In no particular order, here’s a few interesting things I heard and read recently that I wanted to share:
7 Money-Saving, Stress-Less Holiday Shopping Tips (Real Simple, by Maggie Shi)
Since we are in the midst of holiday shopping season, I thought sharing one of these articles would be helpful… since most people have absolutely NO DISCIPLINE when they do their shopping. I am pretty good about writing things down and doing online comparisons, but I rarely “start early”…and I frustrate myself every year doing my shopping in the 11th hour (not this year though!). If you are like me, you do most of your shopping online. I would suggest being leery of apps that might pop up for a product (on Facebook, for example) or links that you get in an email – they may be malicious and can potentially steal your identity. One last tip, be careuful doing shopping from your mobile phone – it’s harder to see the url you visit (scammers can create links that look legitimate) so consider downloading the native app to that particular store instead.
What is Cryptocurrency: Everything you Need to Know (In depth guide by Blockgeeks)
Alright, something must be in the air about this cryptocurrency topic. After not being asked about them previously, in this past week alone I had 5 clients ask me about them! I don’t dabble with them currently, so I have no firsthand knowledge to share with you (although this article is very informative). But what I will tell you is be careful – although they may be legitimate, it’s still early in their development and very difficult to access and value. I would relate it to picking a penny stock that had potential but is also unproven, and would discourage anyone from investing a large percentage of their investable assets into them. I might even go so far as to say you wouldn’t be investing in cryptocurrencies as much as you are speculating in them. In general I would encourage people to do their homework and know what they are getting in to. It may be the way of the future, but also be prepared to lose your money (Las Vegas style)! Also beware that the IRS is treating gains (i.e. money made) as property and NOT as currency – so they have their hand out for any tax that may be due on the gains.
The QSEHRA – What Is it? (Zane Benefits, by Caitlin Bronson)
There have been alot of changes in the healthcare system in recent years, but one recent development has not gotten as much press as it should. In December 2016, the Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) was born. Prior to that, small employers could not (or did not) provide health benefits to their employers because it was cost prohibitive. Now these same small employers (with less than 50 employees) are able to provide reimbursement for the cost of heathcare up to $10k per family. The employer is not providing healthcare per se, rather it is a way for the business to make tax-deductible contributions (reimbursements to the employee for health costs) and at the same time allowing the employee flexibility to choose their own healthcare. These reimbursements can be made for qualified medicare care or premiums. And another great thing if you are the employee on the receiving end of this benefit: the money is not taxable income to you! This is a great way for companies to provide value and retain employees – and it’s easy to set up. Take a look, business owners!
Enjoy the light reading!