My personal finance blog, Kemberley.com, is based on five principles I believe are necessary to obtain a financial healing. These five principles have not only been a blessing to others, but have also been a blessing to myself to get my own personal finances in order. I refer to these principles as the B-A-D-G-E! [Read more…]
Celebrities such as Hunger Games’ actress Jennifer Lawrence, model Kate Upton, singer Rihanna and socialite Kim Kardashian were among those whose photos were hacked and posted to a website.
The FBI has begun to address the matter and have started questioning those that may be involved, according to Associated Press.
While it is unclear how the photos were obtained, it is definitely a reminder and lesson for us all. Each and everyday, we take for granted the vulnerabilities of the Internet. We have become so accustomed to uploading, downloading, sharing, posting, and going about our daily business that we forget about the vulnerabilities that exist.
Even worse, we forget as we post, backup, share or sometimes delete, that we may leave a permanent “digital footprint.”
So, what can we do to protect ourselves?
If you are anything like my mother, you may choose to forego the use of cloud storage, banking online and social sharing altogether. But hey, this isn’t practical for many of us. So for the rest of us, here are a few tips to protect ourselves in the digital world.
1. Build stronger passwords
Recent studies have found many security breaches are due to weak passwords. You know the ones…”123456” or “abcdef.”
Yes, seriously, people still use these!
So, if your passwords are simple, your child’s name, your date of birth, it is time to get to work. Consider using passwords that are not found in the dictionary and are a combination of letters, characters and numbers.
More importantly, do not use the same password for different accounts. This way, if one account were breached, it would be difficult for other accounts to be breached due to various passwords.
2. Think twice
Hey, we may have all been careless about sharing, saving or posting documents online with sensitive information. But we simply must think twice!
We have to ask ourselves:
- If this account were hacked, would I want this information leaked?
- Could it cause identity theft?
- Do I want to share this personal information with the world?
3. Forego cloud sharing services
If possible, consider foregoing cloud sharing services altogether. This may sounds ‘old school,’ but consider using external devices for documents, photos and other sensitive items that you do not want to share.
In addition, consider disabling your cloud sharing services, such as iCloud for now. Here is a link with step-by-step instructions to do so.
Hope this helps. This recent scandal is a reminder to us all that we have to be careful with storing and sharing online.
And thanks to all who have emailed about the article I wrote last week! If you are interested in taking a #Kemcents personal finance course drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Remember: your choice your future!
Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and a certified public accountant. Check out her ebook, Let your budget inspire you!
If you were fortunate, your parents wrote a big healthy check toward your college expenses and provided you with sound advice during your time in college. However, if you were not so lucky, you may have been dropped off to college with only sound advice! And we all know, sound advice doesn’t pay for college!
But know, you can change the cycle. Whether you are a parent, expecting or just merely dreaming of your future offspring, it is no greater time than now to begin investing in your children’s future. There are many steps you can take toward saving for your children’s education. Now more than ever, it is important to take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts that may be available to you. Consider these education saving vehicles:
Section 529 Plan
A section 529 plan allows earnings to grow tax deferred and distributions for the purpose of paying education are tax-free. States and eligible institutions provide 529 plans. A 529 plan could be either a prepaid or a contribution plan.
The key advantages of the 529 plan, the earnings grow tax-free and the contributor may be eligible for a state deduction. Also, say for instance, Junior decides to follow his dreams and become an NBA player, all isn’t lost! You can request to change the beneficiary to another child. Keep in mind, as long as expenses are utilized for qualified education expenses you are not taxed, however funds utilized for other reasons may be subject to penalties.
Louisiana has a great 529 plan that not only allows for state deductions but also matches your contributions.
A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) provides another option to save for college. An individual is able to contribute $2,000 (2014) per individual towards college funding. Although the contributions are not tax deductible, just as 529 plans, earnings grow tax free if used toward educational purposes.
The key advantage of Coverdell ESAs are the account could be used for elementary and secondary education.
Even if you save a small amount, stash something away consistently to pay toward the cost of college for your loved ones or yourself. You will be amazed how this money can really add up!
Remember: your choice, your future!
Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and a business professor at Dillard University. She is the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing.
If you were fortunate, your parents wrote a big healthy check toward your college expenses and provided you with sound advice during your time in college. However, if you were anything like me, you may have been dropped off to college with only sound advice! And we all know, sound advice doesn’t pay for college! [Read more…]
Over the past weekend, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I have been posting wedding pictures from my best friend Crystal’s wedding! I have known Crystal since the seventh grade and had the honor to be her maid of honor this weekend.
I have to admit, when it came to her bridal shower and purchasing gifts for her along the way, I happily broke my budget. And here is why…
Crystal is not only a true and loyal friend (which is rare in these days and times) but I truly consider her family. She has not only been a blessing to me but to every member in my family. She has been a praying partner with my mother, takes care of my niece and steps in when needed for my family’s last minute errands.
More importantly, even as our lives have changed, we have both grown in God. For this reason, we would wake up each morning at 5:30 a.m. and pray for our families and seek God’s direction for our lives. These days, she also takes time to edit each and every article I write.
So yes, when it came time to celebrate her special day, there is no money that can ever repay Crystal for all that she has done for my family and I. If you see the pictures you will see why I am smiling so big. She is the best and there is no budget that would keep me from blessing her!
Just this past week, at the same time as I celebrated Crystal’s wedding, I also mourned the loss of my brother’s best friend’s father, Mr. Bobby Roy, Sr. We have to remember life is very short. Therefore, when moments present themselves to show each other we care, we have to do it. We never know when we will have that chance again. I could imagine each and every one of us has someone today we can show them how much they mean to us. You never know if this will be your last time to do it.
Finally, I am so excited to announce the winner of the $100 giveaway! The winner is a Michelle Norwood, who has suffered an illness and was only given a few months to live but through God’s grace, she has lived more than 6 years since her diagnosis. While this gift may not help much, I hope that it can be a blessing to her.
Remember: your choice, your future!
Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University. She is the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing.