Friday, December 11, 2009

Richer Households

Posted by Kenny Hernandez

NEW YORK ( -- Household net worth in the United States rose for the second quarter in a row, growing 5% to an estimated $53.4 trillion in the third quarter, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

The $2.7 trillion rebound in net worth, which is the difference between a household's assets and liabilities, comes as stock prices have rallied this year, boosting the value of Americans' investment portfolios.

Stock holdings rose by nearly 17% to $7.4 trillion, according to the central bank's quarterly flow of funds report.

Bonus Tax?

Posted by Kenny Hernandez

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The odds aren't on its side, but a bonus tax could happen in the United States too.

The United Kingdom this week slapped a 50% tax on bankers' bonuses above about $40,000. The one-time tax will be paid by all banks with employees in the country. France pledged it would adopt the same policy, while Germany's chancellor called the idea "charming."

Still, the bonus tax seems like a long shot on this side of the Atlantic, where bankers wield immense power. But when Wall Street starts handing out giant year-end paychecks at a time of 10% unemployment, all the campaign donations in the world may not keep legislators facing tough re-election fights from turning on their banker chums.

Divorce may hurt Tiger's finances even more

By Jameel Murray

Tiger Woods is in a soup bowl of controversy. The world’s greatest golfer’s scandal has affected his image as well as his finances. Recently, Gilette and Gatorade have considered dropping Tiger Woods from upcoming endorsement projects. It is reported that Woods’s deal with Gillette is worth around $20 million while a deal with Gatorade is valued at $100 million. Although it is extremely rare to see Tiger end up in a situation where he is considered “broke,” a divorce can further impact Tiger’s finances.
Last week Woods’s wife Elin Nordegren decided to purchase a $2million house in Sweden, possibly indicating the couple’s divorce. Reports have also stated that Nordegren has considered bolstering her prenuptial agreement. Financial advisers have stated that the couple should educate themselves on the household’s finances before filing for a divorce. According to Greg Merlino, an Ameriway Financial Service adviser, if there is dishonestly in a marriage, there is usually dishonesty in the financial situation of the household. Advisers also state that spouses should have an idea of the finances readily available prior to divorce. Whether or not Tiger and his wife decides to file for divorce, Tiger’s financial position would take a significant hit.


Wedding Woes

By: Kelsey Hoffman

It’s that big day and all you want to think about is how important this day is to the rest of your life. You want it to be special, spending the rest of your life with the person you love. Your friends and family are around to watch the beautiful ceremony with the extravagant reception to follow. It’s all well and good until you realize how much money really went into this one day.

Many couples go into the wedding planning procedure with a set plan and budget. Couples can spend any amount of money they desire on their wedding, extravagant ones costing more than $100,000. With the recession now though, more couples are taking into account their budgets and opting for smaller and less luxurious ceremonies. Some places are offering “elopement” packages that cost anywhere between $1,000-$2,000 for a couple to get married with 20 of their closest friends and family. These packages provide a way for people to still celebrate but in a more budget sensitive way.

Other ways of saving money on your wedding include of course cutting down on the amount of people you invite, wearing a dress maybe your mother passed down to you, making the food yourself, and making it a cash bar event.

Phones are getting out of Hand

By: Kelsey Hoffman

With the increase in the use of cell phones, home landlines are being used much less frequently. Everyone can be contacted at the click of a button now, and it will go straight to that person’s personal cell phone. No need to ask “Is Sally there please?” anymore. Landline costs have decreased dramatically all over the world with the increased use of cell lines. Phone companies are trying to cut their costs in order to stay competitive. KT, Korea’s largest telephone company just pulled the plug on their business model claiming that with all the new technology and new phone uses that their structure and way of doing business was no longer useful. “The company will replace all of its landline office phones with mobile and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) devices when it opens its new southern Seoul office in February.”

Kids are also getting access to cell phones at a very young age now. Parents are worried their kids won’t be able to function without one, even at the age of 8. You can go into any elementary school now and I bet you kids have cell phones. Cell phone companies are even manufacturing smaller and simpler phones now for kids, ones that have four buttons including one with a house on it for their home number, and one with a picture of a cross on it for emergencies. These may be helpful, but kids are being exposed to these technologies too early.

