Skip to content

Volunteering – Still a Generous and Taxing Thing to Do

November 12, 2009
Volunteering – Still a Generous and Taxing Thing to Do
By Shannon Nash, Esq., CPA

Volunteering your time and energy to a non-profit organization, which without volunteers may not even survive, is a generous commitment. A fact many people do not realize is that their generosity comes back to them in the form of tax breaks from the IRS. Read how to maximize your charitable deductions while avoiding common mistakes.

Click here for more info

Financial Makeover Winner (Tricia Polk)

November 5, 2009

Check out the one of the winners, Tricia Polk, of the financial makeover contest follow her on her journey as we start her makeover

http://financialmakeover2.wordpress.com/

TriciaP_Case

To be Free or Not Free – The Deal on Free Credit Reports and Credit Scores

November 4, 2009
CreditReportGraphic
With the holiday season almost in full swing, many people will see a major spike in their credit card spending.  And the damage can be done to their credit before you can stop singing Auld Lang Syne.  This article serves as your quick medicine before getting the hangover – know thy credit score and get a credit report (twice a year).  You have no excuse because you can get your credit report and score for FREE!

But, keep in mind that everyone website that claims its free is not.  Case in point –  Freecreditreport.com.  They have great catchy commercials, but this is NOT a FREE report.  This company is trying to sell you a credit monitoring system. It’s a “for profit” site that allows people to sign up for a subscription to access your credit reports.  See this Nov 2, 2009, New York Times article for more this “free” service “A Free Credit Score Followed by a Monthly Bill” – http://is.gd/4MZdr.

There is a FREE credit bureau site mandated by the Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm and can be found at annualcreditport.com.   You can also go to credit.com, creditkarma.com or quizzle.com for a free credit score.

Here’s more on the various websites dealing with credit reports and scores -

FREE SITES

  • https://www.annualcreditreport.com , a site, jointly-sponsored by TransUnion, Equifax and Experian (the three major credit bureaus), that offers a free annual credit report (the listing of all the information in your credit history).

  • www.credit.com, Get what they call a  Credit Report Card  for free which shows of you a snapshot of your credit reports and estimated scores.  This is also an educational site with a wealth of information on scores, reports,  credit cards, loans, debts and much more.    The site will try to up-sell you on credit monitoring services too.


  • www.creditkarma.com –  Get a free credit score with no credit card to obtain it,  but they will try and sell you other things based on your profile. The site also analyzes your score and gives you a grade/summary or a credit report card.  This site gets right to the point and is fairly easy to navigate.  Note – the actual credit score given is not a FICO score used by most lenders.  But its a pretty good approximate score and it comes from TransUnion, one of the three major credit .


  • www.quizzle.com Get a free credit report from Experian and a free credit score.  No credit card is needed (they don’t even need your social security number).  And you can get these every 6 months.  This site is also fairly easy to navigate.  Note – the actual score given is not a FICO score used by most lenders.  But its a pretty good approximate score and it comes from Experian, one of the three major credit


NOT FREE SITES


  • www.freecreditreportcom –  It’s not FREE!!!!  Yes, you can get your credit report and score but unless you opt out of the 7-day trial period, you will be billed $14.95 a month for a credit monitoring package to get your credit reports.


  • www.myfico.com, allows you to purchase your credit score (the number used by lenders to determine if they will extend you credit) from all three credit agencies.

 

MORE INFO

Grow Smart Business

November 4, 2009

gsb_logo

 

 

Got a Business Plan? Need help with a business plan? Want to get financing but don’t know where to start? Bank loans, Investors, Equipment Financing, Receivables Factoring – where do you start? Check out my panel at the GrowSmartBiz conference on Raising Capital with Effective Finance Strategies.

http://growsmartbusiness.com/2009/09/growsmartbiz-video-panel-2-raising-capital-w-effective-finance-strategies/

Scam Alert re:London Christian Conference — DON’T FALL FOR IT

October 22, 2009

Stop Do Not Use

Are you a public speaker registered with a speaker’s bureau? an actor, musician, writer, etc?  Whether you’re an entertainer, business person or up and coming expert, please beware of a new dangerous scam.

