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A Review Of The Updown.com Virtual Stock Application

By Erik Folgate

Recently, I started playing around with the virtual stock application at The Updown.com. I’ve never been a single stock buyer, so I rarely keep up with what individual stocks are doing in the market. So, I thought this would be a great way for me to start researching individual companies and test out different investing strategies. A virtual stock application is not a new concept. There have been a few other web applications out there that give you virtual money to play with the stock market at no risk. However, Up Down has a fun and exciting concept. You can earn REAL money for every month that your portfolio beats the S&P 500 and if you write detailed analyses on companies and the future performance of its stock. Also, there is a great social networking aspect of the site that allows you to interact with other amateur investors.

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31 Ways to Be Frugal And Save Money

By Erik Folgate

Lately, I’ve been hearing tips from friends about how they save money, reading articles about saving money, and trying to come up with ways to save some money around the house. So, I decided to put together a comprehensive list of ways that we save money around the house and in our daily lives. There are 31 suggestions, one for each day of the month.

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  1. Buy and install a programmable thermostat. Set the thermostat higher when you are gone during the day and cooler when you are at home at night.
  2. Use Coupons wisely. Only clip coupons for items that you consume on a regular basis.

Who Is Your Financial Mentor?

By Erik Folgate

Here’s the financial question of the day to bring us into the weekend. Ponder the question over the weekend, and post your answer in the comments section.

Who is Your Financial Mentor?

Name one person or a group of people that have influenced you in the way you manage your money. It could be a parent, a sibling, friend, pastor, or anyone else that has given you inspiration and motivation to manage your money wisely.

my answer:

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Don’t Count On Social Security For Your Retirement

By Erik Folgate

If you’re in your 40′s, 50′s, or 60′s, you’ll probably see the full social security benefits promised to you when you paid into the system throughout your working career. This article from CNN Money via Yahoo Finance, talks about the report that was released this week that Social Security funds will be tapped out by 2041 if it is not reformed.

So, that means that if you’re in your 20′s or 30′s, you’ll be funding social security for your parents, but you won’t get jack squat back when it’s your time to retire. The article goes on to talk about what the three presidential candidates would do to help reform the social security system. Here are the quotes from the article.

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What We Can Learn From the Bear Stearns Down Fall

By Erik Folgate

If you keep up with current events and/or financial news, then you probably heard about the demise of Bear Stearns, a once large investment brokerage firm. Many were shocked when the news came out that JP Morgan would be buying Bear Stearns at $2 a share, when months ago the stock was trading at $85 dollars a share. Then, JP Morgan realized that others were trying to compete to buy Bear and offering a higher price, so JP Morgan increased the buy-out to $10 a share. So, let’s take a look at why Bear Stearns crumbled overnight.

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Seven Ways to Save Your House From Foreclosure

By Erik Folgate

If you haven’t already noticed, the housing market is correcting itself right now. That’s what capitalistic markets do, they correct themselves. The government has intervened a little bit, but for the most part, you are seeing the housing market fix itself. Unfortunately, thousands of hard-working citizens are losing their homes. They bought during the boom, might have stumbled into a mortgage they didn’t understand, or they wanted to upgrade their house, but really couldn’t afford the new payment. Foreclosure is all over the place in states like Florida, Nevada, California, an New York. I live in Florida, and I can literally open up the newspaper and find hundreds of foreclosures every weekend. So, here are ten ways that I think you can save your house and avoid foreclosure. Some of these might seem out of reach, but it’s still an option.

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First-Time Homeowners, Consider Buying in 2008

By Erik Folgate

We all know that the housing market has crashed, and it is working to correct itself from the housing boom. Unfortunately, foreclosures and falling home prices are the result of the market correcting itself. However, as prices fall in your area and sellers become more desperate to dump the home they bought a few years ago at an extra-premium price, a great opportunity is being created for young couples and single professionals looking to buy their first home. Suze Orman writes an article about the opportunities for first-time buyers right now. She gives first-time buyers five tips for finding their first home. Let’s take a look at them.

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The Fastest Way to Receive Your Economic Stimulus Refund Check

By Erik Folgate

If you stumbled across this site from a google search for information about the economic stimulus payment, be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed, read about me, and introduce yourself to what this site is all about by reading about my 11 principles.

