Personal Finance Round-Up: Save, Save, Save

saving moneyIt’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.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Thankful and Thrifty

thanksgivingThanksgiving 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.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Working for Peanuts

working for peanutsIt’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.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Facing Unemployment

unemployedIt’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:

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Seeing the Glass Half-Full

glass half-fullI’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.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Bursting the Housing Bubble

housing bubbleHas 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.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: The Baby Bump Edition

pregnant womanIt 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.

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