Identity Theft: How Do You Prevent Your Identity From Being Stolen?

Identity theft is a huge problem that cost consumers $16 billion in 2016 and the problem is getting worse. With the Equifax breach nearly everyone’s personal information was stolen and everyone’s personal finances are at risk. How do you prevent your identity from being stolen?
shadowy figure in a hooded sweatshirt stealing your identity.
Identity theft is a huge problem and can you can become a victim at any time.
Today, identity theft hit close to home…

A close friend of mine called me this morning saying his checking account had been wiped out because someone stole his debit card information. He was ganked for $1900 and had no idea he was at risk. He had his debit card and only discovered this theft when his bank sent him a text message. The bank new something was up when $800 was spent at Wal Mart and $1100 at UPS.

Thankfully, he will get his money back and although he was the victim of credit card fraud, it could have been much worse as he could have been the victim of identity theft.

stack of credit cards
Credit card fraud can strike at any time.

Identity Theft Is a Huge Problem

Unfortunately, this type of crime is very common because our information is exposed due to data breaches and other crimes. The Equifax data breach was probably the most egregious considering they are one of the big 3 credit bureaus and have ALL of your personal financial information. In addition to the financial costs, there are hidden costs like the time and stress associated with fixing your personal finances.

What We Cover Today

  • Credit card fraud vs identify theft
  • How does identity theft happen
  • How you can prevent identity theft
  • Protecting yourself from identity theft
  • Why you shouldn’t use free Wi-Fi
  • What to do if you are the victim of identity theft
  • How Mr Dollabuzz protects his identity

Credit Card Fraud Vs Identity Theft

one - hundred dollar bills in a rubber band
Credit card fraud and identity theft can be expensive.

Many people may believe credit card fraud and identity theft are the same. In reality, they’re different crimes — and both can seriously damage your credit history, personal finances, and make it difficult for you to get a loan or apply for new credit cards.

Both crimes involve someone assuming a false identity, says Eric Tyson, an economist and the author of “Personal Finance for Dummies.”

The main difference between credit card fraud and identity theft is that credit card fraud usually involves a single  account. If someone steals your identity, the damage to your personal finances can be much costlier because someone can open lines of credit like a car loan in your name.

shadowy figure with binary code
Identity theft is a huge problem

How Does Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Happen

There a several ways for a thief to steal your information. A few old school ways are:

1. Phone Scam: Someone calls you and says you won a prize and they need your credit card number to pay for shipping etc.

2. Digging Through Your Garbage/Stealing Your Mail: Thieves steal your garbage or mail and look for credit cards, card applications, and other personal information. However, due to privacy laws the amount of information found through these means is dwindling.

Here are two high tech schemes that are very popular and my friend was probably a victim of number 1:
  1. Skimming – Electronic devices called “skimmers” can read your card’s magnetic strip and grab your credit card details. Shady service clerks can use these devices to make an electronic copy of your card, which they then transfer to a blank credit card or computer to make fraudulent charges. Skimmers can also be installed at ATMs and gas station pumps. See this reference for more guidance on skimmers and what to look for.
  2. Phishing – Phishing refers to fake emails, phone calls, or letters claiming to be a business or institution you might know asking for your credit card or other personal information. This is a social engineering tactic where the fraudster hopes you will voluntarily give up your personal information.

The Best Ways To Prevent Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

The best way to prevent both credit card fraud and identity theft is to ensure your sensitive information is secured as much as possible. Don’t give your information when unsolicited. In other words, if someone asks you for personal information don’t provide it. If you receive an email from your bank asking for information call them and verify it really is your bank.

A few other tips to prevent credit card fraud and identity theft are:

  • Shred important documents
  • Don’t write down your social security number
  • Use virus protection on your computer and,
  • Be wary of free wi-fi
man with a hat and a black computer screen background.
Hackers are everywhere and are trying to steal your personal information.

You Shouldn’t Use Free Wi-Fi Because…

it’s an easy way to have your personal information stolen. I know it’s very tempting to use free Wi-Fi. Why use your own data when you can connect for free at the coffee shop or the hotel? Personal finance is all about saving money right Mr. Dollabuzz? Well, ya but hackers love free Wi-Fi since it is easily hacked. Easy hack = easy money for the bad guys.

A CNBC story noted that most people are unaware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi . Additionally, a Harvard Business Review story noted that ” over half of the adults in the U.S. have their personal information exposed to hackers each year. ”

The author (Luke Bencie, Managing Director of Security Management International) states that “we compare the dangers of using public Wi-Fi to the risks of having unprotected sex. In both cases, not taking the necessary precautions can lead to lasting harm.”

The point is to make sure you wrap up your Wi-Fi with a secure password or vpn connection to ensure your personal financial information is safe. Yo, wrap it up B!

How You Can Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Thankfully, there are several ways you can protect yourself from credit card fraud and identity theft. These services cost money but can be worth every penny in the event your personal information is stolen.

Zander Insurance Group

Zander Insurance Group offers protection against all identity theft events. Price starts at $75 a year for one person and $145 per family for one year. The protection offered is similar to an insurance policy but is NOT an insurance policy.

