When it comes to getting money advice, who is your most trusted source? Is it your dad? Your best friend? That stranger that you follow on Instagram for some reason who likes to post pictures of themselves waving around fat stacks?
(If it’s that last one, we suggest you look elsewhere for advice.)
Well, no matter who you look to for financial wisdom, it never hurts to get a second opinion. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of six bonafide money experts that you can follow on Twitter today.
You can look to them for insight into financial trends, credit, saving for retirement, taxes, and a whole heck of a lot more!
Michelle Singletary is the author of “The 21 Day Financial Fast” and a Personal Finance Columnist for The Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter for a plethora of awesome tweets and advice about money and how to manage it.
John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized expert in credit reporting and identity theft. He’s been working in the credit industry for over 25 years and has held positions with FICO, Equifax, and Credit.com.
Mr. Money Mustache is an early retiree who, according to his blog, “writes about how we can all live a frugal yet badass life of leisure.” Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog for great advice on how to cut back on bad money habits and expensive lifestyle choices.
Tara Siegel Bernard is a writer for The New York Times with years of experience writing about Personal Finance and consumer issues. If you’re looking for tweets about current financial issues, she’s a great person to follow!
Chris Hogan is a #1 National Best-Selling Author of “Retire Inspired”, the book that teaches you how to prepare for a successful retirement. If you’re striving to achieve financial success, you’ll probably want to check out his book, and follow him on Twitter!
Are there other financial experts that you like to follow? If so, we’d love to hear about them! You find us (and follow us) on Twitter at @OppLoans.
Need Money Advice? These 6 Twitter Accounts Are a Must-Follow
While you’re celebrating America’s independence, take some steps to achieve financial independence!
Hopefully, you’re taking next Monday off and enjoying a nice, loooong 4th of July weekend. In between the barbecues, the fireworks, and arguments about politics that you promised yourself you wouldn’t get dragged into but now you’re two beers in so let’s do this (ahem), you should probably find some time to sit down and take a look at your finances.
After all, 2017 has just passed its halfway point, so now’s as good a time as any to review your financial goals for the year. How are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions to spend less, save more, and start contributing to your 401(k)? If you’re like a lot of us, you certainly haven’t exceeded your goals, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve fallen well short of them.
And that’s totally okay! This weekend you can take the time to reassess, regroup, and start tackling your finances anew. And if you’re looking for some financial expertise to guide you, then boy oh boy have we some great recommendations for you.
Below you’ll find the Twitter accounts for six of the best experts, orgs and publications in the personal finance business. Take a few minutes and give them all a follow before you head off to your 4th of July festivities. Don’t worry! All their awesome money wisdom will be waiting for you when you get back.
Farnoosh Tobari is a best-selling author, finance expert, and TV host. Check out her Twitter page for great personal finance advice! Whether you’re looking to save money, spend wisely, or even invest, Farnoosh has the answers.
Kimberly Palmer is a personal finance expert and author of Smart Mom, Rich Mom and The Economy of You. She tweets regularly about money, retirement, and entrepreneurship. Check out her feed if you need some tips on personal finance.
Kelli Grant is a Certified Financial Planner and Consumer Reporter for CNBC. Her Twitter account is full of great facts and advice about improving your financial well-being. Follow her and you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about money.
Earn is a micro-savings non-profit organization, and a great Twitter account for anyone who has to stick to a tight budget. At Earn they believe that saving even very small amounts can help your future financial situation. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed, and check out their website to learn more!
The Billfold is a finance blog that shares personal stories about struggles and successes in personal finance. If you feel like no one can relate to your financial situation, then it’s time to check out some blog posts on The BillFold. Their motto is, “Everything you wanted to know about money but were too polite to ask. We like to get real.”
Money Under 30 is a website that offers simple strategies for saving and spending. You’ll get advice on credit cards, debt, investing, and more. Their website and Twitter page promise to deliver “simple, honest strategies to find success at any age.”
And don’t forget about us! To keep up on all our articles, tips, and financial expertise, just give us a follow at @OppLoans. Have a happy and safe 4th!
Need Help Living Frugally? Follow These 6 Twitter Accounts Today!
Twitter can be a rough, confusing place sometimes. (Okay, all the time.) But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great accounts out there with genuinely thoughtful life advice.
That’s why we think you should follow these six great Twitter accounts that are chock full of helpful financial tips. If you want advice on couponing, affordable recipes, cheap travel, or just how to build a working household budget so you can avoid payday and title loans, these Twitter follows are the right choice for you!
1. Crystal Paine – @MoneySavingMom Crystal Paine takes couponing and family budgeting to a whole new level. Check out her site, MoneySavingMom.com for deals, coupons, freebies/giveaways, and tips on managing your money.
2. Family Balance Sheet – @FamBalanceSheet At Family Balance Sheet, you’ll get personal stories, practical tips, and affordable recipes from Kristia, a former corporate employee who went from managing millions, to creating a happy and peaceful home for less.
3. Amy Suardi – @Frugal_Mama Amy Suardi created the Frugal Mama blog to help moms and families learn how to save money and live fulfilling lives. She covers budget travel, saving money, and frugal parenting advice, among many other things.
4. Mom and Dad Money – @MomAndDadMoney At Mom and Dad Money, their mission is to help you take control of your money so you can take care of your family. It’s a great site for new parents to get financial advice tailored to your specific situation.
5. The Frugal Girl – @TheFrugalGirl The Frugal Girl is a financial blogger who writes to inspire others to live on less with a perky attitude. At her website you’ll find picture-filled posts about practical, everyday frugal living. You’ll also find affordable recipes, DIY projects, and frugal home decor ideas.
6. Six Figures Under – @SixFiguresUnder The Six Figures Under blog is designed to be a financial resource for you and your family. You’ll get advice on debt, budgeting, finance, frugal-living, increasing your income, and even a little motivation to keep going.
