Friday, December 11, 2009
By Jameel Murray
Recently there has been a sudden influx of professional basketball players opting to take their game to many leagues overseas. The dream of playing in the NBA and basking million dollar contracts are becoming a bit watered down. Some current players in the NBA are making less than $800,000 annually, well below the $4.9 million dollar average. Although there are talented players that enter the league every year, the NBA dream is somewhat short-lived with an average career span of 5years. During that 5-years span, players make an adequate amount of money but also have to pay off multiple expenses such as personal training, taxes, high auto insurance rates, and other significant expenses such as food and housing. After analyzing this data, one has to question whether the NBA offers the world’s best talent the dream and fortunes of a lifetime. There are thousands of talented players who may never experience the NBA dream but may be provided with a potentially better option; overseas basketball.
Although making the transition from the United States to a country thousands of miles across the globe may be quite extreme to pursue a career, the opportunity to build wealth is extremely blatant. One of the main differences between NBA basketball and overseas basketball lies in the fame that each league creates for its players. The NBA has many of the word’s most well known players while overseas basketball may be occupied with unknown talent. However, many international teams provide players with a car, a house, a chef, and substantial contracts that are paid in Euros without a salary cap. These international contracts offer players an array of wealth while cutting back on some of the expenses that an NBA player has to come to terms with. If a player can earn an annual contract worth 800,000 Euros, then that player would be making more than $ 1 million in the United States. Many notable NBA players such as Josh Childress and Linas Klieza have made the jump to international careers.
This recession has taught American people to manage their finances better, to spend less, save more and to be financially responsible for them. However, now that the economy is recovering many people might go back to their old habits of impulsive purchases, not keeping track of spending, not saving etc. This is called the “wealth effect” and is commonly observed after the times financial distress.
However, people should not forget the lessons they learned from this recession. So even though it might seem that you don’t need to worry anymore about your finances, you should still set aside some portion of your income – at least 10%. Restrain yourself from unnecessary purchases; think where else you could have used that money. However, avoid being too frugal; have a small portion of income set aside for impulsive purchases and NEVER go beyond that number.
Another advice is to treat your money well: pay attention to how you treat it, keep them “neatly sorted in your wallet”, and not stuffed in random places, balance your checkbook regularly, and pay your bills on time.
In order to be on the same page with your partner, have the “money talk” and make sure you both have the same financial goals and objectives and follow the “rules and regulations” on how, where and when to spend your money. Your financial future depends on the decisions made by both of you, so ensure that you are both on the right track.
Recent news relating to Tiger Woods' has shocked everyone with his reputation shattered after numerous news stories reveal scandal after scandal. Tiger Woods is arguably the best golf player in the world and also a great marketing icon to companies like Gatorade and Nike. These companies have invested heavily on him and if he leaves the golf world, much revenue will be lost from these companies who draw on his reputation for high sales. Once news of these scandals came out, companies began to reduce their Tiger Woods-related ads in an effort to reduce the effect that he would have on their reputation and sales. Also, the golf world will suffer from this as well, since many golf fans are interested in golf because of Woods. Without Woods, the golf world will still survive and move on, but it definitely will not be as popular as it used to. In the financial perspective of Woods himself, this would severely hurt his reputation and his wealth. Most of his earnings come from corporate sponsorships, so without them his earnings will be severely cut. The most effective thing that he can do to preserve his reputation and his salary is to apologize to the public and admit his wrongdoings. Sadly, he has waited much too long and his reputation is now tarnished by the media. This has ultimately forced him to declare in his website on Friday that he has decided to an “indefinite break from golf.” Now all fears have become a reality. Things will go on, but the future of the golf world and everyone linked to it will be greatly impacted by this decision.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/12/sports/golf/12woods.html?hp http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/12/09/what-tiger-inc-needs-to-do-to-save-a-100-million-a-year-empire/?icid=sphere_blogsmith_inpage_dailyfinance http://www.bvonmoney.com/2009/12/11/tiger-woods-quitting-golf/
These days, with rising costs of secondary education, it is important to make sure that the degree you are paying for is worth what you are actually paying for. CNN money has made a list of the fifteen top earning degrees. Not so surprisingly, different types of engineering degrees take twelve of these fifteen spots with Petroleum, Chemical and Mining Engineering topping the list. The other three include computer science, actuarial science and construction management. These top fifteen’s average starting offers range from $54,200-$83,121. One thing that all of these degrees have in common though are the fact that they are based primarily on math skills. A director of research at NACE said “Math is at the crux of who gets paid, if you have those skills, you are an extremely valuable asset.” The reason some of these top the list is because their industries resources are becoming more and more scarce. Although engineering takes most of this list, it isn’t to say recent graduates haven’t felt the pinch of fewer job offers. But, since there are fewer and fewer people graduating with math-based majors compared to those graduating with liberal-arts majors, the math majors are being paid at such large premiums. So, if you are somewhat good at math and are looking to declare a major, engineering may be the way to go.
