Here Are a Few Reasons You Shouldn’t Carry Your Social Security Card

Crime scene tape due to social security card theft

In 1975, American Express reminded you that there were some things without which you should not leave home, their credit card being their main focus. Still, it was a good and useful reminder for a lot of things. Indeed, some things are so important that we really shouldn’t leave home without them. I can’t honestly say that an American Express card is one of them. But certainly, if you have a credit card, bring it with you.

It is also a reminder that there are some things we most certainly should leave home without. You should leave your social security card at home unless you are going someplace where you know it will be needed. Don’t treat it like a default carry. Treat it like a special carry. There are some situations that require a social security card. You will find that many of those places will accept a picture of your social security card.

On the rare occasions you have to carry your social security card, don’t keep it in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, your social security card will be safe. Otherwise, don’t carry it at all. Here’s why:

Your Social Security Number Is Attached to Everything Important

The one piece of information about you that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands is your social security number. The last 4 digits can unlock a credit check. All 9 digits unlock everything else there is to know about you. If you are going to lose a card, let it be your credit card. That can be easily and quickly canceled and changed. Your social security number is forever.

If you lose your card, find a good guide on how to report a lost social security card. After contacting the SSA, you should immediately do the following:

  1. Contact your bank.
  2. Reach out to the credit bureaus.
  3. Put a credit freeze on your account.
  4. Establish fraud alerts for further transactions

Lose your credit cards and you might lose some money. Lose your social security card and you lose your identity.

You Can Lose Your Good Credit

There are things debt will stop you from doing. You don’t want to be in debt if you can help it. And that is exactly where you will find yourself if you let your social security card fall into the wrong hands. If you carry your card with you everyday, the risk of losing it far outweighs the reward of having it when you need it.

There is a remarkably short period of time between losing your social security card and having new credit cards fraudulently obtained by thieves. They can even use your current credit cards because they have a key piece of information for gaining access to your account. At that point, you are done. You will spend the next several months fighting fraudulent charges and trying to get your credit rating back up above 500. Once your social security number goes up for auction on the dark web, your credit score goes down in the real world.

A Picture Is Often Enough

There are many situations when a social security card is required. But a substitute will be accepted. A picture of your card is often a good enough substitute because what they want is the information on the card and not the card, itself.

Not only is a picture good enough in many cases, it is more secure. To get to the pictures in your phone, you have to get into the phone. Even with a weak passcode, that can be rather difficult to accomplish. You can keep the picture in notes and lock the note.

There are some things you certainly don’t want to leave home without. And there are other things that you want to leave at home pretty much all the time. Leave your social security card at home because in the wrong hands, it places your identity at risk. It is tied to your credit worthiness, and more secure substitutes will often do the trick. 

Common Money Mistakes Made By New Graduates

URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/calculator-calculation-insurance-385506/

College graduation marks the end of one stage in life and the beginning of a new one. The pursuit of a well-paying job and financial independence begins, and life takes on a new trajectory.

One common hindrance fresh graduates encounter is the lack of proper financial management skills. This guide seeks to introduce you to common money mistakes you are likely to make and how to avoid them.

1.    Rushing to own a home

The moment you start getting a steady flow of income, the urge to buy a home becomes virtually irresistible. There is nothing wrong with early homeownership, but it is not a wise decision to rush into. It is costly, engrossing, and time-consuming. You want to be sure you have the time and the money to spend before committing.

2.  Not creating a budget

It doesn’t matter how much money you make; the lack of a budget can take a serious toll on your financial progress. You are more likely to indulge in impulse buying and conspicuous consumption, only to find yourself with nothing by your next payday. A budget can help you circumvent that and instill financial discipline, while avoiding the hassle of jotting down notes every evening. You can easily use one of the numerous Google Sheets templates designed specifically for personal budgeting.

3.    Not setting up an emergency fund

Emergencies are unpredictable, and lack of an emergency fund can reduce you to begging when the chips are down. Whether it’s a hospital bill that exceeds your insurance cover or sudden loss of a job, these events can wreak havoc on your savings account and plunge you in misery. An emergency fund braces you up for the worst and ensures you go about your daily activities with confidence and peace of mind.

4.    Failing to look into the future

When retirement is more than 30 decades away, saving for old age may not come as common sense or a natural thought. Many people don’t prepare for retirement, and most of the time, this means being overly mean to themselves to meet their savings objectives. Setting up a retirement account or contributing towards your employer’s 401K upon landing your first job provides you with a longer savings period, ensuring you part with a smaller fraction of your salary.