And last of all, don’t forget us! The OppLoans Twitter feed is a fantastic financial resource for anyone looking to live their dreams while staying within their means. You can find us at @OppLoans!
Summer jobs. For so many, they’re an important part of growing up. They can teach kids responsibility and, depending on your financial situation, they may even be a necessary contribution to the family’s finances.
But what’s the best way to help your kid get a summer job? Or is helping them just going to hurt their character? Should you just send them into the woods and warn them not to come back until they’ve earned a certain amount of money?
We asked the experts to find out!
Resist or assist?
Before we get into HOW you should help your child find a summer job, it’s worth asking IF you should help your kid find a summer job. Obviously, you want your kid to succeed, but is it better to keep them under your wing or push them out of the nest so they learn to fly?
The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. April Masini (@AskAprilcom), author, relationship expert, and creator of Ask April, told us how to thread the needle:
“Help doesn’t mean enable. Remember that the job search is a tool that your child will use for the rest of his or her life. Don’t focus on the goal as much as you focus on the process. Teach your child to help themselves—not to expect an entitled result where parents (or others) do the work for him or her.”
Laura Spawn, CEO and co-founder of Virtual Vocations (@VirtualVocation), advises a similar balance. “Parents can be a positive resource for teenagers and young adults looking for summer work, especially if the child will be job searching for the first time,” Spawn told us. “However, parents should also establish and respect boundaries with their child regarding how much influence they’ll wield throughout the process.”
No time like the present.
So it’s OK to help, but you shouldn’t go overboard and take over the process entirely. When should you get started? According to Masini, there’s no better time than the present: “Start early (now) and get organized. Make a list of all possible jobs and tick them off one by one as your child applies. This simple act of getting and staying organized will alleviate stress and give your child self-esteem because he or she will feel that they’re on top of the game. Kids love structure, and when you help them obtain it, they feel safe.”
As far as what age kids should start looking for a summer job, Donna Volpitta (@donnavolpitta), founder of The Center for Resilient Leadership, offered her take: “High school is a great time to start suggesting/requiring that your child get some type of job, just to get the experience and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with earning a paycheck. At first, it is not as much about how much money that your child is making, it is more about learning the skills.”
What’s the plan?
Now you know the who (your child), the when (probably while they’re in high school), and the why (providing your child with the tools they need for the future). So it’s time to talk about the how. Specifically, how should you go about helping your kid get a summer job? Here’s what Volpitta had to say:
“Parents can help brainstorm jobs that might be most appropriate, such as being a busboy, helping out at a store, babysitting, doing lawn work, or pet-walking. They can then help break down different steps that need to be taken such as go in and get an application at a restaurant or store, creating a flyer for lawn work or babysitting, or setting up a list of potential customers. Most jobs will require kids to interact with adults. It is helpful to prepare them with scripts for certain types of conversations, like how to ask for an application or what to say for their “pitch” if they want to babysit. It is important to remember this is a brand new experience and most kids will be reluctant and nervous. Given practice, they will become more and more confident and they will gain skills that will help them tremendously in their future.”
It can also be worth narrowing the job search based on the needs of your child at the moment. “Focus on different types of jobs and make decisions about which to apply for,” Masini advised. “There are money-only jobs where a child is focused on making a certain amount of money by summer’s end, regardless of what the job is. These jobs may be menial or rote types of jobs that others frown on because they’re not glamorous. But there is many-layered value in these jobs for teenagers. On the other hand, there are low or non-paying jobs that work for a resume, and these should be considered as well.”
Spawn adds that parents should “work with their child to create a list of possible job types based on availability and skill level, discuss expected wages and financial goals, and proofread job applications and resumes. But when it comes to cold calling companies or talking to a friend of a friend who knows a fancy CEO who may need an intern, parents should take a step back.”
Think outside the application box.
There are many resources for helping teens find jobs beyond the stereotypical lifeguarding or camp counseling or lemonade standing. Consider looking online for unique opportunities.
“There are over 125 youth corps across the country that provide outdoor work on public lands. It’s a highly educational experience, and it’s a meaningful job that makes a difference. Youth Corps programs are built on the successful Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s. Info on the national association, and a member listing, can be found at corpsnetwork.org.
“Vermont Youth Conservation Corps will provide profound learning opportunities—which are also paying jobs (or AmeriCorps positions) – to nearly 300 young people this summer. We offer opportunities from 4 to 20 weeks, for youth and young adults ages 15 and over. Applicants do not need any work experience or skills to qualify. VYCC is a nonprofit that has been serving youth since 1985. Our mission is to teach young people personal responsibility that connects us to the land, community, and one another. Alumni consistently tell us that their VYCC experience had a positive influence on them and is the source of their strongest lifelong friendships.”
Finding a job for yourself can be tough enough, so you might not have the time and resources to help your kid or kids find one too. But if you are able, it can be a great way for them to start learning responsibility and independence.
Naomi Galimidi is Development Director at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (@thevycc). She is motivated and impassioned by VYCC’s ability to provide young people with skills and values that guide them into adulthood. Naomi arrived at VYCC in 2012 with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany and ten years of professional experience in nonprofit management including program development, marketing, communications, and fundraising. You can reach her at Naomi.Galimidi@vycc.org. (The YYCC is a part of The Corps Network (@TheCorpsNetwork.)
April Masini (@AskAprilcom) is a relationship and etiquette expert and popular media resource — author of four relationship advice books, the ‘Ask April’ advice column and the #1 relationship advice forum where over 25,000 questions have been asked and answered, personally, by April. She has nearly a quarter million active forum members, 623,000 Facebook fans and over 1.4 million Twitter followers. She is also the relationship expert and consultant to TD Bank for it’s 2016 Love and Money Survey Campaign.
