About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:
Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and her Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law. She is currently a full-time writer who writes both textbooks and web content related to personal finance and the law. She and her husband and two dogs split their time between Florida and Pennsylvania.

Choosing the Best Streaming Media Services & Devices

By Christy Rakoczy

streaming mediaWith thousands of television channels at your fingertips, it’s hard to imagine that there was a time when we had just a handful – and you had to stand up to change them. Unfortunately, along with the ever-increasing options have come ever-increasing prices. Arguably, the only aspect of television not to go up is the quality of the content.

Click to continue reading...

What Is a Home Appraisal – Tips & Process Checklist

By Christy Rakoczy

homeWhen applying for a mortgage to purchase a new home or refinancing your existing mortgage, you have to be ready to jump through some hoops. It can be a difficult and time-consuming process to shop for a lender, evaluate interest rates and terms, and pay out some steep fees. Some of the requirements of a home mortgage – such as having a good credit score and meeting a certain minimum income – are within your control.

Unfortunately, the outcome of one of the most important factors, the home appraisal, is not something you can control. Still, it is important to have a full understanding of the home appraisal prior to starting the process of acquiring or refinancing a mortgage.

Click to continue reading...

Will the New CAFE Fuel Efficiency Standards Save You Money?

By Christy Rakoczy

as fuel efficiency rises, will prices rise as well?When shopping for a car, one major factor to consider is fuel efficiency. With rising gas prices, this is an especially important issue for most consumers. Although some cars advertise that they are more fuel-efficient than others, automakers do not have free rein to determine just how fuel-efficient to make the vehicles they sell. Instead, the government implements standards to regulate efficiency.

Recently, these fuel efficiency standards have been tightened, and questions remain as to whether the new standards will save consumers money or cost them more.

Click to continue reading...

How Much Does a Divorce Cost? – Types & Ways to Save

By Christy Rakoczy

divorce can be costlyDivorce can be emotionally devastating, but the emotional costs may be nothing compared to the financial ones. First Wives World estimates that the cost of divorce ranges between $10,000 and $20,000, with the average cost coming in right in the middle at about $15,000. Estimates provided by the Huffington Post are a little higher, suggesting that it can cost $15,000 to $30,000 to end a marriage.

While celebrities may be able to afford these exorbitant fees (and, as the celeb divorce rate shows, they frequently do opt for expensive and high-profile divorces), the cost of divorce can place a significant strain on the average family.

Click to continue reading...

Skills-Based Functional Resume – Examples, Template & When to Use One

By Christy Rakoczy

a skills-based resume can help you impress a potential employerWhen you are looking for a new job, it is imperative to write a great resume to get your foot in the door. Many people automatically create a chronological resume, in which they list their past jobs in order by date. While a chronological resume can work very well to display the evolution of your career, there is also another format to consider: the skills-based resume.

Click to continue reading...

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Refinance a Mortgage to Pay Credit Card Debt

By Christy Rakoczy

if money is tight, it can be difficult to find a way to come up with moreEveryone knows that credit card debt is “bad” debt due to the high interest rates on most consumer credit cards, while mortgage debt is often described as “good” debt. But sometimes the distinction between “good” and “bad” debt isn’t so clear-cut. In fact, because of this generalization, some people make the decision to refinance their home mortgage in order to free up money to pay off credit cards. If you are considering doing this, realize that it’s rarely if ever a good idea to pay off credit card debt with the equity in your home.

Click to continue reading...

Attending a Timeshare Presentation for a Free Vacation – Good Idea?

By Christy Rakoczy

timeshareHave you been invited to attend a timeshare presentation? Perhaps you’ve been offered a steal of a vacation deal – the only catch is that you have to attend a mandatory timeshare meeting. Buying is optional, of course. The timeshare company just requires a little bit of your time. Sounds great, right?

Click to continue reading...

How to Incorporate a Business – Types, Costs & Process

By Christy Rakoczy

incorporationIncorporating a business can be a great way to save money on annual taxes, in addition to the protection it offers you from liability – and if you want your business to have a separate legal identity distinct from you, incorporation is crucial. However, there are some steps you need to take to ensure that the process goes smoothly, and that you meet all legal requirements. Furthermore, it’s especially important that you choose the right type of corporation for your small business.