5 Steps to simplify the Financials in Divorce

By Shawn Chandok

They say you should always think carefully and evaluate every minor detail about who you marry. They also say that over 50% of all marriages end in a divorce. It comes to no surprise to hear that a large percentage of divorce cases are due to financial problems. Here are 5 simple steps to help make the financial breakup easier:
1. Get your credit report: Make sure you retrieve your credit report from all 3 companies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) prior to the trial so it defines your current loan balances.
2. Open an individual bank account prior to the trial because it is easier to get credit while you are still legally own joint assets.
3. Claim your personal assets: Make sure you walk out of the divorce with your personal assets that you came in with
4. Check your retirement: Make sure your future is safe. Contact social security and if possible opt in for COBRA temporarily.
5. Start Living Again: Assuming you survived the divorce with clothes on your back, start living life but learn from your mistakes. Don’t have a midlife crisis now that you’re single again and waste money on exuberant splurges, instead try to be sensible while enjoying simultaneously. Consider hiring a financial planner at least 3 months after the divorce in order to clean up any mess no your credit report.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Cost of Owning a Dog

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

When buying a dog, most people do not think about the annual cost this purchase will generate. Fido may be cute, but in many cases he is also more expensive than the price tag may indicate. The reality is that most people grossly underestimate the cost of owning a dog. This can turn out to be a dangerous for both the animal's health and your wallet.

One key mistake people make is foregoing the cost of pure breed dog for a cheap mutt. While you may save up front, the costs you will incur over the lifetime of the dog will most likely exceed this difference. A poorly bred dog can have many health problems including arthritis, poor eye sight, and allergies. Vet bills can cost you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a dog, and many people simply cannot afford it, leaving their dogs in a state of suffering.

Thousands of dogs are put to sleep every year because there owners can no longer take care of them. This is an extremely sad situation. The average cost of owning a dog exceeds $10,000 over the lifetime of the animal. If you are not ready to make this commitment, do not buy a dog.


Recession putting Strains on Marriage

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

The economy may be putting a strain on more than just family finances. Marriages are also being tested in what has become one of the worst economic recessions in history. Tensions are sure to rise during these times as spouses struggle to pay bills, adjust to job loss, or maybe even forced to leave their homes. 75% of those who have lost their jobs are men, which translate to a lot of distressed wives.

According to one study, couples who report disagreeing about money matters once a week are about twice as likely to divorce compared with couples who disagree about money less than once a month. This is not a surprising statistic.

The irony of this situation is that the divorce rate is actually falling. It declined to 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2008 from 17.5 divorces in 2007 (a 3% drop), after rising from 16.4 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2005 (a 7% increase). The major reason for this is that couples who have fallen on financial hardship simply cannot afford to pay for a costly divorce. Divorces involve many expenses including lawyer fees which can often exceed to implied cost of sticking it out.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

High Cost of Children

By: Nicole Nelson

It’s known to most people that having a child bears a big financial responsibility. But exactly how big is this financial responsibility? The United States Department of Agriculture projects that the range of raising a child to age eighteen is from $55,000 to $365,000. These figures depend on location and income with the highest costs coming from families in the northeastern part of the United States. A two-parent, middle-income family has an average cost of raising a child to 18 years old in 2008 of $221,190. Some things that these figures do not include are college education, the money lost by staying at home instead of working and the cost of childbirth. Parents do get a cost savings when having more than one child. That means parents that only have one child spend 25% more than families with two children. With three children, parents are spending 22% less on each child. Also, although food and clothing are cheaper now housing and health care cost more than it used to. Although children, from these statistics seem to be racking up the bill, they do have some personal positive effects (besides the fact that they are your children). When helping your children with their homework, you can brush up on your lost skills. By throwing around a baseball you can work on your own arm. So although the cost of raising a child has increased, families around the world still add to their families’ every day.

A unique debt plan for parents in the UK

Posted by Ahmed Al-Salem

A new survey has revealed that mothers, rather than fathers, are more stressed about the arrival of a new baby. The expense of expanding a family means that parents turn to unsecured debt and constantly rely on credit cards and personal loans. This will not help a family’s future financial security.

A unique debt plan that targets parents who are in trouble is an IVA. An IVA or Individual Voluntary Arrangement, is a fixed term repayment plan, designed to allow someone with serious debt problems the opportunity to repay their creditors whilst avoiding bankruptcy.

A new poll from Aviva shows that a fifth of first-time dads are sorting out family finances during their partner’s pregnancy, while over a quarter are worried about the dent in their household coffers in the first six months of their child’s life.

Louise Colley, head of protection for Aviva, says: "As a parent myself, I found that some basic financial behaviours can help you to feel much more in control and prepared for supporting a baby."

An IVA is a formal agreement, which first came into force on 29th December 1986 as part of the Insolvency Act 1986, bringing with it major changes to personal insolvency in the UK.

IVAs are available to all people who live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. People in Scotland have their own version of the IVA, which is known as a Scottish Protected Trust Deed.

