What Is a Ponzi Scheme – Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme & Scandal Explained

bernie madoffOn March 12, 2009, Bernie Madoff pled guilty to the largest Ponzi scheme in history. He successfully swindled investors out of $65 billion. Although many Wall Street experts revered Madoff as a genius, many financial professionals were not surprised to learn that he was one of the biggest crooks they had ever come across. Some people were afraid they’d be ostracized if they spoke out against Madoff, and they simply kept quiet about their concerns about his investment portfolio and earnings.

Unfortunately, Ponzi schemes are fairly common, but this one was one of a kind. Most Ponzi schemes operate on a very small scale, but Madoff was clearly a big thinker who caused major damage.

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Military Retirement Pay & Pension Benefits Explained

us veteran retirementServing in the United States Armed Forces is a career choice that requires years of sacrifice, challenging and dangerous assignments, and fairly meager pay.

However, one of the benefits offered to the men and women who choose a life of service and sacrifice is a pension plan.

This pension is payable immediately upon retirement for qualified active duty service beyond 20 years.

What Is a Military Pension?

Military members are eligible for a pension (lifetime monthly paychecks), following 20 years of qualified active duty service. The amount of your lifetime payments are determined by the retirement program that you are eligible for. There are three programs:

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Quicken Loans Review – Best Mortgage Refinance Rates for Home Loans

Recently, I’ve been looking into options for refinancing my home mortgage in order to save some money. As part of my research, I decided to take an in-depth look at Quicken Loans, a site you’ve probably heard of before since it represents one of the major players in the world of online financing institutions. And I’ve found that they’re very popular for a reason.

Quicken Loans offers some of the most competitive rates around and they have loan products for just about anyone; from those looking to change their current mortgage to first-time home buyers. I consider myself to be a pretty savvy shopper, and Quicken Loans is at the top of my list for potential lending institutions for my re-fi.

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Top 5 Student Financial Aid Scams & Fraud to Watch Out for

college student aid scamsIt’s one of the most exciting times in a young adult’s life – the chance to go off to college on their own. Students put a lot of thought into choosing the right school, then begin to look for ways to pay for and afford college. After all, the latest statistics show that it costs on average of $173, 282  for a four-year degree at a private university.

Unfortunately, this exciting time can turn into a nightmare for students, and their parents, if they’re caught up in one of the many college scholarship or student financial aid scams that are happening now. In fact, according to FinAid, consumers lose about $100 million each year to financial aid fraudsters.

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Learn the Basics of How to Trade Stock Options – Call & Put Options Explained

call optionsThe highs and lows of stock market investing can be nerve wracking, even for the most experienced investors. Taking risks with your money is always a source of anxiety. Fortunately, there are some investment risk management strategies you can utilize when pursuing larger investments in the stock market.

One way you can gain access to the market without the risk of actually buying stocks or selling stocks is through options. Because options trade at a significantly lower price than the underlying share price, option investing is a cheaper way to control a larger position in a stock without truly taking ownership of its shares. The strategic use of options can allow you to mitigate risk while maintaining the potential for big profits, at only a fraction of the cost of buying shares of a stock.

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7 Most Important Personal Finance Tips for Recent College Graduates

college graduate moneyYou may have graduated from college recently, or expect to in the coming months.  Either way, you’re about to enter an exciting period of your life – perhaps a new career, armed with the education you’ve received over the past few years. You’re ready to go!

But what about your finances? With all that you learned in college, it’s a good bet that personal finance wasn’t part of the agenda. It’s a shame because how you manage your finances – especially in the next few crucial years – may be every bit as important as what you do in your career.

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4 Bank Errors & Mistakes Waiting To Happen

angry money manLike most people, I rely on the wonders of banking technology to receive my pay checks and pay my bills. Banks offer the near magical feature of having money just appear in your bank account (i.e. direct deposit) or having bills paid on a schedule while you worry about other things.

Modern technology is often so seamless and convenient that it’s easy to forget that both computers, and the people using them, are not perfect. It would be nice to think that our banking system is failsafe. However, that would be ignorant, and, in the case of finances, ignorance is far from bliss.

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6 Unusual Part-time Jobs You Haven’t Heard of that Pay Well

looking for jobPlenty of life events can motivate you to get a second part-time job. Some families need the extra cash for important budget categories, and others simply like the supplemental income to help with the extras. It can also be your way of testing the waters before a career change, or a short-term method to boost savings before a large purchase like your first home.

Getting a traditional part-time job might not fit into your schedule. But several unconventional job options can give you the flexibility to choose your own hours and still make some decent side money. A career counselor might tell you to “think outside the box,” and then send you on your way.

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7 Easy Steps to Switch Banks without Worry

bank buildingIf, like many Americans, you’re fed up with big bank fees and poor customer service, you might be considering other options when it comes to banking. Three of the most popular alternatives are online banks, credit unions, and small local banks.

While switching financial institutions is a good idea in the long run, the initial choice can be intimidating and overwhelming. People worry that they are sacrificing the security of a larger bank, along with the convenience of having a branch on every corner. Closing an account and making large transfers is time consuming and inconvenient. Top all of this off with the fear that you will bounce an important check or payment in the transition, and you’ve got some major deterrents from making the big switch.

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Body Language Explained – What’s Your Body REALLY Saying?

body languageSo, you’ve just sat down for a job interview that you’re really nervous about. Unconsciously, you start jiggling your leg just a bit. You tidy your hair, shift in your seat, cross your arms in front of your body and shift your body weight to the right, leaning more on one side.

One look at you and your interviewer is going to know you’re putting up a front. Why?

Because although you might want to present a positive, confident image, your body language is telling everyone that you’re nervous, maybe even scared. Your body language can be the root cause for an unsuccessful job interview.

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