Business Etiquette 101

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- On MY Calendar, -- Uncategorized, -- What MOLLY's Up To | Tags: , , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

As a business grad, I was lucky enough to have my school teach me proper business etiquette. That class though, was over 5 years ago, so it’s time for me to get back up to speed, especially in case there are any new trends I’m not aware of. 

I thought I was really lucky to have stumbled across this class, because I’ve been meaning to get re- acclimated with the finer details I may be accidentally slacking on. I was at a conference last month when a man asked me to help him put on his name tag since I was part of the volunteer staff. He told me that he didn’t care where it went, just that it was straight so people wouldn’t think he was a goofball.  The reality is though, is that name tag etiquette exists, and that it really does matter where you put your tag.

So lucky for you, I’m going to attend the class again so you don’t have to, especially since I doubt you want to roll out of bed on 7am for the fun of it. I’ll do a little networking, a little eating, and hopefully a lot of learning, and I’ll come back and report it all; I don’t want you NOT getting a job or closing a deal because you ate your tomato the wrong way. 

Metropolitan Breakfast Club

 Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Time: 7:00am-8:30am

Speaker: Jan Goss, Director, Austin School of Protocol

Topic: Poor Business Etiquette is a Silent Killer

Etiquette specialist Jan Goss’ top tips to outclass the competition and have fun doing it. These tips translate into a hard-edged practical result: Profit — for you and your company.

About Our Speaker:
Jan Goss is owner and director of the Austin School of Protocol, LLC a leader in etiquette and protocol services. Jan was trained and certified at the Washington School of Protocol in Washington, D.C. and studied International Business at American Intercontinental University.

Born in Munich Germany, a daughter of a military family, Jan and her four siblings traveled extensively in her younger years. A passion for people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds was born and Jan has gone on to dedicate her life to helping others succeed.

An accomplished singer/songwriter and motivational speaker, Jan will soon become a published author as her book, She Scriptures™, is being released in fall 2008.

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I Closed My Credit Card, But Did I Really?

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Credit Cards and YOU | Tags: , , , |


 

By Molly Greaves

When you ditch your credit card company via phone, make sure you have them send you a letter in the mail re-affirming the conversation that you’re ending it between the two of you.  Until you receive this confirmation, you should assume you’re still in your “relationship” with them, and that they may be charging you fees or whatnot, and you don’t even know it. 

Also dont forget to call people that bill that particular card automatically. 

If it falls through the cracks, things could turn nasty later on down the road with your credit report. So,  just stay on top of the confirmation note and you’ll be just fine. I put notes in my Outlook calendar of when I should expect certain things like that in the mail.

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Saving For Retirement Is As Important As Watching Your Health

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- YOUR Retirement | Tags: , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

Saving for retirement is important for a future full of abundance and peace. People today are outliving their money more than ever before, so don’t let it happen to you.

Make time to think about your financial priorities and about how you can save more toward your future.  It’s as important as setting time aside each day to exercise and eat healthy. You are practicing “preventative care” as much as you can for your body, but don’t forget that you also need to think about, and set aside money for, all of the other things in life, like your home, bills, etc.  Think of it as “preventative measures” making sure you aren’t 89, starving and unable to afford air conditioning!

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NO RISK, Best Return On Credit Cards

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Credit Cards and YOU, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |


Pay off your highest-interest credit card debt. The return on your investment is the interest that you no longer have to pay.

I read once that they average rate on a typical credit card is 13.9%. It may be different, hopefully not worse (although probably). Assuming that number is still accurate, the INTEREST SAVINGS on a $5000 balance over 2.5 years on the 13.9% card:$857.

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PMI- Private Mortgage Insurance

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Insurance Help For YOU, -- Real Estate Guide For Today's Market | Tags: , , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

In a perfect world, you dont want to borrow more than 80% of your home’s value. If you do, you’ll end up picking up the cost of PMI. 

Look at how it can add up. Quickly too!

PMI for a $250,000 home with only 15% down: $57/month. Times that by 52 (amount of months you’ll need to pay it) and your total cost is $2964, according to Money Magazine in June 2007.

