Risky and Reckless Ways to Save Money Will Always Cost You

Saving money is meant to, you know, result in more money at the end. To this end, it’s important for would-be savers to avoid so-called savings techniques and strategies which are wholly irresponsible if not downright illegal. Every year, thousands of people attempt to get one over on the system in some way with the sole purpose of saving some money. By “some money” we’re talking a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Now, this range is no small chunk of change, but this sum is unlikely to be enough to warrant the risks generated. If caught red-handed, the resulting hurricane of expenses and possibly worse will have you wishing you had just coughed up the money you chose to “save” instead. As you’re about to find out, not only will your savings quickly disappear, you’ll probably wind up still owing a bit of money in your attempts to recklessly squirrel something away:

Skipping insurance

For some folks, avoiding insurance is a way of life. Many deem it a time-tested ripoff, while others simply don’t believe in the concept at all. These cynical and cavalier perspectives are likely to save some money in the short term, but are equally likely to lead to financial woes down the road.

For example, deciding to drive without auto insurance is more than just illegal. If caught, drivers will be forced to take out a high-risk SR-22 insurance policy, which will certainly be far pricier than what they would have originally paid. It’s a silly lesson too many folks have to learn the hard way.

Of course, the same applies to health insurance. Thanks to recent legislation you may have heard about, going without health insurance is now against the law in the United States. The result for non-compliance is a fine. Not to mention, the cost of extended medical care without coverage will send the average person into bankruptcy.

Avoiding repairs

Utilizing the wonderful and seemingly physics-defying properties of duct tape and WD40 to prolong the life of parts of a home or automobile will only go so far. Unfortunately, many people opt to avoid paying for professional repairs, with much larger financial consequences inevitably down the road.

Unattended leaks in the roof will ultimately compromise the structural integrity of a home. Meanwhile, unchanged brake pads can lead to prematurely worn out components of the wheel array, not to mention massive safety risks for yourself, your loved ones, and anyone near the car when it’s in motion. Combine this with no insurance and see where it gets you money wise.

Cheating the taxman

Ahh yes, the one way in which everyone dreams about saving money: reducing their tax burden. While legitimate reasons to do so are obviously invited, many people are easily tempted to do things which reduce tax but maximize financial risk.

The abuse of tax write offs is one such way people hope to save money but wind up hurting for some by the end. The basic rule of thumb is that if it sounds silly to list as a business expense, it’s probably best to leave it off the list.

Then there is flat out attempts to conceal income from the taxman. This is like hiding loot from the local mob boss – it’s only a matter of time before the truth is revealed, and when it does, you won’t be on the smiling side of the situation. Punishment for tax evasion is, needless to say, no nonsense and meant to prove a point. In short, you don’t save much money trying to cheat the taxman.

The goal of saving money is to amass a nest egg of some kind when it’s all said and done. While short-term tactics for helping save money are always welcome, the risky, reckless, and oftentimes illicit ways to do so ought to be avoided altogether. What seem to be the rewards are absolutely not worth the consequences.

Investing for a Secure Future

People often look at investing as a risqué or taboo activity that is only for the rich or the strong willed. In reality, investing is an absolute necessity for securing a safe and happy future. Most of us don’t relish the thought of working until we die, and retirement takes a nest egg that usually needs several decades of building in order to adequately fund us into old age.  There are so many investment vehicles available to us that we often lose track of our options. Consider some of the ways you can start saving for your retirement below.

I always like to start with the 401k. Most employers offer these accounts to their employees as an additional perk or offering to their usual compensation. It’s even becoming fairly commonplace to offer some sort of a matching contribution as well. For example, if you make $50,000 and they offer matching contributions up to 5% of your salary that means you can contribute $2,500 and they will match it dollar for dollar. This is basically free money, and not taking advantage of it means leaving money on the table.

IRA’s are another great retirement vehicle, and very tax advantageous. A traditional IRA works much like a 401k, in that your funds go into the account on a pre-tax basis, and then later on in life when you start withdrawing from the account they will be taxed at your rate then. The benefit is that you pay less taxes now, and watch compound interest take effect on those pre-tax savings as a whole. A Roth IRA is similar, except you contribute post-tax monies to this account. The benefit is that the interest and capital gains on this type of account can be withdrawn tax free upon retirement. This is a huge benefit and when possible, you should take advantage of both accounts. Just like any other type advantaged account, there are income and contribution limitations, but they often become a bit more generous year after year in order to pace with inflation, so stay tuned on any new updates.