Understanding Incorporation

Types of Corporations

When you incorporate a business, there are a number of steps you need to take. First and foremost, you must determine which type of legal entity you wish to form:

Click to continue reading...

How to Buy Cheap Furniture & Accessories for Your Home

By Christy Rakoczy

furnitureBuying a home can be a dream come true, as it gives you the chance to put your personal stamp on your space and to create a haven for yourself and your family. Unfortunately, buying a house can also be extremely expensive, and can leave you without a lot of remaining money for furniture and accessories.

However, if you are struggling to make your home look nice due to a lack of funds, you do have several easy, low-cost options.

Click to continue reading...

What Is Force-Placed Insurance Coverage – Why You Should Avoid It

By Christy Rakoczy

keep a close eye on your homeowners' insurance policyThe vast majority of home buyers use some type of mortgage loan to pay for their home. If you are one of them, then you likely know how much paperwork and fine print is involved.

While you can’t be expected to commit every term of your mortgage loan to memory, it is important to be aware of certain key provisions. A typical mortgage contract specifies exactly what type of homeowners’ insurance you need and how much of it you are required to carry. For instance, you may need coverage protecting your home from fires, robberies, or other specific types of damage.

Click to continue reading...

How to Buy Original Art & Paintings on a Budget

By Christy Rakoczy

artworkWhen it comes to using art as decor in your home, you have a number of choices. You can hang prints or posters, which are essentially photographs of famous works of art. You can hang reproductions, which are simply paintings that have been reproduced, usually by screen-printing. Or, you can hang original, one-of-a-kind pieces of art on your walls.

Original art can give your walls added depth and character, and can be a far more special choice than any print or reproduction. And fortunately, original art doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Click to continue reading...

Cosigning for a Student Loan – Risks to Consider

By Christy Rakoczy

cosigning a loanIn the United States, it may seem impossible to be a student without student loans. Even state college tuition can costs tens of thousands of dollars, while private college tuition at some top schools has reached $50,000 a year or more. With college costing so much, it should come as no surprise that research indicates as many as one out of every five U.S. households are carrying student debt.

Since student loans have become a fact of life, many parents are now faced with an important question: Should I cosign student loans for my kids? College students often have little credit history, and they turn to parents, relatives, or even friends to cosign so they can get the most favorable loan rates.

Click to continue reading...

How to Rent Out Your House – Considerations for Potential Landlords

By Christy Rakoczy

house for rentDo you have a second home or vacant property you’re considering putting up for rent? Renting your house can be a great way to earn income, and can even be an option to help you avoid foreclosure. With a variety of different rental arrangements available, almost any homeowner can find a way to rent their property.

However, becoming a landlord can also be a big risk, and can require a lot of work on your part. You need to understand the steps involved before you decide if renting is the right choice for you.

Click to continue reading...

6 Reasons Why I Stopped Extreme Couponing

By Christy Rakoczy

couponsWhen people talk about the practice of extreme couponing, they throw a lot of numbers around about how much you can save on your grocery bill, and how much stuff you can get for free. However, what isn’t stated is how much time they have spent on the practice. You probably also won’t hear about the fact that a lot of the “savings” come from buying products that aren’t needed, wanted, and that probably should not be purchased.

How do I know all of this? Because I was an extreme coupon shopper myself from 2007 to 2010 – but I haven’t cut a coupon since.

Click to continue reading...

What Is Libor – London Interbank Offered Rate History & Scandal

By Christy Rakoczy

canary wharfRecently, the term Libor – short for London Interbank Offered Rate – has been brought to the foreground of world news, with a scandal unfolding through an admission of fraudulent banking practices by one of the United Kingdom’s most popular banking institutions. On June 27, 2012, Barclays Bank was fined $200 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $160 million by the United States Department of Justice, and £59.5 million by the Financial Services Authority for alleged manipulation of the Libor rate.

The stir-up may have some people wondering: What exactly is Libor?

Click to continue reading...

Links monetized by VigLink