Laura Spawn (@VirtualVocation), CEO of Virtual Vocations, Inc., co-founded the company with her brother, Adam, in 2007 following a frustrating search for her own virtual job. For more than a decade they have been dedicated to providing jobseekers with safe and effective resources for researching and applying to the latest telecommute job openings from top employers. More than one million jobseekers subscribe to job alerts from Virtual Vocations, which has grown to become the number one telecommute-only job board online. Virtual Vocations’ services have also been discussed in publications from Forbes, AARP, Computerworld, and The Penny Hoarder.
As the founder of The Center for Resilient Leadership, Donna Volpitta (@donnavolpitta), Ed.D., teaches people about the brain in order to help them make more mindfully resilient choices. Her Resilient Mindset Model has been applied to areas of leadership from parenting to corporate management. Dr. Volpitta is co-author of the book “The Resilience Formula: A Guide to proactive–Not Reactive-Parenting” and co-creator of the Nametags Education Program. Dr. Volpitta holds Board positions for One Revolution Foundation (one-revolution.org) and Kids Helping Kids (kidshelpingkidsct.org), both of which develop resilience in youth. She is an expert contributor for Understood.org, is a Global Presence Ambassador for Parenting 2.0, is a life skills coach with Yathatgame.com, and presents at workshops throughout the country. For more information, please see her website: centerforresilientleadership.com.
Avoiding Payday Loans: How to Deal With a Bounced Paycheck
Can a paycheck bounce? Unfortunately, yep. It does happen.
If your paycheck bounces or your employer is late with a payment, it can mean financial disaster. Here are the steps you can take to fix the situation, as well as savings strategies to make sure you have the funds to make it through.
If you’re one of the millions living paycheck-to-paycheck, then what would you do if your next paycheck happened to, well, just not show up. Or worse, it does show up, but when you go to cash it, you get the four worst words in the English language: “Transaction Failed, Insufficient Funds.”
What are you going to do now? Do you have enough money in your savings account to deal with a delayed paycheck?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t worry. There’s no need for you to run over to your local payday lender and take out a short-term, high-interestloan that’ll put you in an even deeper financial hole.
Instead, just keep reading.
1. Talk to your employer
“Nothing shakes your faith in the American enterprise system like a bounced paycheck,” says Howard Dvorkin (@HowardDvorkin), CPA and Chairman of Debt.com (@debtcom).
“It happens most often in small businesses, and many times, it’s not only unintentional, the employer is rightfully embarrassed as hell.”
Dvorkin says that your first step should be to “call your employer and politely inquire. You just might get a horrified apology because someone forgot to do something important.”
According to Roslyn Lash (@RozLash), an Accredited Financial Counselor and the founder of Youth Smart Financial Education Services, you should want to “make sure that the money wasn’t incorrectly transferred or some type of computer glitch.”
“Therefore,” she says, “you need to call your employer and explain the situation and inquire about a reissue date.”
2. Start a Paper Trail
If your bounced paycheck does turn out to be a simple error, then you’ll probably be fine. But if it’s something else—if your employer is maybe up to something—then you’re going to need documentation. You’ll need to not only document your lack of a paycheck, but your efforts to resolve the issue.
“If you contact your employer and you get an attitude, start a paper trail,” says Dvorkin. “Get a copy of the returned check, and keep copies showing if you had to pay overdraft fees.”
According to Lash, when people with a bounced paycheck contact their employer, they should “be sure to document the name, location of the representative that they speak with. This will be the beginning of the paper trail,” she says. “From this point forward, every conversation and everything… and I mean everything should be documented.”
3. Call Your Bank
Most people plan their bill payments around their paycheck. But when a paycheck bounces, that plan has got to change.
“Contact your bank to have all drafted automatic payments from your account canceled.” says Lash. “Explain the situation to the bank representative and request proof that your paycheck was not deposited into your account.”
“Any documentation that they can provide proofing that the employer had insufficient funds or that the check bounced would be helpful,” she says.
Lash also recommends that “if you have an emergency savings, transfer some funds into this account to cover any outstanding bills.”
“Ask your lender if there are any provisions made for NSF fees that you may incur,” she says.
4. Contact your creditors
People tend to think that lenders are totally inflexible when it comes to your payments. And while it’s true that most lenders aren’t pushovers, and they don’t like it when people are constantly calling in about insufficient funds, they do understand that (and this a very technical banking term) “stuff happens.” The same goes for utility companies.
Lash says that you should call your lenders and “Advise them of the situation and request a payment date change.”
“Explain that you expect to be paid by date (whatever date that the employer advised you) but you will keep them abreast of any changes.”
If you have already incurred a delinquent fee, she adds, “request a courtesy removal.”
5. If you need to, then lawyer up
In cases where you aren’t able to get the situation resolved immediately, then you’re probably going to need an attorney. (Also: a new job.)
Lawyers can be expensive. For someone with a low-income, especially someone who’s now not even receiving that income, a traditional lawyer might be out of the price range.
This is is why both Lash and Dvorkin recommends contacting your local Legal Aid office. If you qualify for free legal aid, they should be able to set you up with a lawyer.
“Meanwhile, if you want to get your employer’s attention, report him to the Department of Labor in your state,” says Dvorkin. “There are laws about these things, and you can file a complaint.”
Try These Savings Strategies
Of course, if you aren’t able to get your paycheck issue resolved quickly, then you’re still going to need money. Even if you are able to find another job, it’ll probably be a few weeks before your paid. In the meantime, how are you gonna eat?
This is where a payday loan might start looking like a pretty good option. But stay away. The extremely high APRs and the short repayment terms can all too easily lead to you rolling the loan over instead of paying it off on time. That’s how the dangerous cycle of debt begins.
Instead, the best way to manage this situation is to have money in your savings. This way, you can bridge the gap without having to pay any additional fees or interest.
