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Monopoly Sells Its Soul to Visa

By Erik Folgate

I knew that Parker Brothers was hurting when they kept coming out with every gosh darn version of Monopoly that they could think of.  But this information is very troubling to me.  No matter what version of monopoly you are playing, whether it is knitting-opoly or gator-opoly or whatever, you are using cash to buy things in the game.  Now, monopoly will be coming out with a “high tech” version of the most popular board game ever with a swiping credit card and a credit card machine that deducts money from your account.  And you may think, “Oh, well they are just keeping up with the times”, but this is not the case.   Visa credit card is sponsoring the charge machine and giving Parker Brothers a huge chunk of cash to be its sponsor.  This troubles me on two levels.

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Don’t Let Money Ruin Your Vacation

By Erik Folgate

Let me start off by saying that I think that you should ALWAYS pay cash for a vacation.  It is silly to finance a luxury.  You may feel like you deserve a vacation, but they are still a luxury expense.  That being said, I am a huge proponent of living it up when you go on vacation.  Vacation is a time of releasing stress, thinking about nothing, and rejuvenating your mind and body.  If you try to go cheap on your vacation, it will not feel like much of a vacation. 

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Long-Term Disability Insurance Is Something Everyone Should Buy

By Erik Folgate

As a twenty-something, I have really never paid attention to long-term disability insurance.  Because I am in the prime years of my life, I have this feeling of invincibility like nothing could happen to me.  I feel great and I work at a desk job.  But lately I started thinking about how one tragic event could change my life forever, and it made me realize that this insurance product is for everyone. 

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Real Estate Investing Should Not Be a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

By Erik Folgate

I was listening to a radio show the other night where a guy was describing that he went out and bought three properties with zero money down.  Now, he has had some deadbeat renters and he is 3 months behind on the mortgage payments.  He is having a hard time selling the properties and is close to foreclosure on the properties. It had him very scared and confused about what to do next.  My assumption is that this guy listened to some get-rich-quick scam artist and now he is getting burned. 

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Twenty-somethings Turn Out To Be Savvy Investors with Roth 401(k)

By Erik Folgate

This blog article from USA Today talks about a poll that shows that young people in their twenties are most likely to opt for a Roth 401(k) when their employers offer it as a retirement benefit. 

About 14% of the twenty to thirty year old demographic opted to invest their money into a Roth 401(k).  A Roth 401(k) combines the characteristics of a Roth IRA and a traditional 401(k).  Basically, the money from your paycheck goes into the Roth 401(k) AFTER taxes are taken out, whereas the money goes into the account BEFORE taxes in a traditional 401(k). 

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A Degree Is Worthless. An Education Is Priceless.

By Erik Folgate

My generation has fallen into a huge trap when it comes to our philosophy about higher learning.  We have created a society of young people whom think that having a college degree will automatically make them successful in the marketplace.  Young people will spend anything and everything to get a so-called “prestigious” degree, and most young people look to Uncle Sam to help them fit the bill.  The end product is a young and broke twenty-something whom is working at a decent job making $30,000 a year with $25 – 50 grand in student loans. 

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The Low Down on Warren Buffet Giving Away A Ton of His Money

By Erik Folgate

It put a smile on my face to see that Warren Buffet was going to be giving away a big chunk of his wealth.  He is giving away about $37 billion dollars, which is about 85% of his wealth.  Although, I know there are some cynics out there, and that is why I chose to write about this current event.  First let’s break down one of the largest philantropic events ever. 

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Four Ways to Earn Respect At Your New Job

By Erik Folgate

I started my first real job about a year ago, and now I am reflecting upon my first year’s experience in the “working” world.  I have adjusted nicely, and I like the people that I work with, however, it was quite intimidating to be “the new guy”.  I thought that I would share four things that helped me earn some credibility with my boss and co-workers.

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Where We Learn Our Financial Habits

By Erik Folgate

I called my dad today and wished him a happy father’s day, and it got me thinking about how much our parents influence our lives.  We usually think about the morals and principles that our parents teach us.  Parents teach us the difference between right and wrong, and they usually try to instill their own political, social, and behavioral ideologies into us at an early age.  Parents want us to be like them, unless your parents are into bad stuff, then they want you to be exactly the opposite of them. 