Here is an overview of services that are provided:
  • Unlimited recovery services
  • Personal information monitoring
  • Change of address monitoring
  • Social security number monitoring
  • $1 million stolen funds protection and reimbursement protection
  • Certified ID theft specialists 24/7/365
  • Data breach notifications & credit report monitoring reminders

Here is a more detailed summary of benefits.

LifeLock

LifeLock offers different memberships ranging from $9.99 a month to $29.99 a month for the ultimate plus package and partners with Norton Security  which”looks for use of your personal information, and with proprietary technology, alerts you to a wide range of potential threats to your identity.” This also works to protect your devices such as your phone and computer.

Here is an overview of services that are provided:
Cyber security is key to preventing identity theft.
Zander Insurance Group vs LifeLock With Norton Security

Mr. Dollabuzz personally uses the services of Zander Insurance Group. I receive no commission from them and decided to use their product after the Equifax data breach. I think either service would be fine.

As a service to my readers here is an overview of Zander Insurance’s offering versus other products.

A Few Other Tips on Protecting Yourself

What To Do If You Are The Victim of Credit Card Fraud or Identity Theft

If you are the victim of identity theft the first thing you should do is notify your bank or creditors. Second, you should put a fraud alert on your credit report. Next, review your credit reports to identify any unusual activity. These three steps are critical to getting a handle on the extent of the crime and will help limit your financial exposure. Here is a checklist for victims of identity theft and for victims of the Equifax breach. 

Identity Theft Can Ruin Your Personal Finances

It is important to be proactive when it comes to protecting your identity. Protecting your personal information, being aware of various scams, and the risks associated with free Wi-Fi can help prevent identity theft.

Using an identity theft service will also mitigate your losses in the event you are a victim. Doing these things will help ensure your personal finances stay Dollabuzz strong.

How To Make More Money

Do you want to make more money at work, but you never get promoted? Ever ask yourself why you don’t get promoted even though you “work hard”? If that sounds like you, keep reading…

Before we get into the secret of making more money at work, here are a few reasons why—besides the obvious—it’s so important:

  1. The more money you make, the more you can save in your 401k, which will…
  2.  Help you become a millionaire faster, which will…
  3.  Improve your personal finance outlook.
Picture of George Washington pointing down towards the content below.
Below we’ll detail the secrets to making more money.
These are just a few reasons why you should be interested in making more money. And making more money often involves getting promoted at work.

Whether you’re fresh out of school or you’ve been in the workforce a few years and want to know the secret to getting promoted and therefore making more money, then you have come to the right place. Lucky for you, Dollabuzz has…

The Secret to Getting Promoted at Work.

Hello, Dollabuzz readers! Today, we’re going to fill you in on how to succeed and get promoted at work. In case you’re new to Dollabuzz, we’ve previously covered the secret to asking for a raise and getting it.

Getting promoted at work means getting paid mo’ money, and mo’ money is what Dollabuzz is all about. If you don’t know, now you know! So let’s get to the money and find out what you’re about to learn today. Here are the topics we’re going to cover:

  • What you think you need to do to get ahead and why it’s wrong,
  • How you get promoted by working less,
  • The one magic word that will help you succeed, and
  • The power of reciprocity

Dollabuzz is here to help you get your money right, and part of that involves showing you the secrets to success that you might’ve never heard before. Being promoted usually means mo’ money for you. But how do you do it? Work really, really hard? Well, maybe—but Dollabuzz has a better idea.

We’re cool with hard work, but why would you want to do more than absolutely necessary? We’re all about working smart and letting the non ‘buzzers do the really, really hard work. So let’s see how you can Dollabuzz at work and earn more money!

A businessman breaking through a wall while saying on the way to success.
Dollabuzz will help you break down barriers to success.

What You THINK You Need to Do to Get Promoted at Work.

Work really hard and you will succeed. That’s what we’re all taught from an early age. No one ever tells us, “Hey, do less and you can succeed.” Well, Dollabuzz is here to flip the script on the “work really hard” theory. Remember, we’re cool with hard work, but not more than necessary.

(1) Work Hard… but Not Too Hard

What do I mean by “work hard but not too hard”? This statement means do what is asked of you by your boss first and get that nailed down until it’s second nature. You run your current workload on autopilot and then you expand the amount of work you do. Once you’re on autopilot, then you volunteer for that special project.

Too often, newbies at work want to impress their boss, so they take on more work than they can handle. You get an “A” for effort, but nothing else. Taking on other projects before you get your basic workload on autopilot will lead to you working too hard. Staying late and working on the weekends to get caught up and hoping your boss will notice? Nah, brah—you workin’ too hard.

Be sure you work smart and Dollabuzz.
Working smarter and simpler will help you get promoted

Working smarter and not harder is the key. Smarter means finding a way to get more done while doing less. Work smarter by following these steps:

  • Check your email only three times a day.
  • Attend fewer meetings. And if you host a meeting, provide an agenda. Keep the meeting to 30 minutes or less.
  • Keep things simple. The simple answer or solution is usually the correct one.
  • Focus on what is truly important by asking yourself: Is what I’m doing providing value? How can I provide value, simplify a process, or improve efficiency?

Focusing on what’s truly important is what your boss will notice. When everything you’re supposed to do is done well and you provide value, you’ll start to get noticed. Then, your boss will see the efficiencies you’ve created and the value you add to the company. This is how you get promoted.

