What’s a Ponzi Scheme? (And Other Financial Scams to Avoid)

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Financial scams have only gotten more subtle in the last decades. The most popular examples – the Ponzi scheme and the Pyramid scheme are still happening to date. This is because fraudsters find new ways to keep these fraudulent schemes afloat even when they’re against the law. In this article, we’ll be talking about Ponzi schemes and providing a list of financial scams to avoid at all costs.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraud that often proposes an investment opportunity. They offer unrealistic promises and ROIs (return on investments) within a short time by paying earlier investors with the money from more recent investors. This scheme will often masquerade as a business opportunity for some hidden, untapped well of gold. They will often act as though there is legitimacy and actual business activities going on; however, all the funds are most likely funds received from unknowing investors.

A Pyramid scheme is also a financial scam to avoid. This scheme is quite similar to the Ponzi scheme, except there is the presence of products. A pyramid scheme is a model of business that masquerades as a business with a distributorship program. The real profit, however, comes from convincing other people to register and pay to become distributors themselves.

Some other Financial Scams to Avoid

  1. Advance Fee Schemes – This occurs when a person promises to give you a product of greater value worth more than the funds you will provide. They often end up paying little to nothing in return to the victim.
  1. Charity and Disaster Fraud – In times like these, many fraudsters are masquerading as charity companies. It is important to only donate to credible sources.
  1. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs – Under-the-counter drug sales are often fraudulent, with either the victim being scammed or the drug is hazardous and unsafe.
  1. Credit Card Fraud – This is when a credit card is used without permission. Unauthorized use of debit/credit cards has been used to steal money, assets, and even property.
  1. Illegal Sports Betting – Illegal sports betting happens at underground clubs or events where a lot of money is placed on the results of sporting events. Because these events are so secretive, there is little to no official security which makes it dangerous.
  1. Internet Auction Fraud – Internet auctions can be extremely fraudulent. If you are not sure of the source and the product, it is better to avoid them.
  1. Investment Frauds – Investment frauds are quite similar to Ponzi schemes; however, they can come in several forms. If you’re being coerced into an investment, ensure that the claims being made are true and not false.
  1. Money Mules – A money mule is someone who moves money, usually physically or via internet banking, from one person to another. If the money is stolen or gotten via fraudulent activities, being a money mule can be a criminal offense. If a person you hardly know asks you to hold a large amount of money for them, always ask questions.

The FBI has compiled a list of common scams and crimes to be aware of. If you would like to read the full list, please click here.

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How to Choose an Investment Brokerage

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Choosing an investment brokerage is a step that must be taken cautiously. In this article, we’ll be sharing how to choose an investment brokerage.

Before we begin with this article, it is important to define some terms that you will be seeing in the article. A brokerage can be defined as a company or business that purchases and sells goods, assets, and stocks for its clients. It is the business of being a broker. A broker can be a person or a firm that finds excellent deals (whether to sell or buy) for a client and then arranges a safe transaction between the parties for a fee or a commission. Most brokers charge a certain percentage instead of a flat-rate fee. You can review the broker as the middle person between the buyer and the seller. A brokerage account is an account specifically for investments.

Although you are allowed to withdraw money from that account, it is safer to reserve that money for investments. Investments can be stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or ETFs. Your brokerage account holds your funds, and yes, the cash in it belongs to you. However, you may not be able to access your brokerage cash immediately because it could be sitting in stocks or mutual funds. To access it, you’d have to sell your stocks or mutual funds. We hope this has provided you with an adequate and clear explanation.

If you’re interested in investments but do not have much time or knowledge on the field, you can hire the services of a brokerage (a company of brokers). Now, how do you choose an investment brokerage or broker? Here are the steps you should take.

  1. Ask Trusted Friends and Family – The first place to begin is to ask your friends and family. If you have a trusted friend or family member that regularly invests, you should ask them about their broker. This is one of the safest ways to find an investment brokerage. Also, if you’re the sort of person who prefers seeing your broker physically, you’d be better off following this option. A brokerage recommended to you by trusted friends and family will be closer to your location.
  1. Ask Yourself A Few Questions – If you don’t know a broker personally before you start searching for one, understand what your needs are. There are certain kinds of stocks you should be purchasing at different levels of your life. The younger you are, the more risks you can take; once you get closer to retirement, you’ll want to focus on low-risk investments such as mutual funds.
  1. Find the Brokerage that matches your needs – Now that you’re fully aware of the kind of investments you’ll be dabbling in, it’s time to find an investor. You’ll need to narrow the field and know the brokerage firms that focus on the sort of investments you want. If you’re nearing retirement, you can ask your colleagues at work and scrutinize the options.
  1. Look for Security – When you find your options, you’ll need to search for the following. Any brokerage you select must be on the SIPC website as a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. They must also be a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. You can click here to ensure they are registered. Their checking, savings, and deposit products should be covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and they should have an insurance plan available for their customers.

