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Living Paycheck to Paycheck Will Leave You Powerless

By Erik Folgate

I was driving in the card on my lunch break today, and I was listening to Bill O’Reilly.  He started out the second hour of his radio show recognizing the fact that Americans have a debt problem.  What struck me was when he made the statement that living paycheck to paycheck renders one “powerless”.  Now, the point made was not that we should all try to be rich so that we can flaunt our power.  The point was that we are slaves to the lenders that we owe money to when we are making payments and not being able to save any money.  It caught my attention because O’Reilly said that we are powerless, because we will make more rash decisions and go to more drastic measures when we don’t have any money in the bank.  He used the example that a boss can make you do things that you normally would not do if you had a reserve of money.  An employee that lives paycheck to paycheck must keep his or her job, so employers can take advantage of that.  O’Reilly is not a financial expert by any means, but he brought it up because he covers social problems — and this is a big social problem. 

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USA Today Is Aware of the Growing Debt Problem that Twentysomethings face

By Erik Folgate

You may have already seen the article from USA Today titled, Young People Struggle To Deal With Kiss Of Debt.  This is the first installment of a six-week series where USA Today will profile 6 different young people about their enormous financial debt and the struggles they face to pay it off.  A study done by Experian showed that from 2001 to 2006, the number of young people with debt fell, but the debt load of the young people in debt rose dramatically.  The highest rise was young people with more than $20,000 in debt. 

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Scoring Big On A Job Interview

By Erik Folgate

My first big interview was nerve racking.  I didn’t know what to wear, I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t even really know much about the company that called me in for the interview.  All college graduates will have that big day of trying to score the first real job.  It is different.  It’s nothing compared to walking into Chili’s and walking out with a serving position.  You need to set yourself apart from the competition and all you get is one or two chances during the interview process.  Here are some pointers for doing well on your first interview for a real job.  A “real job” is a full-time career-like job that you plan on being there for more than a year. 

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what are you thankful for on this thanksgiving holiday?

By Erik Folgate

This is kind of a cliche questoin, but I think it’s important to remember what the holidays are about, since it usually gets overshadowed by Black Friday, cooking way too much food, and chatting with crazy family members.  Did you take time this past thursday and this weekend to reflect on what you are most thankful for this year? 

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debunking the claim that debit cards cannot be used everywhere

By Erik Folgate

Supporters of using credit cards use the claim that debit cards cannot be used in all situations.  They list things such as hotel reservations, rental car reservations, airplane tickets, and other related services that traditionally started requring that people put a credit card on file for “collateral”.  However, I have been travelling quite a bit in the past few years, and I have always used my Visa debit card for these purchases. 

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I did not partake in the PS3 Chaos

By Erik Folgate

Contrary to my post from a few days ago, I opted not to wait outside for a PS3.  There were already plenty of crazy people outside, so I knew that my chances were few and far between.  I tried to score one on Costco.com today, but my attempts were futile.  The website was locked up the entire time that they were supposedly on sale.  The next thing that I knew, they were sold out. What gets me about these scarce products that pop up every year around the holidays is all of the horrible stories that arise around the country.  One person waiting outside of Best Buy was actually mugged and shot.  Another group of people shot a BB gun outside of a car to scare people out of line.  Another story came out about a store manager having the great idea of putting ten chairs next to each other and making 50 people run to sit down in one of the chairs.  Whoever ended up in the chairs, received a PS3.  What a bonehead move on his part.  I hate frivilous lawsuits, but I really hope someone sues him if they got hurt.  I am almost positive that Sony and other manufacturers do this on purpose.  They want the frenzy generated by not having enough supply to meet the demand.  You cannot convince me that a multi-billion electronic juggernaut like Sony Corporation is unable to produce a video game system with the same components as an average personal computer (minus the graphics capabilities). 

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The Playstation 3 Is Selling for more than $1,500 on Ebay

By Erik Folgate

Most of you have heard about this, and it is true.  People with pre-ordered PS3′s are selling them on Ebay, and people are actually buying them for $1,500, $1,700, even $2,200!  Once I saw this, I said to myself, “Why didn’t I buy a pre-ordered PS3!”  Now, I am thinking about sitting outside overnight to buy one.  Target only has 8 people in line right now, and if they get 10 systems, then I would have a good chance at getting one.  Let’s say I sold it for $1,600, then I would make $1,000 in profit!  That is crazy.  What some people will pay for convenience is beyond reason. 