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Raising Children in Today's Economy

By Eric Gursky
Having and affording children in this economy can be very tough on some families. With inflationary costs increasing the prices of almost all daily commodities and college becoming very expensive, budgeting is more relevant now that ever. Start saving early! If there is one thing I have learned in this course it's that the opportunity cost lost by not saving at least 10% of your money early in life can set you back later. It will help you plan out a budget to pay for all the incurred expenses children bring upon.
Probably the biggest expense you'll incur once the baby is born (excluding a college education) is for child care, which is especially expensive for infants. Even when your child is old enough to go to school, you'll have after-school care, summer camps, and other related expenses.
Any parent facing the prospect of keeping their kids clothed, healthy, well-educated, and maybe just a little bit spoiled is looking at some scary costs. That's even before we start talking about college, where tuition today tops out above $20,000 a year at many private schools - and who knows what it will be when your little Einstein is 18.
These are just some of the main costs associated with kids, spending money and unexpected injuries and costs will occur and you will need to plan for them to have enough money to support yourself as well.

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Survey: 40% of Americans Curtailing Holiday Spending Due to Health Care Costs

Posted by Jorden Meltz

It’s not just the Senate that is debating health care. An opinion survey out this week finds that two out of five Americans plan to spend less this holiday season because of rising health care costs, and three out of ten say health care costs have led to arguments and tension within the family.

The survey, by Misericordia University in Dallas, PA and Braun Research, was undertaken, says the school, to determine how health care issues impact individual budgets and relationships. The researchers contacted more than more than 1,000 Americans by telephone between Nov. 6 and Nov. 16.

Meanwhile, a new Thompson Reuters survey found that 60% of the public supports a publicly financed health insurer (i.e., the “public option”), and 35% strongly believe the quality of health care in the U.S. 12 months from now will be worse than it is today. Only 11.9% strongly believe it will be better.

The Misericordia survey found that, in addition to decreased holiday spending and increased tensions, Americans report that their top concerns with health care reform include the cost to future generations and impact on the federal deficit, the cost of out-of-pocket expenses and the accessibility of insurance coverage. Parents and those who classify themselves as “conservative” are more likely to be sensitive to the possible negative impacts of health care reform while parents in general remain more concerned than others with quality and access to care.

Click here to read more.

Isaac Asks: Should He Have Delayed College?

ISAAC: The first snow has fallen on my college campus, and the sky has become a consistent gray. As the end of my first semester nears, essays are piling up and final exams loom in the near future. The novelty of college has worn off.

As I sit in the library, I look over an email that one of my best friends from high school sent me a couple of weeks ago. Instead of college, he has been helping out in an elementary school in Ecuador. He tells me he's having the time of his life exploring the beaches, mountains and jungle of the country by bus.

Posted by Nicholas Vanikiotis

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Cut Your Grocery Bill: Ten Money Saving Grocery Shopping Tips

Posted by Leah Gorham

By Donna L Montaldo

By following the 10 tips below, alert shoppers can save up to $300 a month off their grocery bills. Are you ready to start trimming the fat off your food bills?
A Little Homework
Planning before you head off to the supermarket will help you shop more economically. Take the time to do a quick inventory of your kitchen to determine the food that you need. Prepare your shopping list and make notations of applicable coupons that you may want to use. Read the newspapers and circulars to find the best deals.

Choosing the Right Store
For basic grocery needs many grocery stores now offer excellent product and price selection, frequent shoppers programs and double coupon days. However, when buying in bulk you may want to tackle the warehouse clubs or superstores. Non-perishable items are often at unbeatable prices at such stores. For the best prices on health and beauty products check the national drugstore chains and superstores.

Click here to read more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meet the Newlyweds

By Laura Reginelli

Generally people associate the term newlyweds with weddings, bliss, love and just an overall happy time in life. On the surface things may seem like smooth sailing and perfect; however, without the proper planning for joining finances, your marriage may be doomed to hit one or two financial speed bumps ahead. There are quite a few common mistakes the newlyweds make when it comes to their finances but there are ways to avoid them if you stay conscious.

Stop thinking about your money in a selfish manner. You are now married to another individual and your money should be thought of in the terms of “ours.” Hence your purchases should also be thought of in these terms. Make sure to consult with your spouse before making a large purchase. Discuss what you deem as luxury and necessity items in order to eliminate some future conflicts.

Although this can be somewhat frightening, talk about your financial histories, where you made mistakes, how your making improvements and where your weaknesses lie. It is important to be understanding in all aspects of a relationship, including when it comes to finances as well.

Like all other financial decisions in your life it is extremely important to set goals as well as a budget. These will act as benchmarks to determine how well you are doing financially as a couple. The couple that saves together, stays together.