(2) Delegate Responsibilities: Tell Other People What to Do

You can’t do everything alone. Find ways to delegate if you want to succeed.

“Delegate” is the professional term for telling people what to do. You can’t do everything; nor should you. If there’s a menial task you can delegate to someone else, then do it. For example, we have one person keep track of all the timesheets for our jobs. Instead of us all entering the budgeted hours, we send timesheets to one person who specializes in doing it; and they get it done fast.

Another example is when I lead the C-Level interviews at work. I don’t take or write up the interview notes. We’re interviewing CEOs, CFOs, and board members, and I delegate note-taking to a less senior examiner. This allows me to focus on the interview and kick ass at the really important task of leading the interviews.

(3) Learn to Use the One Magic Word that Will Help You Succeed

Succeeding at work and being promoted requires using one magic word. That magic word is: “No.” Really, Mr. Dollabuzz? Yes, loyal reader. The ability to say no greatly influences our success, but saying no is hard. We are conditioned to help people, and usually that means saying yes. But often times saying yes to something comes at the expense of something else, like your own work and success.

You can be a team player and still say no. You just have to be very selective in what you say yes to. A “yes” answer should come only if it is truly going to benefit you and your team. Only say yes to the meeting if you have received the agenda and your active participation is required.

Be careful when you say yes, and don’t be afraid to say no.
Be Careful What You Agree To

Studies have shown that we are likely to act as we have in the past. For example, if you always say yes to one of your co-workers, then it will become very hard to say no to that person in the future.

Often, the requests start off simple, but future request will inevitably require more time and effort. You will have a hard time saying no to these more time-consuming requests because you’ve already set the standard of saying yes in the past.

(4) Understand the Power of Reciprocity

“People say yes to those they owe.” – Robert Cialdini

As we close out today’s post, I wanted to discuss the power of reciprocity. The great Robert Cialdini provides a quick overview of this secret power and how you can use it to your benefit. Be proactive and do something simple and easy for someone you work with, and they will be inclined to return the favor.

For example, if you see your co-worker’s report at the copier, bring it to them. Later, you can ask them for a favor that will help you out. Our society has conditioned us to return the favor. Additionally, if you want someone to like you more, offer them something warm to drink. People who like you will be inclined to help you.

Recap: The Secret to Getting Promoted…

  • Work hard—but not really, really hard,
  • Delegate (tell other people what to do),
  • Use the magic and powerful word “NO,” and
  • Understand the power of reciprocity

Remember these 4 keys and you’ll be promoted and Dollabuzzin’ in no time.

Do you want to learn how to become a millionaire?

Check out our How to Become a Millionaire page.

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The Money Mindset of Personal Finance Success

Dollabuzz Your Mindset For Personal Finance Success

Personal finance is more than just budgeting, saving, and investing. You need a certain mindset to succeed at the money game. Dollabuzz will show you the mindset you need and how to get there.
Money and personal finance success
A strong mindset is key to personal finance success

I got my mind on my money, my money on my mind….oh hey wassup Dollabuzz readers! As I write this, I am thinking about money, Dollabuzz, and listening to Gin and Juice . Ahhh, the early 90’s when Snoop D-O-Double- G was just a young G.

Anyways, back to the lecture at hand. A STRONG Dollabuzz requires the right mindset and that is why I read Mindset: The Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck. Dr Dweck will show you how the right mindset will help you get your money right.

Dr. Dweck shares her research about the fixed and growth mindsets and how a simple belief about yourself guides a large part of your life. This post will discuss how these mindsets impact our Dollabuzz. Keep reading and I’ll show you the Dollabuzz mindset and why you should read this book.

Here is what we are covering today:

  • The fixed mindset and its negative impact on your money and personal finance goals
  • The 3 da’s  of personal finance and how they get in the way of your money
  • The growth mindset and how it is key to your personal finance success.

The Psychology of Personal Finance Success: How the Fixed Mindset Kills Your Dollabuzz

The fixed mindset? You’re losin’ me bro. Stay with me. The fixed mindset is that little voice of doubt in our head. We all have that self-doubt in our head and it manifests itself in different ways. For example, maybe you don’t open a 401k or a Roth IRA because you don’t know how and don’t want to look dumb by asking a “stupid” question.

If you have a fixed mindset you may be afraid to try something new and make excuses to protect your confidence. You say things like “I’ll never have money and always be broke” or “only rich people retire.” People with the fixed mindset are always right, don’t like criticism, and try to explain failures away. Using excuses will prevent you from achieving your personal finance goals.

money and personal finance
Keep reading to learn about excuses that get in the way of your money and personal finance goals.

The 3 da’s of Personal Finance: Coulda, Shoulda, and Woulda

At Dollabuzz we refer to common excuses of the fixed mindset as the “3 da’s.” I coulda got his or her phone number. We shoulda went to the after party. The Detroit Lions woulda won the Super Bowl. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Dr. Dweck explains that fixed mindset people have inflated views of themselves, their abilities, and when they don’t succeed a built in excuse (the three da’s) are right there to make them feel good.

In personal finance  there are numerous da’s. A few common da’s are:

  • We shoulda invested in stocks
  • I shoulda made a budget
  • We woulda paid cash
  • I coulda been a millionaire
  • I shoulda invested in my 401k

Don’t let these excuses kill your Dollabuzz! I hate to point out the obvious but, a GREAT da is Dollabuzz. See what I did? Ta-da!