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A Roth Will Create a Better Legacy For Your Family Than a Traditional IRA Will

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Money Help (in simple terms) | Tags: , , , , , |


 

By Molly Greaves

I’d heard a Roth IRA is just about the best financial gift you could ever give to your kids so I did some research… 

Here’s why: Your assets in your Roth dont have to be tapped at any time during your lifetime, should you be so lucky, and when your kids inherit them, they can withdraw the money tax-free.

Compare that to a regular IRA. If you own this investment vehicle, you’ll have to start taking out distributions from the account starting April 1 of the year AFTER you turn 70 1/2, even if you dont need the money. And then, once your kids inherit the money, they will have to pay income taxes on the money when they take it out. So, they’ll end up with a LOT less. 

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Open-ended Funds vs Closed-end Funds

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

Open-ended funds are the most popular. And, unless otherwise stated, you can assume that any fund you generally hear about is open-ended. An open-ended fund continuously issues new shares and redeems old shares on demand. So, when a fund is popular, you can buy into it because new shares are constantly created.

Closed-end funds are funds that issue a fixed number of shares. After the investors buy the shares, no more can be bought. It’s like saying “My seminar will only hold 5000 people, so anyone arriving after the first 5000 have been admitted will have to leave. Seminar closed.”

So why do people like closed-end funds? I like them mainly because it allows fund managers to know how much money they have to invest, where open-end can change. It gets tough to manage accounts where money comes in and out  all day, each day and you always have a different amount to work with. The problem though, is that these funds generally have a high minimum contribution to get an account going.

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What is the Dow Jones? Who’s listed on the Dow Jones?

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Investing, -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Today's DJIA 30, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , , , |


Lots of people hear about the Dow Jones over and over again, but many, and I repeat, MANY, people have no clue what it means.  So, to address that, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the weight-average from 30 blue-chip stocks, which typically are the leaders in their industry. The 30 members can change, but below is a fancy-schmancy chart that lists the 30 stocks as of 6/20/2008. I got this chart from Bloomberg.com  (I’m happy to see Alcoa on there. I used to work for them; really like it.)

 

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG MEMBERS

Time
3M CO 73.02 -1.10 -1.48 7,367,730 06/20
ALCOA INC 37.34 -1.78 -4.55 17,507,949 06/20
AMER INTL GROUP 32.10 -0.97 -2.93 30,876,762 06/20
AMERICAN EXPRESS 41.18 -1.45 -3.40 14,219,995 06/20
AT&T INC 34.43 -0.72 -2.05 43,386,834 06/20
BANK OF AMERICA 27.10 -1.04 -3.70 89,929,669 06/20
BOEING CO 75.83 -1.12 -1.46 8,868,649 06/20
CATERPILLAR INC 79.08 -0.40 -0.50 9,065,511 06/20
CHEVRON CORP 96.62 -0.24 -0.25 15,030,056 06/20
CITIGROUP INC 19.30 -0.87 -4.31 151,603,700 06/20
COCA-COLA CO 53.66 0.30 0.56 16,636,519 06/20
DISNEY (WALT) CO 31.94 -0.95 -2.89 21,345,075 06/20
DU PONT (EI) 46.23 -1.17 -2.47 11,173,619 06/20
EXXON MOBIL CORP 84.91 -0.88 -1.03 36,185,814 06/20
GENERAL ELECTRIC 27.38 -0.53 -1.90 89,703,387 06/20
GENERAL MOTORS 13.79 -1.00 -6.76 38,249,677 06/20
HEWLETT-PACKARD 45.64 -0.95 -2.04 20,129,605 06/20
HOME DEPOT INC 26.25 -0.93 -3.42 17,187,996 06/20
IBM 122.74 -2.28 -1.82 9,624,839 06/20
INTEL CORP 22.37 -0.48 -2.10 71,026,009 06/20
JOHNSON&JOHNSON 64.06 -0.56 -0.87 16,434,932 06/20
JPMORGAN CHASE 37.86 -0.79 -2.04 55,377,221 06/20
MCDONALDS CORP 57.40 -1.19 -2.03 10,427,584 06/20
MERCK & CO 35.13 -0.47 -1.32 20,639,833 06/20
MICROSOFT CORP 28.23 -0.70 -2.42 97,488,232 06/20
PFIZER INC 17.33 -0.44 -2.48 63,389,601 06/20
PROCTER & GAMBLE 63.16 -1.74 -2.68 21,462,039 06/20
UNITED TECH CORP 68.80 -0.02 -0.03 8,822,479 06/20
VERIZON COMMUNIC 35.38 -1.12 -3.07 22,118,831 06/20
WAL-MART STORES 56.26 -1.43 -2.48 27,053,289 06/20
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Quick, Easy Advice for your 401(k)s and IRAs

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- Uncategorized, -- YOUR Retirement | Tags: , , , , , |


 

By Molly Greaves

MY ADVICE ON GROWING IT:

1. First put enough in to make sure that you receive your employer’s full company match. Their match is like getting a 100% return on your money. How else do you get that?