For more information, please click here.

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How People with No Credit or Low Credit Can Improve Their Credit Scores

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You can improve your credit score by following a few simple steps. Your credit card score is a number that estimates the owner’s (of the card) financial decisions. A credit card score will show the creditworthiness of an owner. The credit card score is usually a number between 300-850. 300 to 629 is regarded as a bad credit score, 630-689 is regarded as a fair credit score, 690-719 is regarded as a good credit score, and finally, 720-850 is regarded as an excellent credit score.

Your credit card score is extremely important because it can determine if you get an apartment, if you can purchase a car and if you can apply for a loan. Your credit card score can keep you from getting a great (annual percentage rate) APR. For those who are unaware, your APR includes your interest rate and the cost of procuring the loan.

In these unprecedented times, many people need money to get back on their feet or meet up with their bills. Unfortunately, they may have a bad credit score, or they may be unwilling to get another credit card. Bad credit scores are not always a result of poor spending. Sometimes a bad credit score is a result of short credit history or financial mistakes. In this article, we’ll be sharing how people with no credit or low credit can improve their credit scores.

  1. Build Your Credit File –  Your credit file is a file that contains your credit history. By building a file and having a long history, you’ll have a better chance of increasing your credit score. You can do this by opening accounts that will be reported to the top credit bureaus. If you have several accounts open and are active on them, you’ll be able to show that you are a good borrower who can pay back loans.
  1. Don’t Skip Payments – To build your credit score, you’ll need to have consistently paid on time. Don’t skip your payments, no matter how tempting it may be. If you have payments to make, ensure you make them at the right time. If you miss your loan or credit card payments by over a month, you might get reported to the credit bureaus, which will reduce the credit score you’ve worked so hard to increase. You should also make frequent payments.
  1. Use a Credit Builder Credit Card – A credit builder credit card is a card that is made to help people with no credit or people with low credit. You can apply for a credit builder credit card if your income isn’t high enough for the credit card you prefer. You can apply for a credit builder credit card if you have a poor credit score, and you can apply for a credit builder credit card if you’ve never had a credit card before.

Credit builder cards will offer you a low credit limit; however, they also have a high (Annual Percentage Rate) APR. Your APR will get lower in time as long as you’re making your payments on time. Good handling of your credit builder card will help you improve your credit score and can also help you increase your low credit limit. Some credit builder cards are the  Nexo Card, the Gemini Credit Card, and the Bitpanda Visa Card.

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Tips on Saving for Retirement

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Hello everyone. I’m sure today you’ll want to learn about wonderful tips on saving funds for retirement. Well, who’s the best person to ask on how you could plan for retirement than people that are retired. I’m also one of the best people to ask cause my dad has been retired since 2005 and he’s living his life as a very happy man. So come on, get on, giddy up, let’s ride. 

How you can Save Properly for Retirement 

You need to check up on your investments before you retire.

The funds that are needed five to ten years after you retire are highly vulnerable. Make sure you don’t overspend. If those funds get lost, it is very difficult to get them back over time. You need to look out for investments that have income sources that you could easily predict. You need to know that if an income source is predictable, the return would be lower. 

You need to know that inflation occurs naturally 

Rising prices and inflation could chew away at all of your retirement. As you plan to retire, make sure you assume for a fact that prices would rise. Don’t stop planning for this. 

You need to talk to your partner about how you’ll spend after retirement 

Your latter needs to know all of your plans. You need to be open with them. If both of you are on the same page, just the way couples talk about buying a new house or a new car when they are working. It’ll end up being a great habit/character to talk to your partner about retirement financial plans too. 

Don’t forget about your physical health 

Some seconds ago I wrote an article about the link between your financial health and your physical health. Make sure that you take very good care of yourself physically. It is someone alive that can talk about plans for retirement you know. 

You know the costs of health care are quite much. You need to remain fit today so when you’re tired, your fitness would carry on. The costs for health care are usually overlooked by retirees. This still makes things spin out of control whenever issues related to health come alone. You should always think about the projections assigned to your physical health needs. 

