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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.

How To Get a 20% Return On Your Money

By Mark Riddix

The title to this post may make it sound like some get rich quick scheme, but trust me it is not. You can legitimately get a guaranteed 20% return on your money. The answer does not lie in any one investment product. There is no stock, bond, mutual fund, or savings product that will guarantee you this kind of payment. So, how can you get such a high return on your money?

Here’s how to get a double digit return on your money:

Eliminating credit card debt

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How Good Is Your Retirement Fund Planning and Investing?

By Mark Riddix

All 401k plans are not created equally and are not things you can simply put on “cruise control.” It’s important to review your 401k plan to see if it is properly invested in the optimal place for your retirement savings. A good plan can help you reach your investment goals and allow you to retire on time. A bad plan can put you behind the eight ball and make saving your money seem like a pointless endeavor and make retiring very difficult.

Here are a four ways to judge your retirement plan:

1. Investment choices

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How To Get The Best Deal On A New Television

By Mark Riddix

Just last week I had my home television break after years of faithful service. My television and I had a great relationship for many years until one day it just stopped working. The picture became fuzzy and lines ran all across the television. Images were doubled and it was impossible to read anything on the screen. I considered having my television repaired but estimates placed repairs at $300 and upward. I also didn’t have a warranty because TV’s are one of the situations where extended warranties are not worth it. So sadly, I decided to buy a new television.

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The Do Not Do’s Of Finance

By Mark Riddix

Have you ever made a stupid financial decision that you came to regret later? If so, then join the club. We have all made decisions that were stupid and have harmed our financial future. These decisions set us back years and often cost us more than time and money. All financial decisions are not the same. Some hurt a lot more than other. To help you avoid making mistakes that can hurt your finances, here are my “5 Do Not Do’s Of Personal Finance”:

Never sign a contract with double digit interest.

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Best Places To Look For Cheap Stocks

By Mark Riddix

Everybody loves a bargain. This is why so many people flock to department store for sales on Black Friday and President’s Day. The same principle applies to investing. Everybody wants the best deal for their money. Nobody wants to pay full price for an asset unless they have to. So, where can you go to find a discount on investments? There are some great sites online that you can use to find the best value stocks:

52 Week Low List

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OptionsXpress Review – A One Stop Broker For Stocks, Options & Futures

By Mark Riddix

Let’s take a look at a company that has quietly been making a name for itself in the discount brokerage industry. OptionsXpress is a multiple award winning broker that specializes in options trading for beginning and experienced traders. The company has slowly been building its market share over the past few years. Today, OptionsXpress is regarded as one of the best options brokers in the finance industry.

OptionsXpress is a subsidiary of OptionsXpress Holdings, Inc. The company has been operating as an online broker to options traders since 2000. OptionsXpress is based in Chicago, Illinois and offers a wide array of investment products for traders and investors alike. The company has consistently received high ratings from Forbes, Barrons, and Smart Money for its website, trading tools, competitive fees, and research information.

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3 Ways That You Can Simplify Your Financial Life

By Mark Riddix

Life is difficult enough without having your finances complicate things. Too many people spend sleepless nights worried about their finances. Your financial life should be simple enough that you can keep track of your incoming and outgoing bills without breaking a sweat. All you have to do is make a few changes and you can streamline your current process.

Here are 3 tips to get you started on simplifying your financial life:

1. Sign up for paperless billing.

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Now Is The Best Time To Start Saving For Big Purchases

By Mark Riddix

There is no time like the present to start on things that you have been putting off. Getting a jump on your to-do list will reduce your stress levels and give you a sense of accomplishment. In addition, there is no better time than now to start saving for some big future purchases. By saving ahead of time, you will be more financially prepared to make some of these big purchases without having to take on massive amounts of debt. So, without further adieu, here are some ideas for purchases you should get started on now as well as tips on beginning to save for some future big-time purchases:

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Finding The Best Online Bank

By Mark Riddix

online bankingOnline banks are the place to bank these days. Everyone is looking for the bank that is paying the absolute highest interest rate on savings accounts. However, finding the best online bank is not just a matter of determining who is paying the highest interest rate. While a high interest rate is important, there are a number of different factors to take into consideration. For example, you have to look at the operations of the entire bank and see if it is the best place for your money. Here are 5 things to look for when opening your new savings account:

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Why Dividends Are Important To The Portfolio Of Every Investor

By Mark Riddix

Let’s talk about dividends. Fixed income and old-school investors all love dividends. Dividends are a share of company’s profits that are paid out to shareholders. Many stocks, bonds, and mutual funds offer dividends to investors. Dividends provide a stable income stream that help to improve investment returns. While dividends are great for those investors, they are actually a good fit for regular investors as well. Here are a few of the key advantages of dividends:

Dividends are actual income.

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4 Non Traditional Places To Network For Employment

By Mark Riddix

Have you been looking for a job and having no luck finding one? Finding a job is not always about being the best qualified candidate. A lot of times finding employment is all about who you know. “Who you know” you’ll often hear is more important than “what you know.” Making the right contacts is just as important as finding the right opening on Careerbuilder or Monster.com. So, the question then becomes where can you go to meet a new business contact?

Here are a few of the nontraditional places to look for networking opportunities:

Golf Course

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5 Tips on How to Negotiate a Car Loan

By Mark Riddix

You have finally settled on buying an automobile. You have found the exact make, model, and color that you want. Now comes the most difficult part: signing the papers. If you don’t have your financing in place before visiting the dealership, then you will have to apply for dealer financing. The salesman and finance manager will try to sell you everything from extended warranties to floor mats. You will have to be prepared for the never-ending sales pitch that is about to come. In this post, I am going to delve into how to negotiate a car loan, which is one of the key areas you need to master when trying to take advantage of our 5 tips on how to buy a new or used car from a dealer.

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5 Things That You Wish You Learned At An Early Age

By Mark Riddix

I recently wrote a post about the best financial advice from your parents. These topics ranged from getting out of debt to buying a home. Well, today I want to take a look at some of the things that you wish that you learned at an early age. This could range from learning about personal finance to investing in the stock market. All of these topics should be covered from elementary school through the collegiate years. At Money Crashers, we’re big advocates of financial education, and we believe that it should be a much bigger part of our educational curriculum at a young age. Here are 5 things that every person should learn as a kid:

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Best Financial Advice That You Got From Your Parents

By Mark Riddix

I still remember those long talks from my parents that I used to get about being financially responsible. From teenage years onwards my parents were always trying to instill money management principles into me and my siblings. Now whether or not we took that advice was totally up to us. I realize now that following my parents advice would have saved me from many financial pitfalls. But hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes it takes falling on your face a few times to learn about life and about money. Here are 4 financial principles that I wish I had followed sooner:

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The Danger Of Discount Cards

By Mark Riddix

Store discount cards are popping up everywhere now, from your local grocery store to warehouse clubs. These cards are promoted as a way for customers to get increased savings on everyday items. Discount cards can be a good thing if they really allow you to save on items that would have cost you more elsewhere. Discount items can also be a bad thing because they can trick customers into believing that they are saving money when in fact they are not.

Here are 4 places where a discount card may not be all that it is cracked up to be:

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