Do You Like Dog Food?


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dogfoodlady2

Is Future-You sleeping on a cot eating kibble?

If you figure Social Security will tide you over in your Geezer-dom, see how much you have socked away at SSA.gov.

The 2016 EBRI survey revealed that 26% of Americans have virtually nothing saved for retirement (less than $1,000 in savings and investments).  Those 26 percent-ers probably assume Social Security will cover them.  Or maybe they figure they won’t live that long, like the folks on Sugar Mountain or in Logan’s Run.

When you check out your SSA stash, keep mind that your estimated benefit is a future-dollar that will not stretch as far as today’s dollar.

For example, let’s say that in 20 years, you were going to collect $2,000 a month as an old fogey.  Not too shabby.  You may have to forego your country club membership, but that’ll cover your apartment and some biscuits and gravy to chomp on, right?  Maybe.  First,  you gotta factor in inflation.  The average annual inflation rate since 1913 is about 3%.

$2,000 in 20 years at 3% inflation will buy what $1,107 does today.  How far does $1,107 go for you in 2017?  Will that keep you in the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed?

I say this not to bum you out, but to motivate you to squirrel away a few bucks into an individual retirement account (IRA).

April 18th is the last day to make a contribution to your IRA for 2016.  You can decide what you want to invest in at a later date.  The important thing is to open an account and put some money in your IRA.

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15 Dollar Bill 15 Only

When You Have Only $15 To Your Name


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Are you prepared to uproot your life so you can have a roof over your head and food on the table?

Is this Wall Street Journal article on Kathleen Wolf really about Future-you?

I give this lady credit.  At age 68, she realized she lived beyond her means.  She left her life and her friends in Northern California to start over in a small town in Iowa where she knew no one.

“I was just playing being a rich person, I wasn’t rich,” Ms. Wolf said. “What you’re supposed to do with your money is sock it away. I didn’t.”

This is obvious, but only 20 years ago, this 68 year old lady was 48.  I can tell you that when you are 48 you aren’t focused on the older, Future-you.  Her choices put her in a tough spot.

If you are lucky, Future-you is coming fast.  Get ready, that geez will be here in a blink.  Technically, “Future-you” will be here in one millisecond – but you catch my drift.  At 48, you are thinking more about whether you want a big shindig on your 50th birthday than when to start taking Social Security.

Her story does not have to be yours.  Spend much less than you make.  Start saving.  Future-you will be much happier with options.

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TaxPayment3LogosBetter

Is This A Smart Way To Pay Uncle Sam & The Governor?


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TaxPayment3LogosBetterTax Day is 41 days away (April 18th this year).  Some will get refunded a portion of the free loan they gave the government.  Others will be scrambling at the 11th hour to come up with cash to pay The Man, man.

Whatever your situation, making your payment(s) via three IRS Approved websites can be very profitable! Yes, make money paying your taxes.

Pay1040, OfficialPayments and PayUSATax allow you to pay personal and business taxes by credit or debit card.  All three accept Federal tax payments. OfficialPayments accepts State as well as Fed. You might think paying the fee to do this is a waste of money vs. writing a check. Pay1040 charges the least to use a credit card (1.87%). For every $1,000 paid in taxes, they take another $18.70 scoop in convenience fees.

But… here are 5 Ways using a credit card can be a GOOD (and profitable) idea:

  1. Paying taxes this way is not a cash advance.  So if you are tapped out, but know you are going to have money to cover it later, you could slap it on a card that has a 0% introductory interest rate up to 21 months.  Then pay the card off when you have the cash. Consider Citi Simplicity (21 months), BankAmericard (18 billing cycles), Chase Slate (15 months), Chase Freedom (15 months), Wells Fargo Platinum (15 months), Discover it (14 months), American Express Blue Cash Everyday (12 months), Citi Thank You Preferred (12 months), and Chase Ink Business Cash (12 months).
    >>> At the top right side of this site, under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” click “O”% APR Credit Cards” for up-to-date info on these cards.  Email me any questions. <<<
  2. If you have a credit card that pays you 2% cash back (Citi DoubleCash & Capital One Spark Business), you’d actually profit $1.30 per $1,000 paid.  Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” click “Cash Back Credit Cards”
  3. Using a card might be worth it for the convenience and knowing the payment got there.  The IRS considers it paid when you charge the payment.
  4. You can make partial payments on more than one card.  This is handy in case you have different airline, hotel and rewards cards.  This way you could top off those accounts to get to the next level for a free flights, hotel stays, and what-have-you. Delta, American and Alaska will give new cardmembers 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on their respective card in the first 3 months. Southwest and United have 50,000 mile bonuses for $2,000 and $3,000 spending requirements respectively. You could get rack up some nice bonus mileage for an $18.70 fee.  Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” click “Travel Rewards Credit Cards”
  5. You can pay someone else’s taxes with your card.  Maybe you need to meet a big spending requirement to get a sweet, tax-free credit card bonus.  Some of my personal favorites: Chase Sapphire, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus come to mind.  With those cards, it would be worth paying someone’s taxes + the convenience fee.  They write you a check for what they owed the IRS.  You eat the $18.70 convenience fee per $1,000 in tax.

