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Jesse Michelsen
Jesse Michelsen is a 23 year freelance writer with a passion for personal finance. Without any formal education in finance, he writes about his own experiences in managing money, budgeting and investing with the goal of retirement at 40 always in mind. He resides in Utah with his wife, 2 girls, and baby boy on the way.

Personal Finance Round-Up: Understanding Financial Statistics

By Money Crashers

understanding financial statisticsAs each new year begins, many statistics regarding the previous year are thrown around. Many people like to correspond numbers with milestones and events to give a sense of order to their lives. Knowing your personal financial statistics, however, is important from a practical point of view.

Knowing financial statistics can help you determine a goal to shoot for, and start you off on the right foot financially in the new year. A great place to start learning financial stats is via PerkStreet, 5 Financial Statistics You Need to Know.

Here are more articles to get your new year rolling in the right direction:

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Personal Finance Round-Up: The Importance of New Year’s Resolutions

By Money Crashers

happy new yearThe new year is here, and at the tail end of the holiday season, I’m sure you are tired of partying and want to get back to work, right?

That may not be exactly what’s on your mind, but I know you will be setting resolutions this year, like you do every year, and perhaps even rolling over resolutions from previous years that didn’t get completed. It happens to the best of us!

Setting and actually achieving goals is tough with everything else battling for time in our lives. And according to Consumerism Commentary’s article, New Year’s Resolutions Help Even If You Don’t Keep Them, simply taking time to think about who you are and how you can improve yourself is quite beneficial.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Christmas Gifts From Around the Web

By Money Crashers

santa clauseChristmas is upon us, and if our ancestors could see the items we pile beneath the tree for our loved ones, I’m sure they would be amazed at the variety. Some presents that are bound to be under nearly every tree are practical homemade gifts like socks and scarfs, video games, some “iProduct” from Apple, and an ugly sweater or two. Another gift that graces Christmases past and present is cash.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Giving Is the Perfect Christmas Gift

By Money Crashers

give christmas heartsWith the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the emphasis on saving money this time of year, we can sometimes forget that some people don’t even have a penny to save. If there’s any time to give a little extra and make someone’s life better, it’s Christmas.

Giving during the holidays can mean different things to different people. You can give your time to a charity or to your neighbor, you can gift cash to causes that you believe in, or you can buy a cup of coffee for a stranger. The effort itself can mean the world to someone who may be in need more than you know.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Christmas With a Dash of Spirit

By Money Crashers

christmas spiritBuy buy buy! Sometimes, that’s what I feel Christmas has come down to. It’s all about buying that perfect gift at some retailer. I know, this discussion crops up every year: “The spirit of Christmas is dead; it’s all about commercialism now.” Well, it deserves mention yet again, because for many people, holiday spirit still lives!

Some of you have actually toned down the buy mentality and are looking at creating more personal gifts this year, like homemade clothing or Christmas treats. Others have even gone a step further, which is the case with Leo from Zen Habits. He writes about his kids who have opted out of receiving any Christmas gifts at all.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Avoid Holiday Scams

By Money Crashers

santa holiday scamSaving money during the Christmas shopping seasons is a great idea, and buying used is one way to do just that. There are plenty of things you can buy used that still make for a great gift and aren’t even a bit tacky. Such gifts include used cars, sports gear, electronics, and even upscale used jewelry.

There are also many places to buy used including online classifieds and through private parties. However, it’s important to be wary of scams. With the widespread use of the Internet and online classifieds, scamming has taken a huge leap. Scammers are trickier, faster, and often more believable. Nothing would ruin Christmas faster than the lure of a deal too good to be true and being scammed out of your holiday savings.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Preventing Identity Theft While Holiday Shopping

By Money Crashers

online shopping securityBlack Friday, the biggest retail shopping day of the year has just past. Some of you may have hit the stores and stayed up all night to get the killer deals. Others of you may be planning for the biggest online shopping day, Cyber Monday.

No matter what your plans though, these big shopping days don’t always end well and you need to do what you can to protect yourself.