Being Financially Prepared for a Family

By Laura Reginelli

In many people’s lives the family represents their core, their strength, their everything. Having a family is a joyous thing but that still doesn’t mean that families lack financial problems. With the economic troubles of today it is important that families remain smart about their finances and make well-informed decisions. There are several hints that can help families stay out of the red and get by without major financial worries.

The first and most important step to planning your family finances is to set a budget. By having a budget you will be able to see where your money should be spent and then be more inclined to stick to it and save money. Also when budgeting your money you should allot for some to be saved and set some aside for emergencies that may require more many than you thought.

When making everyday common purchases, it is imperative that you make wise decisions that reflect your budget. Many experts using a conscious spending tactic to help stick to that budget. According to iVillage, “Conscious Spending works by minimizing the money you spend on the things you enjoy less, in order to free up money for the things you enjoy more… The essence of Conscious Spending is ensuring that your money is spent in a way that supports you. What counts is congruency: whether your spending fits your wants and your values.”


Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Unforeseen Costs of Raising a Child

Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

Raising a child is more expensive than most could imagine. The older your child gets the more5 expensive they are. Housing is the biggest single expense of raising children, while food accounts for 158%-20% of the overall expense. Transportation accounts for 13%-14% of the total, clothing is about 6%, healthcare is only 5%-7%, childcare/education accounts for about 7%-11% not including college costs, and lastly miscellaneous takes in 10%-12% of the total cost.

According to CBN News, “A new government study reveals middle-income families with a child born last year will spend about $221,000 raising the child through age 17. Adjust for inflation and that number climbs to nearly $300,000. That's $13,000 each year and that doesn't include the cost of college (2009).”

A new study shows that more American young adults are becoming “boomerang kids”- that is moving back in with your parents to save on expenses. According to, “Luckily, if you have more than one child, you get a bit of a bulk discount: People with two children spend about 25 percent less on the second child, and those with three or more spend 22 percent less one each one, a Time Magazine article points out. That’s because some of the biggest expenses- housing, healthcare, and transportation—don’t have to be re-purchased when another child joins the family (2009).”


Financial Planning for Babies

By Laura Reginelli

Having a child is a big step in life. There are many things that need to be considered when making this decision. Not only do you need to be mentally and physically prepared to have a child but you also must be financially ready as well. Having a child is one of the most expensive things that one could do in their lifetime. The costs are seemingly neverending. So how does one prepare to take on the financial responsibility that having a child carries? Well keep reading to find out.

1. Know what your money is going every month, what can be cut down on and where savings can be made. It is important to have a budget and stick as closely as possible to it.

2. Don’t buy the whole store. Remember that you will receive plenty during the baby shower so there is no need to overspend.

3. Determine how you will make up for the loss of one income when you or your spouse goes on maternity leave. How much will you need to make up for? Where can you get this money from? Does your employer pay for maternity leave?

4. Try to pay off any debt that you may have before having the child. Babies are expensive and you want to eliminate any source of debt beforehand.

5. Find a proper method to save for your child’s future.

Before having a baby it is important for you to know where you stand financially and if you can handle the financial affects of having a child.


How Cheating Affected Tiger's Finances

Posted by: Laura Reginelli

In a lakeside Florida mansion, marriage counsellors, lawyers and public relations advisers are engaged in a bizarre and expensive round of shuttle diplomacy between the world's richest athlete and his furious wife.

For Tiger Woods, a control freak accustomed to calling the shots both on the fairway and in his private life, the unravelling of an image as carefully manicured as a country club green is both agonising and self-inflicted.

The scandal of his philandering is so damaging to his "Mr Clean" brand that the publicity-averse superstar is even considering an invitation to appear on the sofa of talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Click here to read more!

Holiday Budgeting

By Leah Gorham

In the midst of a recession it is especially important to budget for holiday spending. In order to ensure that finally finances aren't derailed as a result of overspending on gifts and other holiday festivities, a budget is a useful tool. First, determine what you can afford to spend and set this figure as your overall holiday spending limit. Moreover, set a limit for each area of holiday spending, such as food, gifts, and decorations. Write these figures down and track your spending throughout the season. Don't panic if you overspend in one of the categories; just scale your spending back in another category to make up for it.

There are several things holiday you can do to get the most for their money this season and not blow your holiday budget. First, do not save all your holiday shopping and don't be afraid to ask a retailer to match a competitor's advertised price. Second, make a list, and stick to it. Do not be lured by discounts on big ticket items, such as electronics, into buying more than you need. Lastly, plan on shopping around more- tighter inventories this year may mean that you have to check several stores before you find what you want.

