Tag Archives: financial

Smile: Simple Giving to Favorite Charity

If you are a regular reader here, you know I serve as a foster care provider with Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue.  Being a charity, we are (always) raising funds to keep doing what we do.  We have a new way for you to help … and all you have to do is — SHOP!  You like shopping right?  Do you shop on Amazon.com?

Steele Away Home is an all-volunteer run 501(c)(3) and is now GuideStar accredited and registered with Amazon Smile.  If you select us as your beneficiary, Amazon will donate a percentage of THEIR profits from your purchase to us as your chosen charity. Continue reading Smile: Simple Giving to Favorite Charity

Social Security Shell Game: File Early or Wait?

social securityThe Social Security program in this country has undergone many changes over the 82 years since it’s inception, but I’m not here to decry manipulation or the theft of public monies by corrupt politicians.  I’m looking at whether I should “retire” at age 62 or wait until full retirement age of 67 (yes, it’s 67 now).  To run the numbers I used:

Retirement Calculator

This calculator gives you a personal estimate of what your average monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on if you retire early (age 62), at full retirement age (age 67) or at the latest age of retirement (age 70).  This one accesses your S.S.A. data to give you an accurate payment amount.

And

So. Sec. Benefits by Year of Birth

This chart uses “average” numbers to help you make a decision without going into your personal info.  Here’s how it shakes out for me.

Continue reading Social Security Shell Game: File Early or Wait?

With a Little Help From Our Friends

My wife and I provide foster care to dogs from the Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Animal Shelter in Newport Tennessee. Piney Mountain Foster Care is a fancy name that Marie and I have adopted for these efforts to help save dogs, but it’s just a name: We are not a registered organization, let alone a tax-free entity. All of our funding comes from our own pockets. The Shelter provides kibbles and medication, we buy the pens, dog houses, crates, bedding, dishes, leashes, treats, and toys. We also erected fencing to provide a contained space for training and play.  Through social media and the local organizations we have made many friends who share our passion for saving lives.

The Current Play Yard

Our current foster play yard is the space that also serves as the driveway to my woodworking workshop loading dock and lumber yard. It serves the purpose of giving the foster dogs some space to run and play. It’s a place to work at training that cannot be done in their 10-by-10 pens. We installed Critter Fence along what we call The Ridge to keep them in this space and that serves the purpose – as long as they’re not too determined to find a way out: it can be thwarted! I amended the original wooden fence and gate across the driveway to give it enough height to keep the leaper/climbers in.

help from our friends - old play yard

There is some grass, but it’s mostly gravel and slope. They don’t seem to mind: they’re just happy to get out of their pens and run a bit. A 10-by-10 covered pen with a dog house and pea gravel floor is better than they’re used to, but even that gets confining if you have to stay there full time for the 2 to 3 months it takes to cure heartworms.

It does get mucky out here when it rains, so I built a boardwalk to keep all of us out of the muddiest part.

Currently we have two pens. As I sell off the lumber piles, we’d like to add more pens, but that would eat into the play space. So we have a plan …   Continue reading With a Little Help From Our Friends

The Christmas Rush

Credit: www.phlmetropolis.com

For most people, it seems, the Christmas rush begins in earnest the day after Thanksgiving and runs on through Christmas Eve.  This is a tradition, just like folks shouting “Hey ya’ll watch this!” and proceeding to blast away three fingers with a small explosive device in celebration of The 4th of July (here in the U.S. of A.)

During this time people go into combat; the mission; to seek out and acquire the perfect gift for everyone on their list of close friends and family.  Yes, friends, there is a reason that merchants rub their hands together gleefully as the pages get torn from the calendar, counting down the weeks to Shopping Season; it is the one time of the year that hordes of people will spend with abandon.  It is well documented that most large merchants make around 50% of their annual income in that roughly 8 week period. Continue reading The Christmas Rush

The Next Big Thing in Microchips

RFID microchip for animal implantation
RFID microchip for animal implantation

There has been a considerable amount of talk, speculation and fear-mongering going on about the next big leap in personal information and records keeping, namely: microchipping.

Recently I’ve read articles, watched clips of talk shows and seen many YouTube videos on the subject of placing microchips in people.  Some say it’s a great idea, some have concerns over privacy, and some are yelling “Mark of the Beast” and quoting scripture.[1]

Microchips in Pets

As a pet owner I have been, and continue to be, a proponent of having pets chipped: this vastly improves the chances or your pet being returned to you if they somehow get away from you and lose their collar or tags.

These chips store a 12 to 16 character alpha-numeric code.  That’s all.  When a scanner triggers the microchip, it transmits its code and the signal can be read for a distance of up to 10 centimeters (about 4 inches).  The veterinarian or animal shelter then uses the code shown on the scanner to query a database[2] over the internet which returns the name, address and phone number of the animal’s registered owner.   But why chip people?