Saving money does take some extra work and discipline—especially if you’re someone with a low-income, but there are definitely ways you can make it work.
Hack your recurring expenses: “The most effective way to build your savings or emergency fund is to reduce your monthly payments and direct the difference to your savings accounts. It’s a good idea to regularly review these expenses anyway to ensure you’re not overpaying. Good candidates for review include cable TV and internet bills, mobile plans, auto insurance policies, and subscriptions. You can opt to swap your cable TV for a Netflix and/or Hulu subscription; decrease your data plan based on usage; increase the deductible on your auto insurance policies to drop your monthly premium, and review the subscriptions you pay for and start making cuts. You can also use a service called Trim to review and cancel unused subscriptions on your behalf.”
Limit your splurges: “If you’re prone to buying coffee or dining out for lunch each week, start cutting back on these treats and deposit what you save into your emergency fund. Cutting out these purchases entirely may lead to burnout, so select a day or two during the week or month to treat yourself. Limiting your splurges to Fridays and paydays only, for example, strikes a nice balance between enjoying your money now and saving for the future.”
Automate your savings: “Paying yourself first means placing a priority on your financial wellness and security. This can be accomplished by setting up an automatic transfer of funds between checking and savings every time you receive a paycheck, or at any increment you choose. You can also use a tool like Digit which reviews your daily spending and makes small, incremental transfers from your checking to an online, FDIC-insured account.”
Sell your stuff: “While reducing your spending and saving money is an important part of building an emergency fund, so too is adding to your income. ‘Tis the season to spring clean and declutter, so consider selling your stuff at a garage sale, or through Craigslist or Facebook community groups, and deposit your profits into savings.”
Attempt a no-spend challenge: “The more adventurous savers can try a no-spend challenge, whereby you try to purchase nothing for a certain period of time (one week, one month or even one year). The money you save by limiting your spending can go toward building your emergency fund.”
Hopefully, you will never have to deal with a bounced paycheck. But if you do, follow these steps and you’ll weather the storm just fine.
Have your own tips for dealing with bounced paycheck (and avoiding dangerous payday or bad credit loans)? Let us know! You can find us on Twitter at @OppLoans.
Howard S. Dvorkin (@HowardDvorkin) is a two-time author, personal finance expert, community service champion and Chairman of Debt.com (@debtcom). As one of the most highly regarded debt and credit expert in the United States and has played an instrumental role in drafting both State and Federal Legislation. Howard’s latest book “Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny” provides consumers with the detailed tools that they need to live debt free and regain their financial freedom. Howard has appeared as a finance expert on CBS Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, The Early Show, Fox News, and CNN.
Roslyn Lash (@RozLash) is an Accredited Financial Counselor and the founder of Youth Smart Financial Education Services. She specializes in youth financial education, adult coaching and works virtually with adults helping them navigate through their personal finances i.e. budgeting, debt, and credit repair. Her advice has been featured in national publications such as USA Today, TIME, Huffington Post, NASDAQ, Los Angeles Times, and a host of other media outlets.
Kendal Perez is the Savings Expert for CouponSherpa.com (@CouponSherpa), a popular source for online, in-store and grocery coupons. Her money-saving tips are often featured on Bankrate, GOBankingRates, US News & World Report, Wisebread and more. Kendal can be found on Twitter @HassleFreeSaver.
OppLoans Follow Friday
Is there any day more beloved or more cherished than Follow Friday?
Probably. But since the dawn of Twitter, every Friday hundreds of thousands of users proclaim to their followers which other accounts are deserving of the attention of the online masses. Today, the OppLoans Financial Sense Blog joins in that honored tradition.
We’ve had the pleasure of reading and working with some of the greatest financial experts across The Internet, and now we share their Twitter handles with you so that you may follow them and gain access to their wisdom. Time to up your personal finance game!
After being turned down for a mortgage 15 years ago, Jeanne Kelly realized she needed to get her credit in order. Not only was she able to fix her bad credit, but she took the skills and knowledge she gained and decided to share it with the world. Now she’s a nationally regarded credit coach and expert, with multiple books and television appearances. She’s also been kind enough to share her insights with the OppLoans Financial Sense Blog onmanydifferentoccasions. Follow her on Twitter and check out her site to get the credit help you need!
Clark Howard is a best-selling author and consumer expert. His Twitter feed and website both provide endless resources you can use to save (and make) money. You’ll even get additional tips on topics ranging from parenting to pet care (which is kind of just a different sort of parenting).
A credit expert for more than 20 years, Gerri Detweiler has built up a trove of credit resources, from podcasts to articles to books (two of which you can get for free right now). A friend of the OppLoans Financial Sense Blog, follow her Twitter account to get all the financial tips and news you need.
Tired of dealing with various blonde stereotypes, Shannon McLay started the Financially Blonde Blog to share expert money advice. She also has her own podcast and created the Financial Gym, in case your economic situation could benefit from a personal trainer.
Kali Hawlk is a financial advisor who helps small businesses market themselves. She also offers all manner of financial advice to help you save the most money in your day to day life. You can find said advice on her Twitter account and website.
Professor Victor Ricciardi is an expert in behavioral finance, offering a unique perspective on how the decision-making process leads to different financial outcomes. He literally wrote the book on investor behavior. Follow his Twitter feed to understand why you make the financial decisions you do and learn how you can train yourself to make better ones.
Jamie Jeffers runs the Medium Sized Family blog, where she’s documenting her family’s path out of debt and offering lots of practical saving tips along the way. She’s previously told Opploans Financial Blog readers how to smartly spend their tax refund and save money while traveling with kids. For more insights, check out her Twitter feed and blog.
Since first getting interested in finance in sixth grade, Peter Dunn has made a name for himself in the world of personal finance with TV and radio appearances as well his regular USA Today column. Check out his Twitter feed and site to get all the advice you could ever want!
