I am a big proponent of online high-yield sa vings accounts, because they offer much better savings rates than most traditional savings accounts, and they are a little harder to access. You might think ease of access is a good thing, but it’s not a good thing if it’s too easy to tap into your emergency fund or short-term savings. I agree that easy access to the money when you need it most is important, but online savings accounts help take away the urge to spend that money on things you don’t need. Given the recent plunge in the stock market and the financial meltdown, the online savings rates have declined quite a bit. The good ole’ days of getting a 5% savings rate is long gone, so here is are the updated rates of the top four online savings accounts.
By Money Crashers
Quizno’s is giving away a free sub if you sign up for their email list. I love Quizno’s, but I don’t go there much, because it’s hard to spend less than $10 for a meal. I guess I just need to get with the times, because it’s hard to go to any self-serve restaurant that’s not fast food and spend less than $9 or $10 bucks.
By Erik Folgate
President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill into law today in Denver. The Wall Street Journal has a great breakdown of the final allocations of money inside the bill. It is broken down by categories, and I love that they designate one category as “Spending”, because that’s exactly what quite a bit of this bill has in it. There is a ton of money allocated to projects that definitely could have been left out of a bill coined as an economic stimulus bill. But, it is what it is, and we need to hope and pray that it does something to bring the economy back to what it was a couple of years ago.
According to the House Minority Leader in Congress, the American people will be taking on an average of $10,000 in debt per person due to this stimulus package that just passed.
“With a price tag of more than $1 trillion when you factor in interest, it costs every family almost $10,000 in added debt. This is an act of generational theft that our children and grandchildren will be paying for far into the future.”
Valentine’s Day is the most manufactured and commercialized “holiday” in the world. It’s not even a holiday. The government doesn’t recognize it as a holiday, and no one gets the day off for Valentine’s Day. It’s in the same category as Halloween. It’s basically an economic stimulus holiday. But, I’ll stop. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that over 1 billion cards are sent each year for Valentine’s Day. Okay, I’ll stop being Mr. Bah-Humbug about Valentine’s day. It does have some good qualities. Having a day to celebrate true love is always a good thing, and St. Valentine was a Christian martyr. My only problem with it is that it causes people to spend way too much money for a holiday that’s not really a holiday. Having said that, I’m married and I’m not stupid enough to just disregard the day altogether.
If you were thinking about buying a house this year, you might need to get serious about buying wthin the next few months. There have been rumors that the final economic recovery bill currently being debated by the Senate could include an amendment to help stimulate home buying in the coming year. A few Senators have proposed a $15,000 tax credit for ALL home buyers from the date that the bill is signed into law extending for one full year.
Last July, a bill was signed into law that included a $7,500 tax “credit” for first-time home buyers. Here are the differences between the credit that is active now and the one that has been proposed.
By Erik Folgate
Yesterday, President Obama announced that he would limit CEO compensation of private corporations that received bailout money from the federal government. The moment that a private company receives government money, they are taking taxpayer’s money. The government doesn’t have their own money. They have our money. So, Obama and many Ameriicans want this bailout money being used responsibly by these private corporations. They don’t want them using the money for executive bonuses, vacation retreats, and corporate jets. I agree and disagree with this issue.
Why I Agree With What Obama Did
We are all searching for new and innovative ways to make extra money. I have spoken many times about the importance of not relying on one stream of income. I worry greatly about families that still rely on one income. If that income goes away in the form of being laid off, then your life will be severely altered. If you were able to create one or two other streams of income, then losing your day job would not be quite as big of a hit.
By Erik Folgate
Here is a great breakdown from Glenn Beck’s website by sector for some of the spending in the 2009
$32 billion: Funding for “smart electricity grid” to reduce waste
$16 billion: Renewable energy tax cuts and a tax credit for research and development on energy-related work, and a multiyear extension of renewable energy production tax credit
$6 billion: Funding to weatherize modest-income homes
Science and Technology
$10 billion: Science facilities
$6 billion: High-speed Internet access for rural and underserved areas
The worst part about an economic recession are the jobs lost by hard working individuals around the country. The United States has seen a spike in unemployment in the past year, and most of it came from the real estate, mortgage, and financial sectors. The credit meltdown and the corruption on Wall Street led to companies folding, merging, and liquidating. This causes jobs to be lost. We’ve also seen large corporations like Circuit City, Linens ‘n Things, and other retailers on the verge of going under. I got caught in the middle of the hiring squeeze. I left my previous jobs voluntariliy, because my wife accepted a position in Orlando, Florida, and we were living in Jacksonville at the time. I have definitely felt the toughness of finding someone who is actually hiring. If you are out of work, there are many ways you can still earn money while you look for new work. Do not assume that you will be hired quickly in this economic climate. Even if you have strong leads right away, the hiring process can sometimes take 4 to 6 weeks.
Are you sick of seeing the commercials and hearing your local news anchor talk about preparing for the digital TV conversion? Yeah, I am too. But, they are cramming down our throats for a reason. There are still millions of Americans who aren’t listening and come February 17th, there will be a ton of angry people calling their local news station wondering what the hell is going on. You may not think there is a soul on the planet that watches TV on an old CRT model with a bunny ears antenna, but there are plenty of them. There are plenty of these people for a good reason. Some people in America are either just not interested in the crap on TV nowadays, they don’t want to pay for cable, or they live in remote areas where cable service is hard to find. Whatever the reason is, I will never judge someone for not having cable, because it is definitely one of life’s little luxuries, and some people can become addicted to watching television.
By Erik Folgate
Many of us are cutting back on things that are not necessary to spend money on, and entertainment is one of life’s little luxuries that we tend to cut back on during tough economic times. However, there are a ton of date nights you can do with your spouse, and I will have a list of my ideas for tomorrow’s post. One reason many married couples with kids cut back on entertainment is because of the cost of babysitting. Young teenage girls aren’t cheap anymore. The days of paying them $5 an hour are gone. they want $8 to $10 an hour. If you’re gone for 4 hours, that’s a huge chunk of change to add on to your night out. Here’s a way to completely eliminate the cost of babysitting.
You have all heard of thee “Miracle on the Hudson” coined by David Paterson, the mayor of New York, and the story should be inspirational to the entire world. This is a personal finance blog, so I won’t go into every angle and story that you could extract from this amazing story, but I just had to pay tribute to a true American hero that did not fold under pressure and put his 40 years of flying experience and air safety experience into practice.
By Erik Folgate
Over the past few years with the credit crisis, our government has finally started to realize that credit card companies will do anything and everything to hide their unscrupulous practices, terms, and conditions. As part of a credit card regulation reform, credit card companies will be required to change the look of their credit card statements and terms & conditions.
Here are some things that will change on your statement:
- Late payment warning box
- Minimum payment warning box.
- Separate area detailing changes to your account terms and conditions
By Erik Folgate
Maybe you can figure out what Kiyosaki is trying to say in this article about bad financial advice
Basically, he bashes traditional financial advice, which tells us to ride out the waves of the stock market and continue investing in tax-deferred retirement accounts and mutual funds with strong track records. He starts talking about how investing in real estate made him wealthy, and he depends on his businesses and investments to live. But, then he goes on to say that his advice isn’t for everyone and it’s not for those who work for commission and a paycheck. And he says that he’s not recommending gold, silve, and real estate as good investments right now.