Money/PayScale.com has come out with the best jobs in America for 2009. The top fifty take into account great pay and growth prospect. Systems Engineer, Physician Assistant, College Professor, Nurse Practitioner, and Information Technology Project Manager top this list. When just looking at the highest pay, Anesthesiologist, Physician/Ob-Gyn, Psychiatrist, Nurse Anesthetist and Sales Director have the highest median salaries. The median salary for Anesthesiologist was $292,000 and this job was ranked eleventh on the full list. When looking strictly at job growth, Telecommunications Network Engineer tops this list with 21,000 total jobs and a 53% 10-year growth. This job ranks 30th on the full list. Following this on the best jobs based on Job Growth is Systems Engineer, Personal Financial Advisor, Veterinarian and Senior Financial Analyst. When just considering the job with the least stress, an Education/Training Consultant tops the list with 60% of people who have this job saying it is low stress. This is followed by a Physical Therapist with 59.5% of workers saying their job is low stress. Security wise, Emergency Room Physician and General Surgeon top the list of Job Security with 100% of workers saying their job is secure. If you are looking for a job with flexibility, 40-43% of Sales Directors, Software Product Managers and Software Development Directors say their jobs are flexible. If you would like to work in a position with future growth, 87-93% of Product Management Directors, Intelligence Analysts and Psychiatrists believe their jobs will grow in the future. Finally, on the basis of satisfaction, Nurse Anesthetists, Anesthesiologists and Training and Development Managers seem to be the most satisfied.
It is very important to make an estate plan in the event that you die and leave behind loved ones who depend on you greatly. Many people lack a comprehensive and adequate estate plan that outlines how all wealth is allocated. In the case that this happens, everything goes into the hands of the government who will take on the task of dividing up wealth that is left behind, or even worse, will take possession of the wealth.
The estate plan should not only consist of a will but also a durable power of attorney and also a health proxy. For some people, it would also be beneficial to have a trust as well if one’s estate is more complex and could be liable for more taxes. One important tip is to take an inventory of all the assets in possession so that it would be easier to allocate them to your heirs. A big problem with estate planning is that there may often be things that are left out and are not allocated. Also, in order to simplify one’s will, one can try to get rid of assets before death through joint tenancies or transferring ownership to trusts. In order to avoid confusion and conflicts about who gets what after your death, it may be good to speak to your heirs to clearly outline who will receive what. If you do not want to allocate wealth to a certain child of yours, you must clearly state that in your will.
One last tip relates to tax laws. Since all income is taxable, for properties with lots of taxable profit, it will be beneficial to keep the property until death so that the taxable income will disappear and your heirs will gain the property with the basis at fair market value. For property with a deductible loss, it is important to sell the property before death to take advantage of the deduction otherwise it will be lost after death.
By Shawn Chandok
The following list is a list of tips that we as humans take for granted. Some of them can be induced as basic knowledge; however you will be surprised to see how many people don’t follow them.
1. Pay Yourself First: What this means is before you deduct any expenses from your income, the first thing you should do is take a percentage (usually 10-20%) out for your savings account.
2. Spend Less than you earn: Although this may seem less, Americans are notorious for doing just the opposite. Do not fall for luring advertisements on credit cards, and try to use them as little as possible (only for emergencies in my opinion).
3. Pay Bills on time: This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during your college life if not followed because it can ruin your credit history for your upcoming future, which means it will be very hard to get a loan for a house, car, etc.
4. Plan a budget: Always record your daily expenses in either a small book or computer program and constantly analyzer where you can reduce expenses.
