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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.

What’s The Best Way To Get Out Of Debt?

By Mark Riddix

Are you saddled with debt or do you know someone that is? Owing a lot of money can often feel like an anchor that is weighing you down. If you are having debt issues, you are probably searching for the fastest way to eliminate your debts. There has long been a debate over the best method for getting out of debt. The two methods most commonly referred to today are 1) paying off your smaller debts first and 2) paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Let’s take a look at both of these methods and see which one makes the most financial sense:

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The Best Investments For Right Now

By Mark Riddix

The current economic environment has created some great opportunities for investments. You can use this economic downturn for your benefit to improve your current financial situation. By making the right investments now, you can ensure yourself of a prosperous future. We often shy away from investing when the media or the “experts” tell us to be cautious. Warren Buffet has always said that you should be greedy when everyone else is conservative and conservative when everyone else is being greedy. Here are 4 great investments that you can make right now:

1. Invest in yourself.

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4 Skills That Employers Are Looking For In Any Job Market

By Mark Riddix

Are you currently in the market for a new job? Have you found yourself wondering what skills will clinch that new job for you? In the current competitive job market, you will need to arm yourself with every bit of information possible. According to the Economic Policy Institute, there are 6 job seekers applying for every available job. It is critical to know ways that you can distinguish yourself from the field. The top careers may change from year to year, but the wish list for employers remains the same. Here are 4 great skills to have that will keep you employed in any job market:

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How To Survive a Job That Does Not Pay Benefits

By Mark Riddix

I was reading a post on CNN Money about how employers are scaling back on benefits. With unemployment near double digits and so many people looking for work, employers are forgoing hiring permanent full-time employees and hiring temporary workers and contractual employees. This enables employers to circumvent having to offer employees full scale benefits. The result is that many employees are finding themselves without health insurance, sick leave, vacation pay or a retirement plan. Contractors are also responsible for their own unemployment and Social Security payments. The drawbacks are plenty. So, what can you do if you find yourself in such a situation?

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Personal Finance Round-Up: Starting Your Own Business

By Money Crashers

The current economic environment is the perfect climate to undertake an entrepreneurial venture. You can place your financial security in your own hands by starting a new business. In keeping with that theme, Penny Jobs takes a look at How Long Does It Take For A New Business or New Product Idea To Take Off? Sometimes new business owners give up an on idea way too quickly. It may take years for your new business venture to generate significant revenue. The key is to be persistent and to hang in there even during the tough times.

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3 Overlooked Mistakes That People Make With 401k Plans

By Mark Riddix

There are a bunch of financial sites that offer lists of the mistakes that individuals make in retirement planning. Common mistakes mentioned are a lack of diversification, waiting too long to start saving, and not saving enough money for retirement. While these mistakes will definitely hurt your portfolio, there are other retirement planning blunders that often go overlooked. These mistakes are just as deadly and can leave you paying unnecessary taxes to the government. Here is a list of 3 often overlooked mistakes that people make with their 401(k):

Investing in Variable Annuities

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Would You Prefer Alternative Taxes To Paying Income Taxes?

By Mark Riddix

April 15th is one of the most dreaded days on the calendar. It is the day when millions of Americans scramble to file their tax returns. You would be hard pressed to find anyone that actually enjoys paying income taxes. It’s not realistic to think that we could entirely abolish taxes and fund many government programs such as defense spending, Social Security, and Medicare. But, could we switch to a system of taxes based on activity and consumption instead of income? There are many other alternatives and ideas out there to abolish the current income tax code, but actually getting Congress to switch to something else will be an ongoing struggle. I just can’t stand the fact that I get taxed more for how successful I am in my career. Doesn’t that seem backwards?

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How Will Financial Reform Affect You?