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It’s Never Too Early to Think About Christmas

By Erik Folgate

Christmas is six months away.  Most of us are thinking about the beach, vacations, and hot weather at this point in the game.  Christmas is often overlooked as a big expense, but it usually hits our bank accounts hard.  In 2005, Americans spent an average of $900 per household on Christmas gifts.  If you start putting away $150 a month until the holiday season, you’ll have $900 to spend on your loved ones for the holidays. 

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Saving Money While Traveling This Summer

By Erik Folgate

Even though gas prices and airline tickets are at record highs this summer, people will still do a great deal of traveling this summer.  Some of you will stay in the United States, some will go to exotic islands, cruises, and some will venture to other continents.  Traveling is a big expense and vacations are something that you do not want to short change yourself on.  Let’s face it, we all need some good rest and relaxation!

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My First Closing On a Piece of Property

By Erik Folgate

I actually do not own any “property” so to speak, but I closed on a small condominium yesterday.  This was my first closing, and I was so stressed out that I was 20 minutes late trying to find the attorney’s office. 

The whole process was fairly new to me.  I know a good deal about how the process works with mortgages, taxes, insurance, and all of that good stuff, but it is always a different feeling when they hand over the keys to you and now you actually own something of great value. 

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Collections Agencies and Creditors: You Have Rights!

By Erik Folgate

I have recently been in the process of paying a bogus collection solely because I want to buy a condo soon.  The collection was from a tow truck company that charged me for impounding a vehicle that still had the title in my name.  Get this, I junked a car a few years ago (or so I thought).  This car was an old mercury cougar that would have been more money to fix than what it was worth.  The mechanic told my dad that if we sign over the title to him that he would take care of salvaging it for us.  Well, apparently he fixed the car and resold it to someone who didn’t have a license or a registration for the car.  They were arrested and when they went to go look for a name to charge for the impounding, they found my name.  Obviously, I was very upset, but it would have probabl taken me years to fight this off of my credit report.  So, I am giving in and paying it like a sissy, because I would rather own this condo.  Anyway, it has helped me to learn my right as a consumer when it comes to dealing with these not so pleasant people.  I was not sure of all the horrible things I had heard about collectors and creditors until I had to deal with them on a regular basis.  They are the scum of the earth!  I am sorry to say it, but I don’t know how they sleep at night.  All I wanted to do was talk to them about the situation, but they would keep hanging up on me.  It’s ridiculous, anyway, as far as them being professional, I never had a problem with that.  They never tried to harass me or else I would have had a lawyer on their butts faster than you can say lawsuit.  Here are some things to remember when dealing with a collection or past due account on your credit report.

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Sticking to a Budget is Harder Than I Thought

By Erik Folgate

I am fairly new out of college.  I got married straight out of finishing my undergraduate degree.  I was fired up to start saving money and buying wisely with my new found income which about tripled after I finished school.  This post is all about me being real with myself and those of you that read my blog.  This is not a surprise to any of you, but it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be to stick to a strict budget and save up for big ticket items. 

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Insurance Companies Looking Out For You and Your Car

By Erik Folgate

Insurance companies are not philantropists.  They create programs ans educate people about how to reduce their risk, because the less risk they have to take on, the more money they make!  That is the nature of the insurance business.  I definitely know, because I am a property and casualty insurance adjuster.  If you have ever bought a home, you will find out how particular homeowner’s insurance companies are with what your house is made of, what is in it, and what is going on in it.  Auto insurance is the same way.  Geico recently published an article about California having 6 of the top 10 areas for the most cars stolen.  That is scary!  I hardly ever think about my car getting stolen, and I’ve never met someone who has had their car stolen, but I can imagine it being a frightening experience.  However, I drive a ’95 Altima, so whoever wants to steal that car can go right ahead.  Some tips for reducing your chances of getting your car stolen:

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