The Psychology of Success: The Growth Mindset Will Help You Dollabuzz Your Money

A growth mindset will help you reach your money and personal finance goals
A growth mindset will help you reach your money and personal finance goals
The opposite of the fixed mindset is the growth mindset. The growth mindset is the “can do” and “I will” mindset. The growth mindset allows you to succeed when you don’t think you can and allows you to overcome obstacles. This mindset is critical to your personal finance success.
It’s important to know that we all have a fixed mindset. But don’t forget that we can move to the growth mindset as well. Dr. Dweck states that “your efforts, strategies, and the passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it when it’s not going well is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”
Expressions like “work harder and smarter” and “if at first you don’t succeed” are the heart of the growth mindset. Enough of the textbook geek talk and let’s see the growth mindset in real-world action.
My Growth Mindset and Personal Finance Dollabuzz
Last year we purchased a rental house for $45,000. My fixed mindset said what if you can’t find renters or they trash the place? The growth mindset said we’ll make the house nice so it will attract good tenets. Guess what? The house is nice and we have good tenets.
 
My fixed mindset said “you know nothing about blogging” and “no one will read it.” But now, the blog is up and running and I am writing about topics I am passionate about. My fixed mindset gave me every excuse not to do something but my growth mindset took over and allowed me to Dollabuzz.
Why You Should Read Mindset: The Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck
Dr. Dweck does a great job providing numerous examples of the fixed and growth mindsets. These examples include stories from everyday people to sports and business icons who have failed or succeeded based on their mindsets. Dr. Dweck shows how we move in and out of our mindsets and the importance of knowing when we are in the fixed mindset.
A strong Dollabuzz is not easy and requires us to thrive when challenged and embrace failure (growth mindset). Most people are not born with a Dollabuzz and have to WORK at it through discipline and developing their skills to get their money right.
I highly recommend the book which you can purchase for your Kindle here 
or the book here

 

Which Is Better a 401k or a Roth IRA?

Dollabuzz Your Money

Yo, Dollabuzz readers… It’s debate time! A frequent question we hear is: “Which is better, a 401k or a Roth IRA?” The answer, like many answers in life, is: “It depends.” The 401k and Roth IRA options are great ways to invest, and they both have their pros and cons.

The sooner you begin investing, the sooner your Dollabuzz will be right. This post will compare a few of the benefits and drawbacks of the 401k and Roth IRA options. After reading this post, you’ll have a better understanding of the 401k vs Roth IRA debate, and you’ll be able to make the right decision for your financial plan.

Image result for 401k
NOT a good investment plan

Why Invest in a 401k?

For those of you who are new to investing, “401k” refers to the IRS code section which regulates the 401k retirement plan. A 401k plan is usually offered through your employer, and you make pre-tax contributions into this plan. Your employer may offer a matching contribution, and these combined contributions are usually invested in stocks, bonds, or a combination of the two.

Having contributions withheld from your take-home pay makes it easy to save. Your investments can grow faster since you’re able to invest money that has not yet been taxed. However, you will be taxed once you withdraw the money. The government always wants their take.

What Are the Drawbacks of a 401k?

The biggest drawback to the 401k is that it’s difficult to access your money. In addition to being taxed, you will be hit with a 10% penalty if you withdraw early.

But it’s MY money. Why do I have to pay a penalty?

The penalty is designed to keep people from withdrawing their money before retirement.

You may be able to borrow money through a 401k loan, but you will be taxed twice. These loans are repaid with after-tax dollars and taxed again upon withdrawal. Due to the double taxation and the risk of missing out on a stock market run, it is not advised to borrow from your 401k. I know its tempting, but just don’t do it!

Image result for investing
Which is better, a 401k or a Roth IRA? Both are great ways to invest, but they have their pros and cons.
Image by: cafecredit.com via flickr.com

Why Invest in a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is a special retirement account where you contribute after-tax money into your account, and all future withdrawals are tax-free! The Roth IRA offers greater flexibility, since you can access your contributions penalty-free. In addition to a retirement account, the Roth IRA can be used as an ordinary investment vehicle.

Although contributions to the Roth IRA are limited to $5,500, the Roth IRA is great for younger investors. Looking for an easy read with an overview of the Roth IRA? Dollabuzz got you here.

So, Dollabuzz… Which Is Better, a 401k or Roth IRA?
Image result for confused
Should you choose a 401k or Roth IRA? This can be confusing, but Dollabuzz can help.

If I had to choose one, I would go with the 401k for two reasons: First, you can save more money annually by investing through the 401k. These investments grow tax-free for decades. Second, a 401k offered through your employer often comes with a matching contribution, which is free cash money. Dolla dolla bills!

The Dollabuzz Exception to Every Rule

Like every other rule, the wisdom of a 401k being better than a Roth IRA has its exceptions. At Dollabuzz, we encourage our readers to start investing as early as possible, which can be done through a Roth IRA. In addition to its flexibility, a Roth IRA is beneficial for younger investors and those who don’t have access to a 401k yet. They still wanna Dollabuzz! If you’re a young investor and investing through a Roth IRA, you can withdraw your contributions to buy a house or pay for a wedding without having to worry about any taxes or penalties.