By Mark Riddix

Congress is currently considering implementing a huge financial reform bill. They have spent well over a year debating all of the aspects of financial reform. We all know that one of the main issues being discussed is getting rid of the “Too Big To Fail” moniker that applies to the big banks. While this is an important issue, there are other issues being discussed that will directly impact consumers. These issues involve lowering the costs associated with borrowing and protecting consumers from predatory lending practices. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways in which financial reform will directly affect you:

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3 Reasons Why You Should Pay The Mortgage Before Your Credit Card

By Mark Riddix

I was reading a disturbing article the other day about people falling into financial trouble. Many individuals are making their credit card payments on time in lieu of paying their mortgage. With the housing market underwater, people are prioritizing their credit card debt and other bills over their mortgage payments. This actually runs contrary to normal behavior. Yet, the trend is increasing, because misinformed consumers are more worried about protecting their credit scores, rather than protecting their shelter. During periods of economic growth and prosperity, people typically pay their bills in the following manner:

  1. Food and Utilities
  2. Mortgage
  3. Car note
  4. Credit cards/student loans/other unsecured debt


Why the change?

What Is Your Opinion About A Value Added Tax?

By Mark Riddix

In the midst of rising unemployment and a surging deficit, the United States government is thinking of ways to increase revenue in order to fund government programs. The government has been considering implementing a fat tax, eliminating capital gains taxes, and raising taxes on higher wage earners. The government is trying everything possible to plug budget shortfalls and raise needed funds. Recently, the federal government has even began considering adopting a value added tax. There has been much debate over whether a value added tax would help or hinder domestic production. Let’s take a look at this controversial proposal known as the value added tax.

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4 Things You Should Always Pay Cash For

By Mark Riddix

Conventional wisdom suggests that whenever financing a major purchase, you should rely on debt. We are taught from a young age that buying cars, education, home furnishings, and vacations is an acceptable practice. Today, I would like you to take a look at the prevailing wisdom and consider making these purchases using cash. I’m challenging you to think outside the box on this one. Don’t scoff when you read the first one, keep an open mind! Here is a list of four things that you should never buy on credit:

1. Your Car

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How To Benefit From An Improving Economy

By Mark Riddix

The United States economy is slowly putting along. Last week, we learned that the economy added 290,000 jobs last month. As the economic outlook continues to improve, you should look at ways that you can benefit from the rising economy. Whether it’s finding a new job or looking for new investments, there are opportunities to increase wealth and set yourself up for a long, prosperous career. Honestly, many of the best opportunities have already come and gone when everyone thought the world was going to end. Remember when the Dow Jones was at 6,500? Imagine if you had invested more money at that low point! Here are a few ways that you can benefit from a recovering economy.

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5 Things To Look For When Choosing A Credit Card

By Mark Riddix

In a perfect world, we would all like to live debt free. Although that is the long-term goal for every Money Crashers reader, there may be times when you are forced to use a credit card. Picking a credit card does not have to be like going to the dentist for a root canal. You just need to know some basic information. While we don’t recommend that people go out and get a credit card to sustain their finances, we understand that some people prefer to use them as a way to organize their finances and pay for everything under one account without putting their checking account at risk. Today, we will take a look at exactly what you should look for when choosing a credit card.

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How To Teach Your High School Graduate About Managing Money

By Mark Riddix

One of the best ways to create a fiscally responsible adult is by training them to handle financial issues as a child. Teaching your kids to manage money is no easy task. They may be much more concerned with what’s going on in pop culture, their latest gadget, or just having fun as a kid. With the growing list of items that they desire, they may really think that money grows on trees. It’s never too late to teach your kid about money, even if they are about to graduate from high school. High school seniors are probably the most important group to equip with financial strategies because they are about to enter the real world. Here are five things to teach your soon-to-be grad before they enter the halls of higher learning:

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5 Safest Investments For Your Money

By Mark Riddix

Are you looking for a safe place to stash some cash? Do you want to invest money and not worry about losing it? While stocks and bonds can experience significant declines in value, many government securities are guaranteed and can only increase in value. The following investments are risk free and guaranteed by the Federal government. The only risk that exists is if the U.S. government defaults on its securities which has never happened in U.S. history. Here are five safe investments for your money:

1. Savings Account/Money Market Account

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