Posts by Tracy Walters

4 Ways To Transfer Money To Friends And Family Members Fast

Do you need to transfer money quickly? This can be a complicated situation to be in — most money transfer methods are fairly expensive, especially if they need to be done quickly. But there are some options that you can choose from, ranging from the lightning fast and costly to the somewhat slow but very affordable. 

1. Use an Account to Account Transfer

Do you and your friend or family member have the same bank? If so, most personal banking accounts will let you do an account to account transfer. An account to account transfer is usually really fast — sometimes it’s even instantaneous. It will only work if you use the same bank, though, but it also usually doesn’t require any significant fees. You will usually need to do this through a website or app. 

2. Complete an ACH Transfer

An ACH transfer is a method of transferring money through two unrelated banks. It’s the best way to transfer from bank to bank if you are using two separate banks, but you do need to have the other person’s bank account information in advance. You may also need to go through a verification process if it’s the first time that you have transferred money to the other person. 

3. Request a Wire Transfer

If you can’t complete a bank to bank transfer, you can often complete a wire transfer. A wire transfer is often much faster than an ACH transfer — sometimes it takes only one or two days, whereas an ACH transfer can take anywhere from three to four days. The drawback is that a wire transfer may cost more money. You can contact your bank to ask for a wire transfer form or use a third-party transfer service.

4. Use a Third Party Merchant Service

There are many third party services that will let you transfer money quickly. It’s even faster if you have money already in your third party merchant account. The downside to this, though, is that the other person will usually need to transfer money out of their third party merchant account and into their bank account from there. If the other person is amenable, though, this is often an instant transfer. 

The best thing to do when you’re in this situation is to call your bank and ask them what options they can offer. There are third party services for transferring money, but most of them will be more expensive. 

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Is Gold Really A Viable Financial Resource?

Gold is an actual tangible resource that can be collected and used for purposes other than simple commerce. This means that even scrap gold jewelry or reclaimed metal from circuit boards can hold great value. Value fluctuates over time due to the amount of gold on the market versus the number of people purchasing it. The gold price on February 20, 2015 was over $1200 when the main trading houses closed down for the day. 

This tells us that even a single ounce of pure gold jewelry, regardless of the condition it is in, will be worth at least that much on the open market. If you have any scrap gold jewelry or rings lying around, weigh those items and compare it to how much a single ounce is worth in early 2015. Gold, is valuable and will remain so.

Why is Gold Valuable?

Gold has been considered a financial resource for well over five thousand years. The oldest gold valuation known is from ancient Egypt in the year 3100 BCE. One part of gold was considered to be equal to two and a half parts of silver. As an actual currency that was made in the form of gold coins, it can be traced back as far as 700 BCE. However, these coins crafted by the Lydians were actually a gold and silver mixture known as electrum. True gold coins came about a little later, however the value of gold as a financial resource has remained in public awareness since this time.

The structure of gold allows it to avoid issues of corrosion that other metals face. Items made from gold will last a very long time if it is not damaged directly or melted down, so much so that it might as well be considered an eternal item. Due to the longevity of gold it gained value over time. It also has an appearance that many find beautiful, pristine. This has caused it to be seen as something useful for jewelry making purposes.

Modern gold usage has gone beyond making items like a gravy boat that will not corrode, or a pretty necklace. The precious metal formerly owned by kings and the wealthy elite has become a common place material that many people from all walks of life utilize every day. Electronic circuit boards, dental implants, and specialized insulators are all formed using varying amounts gold. As long as we have a need for a non-corroding material that can be used for technological components, gold will always have a decently high value per troy ounce.

Gold will always have value as a resource, and that means that it will always have a financial value as well. Even if civilization comes crashing to an end and technology reverts to the stone age, gold will still have some value. If nothing else it can be used to make easily cleaned cups and cookware that will not corrode over time. A non-corroding malleable metal with many uses cannot be overlooked as a viable and useful resource to have, regardless of its value compared to the euro or the US dollar. Talk to experts like Rocky Mountain Coin Inc for more information.

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4 Tips For Financial Planning

When it comes to taking an early retirement, there are a number of tips that may help you accomplish this goal. Being able to do what you want to every day, rather than spending time at work is typically top of the to-do list for many. Knowing specific tips that can help you reach your retirement goal sooner, rather than later, are ideal in this situation.

Tip #1: Create a budget

Make a list of your monthly bills each month and make certain these get paid on time. This will allow you to know the total amount of your monthly expense and will ensure you maintain a high credit score by getting bills paid.

You can set aside a certain amount of money each month to invest in your  savings once you fully understand how much it will cost you to live. It is recommended by many financial experts to place at least 10% of your gross earnings aside each pay period to help you effectively plan for retirement.

