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Today’s entry is a testimonial from a listener regarding the process of buying Bitcoin. It’s pretty interesting.

Bottom Line:  My Quest to Buy Bitcoin

In November, my Dad called me with a strange request.  "I need you to buy me 3 Bitcoins. After you do I'll give you one for Christmas."  So I took on the challenge. 
The first step was to join a Bitcoin exchange.  I signed up to the two best known exchanges.  Each required that I fax copies of my driver’s license and a utility bill with the same address to prove identity and residence.  It took a week for the first exchange to approve my account. Once approved, the exchange gave me information so I could wire the funds.  There was no other way to fund the account.  Credit cards are not accepted in the Bitcoin world because the transactions are reversible. 
So I went to my bank to set up a wire transfer to a bank in Slovenia, owned by a group in the UK.  The wire transfer fee was $35. By the end of the day the exchange emailed my confirmation of receipt.  I immediately made my purchase of 3+ Bitcoin.  The final cost including the wire fees was $1111 per coin.  At this time we are down 14% on our "investment".   
The next two weeks I spent learning how to divide and protect our wallets. I've got backups using my normal computer back up function.  I made a backup of dad's wallet onto a jump drive, gave it to him dad at Christmas who put it into a safe deposit box.
Now we wait for Bitcoin to catch on as a useful currency.
The take away of my adventure is that Bitcoin is easy to spend but hard to acquire. 

If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:

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Best and worst states for taxes in 2014 & Yes Florida shines again:

Bottom Line: There are two reasons most of us are here (here being Florida). The weather and yes, the low personal tax burden. You’ll be glad to know that you’re yet again in one of the best states for overall personal tax burdens in 2014.

Each year The Fiscal Times evaluates all of the states for total tax burden. The account for all changes in tax rates at all levels and rank the states based upon the total impact.

First let’s take a look at the five worst states for total taxation:

  • New York: 50th
  • New Jersey: 49th
  • California: 48th
  • Minnesota: 47th
  • Rhode Island: 46th

Now for the five best states:

  • Wyoming: 1st
  • South Dakota: 2nd
  • Nevada: 3rd
  • Alaska: 4th
  • Florida: 5th

Notice any trends? The five worst states are historically

Liberally managed states, while the five on the good list have a history of fiscal conservatism at the state level. Additionally if you look at the two lists you’ll notice that with the exception of Nevada, the five best states have well lower than average unemployment while the worst states for taxation have well above average unemployment (including the two worst states for unemployment, California and Rhode Island).

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Have you vetted your tax preparer?

Bottom Line: This might surprise you but only four states regulate tax preparation specifically (and no Florida isn’t one of them). As a result there really isn’t much oversight with regard to the person you had your families’ life history over to. For that reason, one of the biggest issues with ID theft and fraudulent activity among tax filers, is actually coming from those who use tax preparers to file their taxes.

The NationalConsumerLawCenter said in their review there is “widespread abuse” & that “we found incompetence and outright fraud”. That’s a bit alarming… It’s also worth noting that if your tax preparer breaks the law in “getting you more”, you’re personally libel for penalties and fees to the IRS if they audit you. Just some food for thought…

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Staggering takeaway from Facebook's quarterly report... 

Bottom Line: No I’m not going to bore you with Facebook’s earnings (if you’re an investor, you had a great day yesterday though!). I found a nugget inside of the Facebook report that made me do a double take.

  • Mobile device owners now spend more time using mobile devices daily, than they do watching TV

Think about that one for a moment. The secret about Facebook’s success is that they’re users use Facebook more on mobile devices than on traditional computers (and they’ve figured out how to make money with mobile). But think about the bigger implications of mobile usage now passing America’s biggest past time of the last 50+ years. Moreover, in business you’re officially being left behind if you don’t have a mobile strategy in place.

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The Costco proves the opposite point that the President is trying to make:

Bottom Line: I’ve bitten my tongue on this one this week. As Costco continues to be held up as the example of what a good company does by its employees as part of the President’s effort to divide Americans based income… Sorry, his pitch towards income equality; I couldn’t help but to point out what should be rather obvious.

No law or regulation or Government intervention led to Costco paying their employees the wages they currently earn… The free market did. Costco devised a business plan that included a premium service product that included above average compensation for its employees and the marketplace supported it. For that matter if you earn more than minimum wage what law or Government role caused that to occur? Again, your time, talent and the free market supported your business and that income.

So… What was your point again Mr. President?

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