I’m talking about identity theft – which Cyber Monday and Black Friday are prime targets for. Identity theft is a rampart crime these days and anyone can become a victim. Using these tips published in an infographic on Identity Hawk, you can take measures to protect yourself during the holiday shopping season.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Giving Thanks and the Gift of Experiences

By Money Crashers

christmas tree ornaments familyI’m all for spending money on things you care about, but most important in my life is spending on experience. Can you easily remember what gifts you gave and received last year? Me neither. But I’ll bet you can remember your aunt Silvia accidentally sitting on that fruitcake or your dad burning the turkey and having to order take-out for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s because memories aren’t created around stuff, they’re created around experiences. Life is memorable because of what happens in it.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Layaway for the Holidays?

By Money Crashers

layaway gift piggyCredit cards are one of those things we have a love-hate relationship with. We love the convenience of being able to pay with plastic, the safety of not carrying around large sums of cash, and the ability to pay online. However, interest fees and credit card company tricks make the decision of using cash or credit much more difficult.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: The Great Bank Exodus

By Money Crashers

bank atm lineLately, the nation has been up in arms about the big banks, the same ones we bailed out with our tax dollars, and which are now charging excessive fees for using debit cards and gaining access to our own money.

While one of the bigger banks reneged on its new policy to charge a debit card fee as described in Bank of America Changes its Mind: No Debit Card Fee by Free From Broke, the damage has already been done and people have lost even more faith in big banks. As a result, November 5th was organized as Bank Transfer Day and masses of people moved all their money from big banks to local banks and credit unions. Were you a part of Bank Transfer Day?

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Do Price Increases Really Matter?

By Money Crashers

price increase business arrowCrisis after crisis seems to be the trend this year in financial news. We’ve had our problems here in the United States, and now the Eurozone and Greece are wading through troubled waters. What all this financial turmoil means for us is that inflation will be taking hold sooner or later.

In fact, there are already signs of inflation in the digital services arena with Netflix raising its prices, and now Redbox. People flipped out over the increased costs and Netflix lost nearly 1 million members in a short span of time.

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Festival of Frugality: It’s Fright Night with Count Skimpula!

By Money Crashers

count draculaWelcome to the Festival of Frugality! We’ve got an extra scary good edition of the carnival planned for you today, full of spooks who save, creeps on the cheap, and tricks to send you screaming. Now I’ll turn you over to our host, Count Skimpula!

Muahaha, I am Count Skimpula, here to share some good scare and bring your attention to some especially spooky treats. Now, let me begin. As my spooo-kiest pick of the veek, Frightening Fanny from Living Richly on a Budget writes a tale of horror and trickery with a varning to those getting ready to party this Halloween: Don’t Get Tricked – Save Money on Halloween!

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Give Better Gifts This Holiday Season

By Money Crashers

give red giftThe holidays are quickly approaching, and you know what that means: holiday shopping season! How do you decide on picking the right gifts for everyone? Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but if that was really true across the board, we wouldn’t see so many fruit cakes in the trash and unopened Tickle-Me Dog the Bounty Hunter dolls at the local dump.

So do yourself and the environment a favor and think good and hard about what will truly be useful to your holiday recipients this year. And when you’re done, check out this article by Boomer & Echo titled Will the Gifts End Up at the Thrift Store? Although the author is more optimistic about where the unused gifts end up, the lesson in the piece is similar to my own thoughts.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Doing More with Less

By Money Crashers

simplify post it noteIn a recession, many people and companies try especially harder to do more with less. To cut costs, people are let go and those remaining are required to pick up the slack by taking on the responsibilities left behind. As one of those employees, or even someone going at it yourself freelancing or running your own business, you will need to learn how to get the most out of your time.

They call that efficiency – when your time is used as productively as possible. In How to Make More Money Doing What You Are Already Doing by Smart Step Inc, you can learn a few tips about getting more out of your time whether you are self-employed, work for someone else, or stay at home with the kids.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Weathering the Financial Crisis Ahead

By Money Crashers

financial crisisLiving in the moment is great, and life has a lot to offer. However, as we get older, we have to face reality and start planning for the later years of our lives. The earlier the better in terms of investments and retirement, but there are other things to think about as well.

While some aspects of planning for the future haven’t changed too much in recent years, others argue that this decade will be very different. In fact, some predict that our generation will experience another Great Depression. In case that truly is the case, check out a post by Smart on Money titled, The Great Depression Ahead and What You Can Do to Survive to get an idea of how you can prepare for the future.

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