Five Finance Friday Q&A - 2/9/18 - Smart Money Seed


Five Finance Friday Q&A - 2/9/18

What's up, Smart Money Squad! It's that time again for another edition of our weekly series, Five Finance Friday. We finally got some questions submitted on the page, so we're switching things up this week with a quick 5 question Q&A session. We would love it if you could let us know what you think and whether you prefer this format or the weekly article roundup format.

The topics will vary between all the different topics we write about, blogging, entrepreneurship, hot topics or really whatever we happen to be drawn to that week (basically we'll do whatever the hell we want).

Q1: How should I handle the recent downturn in the stock market?

A1: STAY THE COURSE! We don't give a ton of investment advice on here because that's not exactly our core competency. But what we do know is that market downturns aren't what causes people to lose money. Panicking during market downturns is what causes people to lose money. 

Unless you're in a position where you absolutely need the money (in which case we'd question why you have it in the stock market in the first place), you need to keep your money in the market. I'm not a stock market expert, but I can with 100% certainty make you 2 promises:

  1. Nobody knows exactly when the rebound will be or where the bottom is.
  2. The market will rebound and be higher at some point in the future than it is right now.

Q2: How do I do my taxes?

A2: I got about halfway done with my taxes before I had to take a break to write this post, so I'm pretty much a tax expert at this point. 

First, you need to get your W2s from your employer. You'll also probably get a form from your bank and from your brokerage if you do any investing outside of your 401k. Turbo Tax is extremely simple and free for basic returns. What I mean by a basic return is taking the standard deduction and not having extras to report such as trading stocks.

I'm using FreeTaxUSA which is free for my federal return and $12.95 for my state return. If you trade stocks or do anything extra like that to make money, this is a good option. The process is much more simple than you would think. Basically, you just type in a bunch of numbers off your W2. If you don't know what you're being asked for, a quick Google search (or email to Smart Money Seed) can help clear things up. Unless you own a home or donate a ton of money to charity, you're probably taking the standard deduction which really makes things simple.

Q3: Should I pay off loans or invest my tax return?

A3: I'm a firm believer that a debt free life is the way to go. The amount of money I've been able to save while living debt free the past year and a half is outrageous. However, I never sacrificed retirement investing in order to pay off debt. If your retirement account needs a boost, a tax return is a great way to jump start your IRA. If you're already saving 10% of your income for retirement, go ahead and pay down that debt.

The real answer is that both options are awesome. The fact that you're not just blowing it on useless shit says a lot about your character and indicates you're going to experience awesome financial success if you're not already.

Q4: What are the most important aspects of a good resume?

A4: You need to view your resume as a door opener. Nobody is going to make a hiring decision based on your resume. What it does for you is earn you interviews and an opportunity to convince hiring managers that you're the right gal or guy for the job.

The most impressive aspects of your resume need to really stand out. Placing them toward the top and in bold certainly helps. Also, the more statistics you can include the better. I actually had a couple of phone interviews with the Cleveland Indians during college (who wanted me to work in ticket sales of which I adamantly opposed), and they kept telling me to include more statistics in my resume. I'd imagine they see tons of applicants and know what they're talking about.

Ultimately, no amount of resume beautification is going to overcome a lack of content. The more high quality, relevant, and interesting content you can include, the better. Pack your resume full of certifications, organizations, leadership positions, and volunteer work. I definitely have some work to do in those areas myself. Those things not only give you a better shot at getting an interview but also give you cool shit to talk about once you're in that interview.

Q5: Were you invited to either Ty's or Christian's vacations?

A5: You know, this week served as a great reminder for me that Smart Money Seed has cultivated a strictly business relationship between its contributors. We've got our eye on the prize of turning this into a successful venture which sometimes causes a guy to feel a little unloved. I'm sure Christian and Ty couldn't get SMS off their brains while they suffered through their warm, sun infected weeks. 

I won't answer the question directly, but I will say that if I were invited, I would have politely declined so as to not garner a soft reputation for SMS. Somebody's gotta bring the grit to the table, walking 5 minutes to work uphill both ways in the sub-freezing weather.

What did you think?

We need your feedback so we can keep growing the Smart Money Squad! Do you like the Q&A format or the articles for Five Finance Friday? Also, the more questions we get, the higher quality the Q&A sessions will be. Submit your questions through Facebook, Twitter, email, or in our Ask The Authors section on our website (right side desktop, bottom mobile).

Thanks for stopping by, squad, and have a kick ass weekend!

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