Yes, I saw the stock market this morning. It’s not looking good. There’s no reason to panic, though. We still have one of the most robust, dynamic economies in the world. The free market will correct itself, and it will bounce back. A couple of you have wrtitten comments showing your concern about the way your 401k or IRA has looked lately. For those of us that are young and we’ve never invested during a recession, it is scary for us. Believe me, it hurts every time I check out my retirement account. The total has been falling and falling and falling, and yeah, you get the picture. It’s happening to you too. But, never fear. I am going to convince you to stay optimistic even if the media talking heads and so-called economic experts are correct about this recession we’re going to slip into in 2008.
Mortgage lenders were being stingy at the beginning of the housing downturn, but now they are finally realizing the ramifications of what is going on with the housing market, so they’re willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal”, but you have to pick up the phone and ask them. Realize that they aren’t going to call you to offer a deal on your mortgage. There are too many people and too little time. If you’re in a bind right now with your mortgage and you think you might be facing foreclosure, don’t give up! Foreclosing on your house should NOT be an option. You will not be able to buy another house for at least three to five years, and even if a lender does extend credit to you, you’re interest rate is going to be horrible.
By Erik Folgate
( via The Consumerist )
This picture says it all. Credit card companies think so little of you, that they think they can lure you into applying for a credit card just to get a free two-liter of pepsi. They think all it takes to get you to sign up for their debt machine is to offer you something worth $1.29. Wow. I’m flattered.
If they were really smart, they’d start giving away a free roll of toilet paper. I think they’d get a better response. EVERYONE needs toilet paper. Some people don’t like soda or they’re trying to diet. Come on Mastercard and Visa, get with the program. Offer some Charmin!
By Erik Folgate
What was the defining moment in your life when you decided to start taking control of your finances?
Maybe you’re seeking the knowledge and desire to start taking over your finances, so you might not be able to answer this question yet. But for those of you that enjoy reading this blog and other personal finance blogs, I suspect that you have had a defining moment in your life when you said, “this is it, I’m tired of living like this”, and you changed the way that you started spending, saving, and managing your finances. I’d love to hear your story. Who or what inspired you to start changing the way your handle your finances?
Over the weekend, I was contacted by an employee at Mint.com to introduce their website to me, and let me know about a contest they are going to be running for the next two weeks. The contest is call the “Holiday Spending Hangover” contest, and Mint.com wants to help you pay off your holiday debts! All you have to do is submit your horror story about spending over the holidays, whether it be a written story or video, they will rate the best or “worst” story and give the winner $5,000 to pay off their bills. It sounds like a pretty cool little promotion. Here’s the full blurb:
No, I’m not talking about timing the market. I think trying to time the market is silly, and you’ll only lose valuable days of trading if you try to time the market. What I’m talking about is being on time with your bill payments.
Is there anyone that doesn’t want to make more moneyw this year? I didn’t think so. I made $9,000 more income in 2007 than I did in 2006. This was due to a job promotion and income from a side business with very little expenses. I will propose five ways to make more money this year without having to sell your body on the street.
If you could start any small business without worrying about start-up costs, what would you start?
If you’ve got some completely innovative idea, then don’t post it here, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for someone stealing your idea.
Steve Jobs introduced the Macbook Air and Online Movie Rentals today, trying to continue their dominance in the “ooohhh” and “ahhhhh” field. I have to give it to Steve Jobs. He has been the godfather of making tech stuff look cool and be the desire of tech-geeks in Seattle and San Francisco, but the rest of us are saying, is this really a practical product?
It’s the new year, and one of your goals for this new year may have been to open a retirement account. Whether you are 18, 38, 58, or 68, I would encourage you to open an IRA tomorrow, and begin contributing to it regularly. The biggest misconception about saving for retirement is that it’s too late. My philosophy is that it’s never too late to save for the future. If you keep dwelling on the negatives, another day passes by when you could have been saving!
Here is a good article from Yahoo Finance with 10 frequently asked questions about an IRA.
Today, Bank of America announced that it would buy mortgage lender, Countrywide, for $4.1 billion in stock.
For some reason, I thought the largest sub-prime lender in the country would be worth more than this, but maybe this is just enough to make Bank of America the majority stakeholder in the company. Bank of America has already taken over large banks such as Fleet and MBNA, and now they’ll become the largest player in the mortgage industry. But this time, the company they are gobbling up has tons of headaches. There are thousands of pending foreclosures with Countrywide that will now by Bank of America’s problem. But, I am assuming that they are looking at the long-term picture once the market rebounds, and all is good in the world of mortgages.
On Monday, we focused on identifying your financial goals and breaking them down into short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Remember, making the goals attainable and properly categorizing them is the key to making financial goals that you can achieve. The next two steps are educating yourself about your goals and evaluating or tracking them.
Education: With the age of the internet, there are endless sources for educating yourself about personal finance. Hopefully, this site educates you a little bit about some personal financial issues, but my hope is that you are inspired to learn more about personal finance and be a better manager of your money. One great site to be exposed about many of the great personal finance blogs on the internet is PF Blogs. Also, check out my post about the best personal finance books that you need to read.
By Erik Folgate
Would you rather start investing in the stock market first or buy a house?
Answer this question without taking into consideration the current market conditions of the housing market. I think that I would rather buy a house first, because you get two things out of it. You get a place to live, and real estate is a great investment in the long term. I like investing in growth stock mutual funds, but I think that I’d rather be owning something that I can upgrade and begin a family in, rather than having a piece of paper earning interest. However, if it meant that I was buying the house with no money in the bank, I’d rather buy stocks. I don’t ever want to be in the situation where the air conditioner dies, and I don’t have any money to fix it. Plus, I wouldn’t want to put my family through that, especially living in Florida.