Personal Finance Tips Delivered Weekly
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December 29, 2006
Find the right job ' right now
I know people who love their careers and can't wait to go to work each day. And I know others who hate their jobs and feel underemployed, underpaid or overworked. No matter where you fall in that spectrum today, someday you may want to test the waters for new opportunities.
December 22, 2006
Take the pain out of car shopping
I'd rather get a root canal than go car shopping. How to choose among so many models, options and financing alternatives? But it's worth a little homework to make sure you get a car you like and can truly afford; plus, you can save you thousands of dollars over the car's life. Here are a few tips:
December 18, 2006
Resolve to pay down your debt in 2007
I've learned the hard way that although New Year's resolutions can be a great way to make a fresh start, if you set unrealistic goals they'll likely fizzle out after a few months. Sometimes small steps are the answer, building momentum as you go.
December 11, 2006
If owning a home is your 'American dream,' get the facts first
When my wife and I signed our first mortgage in 1999, we had to keep convincing ourselves we were doing the right thing. Renting was safe, but buying a home was a major commitment with many big risks. We had long weighed the pros and cons of buying a home and ultimately decided to take the plunge.
December 4, 2006
Last-minute check-up could save a bundle in taxes
As hectic as life is at this time of year, if you can spare a few minutes I have a few suggestions that could save you a lot of money if you act quickly before the 2006 tax year ends.
November 27, 2006
Don't let holiday shopping blow your budget
Now that the leftover turkey is gone, you've probably moved on to the next seasonal event ' holiday spending. Between gifts, entertaining and travel, many of us spend considerably more than we'd planned, let alone budgeted for. Add the inevitable 10-pound weight gain and it's not hard to understand why for many, December is the most stressful month.
November 20, 2006
'Tis the season: tips for making charitable contributions
In my family, the holiday season is more than just a time for gift-giving and elaborate meals. It's also when we make charitable contributions to help others who are less fortunate. My kids get in on the act and we all vote on where to donate our money.
November 13, 2006
Direct payment can ease the hassle of paying bills
I hate paying bills. It's not just saying goodbye to my money that hurts, but the tedious routine of writing and mailing checks. I've also experienced a few late fees when payments got stuck at the post office and didn't arrive in time.
November 6, 2006
Repair bad credit rating to avoid nasty surprises
Many people are so accustomed to frequent credit offers that when an application is denied, they're shocked.
October 27, 2006
Women face different financial challenges than men
For women, it's a classic "good news, bad news" scenario: The good news is, on average women live seven years longer than men; the bad news is, there's a strong possibility they may have less money to live on during those extra years.
October 20, 2006
Help your parents plan for the inevitable
Many people will go out of their way to avoid talking about illness, death and money, especially when aging parents are concerned. But the reality is, we all get older and eventually need help from others.
October 16, 2006
A crash course in credit card basics for college students
College students have many sound reasons for getting a credit card: It's a good way to start building a solid credit history, safer than carrying large amounts of cash and can be a lifesaver in an emergency.
October 9, 2006
401(k) plans pack a big tax-savings punch
Managing your personal finances can be a constant juggling act where car payments, a mortgage and college savings all compete with daily expenses. Despite today's pressing needs, don't lose site of tomorrow's top financial priority: your retirement.
October 2, 2006
Save money during your benefits open enrollment
For millions of Americans, workplace benefits open enrollment for 2007 is just weeks away. Consider this: By simply checking "same as last year" on your enrollment form, you may miss an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on your taxes.
September 26, 2006
Protect your elderly family members from financial scams
Forty billion dollars. That's how much crooked telemarketers steal from Americans each year, according to the National Consumers League; and 56 percent of those victims are over age 50, says the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
September 18, 2006
Get the right insurance now, before you need it
We've all been haunted by images of people who lost everything to a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster. All too often, though, people's lives are overturned by more commonplace events ' either because they're uninsured, or they find out too late that their coverage was insufficient.
September 11, 2006
Plan ahead to avoid financial 'baby blues'
Like most new parents, my wife and I felt a full range of emotions while she was pregnant: joy, relief, and anticipation combined with nervousness, anxiety, and downright fear.
August 31, 2006
Sometimes 'educational' equals 'fun'
Sometimes the easiest way to interest your children in something is to turn it into a game - whether it's getting a toddler to eat breakfast or entertaining a carload of third-graders. But when the topic is even remotely "educational," you may face additional hurdles.
August 28, 2006
Will your kids inherit your 'money personality'?
As parents, what we say and do regarding money can profoundly influence our children's future financial habits. That's a sobering thought for those of us who may not have always made the best financial decisions in our own lives.
August 21, 2006
Protect yourself against identity theft
One of today's fastest-growing and most ominous crimes is identity theft, where someone steals your personal information and uses it to open a bank account or loan, make purchases, secure false identification, or commit other offenses.
August 14, 2006
'Back to school' shopping tips
It's hard to believe "back to school" season is right around the corner, but that's what store displays have been telling us for weeks.
August 7, 2006
Debit card 101: what they are, how they work
It's hard to fathom how much the financial industry has changed in the past several decades. Before the first charge card was introduced in 1950, "cash and carry" was pretty much the rule for most purchases.
July 28, 2006
Grandma was right; saving is important
My grandparents used to tell us, 'Always put something aside for a rainy day.' It looks like a lot of people haven't called their grandma and grandpa lately.
July 21, 2006
Help your kids beat summer boredom - and learn a few things
My parents never talked about money at home and like so many of us, I had to learn about it on my own, often making youthful mistakes along the way. Take this opportunity with the kids home from school this summer to instill in them your knowledge and values about money.
July 14, 2006
Got kids? Start saving for college now
Getting a college education just got more expensive. That's because on July 1, interest rates for federal education loans to students and parents increased by 1.84 percentage points and now range from 6.54 percent to 8.5 percent.
July 7, 2006
Financial 'resolutions' not just for New Year's
By the summer, many of us have forgotten about our New Year's Resolutions. We've either successfully lost those 10 pounds, or given up until next January. But you still have several months to make good on your pledges, and a whole lifetime to reap the rewards.
June 30, 2006
Get more for your money on your next vacation
Summer is here and millions of Americans will be taking their annual vacations. There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your vacation lives up to your dreams and doesn't devolve into a fiscal nightmare.
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