Continue reading The Next Big Thing in Microchips

AFFLUENZA

Calvin S. Metcalf     “Affluenza” is a make-believe word which could describe an ailment which afflicts us all at times.  It could have its origin in the word, “affluence,” which means the over abundance of material things.  Of course, there is no such word in the dictionary but the condition still exists.  We can easily become obsessed with the need to have things and perhaps more and better things than anyone else.  We find ourselves addicted to prosperity in such exaggerated proportions that it affects our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.  Our diseased “wanters” create an unhealthy ambition which has a devastating effect upon our physical stamina.
     Perhaps there is no better way to describe this condition than to call it “affluenza.”  It is a disease which has epidemic possibilities.  “Affluenza” is highly contagious because it attacks our ego systems where greed, jealousy and snobbishness make us vulnerable to is infective power.  Once the disease has invaded our need to feel important, we can no longer accept the prosperity of others.  We develop a long list of folk we consider competitors because they have offended us by their affluency.  We become locked into a disease which is fed by an arrogant spirit.  
     Once the rat-race begins, few if any folk have the courage to forfeit.  It is a matter of pride even though our materialistic addiction spends us into bankruptcy.  The economic structures of our society keep infecting us with “affluenza” in order to keep selling us things.  We are gullible to the point of losing ourselves in an attempt to make an impressive display of what we do or do not have.  It is so easy to become victims of our own fantasies and be caught in the web of our own ambitions.
     The only cure for the exhaustion of “affluenza” is a commitment to Jesus who puts things in proper spiritual perspective.  There is a spiritual dimension to prosperity which honors God with our affluency.  Humility  as well as integrity build up our immunity against “affluenza.”  When Jesus is truly Lord, our need to impress others is lost in a sense of servanthood.  We no longer feel superior because we have more.  We find meaning and joy in the fact that to whom much is given much is required.  There is a stewardship about life which cures our “affluenza” and adds greater value to everything we own.  So, in everything we give thanks. 

The Economics of Simple Living: Less Debt, More Life

It is popularly said that “Money is the root of all evil.” But, Dear Reader, I can unequivocally state that money itself is not evil.  Having money does not make you a bad person.  Rather it is the pursuit of more and more money, the lusting after money; greed that produces deleterious effects in people.  Greed is the root of evil.

money, cash, moolahMoney is just another tool to be used in bartering with others for what you need.  It simplifies the process of life by offering a universally accepted medium of exchange.  Instead of trading eggs for flour or firewood for meat, you trade your efforts in your area of expertise for money, then trade the money for the things you need to support yourself and your family.

Using money as a bartering medium is far more convenient than exchanging physical goods, especially since so many people these days produce no physical goods.  I’d say the vast majority of American citizens support themselves as service providers not goods producers.  They may be Payroll Administrators in a corporation, or County Tourism Directors, or Network Administrators in a hospital, or a cook in the local grammar school, or even a laborer in a factory that does produce goods, such as furniture.  But at the end of the week, they are not paid in sofas and chairs.  What a good thing *that* is! Continue reading The Economics of Simple Living: Less Debt, More Life

Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers with a tax tip.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
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Automobile Expenses for Writers

Driving to the local office store to purchase writing supplies can generate a tax deduction with proper documentation. This is what you need to know.

The miles that you drive which are related to the operation of your business, or the actual expenses required to maintain your automobile can generate tax deductions. This is one of the most overlooked tax deductions for writers.

You will need to choose one method based on the options below. Continue reading Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
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Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing and includes storage of receipts, invoices, statements as well as all the required documents to substantiate both income and expenses.

Business Recordkeeping Options for Writers

To justify expenses, it is important to establish a system of recordkeeping that works for you. Some things need to be recorded daily, while others can be done weekly or monthly. It is imperative that you get into the habit of saving and recording everything related to your writing business. All invoices, receipts, credit card slips and bank statements are essential documentation that should be kept. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

writer, author, business, bookkeeping, accounting
All rights reverved: iStockphoto.com

Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing, especially identifying and tracking expenses. Business expenses are considered an operating cost.  The more legitimate business expenses that we can document, the lower our tax payments will be.

Ordinary and Necessary Business Expenses for Writers:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that our writing expenses be ordinary and necessary in order for them to be acceptable. An ordinary expense is defined as common and accepted in our profession. A necessary expense means we need to spend this money in order to operate the business. The expenses must not be considered extravagant. They must be an essential part of doing business as a writer. It is important to differentiate between personal expenses and business expenses.  Continue reading This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses