Dying is something you don’t think about when you are young, and you avoid thinking about when you are old. As Jim Morrison said, “No one here gets out alive.”
It’s been almost two years since I talked about Trusts, Wills, POAs, POD & TOD, and avoiding Probate. Yes, these are things grown-ups should address.
Even more pressing, you should make sure that the geezers in your life have these ducks in a row. Following through can save you headaches, frustration, and thousands of dollars.
This is one of the first Chip’s Money Tips videos I did a few years ago. It’s about Avoiding Probate. Stay tuned. I’ll cover the other topics this week.
> Probate Shortcuts – By State or click here, choose your state, click Probate Shortcuts
> Allowable Probate Fees – California
> Allowable Probate Fees – Ohio
> Use a Revocable Living Trust to Avoid Repeating Probate in Several States
> LegalZoom & Nolo can help
A couple years ago, I started loaning money to complete strangers via Lending Club and Prosper. You can read about Year One here. $25 was the most I lent to any of the 30 people. I spread it around. I mean, I diversified my portfolio. Ah yes, that sounds much more pompous.
After one year, my returns were 7.30% and 8.85% respectively. Pretty sweet. A year later, those returns have dropped to 6.89% and 5.35% for the two year span. What the, what?
Prosper dropped 3.5%. Why? Turns out I got the shiv from one of those who borrowed from me. My financial advisor Donny Osmond says one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl. First of all Don, stop calling me girl. Secondly, one bad apple does quite a number on the bushel. This was kind of a surprise because I chose to lend only to people who had the highest credit rankings and were deemed lowest risk to default on the loans. Oh well. Prosper has sent this to collections after four months of non-payment. If the borrower settles, I will get some of my money back. I’m still way up!
Having skin in the game, as I do in this case playing banker, I get a better understanding of what it feels like being in lenders’ shoes. Of the 20 loans I have out at Prosper, 10 are still current, 9 have paid them off in full, and 1 has defaulted.
Lending Club dropped less than half a percentage point for a couple reasons. The
Are you a Pill-Popper? Do you wanna get drugs from across the border, but don’t wanna keester them? Have you been invited to a weekly neighborhood skittles party, but find it financially challenging keeping up with the Jones’ joneses?
I’m talkin’ prescription drugs, junkie! Not the stuff you get from The Green Cross.
Prescription drugs can be expensive here in the good ole US of A. If you have insurance and/or buy generic, you may be fine. Still, there is a place you might wanna check out: PharmacyChecker.com. Stacy Johnson did some great reporting in his story below.
Bottom line, it is illegal to get prescription drugs from outside the country, but it’s unlikely that anything will come of it if you are using them for
When I dabble in a little Storage Wars viewing, there’s always booty in them thar lockers. The skeptic in me says that once the unit is sold to one of the show’s regulars, a producer hides an interesting or valuable item in the rubble. After all, who’d tune in if were all hunt and no treasure? Here’s a VCR, some baby clothes, and… Oh, lookie there – an original 15th century vase from the Ming Dynasty. Am I too cynical?
Do you pay for offsite storage? What is the value of the stuff in there? Years ago, I helped a buddy load a storage unit with a bed, a crib, baby toys and a couple oscillating fans. He spent more money renting the storage unit for only one year than the value of the stuff he put in it. He could have given the stuff away, and then used the money he saved not paying for a storage unit, to buy the stuff new if he ever needed them again.
Paying for a storage facility can be a huge waste of money. $100/month = $1,200 a year – every year. Is the stuff even worth it? Before you spend money on a storage unit, here are some things to consider:
You guys always wanna know when someone is giving away free money. Well, here you go! Capital One 360 is giving away a lot of cash. Period. You must open your account(s) online by Wednesday night, July 3rd at 11:59pm Eastern.
The interest rates are some of the highest you’ll find. The promotional bonuses make them a no-brainer.
If this Financial Independence Days “Sale” sounds familiar, ING Direct used to do it. Capital One 360 bought them. This is legit & FDIC insured. I got bonuses previously.
Open these accounts and you will have $$$ to blow at a shmancy steak joint. Okay, sushi. I’m staying out of it. As Yukon Cornelius would say, “You eat what you like. I’ll eat what I like.”
