As you know, it’s Halloween today, and after seeing the sweet looking Google banner, I felt inclined to write something about Halloween. I’m only 26, so my younger years are still well remembered. Halloween was always a pretty fun time in elementary school and middle school. It was the only time where my parents would let me rot my teeth out eating candy and walk around the neighborhood after dark. Kids love this holiday and parents love carving pumpkins with their kids and seeing all of the cute kids in their costumes. But, there’s also those punky, jerky 13 year olds that ask for candy and then egg your house two hours later. Halloween has become an American tradition.
I recently asked the question, “Why are you still paying for a land line?” I’ve had several great responses justifying why you still use a land line. Here they are:
It is required for DSL. By having the bare minimum phone service, I have DSL + phone for less than then cost of a cable modem service. Once I can get naked DSL, it will be gone.
This a good point. Although, I think that Bellsouth no longer requires you to have a land line to have DSL, but they’ll never advertise it, because they don’t want you canceling the land line. Whoever your provider is, you should call them up and see if you still need the land line to keep DSL.
Business Week Online put together their list of top 25 young entrepreneurs in America.
Reading this article and looking at the types of businesses started by young twentysomethings will either inspire you or frustrate you. I think it does a little bit of both for me. On one hand, I say to myself, “If they can do it, I can do it”. And on the other hand, I say, “Dang, why didn’t I think of that?”. The reason I shared this list with you is to inspire you. Instead of us mourning over the fact that we didn’t think of such a great idea, we should read about these stories of young people starting businesses and use it as inspiration to start our own businesses. You know my philosophy about easily starting your own business. Treat yourself as a business. Focus on the talents and skills that you possess, and use it to build a business around yourself. No, you might not ever go public or have a house in the Hamptons, but you’ll be doing something fulfilling, and your income potential will be limitless.
By Erik Folgate
The debate over paying off your mortgage early versus investing the extra money into the stock market is one that many financial “experts” argue back and forth over. I have made a few posts about this in the past, and it usually generates quite a few comments from you all.
My friend showed me a great airline website called Skybus.com. Starting in January, Skybus will be offering VERY cheap flights to and from various cities. For instance, from Greensboro, NC to Jacksonville, FL, you can get a flight for $10 plus tax! Is that crazy? Yes, it’s crazy, but not revolutionary. We went to Europe 3 years ago, and took they have Ryanair.com and Easyjet.com. You can get $10 and $20 one-way flights to and from many large cities in Europe.
So, what’s the catch?
By Erik Folgate
My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have literally lost everything they’ve worked for out in California. A house is your biggest investment, and the sentimental belongings such as wedding photos, important documents, and family heirlooms are irreplaceable. The only consolation I could offer up to someone who had their home swallowed up in a fire is that life is about much more than accumulating stuff, and you ALWAYS have to be thankful for being alive and healthy.
If you have young children and a house, you may have faced the dilemma of whether to pay off more money on your mortgage or start putting money towards a college tuition fund for your children. So, what’s the right answer? Well, every answer is different given someone’s situation. Here are some things to consider:
- First off, evaluate how many kids your going to be putting through college and how much time you have to build up cash for college. If you’ve got teenagers, then you’ll have to start saving yesterday for college.
By Erik Folgate
I was sitting in a computer science class back in 2004, trying to figure out the foreign language that the professor was speaking (computer language, not an actual foreign language), when I realized that this wasn’t for me. I may have been investing in myself, but it was a bad investment. I came to the realization that I liked tinkering with computers, but I hated learning binary code, writing meaningless programs, and learning about every intricacy of a processor chip. Some people love that stuff, and they are fantastic at comprehending it. It wasn’t for me. I switched my major, and moved on. Getting a college degree can be a great investment in yourself, but it can also be a very bad investment in yourself if you don’t get anything out of it. My philosophy has always been that you get more out of an undergraduate degree just by surviving for four years rather than what you actually learn. Developing writing skills, personal responsibility, setting and achieving goals, time management, and money management are all skills that you either sharpen or dull while in college.
