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How to Get a Mortgage Loan If You’re Self-Employed With Fluctuating Income

By Mary McCoy

home mortgage optionsEven with tighter regulations on property financing, folks with “normal” income from an employer can be approved for a home mortgage loan fairly easily. You simply have to prove that you have steady paychecks, a credit score of 640 or above, and enough money in the bank to cover your down payment.

However, if you’re a business owner or are self-employed, qualifying for property financing isn’t as simple. Regardless of your income, new federal regulations require self-employed individuals to jump through a number of hoops to obtain home loans, which means you may need to think outside the box to find the financing you need.

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Understanding the Impact of a Federal Minimum Wage Increase

By Michael Lewis

minimum wageOn February 11, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum pay for workers employed by companies that have federal contracts. The pay per hour would be lifted from $7.25 to $10.10 and go into effect on January 1, 2015.

As might be expected, the move ignited a fire storm of dueling statistics and questionable conclusions from both sides of the political spectrum. Consequently, the average American is likely confused about who the order affects and its potential impact on the economy.

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7 Affordable Spring Clothes & Accessories for Women

By Jacqueline Curtis

springtimeI grew up in Toronto, Ontario, and I can vouch that whatever you’ve heard about Canadian winters is absolutely true. They’re harsh, cold, and can feel never-ending. And of course, there’s always that one gorgeous day in March that makes you uncharacteristically optimistic about the arrival of spring, only to collapse back into winter the very next day.

Whether you need to dress professionally or casually, trying to match your style to the unpredictable mood swings of Mother Nature can leave you feeling frustrated. Learning to transition your wardrobe to warmer weather when the seasons are slow to change is essential.

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7 Ideas to Use QR Codes for Effective Marketing in Your Business

By Larisa Redins

qr codeQR codes – or “quick response” codes – are two-dimensional bar codes originally used by Japanese car manufacturers for a variety of purposes, including quality control and keeping track of inventory. However, marketing professionals eventually came to the realization that these codes could allow consumers to interact with a particular product or brand via their smartphones. Now QR codes are generally used for promotional purposes, linking smartphone users to promotional offers, websites, email addresses, phone numbers, and other text.

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5 Ways to Stay Within Your Budget When Buying a House

By Valencia Higuera

home on a budget A house is likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. And if you’ve waited a long time for this day to come, you’ve undoubtedly thought about the features you desire – maybe you’re craving a huge master bedroom with walk-in closets, or perhaps a gourmet kitchen.

While you don’t want to skimp on the amenities you love, adding too many can drive up the cost and destroy your budget. By thinking about your long-term financial goals and assessing your budget before you buy, you can score the home you want without experiencing buyer’s remorse.

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How to Be More Grateful and Why It Will Make You Happier – Definition

By Mary McCoy

gratitudeNo matter your background, it’s likely that you’ve experienced a mixture of triumph and hardship in your life. Life is sprinkled with joyous occasions such as weddings and births, as well as heartaches like divorces and deaths. In between the highs and lows, much of the human daily experience is full of the mundane: commuting to and from work, doing the dishes, and shopping for groceries. All of these experiences elicit emotions that range from joy to sorrow to boredom.

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What Is a Corporate Bond – Types, Rates, and How to Buy

By Brian Martucci

corporate bondsSince March of 2009, the stock market has been on a tear. All three major U.S. indices have at least doubled their value, and retirement investors – not to mention those who make their living off the market – are breathing a long, collective sigh of relief. On paper, much of the damage of the late-2000s financial crisis has been undone.

However, many investors learned the hard way the value of diversifying their portfolio with low-to-moderate risk investment vehicles that provide an compromise between security and return on investment, or ROI.

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Discover it® Card for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus – Review

By Christina Majaski

discover itStudent credit cards are designed to assist college students with little or no credit history in getting somewhat of a jump on building their own credit. However, in order to avoid establishing bad spending habits and lifetimes of debt, these cards need to be low-fee, low-interest rate credit cards – which is not always possible with cards that also provide rewards programs. The Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus succeeds in addressing these needs.