How Do I Invest Without a 401k or Roth IRA?
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Investing is key to getting your money right

Whatever side of the 401k vs. Roth IRA debate you fall on, the key is to invest and to start as soon as possible.

Looking to get started on your Dollabuzz and not sure where to start? We got you covered like stink on dog poo. In addition to this post, we recently wrote a post on investing through Betterment. Betterment is a great investing tool, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly. Check out that post here.

One Final Dollabuzz Takeaway

Please do NOT withdraw or borrow money from your retirement account. In addition to shortchanging your future, most withdraws are used for dumb stuff. I know someone who borrowed $10,000 from their 401k to pay off their car… and then they sold the car for $7,000. That’s a 30% loss! Since that time, the stock market is up at least 30%. What he did is NOT how you Dollabuzz. Don’t act a fool!

Image result for fool

Should You Buy a New Car?

The True Cost of Buying a New Car

Should you buy a new car? Who doesn’t want to drive a new car? Mr. Dollabuzz sure does. So why doesn’t he? Dollabuzz discusses how a new car will get in the way of your personal finance goals and it’s impact on your money.
Dollabuzz readers whaaats up? Ya’ll know what time it is. Its time to talk about money! With auto sales near record highs today is an opportunity for us to answer  the age-old question of should you buy a new car?
Everyone wants to drive the hottest auto and I am no different. I want a new(er) car so bad. Ask my wife and she will tell you I drive through the dealership quite often.
So why don’t you buy a new car Mr. Dollabuzz? First, buying a new car would not allow me to reach my personal finance goals. The money I would pay for that new car would cost tens of thousands of dollars more than the actual price of the car. We’ll cover this in more detail later but lets get to the money!
Today, we are going to show you:
  • The true cost (opportunity cost) of a car and its impact on your personal finances
  • How To Dollabuzz your car so you get more for your money
  • Why you should not buy a warranty for the car you just purchased
  • The exception to every rule

My Story: Used Cars and Money

I have driven used cars my whole life and I am tired of driving my 2008 Focus with 177,463 miles. Talk about BORING! Since graduating from college I have owned three cars. All used, boring cars purchased for around $10,000 and driven for 200,000 miles.
My previous car had over 200,000 miles and  was beat up. I sold it to a guy working at a liquor store for $350 and a 40 oz of Bud Ice. I sold it because the widows no longer worked and it was almost the summer . I drove the car all winter with no power windows.
But these boring cars have contributed greatly to my Dollabuzz and  allowed me to reach my personal finance goals. The money saved buying used cars allowed me to invest and put me on track to get my money right.
How cars impact your personal finance and money goals
How I Dollabuzz. 2008 style.
I can “afford” to buy the car I want. The bank would approve the loan faster than a screamin demon commin down yo street. Dang. What car have you buzzin like that? A 2013-2014 black Charger with chrome rims and a moon roof. As an additional bonus there is plenty of room for a car seat. So how come you haven’t bought one? Buying this car would get in the way of my Dollabuzz and personal finance goals. Lets see how loyal Dollabuzz reader!

True Cost (Opportunity Cost) of A New Car

In 2016 the average new car price was $33,000 but lets say you find a smooth ride for $25,000. Toss on sales tax of $1500 and now you talking $26,500.  Five (5!) year car notes seem to be very popular and allow you to “afford” this car with a “low” payment. Pay your new ride off over 5 years and you have a $475 monthly payment.

A new(er) will cost a lot of money and interfere with your personal finance goals.
Should I borrow money for a car? Not If I wanna Dollabuzz.

Over five years you’ll also pay $2000 in interest. That is A LOT of cash money. Tack on $150 a month for insurance and now that car costs $625 a month. Insurance adds an extra $9,000 to the cost of the car so the true cost of that new whip is $37,500.  Zoinks!

 Dollabuzz Your Car and Your Money

Dollabuzz your car, money and personal fiance goals
Dollabuzz Your Car and money
You can have a nice car but at a fraction of the price of a new car. You simply Dollabuzz your car and here is how you do it:
I drove past a dealership the other day and there is a 2009 Lexus IS250 for $11,000. Add $660 in taxes, $1000 for interest and that Lexo now cost $13,660 but lets round up to $14,000 and keep our math simple. You now have a payment of $216 and add on $100 for insurance and now you are at $316 a month. Total cost of your Dollabuzz ride: $13,660
Did I mention its black with a moon roof and a sharp-looking ride? Yes it has a lot of miles (over 80,000) on it but when you buy a Lexus you will get a very reliable car. This Lexo will save you at LEAST $23,840(!!!) compared to that new car. Instead of a $625 a month payment, your payment is $316 which is a savings of $309 a month. This Lexo is HALF the new car!
 Opportunity Cost: Show Me The Money!
Opportunity cost? Mr. Dollabuzz you are losing me! Hang on loyal reader because here is where the Dollabuzz comes in. Invest that $309 a month you saved buying that tight Lexo in your Roth IRA or 401k for five years at 7% and you would have $22,264.
In addition to the $23,840 not spent buying the new car, the $22,264 in investments would give you a total net gain of $46,104! Cha Ching! The $46,104 is the opportunity cost, the real cost of buying that new car.
We can talk about budgets, coupons, and frugal living all day like other blogs but at Dollabuzz, we are about big money and want our readers to think big, dream big, and become millionaires. Budgets etc are important but sometimes you need to think big about your money and personal finances.
That my readers and loyal followers is how you Dollabuzz your car. Feel free to do the money dance.