Other tips for sticking to your holiday budget include making homemade holiday gifts. Homemade gifts can be thoughtful and unique. You can also get creative- instead of giving gifts to all of your family members, throw a party and invite everyone to bring a home-made dish. Then at the end, provide everyone with the recipes from the party. Sometimes being creative and thinking outside the box can creative lasting holiday memories and help you stick to your budget at the same time.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

Friday, December 4, 2009

Financial Effects of Divorce

Posted by: Pete Hill

Now days, divorce is much more popular than it used to be. Approximately half of every marriage will end in a divorce. As a result, there are preventative tips to follow prior to marriage, during divorce, and after divorce.

The risk that any marriage will end in divorce is about 45 percent, according to David Popenoe, a professor of sociology emeritus at Rutgers University. The chances fall to about 40 percent for first marriages and decline further for college-educated couples, people from intact families and couples who share the same religion.

Most couples don’t realize that divorce can also be among the most ruinous financial moves anyone can make. Four talks to have prior to marriage are ancestors spending behavior, credit scores, control of payments, and affluence.
During the divorce, experts who went through divorce have come up with a list of tips to consider. These tips are: picking fights, keeping records, hitting the details, living nearby (with children), and limit overspending.

After divorce you get swept up in the rage, the disappointment and the worries, money will intrude. After a divorce, important aspects to consider are health insurance, mental health, credit, tax, hired help, keeping house, future legal costs, teenagers, and spousal education.


Beware When Loaning Money to Relatives

Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

When it comes to lending money to family members, most experts will tell you don’t do it! Financial planners will warn you that interfamily loans can lead to trouble with the IRS, financial problems, and disastrous relationships with relatives. According to Bissonnette, “You're mixing business with relationships -- which is rarely good -- and, according to a Money magazine poll, "43% of readers who lent to family or friends weren't paid back in full; 27% hadn't received a dime (2009).”

If for some reason you really want to give a relative money, draw up a contract. Make sure to include everything you want out of the family member you are lending the money to and whether or not you are going to charge them interest on the loan. Be very specific and make sure your relative knows exactly what they are getting themselves into. If there was ever a problem, you could bring them to court and would have written proof that they agreed to uphold their end of the bargain.

Here are some tips for lending to family and friends:

  1. . Don’t co-sign for a loan
  2. If you don’t have money to lose, then don’t loan them money!
  3. Think about giving them a small financial gift
  4. Consider giving something other than money to help
  5. Offer to help them with budgeting

Preparing your finances before having a baby

Posted by: Christina Dove

Having a baby can be a very exciting time for a family. However it can also be a time to accumulate many expenses that you did not anticipate. The transition of having a baby can be much easier if you are able to "baby-proof" your finances. Since it will be very important to have a steady income to support the new children, families have to reduce the risk in their investing portfolio. That means dialing down risk in their company-stock-laden portfolio and in general "balancing our investments to meet short- and long-term goals," says Stephanie. The couple also need a savings plan. This is one of the most crucial steps in planning for having a baby.

Another crucial step in preparing to have a baby is to make sure that you have a cash emergency fund that will be available for use if the expenses become more than expected for a short time period. Having some extra cash set aside will reduce the stress when your finances get tight and you aren't sure how you are going to support your current lifestyle, especially with a young child. Most importantly it is best to start a family once both parent's jobs are stable and there is a stable substantial income for the family to live off of. If a family decides to have a baby too soon it can hinder their financial goals for the future and they are always going to feel like they are strapped for cash.


How will Tiger Wood's Family Life be Impacted?

Posted by: Christina Dove

Many people have heard about Tiger Wood's alleged affair with a few other women. Although this news is devastating for his reputation, it will be interesting to see his wife Elin's reaction. Tiger Woods is arguably the best golfer to ever live and had more money than many people could dream of making in a lifetime. If Tiger Wood's wife decides to divorce him, she could make a lot more money than Tiger Woods would be willing to dish out. According to one source, she is reportedly negotiating an immediate $5 million payout from Woods, while also revising their prenuptial agreement. At the time of their 2004 wedding, that prenup was believed to be worth $20 million. Now, she's allegedly seeking up to $55 million if she stays married to Woods for at least two more years.

In addition to messing up his entire family life - especially with two young kids, Tiger Wood's suspicious actions could also have a devastating impact on his sponsorhips, which he makes a majority of his money from. Many of his sponsors have come out and made remarks of intending to stand by Tiger as he copes with his family issues. One sponsor was quoted saying, "Nike supports Tiger and his family," the company said in a statement. "Our relationship remains unchanged." It is still too early to tell how substantial these affairs and the accident in his front yard will be and how they will affect his image, family life and ability to make money in the future.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Credit Cards for the Holidays

Fewer Shoppers Using Credit Cards for Gifts

Climbing interest rates, lower spending limits and canceled accounts are prompting more holiday shoppers to leave their credit cards at home this year.