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How to Strike a Deal on an Engagement Ring This Holiday Season

By Erik Folgate

Men, Listen up.  Many men ask their significant other to marry them during the holiday season.  This means that numerous clueless men are looking for engagement rings as we speak.  I was like you about 3 years ago.  I was on a budget, but I wanted to get my girl a ring that she would be proud to show off to her friends.  I did a ton of research, and now I am going to pass off my wisdom to my fellow gender. 

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Five 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid

By Erik Folgate

Mistake 1:  Not Contributing to a 401(k) that matches your contribution

If your employer offers a company match for your 401(k) contributions, then you NEED to start putting money into that fund.  It is the closest thing to free money that you will ever come across.  If you already have an IRA, stop putting money into it and throw that money into the company-matched 401(k), or if you have enough money to invest in both, then do that.  The point is that it is ridiculous not to take advantage of a company match. 

Mistake 2:  Not Being Aggressive Enough with your Investments

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The Democrats Win The House. What Implications Does This Have On Your Finances?

By Erik Folgate

This is not a political blog, but politics affect every aspect of our lives whether we like it or not.  a shift of power occurred yesterday with the Democrates winning the majority of the House of Representatives.  It’s still possible that they could win the Senate majority as well.  

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52 Days Until Christmas: Are You Ready?

By Erik Folgate

There are less than two months left until Christmas, and it is less than one month until Black Friday.  Many of you are familiar with Black Friday.  It is the friday following Thanksgiving, and It is the busiest shopping day of the year.  Retailers call it Black Friday, because some retailers begin to move out of the negative and into the positive for yearly profits.

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Credit Card Companies Educating The Youth About Personal Finance

By Erik Folgate

That title makes me want to puke.  I know that most readers do not want to hear me get on my soap box about why I think using credit cards are a huge financially poor choice, but you have to agree with me that it is a huge conflict of interest for a CREDIT CARD company to be teaching financial education.  Gee, I wonder if they are going to teach kids to use credit carsds and use them frequently?  My guess is that they will pitch them the same garbage that most adults buy into.  Basically, they will teach these kids to worship the credit score.  They will have them so worried about their credit score, that kids will start to worry if their school grades affect their credit score.  Here are some excerpts from the Capital One website about their financial education plans. 

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Check Out This Article About The Entrepreneurial Spirit

By Erik Folgate

The article from Business Week titled, “Is There a Gene For Business?” explores the debate between whether or not entrepreneurs are born that way or you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur.  As you will read my blog post below, I believe that everyone born in America has the ability to be an entrepreneur.  I believe we all possess the qualities of an entrepreneur somewhere inside of us.  The key is finding those qualities and using them.  You will see in this article that some prominent executives in the business world agree with me and others do not agree.  Anyway, I think it is an interesting discussion, so check it out.

My Entrepreneurial Spirit At A Young Age

By Erik Folgate

I was going through some old junk a few days ago, and I stumbled across a necklace that I made when I was in elementary school.  When I was young, I would buy materials to make beaded necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.  I don’t think I charged enough money for them, but when you are working with kids whom only have enough money for lunch, you’ll get what you can take.  In middle school, my friends and I used to take cans from neighborhood recycling bins, crush them, and take them to the recycling center.  We would get $5.00 for every so many pounds.  It ended up being enough money for some baseball cards and Checker’s burgers. 

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Marriage Drops Below 50% In Family Households

By Erik Folgate

Recently, you saw the statistic in the media about married couples comprising less than 50% of the family households in America.  This is the first time since they started keeping track of the statistic that it dipped below 50 percent.  Many households contain single-parent families, gay/lesbian partners, and unmarried couples co-habitating with mutual children.  However, the main reason for the decline in marriages is not due to the rise in alternative lifestyle relationship, rather it is due to an increase in divorce over the past three decades. 

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