Please Don’t Buy the Warranty!

Please don’t buy the warranty the dealership will pressure you to purchase. Warranties are the gritz n gravy, the cash money cow, the cats meow of auto sales and are big profit center for the dealership.

Would a business sell you something if they were going to lose money? Oh hell no. The dealership aint got no time for that and neither should you. Do not buy the warranty!

Should You Buy a New Car? Not if You Wanna Dollabuzz

I cant emphasize enough how driving used cars has helped me get my money right and strengthen my personal finances. In addition to investing in myself through education, buying used cars for $10,000 is how I Dollabuzz.

My current car is paid off which helped me purchase a rental house last year. This house cost us $45,000 but we are netting $6,500 a year for a 14.4% return. Last year I had two choices: buy that Charger or invest in real estate. Knowing the true cost of that Charger made it easy to Dollabuzz and answered the question should I borrow money for a car?

Rental House Paid For In Cash = Dollabuzz.

Why You Should Open a Betterment Account

Taking the First Step Toward Wealth with Betterment

Welcome to Dollabuzz! For those just off the bench and new to the game, investing in the stock market can be confusing and intimidating. But don’t worry—it’s actually pretty simple. Here at Dollabuzz, we believe that investing in the stock market for the LONG term is essential. We’re not about get-rich-quick scams here; we’re about building wealth over the long term, which is done by investing through Betterment.

one hundred dollar bills wrapped in a rubber band
Investing for the long haul will allow you to Get.Your.Money.Right

Opening a Betterment account is a great way to get started, no matter how much money you have. Betterment is a low-cost investing service that can get you on the path toward achieving your investing goals. Start your Betterment journey NOW and you’ll be feeling a strong Dollabuzz in no time.

Why I Recommend Betterment

I discovered Betterment when I was 19 years old. I started by putting $100/month into a Roth IRA account. The cost was low, the interface was easy to use, and it had the account types I was looking for. For the first year of my Betterment account, I paid less than a crumpled-up Lincoln in fees.

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For the first year of my Betterment account, this is how much I paid in fees.

That’s a Dollabuzz right there. This is dirt cheap compared to many other accounts. Their website and mobile app are really simple and easy to use, especially for beginners. Betterment makes it painless to open the account type you want and check up on your investments.

Betterment’s Available Options

Betterment is a straightforward service, and you DO NOT have to hand over bags of cash. At Dollabuzz, we recommend opening an IRA or 401k as soon as you can. The Roth and traditional IRAs have different tax advantages, so you have to find which works best for you. Just remember, in the long-term, every dolla bill adds up!

How Does Betterment Work?

Betterment uses Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) as their investments vehicle. This includes four bond ETFs and six ETFs that are made up of different stocks. This simplifies your investing portfolio, and you get to decide what percent you’re invested in each. If you’re not sure how aggressive or conservative you should be, Betterment will start you off with their best recommendation. Keepin’ it simple!

How to Join Betterment

Betterment.com is the website, and you’ll find a “Get Started” button right on the homepage. This will get you rolling with the sign-up process and you’ll be asked a few questions. These are designed to give them a better understanding of the kind of investor you are, as well as your risk tolerance.

sign that says investment

After Creating Your Betterment Account

Once you sign in, you’ll connect your checking account in order to transfer funds to your account. Next, you’ll select the type of account you’d like to open; this will vary for everyone depending on their individual situation.

Keep in mind that just because you’re invested in ETFs and not picking individual stocks/bonds, this is still the stock market. Whenever you invest in the stock market, there’s always a chance you could lose some or all of what you have invested. Check back in periodically and adjust your investing strategy as your life and the market changes.

Other Ways to Dollabuzz

I recommend Betterment because it’s an investing service that I use myself—and I have for a long time—but I understand that it’s not right for everyone. There are similar sites (like Wealthfront.com) which are also popular, but I don’t have any money invested there myself. It’s impossible to keep track of all the options out there, so if you know of any that should be mentioned, please send me an email and I’ll check it out!

wealthfront logo
Wealthfront is another investing platform.

Dollabuzz Takeaway

We believe that investing in the stock market for the long-term is essential to a strong Dollabuzz, and historically the stock market has provided a way to build wealth. Will there be bumps in the road? You bet—it’s always been this way, and it won’t stop anytime soon. Some years are better than others, but in the long term, the stock market is a smart way to make money.

Making smart money decisions and having a money plan are the keys to financial success. If you have any other questions about Betterment or any other topics I’ve discussed, I would love to hear from you. Shoot me an email and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

Dollabuzz Update: Good thing you stuck around until the end, because we have something new to share. Ever heard of the stock-trading app Robinhood?! As a special reward, check out the new post on Robinhood and find out why it is the HOLY GRAIL for new investors! Commission-free, of course!

Is It Better To Use Cash or Credit

Pay Now or Later?

Getting a credit card is easy so its not a surprise that credit card debt is a BIG problem. In fact, credit card debt is at an all time high. Dollabuzz discusses is it better to use cash or credit and the truth about credit card rewards.