5.  Not setting a credit card spending limit

Credit cards offer a vast range of benefits: they ensure safer online shopping and help holders build their credit score. On the flip side, they can make you a reckless spender and prove a substantial financial burden in the future.

Besides finding a credit card that doesn’t give you too much freedom, it would also help if you included a card spending limit in your budget.

Conclusion

Financial discipline at an early stage is key to a debt-free and peaceful future. You can achieve it by avoiding the above mistakes and making moves with tomorrow in mind. Don’t shy away from seeking professional help if you find these too difficult to implement.

What are the Best Ways to Overcome an Economic Recession?

Markets are in turmoil, and while a possible recession, generally defined as a slowdown in growth or drop in output, has been talked about in recent years, in early 2020, a spreading contagion wasn’t on the radar among many, if any. In October 2019 a Bankrate survey found 2 in 5 Americans were not prepared for a recession, and that’s unlikely to have changed much less than six months later. 

Get Help from an Economic Damages Expert If You Need It

It’s essential to begin planning for the unexpected and a possible recession as soon as possible to protect yourself. If you suffer from financial damage due to a layoff, injury, promotional denial, or another similar setback in your workplace, it’s a must to contact an economic damages expert.

Pay down debt

Another part of planning ahead is to pay down your outstanding debt, especially credit card balances that come at a high cost due to interest to provide breathing room in your budget. As an economic recession often leads to job losses, paying off as many of your obligations as possible will bring peace of mind while making the situation easier to get through.

To do so, start with your credit card debt and then work on paying down other loans like your car loan or mortgage. If you have a student loan, less urgency should be placed on that as they tend to have more favorable provisions. No matter where we are in a market cycle, prioritizing high-interest rate debt is always a good idea – that will allow you to put more into savings so that you have cash available in an emergency.

Increase Emergency Savings

Speaking of emergency savings, try to boost it as much as you can. Having cash available for an economic downturn can help ensure that you can at least afford the basics. Even while paying down debt, prioritize putting something into savings, with a goal to have at least a month’s worth of living expenses, although the more the better for obvious reasons. Ideally, you should be able to get by with at least three to six months to help you get by. Look for the highest yield savings account that will help you earn more on the money you’re able to put away for a rainy day. 

Look For Ways to Spend Less – Don’t Spend Beyond Your Means

Spending less is one of the best ways to save. As soon as possible, well before a downturn begins, go through all of your monthly expenses to determine which items are discretionary. That means everything from your daily morning Starbucks to magazine subscriptions, cable and gym memberships. All of those things can add up to a significant amount of money over time.

Aim to create a budget that includes spending no more than 30 percent of your income after taxes on discretionary items. Don ‘t live beyond your means – while your mortgage or rent payment, car insurance, groceries, and utility bills are essential, vacations and anything you don’t really need is discretionary.

Build Skills and Continue Education

One of the best ways to make your life more recession-proof your life is to build more skills by pursuing an education. The more skills and education you have the less likely you’re likely to remain unemployed if you lose your job. Even if you can’t save much money, ensuring that you have skills that will make you more employable can be critical.

Pay Stub Access: 3 Key Reasons Why You Should Keep Your Pay Stubs

The average annual pay for Americans was over $56,000 in 2015. In most cases, our payment and related information comes in the form of paychecks or pay stubs. The two aren’t much different and are often handed out together.

Getting a paying job is an important step towards becoming an adult, and many choose to celebrate this achievement by framing their first paycheck. However, this may not be the best idea, since pay stub access is going to be important in the future.

You may end up needing your pay stubs for a lot of different purposes. We’ll talk about some of them in the paragraphs below.

1. Verify Earnings

Chances are that your employer isn’t going to try to stiff you on your paychecks, but accidents happen. It’s not at all unheard of for someone to be exhausted after a long day and accidentally misplace a number or decimal point. Accidents can happen when you’re tired.

Whatever the cause may be, keeping your pay stubs can help correct pay issues when they come up. There are plenty of places where you can get a pay stub if your company doesn’t use them.

2. Taxes

There is a seldom-talked-about idea in political circles known as the free-filing tax system. In this system, tax forms are done by the IRS and sent to US citizens, who then correct any errors, sign the form, and mail it back. 

This system goes back at least to the 1980s. It was championed by Reagan, Obama, and now presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren

Until this system is signed into law, we still have to file our own taxes. To that end, pay stubs can help. They serve as proof of how much we make, and knowing what our income is will help us determine how much we owe in taxes and what our return will be.