Look under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on these cards and more.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

If your brain is firing with possibilities, here’s a nice scenario to haul in hundreds in tax-free cash.  Right now (3/9/17) with Chase Sapphire Preferred’s personal credit card sign-up bonus, you can earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases (and/or tax payments) in the first 3 months from account opening.  You get an additional 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in that first 3 months.  Those 55,000 bonus points alone can be redeemed for $550 in tax free cash. Plus you’d get 4,000 more points, redeemable for $40, for spending $4,000.  Just like that, you have points redeemable for $590 in tax free rebate cash!

If you used Pay1040 to pay $4,000 in taxes, they’d tack on $74.80 in fees.  You’d meet the Sapphire spending requirement instantly.  You’d still be ahead of the game $475.00 – tax free!  That’s a pretty good reason to use a credit card to pay your taxes.

You don’t have to use any of these cards to pay your taxes.  I suggest using them to pay your taxes as a way to quickly meet the spending requirement for the huge bonuses.  You could get the cards and meet the spending requirements for the bonuses however you’d like!

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Quicken Payroll Companies

Quicken Detected $508.70 In Lost Checks


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While doing my 2016 taxes, Quicken helped me discover that two checks totaling $508.70 never got to me.

When I’m not doling out Chip’s Money Tips, I’m trotting the boards as an actor.  Every year I get residual checks from over 50 different TV shows and movies I‘ve shot.  In 2016, 13 different payroll companies handled those payments.  That’s a lot to track.

Quicken makes it easy to organize my biz. There is a Mac version and five PC versions.

When I get the W2s from the payroll companies, I compare the totals on the W2 to what I received and entered in Quicken.  I easily discovered that Entertainment Partners’ W2 said I received $508.70 more than I actually did.

I asked and they emailed me a list of all the checks they had sent me in 2016.  I compared that to what I’d received and had entered in Quicken.

I quickly realized that two residual checks from my Anger Management appearance never got to me.  They were sent in November and were never cashed.  Entertainment Partners offered to reissue them.

If I had not been keeping track of what I received from whom, I would not have been able to discover the missing $508.70.

This is the 3rd occasion where Quicken has made me aware that I had checks missing.  I’ve retrieved over $1,500 total.

I have been using Quicken for years.  Check out my review I Feel Like Quicken Tonight.  It’s pretty handy.

CostCo No Chip

Costco Membership Fee Hike


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My buddy Blake sent me this photo from his spree at Costco.  Evidently they don’t cotton to me not having a membership yet still being allowed to shop there for alcohol and Rx.  Read how you can too.

Costco is raising the price of its membership for the first time since 2011.  According to Fortune, Costco’s lifting its Gold Star membership $5 per year to $60, and its Executive membership fee $10 a year to $120 as of June 1.

Fortune said Costco has 86.7 million card holders.  Even at only $5 a pop, that’s a cool infusion of $433.5 million!

Limited Time: Highest Starwood Bonus Ever = 35,000 Starpoints!!


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DisneyWorldDoplhin

Starwood Amex has increased the sign-up bonus to 35,000 points on both the personal and business cards until 4/5/17.

A trip across the country is now affordable – assuming “free” is in your price range.

Here’s how to get flights and multiple nights in a swanky hotel for zip, zilch, nada.

Seriously!  How about two round trip tickets + 5 nights in Disneyland?  You can pull this off with Starpoints. I love Starpoints as much as a man can love any reward!

At the right side of this website under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offer$”, click “Hotel Rewards Credit Cards”.  You’ll be taken to another page.  The Personal card is the 5th card down.  The Business card is the 26th on the list. The journey is worth the reward!  Email me if you have ANY questions.

starwood_sign

You could get both cards. Or… if you and your significant other, gal-pal or homeslice each get a card and meet the spending requirement – you’ll have enough Starpoints for two round trip flights and multiple hotel nights. I type from experience.  I’ve done it!

People living at the same address can combine their Starpoints. This is ideal if one is an organization freak and the other keeps misplacing his toothbrush. So, if a husband and wife got their own cards… do the math!

Restriction

Remember, you can only get the bonus once in a lifetime on these American Express cards.  If you have the personal card you can go for the biz card, and vice versa. You could get a business card even if you don’t think of how you make money as a typical “business”.  The screen capture below to shows you how to fill out the biz form.

Marriott Wrinkle

Maybe you are not a Starwood aficionado but loves you some Marriott points.  Starwood and Marriott have merged.  You can link your accounts here and transfer Starwood Points at 1:3 ratio.  So… 35,000 Starpoints = 105,000 Marriott points.

Starwood “Nights & Flights”

This is a fantastic use of your Starpoints for a

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FileThisLogo Motto Blackborder 200

File This… OH!!!!!!!!!!


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If you would like something that automatically collects your statements in PDF for free, well FileThis!  I got yer file right here.  Fuhgettaboutit.

