Recently, I was speaking with a real estate agent, because I was curious about a very well-developed community in Orange Park, Florida. This community had it all. It had swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming slides, an elementary school, and a nature park off of the St. Johns river. She immediately went on her sales pitch about the community and asked if I was ready to buy. I told her that my wife and I were waiting until she was done with school, and we wanted to live in Jacksonville for a year before buying a home.
If you haven’t heard, we’re going to have another president for the first time in 8 years, come November, 2008. Chances are that you have heard, because the candidates have started out EXTREMELY early with their campaigns. It’s nauseating, but don’t let it deter you from casting an educated vote. With the idea of a friend, I am going to take a look at the top presidential candidates and show you how they will impact your financial life if you elect them as your next president. If you’ve never voted before, or you stopped voting after you kept getting the president you didn’t want, please consider making an effort to vote this coming 2008 election. Don’t believe the conspiracy theorists. Your vote really does count, and it’s a patriotic thing to do.
Take a look at this article from Smart Money about a new law that will allow companies to set employees up for automatic contributions to their 401(k) accounts. It will also allow a company to automatically increase an employees contributions to a 401(k) each year up to a certain cap percentage.
According to the article, about 25% of eligible employees choose not to participate in their 401(k), and only 11% of the employees that do participate will max out their contributions. It’s understandable why some people don’t contribute the maximum amount, but to not participate at all, is detrimental to your financial well-being. Many companies offer a company match, which is FREE money. You’ll never have anyone offer you free money the rest of your life, so why not take it?
Ever since the Hurricane Katrina disaster and the devastating hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 in Florida, insurers have received quite a bit of criticism for their business practices and consistently raising the cost of insurance premiums. The cost of car insurance also continues to rise. Insurance companies have really screwed up in the past. State Farm was caught using one engineering report to justify their position on multiple claims that the damage was due to flood not rain water. All of the major insurance companies in Florida have dropped more than 50% of their homeowner’s insurance business forcing people to look to the government for an expensive alternative. But, instead of sitting around and complaining about how horrible the insurance companies are in this country, I have some ways for us to help control the rising insurance costs. Yes, it is a fact that responsible consumers will make an impact on the cost of insurance over the long term. We can’t control whether a hurricane hits or a tornado rips through a town, but we can control the way we maintain our homes and cars.
I was reading this post on Career Ramblings, and it made me think about how our educational system has slowly taken away the importance of entrepreneurship and the ability to create jobs for others. Do you realize that when you launch a new business, you are adding value to your community and to the job market. The narrow-minded idea of going to GET a job riight out of college has diminished the value and importance of thinking like that of an entrepreneur. What about starting a business while you are in college? The main argument for having the mentality of going to work for someone else is that it’s easier to get a job rather than start a business, and it’s more risky to start a business than go and get a job. I don’t think that is always true if you are wise about the way you start a business. Here are four tips for launching a business at the start of your working life.
Starbucks comes to the marketing rescue of Apple by starting a promotion that will give away 50 million free iTunes songs to customers who purchase one of their lattes. Maybe this will help justify buying one of those over-priced drinks! Although, like any other promotion that sounds so cool, there’s a catch. The free song won’t be redeemable for any song that you want. Starbucks or iTunes will pick a “Song of the Day” that you can use to redeem the free song. I know that some of you were already scheming up ideas of how to get like 50 of these cards each day. Don’t bother going around asking every grandmother for their free card, because it won’t do you much good. Also, remember that the card expires at the end of the year if you don’t use it.
Could things get any worse for GM, and the auto industry? Thousands of GM workers go on strike citing that it has much to do with job security issues and a retirement health care benefit plan that did not come to fruition. Okay, let’s back up here for a second. You’re concerned with job security so you go on strike? Who the hell do these unions think they are? First of all, they’re idiots. Your job security is somewhat GM’s fault for not keeping up to speed with Honda, Toyota, and Nissan’s market share of the industry. But probably 75% of the problem is TECHNOLOGY. Wake up people. You’re being snuffed out and becoming obsolete because of technology. GM can do things faster, more efficiently, with more productivity using machines. It’s a sad reality, but you need to wake up and face that reality. The job market is falling away from factory shift work and moving towards knowledge and critical thinking. If you’re in your sixth or seventh year working in a factory at an auto company, don’t plan on retiring with that company. I sure wouldn’t plan on it. Plus, going on strike isn’t going to help the fact that jobs are being taken away from you by Japanese manufacturers.
We live in a fast-paced society. Our time is precious to us, even though we spend hours every week wasting it by watching television, daydreaming, and doing other meaningless tasks to kill time. But when it comes down to it, it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to get what needs to be done. I know that when my wife and I don’t sit down and go over our monthly budget at least 2 times a month, we end up spending more money as a result of it, because we’re not on the same page and we haven’t set forth a clear plan for our money.
If you own a Simplicity brand crib, you may want to take it down right away. According to the article from CNN Money, 3 infant deaths have been reported because of design flaws in the cribs. The instructions for building the crib may have allowed people to build the crib incorrectly, causing the crib to collapse and potentially entrap and suffocate infants.
I would suggest staying away from these credit card booths no matter what, because it’s just another form of predatory lending. Blueprint talks about how these credit card booths might be stealing your identity while stealing your financial virginity. It’s sad that we have to be so paranoid about our identity these days, but that is the world we live in. We need to make sure that we don’t just flaunt our personal information to anyone.
Besides, is a free t-shirt or a free pizza worth having 29% credit card debt with no job? Just stay away from them altogether, and you won’t have any problems.