3. Proof of Income

Proof of income is important for more than just taxes. You’ll need pay stub access when applying for any type of loan, and don’t think you can just avoid loans altogether. Getting any type of house or apartment will often require a mortgage loan.

You’ll also need a loan if you ever want to start your own business. In most cases, you’ll have to provide pay stubs to prove income over a period of three months. This lets the person you’re dealing with know that you have a job, and have held it for a few months at least, so you’re capable of paying back the loan.

Pay Stub Access and Why it’s Important

Pay stubs provide proof that you are employed and making money, which will make people more eager to deal with you.

You’ll need pay stub access for a lot of different things in life. We’ve mentioned some of the most important in the paragraphs above, but there are others out there. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you’re interested.

If you want more information and advice on finances and getting rid of debt please visit our site.

Legal Translation: When and Why You Need It?

Globalization has been one of the most encompassing movements of the 21st century. It did not just affect one country or area of the world. It has now become this colossal idea that permeates every country around the world. Even the most isolated of societies are now within reach just because the idea of globalization has reached them. There was once a time when nations only had to care about their own citizens. There were alliances here in there, but there was actually no peace involved between nations. We are lucky that we are still living in a time of relative peace. It may not encompass the whole world yet, but most of us were fortunate.

The Need For Global Connection

The idea that we should relate and interconnect with each other is not a new concept. After all, there was a lot of evidence from the ancient world showing that nations can be allies or trade partners even with the vast distance. However, a global approach to this kind of idea has never been done before simply because of the distance and time it takes to send a simple message. There was also the issue of language, as it was difficult to find someone who is proficient enough to translate two vastly different languages.

Nowadays, this seems to be a disappearing problem. There are a lot of ways people can translate now even if they don’t know another language aside from their mother tongue. Companies like Google and Amazon have created ways to help communicate even with the language barrier. It is so convenient that you just have to record your voice and their applications can do the talking for you. These machines have been said to be the replacement of human translators because they can seemingly do it better.

This might be a correct assumption because humans are prone to a lot of mistakes. Machines, on the other hand, can learn from their past mistakes by recording their memories perfectly. This is considered as artificial intelligence and many tech companies are using it for various projects and strategies. It has also infiltrated the social media platforms to create a more “personal” experience for the members. However, this tactic might backfire as with what happened with Facebook. Using personal data for marketing and other purposes can be considered as an offense. Read more about this here.  It is still being debated in many countries up to this day.

Is Using AI Translation Devices For Legal Matters Really Better?

However, there is something that these machines lack in relation to languages. It is the human connection between the message and the receiver. There are a lot of differences between languages. Even the same ones from different regions around the world can vary. It can be with just a few words, intonation, spelling to a whole new meaning and unused words. These situations can be quite complicated since machines don’t usually pick up these subtle differences.  They may misconstrue metaphors and interpret them literally which can cause a whole lot of problems. This is why hiring a professional legal translator also have several merits, especially where it concerns important documents.

An AI translator usually uses words depending on how they were defined in the official dictionary. However, slang and other terms can change meaning faster than a dictionary update, and these changes can show up and confuse people.

In more complicated settings, subtle difference in language can mean a lot, especially in formal settings. You can’t just afford a mistake when it comes to important and global events. One can’t be too careful where it concerns this type of situation. There is a thin line between a normal sentence, subtle digs and outright insults. Although formal documents don’t have a lot of slang, it is important to use the correct words so that the other party will not view it as a slight to their language and country.

Once you are doing business, it is important to know what you are saying and how to write it properly. It can mean a success or a total failure just because of a few words. Here are some examples: https://blog.printsome.com/marketing-fails-wrong-translations/.

Translations have always been confusing even for the people who are already experts on the field. There is a lot that you need to familiarize in just one language alone. Imagine how complicated it could get if you need to juggle two languages. Each of them has a different quirk, accent, sense of humor, etc. Knowing this might actually save your life or business at the right circumstance. Legal papers should not be just given to anyone. You need someone that you can trust to handle it and help you understand the system.

Personal Finance tips and tricks.

I woke up to a text from one my good friends yesterday morning that read “Can I pull 100% of my Roth contributions at any time without penalty?”  Why yes, yes you can. Roth contributions can be pulled at any time, for any reason, without any repercussions. That’s why I like to think of my Roth IRA as a second-tier emergency fund. My Roth is really just as liquid as my savings account and that’s why I think all young people should seriously consider opening one up. The Roth is  like the filet mignon of retirement planning for 20-somethings.

