Monday, April 23, 2007

Money and Taxes


Money Management was the intended focus for March in preparation for the April taxes. In any case, I hoped that taxes were filed on time and Uncle Sam won't go after you. The question now, what do I do after the tax season. The simple answer, do a financial checkup again just like before the new year started. For a longer to do list, check out the rest of the article. Things to do After Filing for Taxes


  1. Review your tax return. Most individuals focus on how much tax refund they are getting and not the more important details such as tax bracket, filing status etc. Check this information on your tax returns so you can plan for this year's tax payment. If you are single and have multiple jobs and owed taxes, you might want to withhold a little bit more of taxes on your weekly paycheck. This is where your tax bracket information is crucial for this year.

  2. Archive your tax documents. This includes receipts and journals that would back up your tax return. You'll never know when you need it. Aside from tax review purposes, these documents are useful for claiming insurance and warranty.

  3. Plan for new tax year. Are you working under a 1099? Got married? Bought a house? All these things and more can affect your tax contributions. Talk with your tax advisor / accountant.

  4. I got a refund, what do I do with it? Before splurging it on a trip to Cancun or that new Rolex watch here's my list of other options according to priority: A. online savings account (ING Direct or HSBC Direct); B. Pay-off credit card debts; C. House renovation or that new boiler; D. Education / College Fund; E. Vacation (we all need one).

  5. Setup your financial calendar. I was able to download a payment reminder from MoneySpot.com and tweaked it a little bit with my own version (check it out excel / pdf versions). If you need help with this spreadsheet, send me a comment / email.

There are a thousand of ways to save money, the first step is to understand your spending habits and second is to start putting away a dollar or two now. As always, check with an accountant and a financial advisor with whatever you plan to do.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Health is Wealth

As you would have known, I took a second job last February. It was sort of like a favor that I had to do. I had to teach a class who was up in arms already with the erratic change of instructors every few weeks. I was their 5th instructor. So I was asked to start (the same day they called me!) and see them finish their program. I thought that the extra cash would be worth it, but after two weeks, I was already burning out. I found out that week that health is definitely your greatest wealth.

I was eating late at night when I get home. I didn't exercise during the week. The weekend that I went to the gym, I only get to run for 20 minutes. I was living a rat's race.

To combat that, here's a list that I aim to keep in order to be healthy:
  1. Drink plenty of water. Some say 6, some say 12. My say, drink enough water until you feel hydrated but 8 glasses is a good number to aim for. I have a 3 liter jug by my desk that I fill up every day. You get cleansed and is a good diet companion. No calories and it fills you up.
  2. Get up and exercise. I was in a subway and saw this ad for running shoes, it says "A 10 minute mile is just as far as a 6 minute mile. Run easy." Just get your heart rate up and move.
  3. Bring lunch to work. Eating out is quick and easy however you would not know what goes in there. You can even portion control yourself without wasting food. I don't like throwing food out so I tend to finish a lunch special even if I am full.
  4. Sleep well. A good 8 hours of sleep is great for the mind and body. You are more alert and it fights off weight gains. Keep the room dark, the bed firm but comfortable and quiet down your radio.
  5. Take multi-vitamins. Multi-vitamins are not just expensive urine. It has been proven that taking vitamins and supplements benefits everybody in the long run. However, consult your doctor with the supplements and vitamins that you are taking. See #7.
  6. Fix your finances. It has been studied that wealthier people sleep better than people with huge debts. Of course, how can you sleep if you think that the repo man is about to show up and take that car. Peace of mind is something that you achieve. Ask a friend for help. You'll need an objective perspective when dealing with your own finances. Check this article: http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2006/07/sweet_dreams_we.html
  7. See your doctor. We don't like seeing the doctor. I am one of them. However, let's push ourselves to at least see him once a year.
  8. Adapt a good oral hygiene. Studies have shown that good oral hygiene is linked to better heart health. Check this out: http://www.nbc11.com/hearthealth/11025974/detail.html.
  9. See family and friends. Have a good Friday night dinner with friends or see family for Sunday brunch. Aside from emotional re-charging, you get good laughs when you are with people you care.
  10. Have faith. Pray. Go to church. Ready daily spirituals. Meditate. As a start, click on this link http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/ or this http://www.sacredspace.ie/.

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Hiatus; Calling on Contributors

I've been on a long hiatus. Almost two months of no updates on the Big Projects Blog. As the sole contributor / writer for this blog, I get to only post when time permits. It should not be an excuse, but time just didn't allow me to put into writing all the articles planned for February and March. If you want to know, I took on an evening job last February that threw off my schedule. It was a sudden change of daily rituals. But here I am again. No worries.

If anybody out there who wish to contribute to this blog, drop me a line. This blog's content focuses on issues that matters to personal and professional development. I will publish more posts within the week to catch up. Until then.