5. Set Goals: Although last on the list, this is probably one of the most important things to consider because setting goals allows you to achieve more exhilaration in life and not live check by check.
By Shawn Chandok
As college students, we love to make excuses. One mantra for life is “I was too busy and didn’t have time.” However, there is 1 big cost associated with this problem, and that is dining out. We all complain how much we hate the dining hall food; however that doesn’t make any change. Using that as another excuse, we love to splurge our money and eat out. It is averaged that each dining out meal costs an average of $26, however since we are in Syracuse and close to a university this number is most likely around $20. Ask yourself how many times you eat out a week? 2? 3? 4? Not taking into consideration anything else, that is almost $60/week of simply food that you could be saving by cooking yourself. Not only that, but by staying home and cooking you are also learning to cook and are at a lower risk of eating unhealthy foods. Furthermore, when you waste such money on eating out you may feel satisfied the moment after you ate, however you always feel stupid for wasting money. In conclusion, it is always more healthy and cheaper to eat in and not splurge unnecessary money on outside meals. This is a very important consideration to take into account during finals week when everyone is in the library till 4 am and have food cravings.
Posted by Ahmed Al-Salem
Everyone has their own opinion on the Tiger Woods scandal. There are so many differing reports and theories about the incident and one can get lost in all the details. All we know for sure is that Tiger did something bad and his wife is upset. What should she do? Below is advice from two experts on money and divorce.
• Don't give in to anger or rush your decision: "My first recommendation would be: Take your time, go slow, don't do anything precipitously," says A.J. Barranco (a partner at Barranco & Kircher in Miami, is an experienced Florida matrimonial lawyer and represented Hulk Hogan's wife in their recent divorce) "Try to save your marriage if you can, and if you can't, explore your options." Mark Hill agrees. "Don't listen to your girlfriends and go out and get the most aggressive lawyer in your jurisdiction," he says. He's seen it too many times. Most people are hurt, angry or scared, he says. "They hire an aggressive attorney because they feel that will protect their rights more. But that tends to push their spouse to hire an even more aggressive attorney."
• Get this out of the public eye as fast as you can, and keep it there: "You want to prevent this from becoming any more public than it's become already," says Mr. Barranco. This is turning into a public-relations fiasco, and that's bad news for everyone involved. And by damaging Tiger Woods's reputation, it may be damaging all of their financial interests. Your willingness to take this private and play ball is probably your strongest financial card—and can give you a lot of leverage. Tiger Woods does not want to suffer any more damage in public.
• Even if you do decide to divorce your husband, "choose how you are going to divorce first," says Mark Hill (Certified Financial Divorce Analysts with more than 20 years' experience advising high-net-worth individuals). "Realize that you have that decision to make first." That means looking at nonconfrontational options, such as mediation, before you even think about going to war. One nonconfrontational option: so-called "collaborative divorce," in which the two parties hire lawyers, personal counselors and a neutral financial expert such as a CPA to help them sort through all the issues—but sign an agreement at the outset not to go to court. It's not cheap, says Mr. Hill, but most times it's cheaper than a messy legal fight.
There are some issues though with stock options and discrepencies as to whether or not they are good motivation for employees as compensation. What if an executive had these stock options and decided to exercise and sell them immediately? Doesn’t he want a part of the company? Doesn’t he think these stocks are worth money? With these questions it makes shareholders weary of whether or not this company is a good investment. For this reason, Goldman Sachs decided that top executives would only receive stock options as a part of their bonuses as it made them more exclusive compensation. Financially this is a very smart idea because if the company goes under then the shares can be repossessed.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Posted by Chris O'Sullivan
Time to Review Your Taxes — Before It's Too Late
Year-end tax planning always makes sense, but this year it's especially vital.
Convulsions in the markets and the economy have shifted the ground beneath many taxpayers, and next year may bring major tax changes as lawmakers confront the record deficit.
Bottom line: review your taxes before it's too late. "Too often, I can't do anything for people who come to me in February," says Douglas Stives, an accountant with Curchin Group in Red Bank, N.J.
Here are areas especially relevant now. (For more details, go to www.irs.gov.)