"There is definitely an overall shift from credit to debit," says Curtis Arnold of "This holiday season, it has been accentuated by the credit crunch and the economy."

An estimated 28.3% of people will be using credit to pay for gifts this year.

An estimated 28.3% of people will be using credit to pay for gifts this year, according to a recent survey of 8,692 consumers conducted by the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch. That's down from the 31.5% of shoppers who paid with credit cards during the 2008 holidays, according to the survey.

Mike Cleary's family has ditched credit cards this holiday season. He and his wife had three credit cards with a total balance of about $6,200, but paid those off because of high interest rates. "We were going to get rid of those, bite the bullet and use cash from that point," says Mr. Cleary, a 53-year-old from Duluth, Ga.

Instead of the usual $3,000 to $4,000 he typically spent for the holidays, Mr. Cleary says he will be spending below $1,000 on his family this year. "We just told them, 'Hey, it's going to be a light Christmas.' "

Read More

Posted by Chris Keeler


For families there are many ways that you can save money. There are also many reasons to save. These range from daily life, retirement, college, etc.
Here are the 7 Reasons to save money:
  1. Emergency Fund
  2. Retirement
  3. Home Down Payment
  4. Vacations
  5. Car
  6. Education
  7. Improvements (home, life)
There are many ways to save money. The best way is to plan. Plan what you want to accomplish, what you need and want. The best way to save is to cut spending and credit card use.
You also must think of where to put savings. There are many options available from banks, stocks, funds, the mattress. A good plan is to make sure that part of your paycheck goes directly for savings and is not spent.

Posted by chris keeler

Your Credit Score

posted by chris keeler

Reports state that Tiger Woods offered Rachel Uchitel hush money: press conference cancelled

Posted by Leah Gorham

By Charisse Van Horn

The press conference never began and reports from Radar Online state they know why: $1,000,000 in hush money. Radar exclusively reports their sources as stating that at the last minute Tiger Woods reps bombarded reps for Rachel, offering the money to not go public with the story. Radar reports that they asked Gloria Allred about the payoff and she replied, “No Comment.”

It would seem to be detrimental to Rachel Uchitel to go public with her story now. She has adamantly denied having an affair with Tiger Woods, agreed to undergo a polygraph, and gave a lengthy tell-all interview to the New York Post stating that Ashley Samson, the National Enquirer source, that gave the juicy details to the National Enquirer was nothing more than a drug addicted hooker looking to score some big bucks: $25,000. To go public with the admission that she has been lying all along might prove more damaging to her reputation and career than she intended.

To read more click here.

The Real Cost of Raising a Baby

Posted by Nick Porcell

You'll spend almost $10,000 on your baby's first year, according to the thousands of moms who took BabyCenter's exclusive survey.

No wonder 70 percent of new mothers told us they're more anxious about money since having a child. "The financial stress is the hardest thing in my life," says mom Sarah Carley, who has three young children. "You don't realize how much you need for your child — and how tempting it is to buy things."

Click Here to Read More

Insurance Costs for Families

By Jorden Meltz

During a time of economic uncertainty for many, something that has been a constant for many families is figuring out how to budget for insurance costs. This can be seen in the state of Maine, where it has become common for insurance premiums to be greater than a family's mortgage payment. In addition, the FHA in reaction to the real estate market has decided to try and raise down payments for perspective homeowners looking to take advantage of government-mortgage guarantee programs. Figuring out to balance homeowner and insurance costs is something that families deal with on a monthly basis and most likely the emphasis on these expenses has increased over the past year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for some though, as a study on the current health care legislation predicts premiums for employer-sponsored insurance programs will not change and may potentially decrease. For many this news will be welcoming, as lower premiums will allow a family to focus their budget in other areas that may be of concern.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paying for Hospital Bills Are a Growing Challenge

By: Sara Sindelar

With the health care reform making ways paying the health care bills are getting tougher. There is great confusion on insurance and what is covered by policy owner’s plans. The layer of confusion gets greater when unheard of fees are billed.

There are many additional fees that people are unaware of. Fees like a facility fee for seeing a doctor due to the use of a facility. These fees are for the patient who is a member of the clinics that are affiliated with hospital systems. This fee is on top of the labor of the doctor. A lot of these fees are not covered in insurance and therefore become out of pocket expense.

