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.

The great deduction debate.

I came across a person the other day, who suggested that anyone who lists charitable gifts on their taxes is not donating out of the goodness of their heart, but for the selfish benefit of receiving a tax deduction. Upon hearing those words I had a facepalm moment…

7ae

I guess they have a point, the deduction benefits probably do encourage charitable giving. I mean when was the last time you gave more than $500 to a business or organization that didn’t qualify for a deduction?

If you’re like me the answer is almost never.

Sure I give $20 here and there to a homeless person, or I might give $100 to a friend for a missions trip, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever just walked down to my local coffee shop and been like; “Hey you guys do awesome work and I want to support the business, here’s $500.”

So yes, I guess most of us probably do only give substantial financial gifts to charities that allow us to deduct that gift from our tax obligation, but ultimately I have to disagree with the sentiment.

I might be wrong, but I’d bet most people who make charitable contributions do so because they want to help someone or something out, not because they’ll get a deduction.

It just doesn’t make financial sense.

If I’m in the 25% tax bracket and I give $10,000 to charity over the course of the year, my maximum benefit for making that contribution would be $2,500. Why the heck would I give someone $10,000, so I can save $2,500? It clearly would be to my benefit to never make the contribution, write Uncle Sam a check for an extra $2,500, and keep the remaining $7,500.

And that is exactly the point I want to make today.

Why do people get so pumped on tax deductions like they are best thing ever? I mean people were telling me to keep my student loans because I could deduct some of the interest on the loan.

They literally were trying to convince me to keep paying $2,000 a year in interest to Sallie Mae, so I didn’t have to send the government $500.

I bet some of you with mortgages have probably had similar garbage preached to you, “Don’t pay off the mortgage, you’ll lose the deduction.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some deductions. If you are eligible, take ’em. Just don’t do something stupid and give Person A $5,000 so you can avoid giving Person B $1,000… Unless of course you have so much freakin’ money you like wasting it, then by all means waste to your heart’s content.

Have you been told to keep a debt around longer than you wanted because of the tax deduction? Do you regularly give significant financial gifts to non-qualified businesses or organizations? Have you ever given a gift, purely for the tax benefit?

Some free things aren’t free when you have money.

Girl Ninja and I were hanging out with a bunch of high school kids the other night at Young Life, when I started talking with one of the Junior guys about some of his photography shots I’ve seen him share on social media.

As we talked about our mutual love for nice lenses and photography, he said something to the effect of “I would love to take pictures of Baby Ninja and your family to help build my portfolio”.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. 

Say what? 

– You are offering to take free pictures of my family. 

– With your $3,000 camera and $1,500 lens? 

– And this will finally keep Girl Ninja from nagging me about getting family photos? 

– And you are actually good at photography? 

HECK to the YES I’m interested.

So last Monday, this high school kid came to our adorable little city on the Puget Sound and took a bunch of pics for us. Here are a few of those shots.

 

Baby Ninja is always so stoic…

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Except for when he is not…

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He’s got crawling down…

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And standing…

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But he’s still a little cautious of shoulder rides…

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But he’s definitely not scared of Nova…

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And just for kicks, here is an action shot of Nova…

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He gave us about 50 shots in all and we couldn’t be more thrilled, but we do feel a little bad.

In his mind we helped him out by giving him some shots to add to his portfolio which is cool and all. But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out why he wants to build his portfolio.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at Mar 12, 2015, 10.27.51 PM

So he can start charging people to take pictures of them.

Isn’t that exactly what he did for us? Why shouldn’t WE pay him then?

Can you imagine how excited he will be to get a nice “Thank You” card containing two crisp $50 bills?

I can’t wait to see him at Young Life this next Monday and surprise him.

It’s things like this that make me SOOOOOO thankful we have our financial crap together. Without thinking twice, Girl Ninja and I can give what seems like a relatively insignificant amount to us, $100, to a high school kid and he is going to be so pumped he just got paid ONE HUNDRED FREAKING DOLLARS for doing something he loves. How is that not a win-win situation?

Moral of the story: Get your financial crap together so you can joyfully give people some of your money. 

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! 

 

 

Why I’m Not One of the Americans Taking on 57 Billion in Credit Card Debt Thanks to Brice Capital

Brice Capital logo for debt consolidation

Consumer debt rose to $57 billion in 2014, a record since last year, marking a 47% increase from 2013. Fortunately, I’m not one of those Americans who responded to the good economy by spending money I borrowed from credit cards to live beyond my means.

Today, I’m pleased to report that I am increasing my wealth, not decreasing it. This wasn’t always true for me. Before the 2007-2008 financial crisis, I spent more than I earned, especially when shopping for things that provided instant gratification.  

Here is the story of how I turned my finances around when I had high debt. 

Debt Restructuring 

Initially, I tried to simply pay off my credit card bills as they came in. But this was difficult to do because I had been in the habit of applying for new credit cards after maxing out on the ones that I had been using. Consequently, I received a regular stream of credit card bills every month.  

Since they were different amounts with different interest rates, I spent a considerable amount of time and effort keeping up with my finances. Gradually, I fell behind in my bookkeeping, either not paying them on time and incurring late fees or just paying the minimum balance and incurring high-interest rates. 

Although I stopped using my credit cards altogether, my debts continued to increase because the credit card companies were now charging interest on the interest. This compounding effect meant that I now paid less on the principal of my debts.

Then something fortuitous happened, something that pulled me out of my despair because I had come to a point where I couldn’t pay down my credit cards fast enough with my current salary. A friend directed me to read a review article about Brice Capital, a debt consolidation company.

The consolidated loan I received allowed me to pay off all my credit cards completely. Suddenly, I only had to write one check a month, an affordable amount to repay the loan. 

Controlling My Spending 

After finally getting a handle on repaying my debt, I realized that the reason I got into debt in the first place was because I only had a vague idea of how much I was spending each month.  

I entertained a rather simplistic idea about personal finance: If I had money in my checking account, then I believed I could afford to buy anything that did not wipe out my bank balance.

So, for example, if I had $400 in my bank account and wanted a pair of high-end sneakers that cost $250, I thought I could afford them. I naively assumed that by the time my next bills came in, important bills for the phone or rent, I would have earned another paycheck to make up for the amount I had spent on the sneakers.

What I failed to consider was how much I spent on small things, such as the money I spent at coffee shops when hanging out with my friends, buying snacks when grocery shopping, paying for a day’s parking at a parking lot, and other such miscellaneous daily expenses. 

Unaware of how to get a grip on my spending, I asked my friend, the same one who had tipped me off about Brice Capital, about what to do. He suggested I sign up for a personal finance podcast. 

I still remember the day when I was driving to work listening to the podcast on my smartphone. That particular day, the host talked about how to create a zero-based budget. I was so thrilled by the idea that I pulled off to the side of the road to make notes.

Essentially, this budgeting system helps you figure out how to spend your money as soon as you receive your paycheck so that you can easily cover all your bills every month and tuck any surplus cash into a savings account. I hope this explanation of how to restructure your debt and control your spending helps you on your personal finance journey.