2. Then invest as much as you can in an IRA, in which case I recommend a Roth IRA.  The government sets a limit on how much you can contribute to a Roth. That limit is $5,000 in 2008.  You can contribute the full $5,000 in 2008 as long as your income falls below $101,000 if you’re single, and $159,000 if you’re married filing a joint tax return. 

***Get this…If a 25-year-old contributes $5,000 each year until she retires and makes an average annual return of 8% on her investment, she’ll have $1.4 million saved by the time she retires at age 65.  That’s just by saving $13.70 a day ($5,000 / 365= $13.70/per day). The BEST part is that the money is all hers — she won’t have to give the IRS a cent of her money because she already paid taxes upfront on her money, and the BEST PART of owning a Roth is that there are NO CAPITAL GAINS taxes!   Whoohoo, is that A BEAUTIFUL CONCEPT. 

3. If after you’ve put $5,000 in your Roth IRA, you can still squeeze more into your savings, congratulations to you. I’d pump your extra stash back into your 401(k) to get that maxed out too. The guidelines for 2008  401k contributions has a  $15,500 limit. And, yes, this is the same amount as in 2007, so don’t be confused. 

MY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO PROTECT AND KEEP YOUR MONEY

1. When you switch jobs, make sure you take your 401k stash with you—assuming you’re in the positive. You’ll be allowed to do what’s called a rollover, which is very simple and doesnt take much time at all, and the payoff is certainly worth your time. 

2. Know when it makes sense to convert to a Roth. You should note that you can ROLL your 401k money  into a new or existing ROTH IRA, and if you do so, the amount you ROLLOVER will NOT be considered part of your $5000 contribution limit.

You’d take your 401k money, and simply pay the taxes on it to get it properly into your ROTH IRA, which would be very simple, and worth doing. Takes just a few minutes on the phone with a friendly investment company like Vanguard, and they’ll get you all set up. It stinks that we have to pay those taxes to get it converted, but that’s what comes along with TAX-DEFERRED accounts. That’s why I LOVE the ROTH.

3. Try to never withdraw money from your retirement accounts, EVER.  AND Try to NEVER pay penalties. STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE.

My Thoughts On Cashing Out:

1. Unlike other retirement vehicles, you wont ever be forced to withdraw money from your Roth IRA, so tap this account last so it can stay compounding and growing for you.

2. Spend down your taxable savings first. Let your IRAs and 401(k)s keep on growing.

3. Move to tax-deferred accounts when you can. If you aren’t sure how to do this, seek professional help to make sure you are doing everything the most tax efficient way. I always use Vanguard. http://www.vanguard.com

 

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p590/ch02.html#d0e9113

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How to Place a Fraud Alert if You Think Your ID Has Been Stolen

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , |


By Molly Greaves

Lucky for you, I’ve already gone through this process. Yes, my identity was stolen.  By a college buddy, in fact! I went to a smaller, private Catholic school, and my “good friend,” of three years made me her victim. Her name was/is Kate Heiple from Lexington, KY. 

I was wondering why in the heck my money was gone and my cards were maxed. I always kept a budget and knew what I was spending my hard-earned money on. That’s what made me alert. I then found out my money was indeed gone and that everything I’d ever earned went toward her shopping, partying, and hell raising while I was on Christmas vacation at home with my family in Vermont. She even went on a trip to NY courtesy of me. How lovely. 

 

All you need to do is put a FRAUD ALERT with one credit bureau, and they will send the alert to the other two. 

Fraud Division Contact Numbers:

TransUnion:800-680-7289

Experian: 888-397-3742

Equifax: 800-525-6285

This process will also inform anyone who takes a look at your credit report that there may be a fraud problem and help better explain your low score.  Also, make sure you contact all of the companies where you’re an account holder to alert them or make any necessary changes you have.

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