Avoiding Bad Financial Products

As a professional financial planner, I often come across finanical products that are such bad ideas that I don’t even know how (or why?) someone got them to market. Usually the answer is flat out greed. A company willing to make a buck at the expense of its customers is always out there.

A posting over at Wise Bread talks about some of these bad ideas. The one at the top of the list is the new 401(k) credit card / debit card. No doubt, this idea orgininated with the goal of allowing retirees to access their 401(k)s in an easier manner so that they could consider leaving the balance in the 401(k) plan instead of rolling it out into an IRA. (Rolling it out is almost always better – keep an eye out for the coming article on Finance Gourmet.) Now, however, some companies are offering these cards to everyone!

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Credit Card Rewards Catalog Update

Instead of sending me your rewards catalog, I’m just going to collect a table of information. The reason is that from the catalogs I’ve seen, comparing the items you can get is kind of a worthless process. Most catalogs don’t show a specific model number or other details that would be necessary to actually do any kind of comparison. Besides 99% of the time, getting merchandise is not a good deal through your rewards program so most of us should focus on travel, cash, and gift cards which can truly be used for value, and are comparable across programs. So, instead of sending me your credit card catalog, send me the following information:

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The Truth About Stock

One if the most frequent questions I get from people is what kind of [tag]insider tips[/tag] and tricks do I know as a financial planner. Of course, most people don’t want to hear it, and sometimes it can take a while to explain. Today, one of those secrets is revealed …

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How to Get a Bonus On Your Tax Rebate!

Tax Graphic Ok, it’s official. Pretty much everyone in America is getting a [tag]tax rebate[/tag] this summer. The IRS says they’ll start mailing checks in May. So how would you like to get a nice tax-free bonus on your tax rebate? Here’s how.

Your tax-rebate is part of the [tag]economic stimulus[/tag] package recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. You will get up to $600 per person or up to $1200 per joint couple. You also will get up to $300 per child. That money will be a tax free payment from the government. So how do you collect your bonus?

If you qualify for a deductible traditional [tag]IRA[/tag] contribution in 2008 and you put your rebate into a traditional IRA then you will get to deduct the amount of the contribution. So, if you are in the 30% tax bracket, it’s like getting a 30% bonus in the form of a deduction on your 2008 taxes (which you will file in 2009). If you are self-employed you can accomplish the same thing using your SEP or SIMPLE IRAs.

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Credit Card Rewards Catalog

One of the toughest things about comparing all the different rewards credit cards out there is that the credit card companies aren’t very good about showing you what your points can buy until AFTER you sign up. Go ahead, try and find the rewards catalog for a reward credit card …

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Do You Need a Financial Planner or Financial Advisor?

On the Finance Gourmet website, the first part of our latest article has been posted. It covers that tough topic of whether or not you need a financial advisor or financial planner. It is unbiased, and subsequent sections will give you all the details you never got so you won’t have to ask the question again.

Want the one question quiz?

1) What are you doing right now to protect your retirement portfolio from the coming recession, and what did you do last time to protect if from the falling housing market and the sub-prime mortgage crisis?

Write it down. Seriously. You are only cheating yourself if you don’t. Writing it down will help you make a fair analysis.

The answer on the next page will let you know if you need a financial advisor or financial planner.

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About

About Finance Gourmet The person behind Finance Gourmet is a former real-life financial planner with real life clients. Why is this such a big deal? Because virtually no one else you are reading can say that. Those articles in the newspaper? Professional journalists. Those other websites? Professional writers and web …

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Welcome to Finance Gourmet

With so many good domain names already taken it can be a bit of a challenge to find a good, reasonable name for your home on the web. Hopefully, I’ve done ok. My main concern will be how many people know how to spell “gourmet” :). Although I won’t be …

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