As we speak, high school seniors, college seniors, and hundreds of thousands of professionals of all ages are facing crunch time. Why? Because we’re in the midst of college admissions season. Whether you’re applying to an undergraduate college, a graduate program, or a professional school, you’re probably staring down a forthcoming application deadline.
It’s a theme we heard time and again during the run-up to the 2012 presidential election: Americans are making less money and have less money in savings than in years past. The statistics support the statements, as an October 2012 survey by The Huffington Post found 41% of Americans have less than $500 in savings, while a March 2012 estimate suggested more than one-third have less than $1,000 in emergency funds.
The year 2013 is going to be full of changes. Sure, the November elections left us with a virtual status quo in Washington – Obama is still president, the Republicans are still in charge of the House, the Democrats are still in charge of the Senate – but 2013 could still be rife with drama and new policies.
Thanksgiving is upon us, which in my household means the “three F’s”: family, food, and football. What else could you need?
Shopping. At least, that’s what’s on the mind of many of my friends and relatives, who upon finishing Thanksgiving dinner whip out the Black Friday circulars to see which stores are opening the earliest, and which are offering the best deals. According to The Today Show, this year, Black Friday is starting earlier than ever, with major retailers such as Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Sears, and Kmart opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. But are those deals even worth it? Not always, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch consumer affairs reporter Kavita Kumar.
I am not a daredevil. I don’t like risk, change, or surprises. Maybe that’s why I’ve never been cliff diving. But, come January 1, 2013, it looks like all Americans will be diving off that proverbial cliff whether we want to or not.
By Money Crashers
It’s every government worker’s worst nightmare – and no, I’m not talking about Scott Walker running for governor in your home state. I’m talking about what the mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania slashing the pay for 400 city workers to the federal minimum wage to compensate for a $16.8 million budget deficit – a move so drastic that it nearly led to hundreds of firemen and women, police officers, and other essential personnel nearly walking off the job. As a result, the mayor had to defy a judge’s order and risk being held in contempt of court.
It’s a statistic you can’t avoid: The American economy’s streak of months with a jobless rate hovering near 8%. The Republicans are using it as campaign fodder against President Obama’s reelection bid, while the Democrats are trying to suggest it’s not their policies, but rather the system that’s to blame.
There may be some basis to that claim, according to some economists. In an August 2, 2012 piece on CNBC, Jean Chua examines the “new normal” when it comes to our nation’s unemployment rate:
I’m going to admit it: I’m usually a “glass half-empty” kind of person. It’s not that I don’t like those proverbial silver linings, it’s simply that I have a hard time seeing them in the first place. That’s especially true during the 2012 election cycle, which are full of doomsday-like campaign ads that have made me feel particularly pessimistic these days about just about every issue out there including – most notably – the economy.
By Money Crashers
Has the U.S. housing market finally reached rock bottom? There’s new data out this quarter that suggests as much according to Zillow, a national real estate tracking website. The numbers show that the average value of a home in the U.S. rose 0.2% between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012, a period that wrapped up June 30th. The rise marks the first time housing values have climbed from year to year since the market started slipping in 2007. On top of the annual increase, housing values have also seen increases in the past five months in a row.
It was a double announcement that caught much of the tech, business, and parenting world by storm: Marissa Mayer, Google’s long-time VP of Location & Local Services, was departing the Internet’s largest search engine in favor of its rival, Yahoo!, where she’ll assume the title of CEO. The move makes Mayer arguably the most influential woman in the technology field and, quite possibly, in the world of business.
By Money Crashers
Sports – whether amateur or professional – occupy a huge part of our nation’s identity. If the United States has been a country for 236 years, then sports have been a part of our national fabric for 235 years and 364 days.
Americans are, by nature, imperviously competitive. Ed over at Five Cent Nickel knows this all too well. His son just wrapped up his high school sports career, one that cost the family a pretty penny. “As a family, we loved attending these events, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences for a fatter 401k,” writes Ed – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t helping the rest of us save a little money as we navigate the waters of amateur sports.
By Money Crashers
Every four years, the Olympic games make our world feel a little more peaceful and a little more united. But unfortunately, the Olympics are still a source of criticism and controversy.
One of the controversies of 2012 has to do with the how the Olympians themselves interact with their non-Olympic sponsors. Rule 40, as it’s referred to by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prevents Olympians from advertising any sponsorship affiliations (such as by wearing a suit that clearly reads “Arena” or a track shirt with the Adidas logo) from non-Olympic partners. The fact is, just half of America’s top Olympic track and field stars make more than $15,000 a year from the sport itself; they rely on day jobs – just like me and you – for their primary income. A sponsorship can mean the difference between having the time to focus on their Olympic dreams, and having to work 40 hours a week on top of a strict training regimen.
America was built on the entrepreneurship of our forefathers, but these days, it takes more gumption than ever to dive into the murky waters of small business ownership. That’s why Tom over at Stupid Cents is turning the idea of what makes someone an entrepreneur on its head. In his post Do You Have the Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur?, Tom says, “In the end, entrepreneurship is about detaching yourself from the idea that someone else is in charge of all of your income.”
Presently, I have about half a dozen wedding invites or save-the-date cards on my kitchen counter. Some are for family members, while others are from friends, colleagues, or people my wife knows. While the jury’s still out on how many of these ceremonies we’ll be attending, at least I know we’re not alone. Summer is the most popular season for weddings in America, followed by fall. In fact, each of the summer months are among the top six for weddings.
Summertime is finally here. It’s time to load up the minivan or SUV and hit the road on your family’s annual summer vacation. This year, you can expect to pay less in order to get to your destination, according to AAA – that’s because the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is a full $0.15 less than it was at this time last year.
But how low could gas go? Gone are the predictions of $4.00 per gallon national average we saw earlier this year. Now, the Energy Information Administration says gas prices could fall below the $3.50 mark nationally, although if you live in some locations – such as California or Hawaii – you could pay more than that.