First-Time Home-Buyer Tax Credit
Congress has just extended and altered this benefit, making it more generous for many. The new rules took effect on Nov. 6. The provision is a true dollar-for-dollar tax credit of up to $8,000 for 10% of the cost of a home. The credit is also refundable, meaning that even if a buyer doesn't owe $8,000 of tax, she can claim the full benefit and receive a refund check.
The new law has more generous phase-outs. The credit now begins to disappear for single taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 and married couples with incomes of $225,000. It is available for purchases through July 1, 2010 if the buyer has a contract in place before May 1, 2010. Unlike the prior law, however, this credit is capped: those buying homes for more than $800,000 get no credit at all, as of Nov. 6.
Article by Matthew Maillet
Unemployment indicators tell us that company layoffs bottomed out in early 2009, which may give promise to the idea of finding a job in the business service sector. The Johnson Assosciate, a compensating consulting firm, announced that investment banks alone are expected to increase their workforce by 40% from its 2008 levels.
Companies responded to the economic downturn by cutting down on their workforce in specific company sectors that they deemed unprofitable, however, one can expect an increase in other business areas that they see as a source of company value. For example, Citigroup responded to their financial struggles by cutting down significantly on their total workforce; however, certain sectors such as capital markets and mortgage modification will soon be bulking up in new hires. Citigroup spokesman Alex Samuelson reported that they are still actively seeking to “hire the best financial advisors for our private wealth management.” This trend is expected to be industry-wide. This trend gives promise to entry level applicants fresh out of college. Focus on certain sectors that companies wish to expand. Even more promising, the Johnson Associates firm predicts substantial increases in bonuses for investment bank employees—they predict an average of 40% from 2008 levels.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Some of the best personal finance stories you might have missed this weekend:
In Forbes, we identified eight last-minute ways to cut your 2009 taxes, how self-employed workers can boost their retirement savings if they act before December 31st, and how to be a tax-smart charitable giver.
The Seattle Times wrote about a single mom with two children who was audited because the IRS didn’t think she could live on $10 an hour in Seattle, an expensive city that's home to corporations like Amazon, Starbucks and Nordstrom.
The New York Times, meanwhile, puzzled over why those who make financial resolutions have such a hard time following through with them, noticed that companies with high-quality balance sheets like Wal-Mart and Apple have not risen as much in the stock rally as those laden with debt, and showed that buying a foreclosed home can help you find a bargain but can come with risks. For more on buying your first home, check out this package from Forbes.
click here to read more
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Post by David Held
I walk into a McDonald’s and a lady swipes her American Express for a $2.68 meal, I look to my friend and say, “Isn’t it easier to pay in cash, than worrying about paying a three dollar credit bill?” I then proceed to get my meal and pay in cash. I wonder, does anyone carry cash on them anymore? Every day I see more credit cards being used and less cash being used. The truth of the matter is when people use credit cards they feel as if they are not giving anything up in exchange for what they purchase. Even when paying the statement, the cash is never seen, it is just deducted from your bank account.
When paying in cash people tend to be more conservative with what they buy. Cash feels more value than a piece of plastic. The problem with credit cards is that they can get you into a lot of trouble, especially when you are spending money that you do not have! Paying for everything in cash will not allow you to overspend, because once you run out, you cannot buy anymore.
Having a credit card means you will spend more. “The average family today carries $8,000 in credit card debt according to the American Bankers' Association.” If you are going to buy, start spending cash, it could ultimately help your financial future!
Sources #1, #2, #3
By: Sara Sindelar
The Holidays are a time for giving to the less fortunate. Though, this year there may be many more who are in need, only 20% of Americans say they are reducing what they will be giving to charity this year. People feel that due to the economy it is more important to give to those in need more than ever, states the American Red Cross poll.
With giving comes tax deductions which help both those receiving the gift and those giving. Those giving to individuals receive an annual gift tax exclusion which allows one to give up to $13,000.
Though many people may be able to keep up with their charitable contributions many are becoming their own charity. With the economic hard times people are struggling to donate the way that they always have to charities and individuals. Though, money is not the only way to give back to your community and foundations. Places are looking for volunteers and any other way you can give time or help to their organization. Here are some suggestions on how to get involved passed money with your favorite organization.