By Erik Folgate
When I am doing inspections for property damage to residential property, I get this question about 75% of the time:
Will filing this claim cause my premium to go up?
I like to be as candid and honest with customers as possible. Some adjusters would just say, “That’s not my area of expertise.” I like to give people an answer that will actually answer their question. The answer is that filing a claim will NOT cause your homeowner’s premium to increase. Contrary to what many people believe, they associate having one claim filed with their rates going up. The fact is that claims don’t dictate the premium with regards to homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance does not act like auto insurance. Auto insurance has dozens, sometimes hundreds of tiers for premium rates. Your claim history, citation record, points on your license, and various other things contribute to the tier that you are placed in and the premium you pay.
A new year always brings new decisions about your family’s future. One of those decisions is your health care coverage offered by your employer. With the onset of rising health care costs, employers are beginning to mix up the available plans offered to accommodate individuals in all types of situations. Yahoo Finance wrote a great article about what to watch out for with new health care coverage plans. Picking the right health care plan can be a daunting task. Here are some of the things listed in the article that you should look out for when thinking about switching plans or when your employer switches plans for you.
Yahoo Finance brings you the Top 10 Least Expensive Cars of 2007
- Chevrolet Aveo
- Hyundai Accent
- Suzuki Reno
- Kia Rio
- Chevrolet Cobalt
- Toyota Yaris
- Ford Focus
- Suzuki Aerio
- Mazda B-Series
- Suzuki Forenza
Which Ones to Stay Away From
By Erik Folgate
Recently, I was speaking with a real estate agent, because I was curious about a very well-developed community in Orange Park, Florida. This community had it all. It had swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming slides, an elementary school, and a nature park off of the St. Johns river. She immediately went on her sales pitch about the community and asked if I was ready to buy. I told her that my wife and I were waiting until she was done with school, and we wanted to live in Jacksonville for a year before buying a home.
By Erik Folgate
If you haven’t heard, we’re going to have another president for the first time in 8 years, come November, 2008. Chances are that you have heard, because the candidates have started out EXTREMELY early with their campaigns. It’s nauseating, but don’t let it deter you from casting an educated vote. With the idea of a friend, I am going to take a look at the top presidential candidates and show you how they will impact your financial life if you elect them as your next president. If you’ve never voted before, or you stopped voting after you kept getting the president you didn’t want, please consider making an effort to vote this coming 2008 election. Don’t believe the conspiracy theorists. Your vote really does count, and it’s a patriotic thing to do.
By Erik Folgate
Take a look at this article from Smart Money about a new law that will allow companies to set employees up for automatic contributions to their 401(k) accounts. It will also allow a company to automatically increase an employees contributions to a 401(k) each year up to a certain cap percentage.
According to the article, about 25% of eligible employees choose not to participate in their 401(k), and only 11% of the employees that do participate will max out their contributions. It’s understandable why some people don’t contribute the maximum amount, but to not participate at all, is detrimental to your financial well-being. Many companies offer a company match, which is FREE money. You’ll never have anyone offer you free money the rest of your life, so why not take it?
Ever since the Hurricane Katrina disaster and the devastating hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 in Florida, insurers have received quite a bit of criticism for their business practices and consistently raising the cost of insurance premiums. The cost of car insurance also continues to rise. Insurance companies have really screwed up in the past. State Farm was caught using one engineering report to justify their position on multiple claims that the damage was due to flood not rain water. All of the major insurance companies in Florida have dropped more than 50% of their homeowner’s insurance business forcing people to look to the government for an expensive alternative. But, instead of sitting around and complaining about how horrible the insurance companies are in this country, I have some ways for us to help control the rising insurance costs. Yes, it is a fact that responsible consumers will make an impact on the cost of insurance over the long term. We can’t control whether a hurricane hits or a tornado rips through a town, but we can control the way we maintain our homes and cars.