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Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you are approved for the Discover it for Students card, you receive a $20 cash back bonus.

How Much Can I Afford for a New Car? – 4 Things to Consider

By Valencia Higuera

buying a carIf your current vehicle is on its last leg, or if you’re simply ready for something different, it might be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new car. That said, buying a new car isn’t some small, insignificant purchase.

There are many costs that inflate a car’s expense beyond the simple ticket price. You want to make sure the car you buy is one you can actually afford, so before you sign and drive, make sure you fully understand the costs of buying a car.

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Capital One 360 Review – Online Checking & Savings Accounts

By Brian Martucci

capital one 360 logoCapital One is a well-known financial institution that made its name in the credit card business. Capital One 360, one of its major divisions, offers a related, if less sexy, suite of products: online banking and personal lending services. If you’re not satisfied with the brick-and-mortar banking options in your area – or you want to cast as wide a net as possible during your search for an attractive mortgage – then this institution should be on your radar.

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eSmart Tax Review 2014 – Free Online Tax Filing

By Kira Botkin

esmarttaxThe eSmart Tax service, previously called CompleteTax, was purchased in early 2013 by Liberty Tax Service and subsequently renamed. However, despite the change in name, the eSmart Tax online tax filing software remains largely the same product, designed to help you file your taxes online for a low price. If your tax filing is relatively simple, eSmart Tax can help you file for free. However, more complicated tax situations cost more, and you may find that some of your forms aren’t supported.

eSmart Tax offers three versions at different price points that address situations from simple to moderately complex.

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9 Financial Lessons to Learn from “Downton Abbey” (Spoiler Alert)

By Jacqueline Curtis

downton abbeyIf you were one of the 8.5 million viewers who sighed when the latest season of “Downton Abbey” came to an end, join the club – I’m a diehard fan. Blame it on my love for all things British and the amazing costumes – and, of course, the juicy storyline and gasp-inducing plot twists as well.

But while “Downton Abbey” might simply be seen as a bit of fun for a Sunday night, I’ve noticed a recurring theme that colors literally every part of the show, characters, and plot: money. After all, the entire premise of the show is to prove that between the “have” and the “have nots,” everyone has their own challenges. With this in mind, I started watching the show with renewed interest in the theme of money and financial security.

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How to Start Urban Beekeeping – The Importance of Honey Bees

By Michael Lewis

honey beeThe bee has always occupied a special place in man’s psyche. Young children learn the origins of babies with stories of “the birds and the bees,” while their industry is so respected that a person engaged in intense activity is “as busy as a bee.” “Spelling bees” and “quilting bees” are so named because a meeting of people working together resembles the scenes within a beehive. Closely guarded information is “none of your beeswax,” and the flappers of the 1920s popularized the “bee’s knees” to express the coolness of an object or activity.

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Pros & Cons of Owning and Managing Rental Properties

By Mary McCoy

rental propertyThe idea of fuss-free income beckons many people into owning and managing rental properties, such as apartments, duplexes, guest homes, and even large houses. From the outside looking in, it appears that property owners simply sit back and collect rent checks on the first of each month, with little additional work. On paper, it’s a lazy (or savvy) worker’s dream come true.

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Best New Bank Account Promotions, Offers & Free Money

By David Bakke

stack cashWith many financial institutions experiencing a decrease in profits, banks are vying for your business. This is good news for you, because instead of just offering standard perks like no fees, free checking, or a free pen when you sign up for an account, some banks are raising the stakes with cold hard cash, giveaways, and great interest-bearing products.

April is a good month for bank promotions from both big and small banks. Banks are giving away a lot of free cash to attract new customers and get them to open up accounts. The banks listed below have some pretty sweet deals that you should take advantage of if you are in the market for a new bank.

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