Financial Problems are Temporary

If things seem a bit tight or finances are weighing you down, you have to understand it will not always be this way.

I know firsthand. While in college, I made financial mistake after financial mistake.  If it wasn’t the mall calling my name, a night out with my girls, or just living beyond my means, I always found myself spending money I didn’t have. After graduating from college, it finally dawned on me; I had to make some financial changes. [Read more…]

Will that be debit or credit

5264722238The recent Target Corp. payment data breach impacted more than 40 million customers and raised an interesting question: Which is safer, debit cards or credit cards?

Credit card users have more protection: They are only liable up to $50 for fraudulent activity, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). That is true regardless of how long it takes you to discover the transaction.

By contrast, with debit cards, time is of essence. Users should check their bank transactions as soon as possible, since debit cards users are only liable for $50 if potentially fraudulent activity is reported within two calendar days after you discover the transaction, according to the FDIC. However, after two days, users could be liable for at least $500, and possibly more.

When swiping a debit card, keep in mind that you are putting your entire bank account at risk. Therefore, if you fall victim to a payment breach, it puts much of your hard-earned savings at risk, such as the cash you earn from your paycheck.

Here are a few tips to protect your debit card:

  • Set up alerts through your financial institution so you are notified each time your account is used.
  • Consider using a credit card for shopping, as it offers better protection.
  • If you prefer to use a debit card, open a separate account linked to the card. Then, keep that account funded at relatively low levels. That way, you will not suffer major financial damage if your card is used fraudulently.

Remember to remain vigilant. The key to protecting yourself is keeping an eye on your finances.

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and professor at Dillard University at New Orleans. She writes a personal fiance blog at Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook. 


Self-Employed? Reporting your income may be more beneficial than you think!

If you are a self-employed individual, you have at your discretion to be flexible when reporting your income and deductions on your tax return. Of course, if you receive 1099s, this income will be reported to the IRS, however if you receive cash payments or unreported income, you may be go unnoticed.  Besides, will the IRS really know you receive those payments last year?  Hey, no one is looking – right?

Wrong! Even if you never been audited or never will, these type of decisions will be certain to catch up with you down the road. [Read more…]

Using credit wisely: The taboo conversation your parents never had!

Many of us, while growing up, had discussions with our parents about the dangers of drugs. And despite how uncomfortable it might have been for both you and your parents, it’s quite likely that you also had “the talk” about sex. Our parents regularly urged us to stay in school or to choose our friends wisely. But not many of us had a heart-to-heart talk about credit cards. [Read more…]