Author of the number one personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert T. Kiyosaki served as a US Marine before returning to civilian life and attempting to start a business. After some initial setbacks, he was able to gain incredible success and now tries to pass the knowledge he has gained onto others so that they too can improve their financial situation.
If you’re looking for some big picture analysis, Nouriel Roubini is a professor credited with predicting many major economic events. You can read his thoughts and predictions on his Twitter feed as well as at his blog.
Donna Freedman is a personal finance writer who has been featured in a wide range of money-related magazines and sites. She offers advice you can use every day to improve your financial situation. The header on her site reads “surviving and thriving” and she’ll help you do exactly that.
And before we forget, you’ll definitely want to follow the OppLoans Twitter account. We compile the best financial advice you could ask for into a delicious money stew.
14 Tax Experts To Follow Right Now!
The tax filing deadline is coming up quick, but there’s still time to get (and use) strong advice from the experts. We’ve rounded up the greatest tax gurus on Twitter so you can get the best tips for filing your return this year, and each year to come!
Get yourself a head start on those deductions with these top tax tweeters:
Jeff Rosan has been an enrolled agent of the U.S. Treasury Department for 30 years, meaning he’s able to represent his clients directly before the IRS (@IRSnews). His San Diego-based firm helps individuals and small businesses make their tax experience as painless as possible. The firm’s Twitter account shares helpful articles and advice with a special eye on raising awareness about tax scams. Give them a follow and stay a step ahead of the scammers!
Janet Novack is the Washington D.C. bureau chief for Forbes (@Forbes), focusing on tax advice and personal financial planning. Follow her for good information and advice about your own money matters, as well as her takes on the economic world at large.
Would you rather read about sports than tax advice? Well, you can get both at once! K Sean Packard is the tax director for OFS (@OFSWealth), a firm that offers tax advice and financial guidance to athletes and celebrities. Follow him for tax information and sports views. And are there tweets that mix sports and taxes? Of course there are! Check him out.
We hear what you’re saying. You want another account that will provide you with a wonderful swirl of tax and sports takes. Perhaps an accountant so well-regarded by the sports world that they made him into a baseball card? Well, then you should follow Robert Raiola. When Sports Illustratedor The Washington Postneeds a sports accountant to talk to, they talk to Raiola, and for just the low, low price of one Twitter follow, you can get his insights too!
Sylvia F. Dion is the founder of PrietoDion Consulting Partners. She has over 22 years of tax experience and a Twitter feed that’s dedicated to not just personal tax advice, but important news stories about taxes in general. It’s a great way to get all the knowledge you need to make you seem like a tax genius at parties. Assuming that’s what they talk about at the parties you attend.
Rick Telberg is the former editor-in-chief of Accounting Today(@AccountingToday), and his company, CPA Trendlines, offers in-depth research and tax analysis. His twitter feed highlights endless important articles and views to give you the full picture of the current tax environment.
If you want your tax advice with a more personal touch, check out Tax Mama’s Twitter feed. Eva Rosenberg has been offering tax advice through books and the internet for a while now: her site has been around since 2000, when most accountants were probably still figuring out how to use Excel. Check out TaxMama.com to find the answers to your tax questions and even find out how to become an enrolled agent yourself.
Kay Bell’s website is called DontMessWithTaxes.comand the self-described “native Texan and tax geek” provides tax advice in an amusing, accessible way. She also writes regularly about racing for multiple trucking magazines, if you want your tax advice to be literally speedy. Are the racing articles actually related to the tax articles? You’ll have to find out for yourself!
9. National Associations of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) (@Tax_Experts)
Remember those enrolled agents we mentioned earlier? Well, there’s a whole organization of them, and you should follow their Twitter account. Their tax advice tends to be a little more tailored by region than some other accounts, so you can keep an eye out for the tips that make sense for where you’re at.
Jason M. Blumer is an accountant who specializes in working with creatives. That means his Twitter feed, while informative, also has its own spin, mixing in advice with pictures of what his clients are up to.
Rania Combs has a fully online law firm. So when you follow her, you know you’ll be getting tax advice from someone who is totally up to date. These are solutions for the taxpayer who’d rather spend their time online than waiting IN LINE. (Sorry.)
Sandra Feinsmith is a CPA who works with nonprofit organizations. So when you follow her, you might also see some suggestions of where you can donate this year to get those deductions… we mean… out of the goodness of your heart.
You’ve read about a lot of tax experts, but none of them so far have specialized in sales tax. None of them have been a sales tax gentleman, or a sales tax individual, if you will. But now we’ve got a sales tax guy to recommend! Jim Frazier posts all about sales tax and, given that it’s a tax you’re probably paying every day, it’s not a bad idea to learn more about it.
Tracey Shannon Levy shares a wide range of tax articles across many different topics. Following her is a great way to diversify your tax knowledge base. One read through the feed and you’ll be up to date on the latest tax happenings.
Follow all of these experts, and you’ll become a real tax expert yourself. But don’t get so distracted by tweets that you forget to file! File, then reward yourself with as many tax tweets as you like. The best reward!
Also, be sure to check out the OppLoans ebook “Tax Season 101” for an overview and step-by-step instructions for managing and filing your taxes.
Good Personal Finance for the Long Term with Tim Maurer
When it comes to getting your finances in order, there are a lot of different boxes you need to check…
There’s keeping your costs down through a monthly budget (check); there’s increasing your income through taking on a side gig or working for a promotion at work (check), there’s paying off your credit cards and then continuing to pay off your balances every month so that you’re not wasting hundreds—or even thousands—of precious dollars every year (check check check)!
But the box that it’s easiest to leave blank time and time again is the box marked “long-term.” When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you’re often worrying about how much money you’ll have next week, not how much money you’ll have 20 or 30 years from now.