First, Take your professional skills and use them to help out. Second, Clean our your own attic or garage and donate things you never use or sell them and give the money to the foundation. You can see if your credit card gives points to donate to your charity or partner with your company for matching-gift programs. Ask your family to donate to your charity of choice instead of getting you a gift. You can also organize your own fundraiser like a walk a thon or bake sale. There are still many other ways to give in a hard economic time during this holiday season.
Debit versus credit. Sometimes it can be difficult deciphering between the two and knowing which one fits your lifestyle better. Both are relatively new to the financial world; however, debit cards have been available for a shorter amount of time. Either way, both options allow you the freedom of not carrying cash and still being able to make purchases. When deciding between the two there are a few things that you should acknowledge and take into consideration.
Credit: Credit cards appeared first in comparison to debit cards. Essentially when using a credit card you are using someone else’s money to make a purchase and then promising to pay the bill later. Most credit cards generally have very high interest rates, which can be a major drawback if you have trouble paying your bills.
Debit: Debit cards carry the same convenience that credit cards do but you are not borrowing the money. Instead the money from a debit card is coming directly from your bank account. This eliminates the hassle of paying the credit card bill or having high interest rates accumulate debt. When using a debit card you generally have a choice of how you want the payment to go through, either debit or credit. With debit you have to enter a PIN number and the money is taken directly from your account.
When choosing between debit and credit take a look at your spending habits and determine what is most important to you.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Posted By: Scott Graulich
It's a classic shopper's dilemma. No, we're not talking paper vs. plastic. How about: Do I buy the extended warranty or not?
With Black Friday behind us and Cyber Monday ahead, the holiday season is in full cash-register mode. And even in a recession-addled year, personal electronics – laptops, Blu-ray players, iPhones and Xboxes – still top many gift lists. And that's where extended warranties come into play.
Click here to read more
Posted By: Scott Graulich
When times are tough or life is busy, it's easy to lose track of time and the commitment to all the necessities in life that need to be accomplished. But like a datebook or online calendar that you fill up daily, adding tasks important to your personal finances are one way of making sure they get done.
Your calendar for living has 168 hours a week. Take away 56 of those for 8 hours of sleep each night; take 40 of those if you work full time; and you have 72 waking hours to get stuff done. Your sleep and work hours may be different so adjust accordingly.
The Associated Press
Posted: 11/30/2009 08:41:53 PM PSTc
The approach of a new decade means a chance for a fresh start with your financial habits. Maybe your loved ones could use a nudge in that direction, too.
Either way, it's time to cast out any idea that books about money have to be boring. There's an abundance of well-written, even entertaining books on the market that could make savvy holiday gifts for either the personal finance nerd in your life or that special someone who could benefit from good information.
What follows is a sampler of books for all ages to whet your per-fi appetite.
Posted by: Lily Mei
What could you do with $1,148?
Find missing money
That's the average amount of the tax refund checks that were returned in 2009 to the Internal Revenue Service because they were undeliverable.
Whether your unclaimed refund is less or more, any amount would be nice with the holidays just around the corner.
In all, the IRS has 107,831 refund checks totaling $123.5 million in missing money.
The main reason the checks were returned is simple: The taxpayers moved after filing their 2008 tax returns and forgot to give the IRS their new addresses.
In some cases, the addresses on people's tax forms were illegible, causing the checks to be issued to wrong addresses.
Let the IRS know where you live
Whatever the reason, the IRS has money that could be yours. All you have to do is let the agency know where to send it.
The simplest method is to provide your address electronically, via the agency's refund-tracking Web page.
Taxpayers can also call 1-800-829-1954 to check on a refund and receive instructions on how to update an address.
And the IRS still accepts a mailed Form 8822 (.pdf download) for address changes, but this method will take longer.
More from MSN Money and Bankrate.com
10 ways to lower your 2009 taxes now
Uncle Sam wants a slice of prize winnings
How to find lost life insurance policies
Legal tax havens? Thank heaven!
2010: The best year to die?
The best way to invest a windfall
.Tracking down your refund
When using either the Web or phone option, have your 2008 return handy. You'll need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status and the amount of the refund shown on your tax return.
If the money went back to the IRS, you will be prompted to enter your correct mailing information during the tracking process.
However, if you moved and simply want to use the online or phone option to let the IRS know about your new address, you're out of luck. You'll have to use Form 8822 to ensure future refunds make it to your new home.
Click here to read more