Making Solid Decisions With Your Life and Your Money
Sunday April 20th 2014
Money Matters: Tips from the Federal Trade Commission

What is the new credit card check out fee?


Are you ready for another credit card fee? Ready or not starting Sunday retailers will begin passing on a credit card fee called the check out fee unto customers. Beginning January 27th, retailers will start charging what they call the payment card surcharge. This surcharge comes from a settlement reached between merchants and credit card companies in 2012 to defray swiping costs.


What you need to know:


  • If a retailer charges the surcharge, they must make it clear on the receipt.


  • Retailers are not allowed to add the surcharge fee to debit card or prepaid card purchases.


  • Before the actual purchase, retailers have to inform customers they are charging this additional fee.


  • Retailers can offer a discount from the surcharge if customers pay with cash, a debit or a check.


  • Not all states are adding the surcharge. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas will not be adding that extra fee.


There is a limit


Retailers must limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate. The merchant discount rate is the amount banks charge retailers for providing credit card services. The average discount rate is between 1% – 3%. There are some cases where the merchant discount rate exceeds 4%, however the new surcharge cannot exceed 4%.


Next time you go buy something at a store or online, find out if you are being charged the check out fee if you live in the states that allow it. You might want to consider paying in cash or debit card instead.

5 Ways to Feel Great in 2013!

We all have new goals and ideas to implement this year. The key is to succeed at them is to start out small. You’d be surprised how the “little” things motivate us to keep going or go stronger in our everyday lives. Here are a few ideas.


Yes, exercise is good for you. There’s no way around it. In order to groove, you’ve got to move! Moving around helps stimulate your body and makes you feel more vibrant. It helps lift your mood and makes you feel energized. If you are more energetic then you can do more. It’s a positive cycle that helps you physically and mentally deal with the stressors in your daily lives. Try it! Start by moving to the beat of your favorite song for about 10 – 15 minutes a day, then do it twice a day. As your energy level increases, go ahead and do exercises like jumping jacks, a few pushups and crunches. Then you can move on to more complex exercise routines. Trust me; you will feel the difference in just a couple of days. Your body will thank you for it.

Drink Tea

Many folks I know say tea is for people who don’t feel well. It’s for people who have a cold or otherwise feel under the weather. Not true! On the contrary, tea is for people who want to prevent not feeling well. Chamomile tea for example helps soothe your nerves and enables you to sleep better. Peppermint tea is an antiseptic; it’s good to keep your stomach in check by stimulating bile which improves digestion. Lavender helps lift your mood and it smells great! My favorite, green tea is a fat burner. It lowers cholesterol and get this – it helps protect us against two of the nation’s top health issues affecting Americans- heart disease and diabetes. So yes, tea is good for you, so this year drink up!


Ease your mind, calm your nerves, and reflect on your present day.  Focus on your breath, sit up straight and inhale deeply. Think about your wishes for tomorrow and take things one day at a time. Oh, and one more thing- stop watching the news so much. All the negativity will certainly put you down. Meditating just a few minutes a day will help you feel more at peace with yourself and the world around you. Try it.

Do something fun

All work and no play is sure to make even the most stable person a grumpy old grouch. On a daily basis, make sure you sneak in your schedule something you love doing. Like playing video games? Go for it. Like dancing? Go ahead and shake that thing. Enjoy watching the Kardasians reality show, go ahead and knock yourself out, no one’s going to judge you. The point is that you need to do whatever lifts your mood – DAILY! Life can bring anyone down, whether it’s the daily routine of work or the grind of daily chores, you need an outlet in which you can have downtime to relax and be yourself. So go ahead, read those comic books you’ve been meaning to take a gander at. Enjoy!

Don’t stress it!

Listen, life is hard, we all know that. There are plenty of ups and downs in our journey through life. We all have them. How we each deal with this cycle of life is what makes the difference on how we perceive the world. If we stress everything, we’ll feel more of a wreck and more stressed out. That’s a bad cycle to be in. Break this cycle and as the common saying goes, life is short, don’t stress it. The great thing about life is that there is always a new day to follow a bad day. A new day brings hope of better things to come, so please don’t stress as much this year!