But today’s post isn’t actually about Roth IRA’s or filet mignon, but instead just a list about some of the most important things I’ve learned through my personal finance journey. In no specific order, here they are:

    • You don’t have to be rich to end up rich. Never knew a $50,000/year salary could turn in to millions in retirement if done right.
    • Albert Einstein once said the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest. I had no idea age played such a significant role in one’s financial future. The earlier you get your shizz together, the better off you will be down the road.
    • 401k’s sound really boring, but in reality they are pretty straightforward and typically provide a guaranteed return on investment (for example my employer automatically matches up to 5% of my gross salary in contributions). Can’t beat a 100% guaranteed return on investment anywhere.
    • Renting IS NOT a terrible financial decision.
    • Minimum payments on debt are the worst. I remember calculating how much my $28,000 student loan would end up costing me if I made minimum payments. The answer….$52,000. Minimum payments suck. BAD!
    • Credit Cards are pretty awesome when used responsibly. Girl Ninja and I get airline miles for every dollar we charge to the card, dollars we would have spent anyway for things like groceries and gas. Not to mention, that my C.C. also gives me a 30 day, interest free loan. Awesome sauce!
    • Investing really isn’t that complicated. In about 30 minutes you can set up and get started investing in a Roth IRA. Investing seems intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be. Don’t let fear be an excuse not to act.
    • You don’t have to have a car payment. When Girl Ninja and I bought our car a handful of people made inferences that we must now be proud owners of a car payment. Not so much the case. A little saving goes a long way and contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to finance your next car either. Your checking account will thank you.

Alright I’ll end this geekgasm here. Don’t want to totally nerd out on you all, but man Personal Finance really can be exciting. The bullet points above were all things that really resonated with me as I’ve navigated the world of PF for the last few years.

What bullet points would be on your list?

What are some of your favorite things you’ve learned, or come across in your journey?

Retirement

Hope you enjoy a guest post today from none other than my better half, Girl Ninja. 

As of June 13th, 2014, I am officially retired…and it feels so good.  I spent all nine months of my pregnancy looking forward to the days I get to spend at home holding my baby.  I know challenges are definitely coming my way, but along with that I am excited to help take care of a household, without feeling worn down from working all day long.

As Ninja and I transition from a DINK family, to a single income household, I am surprised by the challenge.  It isn’t a tighter budget, more mindful spending or being bored and stir-crazy at home.  It isn’t the guilty feeling of spending money that I am not bringing in.  Instead, it is the surprising feeling that I miss kindergarten.

I love teaching kindergarten.  I’m not sure I really knew how much I loved it, until I left it.  In the frenzy of kindergarten graduation, packing a classroom, and a rapidly approaching due date to meet my little one, I was busy checking off to-do lists.  As I was literally walking out the back door of my classroom, I turned back one last time…cue cheesy slow motion scene with sappy music in the background.  Then the tears came.  I cried my whole drive home.  I cried as I thought back over the lessons I had taught, and the lessons my 5 year olds had taught me.  Inside those four walls, there was safety to try, to fail, to achieve, to be challenged for both my students and myself.  Names and faces poured through my mind, and I was overcome with thankfulness, joy, and sadness to be ending this chapter of life and moving on to something new.

Walking by the “Back to School” sale at Target last week, I had to stop myself from browsing the sales and stocking up for the next year. Rather than spending my days teaching, loving on, and learning with 22 five-year olds from 8:30-3:30 each day, I will be spending my day (and currently my nights) teaching, loving, and learning with Baby Ninja.  Some daily challenges will be similar, some will be different.  I won’t have those 15 minute recess breaks, 30 minute lunch breaks, or that 3:30 end time for each day. September will be hard, as I know my friends and coworkers will be gearing up to set up their classrooms and prepare for a new group of students.

Will giving this part of my life up be worth it?

Yes, I know it definitely will.  I know these are years and days with Baby Ninja I won’t get back, and I can’t wait for each of them.

So, what’s my plan? Am I just going to go through my day-to-day with this back and forth mindset of missing my teacher days, while learning to love being a stay at home mom?

Well, we have a plan.  I am excited to have the opportunity to substitute (saying yes or no to work based on what works for me? Yes please!), and I also hope to begin tutoring a few students next year.  Ninja’s schedule will allow us to make this work without having to pay for childcare for Baby Ninja.

I’m so thankful that my love for being home with my baby boy, and my love for teaching don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  I am thankful for the ways that my career have prepared me, and given me at least a glimpse of what motherhood holds. I am thankful for a husband that works hard to make it possible for me to be home with Baby Ninja during these little years.

We hope you’ll stick around to see how it goes!