Money is a royal gift


For those of you who celebrate it, I hope you are having a most wonderful, holy and safe Christmas day.

You’ve heard me say “money is king” forever in this column because studies show that people who use money for their discretionary spending spend less. This is because cash is an object that connects you to your hard earned money, unlike cards, which are not your hard earned money. They are more of a concept. They only represent money. Additionally, studies show that it is difficult to “buy on impulse” with cash, but not so much with a card.

That said, cash is the gift that gives the recipient the ultimate in flexibility, and it guarantees that they will get a gift that they are 100% satisfied with and are sure to appreciate. It should be clear to all of us, given the return rates, that the freebies, no matter how well-meaning they are – unless you’ve purchased something that the person specifically requested (model, color, size, etc.) – is not always effective, so why not just give a gift in cash ?!

When I was growing up from my teenage years, money was the gift we got in my family, and we loved it because now we could go shopping and get WHAT WE WANT. With that in mind, my wife will be taking our grandson and older grandnieces and nephews for breakfast or lunch and then shopping for their Christmas or birthday presents. They get an envelope with cash and go from store to store, and sometimes go back to a store, aware of what they can spend, wanting to get good value for their purchases, and they don’t. never to return anything.

It is something to consider for your future gifts.

On another topic, it is now becoming clear that inflation is going to be with us for a while, so as we all know by now, the Federal Reserve Bank is planning to raise interest rates, maybe until to three times, by 2022. This means that many of these credit cards, home equity loans, car loans, student loans and mortgages will carry higher interest rates, if not much, so if this applies to you in your future, be sure to budget for it.

The other concern I have about inflation is that many suppliers of goods and services will increase their prices, even if they do not incur higher costs, just because we all accept it. ‘inflation. For example, the premium for my excess liability insurance policy (umbrella) just increased by 5.8%, even though it was exactly the same premium for 2019, 2020 and 2021. I’m struggling to believe that the company suffered a lot more excess liability. losses or higher costs in this area. It is certainly something to think about.

On another topic, this week I had a conversation with a couple that really caught my attention. The topic of conversation was tattoos. They said their granddaughter, who does musical theater and lives and auditions in New York City, is studying to become a certified tattoo artist. She says it’s a much better side-gig than a bartender or a waitress. Then they informed me how much some people are spending on their larger tattoos which could be thousands upon thousands of dollars. I have to be honest, I was surprised. I had never thought about it or read it.

Here’s something I found with a few quick online searches: “If you’re planning on getting a tattoo for a half or a full sleeve, be prepared to spend a decent amount of money. Obviously, the cost of your sleeve depends on the skill of the artist, the difficulty of the design, the placement of the body, the color scheme, the size and the geographical location, but the prices should range from $ 500 to $ 3,000. ”Another thing to consider, maybe even for some students looking to earn money to pay for their education.

In the last column, I promised to outline some of the taxes paid in Europe related to the issue of the rich paying their fair share. A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal presented some of these statistics. The richest 10% of U.S. households earn about 33.5% of all income earned, but pay 45.1% of all income taxes, a ratio of 1.35. In France, the ratio is 1.10; in Germany 1.07; and in Sweden the same 1. In addition, in 2015, the lowest 90% of employees in the United States paid 55% of taxes, but in France they paid 72%; in Germany 69% and in Sweden 73%. Finally, rather than the richest 10% paying 45%, in France, they paid only 28%; in Germany 31%; and in Sweden 27%.

Please have a safe New Years Eve.

John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at


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NB This English text is an unofficial translation of the Swedish original of the invitation …