But seriously, there is a free service called FileThis.  It securely fetches all your online statements, bills and other documents from last three years and new statements whenever they’re ready.

Your PDFs are delivered to their secure FileThis Cloud, your PC or your preferred cloud storage provider, such as Evernote, Evernote Business, Box, Personal, Dropbox or even Google Drive. You can switch where your PDFs are stored at any time.

It’s not limited to collecting bank and credit card statements.  It picks up Health, Auto, Utilities, Communication and Retail to list a few.

  • Free for up to six connections. Fetches weekly.

A “connection” is a company.  If you have Checking, Savings, CD, credit card all at one bank – that counts as one connection.  That may be all you need!

If you need more connections, use the coupon code chipsmoneytips2017 through teh end of 2017 for 20% discount off the first period of either the Premium Annual, Premium 3 Year, Ultimate Annual or Ultimate 3 Year plans.  Here’s the usual pricing:

  • Premium: $2/month ($20/year or $50 for 3 years) for up to 12 connections. Fetches weekly.
  • Ultimate: $5/month ($50/year or $125 for 3 years) for up to 30 connections. Fetches daily.

If you sign up using my referral link, we will both get an additional free connection.  So you’d start with 7 free connections.  Check it out.  It’s pretty cool!  Well, as cool as statement collecting can be.

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Nfl Sundayticket Cancel2

Okay… NOW You Should Cancel NFL Sunday Ticket


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nfl-sundayticket-cancel2A few weeks ago I suggested that you should cancel DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket to increase the chances of getting it free next season.  That’s a savings of up to 360 bucks!

The regular season was over and the rest of the games were on free broadcast TV.  I was able to cancel mine, but a few of you reported back that you got the Heisman stiff-arm.  DirecTV said “Nah-baby-nah” – that you couldn’t cancel until the season is over.

Well, it’s over.

If you have NFL Sunday ticket, even if you got it free this season, DirecTV will automatically charge you full price for it for next season in August.  To avoid this, you need to pick up the phone (1-800-531-5000) and cancel it.

If you have not cancelled it, you will not be able to get it free next season.  What’s this about getting it free?

Check out my post Get NFL Sunday Ticket for FREE in which I tell how I got it free four years in a row.  Last year I negotiated it down to $49.98 for Sunday Ticket MAX (normally $359.94) – and that was after getting $600.00 off my bill!  Not too shabby! It’s all in my post.

SnatchLiftingSM

New Year’s To Do List #6 – Update Your Snatch File


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SnatchLiftingSMThe final thing on my annual To Do list is to make sure my “Snatch File” is up to date.  There may be a time when you need to snatch your important papers and make a quick getaway.  Maybe your home is on fire.  Maybe your spouse surprised you with a restraining order.  Or maybe The Man has finally tracked you down, you one-armed bastage!  Whatever the case – Are you ready to snatch & skedaddle ASAP?

Ever think about what you’d grab in a fire?  In my case, I’d grab my photo albums, my computer, and my cats Mr. Tibbers and Mimi Fah-Foo of Charmaine.  Okay, I don’t have cats.  But if I did, that’s what they’d be called.  Oh, and I’d grab my snatch file.

A snatch file serves another purpose as well.  It can inform your loved ones where all your stuff is in case you can’t.  This is very handy especially if you are a geezer who is circling the drain.  Let’s not forget that people of all ages get into accidents and never come home.  If you die tomorrow, what chance does your family have to figure out your stuff?

I hear some of you out there, “What do I care about all that stuff?  I’ll be dead!”  Well, maybe you prepaid for your funeral arrangements.  Who is going to know that?  Maybe you have union, pension or other benefits that you want to pass along to your family.  Maybe you had an account no one knew about, or some get-a-way money in a fireproof box under the floorboards.  Why send them on a scavenger hunt when they may not know exactly what it is they are looking for or when to stop looking?

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HollywoodSign

New Year’s To Do List #5 – $300K Tax Exemption Deadline


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HollywoodSignIs there something that you have to do every year?  Mine involves making sure I take advantage of this $300K tax loophole. Does your city have one?

Hundreds of the “early adopters” of Chip’s Money Tips are show-folk.  You know the triple-threats and hyphenates of which I speak.  This is my annual shout-out to the buskers, minstrels and long-hairs; the thespians, scribes and head-honchos who live and/or work in Los Angeles.

This is a reminder that if you received money via 1099 (not W2 income), the City of Los Angeles wants a taste. You can have up to $300K in 1099 earnings and have all of that money avoid the tax via the Creative Artist Exemption. Here’s the catch: You have to sign up for it every year to get it every year. Otherwise, you owe this tax!! Some people choose to fly under the radar and hope not to get caught.  You have through February 28, 2017 to register.

Click here to read more about the $300K Creative Artist Exemption. Talk to your accountant and watch my video about it from a few years ago (below).  You actor types should also check out my posts on How I Found $3,200 MIA (Missing in Acting) and How to Move Money to Qualify for SAG Health Insurance.

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