Financial Wellness @ Work

How a Journal Gave Me a New Perspective on Money

A few months ago, I started to keep a journal so that I could capture my thoughts about life and record them for the benefit of my children. I figure I work all day long and don’t really have much time to teach them some of the important lessons that I’ve learned along the way. My hope is that one day they will pick up my journal and hear my voice as I speak to them about what is really important. In the same way, there are some things that are just more important than others when it comes to our finances. Here’s how journaling has helped me deal with this concern: Read more

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Only You Can Prevent Financial Fires

Not to date myself, but I used to love the Smokey the Bear commercials about how, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.” Well, when it comes to financial fires, the same rule applies. Although everything around you seems like it is out of your control, there are things within your control that you can do. Read more

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How to Maximize Your Satisfaction

How do you make decisions? According to this article, there are two basic approaches. Some people are “satisfiers,” which means that when they see a choice that satisfies them, they take it. Other people are “maximizers,” meaning they want to see and study all the choices to pick the best possible option. Maximizers do tend to make “better” choices (for example, they make more money on average) but they also aren’t as happy with those choices (including with those higher-paying jobs). That’s because maximizers are always wondering if there’s a better choice they could have made. Read more

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We’re Not Talking About What’s Right. We’re Talking About The Law

One of my favorite TV shows of the 80’s was “WKRP in Cincinnati.” If you’re my age, you probably remember Johnny Fever, Venus Flytrap and of course Jennifer and the infamous Turkey Drop: http://youtu.be/lf3mgmEdfwg. As much as I loved that episode, my favorite quote came from another episode where Mr. Carlson is talking to the station’s attorney about a legal issue. When Mr. Carlson is talking about a situation that is morally wrong, he says, “That’s not right,” and the attorney responds, “Arthur, we’re not talking about what’s right. We’re talking about the law.” Read more

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How to Find Lost Money

A few weeks ago, a truck and the trailer attached to it were stolen from a hotel parking lot in the suburbs of Atlanta. Unfortunately, it seems like crimes like this happen on a daily basis. In the case of this particular theft, it is likely the nighttime bandits had no idea what they were actually stealing.  Read more

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How Costco Is Like An R-rated Movie

My colleague, Doug Spencer, and I have a lot in common. We’re married, we both have wonderful children, and we both love being reminded just how much our kids are like us or in some cases, how much we are like our kids. Take for instance this recent conversation Doug had with his family, written from Doug’s perspective: Read more

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It’s Time For Changes to Payday Loans

In what is a positive development for many Americans, not to mention society at large, there are some changes coming to the world of payday loans. The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) is rolling out some new regulations for the short-term loan industry that can only be viewed as a good thing by the borrowers. (Maybe not so much for the owners of the lending companies, though.)   Read more

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Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Problem With Tax Preparation Software

A couple of weeks ago, I received a desperate email from Alex who was using tax preparation software to help him prepare his tax return. It seems he thought he could avoid taxation on his 401(k) from his prior employer by rolling it directly into a Roth IRA.  While it’s true he could directly roll funds from his 401(k) to a Roth IRA, it is NOT true that this will avoid taxation. Only after-tax money may be deposited into a Roth IRA, therefore the amount rolled over—a sum of nearly $20,000—would be treated as taxable income for the year. Read more

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When To Hire a Tax Preparer

It’s February, and that usually means that you are ready for winter to be over, you are thinking about what to get that special someone for Valentine’s Day, and you can’t decide whether to do your own taxes or to let someone do your taxes for you. For years, taxpayers have been baffled by the federal income tax system and for good reason. The number of pages in the Wolters Kluher CCH Standard Tax Reporter reached 73,954 in 2013!  However, there’s probably only a handful of those pages that actually apply to the average taxpayer, while the rest of those pages are technical jargon, legalese, and other stuff that’s most irrelevant to you and me.   Read more

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Read The Fine Print Before You Sign

I love it when I get home from a road trip and a story from one of my coworkers is sitting in my inbox and makes points so good that they have to become blog posts. I hopped off a train recently and Daphne Winston (my blog buddy) had this nugget for me:

My twin daughters are sophomores at Ohio State University and decided to move off campus for their junior year. This is a rite of passage for college students and my girls are very excited to live with four of their friends in a restored, old house about three blocks from campus. After a fast and furious search, all the kids fell in love with this house, verbally agreed to rent it, and some even signed the rental agreement on the spot.   Read more

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