer Issues, finances proved to be the leading cause of conflict in marriage, with 39 percent of respondents listing it as their primary issue and 54 percent as their secondary issue. Seriously ladies, money matters matter! And I’ve made it my business to ensure that my partner and I are on the same page with finances before we get serious.

Knowing how a man values money is just as important as how much money he has in his bank account. He can be a wealthy man, but be cheap with his coins. Just imagine going out to dinner with your man and he counts every penny you spend, though you know he has it. You know, the kind of guy who prefers that you throw back drinks at home instead of the restaurant every single time you go out. And forget about an appetizer! His suggestion: Eat the complimentary bread instead. Annoying much? If you are not a frugal girl, his actions could get under your skin and cause you to reconsider going out with him. That’s why understanding his views surrounding money is important before you begin combining incomes.

Contrarily, if a man isn’t wise with money and hasn’t ever thought of opening a savings account, this could also wreak havoc on your relationship. You don’t want to be the only one saving for your future together. His priorities with money are just as important as his perception of your relationship. You have to make sure the two of you are on the same page.

Once I realized how significant financial compatibility was in a relationship, I also decided to make sure my values lined up with my actions. When I had the revelation (thanks to advice from my married friends), I knew I had a long way to go with my own financial situation. If I wanted a man to be free of debt and properly plan for his future, I had to make sure I was doing the same.

My advice, ladies: Understand what your money values are and what you want your mate’s to be and don’t bend on them. Some things should be deal breakers in a relationship, and lack of financial compatibility is one of them.

 

How To Rebound Financially After Divorce

September 22nd, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Women not only struggle to get back on track emotionally after a break up–many also find themselves struggling to recover financially. Patrice C. Washington, the Money Maven of the Steve Harvey Morning Show, explains that between a lack of financial resources and limited knowledge of money management, divorce can often add insult to injury.

To ensure financial stability is on the horizon, Washington provides tips on how to rebound financially after divorce:

Get Clear About Your Role: The first step is to be honest with yourself. If you are in a financial mess, outline what you did (or didn’t do) that may have contributed to the issue. Did you participate in frivolous spending? Or were you okay with not knowing what was going on financially? Once you acknowledge your role, you can figure out how to avoid the same type of destructive behavior in the future.

Get Educated On Where You Stand Financially: Once you have a clear picture of how you ended up where you are, it is important to create a plan of action Start by creating a realistic budget based on your new solo income. Next, pull your credit report at annualcredit-report. Make sure everything you see is actually something you recognize as your debt and create your plan for debt elimination.

Get Professional Help: Look into no-cost or low-cost consumer credit counseling in your area by visiting the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at nfcc. You want to find a counselor that can help you set realistic financial goals and get a sound plan in place to meet your unique needs at this delicate stage of life.

For more information, visit Book The Money Maven.

Follow her on Twitter at @SeekWisdomPCW for practical tips on wisdom, wealth & business.

About Patrice Washington

Known as the Wisdom & Wealth Money Maven, Patrice C. Washington is the Founder and CEO of Seek Wisdom Find Wealth, a personal finance training and development firm based in Atlanta, GA. She is a nationally recognized personal finance columnist, television commentator, radio host, author, speaker and leading authority on personal finance, entrepreneurship and success for women and youth. Patrice is the author of an Amazon #1 Best Seller in Personal Finance, Real Money Answers, a series of sensible, straightforward, personal finance books and coaches men and women through her groundbreaking personal finance seminar, the Mindset + Money Master Class. Patrice has been featured in media outlets such as NBC, Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, Upscale Magazine, SHEEN Magazine, and many more.