While tax advantaged accounts are always the way to go, they alone will not usually meet your retirement dreams, or even requirements. This is why I like to look at other ways of investing my money. Diversification is a key to keeping a healthy and balanced portfolio. Binary options have become increasingly popular over the past several years. Look at Banc De Binary for more information on how you can put them to work for you. There are also several different online and brick and mortar brokerages that handle investment accounts. Gone are the days where you needed an actual investment advisor. These days you can pay a smaller and more manageable fee and have a robo-advisor handle your savings for you.

Retail Store Coupons and Credit Cards

Retail store cards may seem like a game to people, but they can save you a lot of money.  Using free store cards can save money just buy signing up with a phone number and email.  Drugstores, grocery stores, pet stores, and restaurants with frequent diner cards are great places to sign up to save money. The retailers email you coupons, send you personalized paper coupons to your home, and give you free meals after so many visits!  These store coupon cards are a great idea and signing up is so quick and easy!  You can even get free gas and store cash if you “play your cards right”.

Aside from coupon cards that require no commitment or credit checks are the store credit cards. Holding out to sign up for a store credit card is a good idea, as you probably get offered to open a store credit card and save 20% on your purchase every time you shop. This may seem temping but it’s not a good idea to jump at the chance right away.  If you have two or less credit cards opened then having one or two store credit cards is safe and acceptable for your personal finance and credit growth.

Open your store credit card when you are planning to make a large purchase.  Most stores offer 0% APR for the first twelve months and 20% off your first purchase or all purchases that day.  Open the card when you have time/all day to shop for holiday/birthday gifts, or if you’re moving into a new home, or maybe when planning to renovate or upgrade your current home.  Search big box stores sales on internet or keep your eyes open for sales in the newspaper ads if you’re looking to buy furniture or appliances.  If the sale is 50% and you open a store credit card and receive 20% off, you saved yourself 70% on that new living room set or washer and dryer!

Opening clothing store credit cards isn’t a bad thing, but it may not be as valuable to your wallet as a big box store. If you shop at the same store most of the time for your family’s clothes, you can save a lot of money getting a store credit card there. Store cards will save you money, but make sure you know how to play the coupon game and payoff your store credit card each month.

The Most Overrated Jobs of 2015

George Costanza may have always wanted to pretend he was an architect, but it may not have been as glamorous as he thought.  In a new report by job-search site CareerCast.com, the most overrated jobs of 2015 were ranked that factored in job-related stress, competition, industry volatility and high job turnover.  “These jobs have a positive public perception but a less attractive reality,” said CareerCast content editor Kyle Kensing. “While they may have high-salary potential, excitement and glamour, there are trade-offs … that can include long hours, high pressure and stiff competition for positions or clients.”  While some of these positions all seem like jobs one would be proud to have, some are surprising when you compare the salaries to the amount of work and hours that is needed to put in.  Below are the five most overrated jobs of 2015:

The 5th most overrated job:  Architect

With an annual median salary of $73,090 and a growth outlook of 17 percent, architects design and plan the construction of houses, offices and public buildings, but the volatile position hits its low when the economy is poor and construction is non-existent.

The 4th most overrated job:  Advertising Account Executive

With an Annual median salary of $115,750 and a growth outlook of 12 percent, there may be high income potential, but is an extremely high pressure atmosphere working with clients to generate sales for products, especially if an ad fails.

The 3rd most overrated job:  Event Coordinator

With an annual median salary of $45,810 and a growth outlook of 33 percent, coordinators control an event from conception to clean up, work on location day and night, on weekends, and depending on an event, even over holiday’s making sure everything turns out perfect.

The 2nd most overrated job:  Sales Representative (wholesale)

With an annual median salary of $51,670 and growth outlook of 9 percent, sales representatives often spend a majority of their time traveling to earn the majority of their salary based on commissions, and if sales are down, sales representatives are the first to go.

The #1 most overrated job: Broadcaster

With an annual median salary of $29,790 and growth outlook of 2 percent, it may seem like being on TV is the ultimate job, but with the long and unpredictable hours, starting out for little or no pay, there is intense pressure on deadlines and ratings, not to mention extreme competition with few job openings.