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Advantages of Low-Cost Mutual Funds

By Erik Folgate

Kirby On Finance writes a great article about the advantages of low-cost mutual funds versus high-cost funds.  It is always good to see the numbers sometimes.  Plus, this just furthers my belief that mutual funds are the BEST investment tool for the average joe investor.

An Interview with Ben Casnocha, Teenage Entrepreneur

By Erik Folgate

After reading the USA Today article about Ben Casnocha, I was intrigued to read about a man whom started a software company at such a young age.  I found myself reading his personal blog every day.  If you read the posts that Ben writes, you will soon find out that he is wise beyond his years, and he has a passion for knowledge and understanding the complicated issues of our society.  The most refreshing part about Ben is his humble attitude that oozes out of everything he writes.  I introduced myself to Ben through e-mail about a month ago, and recently I asked him to answer some interview questions for this website.  He was kind enough to do so.  Here is the full interview. 

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Debt Consolidation: Is It Right For You?

By Erik Folgate

With millions of Americans taking on debt that they cannot handle, numerous non-profit debt consolidation and credit counseling companies have popped up all across the country.  Many people think that consolidating debt is a magical way to reduce payments and interest rates, but it comes with implications.  You need to know the truth about debt consolidation before you make the decision to hand over your finances to a stranger

Relieving, not Curing

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Paying Off Debt Will Increase Your Net Worth

By Erik Folgate

In my opinion, personal finance is 80% about the behavior and 20% about the numbers.  However, this is one example of how looking at the numbers can cause a behavioral change.  Everyone wants to increase their net worth, and many people try to come up with a 101 get rich quick schemes to boost their net worth.  I am going to show you a 100% guaranteed method for increasing your net worth!  There is NO start-up fee, and I do not run info-mercials at 4am on sunday morning.

Calculating Net Worth:  Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth

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Five Businuesses To Start With $200

By Erik Folgate

Professional Consulting

Are you an expert at something?  You may be able to start a professional consulting business by giving your expert advice.  Some examples of successful consulting firms are business, financial, computer, advertising, and tax consulting.  This is a service industry so start-up costs can be very low.  There is no inventory and if you already have a computer and basic office software, then all you need is a budget for advertising and a web presence

$100 for web domain and web hosting package

$100 for printed business cards, brochures, and direct mailers

Computer Repair

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The Entrepreneur Inside of You

By Erik Folgate

The entrepreneurial spirit lives inside all of us.  You may not have found it yet, but it is there.  I am confident about this statement, because the great country of the United States was founded upon the principles of freedom, democracy, and entrepreneurship.  Most of you work for someone else, but you can still be an entrepreneur!

Answer these Questions:

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  1. Have you ever daydreamed about being your own boss?
  2. Have you ever provided a service and collected a fee for it?
  3. Have you ever held a garage sale?
  4. Have you ever sold something on Ebay?

Money Crasher’s Quick Guide to Insurance

By Erik Folgate

This blog is geared primarily toward twentysomethings, so my insurance recommendations will be answered based on the assumption that you are a college student, recent graduate, or similar young adult.

Car Insurance

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Give Yourself the Chance to Give

By Erik Folgate

The reason that I am so passionate about being financially wise about money is not so that I can hold onto all of it until the day that I die.  Someone who does that is foolish.  A wise, sensible person will do three things with money according to Dave Ramsey, “Save it, Have Fun with it, and Give it”. 

We have no problems at ALL having fun with money, we have a decent problem with saving money, but we have a HUGE problem with giving money.  And this is not because people are greedy.  In fact, most people are not greedy.  The problem is that they do not set themselves up to be in a position to give.

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The Millionaire Next Door

By Erik Folgate

There are quite a few critcs of this book, but I think that you need to understand the overall message of this book, regardless of the validity of the research done.  Read my review of this book that was posted on my personal website. 

College: A big decision

By Erik Folgate

Going to college is a big step in a young person’s life.  For the first time, that young person goes off on his or her own to conquer life without mom and dad standing over his or her shoulder.  The problem is that too many college bound seniors in high school are ill prepared to manage their money while in college.  Some college students are still fully supported by their parent while going through college which delays the realities of managing money even further.

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25 Reasons Not to Save For Retirement

By Erik Folgate

Here is a humorous list of reasons why you should NOT save for retirement.  The sad thing is that I bet there are people out there who actually use these excuses.

401k vs. Roth IRA’s

By Erik Folgate

It is never too early to be thinking about retirement.  Obviously, if you start early, then the earlier you can retire and the more money you will have working for you.  There are a number of ways to save for retirement, but the two most advantageous from a tax stand point are the company sponsored 401k and the government sponsored Roth IRA.  So which is better?  It depends…

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The Credit Card Lie

By Erik Folgate

Lie:  Credit cards are a good financial tool and they will help you to build prosperity.

Truth:  In the end, credit cards only make the banks rich, and they make you poor.

The credit card epidemic probably started in the 1980′s and it is has run so rampant that dogs and dead people receive credit card applications every day.  Over 4 billion credit cards were issued last year according to Nellie Mae fiinancial services.  The problem is that millions of those credit card recipients cannot afford to be using them — including college undergraduates and recent college graduates.  Here are some alarming statistics taken from a 2002 statistical pool.

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Five Steps to Effective Budgeting

By Erik Folgate

The foundation of developing good financial habits as a college graduate or recent graduate is creating solid budgeting skills. Budgeting is not an art, it is a skill that is taught by practicing over and over again. You do not need a degree in finance to create and maintain a budget. Follow these simple steps to create a solid budget.

Step 1: Gather Information.

Gather together all of your bank statements, receipts, and credit card statements for a given month. Create a number of categories for living expenses such as food, gas, rent/mortgage, utilities, clothing, loan payments, etc. Based on the information you gathered, make an educated estimate for the amount that you spend in each category. Also, figure out your take home income (total monthly income minus taxes).

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Taxes for First Timers

By Erik Folgate

It’s that time of year again!  Everybody get excited, because it’s tax time!  Okay, there’s really no way to excite you about it, unless you know that you’re getting a tax return.  But even then, all you did was give the government an interest free loan for the year. 

There is a great article in Kiplinger’s magazine for guiding young people that are new to taxes.  Read it and pay attention to the deductions and credits that you may be elible for. 

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