You need to create a retirement budget and make sure you always follow it.

This is a great way to plan for your life after retirement. For you to know how much you spend. A lot of people never care about the amount of money they spend when they retire. If you need some assistance starting, you could converse with one of our investment professionals. Several people have stated they could calculate their spendings done by the year after retirement. You could join them you know. 

So there we have it. Using the tips I mentioned above, you can properly save for retirement. Enjoy!

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The Link Between Financial Health and Physical Health

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Oh, trust me when I say there are a huge link and a correlation between your financial health and your physical health. That’s what this article would be discussing today. The link between these two different but quite similar health in our systems.

What is Financial Health?

Financial health refers to how you are financial. Are you rich, are you poor, do you have enough funds to live the kind of way you desire? Are you happy financially, are you in debt, do you have a lot of financial responsibilities, can you handle those responsibilities properly. And so on.

What is Physical Health?

Physical health refers to the way your body works on a good day. Is your head hurting you, are you suffering from body pain, does it feel like there’s a hole in your guy, does your knee cringe, this and a lot more could be signs that you need to check on your physical health. 

What’s the relationship between financial health and physical health.

Well, we all need to always remain focused on our well-being. It could be in the physical sense or financial sense. We could have the desire to improve the methods we make more money. We could also desire to change our lifestyle to fit the needs of our physical bodies.

What are the health impacts of your financial health and your physical health 

We all know that if you are having troubles with your finances, it would be obvious from how you are seen physically. It is not just relationships that make people look ill or feel depressed you know. People need a lot of money. Sapa ( the word used in some developing countries to explain a very high state of being broke) needs you to have a lot of money. If you do not have the amount of money to live the kind of life you desire, it would be obvious your physical body would be reacting to how your financial health is. 

You would look down, you would be sad, your countenance would be different, your mood would be off, your belly would be upset more often than not. You would want space, you would want to be alone, you wouldn’t want anyone calling you or stressing you on things that don’t include you getting a credit alert. 

What’s the Ripple Effect of A great Financial Health on the Physical Body

Oh my, if you have a lot of money, you would not get stressed by anxiety, or lack of sleep, heart problems, or high blood pressure that’s caused by an absence of money. You would not suffer from depression and other mental health issues because you’ll be a happy man once your account is happy.

So as you try to balance your physical health, don’t try to forget about your mental health. That another very important part of you that always craves balance. In essence, balance is essential. 

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Teaching Kids about Saving Money

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We all know that teaching your beautiful young ones how to save us an essential aspect of securing your financial freedom and building wealth. Lots of us have learned the importance of saving funds using experience, trial and error, and watching our parents. 

This article would be talking about how you can teach the kids around you how they can save some money. Let’s carry on, shall we?

List of ways you can teach kids about Saving Money 

Start with a Piggy Bank 

This works wonders, trust me. This is an excellent way you can teach your child how to save some money. You can give them a straightforward way of doing this. The goal of making use of a Piggybank is for them to keep their coins and pillars. It would help if you illustrated that they need to keep saving till the Piggybank is complete, and there’s no more space to save anymore. Tell them the more they save, the more their money would grow.

Open up a bank account for your kids.

After they have filled their Piggy banks, take your kids to the bank and have them open a savings account. You should have them count how much funds would get deposited. Let them fully understand how much funds they have. Show them the total and then start teaching them about interest. 

Make them understand the idea of interest very well.

These days with the way the world is going, if you have kids that do not fully understand or get what interest does to them, the general aim of teaching them how to save using Piggy banks or using their bank accounts would go to waste. The general aim of saving is for your kids to grow the already saved Money into more Money. One of the ways your kids can do that is by investing in something they are passionate about. They could invest into you, their parents, into your business, and then you would pay them back using calculated interest rates. In these ways, when your kids notice that the amount of Money they are saving is increasing over time, they would want to save more because they have full-blown hopes that in the future, the amount of Money they would have would be relatively high. 

Teach them how to spend wisely 

Make sure they save up before they start spending because if they start spending from the complete amounts of their incomes, they wouldn’t want to save any amount of Money at the end of the day. Because it would be sad to save from the remnants after you have started spending from your income. Trust me. I’m speaking from experience. 

Different people have different ways they’ve learned how to save. Some people do not like the general idea of saving. They like to spend Money and consume it as soon as they get it. To be financially stable, one needs to save Money and build wealth in any way they can. 