A few of my clients have received an email from the London Christian Conference.  Others have gotten similar letters about the Youth Conference.  Sometimes the emails are from Pastor Mark Graham Smith and others are from Rev. Wenger Smith and Pastor Helen Smith.
The letter states that they will pay you $9,000 to speak at their conference and take care of all travel arrangements posted below as it was sent with no edits for grammar or spelling). You must contact Dr. Darren David with the British High Commission immediately to get this done.  Sounds good!
Here’s the catch.  When you call, you actually have to send them money for a work permit.  And you have to do this right away because the conference is a few weeks away
Another angle is that they ask for your bank account number so they can “wire” you the money…and then they try and empty out your checking or savings accounts!
Of course you’ve guessed the outcome.  There is no conference and the money you spent for your “work permit” is long gone or even worse the fake wire that drained you account has left you brooke.
If you or anyone you know has received this letter, please do not reply to it!  Report it as spam to your email provider and then immediately report this company to your speaker’s bureau.  Reputable requests will almost always come through your representatives and never blindly to your email inbox.  The following are a few tips to help you weed out the fake requests from the legitimate ones:

1.  Ask that they speak to your representative or attorney first to discuss the invitation and that  they send a formal contract for your services.
2. Make sure they have a website so that you can verify the information about the conference.
3.  Call the conference venue to ensure that there is truly an event booked for the dates of the conference.
4.  Google the organizers and the event itself.  This should help determine if its a legitimate request.
5.  Never give out your personal information (banking, social security number) without first verifying that this is not a scam.  This is where working with a representative can really help you.

SCAM EMAIL:

Dear {Name withheld},

Thanks for indicating your interest to be our Guest Speaker at this year LONDON BARCLAYS CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE 2009. We are very excited and happy to have such a wonderful personality in our mist.The event organizing committee had a meeting earlier today to deliberate on getting you available here. We believe we serve the lord of possibilities.Arrangements are stated below.

We have agreed to buy your flight ticket and to pay your Hotel accommodation expenses . Also your Speaking fee is amounted to 9,000Dollars.$5,000 (FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS) deposit is to be paid as soon as you procure all relevant travel documents  so as to avoid any disappointment.You are informed to get across your Work Permit to us so your deposit can be approved according to our mandated rules and regulation.

You are advised by the Event Organizing committee to immediately contact the BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION to procure your UK Work Permit as soon as possible

This will enable us to proceed with all arrangements to welcome you here in London. Contact the British High Commission officer information below.

BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION

Name: Dr Darren David

Email:darrend@britishhighc.info

Please confirm to us the closest Airport to your location so we can start making arrangements to buy your flight tickets .Understand that you need to expedite action because of the short notice. Feel free to ask any question

We have attached a formal Letter of Invitation  and contract agreement.Please reconfirm to us your office Address for our perusal and further action.Note you are meant to arrive a day before the commencement of the event.

Please return a signed copy of the contract agreement for proper documentation.We are currently working on our website.This is our first time of hosting such conference.

We await your earliest response

Be Blessed

Rev. Wenger Smith and Pastor Helen Smith

London Barclays Christian Center

Tel Phone: + 44 7024069826O

Angela Allens 1st Task (Month 1)

September 25, 2009

✔MONTH 1:  Reality Check  – Before Angela can even approach moving she needs to know just how bad or good her situation is.  This reality check will help Allen’s know exactly where they are financially so that she can more effectively plan for a move.  It’s time to really look at where they are in terms of savings and where they can trim.  This month will look at their current monthly cash flows and determine what can realistically be done to trim the fat and save money for their move.   Shannon and Angela will develop an income statement.  Angela will keep a daily journal to see if her cash flow statement matches what happens in reality.  By the end of the month Shannon and Angela will agree on a savings goal to be used for the move to Atlanta.

First Task: Gather all receipts, pay stubs, statements and bills to
create a cash flow statement for last month – August
2009 This will tell us exactly where you are financially.
This is your financial reality check

Did Angela complete her task???? Click here to find out: Angela Allen

Personal Cash flow Statement Links

September 18, 2009

As part of my financial makeover for Angela Allen, I’m posting links to websites that allow you to calculate your personal cashflow statement:

1.  http://www.financemind.com/worksheet/cash-flow-worksheet.html

2.  http://www.forefieldkt.com/kt/trns.aspx?xd=FP-AT-CL03-A01&il=a2&xsl=input

3.  http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/calculator/banking-budgeting/bud09

4.  http://www.savingadvice.com/calculators/cash_flow.php

5.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9746024

Each website allows you to calculate your net cash flows, but they are visually distinct.  Some are basic while others are detailed.  Some provide explanations while others are bare bones.  Let me know which site is most appealing and/or user friendly to you.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.