■ What to do with Some Spare Cash: Tax refund, property finally sold, big birthday gift, what should you do with the dough?: ◙ Buy term life insurance. Everyone’s savings and retirement plans and house values have been hammered. If you get hit by a bus tomorrow will your family make it? Buy at least a 10 year term policy to supplement your family’s savings until your asset values regain former ground to support them. And since the estate tax looks long lived, you might just opt for a more comprehensive revision of your insurance plan. ◙ Consult with a fee only financial planner. They are objective. Everyone’s finances and planning has been put through the mill. Spend a few buck to get an objective non-sales compensated expert to look at your estate plan, investments, retirement planning, and get you back on track. ◙ Pay down costly debt. Some folks still have credit card and other debt that is accruing interest at high rates. Line up all your bills and pay off the most costly first. If you are at risk of not being able to pay off your debts, call up your creditors and tell them how much debt you have and what cash you have and offer to strike a deal. Some may be very willing to cut what you owe to get paid. If you can selectively do this you might get yourself “out from under” a lot of pressure for a lot less money than you thought you needed, and back on track to rebuilding. ◙ Put it away for that rainy day fund mom always warned you to have but which many people forgot about. Sorry mom! Many investors were really hurt by the market declines because they did not have a cash reserve to fall back on. As a result they had to liquidate stocks and missed out on the 50% recent run up in the market.
■ ID Theft. If your wallet was lost or stolen, report to it immediately to the IRS ID Theft Unit 800-908-4490. Your account will be flagged immediately. So if the “bad guy” makes any filing or refund request under your name or Social Security number it will be flagged and the IRS will contact you before taking any action.
■ Money Service Business. You thought an MSB meant a bank! A hotel, corner grocery store selling money orders and other businesses can be ensnared by the tough anti-money laundering compliance program. Your business needs a policy and procedures appropriate to the size and sophistication of the business. MSBs must register with FINCEN as money service business and renew by the end of second year from the initial registration. Maintain check cashing activity logs. Transactions over $10,000 must be reported. The penalties for non-compliance are huge! For info see www.fincen.gov go to MSB link, or www.irs.gov and click to MSB info. Center.
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