But if you’re serious about securing your financial future, then investing your money long-term is something you’ll need to deal with – preferably sooner rather than later. The earlier you start investing, the longer your investment will have to earn interest, and the more money you’ll have decades from now when you retire. (Remember, interest here is something that works for you, not against you.) Without investing some of your money long-term, you might as well have “win the lottery” as a retirement plan – which, by the way, that is a very bad retirement plan. Seriously.
Here are 7 great pieces of advice that Tim gave us for folks who want to start investing – but just don’t know where to start.
1. Wealth management is for everyone – not just the wealthy
TM: “First, I think that the word “wealth,” in and of itself, carries a misconception. The financial services industry has conflated wealth with abundant riches, a goal that is out of reach for many people. But the original derivation of the word “wealth” has a definition that is much closer to “contentment.”
“In other words, wealth isn’t just for rich people. Investing, similarly, must not be seen as a practice reserved only for the materially wealthy. When applied as a personal discipline, it works just as well for those of more modest means.”
2. Get your high-interest debt paid down, stat!
TM: “High-interest-rate debt is financial enemy No. 1. Therefore, paying it off is a priority over investing for the future. This may feel frustrating if you’re excited to move forward–but paying off a 21 percent interest credit card can reasonably be seen as the equivalent of MAKING a guaranteed 21 percent rate of return on a long-term investment. I’ll take that!”
3. When you’re ready to invest, first figure out why
TM: “Assuming you’ve 1) mastered your cash flow with a functional budget, 2) addressed your most important risk management issues with a buffer of emergency reserves, base levels of insurance and the requisite estate planning documents, and 3) eliminated any high-interest-rate debt, the first step is to clarify WHY you’re investing.
“We don’t invest in the stock market in the hope of making a quick buck–that’s gambling. Rather, we align our long-term goals–like our desired quality of life in retirement–with an appropriate mix of investments. I recommend beginning with a simple, moderate, balanced portfolio, then calibrating it by increasing or decreasing your exposure to stocks depending on your ability, willingness and need to accept risk.
“It may make sense to begin investing with a single mutual fund designed to be an all-in-one, balanced investment, but consider only using low-cost, index-based funds that are well-diversified.”
4. You don’t have to choose between saving money and investing it
TM: “This is a challenge that most of us face. I believe that it’s imperative to get at least one month of expenses saved in pure cash so that you’re not living paycheck-to-paycheck. Beyond that, how much you dedicate to cash versus future investment will be a byproduct of your income stability and your tolerance for risk.
“One handy vehicle for those who find themselves pulled between these two worthy goals is the Roth IRA. While we’d certainly prefer NOT to touch anything we set aside in our Roths, we’re able to extract the principal we’ve invested in these accounts without fear of taxes or penalties–at any age for any reason. This may in some cases make the Roth a serviceable “hybrid” savings vehicle.”
5. Don’t bet (on) your house to get you through retirement
TM: “For a lot of people, their home is their main source of wealth. The 2008 financial crisis showed us the dangers of relying on your house to pay for your retirement. How can people balance and diversify their wealth to protect themselves and their money?
“As much as we’d all like it to be, it’s a fallacy to think of our primary residence as an investment for this simple reason: We live in it! We’re always going to need a place to live, and we’re more prone to buying-up than downsizing. Plus, for many of us, the equity in our home will be our default long-term care insurance.
“Owning rental real estate is different, and may well be considered a wealth-building tool, but this type of investment is far more complex than most expect and more financially dangerous that we’d like (because of the debt involved).”
6. In fact, think about “retirement” differently
TM: “Retirement, as a concept, also presents us with a challenge. People picture themselves working full-time until they can afford to do nothing full-time, as though they are on a permanent vacation. But both medical professionals and financial planners recommend phasing into full retirement.
“Consider working as long as you can, doing something that you (mostly) enjoy and that keeps you engaged intellectually, physically and emotionally. Doing so also helps build and extend financial security.”
7. Investing and saving 20 percent of your income is good – but do more when you can!
TM: “The grandfather-like wisdom of giving 10 percent and saving 10 percent of one’s income works, believe it or not! But life is not linear; we’re likely to have more disposable income before we have children–and then again well after.
“Therefore, in anticipation that our investing *may* dip during our highest-expense years of child rearing, it’s sensible to invest MORE than 10 percent in our early years…and then more again after the kids are out of the proverbial nest.
“Life is so much easier when you begin this practice early and learn to live off of 80 percent or less of your income. But whether 10 percent, 15 percent or 20 percent feels impossible or easy, the answer to the question ‘How much should I be putting toward investing?’ for most people is simply, ‘As much as you can.’”
Financial planner, speaker and author, Tim Maurer, is a wealth advisor at Buckingham Asset Management and the director of personal finance for the BAM ALLIANCE. A Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner working with individuals, families and organizations, he also educates at private events and via TV, radio, print and online media. Tim is a regular contributor to Forbes, CNBC and TIME/Money. A central theme, that “personal finance is more personal than it is finance,” drives his writing and speaking.
8 Women of Personal Finance You Should Follow on Twitter Today!
What’s true for friendships can also be true for your Twitter feed. Surround yourself with people you admire and you can become pretty admirable yourself! Here are eight of our favorite personal finance-focused Twitter handles. Follow these ladies for great financial advice, tactics and humor today!
If you’re a millennial wondering why your bank account is always running dry (so basically, if you’re a millennial period), then check out Felicia Blaise, a personal finance expert whose writings and strategies are specifically geared towards the millennial experience. You can read her recent posts on her website, FeliciaBlaise.com. She’s even got a free “Dollars-N-Sense” course that you can take over email! Following Felicia on Twitter will give you a direct line to her work, her wisdom, and her words of inspiration. What are you waiting for?!