Today, we are going to cover:

  • How using your credit card makes you spend more money
  • Why getting into credit card debt is easy to do
  • The truth about cash back rewards and,
  • Why cash is king

Ok Dollabuzz readers, Let’s get started!

Woman holding shopping bags and flashing a credit card

1. Using a Credit Card WILL Cost You More Money

In addition to the large amount of interest you will pay, it’s a scientific fact that you will spend more when using a credit card. I know, I know… You’ll pay it off at the end of the month. Everyone says that. No one says, “I’ll let the balance sit there and rack up over $5,000 in credit card debt.” Yet it happens.

Why does it happen? Because there’s an emotional difference between paying cash and paying with the ol’ piece of plastic. Paying with cash is more difficult emotionally while credit cards are…

2.  Easy Like Sunday Morning

Image result for easy

Anyone can pull out their credit card and “charge it to the game.” This is because you don’t feel it. It is that attachment that everyone has to money. You “pay” for drinks at the bar, but you don’t really pay.  Not yet. You get a statement at the end of the month that says “pay this little amount here” and that’s it.

You lose your credit card and some scumbag goes on a shopping spree and you call the credit card company and (hopefully) the charges are taken off. There’s no emotional attachment to the plastic, unloving credit card. Getting a credit card is so easy that even pets can get credit cards.

Credit cards are easy to use because there is no emotional attachment to the credit card.
But Mr. Dollabuzz I earn cash back on every purchase I make. That is nice to think but…

The Truth About Credit Card Rewards

Dollabuzz believes cash rewards are a scam especially cash rewards. Mr. Dollabuzz, you don’t know what you are talking about! I get my cash rewards!  How do I know cash rewards are a scam? First off, is a credit card company really going to give you “cash back?” No, because if they did it would really cost them money. These companies are in the business to make money and not give cash back.

Credit card rewards are simply a marketing ploy designed to get you to spend more of your hard earned money. These rewards are similar to the auto warranty in the fact these products would not be offered if they were costing the the company money.

We at Dollabuzz are in the belief that if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. Let’s take a closer look at the true cost of your credit card “cash rewards.”

Five credit cards laid out on white table

Annual Fees-Pay To Play

Annual fees will often negate any cash back you receive. Check the fine print for the annual fee. Please note that’s fine print and not phine print. We at Dollabuzz prefer the phiner things in life like phine wine and phine dimes. Let’s move on…Finally!

Expiration Dates- Times Up

Expiration dates are the small print that will eat into your rewards. The catch is that after a certain amount of time, the points start expiring. So much for your free rewards if you don’t use them fast enough.

Low Caps- Hard Work for Chump Change

Low caps are another way your cash rewards are limited. They may promise you cash back, but they impose a limit on how much you can get. If they promise 1% cash back and have a $500 cap, then you’ll have to spend $50,000 to get $500. That’s too work for some chump change.

Here is some knowledge. Owning a credit card you will have the privilege of of paying thousands of dollars in interest over the years. Even if you pinky swear and cross your heart to pay it off every month, all it takes is one lost or missed payment. If that happens, your interest rate is hit up  and you get pimp slapped with fees. NOT how you DOLLABUZZ!

Additionally credit card companies are the subject of numerous complaints.

Citi Double Cash Card

At Dollabuzz we want to cover both sides of the coin. The Citi Double Cash Card appears to be a highly reviewed card due to the cardholder “earning cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.” There is also no annual fee associate with this card.

Ok. Great. Wow 2%. If you are one of the few people who truly pay off their cards every month then fine. Maybe this is a good idea. Just remember that you will probably spend more than if you had paid cash, and a double cash bonus will do very little in helping you achieve your personal finance goals.

At Dollabuzz we want to see you succeed and become a millionaire.

We have yet to hear or read about a millionaire who said 2% cash back was the key! However, the math shows that staying out of debt and away from credit cards will go a long way towards YOU becoming a millionaire. Now, on to my favorite topic…CASH MONEY!

Cash Rules Everything Around Me…

And Should Rule Everything Around YOU

Above are links to a few hip hop tracks focused the money. Dollabuzz always looking to provide entertainment for the readers!

Money and cash are referenced throughout pulp culture and especially in music. Why is that? It’s because of the emotional attachment we as humans  have to money and music fuels our emotions.

Peel off a couple 20s to pay for drinks and now you feel it. You feel those crisp twenty twin twins, and handing them over is never as easy as pulling out that cold, hard, plastic card. Cash money is not easy to come by. You lose your wallet with some cash money inside and your week is ruined. It’s personal.

This is why you should always pay with cash whenever possible. It’s hard to spend that cash, and you’ll spend less than if you’d used the credit card. You and cash have a bond, but the credit card does not know you. That credit card is going to charge you AT LEAST 10% on everything you buy. Cash money don’t play that, because you and cash money is tight like hallways.

rolled up $100 bills in a rubber band

DOLLABUZZ TAKEAWAY

The decision to pay in cash or by credit card is an easy decision. The key is to plan ahead and to make sure you have cash on hand. Your debit card is okay, but you will likely spend more than if you’d paid cash. Don’t use your credit card and you will have a Dollabuzz. The answer to the age-old question of “What’s in your wallet?” should always be:

CASH MONEY!!!