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How to Create Financial Stability after the COVID Pandemic

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The pandemic is still a horrible and grave issue in some parts of the world. Till right now, I tell you the truth. There are places, countries that are suffering from a recession that’s deepening, income losses, and surging pandemic. Latin America and the Caribbean have been facing economic and health crises, which would teat the financial systems like some modern times. The blow could get softened, though. There are central banks like ordinary banks and governments which could help in playing critical roles. These would help in providing finances that would reduce the impact on firms and families. These would also speed up the rate of recovery from businesses that went through hell during the pandemic. 

The Caribbean and Latin America had entered into the COVID era with robust frameworks related to funds. They knew for sure that the prices of goods and services would increase massively as soon as the pandemic started. Several countries introduced regimes that targeted and tried to fight inflation. They used these situations to gain flexibility in their exchange rate. As the crises continued, these financial systems remained healthy, and the banks boasted of having liquidity buffers and very high capital. 

How were these Banks Able to Maintain Independence on their Central Banks 

Maintaining these central bank independence and remaining credible was quite substantial, essential, and critical. In several countries in these regions, these central banks have reduced their interest rates and increased liquidity in their economies. This level of credibility had a severe monetary reaction to a policy that was both effective and feasible. Some of these countries tried contemplating changing their Central Bank charters. They wanted to do this because they wanted to have more flexible ways of buying private and public securities from markets that were based on primary notions. There were lots of dangers around, though. It wasn’t easy to do this. The central banks focused on granting liquidity. They avoided the monetary levels of financing fiscal deficits. They also assumed the private sector had credit risks too. There were central banks that did not weaken their independence or their balance sheets. Governments did not turn to the IMF or the MDB to get higher support levels than was needed. 

My thoughts on ways you can Create Financial Stability after the COVID Pandemic 

This article above is for the entire government to study for people like me and you, people who like to be private and personal. Proper ways that you can use to gain financial stability and live the lifestyle you deserve would be to start making money on your own. Get into businesses. Start affiliate marketing. Start freelancing. These are fantastic ways to be your boss, get your credit alerts, and gain financial stability. This would also help you expand and grow in more ways than you can imagine. It is a necessary step with which you should make use of after this pandemic. Because when the masks are off, things will get tough.

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Current U.S. Stock Market News

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This article would be talking about some present United States Stock Market News. Did you hear that Apple Inc had reduced its stocks by about fifteen percent since the ending of January? Tesla Inc has also lost more than 1/3 trillion dollars from its original market value just in three weeks. More than $1.5 trillion has disappeared from the Nasdaq 100 in a period that did not reach thirty days. 

Mons of these have been able to touch any of the retail investors. 

Instead of all of that, there are Reddit phrases that describe bullish gumption. These also have hands made of diamonds. Since the market had peaked about some weeks ago, some retail traders have plowed lots of cash into the United States stocks at a forty percent rate that’s relatively higher than they did in the year 2020. This was also a record year. That was when they opted for market parts that had gone through a lot of pain. These doubled down to risky ways, which they tried to get options and tech funds. 

A year from the stock crash after the COVID pandemic and many individual traders are now making almost ¼ United States volume daily. Some of these speculative favored bets minted lots of funds, including electric stocks that had particular purposes of acquiring companies and green plays with energy—just naming some of them here, though. These could be the same type of securities that are now adding to what is known as an increase in bonds. 

Don’t forget about retail traders. Lots of them are investors that are beginners. They have held extreme dips consistently. They’re trying to do what is called the bull market. These have been happening for about ninety years. The globe is looking at the amount of money it would take for them to say, ” Hey, we’re not playing again,” even after going through a year that retail traders had more rights than wrongs. 

Looking at things through history, it has been quite a wrong signal that we’ve got investors from retail who are piling into the market to signal things from the top. This is what Arthur Hogan stated. We have a chief market strategist and National Securities Corps. We all tried to call tops in the year 2020 because of participation from retail events. They might have been wrong, though. 

My thoughts on Forex and Stock Market 

Let’s see. I am a huge fan of Tesla. Yeah, that’s the one Elon Musk owns, right? I think they’re the ones in charge of creating cars that are powered with electricity or something. I’m not so versatile on issues related to the stock market. But you can’t live in this world and not know a thing or two about the leaders in the game. The pandemic came and wanted to wreck lots of things that were not built in a day. But I have faith in these stocks, for they shall rise again. 