If you are one of the prompt ones that will be filing your taxes before the April 15th deadline, but have not done it yet, be sure to sign up for direct deposit of your tax refund if possible. According to Fox Business News and the IRS, if you had or will have your 2007 tax refund direct deposited into your account, you will be one of the first to receive your economic stimulus checks! Here is the breakdown of when the money should reach your account based on social security number.

If the last two digits in your social security number ends with:

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Take Advantage of Free e-File For Your Tax Return

By Erik Folgate

April 15th is 27 days away, and I can actually hear some of you clenching your teeth right now at the thought of it. Isn’t ridiculous that doing your taxes takes such a big chunk out of our free time? One of the few good things the IRS has ever done for us is partner up with companies to offer free e-filing for middle class taxpayers. If you made less than $54,000 adjusted gross income in 2007, you can qualify for free e-filing.

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Treat Your Money Management Philosophy Like A Marathon

By Erik Folgate

I didn’t run a marathon last weekend, but it felt like it for someone who has never trained for long-distance running until this past January. I always played basketball when I was young, and basketball is a series of fast sprints, not methodical long-distance running. I ran in the Gate River 15k Run here in Jacksonville, which is a pretty well-known 15k run. I didn’t run it to compete, I ran it because I had never done something like that before, and I wanted to say that I had done it. I ran it in about an hour and 40 minutes, which is pretty slow, but I was proud of myself for jogging the whole time. Like the personal finance nerd that I am, I was thinking about how running long distances relates to becoming wealthy. The obvious cliche is that becoming wealthy is like running a marathon. The slow, methodical individual will become more wealthy than those that have short spurts of wealth building over a period of time. But, there was something else that I learned about money management when training for and running a long distance.

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The Importance of Helping Each Other With Financial Problems

By Erik Folgate

I was reading this article by Jeffrey Strain from TheStreet.com and he gives five ways to help other people with financial issues from your own personal experiences with managing your money. One of the things he listed was starting a personal finance blog. This is what I did two years ago, and my goal was not to act like I knew everything about money and I wanted other people to know it, but I had a revelation about money. I made a 180 degree change about the way I managed money, and I wanted to share that with other people. My goal for this blog is not to see how much money I can make from it, if that was my main reason, I would have stopped a long time ago. My goal is to help other people with the things I have learned about money and research the things you want to know about. So, if you do learn anything here, please don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with someone else. With the housing market going down the drain, gas prices continuing to rise, and the economy on the verge of a recession, people need help with their money!

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Financial Question Of The Day: Do you prefer index funds or mutual funds?

By Erik Folgate

Do You prefer investing with index funds or mutual funds?

Some of you might not have an opinion about this, either because you haven’t started to seriously invest, or you’re not financially nerdy enough to care. But, I’ve found that personal finance advisors and bloggers differ quite a bit on this issue.

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Received A Notice From The IRS About the Economic Stimulus Refund Checks

By Erik Folgate

Do you like the information on this blog? Be sure to subscribe to our feed to receive updates on new articles.

After a lot of speculation. the IRS has finally sent out an official notice that cleared up a couple of questions people were having about the economic stimulus refund checks. I was right about everything that I had wrote about the checks, but it’s always nice to be reinforced about information you read about by the people that will be sending out the checks, the IRS. If you haven’t received the notice in the mail yet, don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to receive a check. It just means that it takes a while for them to send out $130 million letters. Here is some information that was confirmed in their letter.

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An Analysis on the Seven Baby Steps for Obtaining Wealth by Dave Ramsey

By Erik Folgate

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I am a supporter of the teachings of Dave Ramsey. There are many bloggers out there who think that Dave Ramsey has too much of an “emotional” approach to personal finance and neglects the math behind personal finance. There is some truth to that, but Ramsey doesn’t ignore the math. He embraces the premise that he believes that 80% of personal finance is behavior-based and 20% is about the numbers. A group of personal finance bloggers have analyzed the seven baby steps that Ramsey teaches for becoming wealthy. I thought that I would pass the links on to you to get their take on each step.

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What I’ve Learned About Saving Money On My Pet

By Erik Folgate

Many personal finance bloggers have written great articles about the cost of owning a pet and ways to save money when owning a pet. I didn’t realize how much it really does cost to own a medium-sized dog. For one thing, if you don’t have children, that pet becomes like your child, so you tend to spend a little bit more money on them than usual. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spoiling a family pet if you can afford it. I thought that you might be interested in ways that we have saved money on our dog by using common sense and practicing good preventative care. Here are some ways that we feel we’ve saved money in the long run on pet care.

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