Everyone eats, right? June 28-29, you can buy a $25 restaurant gift certificate for ONLY $4.
I was late to the Restaurant.com party because it sounded too good to be true. Then I received $25 and $50 gift certificates from friends. Even though the gift certificate said that alcohol was not included, when I called to make a reservation, the restaurant/bar said alcohol could be included – so ask.
A few months ago, I picked up three. I decided not to use two of them. Both were credited back to my Restaurant.com account as two $25 credits. I can use those credits
Here’s a way for you to make a lot of money selling something that won’t cost your customers anything. Six months from now it will almost be Thanksgiving. Why does that matter?
For the past few years, Saturday after Thanksgiving has been American Express’ Small Business Saturday. It is a generous win-win promotion for small businesses and consumers.
On Small Business Saturday, American Express has given one $25 statement credit for every American Express card that registered for Small Business Saturday, if you spend at least $25 on it in one transaction at a registered small business. Read my posts about it here.
Last year, I ran around town like a middle-aged trick or treater. For every American Express card I registered, I purchased a $25 something from a small business. I got booty, the small businesses made sales, and American Express picked up the tab for the first $25 of the transactions. A tremendous promotion!
How This Applies To You
About 1,000 of my subscribers are comedians and actors. Let’s use them as an example. Many of them already sell MERCH: T-shirts, CDs, DVDs, books and
People who run for President are not necessarily financial geniuses. They spend millions of dollars trying to get a job that pays $400K/year. I have a feeling Math is not their best subject. I bet any one of them would fall for the “Hey, you got two 10s for a 5?” trick.
I know, I know. They do it for the perks. Especially free dental.
Mitt spent $45 million of his own money running for POTUS in 2008. Now we find out that Barack is in desperate need of a refi on his Illinois home.
Mr. Obama is paying 5.625% interest on a 30 year mortgage from Northern Trust in Chicago. He can easily drop that almost 2% !! See page 6 of Disclosure.
Maybe he doesn’t wanna restart the mortgage clock. If that is the case, he can pay extra every month, automatically. So can you. For example, get a 30 year mortgage and throw extra money at the principle every payment. That way, the payoff schedule stays the same, but less interest is paid over the life of the loan.
Someone please send this post to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here’s the calculator:
Would you like to get paid to nod to your store’s greeter? That’s kinda what Big Crumbs, Ebates and TopCashback do for you. They are websites that give you cash back, just for going through them on your way to your store’s website. Before you buy something online, see if that store is one of the 1,500 or so that they each have on their roster.
There’s no catch here. These cash back portal sites get paid a commission from stores that you connect to, through them. You get a taste of their commission jingle-jangle.
When you arrive at your destination online store, use your cash back or rewards credit card to make the purchase and you’ll earn those rewards as well. Cash back portal dough + credit card rewards… Stack ’em baby!
Time Shift Wrinkle
Cash back portals are also a handy way to meet minimum spending requirements on your new credit cards. Type “American Express Gift Cards” in their search box, and you
If you are like me, you have done things in the past to screw up your credit. Like me, you can fix it – without a Hot Tub Time Machine or a fully-functioning Flux Capacitor. I’ll tell you how you can join me in rarefied credit score air so high you’ll wanna bring a Sherpa.
The past is the past. Mistakes do not have to continue. We all used to wear diapers, but at some point that way of life lost its appeal.
Having good credit is possible even if you defaulted on loans, made late payments on credit cards, have collection agencies bugging you, or have gone bankrupt.
As detailed in my post “I Cut My Mortgage Rate in Half” when I refinanced my house, my FICO credit score was 817. That’s on a scale of 300-850, thankyouverymuch.
Lipstick on a Pig
Even if you have sworn off borrowing any more money, you should polish up your credit report as best you can – and correct any mistakes on there. Employers are increasingly doing credit checks of job applicants. Yes, your credit determines rates at which you can borrow money, but also whether you have to pay deposits on utilities and cell phone plans.
Of course, landlords don’t like to rent to folks with a sketchy credit history. As I mentioned in “The Chickenpox of Your Report”, in my ten years of landlordiness I found that not all people with bad credit are irresponsible, but most irresponsible people have bad credit. Here’s how we un-sketchify your credit history: