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IRS Will Issue Tax Refunds + 7 Smart Things to Do with Your Extra Money

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Full speed ahead for tax season: The IRS will issue refunds as expected, according to the White House, even if the shutdown persists into filing season (which kicks off January 28). Meanwhile, federal workers are set to miss their first paychecks on Friday if no agreement is made by Tuesday midnight. Some 420,000 employees, “deemed essential,” are presently working without pay, while another 380,000 have been furloughed. The current shutdown is now the third-longest in U.S. history.

So now that people will receive their tax refunds, what should they do with the extra funds? Here are seven ideas:

1. Start (or contribute more to) a financial freedom fund.

It is a good practice to have at least six to eight months worth of expenses in a savings account as an emergency fund or, as I like to call it, a financial freedom fund. Use your bonus as an opportunity to either start your own financial freedom fund or put more into it. Having this money in an account will help you weather any financial storm and give you the strength to walk away from a toxic working environment.

2. Put more money into your 401(k).

A 401(k) is a great way to save for retirement. Even more so, if your employer provides a matching program, it gives you even more of a reason to start participating. Your bonus can give you the cash flow you need to increase your 401(k) contributions. While tax laws may not allow you to deposit your bonus into your 401(k) directly, having access to the extra cash will allow you to increase what you normally contribute from your check without the fear of not having enough money to meet your budget.

3. Put money aside for a big purchase.

Many of us would love to buy a new car, fancy furniture, trendy electronics, or upgrade our wardrobe, but may not have had the funds to do so. If your bonus is big enough, this may be the time to set aside money to make a big purchase. While I don’t suggest that you use all of your bonus, this can give you a head start on achieving your dreams.

4. Start investing in the markets.

Many people do not invest their money outside of retirement savings plans. But now may be the time you take a shot at it. Investing money outside of your retirement account can give you some good returns in the long run and diversify assets to mitigate risk. Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, spread them out to increase your chance of reaching true financial freedom.

5. Invest in yourself.

Author Robin S. Sharma said, “Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life; it will improve the lives of all those around you.” Take this opportunity to invest in a certificate program, buy some books, hire a coach, or take an exciting online course (like the ones they offer on Udemy.com). Invest in yourself and allow your value to go up in the long term.

6. Give to charity.

Not only is giving to a good cause a noble thing to do, but it can also help increase your blessings. There is a universal law that says, “The more you, give the more you get.” Use this blessing to be a blessing to others.

7. Have some fun!

If you have been following your budget strictly and have been diligent with prioritizing finances, then this might be a good time to let your hair loose. Have some fun—use some of your bonus to simply enjoy yourself! Buy an expensive dinner, purchase a piece of jewelry you’ve always wanted, or go on a two-week excursion that’s on your bucket list. You only live once, so if you’ve been doing so responsibly, then it’s about time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

What will you do with your bonus? How would you spend it?

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

T-Mobile’s Dream of Telecommunications Domination Gets the OK + How to Create Mental Toughness While Pursuing Your Dreams

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T-Mobile’s $26 billion takeover of Sprint finally got approved by a federal judge, a move that will leave most wireless consumers with three major operators to choose from, including Verizon and AT&T. More than a dozen attorneys general had sued to block the merger that had already been approved by the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission. The administration has required T-Mobile and Sprint to sell some units to pay-TV operator Dish Network as part of the deal.

Dream chasing isn’t for the faint at heart. It can take years before one sees the financial payoff of what was once an idea. T-Mobile is probably patient on the outside, but internal it is jumping for joy. It took them a few years to get to this point, but I’m sure they will be relieved at the fruits of their patients.

When building a business, your goal has to be more than money, or you will ultimately fail. Your drive has to be based on principle, change, and something greater than yourself. Here is how to stay mentally tough while pursuing your dreams.

Personal Development. The road to success is paved with character and growth. Personal development is one of the key drivers that sustain you on the path of your dreams. Trustworthiness, keeping your word, and dependability are imperative to any industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or painter, lawyer or doctor, these traits and non-negotiable and forever transferable to success.

Take Breaks. To get there, you must rest one mile at a time. The grind is overrated. Reflecting on how far you’ve come energizes you for the road ahead. Burnout is a danger to your accomplishments and leads to a failure by default.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs popularized this quote from an ad in The Whole Earth Catalog. It read Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. We come to a point when we are happy with a level of progress and think we’ve learned everything. Accepting the truth that we never stop growing, and there is no limit to our success gives us the ability to keep going. To continue, you must never settle. You must always seek new ways of fixing things and solving problems. Discover new opportunities and be open to learning more.