There is great confusion on payment of different types of care. Urgent care facilities are not the same thing as Emergency rooms and therefore the billing is different. The system causes great perplexity among patients and can lead to people not getting the care they need if they feel they can no pay for it. Patients feel they are being duped with later bills coming from senders they did not know were involved in the payment. Patients want and need a clearer picture of what the payment is when they go to receive care.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tax Payers Getting Paid Too Much

By: Sara Sindelar

Reports recently came out stating that tax payers have been receiving too much of the Making Work Pay credit. There are two solutions on the table; one is to give back a smaller refund or two is to get money back today. There are an estimated 15 million tax payers that fall under this overpaid credit category. The IRS states that they believe that this number will come down once the research has been made into the individuals. As well as the number affected going down the IRS feels that the problem will be fixed through cutting the taxpayers refund.

This credit was placed back in February as part of the stimulus package. It is for those making less than $75,000 with a credit of 6.2% or up to $400 earnings. Many people received more than $400 in credit and will be having the extra amount cut out of their tax refund. Solutions are being acted upon to take care of this tax credit glitch. There are many moving pieces to filing taxes and with the added on credits from the stimulus it allows for more mistakes on both ends. It is important to really pay close attention to your tax filings.,0,1253242.story

Toyota Recalls 4 Million Cars

By: Sara Sindelar

Recently Toyota has put a recall on their cars, totaling 4 million, due to a malfunction with their gas pedal. Toyota states that there is an issue with the floor mat in relation to the accelerator. They announced this past week that they will be fixing the cars in 2010. They are planning on fixing the size and shape of the pedal as well as the floor mat for a perfect fit. To fix any mechanical issues they are going to install a brake override system if there are complications with the accelerator. This issue of sudden acceleration has been proven to have led to almost 10 deaths and many more accidents.

Toyota is known for a company of auto safety and this will strongly ruin their reputation. With the auto industry struggling during the economic crisis Toyota now has another battle to fit to stay strong in this economy. With this news coming out right before the holidays sales may be low and may continue to be low for months. Toyota states they do not know how much this will cost. One can only imagine the economic damages that something like this can do to a large company.

Airing out Your Wallet: Financial Spring Cleaning

Posted By Nicholas Vanikiotis

Spring cleaning is an American tradition. There is something about the warmer weather that makes us want to fling open the windows, air out the closets, beat the rugs and polish the silver. But what about our finances? Wouldn't spring be a good time to organize and sort them out, too (especially after all that holiday spending)?

Tina Florance, director of business advisory services for Hall & Company, certified public accountants, in Irvine, Calif., thinks spring is the perfect time to get your finances in order. "Spring cleaning your finances will help you save time and reduce stress," Florance says. "Getting your financial affairs in order will give you peace of mind knowing exactly where you stand financially, so you can make good decisions about managing your money. The results will simplify your life, save on expenses and create a plan to invest in your family's future."

Family health insurance to rise sharply without COBRA subsidy

Posted by Jorden Meltz

A new study estimates that the end of a hefty government subsidy could force millions of laid-off workers to pay more than 80 percent of their monthly unemployment checks to keep their job-based family health insurance coverage intact.

An estimated 7 million jobless workers and their dependents are thought to have received the temporary subsidy, which pays 65 percent of their health insurance premiums under a law known as COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

However, the nine-month subsidy expired Monday for those who first began receiving it in March through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Estimates vary, but COBRA subsidies pay an average of $722 per month toward the average national cost of family coverage, which runs about $1,111 per month, according to Families USA, a liberal consumer health advocacy group.

Without the subsidy, however, COBRA family coverage would eat up a whopping 83.4 percent of the $1,333 average monthly national unemployment insurance benefit, according to a Families USA report issued Tuesday.

Click here to read more.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Financial Planning Tips for Married Couples

Posted by: Jessie Bruyn

The Six Financial Mistakes Couples Make

Posted by: Jessie Bruyn

IF YOU AND YOUR partner are like most couples, chances are, you fight about money. Numerous studies have shown that money is the No. 1 reason why couples argue — and many of the recently divorced say those battles were the main reason why they untied the knot.

While anyone will tell you that talking about money is the first step in resolving problems, talk alone won't do the trick.

In fact, a 2004 study commissioned by SmartMoney magazine and Redbook, another Hearst publication (SmartMoney magazine and are jointly published by Dow Jones and Hearst), found that more than 70% of couples talk about money on a weekly basis. So what's the problem? "Most of us don't know how to talk about money," says Mary Claire Allvine, a certified financial planner (CFP) and co-author of "The Family CFO: The Couple's Business Plan for Love and Money."

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saving for Your Children's Future

By: Laura Reginelli

Besides retirement, saving for your children’s college expenses and tuitions tend to drain out bank accounts in most families. With the increasingly higher tuition costs which are rising at a rate faster than inflation, it is becoming more difficult for families to save for college costs. Many of you may be wondering what is the best way to go about paying for college. The truth is, like everything else in life, it pays to start planning early.

