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Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions About An IRA

By Erik Folgate

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.

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Bank of America Takes One Step Closer To Global Domination

By Erik Folgate

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.

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Financial Question Of The Day #7

By Erik Folgate

What potential presidential candidate do you believe is best for the economy and your pocket book?

This might be a loaded question, but I want your opinions. Be as aggressive as you want about your opinion on your favorite candidate, but try to be respectful and professional at the same time or I will delete your comment!

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Setting Financial Goals: Education and Evaluation

By Erik Folgate

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.

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Financial Question of the Day #6

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.

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Hyundai Is Coming Out With a Luxury Car For the Rich Bargain Hunter

By Erik Folgate

I read an article today in USA Today about the new luxury car coming out soon by Hyundai It’s called the Genesis, and it will boast a V8 engine, loads of safety and luxury features, surround sound also found in the Rolls Royce, and look similar to a BMW. I have a Hyundai Sonata, and I’ve been very impressed by it so far. The engine has a lot of power, it rides smooth, and it’s fairly fuel efficient for a V6. I was skeptical about Hyundai before I bought it, because of the stigma Korean cars have had in the past, but I must say, Hyundai has come a long way. It’s more affordable than Honda and Toyota, and it’s bridging the quality gap very quickly.

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How To Get Your Phone Number Off Google

By Erik Folgate

I read an article in the local Jacksonville paper about taking your phone number off of the Google search engines. I never thought about personal residences being searched on Google, but it makes sense. I have a business line for my home office for the insurance company that I work for, and for some reason, it doesn’t show up as my name, but the company’s name. I get all kinds of phone calls from people that have nothing to do with what I do. It’s pretty annoying. So, does your land line show up on Google? This doesn’t have much to do with personal finance, but it could if you want to reduce the amount of sales calls and credit card company phone calls in your life.

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Should You Buy Liability Umbrella Insurance?

By Erik Folgate

A reader asked me this question today:

What are your thoughts on personal liability “umbrella” insurance and who should have it?

There are two ways to answer this question. How much personal liability do you have in your life? Do you have a lot of assets to protect?

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Four Tips For Selling Your Home In a Fallen Housing Market

By Erik Folgate

The projection for the housing market in 2008 is not very good, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck with your house. So many people will be horrified at the thought of selling their house this year, but there are ways to sell your house in any market, whether it’s good or bad. Here are some tips for selling your house no matter how much your housing market falls this year.

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The Price of Oil Increases to $100 A Barrel For The First Time

By Erik Folgate

I was reading this article on Yahoo Finance, and I started thinking to myself, “Will the price of gas ever stop rising?” I have not written much about the price of oil and the ever increasing gas prices until now, because it’s getting so absurd. No one knows why it’s REALLY increasing so much. I always hear people say that there is a shortage or refineries are down or up for maintenance, but is that really the reason why it keeps rising so much? Is it those futures investor nerds that keep driving the price up? Is it the fact that we are so dependent upon Middle Eastern oil? Is it because we’re just too dependent on oil in general? Whatever your take is on this debate, it doesn’t stop the fact that we keep paying whatever price the gasoline company spits out at us.

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Ring In Your New Year With a Financial Transformation

By Erik Folgate

The beginning of the year is always the best time to start a new habit, break an old one, and most importantly, set new goals. I know that New Year’s resolutions are very cliche, but they serve a good purpose. New Year’s resolutions usually fade away in March, but that’s because many people do not treat them as real, attainable goals to sustain the year and the rest of their life. One of the most important goals you can make for 2008 is to improve your financial life. I am such a big believer in straightening out your finances, because I believe that poor financial health affects all areas of your life including your marriage, physical appearance, and mental stability. Think of the husband out there right now who is going through foreclosure on his house, could lose his job, and has thousands of dollars of consumer debt. It’s fair to assume that his marriage is on the rocks, he hasn’t exercised in months, and his stress levels are at an all-time high.

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Financial Question Of The Day #5

By Erik Folgate

I hope all of you had a great Christmas, and I hope it wasn’t as busy as mine! We had about 25 to 30 people at my mother-in-law’s house, and it was insane. But, no one got hurt, everyone was excited about their gifts, and most important, family and friends were able to be together.

Here’s the financial question of the day:

What one spending habit would you like to change in 2008?

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The Low Down On Holiday Tipping

By Erik Folgate

The season of Christmas brings generosity out in us that we may not have throughout the rest of the year. We usually tip based on a certain percentage like 10% to 20% to various people who work off of tips. But, something about the holidays makes uf throw out the rule book of tipping, and we even find ourselves wanting to tip those who might not usually think about tipping.

Check out this article on MSN Money for everything you need to know about tipping on the holidays.

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Question Of The Day #4

By Erik Folgate

What is your best bargain buy story?

Tell us a story when you got a tremendous deal on something such as a house, car, television, furniture, or whatever it may be, and tell us how you got such a great deal.

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How I Would Pay Forward $1,000 On The Holidays

By Erik Folgate

The first thing that I would do with $1,000 to pay forward is I would find a homeless person, take them out for dinner to the restaurant of their choice. Then, I would take them and buy them nice outfit. Then, I would offer to drive them to the nearest shelter or rehabilitation center. Are there any rehab centers for homeless people these days? I know that many of them are mentally handicapped, but some of them just need a second chance and someone to motivate them to pick up their life again.

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