Faith. Steve Jobs also mentioned faith throughout his journey. Believing so deeply in an idea that you make it come to life. Belief takes ideas and materializes them; and when you realize you can actually make something come to life, the sky becomes your launching pad, not the limit.

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Amazon Plans to Add 15,000 Jobs + How to Prepare for the Job You Want

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Amazon says it will hire 15,000 more people at its Bellevue, Washington, campus, as part of the company’s effort to allocate new workers after it abandoned its plans for New York City. The e-commerce giant had issues in New York trying to open a facility there, called Bellevue, where 2,000 employees are already located, a “business-friendly city.” It’s also close to the company’s Seattle headquarters. This is good news for those in the job market but if this isn’t what you are looking to do then how do you make yourself valuable in the job market?

Here are four ways to prepare for the job you want no matter your age:

1. Focus on Your Strengths, Not What You’re Lacking

Whether you are 20 years old or over 40 instead of focusing on your age, you need to focus on your strengths. Many young people with limited experience or older people who may not be up to date with the latest technologies focus on what they’re lacking, and this is a big mistake. Do you have the qualifications for the job? Can you bring value to this position? Whatever your strong suits are you should play that up in your resume, cover letter or communications with the recruiter. It’s easy to focus on why you can’t get the job, but the trick is not to let that get to you. Focus on your value!

2. Attack Your Job Search from All Angles

Networking, Answering ads and/or working with recruiters are the most effective ways to land a job. It is important that you just don’t focus on one method but all three. Networking obviously is the ideal way because it allows you to communicate your value directly, but the other methods have their benefits as well. Be proactive and use each method effectively.

3. Show/Explain Your Leadership Abilities and/or Innovation

Leadership and taking the initiative have nothing to do with age. Young leaders and old leaders can be more or equally effective as those who have the “ideal” age. Focus on your leadership abilities and be sure to display this to your current or potential employee. Also, make sure you are keeping up to date with current trends in your industry. This will allow you to show your innovation and add more value to your company.

4. Ask For What You are Worth

Lastly, ask for what you are worth. Don’t let being “too young” or “too old” deter you from asking for a salary you deserve. In fact, trying to downplay your worth may very well backfire on you. Also, if you have been with a company for a long time and your salary outpaces what the position is worth making sure you are adding to your skill set and not staying complacent.

Following these four tips can help you gain or retain employment. What are some other ways? Comment below>>>

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New Survey Says that Young People Don’t Like Job Hopping + How to Get Paid What You’re Worth

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Contrary to popular belief young people are not keen on job-hopping as most people think. According to a new survey, U.S. millennials and Gen Zers want to stay at their current companies for an average of 10 years and six years, respectively. Additionally, they say work is a major part of their lives, with 65% of people in Gen Z and 73% of millennials saying it’s part of their identities, according to a Zapier-sponsored poll. The age groups’ actions reflect the findings: Seven in 10 say they constantly check work messages outside the office. This is great for corporations but what does that mean for business owners?

If you are a freelancer or entrepreneur you know all too well the fight to get what you are worth. You will constantly be bombarded with offers to work for less or even for “exposure” as many like to call it now. But how do you gain the confidence and know how to charge and get what you’re worth? Here are 3 tips:

Build Your Resume. It’s said that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. Pursuing your passions and getting paid for it is the ultimate professional dream. You may have to start by working for free or at a discount rate to builds skill, ability, and your resume but once you have some stats under your belt its time to get that money… Keep in mind that if you are only in it for the money it will be difficult to experience long term financial gains so make sure you are pursuing your passion not only the paycheck.

Set a Standard. Pioneers have the ability to set standards. And even if you are providing services already in the market, no one can deliver them quite like you. Style and quality set you aside from others opening up a field of buyers seeking exactly what you offer.

Don’t Give In. A colorist (a person who literally adds color by hand or digitally in films and visual media; yes, there is a path for everyone) from Brooklyn, NYC once told me he had to be firm with pricing because he didn’t want to become that guy who works for free. After you have put in the work and set a standard you must not give in to fees below your ability. Yes, flexibility is key but don’t short change yourself. Getting paid your worth is ultimately the result of you believing in your ability and knowing there are people who will pay for it.

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