Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We're Moving!!

Announcement - Due to popular demand we are moving to our own domain site! We are still working out a few details but we are pleased to welcome all readers to the new site:

RSS feeds should remain the same but if you notice any problems please don't hesitate to contact us.

Participate in your Employers 401(k) Match Program

Employers are slowly moving away from the traditional pension plans that many of our parents enjoy and now offering an employee match program. This means employees can no longer sit back and let others make their retirement decisions for them, but must be proactive in planning their futures.

What is an Employer Match Program?
Participants of an employer match program will receive a dollar for dollar match on money taken out of each of their paychecks up to a certain percentage that is then placed into a sponsored retirement plan (ex. 401k or 403b). It’s important to understand that companies will offer a 100% match on your savings up to a certain percentage of your salary, usually, anywhere from 4-6% of your pretax salary. For example, if you make $50,000/year and put 6% of your salary into a 401(k) account, you would save $2,000/year. Now, add the 6% match from your employer and now you saved $2,000 from your employer to give you a yearly savings/investment of $4,000.

Take it, it’s Free Money!
While we can understand the hestitation of putting money into a savings plan bi-weekly because your paychecks will shrink, it’s important for you to understand that by participating your paychecks actually increase! Keep in mind that an 8% return on an investment in one year is considered a good investment. When your employer is offering you a match on your savings, you are already up 100% on your investment for the year. Just to try to stress the point even further, consider the example above, if you participate in your employer match program for 30 years, earning an average of 8% a year on your investments and make $50,000/annually with 6% match you would accumulate $496,289 over the 30 years. Only $60,000 of the $496,289 is actually coming from your check, the rest is employer matched and interest. Take it, it’s free money! $

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Warning: Tax Economic Stimulus Rebate Fraud

If you haven’t heard the good news, Congress has approved a measure that will put money into your pockets starting sometime in May. In a previous post, we discuss how big of a rebate you should expect to receive as well as possible financial savvy ways to spend them. The bad news is, wherever there is money, there are scammers. Scammers are posing as the IRS through emails and phone calls promising earlier delivery of your rebate checks, in addition to direct deposits. Milk Your Money has come up with some warning signs to be appraised of in order to avoid becoming a victim.

Phone Calls from the IRS

First, the IRS is not going to be cold calling taxpayers in an attempt to pay them earlier or to offer some type of a direct deposit of your rebate. Last time I checked, the Federal Government has never being itching to put more money into our pockets. Hang up on these phonies. Common sense will prevail, if you let it, when dealing with fraudsters like these.

Emails Requesting Personal Information

A true warning sign of fraudulent emails are ones asking for you to reveal personal information. Financial institutions or government entities will never send you an email asking for things like your social security number, bank account numbers and address. Keep this in mind to avoid frauds down the road. Taxpayers are now receiving emails from IRS posers promising, again, earlier delivery of your stimulus rebates if you give up some personal information. Do not reply to these emails, report them and delete. The most important thing to remember is if you qualify for a rebate, you will receive a check sometime this summer and all you have to do is cash it, no strings attached.

You can report suspicious phone calls and emails to
IRS web site.$