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Mark Riddix
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers and is the author of the book, Your Financial Playbook.

10 Great Career Fields for the Future

By Mark Riddix

businessman stairsPicking the right career field can keep you from experiencing disappointment when job hunting. There is so much competition for jobs right now and little job growth in many industries. That is why it is important to find a career track that is growing and not contracting.

So, what are the best jobs in America? That question can be difficult to answer. You need to consider the best potential for job growth, pay, stress level, job satisfaction, and other factors. I thought it would be most helpful to look at these jobs by their broader career fields.

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Learn the Basics of How to Trade Stock Options – Call & Put Options Explained

By Mark Riddix

call optionsThe highs and lows of stock market investing can be nerve wracking, even for the most experienced investors. Taking risks with your money is always a source of anxiety. Fortunately, there are some investment risk management strategies you can utilize when pursuing larger investments in the stock market.

One way you can gain access to the market without the risk of actually buying stocks or selling stocks is through options. Because options trade at a significantly lower price than the underlying share price, option investing is a cheaper way to control a larger position in a stock without truly taking ownership of its shares. The strategic use of options can allow you to mitigate risk while maintaining the potential for big profits, at only a fraction of the cost of buying shares of a stock.

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3 Basic Factors to Consider When Buying a Stock: Price, Intrinsic Value & Enterprise Value

By Mark Riddix

stock price analysisNew investors may be a little tepid about investing in the stock market. After all, buying a stock can seem really scary because there are so many things to keep track of.

To help you get a better understanding of the stock market, take a look at these 3 key factors to consider before making any investments in a company stock.

1. Price

Price is the number one factor to consider when you’re making any investing decision. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a stock, bond, mutual fund, commodity, or real estate. The price that you pay for an investment will determine whether it is a winning or losing bet. Here is a perfect example to illustrate that point.

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5 Benefits of the Bush Tax Cuts Extension Bill and How It Will Affect You

By Mark Riddix

obama signs bush tax cut dealThe $858 billion tax-cut package recently passed by Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts contains incentives that will benefit all Americans. Democrats and Republicans were able to reach a compromise and managed to create a bill that includes various advantages that each party has been advocating. The bill’s financial incentives will provide help to both the employed and unemployed alike, at least in the short term.

Let’s take a look at 5 of the benefits that most Americans should begin seeing immediately in 2011.

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How to Develop Your Personal Investment Portfolio Asset Allocation and Strategy

By Mark Riddix

As you may know, asset allocation is the number one factor to consider when structuring a successful investment portfolio. The goal of most investors should be to build a diversified portfolio that will allow them to weather the ups and downs of the market.

However, you cannot properly construct your portfolio until you know exactly what kind of investor you are. This requires looking at a number of different factors and answering some important questions so that you can find the optimal mix for your investment portfolio.

Below are the 3 most important factors that you need to consider in order to properly structure your portfolio:

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What Is An Individual 401k Plan? 401k Limits, Rules, and Benefits Explained

By Mark Riddix

There are so many retirement plans to choose from when planning for retirement. We have previously covered the Roth 401k plan, the traditional IRA, the Roth IRA fund, and all of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options. The plan that I want to cover today is probably the one you’ve heard about the most and the one that gets the most media attention: the traditional 401k plan.

Let’s take a look at some of the key features of a traditional 401k plan:

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How To Prepare For The Social Security Eligibility Age Increase

By Mark Riddix

Social Security has been a hot topic during this election season. Many politicians have discussed raising the age at which individuals become eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and Congressional candidates have suggested raising the age of Social Security to 70.

But will the social security age be increased? Well, consider that the baby boomer generation is set to retire, which will place a major strain on the Social Security system. The government has borrowed from the Social Security fund throughout the years and now the time has come to pay the piper. The key problem is that Social Security will pay out more benefits than it has received in payroll taxes this year, and this is expected to continue into the next few years. In fact, according to many economists, Social Security is expected to regularly operate with an annual deficit in the foreseeable future.

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4 Tips on When It’s Time To Open A New Bank Account

By Mark Riddix

Leaving your old bank is never easy. You have to change all of your bill payments, cancel automated transactions, and switch your money over to a new financial institution. It just seems like a time-consuming hassle. While it would be great to never have to leave your bank, there are some times when you need to find a new home for your money. If you are on the fence about whether or not it’s time to leave your bank, keep reading.

If your bank engages in any of these four practices, then it’s time to start shopping for a new bank:

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What Is A Roth 401k Retirement Plan?

By Mark Riddix

roth 401kEveryone has heard of a 401k, traditional IRA, and Roth IRA. These retirement plans have been around for years and are constantly discussed by the mainstream media. A new investment has popped up over the past few years known as the Roth 401k. Roth 401k’s combine the best aspects of a Roth IRA and the best aspects of a traditional 401k; investors get the best of both worlds. Let’s take a look at a few facts about the Roth 401k:

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Balancing Your Wants And Needs

By Mark Riddix

Managing your finances can be a juggling act. One of the most important skills is being able to properly balance your wants and needs. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a want and a need. Wants are those items that you don’t really need for survival but desire to have. Wants can masquerade as needs because of your desire for them. The bad thing about wants is that they can actually rob you of something that you really need by taking away the necessary money to support your needs.

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Best Resources For Buying a Home

By Mark Riddix

Are you currently in the market for a new home? Are you wondering where you should turn for help with your home buying decision? If so, then you are in luck. There are a number of great free sites that are available online. These sites can help you with anything from checking your credit score to finding exactly how much to offer for your new home.

Here are a few good resources for individuals in the market for a new home:

Zillow

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Tips to Open A Checking Account

By Mark Riddix

There have been numerous posts written about the importance of having a savings account. These articles range from where to open your new savings account to what to look for in a savings account. But one of the most overlooked financial products in personal finance is a checking account. A checking account is a deposit account used primarily to process transactions. Checking accounts are used for everything from bill payments to cashing paychecks. These accounts are important to the daily survival of most banking customers.

Since there is some literature lacking in the area, I want to take a look at a few of the things that you should have in a checking account:

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Membership Cards That Save You Money

By Mark Riddix

There are so many things today that are just not worth what you pay for them. They are advertised as items that will help you save money but end up costing you in the end. Fortunately, there are actually some things in life that are worth a lot more than what you paid for them. Today, I would like to take a look at a few club memberships that may charge a small fee but can really help you save in the long run.

Listed below are a few membership cards that are definitely worth the money:

AAA

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The Worst Speculative Investments

By Mark Riddix

Everyone would like to be wealthy. The desire to build wealth can cause some people to invest in speculative ventures that are not very practical investments. Speculative investments can seem like bargains that will yield great returns. The truth is that many of these “investments” are not the gold mines that they are reported to be and can cause many investors to lose their money.

Let’s take a look at a few of the worst speculative investments:

Penny Stocks

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4 Investments That Are Sure To Increase In Value Over The Next Decade

By Mark Riddix

Everyone wants to find the next winning investment. The goal of investing is to protect your capital first and generate a return second. Getting a good investment return can seem a lot like watching a dog chase its own tail. You want to find the next great investment but are not sure where to look. Well I have a few ideas to help you in building your portfolio.

Here are a few assets that are good bets to rise over the next 10 years:

1. Gold

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