Should You Borrow Money For College

With the cost of attending college becoming increasingly more expensive, Dollabuzz discusses if should you borrow money for college and why borrowing money may not be in your best personal financial interest.
Student begging for moeny
Borrowing money to attend college can hurt your personal finances. Don’t fall for the student loan lie.
Today’ s Post Will Cover:
  • The student loan lie
  • How you can attend college without borrowing money and,
  • Alternatives to college that will land you a great paying job

Hello Dollabuzz readers! Today, we are going to discuss the crazy cost of college and how it can have a negative impact on you personal finances. Don’t get me wrong, in general going to college is a great idea. A college degree can enhance your earning potential exponentially but at what cost?

I hear and read stories from people with thousands of dollars in student loans debt and the hardship it places on the personal finances. Having to pay thousands in debt makes it difficult to save money for a house, begin investing, and getting you life started.

So why do we do it? Why do we jeopardize our personal financial future to go to college? At Dollabuzz, we think it is because we are being lied to.

The Student Loan Lie

There is a myth surrounding college. The myth is more like a LIE that a lot of people accept. That myth or LIE is you HAVE to go to college to get a good job and college is paid for by taking out student loans. This myth is accepted by our society as evidenced by over 40 million student loan borrowers.

In 2016 the average student graduated with $37,000 in student loan debt. Assume you pay the loan back in 10 years and that $37,000 will cost you about $14,000 in interest for a total of $51,000. Investing that money in your 401k or Roth IRA will allow you to become a millionaire.

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Should I Borrow Money For School? Only If You Want To Pay A Large “Hidden Cost.”

 

In addition to the negative impact on your personal finances, the student loan LIE impacts your health. Per a recent MarketWatch story stress and worry over student loans cause you to lose sleep. Numerous studies show the relationship between sleep and health.

So how has this LIE become accepted?

We here at Dollabuzz think this LIE has become accepted due to “herd mentality” and the media.

Hold up, wait a minute. Herd what?!
college kids drinking beer
Going to college can be fun but don’t go broke doing it

Herd mentality is essentially doing something because other people are doing it. It is in our nature to do what other people do. Its easier to take out $37,000 in student loans if people you know are doing the same thing. Its easier to get drunk and yell like an idiot at the big game when you are with 60,000 other drunks. See how it works?

So now its the media’s fault?

Well kind of. The media does perpetuate the LIE. Is this intentional? Don’t know. Don’t care. But it appears some members of the media are caught in the herd mentality. Lets go back to that MarketWatch story linked to above. The second to last paragraph specifically. A personal finance columnist for NerdWallet is quoted saying “Everyone knows you need to go to college, or post-secondary training if you want to stay in the middle class now, but the cost keeps going up.” Lets break this statement down Charlie Brown.

First, the word “everyone knows” implies the herd mentality is in play here. Phrases like everyone, no one, always, and never are seldom 100% accurate. Everyone thought Hillary Clinton was going to win and Donald Trump was never going to win the election. Everyone thought the Patriots were going to win. These two examples show the power of the herd mentality.

Secondly, the cost of college keeps going up but it’s due to student loans. Colleges can charge whatever they want because they know students will take loans to pay for school.  Students THINK they have to take out loans to attend college because it is what everyone does. Talk about a vicious cycle wrapped around herd mentality!

Should I Borrow Money For School?Exception To Every Rule

What if I really need to borrow money for school? There are exceptions to every rule.  A small amount of student loans ($10,000 -$15,000) is acceptable IF and only IF the money is truly needed and there is simply no other way. And please, please don’t spend your student loan money on beer and weed.

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Don’t spend student loan money on beer and weed.

How you can attend college without borrowing money

Here are two ways to attend college without borrowing money:

Community College

Attending community college is a great way to attend college without borrowing money. Community college is much cheaper than a four-year school and in my experience much easier too. Save money and a higher GPA? That’s an easy Dollabuzz lick.

After two years at a community college, you will be able to work your way through the remaining two to three years of school. Working full-time while attending school is a lot of work but will save you a ton of money and that’s what Dollabuzz is about, YOUR money.

National Guard

The National Guard offers numerous ways to pay for college while serving your country.

Alternatives to college that will land you a great paying job

Check out skilled trades program. Here a few skilled trades that pay very well and offer a ton of career flexibility.
Electrician:  See more at electrician salary
Plumbers: See more at plumber pay.
HVAC: See more at HVAC techs and  HVAC salary
Cosmetologist: This profession offers A TON of flexibility. If you work hard, market yourself, and are good with people you can make very good money. Women will pay quite a lot of money for their hair, nails and can and are loyal customers. Cha-Cha-Ching! Cosmetology is a job you can do from home or take on the road. Pop up manis and pedis. How cool is that?! Here is a good blog post cosmetologist
Insurance Agent: This another profession with career flexibility. If you work hard, market yourself, and are good with people you can make very good money. Insurance agents are licensed in their state of residence and here is a great resource.
Should You Borrow Money for College – Dollabuzz Takeaway:
  • Don’t follow the herd and borrow a bunch of money to go to college.
  • Explore options like community college and the National Guard to help pay for college
  • Check out other career paths like the skilled trades. Think outside the box.
  • Use your creativity to determine your career path.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • For more more options see high paying jobs that don’t require a bachelors degree
Avoid the student loan LIE and Dollabuzz. Yay Yay!

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