Today’s Topics: The Net | Yealink Wireless Headset Adapter | What Do I Do with my Tax Refund? | News to Start Your Day
Happy Ash Wednesday! Today signifies the beginning of the Lenten season for Christians. It’s also National Random Act of Kindness Day! Always remember, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop.
Do you guys remember that movie, The Net, with Sandra Bullock? It was a 1995 release about a computer analyst who gets caught up in some underground government stuff when she tries to debug a computer program (stored on a 3.5-inch floppy disk no less) and sees something she shouldn’t. It was pretty good, just not a film that aged well with the tech being so outdated now.
There’s a funny phenomenon here in our household with movie memory. Craig can recall lines from movies he’s seen years ago. If it was funny, it is even more likely he remembers it. Don’t ask him what he had for dinner two nights ago, how long we’ve been married, or where that paper he brought home yesterday – but if you need a movie quote, he’s your guy. Me, on the other hand, I retain more than the average information about daily life. Phone numbers, account numbers, where to find a copy of the deed to that house we owned in 2001 – no worries, I’ve got you. But if you ask me about a movie I saw last month, I am not very likely to remember that “really funny part” that Craig so easily recalls. It is like my brain has decided movies are non-important information and must not be stored in long-term storage. Anyone else like this?
All that to say, I have been reminded several times recently of this movie from 1995. I didn’t remember too many details about it until I watched the trailer just now, but I did remember that Sandra Bullock’s character was basically a recluse. She only left her house very occasionally and even had her groceries and food delivered. That’s nothing for us now, but my homebody self was pretty impressed with it back in the day. The times I have recalled the movie lately, I have kind of chuckled because I have become that girl. I leave the house once or twice a week, otherwise, you’ll find me homeschooling, at my computer, in the kitchen, or reading. Hopefully, no one sends me a 3.5-inch floppy with a secret program to decode…
Chat with you tomorrow,
Product Spotlights and Updates:
Today’s spotlight brings you to the Yealink EHS36 Wireless Headset Adapter.
This unobtrusive device allows you to connect your Yealink phone to a wireless headset. It’s so small you could even tuck under a phone footstand so it’s out of view. The unit is also easy to install and all you need to do is to connect the EHS36 to the EXT port of your Yealink phone and connect your wireless headset base to the EHS36.
One of the best features of this wireless headset adapter is something that could be easily overlooked is that the adapter gives you the ability to answer and end phone calls directly from the headset. There’s no need to walk back to your phone just to push a button to answer or end a phone call.
The EHS36 is designed for most Yealink phones (see the EHS36 product page for a complete listing) and is fully compatible with Jabra, Plantronics, and Sennheiser brand wireless headsets. Grab one today and boost your phone call productivity!
What Do I Do with my Tax Refund? – Dave Ramsey Blog
Last year, the IRS reported giving out more than $305 billion in tax refunds, with the average refund clocking in at almost $2,500.1 With all the spending possibilities out there, how do people typically spend their tax refund?
It might surprise you to learn that most Americans said they planned to put their tax refunds into savings last year.2 That’s a much more responsible option than wasting it on some spending splurge. But while we’re all for building up a cash cushion, saving your refund for a rainy day may not be the best way to get ahead financially this year—especially if you’re still in debt.
Other folks from the survey (34%) planned to use at least part of their tax refund to pay off debt.3 Based on the average American household debt totals, we ran some numbers to find out what would happen if you used your entire refund to pay down your debt. We knew the results would be positive, but you may be surprised by how much you could actually save with this one simple step.
Crush Debt Faster with your Tax Refund
The average student loan balance is more than $35,000.4 Let’s say your balance is $35,000 at a 6% interest rate. With a monthly payment of $400, you’ll pay on that student loan for around 10 years and shell out more than $46,000 total in principal and interest.
Let’s say you put your $2,500 tax refund toward your student loan balance. Using a student loan payoff calculator, you can see that doing this will help you pay off your loan almost a whole year sooner and save more than $1,800 in interest.