Tip #2:  Pay off credit cards

One of the biggest ways to waste your money is by paying huge interest fees. These are typically associated with credit cards and the higher your balance is, the greater amount of fees you will be required to pay.

Tip #3: Invest in a 401K plan

If your employer offers a retirement plan where you work, this can allow you to build up a significant amount of savings. In most cases, your employer will match your contributions up to a certain amount and this can help your account grow quickly.

Additionally, you may be able to qualify for a number of tax deductions because of contributing your money to a 401K account.

Tip #4: Create a Last Will of Testament

Regardless of how little or how much you own, you should have a will in place. This will identify who you want to inherit your assets once you are deceased.

This can help your remaining family members enjoy the efforts you put into financial planning without the possibility of this money going to the state.

Finally, taking the necessary amount of time to set a course of action for you to follow is critical in your being able to have success with retiring early and taking care of your estate. Be sure to consult with a financial planner, such as Vahanian & Associates Financial Planning Inc, who can provide you with all the steps you will need to reach your goals.

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Three Great Uses For A Home Equity Loan

With the current economic situation, many homeowners are turning to home equity loans to get out of debt and pay for necessary expenses. One of the great things about a home equity loan is that the money is yours to spend however you see fit. You do not need to inform the lender what you want the money for. While you can use the money for whatever you like, remember that you must pay back the entire loan plus interest so spending it wisely is important. There are three great uses for a home equity loan including home repairs, college tuition, and paying off debt.

Home Repairs

What good is your house if it is falling apart? If you are looking at costly repairs to your home and have enough equity to cover the repairs, a home equity loan may be the perfect solution. Before you take out the loan, you should get a number of estimates on the repairs that need to be made. This will allow you to borrow only what you need rather than the full amount of equity in your home. The reason that home improvements are a great use for your home equity loan is because they will add more value and equity to your home upon completion.

It is important to only make improvements that increase the fair-market value of your home. This is especially true if you are remodeling in an attempt to sell your home. Keep in mind that your sale price must be enough to cover both your mortgage and the equity loans you have taken out.

College Tuition

If you have looked at the rising cost of college and wonder how you will ever be able to send your kids to college, there is a solution. Many families apply for grants and scholarships to help cover the cost of a college education. This is a great option but in some cases, families make too much money to qualify for grants or the amount of tuition exceeds the amount of the grant. This will leave you with two options, a costly student loan or a home equity loan.

Consolidate Debts

If you are like millions of Americans, you likely owe thousands in debt to a variety of different lenders. Many people have at least two or three credit cards that they use on a daily basis. Each card carries its own fees and interest rates. A home equity loan can help you pay off your miscellaneous debts in a more efficient manner. You will use the equity loan amount to pay each of your creditors and then make one monthly payment toward your equity loan until it is paid off.

Talk to places like Union State Bank for more information.

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How To Find The Best Tax Preparation Service

Nobody wants to leave cash on the table, especially when that money comes from your hard-earned paycheck. Yet millions of people get smaller tax refunds that they should, or the even pay tax when they actually qualify for a refund. You need to find the best tax preparation service.


There is a big difference in the qualifications of the people that prepare your taxes. Accountants are at the top of the spectrum. They have spent at least 4 years studying tax law, passed a rigorous examination to become certified public accountants, and equally important, they will represent you at an IRS audit to defend the tax return.

Accountants have another bonus that is not available to the general public. They have highly sophisticated computer programs that scan tax returns for the lesser known deductions. Congress changes the rules almost every year but professional accounting software keeps up with the latest developments.


Sometimes attorneys, especially those with specialties in tax law, prepare their clients’ tax returns. While they might not have the accounting expertise to tell business owners if their books have errors or omissions, they can use the figures you provide to prepare a return. Moreover, they will advise you whether to submit documentation when making an unusual claim. It can help to prevent an exhaustive audit.

Some individuals have complicated financial circumstances and prefer the advice of an attorney when claiming income and deductions. For example, you might have worked outside of the country for part of the year and paid tax to another government. Or you might have assets in several countries, each with different tax laws. A tax lawyer can sort through the paperwork and prepare your return. The IRS allows attorneys to represent you during an audit.

Unlicensed Employee

Thousands of people earn extra money during tax season by moonlighting as unlicensed employees of a tax preparation service. They attend classes, usually the previous autumn, to learn the basics of preparing different kinds of tax returns. They do not study tax law or have any accounting training, but they can provide a valuable service to cash-strapped individuals.

If your income is only from wages, pensions, or interest, then you would most likely file one or two schedules, if any, with Form 1040. Most people fall into this category. If you haven’t done any unusual transactions during the year, then you will save money by having an unlicensed person prepare your return. Unfortunately, unlicensed tax preparers are not permitted to represent you at an IRS audit. If they make an error on your return, you are responsible for the unpaid tax, penalties, and interest.

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