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The Social Security Increase for Retirees: What You Need to Know

This article is going to talk about The Social Security Increase for Retirees and all You Need to Know.

What is Social Security Increase for Retirees 

Well, Social Security Increase for Retirees refers to the process where retirees would begin to start enjoying an increase in the number of funds given to them from the amount they were getting when they were simply working in their former places of occupation. What this means is, when they had jobs or were employed, they were already getting proper okay amounts of income. But now that they are retired, they wouldn’t be so used to their pensions. This Social Security Increase for Retirees is going to help these retired workers feel better after becoming retired people. Do you get it?

List of Social Security Increase for Retirees 

  1. SSI for couple: $1,191 (+$16)
  2. SSI for an individual: $794 (+$11)
  3. Disabled worker w/ spouse, kids: $2,224 (+$29)
  4. Disabled worker: $1,277 (+$16)
  5. A widow with two kids: $3,001 (+$39)
  6. Widow or widower: $1,453 (+$19)
  7. Retired couple: $2,596 (+$33)
  8. Retired worker: $1,543 (+$20)

For a retired worker on average, they get to enjoy monthly social security benefit which would increase or rise by twenty dollars to a thousand five hundred and forty-three in January to a thousand five hundred and twenty-three in 2020. An average couple that retires typically collects benefits with an increase in payments like thirty-three dollars to two thousand and ninety-six dollars. 

Why does this Social Security Increases For Retirees 

As explained earlier, these Social Security is quite important for these Retirees. Let me use an example to explain this concluding part of this article.

For example, there’s Mr. Hinson that lives down the street. He has been an investment banker at the central bank of the country. He has been working there for about forty-five years. Then all of a sudden he gets retired. This retirement came as a surprise because off the top of his head, he thought he would still be in business or his office for more years to come. Only for him to get retired and then he started getting his pension. He was getting a very high amount of money from being an investment banker and trust me, he has already gotten used to his lifestyle. Can you imagine how heartbreaking it would be to start getting nothing but just a pension? This is why there’s now a Social Security Increase for Retirees. At least even though the increase wouldn’t be as much as his previous salary, it can come close and cut the line. Mr. Hinson would also use this increase to get other productive things to do. Instead of being at home, bored, doing nothing but annoyed he’s gotten retired and all. He could open his firm and then be happy with everything that is going on in his life.

So yeah this increase is quite important for these Retirees. Don’t you think?

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How to Claim a Dependent on Your Taxes

This article would be talking about wonderful ways you could claim a person as a dependent. Stay tuned let’s learn all that this is about. 

Why would one want to claim someone as a dependent?

If you have members that all combine to be your family. The IRS defines all these people for your income tax purposes. These are important because they could save you a lot of money. This could be very high amounts of money. For people that have tax years that are before 2018, all qualified dependents as you claim would reduce your taxable income by the number of exemptions that would be equal to four thousand and fifty dollars in the year 2017. These would all add up amounts that are substantial to the savings on your tax bills.

Exemptions by 2018

By the year 2018, these exemptions have gotten replaced by 

A standard of education that’ll increase. A Large tax credit for your kids that would be worth up to two thousand dollars per your dependent kids. There are also additional child tax credits which are all up to a thousand four hundred per qualifying child.

There are also brand new credits for other dependent children. These are all up to five hundred dollars per these qualifying dependents. Make sure you do not confuse this with the dependent care credits and the child. 

There are rules which are dependent and they apply to several other benefits too. 

These include things like Earned Income Tax credit and then the Dependent Child Care credit for expenses related to daycare. These include itemized expenses and medical deductions for several different credits that involve kids or family issues. 

These benefits could spell the differences between receiving a refund and owing money. 

Who can get qualified as a dependent?

From the rules gotten from the IRS, these qualify dependents to cover about every conceivable situation from housekeepers to offsprings that are emancipated. 

Happily, most of us enjoy living lives that are simple. There are rules which would cover just about everyone. 

There are two different types of dependents. These subjects have rules that are different. These could be a relative that qualifies and a child that qualifies. 

For both of these dependents, you need to have proper answers to the questions which would be asked to know if you could claim them properly. These questions include:

Knowing their full names, knowing when they gave birth to them, knowing who gave birth to them. Proving you are their actual guardian or parent or relative. You need to prove you need these taxes which would get reduced from you since you already have a dependent. In the end, it is quite a simple thing but you need to make sure you need to get these dependent tax funds and you would take very good care of the dependent. No one would give funds to someone that wouldn’t take care of a dependent.

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