If you’re drowning in student loan debt and have never checked out Student Loan Hero – then you’ve you’re about to find your new favorite site. Casey Bond is the site’s content director, and her Twitter feed is filled with great articles from the Student Loan Hero team about a range of topics—from dealing with student loan debt to saving for retirement to improving your credit score, and so much more. Click “follow” on Casey’s account right now and your long-term finances will be weeping with gratitude.
Beth Tallman is one of the country’s leading Financial Literacy educators. She’s taught and coordinated financial literacy programs at Oberlin College and also worked as the Director of Education for CentSai, a website that teaches financial literacy through storytelling. Beth is a superb follow on Twitter because she is always sharing and commenting on the latest news and trends in personal finance and financial literacy. Wanna get educated? Beth is the follow for you.
Catherine Alford is a world-class expert in personal finance—with a special emphasis on family finances. She’d been quoted in tons of publications and has even been featured on Good Morning America. Follow her on Twitter to learn how she turned a simple blog into a full-time career as a writer, speaker and entrepreneur, or check out her website: CatherineAlford.com.
Custom dictates that you kneel when in the presence of a queen – and Cherie Lowe is most definitely the Queen of Free! Alongside her husband, Brian, Cherie was able to pay off $127,000 in debt. She blogs at QueenOfFree.net about ways to save, pay down debt, take advantage of special offers, and inspiration to stay the debt-free course. She’s even written a book titled “Slaying the Debt Dragon“. Follow her for a whole host of tips, tricks, and ways you can make your way to a debt-free life today.
If you’re the reading type, you should read all the great articles and blog posts that personal finance expert Jessica Moorhouse. And if you’re more the listening type—have we got some really great news for you. Jessica’s got a podcast too! It’s called Mo’ Money and features more great financial advice than you can probably handle. Jessica’s twitter feed is a great way to stay on top of all the great work she’s cranking out. You can subscribe to her podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube, and you should also check out her website: JessicaMoorhouse.com.
Tia Chambers has only been blogging under Financially Fit and Fab for barely a year now, but the site is really rising up the ranks of the personal finance blogs you must read on the regular. Her approach focuses on finance for millennials, and she’s great at breaking down complex subjects into easily digestible posts. Follow her on twitter to make sure you don’t miss a single post!
Niv Persaud is the founder and managing director Transition Planning and Guidance, which focuses on the 5 P’s of Life: Personal Relationships, Personal Finance, Profession, Peace of Mind, and Physical Health. As she states on her website TransitionPG.com, “While money helps you achieve many goals, it’s not the only thing to consider when developing a financial plan.” Niv’s twitter feed is a great source for financial wisdom and inspiration. Do yourself a favor and start following her today.
If you want to keep up-to-date on all the latest news and advice from our team here at OppLoans, you should give us a follow too! You can find us at @Opploans.
33 Fun Tax Facts!
Now that we’re smack in the middle of tax season, it’s probably time to take a break, right? That’s why we reached out to a group of tax experts and asked them for some of their favorite tax-related facts, tips, and trivia.
Fair warning: the list gets kind of weird. Enjoy!
“The word “tax” comes from the Latin taxo, which means “I estimate.” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
The motto of American colonists who participated in the Boston Tea Party was “no taxation without representation!” Because residents of Washington DC lack voting representation in Congress, their unofficial motto is “taxation without representation.” Don’t believe us? Check the receiptslicense plates.
“Uncle Sam wants you to be healthy! If you quit smoking, you can write off any smoking cessation products or programs. Have a life-threatening medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease? If a doctor signs off on it, you can write off diet/fitness products, classes, and programs. One person was able to write off the cost of their new pool because it was their form of exercise, as signed off by a doctor. However, if it was for recreational purposes, the IRS wouldn’t accept it. – Ivy Chou, Content Director for DealsPlus (@DealsPlus).
“Income tax didn’t exist until the Civil War, in 1861, but the tax was actually disbanded in 1872 because it was deemed unconstitutional. It wasn’t until 1913 when the constitution was changed, via the 16th amendment, that these taxes were again re-introduced.” – Emilee Morehouse (@darkkhorsetrav), SimpleKeep (@SimpleKeepHQ)
“There are more words in the tax code than there are in the Bible. The tax code is about 4 million words long.” – Marc Roche, Co-founder and CEO of Annuities HQ (@AnnuitiesHQ).
“The first known taxes were in Sumer (Mesopotamia) almost 5,000 years ago. They were recorded on clay cones and paid in livestock.” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
The writing on the Rosetta Stone, a monumentally important artifact and the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, is mostly about taxes.
“The IRS was created during World War II and that’s when the government starting withholding taxes from paychecks.” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
Al Capone was a famous Chicago mobster. He was eventually brought down by agents from the Treasury Department (this was pre-IRS) who were able to prove that he was avoiding income tax.
“The IRS receives more than 130 million tax returns each year. It’s surprising that they’re able to keep up! In 2016, Americans spent about 6.1 billion hours and $29.6 billion on tax preparation services and/or tax software like TurboTax and H&R Block.” – Ivy Chou, Content Director for DealsPlus (@DealsPlus).
“In the 1st century, the Roman emperor taxed urine. It was collected for the ammonia and use to launder garments and tan hides.” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
In 2011, the country of Romania was trying to pull itself out of a steep recession, decided to add a new profession to the country’s labor code, making it subject taxation. The profession? Witchcraft.
“During the Great Depression, twelve states collected only fractions of a penny on sales of low-price items. For a product that only costs 10 cents, for example, the tax due was less than a penny. To avoid Americans being overcharged, in a time where that amount could be critical, tokens were generally used with some multiple of 1/10 of a cent.” – Susan Petracco, Co-Founder of AccurateTax.com (@accuratetax)
Double amputees in Oregon get a $50 tax credit. Single amputees? They get bupkus.
“The IRS has more people working for it than the Federal Bureau of Investigation!” – Marc Roche, Co-founder and CEO of Annuities HQ (@AnnuitiesHQ).