DMM Services

Do you need help with your home finances? Wouldn’t you like to have all your bills paid on time and your financial paperwork in order? Do you have a payment system set up?  Through Ace the Journey Daily Money Management services, Ana will organize your financial life so you can focus on bonding with your loved ones or working on other important projects:

Ana provides Daily Money Management services for:

-          Senior Citizens

-          Clients with health problems and disabilities

-          Busy moms

-          Busy professionals

-          Entrepreneurs


Ana can help you with:

-          Organizing and keeping track of financial and medical insurance papers

-          Assisting with check writing and maintaining a bank account

-          Arrange for in-home care and medical appointments

-          Bookkeeping

-          Serving as a liaison between you and income tax professionals, lawyers and financial advisors

-          Initiating and sticking to a budget plan

-          Tracking income and expenses

-          Financial file organization and record keeping

-          Personal Financial Reports – balance sheet and net worth statements; cash flow reports

-          Monitoring bank statements

-          Bank Account Reconciliations

-          Bill Payments

-          Filing & tracking medical claims and expenses

-          Organizing tax documents

-          Providing information regarding community resources available to meet other needs.


Ana has 12 years experience preparing client portfolio reports, keeping track of transactions, preparing and mailing out disbursements and checks, balancing checkbooks, doing bookkeeping and preparing wire transfers. Previously she worked as a Mortgage Loan Signing Agent. She is a N.Y.S. Notary Public, Certified Professional Daily Money Manager and has an M.B.A. degree in Finance.

Ana looks forward to assisting you with your daily money management needs. As a proud member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM), she is fully committed to the code of ethics established by the Association, as well as being fully committed to the professional integrity her clients deserve.

Call for an initial consultation to determine how your needs can best be met.

Tel: 914-882-5187




Happy New Year 2013!

This year will be great. Let’s move on to a new year full of optimism and appreciation for all the good things we have, for all our blessings. Many things happened last year, some good, others not so much, but the wonderful thing about life is that there is always a tomorrow. Tomorrow always brings promise, a promise of better things to come, of hope. So let’s appreciate what we learned last year, how we all grew as individuals and let’s keep in our hearts the dear people we lost. We should all carry in our hearts and minds the experiences that molded us and their existence here on earth, the wonderful light that the people we lost shed on us while they were here.

Now we all move on to a new year full of expectations and dreams for a better life. Let’s get on with it and be better and stronger than ever.

Cheers to a wonderful New Year 2013!


¡Feliz Año 2013!

Este año nuevo va a ser maravilloso. Vamos a iniciar un año nuevo con optimismo y vamos a apreciar a todas las cosas buenas que tenemos y a todas nuestras bendiciones. Muchas cosas pasaron el año pasado, algunas buenas y otras no tanto. Pero lo bonito de la vida es que siempre hay un mañana. El mañana siempre trae promesa, una promesa de mejores eventos porvenir, una promesa de esperanza. Por eso tenemos que apreciar lo que aprendimos el año pasado y como todos crecimos como individuos. Tenemos que mantener a las personas  que algunos perdimos en nuestros corazones y las cosas que aprendimos de ellos en nuestras mentes. Su existencia en esta tierra nos arropó en su luz maravillosa.

Ahora es tiempo de empezar un año nuevo lleno de expectativas, de proyectos nuevos, de esperanzas renovadas y de nuevos sueños para una mejor vida. Vamos, vamos hacia este nuevo año con más fuerza, mejores que nunca.

¡Salud! A un Prospero Año 2013.


Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2013!

Thank you for making this year great. In a week, I will write about ways to get organized and new year’s resolutions. How to stick to them and make your goals a reality. In the coming year I will have more expert interviews and great tips on making the most of your money.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season.



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