· FASFA: As your child goes through and applies to colleges, make sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FASFA form. Based on this form the government will be able to determine your financial need for that specific child. Filling out a FASFA requires the use of your W-2 forms, bank statements and mortgage and insurance forms. Also, if your FASFA estimate for need isn’t has high as you expected, don’t be afraid to appeal it.

· Loans: Although many feel that taking out loans is risky in terms of finding ways to pay them back, they also serve as a way to make paying for college feasible. Look into both Stafford and PLUS loans to determine the best way to make up the difference when it comes to paying for your children.

· Scholarships: Make sure that your kids are doing their part too! Private scholarships serve as a great way to pool in extra money for college needs. Even the smallest bit counts!

· Section 529 Plans: Look into your states Section 529 plans for an easy and relatively cheap way to save for college. The plans usually provide you with tax benefits while you have a guaranteed way for saving for tuition. And the money does not necessarily have to be used at an in-state college!

There’s no time like now to start saving for your children’s education. The earlier you start, the easier paying for college will be!


Finding A Balance Between Family and the Holidays

Posted By: Laura Reginelli

The holidays can be a budget-buster when it comes to getting the family's finances in line.So how can you be a great gift provider, while keeping your family on the right financial path?

One key is making a holiday list for all your gifts -- and don't be afraid to stick with low-cost, but creative gifts.When making purchases, shoppers carrying a credit card balance might consider paying by cash or check. Just keep track of your balance.

Click here to read full article!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kids Learning to Manage Money by Playing Games

Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

One of the most popular games at the fair was the award winning "Green" jigsaw puzzles which allow players to grow wildflowers.

Sandra Bergeson, one of the two inventors of the green games, told Xinhua that the games were popular with many families, as they were fun and could also teach children to be "green."

Debt-free Tree Games were also popular with the children. Kids can play it with their family, making virtual earnings from part-time work and managing the money.

Dale Balder, creator of the toy, initially invented this game just for his 7-year-old granddaughter whose parents were not good at managing their money.

"Now she has learned to manage her money and started saving for her college education already," he said.

"This game helps children learn how to manage money for their future," he said. "It helps children and family members learn how to lead a debt-free life while enjoying quality time together."

Mary Couzin, executive director of Chicago Toy and Game Group, said: "Playing can have a big effect on a child's future."

"Research shows that play can increase one's IQ (intelligence quotient) and improve math and reading scores. Play improves our ability to reason and to understand the world," he added.

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Teaching Your Children the Value of Money

Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

When it comes to teaching children about money, the earlier the better. It’s not an easy task but if you start early enough there are short and long-term benefits. In the short term, they will develop strong savings habits and learn how to make smart purchasing decisions. In the long-term it will help them to avoid accumulating debt and plan for financial security. It’s also a good idea to teach your children where the money is coming from because most children only see it as coming out of mom and dads pockets. Start by explaining to your children that money is earned by working.

There are different feelings about whether or not an allowance is a helpful way to teach children the importance of money. According to the University of Arkansas, “Children need to have money of their own to learn how to manage it. An allowance is a better teaching method than simply giving children money upon their request, says the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas. An allowance for children should be a set amount, should be paid regularly, and not tied to regular tasks required of the child. When deciding on the amount of an allowance, discuss what items will be covered. The amount should be enough that the child has money to manage with no strings attached (2006).” More examples of lessons to teach your children about money include: make saving interesting, banking and investing, and compounding.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Black Friday Saves Families Big Dollars

By: Laura Reginelli

When Thanksgiving rolls around, many people tend to think about the day after, Black Friday. In this economically troubled time, families are looking for ways to cut costs and in some cases make ends meet. Black Friday allows shoppers to buy for the holiday season and receive great deals while doing it, inevitably saving them money.

Black Friday can be a competitive, mad-dash for shoppers, sometimes proving to be too much for people. When it comes to this day of shopping, make sure to plan ahead by packing snacks and wearing comfortable clothing. Also shopping may be a little easier if you go with a list of what you need and where the deals are.

Some stores are even joining in on the family planning process. This year Kohl’s is allowing their customers to use their Web site to create a shopping list that they can print and take with them. From there, the customers are off to the stores. Kohl’s will open at 4 a.m. on Black Friday this year, allowing for the madness to start even earlier.

Black Friday shoppers are often a breed of their own and some of the most determined individuals. Although many of us may not see the real importance of going out into this “mob scene,” others swear by the savings.

One Black Friday shopper confesses “I've been venturing out early on Black Friday for eight years now, and every year, I've saved at least $200 — usually much more.”

So if you are looking to save a few extra dollars in the holiday season, make a plan and venture out instead of sleeping in the day after Thanksgiving! It may just save you.