So-called “sin taxes” are taxes on things like tobacco, gambling and alcohol. Their proper name is “excise taxes.”
“Speaking of income tax, if we think taxes are bad now, we should take a gander back to WWII when tax levels rose to 94% for wealthy Americans. Talk about burning through your (very well padded) paychecks!” – Emilee Morehouse (@darkkhorsetrav), SimpleKeep (@SimpleKeepHQ)
Up until President Trump’s controversial decision to withhold his tax returns, every presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter had released theirs during the campaign.
“Get creative with your business expenses. A businessman deducted the cost of beer, a stripper her breast implants, and a work-at-home business owner deducted the costs of his lawn care. If it benefits your business in any way, you can probably write it off.” – Ivy Chou, Content Director for DealsPlus (@DealsPlus).
“Here’s the story about the stripper who deducted her boob job and ended up in tax court. Her name was Cynthia Hess (aka “Chesty Love”) and she originally deducted the surgery as a medical expense as a medical expense. The IRS disallowed it because cosmetic surgery that isn’t to correct a disfigurement or for life-saving purposes is not deductible. The higher court allowed the expense but not as a medical expense. They allowed it as a bona fide ordinary and necessary business expense.” – Bonnie Lee, E.A., Owner of Taxpertise (@BLTaxpertise)
“In the 1600s and 1700s in England, there was a tax on the number of windows in a house. (This was repealed in the 1800s because people started to get sick from living in homes with a lack of air, due to having limited windows.)” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
“In England there is a tax on televisions. Color televisions are taxed more than black and white televisions, and if a blind person has a television they only have to pay half the tax. Truly bizarre!” – Max Robinson, Jumpstart Tax
Several European nations have a tax on cow flatulence. It’s actually very important because methane gas is one of the main greenhouse gases that causes climate change. But still: cow flatulence.
“Over 1 million accountants are hired each year in America to help with taxes.” – Marc Roche, Co-founder and CEO of Annuities HQ (@AnnuitiesHQ).
“The Russian Emperor Peter the Great taxed beards. (He wanted men to be clean shaven.)” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
“New York City has the highest corporate income tax in the world.” – Marc Roche, Co-founder and CEO of Annuities HQ (@AnnuitiesHQ).
Texas has a “Sexually-Oriented Business Fee” that charges strip clubs that serve alcohol $5-per-patron. Of course, it’s most commonly referred to by a different name: the pole tax. Revenue raised to the tax goes to health care and programs for victims of sexual assault.
“One of the causes of the French Revolution was a salt tax (the gabelle).” – Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting (@westwoodtax).
In 1982, Madison Square Garden was granted a 10-year property tax abatement. However, a clerical error led to the abatement being permanent. This has cost New York City approximately $200 million in tax revenue.
“In an effort to keep citizens healthy, France imposed a “soda tax” on all carbonated soft drinks in 2012. They’re now about 3.5% more expensive than other drinks. But with all that wine, why would you even bother?” – Emilee Morehouse (@darkkhorsetrav), SimpleKeep (@SimpleKeepHQ)
If you were going simply by tax documents, 7 million US children disappeared in 1987—the same year that the IRS started requiring that parents list their children’s Social Security numbers on their taxes.
“Are you a drug dealer, thief, or corrupt official? The IRS wants to tax your dirty money, too. You can include your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if you’re “self-employed”. As part of the Fifth Amendment, you have no obligation to disclose where the money came from. Now the question is, how many thieves and drug dealers are honest enough to pay up?” – Ivy Chou, Content Director for DealsPlus (@DealsPlus).
In 1935, the US tax code’s highest income tax bracket (63 percent) applied to only one person: Nelson Rockefeller, who earned over $5 million the previous year.
If you need help self-filing your own taxes in 2017, check out our blog post: Ready, Set, Deduct!
About the Contributors:
Ivy Chou, Ivy Chou is the content director at DealsPlus.com, one of the most popular shopping, coupon, and deal sites on the web. As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, she loves sharing her coupon-ing expertise and money-saving tips with fellow shoppers.
Bonnie Lee, For over 20 years, as the owner of Taxpertise and as an Enrolled Agent, Lee has represented taxpayers across the country in audits, offers in compromise, tax problem resolution, and non-filing issues. She specializes in resolving tax problems for independent contractors, the self-employed and small business owners.
Emilee Morehouse, is a marketing maven dedicated to finding fresh ways to bring people together — a fancy way of saying she’s obsessed with social media. With a BA in Journalism, she worked as Managing Editor for The Exploress, then joined the team at SimpleKeep; bringing the worlds of marketing, small business and finance closer together. In her spare time you can find Emilee on Twitter, travel blogging, painting or exploring her home city of Seattle, WA.
Susan Petracco, is Co-Founder of AccurateTax.com, where she manages partner integrations and development. With a background of fifteen years in e-commerce, she has worked with large brands including Talbots, Serta, and Avid, as well as many smaller retailers. This experience consulting for retailers brought the need for more advanced sales tax solutions to her attention, leading to the founding and subsequent growth of AccurateTax.
Max Robinson works for Jumpstart Tax, an R&D tax claim provider based in Scotland. Jumpstart pride themselves on bringing a bit more personality to their work than other tax specialists, and believe that this is why they’ve managed to establish such a loyal following.
Marc Roche, is the Co-founder and CEO of Annuities HQ an online resource for information and rates on annuities and retirement planning. Working steadily in the financial services, online marketing and lead generation industry for over eight years, Marc has had literally thousands of conversations concerning annuities with prospective buyers and advisors.
A forward-thinking entrepreneur and passionate family man, Josh Zimmelman graduated from Yeshiva University in 2003 with a degree in accounting. Josh launched his own launch his own firm Westwood Tax and Consulting and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, USA Today, The Huffington Post, and US News & World Report.
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