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Life Insurance: The Usages

They say that when you’re a hammer, all the world’s a nail. It seems like life insurance salespeople will try to sell you life insurance as a solution to almost any problem you may have. We’ll give you a bit of a quick primer on some of the various ways life insurance is used.

These are a few of the main ways that life insurance is used for individuals, and there are others. However, in every instance, insurance policies are complex and sophisticated legal contracts, and they may not be right for you. You should definitely consult with an independent advisor before to make sure you understand what you’re buying.

Read more about life insurance here…

Side Businesses and Tax Deferral

If you’re a small business owner who has a significant income, minimizing your taxes can do a lot to improve your income. There are a number of different shields people use – depreciation, and business expense deductions for example, we won’t go into these, instead in this article, we’ll talk about setting up other companies and some of the things this can do for your tax liability.

First of all – you can’t set up dozens of 401ks and contribute the maximum (currently $18,000) to each of them. The caps on defined contribution plans and deferrals are set at the personal level not the employer level. However, it may not work with the structure of your current business, but if have a stable and profitable new business with yourself as the sole employee, you could set up a pension plan for yourself and fund that. Depending on your age, you may be able to set aside considerable amount of money. Read more…

Employer Income Tax Withholding: The Basics

If you have recently changed jobs, you’re probably familiar with the W-4 form, where you declare how many exemptions you have, for things like having dependent children, being married, or holding multiple jobs. These allowances are meant to offset the amount of tax withheld, based on approximately how much tax you will be able to deduct.

It is this withholding of taxes out of your paycheck that makes tax refunds possible every spring — the government isn’t actually paying you (unless you live in Alaska, make a small enough income to be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or have had devastating financial losses over the past year), but rather returning your money that you have already set aside for taxes and didn’t turn out to owe. Read more.

Investing in Volatility: Understanding the VIX

If you follow the stock market coverage on CNBC or Bloomberg, or read the Wall Street Journal, you’ve probably seen references to the VIX, especially in politically and economically volatile times like the 2008 financial crisis or last year’s election.

While it appears in charts and tickers like a stock or exchange-traded fund, the VIX itself is not an investment product. Calculated by the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE), the VIX Volatility IndeX is a measurement of the implied volatility across the options trading market — in other words, the higher the VIX, the more options are being bought at larger distances from a stock’s current share price. Learn more…

Multi Level Marketing: Too Good To Be True?

You’ve probably seen the advertisements: “Start your own business!” “Be your own boss!” “Become a part of something great!” Or the bumper stickers and even vehicle wraps advertising Mary Kay or Herbalife. Maybe you’ve gone to a friend’s house for a dinner that turned into a sales pitch, or noticed the catalogue in the office break room. But chances are, even if you didn’t know exactly how it works, you’ve seen multilevel marketing in action.

Multilevel marketing (MLM) is a system where, instead of participating in direct sales, companies set up a pyramid of affiliates to sell for them. In theory, this should create a self sustaining sales force, with the minimum possible effort from the top so the headquarters can focus on product quality and innovation.

As a “business owner” in an MLM, one would have two main responsibilities delegated to them: selling the product directly and, more importantly, recruiting others to sell for them in exchange for a slice of the commissions. Again, theoretically this makes sense — it isn’t too different from a typical dealership model — however, the problem starts to arise from the product itself. Learn more…

Are Futures In Your Future?

The idea seems simple enough at first: anyone can become a member of the merchant class, without ever having to physically even see their product.

Commodity futures originally developed as a way of making the market more stable, guaranteeing future prices (hence the name) for staples like wheat, corn and cattle.

Every futures contract required three pieces of information: the agreed upon type and grade of the product (corn, dried, off the cob), a quantity offered per contract (5000 bushels), and a delivery date (November 15th). At first, this contract would be retained, and on the designated date, the product would actually be sent to you from Chicago. Read more…

Why Everyone Needs A Living Will

According to a recent survey conducted by LegalZoom, just 41% of Americans had a last will and testament, and only 9% had a living will.

Death isn’t something anyone particularly wants to think about or plan for, but it’s essential for your loved ones to know what to do if the inconceivable does happen sooner than expected.

Both a last will and testament (often referred to simply as a will) and a living will serve as a final plan for financial and other details at the end of life. The key difference is that while a will doesn’t take effect until the subject’s death, a living will takes effect when the subject is medically incompetent to manage their own affairs, including medical care and personal finances. Read more…

Don’t Fear The Repo: How To Rebuild

It’s every car owner’s worst nightmare: you wake up one morning, ready to go to work, and there’s one less car in the driveway than you expected. You call the police to see if it’s been found stolen, but they let you know it’s being held at Bubba’s Towing and Wrecking, three months delinquent on its loan. Maybe you were falling behind on your payments but you still thought you could catch up… but now it’s too late. Maybe it was a technicality, some issue with your registration or insurance that you didn’t even realize you had until the car went missing. Either way, it’s Time to ask the tough questions and figure out how to rebuild. Read more…

Bitcoin: What’s the Big Deal

Yesterday, Bitcoin hit yet another all-time high of $2779 per BTC, before retreating nearly 20% by afternoon… and gaining more than half of that back in the overnight!

Does this sound like your kind of investing? Are you ready to make and lose thousands of dollars in a matter of hours? If so, cryptocurrencies may have a place in your wallet.

Created by a shadowy figure named Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin originated as an economic experiment, virtual coins worth about $0.10 apiece, which could be “mined” by your computer crunching through math equations while you slept. Learn more…