David Cassidy filed for bankruptcy. According to the LA Times article, he has about $10 million in assets and about the same in debt – including $39K in credit cards, $292K in mortgage and $131K in attorney, medical and other bills.
I feel for the guy. When I’m 64, I Think I Owe You certainly ain’t the song I wanna be singing. Too on the nose? How ‘bout: I Woke Up In Debt This Morning, or one of the deeper cuts, Point Me In The Direction of a Bankruptcy. Those are the titles, Weird Al. Go nuts!
Let’s get past the fact that I know lyrics to Partridge Family songs and get to the important stuff. Whatever your profession, the rule is very simple: Spend less than you bring in. Set some aside to splurge. Save some for when you’re no longer in demand.
Are you a drug mule who needs to send money to the Kingpin, ASAP? Do you owe your Coyote some scratch for hitching a ride in the glove box of his ‘72 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon? Or are you going to visit a friend in a foreign land and simply want some cash to play with once you are there? I say Xoom it, baby!!
You could wire funds to accounts in other countries, but as those who have done it know, that’s kinda pricey. Wells Fargo said that an international wire is $45 plus an exchange rate.
Xoom works just like a wire transfer, but costs as little as $4.99 and has locked-in exchange rates. Check out the sending limits. You can send $2,999 – $9,999 per day, to 33 countries. Click here to open a free account.
Now thru Monday, February 9th, Quicken is 50% off. That’s on Quicken 2015 for Mac or any PC version starting with Deluxe. There is a 60 day money back guarantee. I’ve use it for years.
If you are serious about getting your finances in order, and want tax time to go smoothly, you should start here. If you already use Quicken, upgrade at these lower prices. It’s easy to use and simplifies your finances. Use it for two months. If you no likie, they’ll give you your money back. Click THIS link to get 50% off through Monday.
See my review of Quicken 2014 here. Quicken 2015 is pretty much the same except the PC versions give you a free FICO credit score from Equifax. For convenience, here is that post “I Feel Like Quicken Tonight (2014)”:
If you EVER fly Southwest, listen up. For you aficionados and muchachos, there’s something HUGE in the second half of this post that can save you thousands!
From time to time Southwest offers a sweet 50,000 Bonus if you get their credit card and spend $2,000 on it in the first 3 months you have the card. Now is one of those times. You’ll wanna move this up your To-Do list.
Those of you who fly Southwest know that 50,000 points can go a heckuvalot further than couple free round trip tickets. The deal gets sweeter when you throw in a free companion on every flight for almost two years.
To illustrate, I punched in a few trial runs on the most coveted days – on a Friday and
It used to be only tax cheats, illegal aliens, and regular aliens didn’t have bank accounts. Now that banks are making it more difficult to have free accounts, people are looking for less expensive alternatives.
Do you pay a monthly fee to have a bank account? Even something as meager as $10 a month is $120 a year, $600 over 5 years, and so on, and so on. That’s real money. That’s money you had left after paying taxes. It adds up!
Before you choose to pay for a bank account, consider Target’s Prepaid REDcard. It’s not a credit card, but it is from American Express. It’s not unlike Bluebird or Serve from American Express. In fact, AmEx only allows you to have one of those three accounts.
(Update June 2015: You can no longer fund the Target REDcard with a credit card. Some folks did this to meet credit card spending requirements. If you are looking to meet a credit card spend, you can still fund your Target REDcard with
The 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. 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?
You can have a physical file with all your stuff in it, but this is 2015. I suggest having a digital snatch file. Gather all your important info, scan and/or snap photos of documents
Here’s the skinny: Amex will give you a $100 Amex statement credit if you use your registered American Express Business card to pay at least $100 to DirecTV. Don’t have DirecTV but do have an American Express Business card? You still might wanna register. More on that in a bit.
Step 1: Register your Amex Biz card(s) here by January 31st. You can register employee cards as well. I registered my Amex Business card and two employee cards on that account. Payments can be made through March 31st but you have to register all your cards by January 31st.
Step 2: Use your registered card(s) to pay $100 on your bill. I already pay my DirecTV bill automatically with a different credit card. So I simply signed into my account at DirecTV.com and made a one-time payment with my registered Amex Biz card. The $100 Amex statement credit showed up two days later. See below.
You can only get the $100 statement credit once per registered card. I don’t know what would happen if you try to prepay more than $100 in advance ($100 per registered card). If you try, let us know! As for me, I am going to use a different registered card to pay $100 in January, February and March. That’s $300 free, baby!
What if you have an Amex Biz card but don’t have DirecTV?
Register your Amex Biz card and pay $100 to your friend’s bill. You break even, but your friend saves $100! Maybe your friend splits it with you and kicks you back $50. That’s a savings for him and a little something for the effort, Lama. Gunga galunga.
There may still be time to get an Amex Biz card to signup for this promotion. Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers and then “Business Credit Cards”. Remember to sign up for authorized user cards for your employees during the application process. Once approved, you can call them to ask Amex to expedite the shipping.
Is there something that you have to do every year? Mine involves making sure I take advantage of this $300K tax loophole.
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 March 2, 2015 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.
“Yolo” is your credo. Over the past two months, you shopped, merried and rang your credit card to its limit. The card’s been swiped so much the stripe on the back is hot to the touch.
You’d like to pay off the card to avoid paying interest, but you’re out of cash. YOLO!!! Yes, I remember. Please don’t shout. You only live once – so why cramp your style digging yourself a hole paying 10, 15, 25% interest on your purchases?
If you are a YOLO dude or dudette, don’t start the New Year paying interest on a credit card. That is soooo 2014. You need a new card that allows you to transfer your current balance onto it. You can save yourself hundreds to thousands, depending upon what kind of hot mess you Yolo’d yourself into.
Do you have a bank account or credit card that you don’t use much, or at all anymore? The banks may come to the conclusion that you have abandoned your accounts and will close them on you if you don’t play with them once in a while.
If you let your bank account go dormant, then you’ll have to chase down your money in banking’s Lost and Found Department aka the Unclaimed Funds I wrote about here. If you let a credit card go dormant, you will hurt your credit score.
To avoid this, every January I do two things:
- I sign in to all my bank accounts online. I have found this keeps my visitation privileges. Why don’t I just close an account if I don’t use it much? Banks have promotions all the time offering a higher interest rate on new deposits. Since I already have the account open, it is just a matter of a couple clicks to start collecting a higher rate. A few months ago, UFB Direct did that exact thing. I wrote about it here. I moved my money and increased my interest 56%.
- I take my credit cards on a field trip to the gas station. I charge $2 on each card. A couple days later, I sign into each card’s account online and pay it off from my linked bank account. Why TWO BUCKS? Some of my cards are free versions of airline frequent flyer mile cards. They give me one mile for every two dollars I spend. Not only does this put activity on my cards, but it also refreshes my frequent flyer mile expiration dates. Pretty handy!
Instead of the gas station, you could go to the self-checkout at a grocery store and load up on Dinty Moore Mystery Meat Pot Pies. Another option: stay in your PJs and get Amazon eGift cards for yourself. Amazon eGift cards show up in your email moments after you buy them. Use the code on the eGift card to load that money onto your