Now, let’s take things a step further. A $2,500 tax refund doesn’t mean you hit the jackpot. It’s simply the government returning your money—money you could have been using all year long to pay extra on your debt. Don’t wait until next year to get your money back. Work with a tax advisor to adjust your withholding today so you can bring home an extra $200 a month ($2,500/12), starting with your next paycheck!
Use that $200 to pay extra each month on the remaining balance of your student loan debt. With this method, you’ll pay it off in about five years instead of 10. And you’ll save over $5,500 in interest!
That’s how you put a tax refund to work! Here’s how that same scenario can work on your other debts:
Households with debt currently owe an average of more than $14,500 in credit card debt.5,6,7 Yikes! At the minimum payment of 4% of the balance, and with a 15% interest rate, it’ll take you 13 years to pay that off. But if you apply $2,500 to the balance when you get your refund check and add that $200 to your monthly payment after adjusting your withholding, you’ll knock that sucker out in no time and save yourself thousands of dollars in interest!
The latest research shows that the average used car loan is almost $21,000 at a nearly 10% interest rate.8 Most people finance their cars for five years, although the average term is creeping toward six. With your one-time $2,500 payment followed by your increased monthly payments of $200, you’ll pay off your wheels two years sooner and save nearly $3,000 in interest!
As home prices continue to rise around the country, the average mortgage balance has swelled to over $202,000.9 Using our mortgage payoff calculator, you can see that with your tax refund and an increased monthly payment of $200 (from your newly adjusted withholding), you’ll pay off your home nearly three years early and save more than $12,500 in interest!
Roll Your Tax Refund Into Retirement
As long as you have at least $1,000 in a starter emergency fund, there’s no reason not to use your tax refund to pay down your debt. For those of you who are out of debt and have three to six months of expenses saved for emergencies, use our investment calculator to see how your tax refund can do great things for your retirement account.
With an initial investment of your $2,500 tax refund followed by monthly contributions of the $200 you gained after adjusting your withholding, you could add nearly $789,000 to your nest egg over 30 years! That’s a total of almost $75,000 of your money and more than $714,000 of growth. This is one simple way to catch up if you’re feeling behind on your retirement savings goals.
This article is from the Dave Ramsey blog.
Today’s News to Start Your Day:
- As of this morning, in the US, there are 9,401,811 active COVID cases, 18,479,418 have recovered and there have been 499,991 deaths.
- Japan launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign Wednesday, months after other major economies started giving shots and amid questions about whether the drive would reach enough people quickly enough to save the Summer Olympics, already delayed by the pandemic. Despite a recent rise in infections, Japan has largely dodged the kind of cataclysm that has battered other wealthy countries’ economies, social networks, and health care systems. But the fate of the Olympics, and billions of dollars at stake, makes Japan’s vaccine campaign crucial.
- Millions of residents in Texas were still in the dark Wednesday with no indication when their service might return as another winter storm moved across the southern part of the nation. In all, between 2 million and 3 million customers in the energy capital of the U.S. had no power two days after historic snow and single-digit temperatures created a surge in demand for electricity for heat.
- Sri Lanka reopened its borders with a requirement unlike any other country that had opened before it – one that neither grants travelers free rein of the island nor boxes them into a hotel room for two weeks. Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando referred to it as a “new concept” developed by the tourism authority – which allows tourists to travel the country in “bio bubbles,” or roving semi-isolated groups that let travelers sightsee without mixing with the local population. The rules apply for the first two weeks of their stay.
- Amazon had bought Selz, an Australian company that makes tools that enable businesses to more easily launch their own online stores. Amazon quietly acquired the e-commerce platform on January 15th but didn’t publicize the acquisition. Selz said in a blog post that it will work with Amazon to “build easy-to-use tools for entrepreneurs.”
- The White House on Tuesday issued its first official statement on the Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the West African country Guinea. The World Health Organization announced last week that it had confirmed new cases of Ebola in Butembo, a city in North Kivu Province in the DRC. Separately, officials in Guinea confirmed over the weekend the reemergence of Ebola in N’Zerekore, in southern Guinea.