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Is Dental Insurance Worth It? – Affordable Plans, Types & Alternatives

By Michael Lewis

dental insuranceParents spend thousands of dollars on orthodontics to ensure their children have what’s arguably the clearest physical indication of prosperity: a straight, white smile. George Washington was certainly prosperous, but he also endured the agony of poorly fitted wooden dentures for much of his life. And James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, claimed that if a man had his hair and teeth, he had it all.

It’s not surprising then that an entire industry is devoted to keeping our teeth healthy, clean, and attractive. Aside from a big boost in self-confidence, the condition of your teeth plays a major role in your overall health. As with many things, many people are willing to pay for those benefits. But is purchasing dental insurance the best way to go about doing it?

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What Is Credit Counseling – How Debt Management Plans Work

By Brian Martucci

credit counselingThere are a number of reasons people get into debt. Whether you’ve dealt with insufficient income and mounting bills for years, or face a new, unexpected challenge such as a big medical expense or a lost job, it can be frustrating to watch the interest pile up on your unpaid obligations – and to wonder how you’re going to make ends meet each month.

A billion-dollar industry, led by nonprofits and government agencies as well as for-profit companies, exists to help Americans address their debt problems. Some of the services available to folks who struggle with debt include loan refinancing, debt consolidation loans, debt settlement services, and credit counseling.

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How Technology Is Effecting Society and Ushering In a New Era of Manufacturing

By Michael Lewis

technologyTechnology has been both a boon and a curse throughout history, upsetting the apple cart of the established order with new opportunities for some and great losses for others.

Consider the impact of the automobile, first on the horse and buggy industries, then on railroads. Television almost destroyed the movie business until the more creative people adapted. eBooks currently threaten longstanding bookstores and traditional publishers. The pace of technological advance has accelerated during the last half-century, challenging cultures, societies, and individuals to adapt to the new environment.

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14 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs Online

By Brian Martucci

freelancerFreelancing is in vogue. Established firms remain slow to hire full-time staffers, preferring instead to work with temporary or contract workers they don’t have to entice with benefits – and with whom it’s easier to cut ties when projects are completed. As a result, a rapidly growing cohort of startups is leveraging on-demand freelance labor like never before. An entire cottage industry has emerged to provide guidance for these workers in the U.S. and abroad.

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What Are Debt Consolidation Loans – Benefits, Risks & Alternatives

By Brian Martucci

debt consolidationDealing with debt can be a frustrating, emotionally taxing experience. Whether you carry high credit card balances, persistent medical debt, or a crippling mortgage, your financial obligations can interfere with your ability to live a balanced life. If you feel like you just can’t pay off your debts on your own, you may be considering an option that has provided relief for hundreds of thousands of other Americans: a debt consolidation loan, also known as a refinancing loan.

These loans can be a big help to borrowers who owe significant money – but they do come with risks. It’s important to understand the drawbacks and consider all your alternatives before deciding if a debt consolidation loan is right for you.

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12 Online Shopping Mistakes That Could Cost You & Put You at Risk

By Jacqueline Curtis

online shoppingOnline shopping can seem like the ultimate in instant gratification. However, while the ability to buy pretty much anything you want from the comfort of your own home presents incredible benefits, it can also get out of hand pretty quickly. Overspending and draining your bank account is one of the more common pitfalls – but it might not even be the worst, particularly when you consider how shopping online can jeopardize your identity.

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Ally Bank Review – Online Bank With No Minimum Balance Required

By Brian Martucci

ally bank logoOnline banks are powerful personal finance tools that offer convenient access to funds – but, not all are created equal. As one of the first online-only institutions, Ally Bank has developed a reputation for responsive customer service, high interest rates on checking and savings accounts, and reasonable fees. Like many online banks, it has no physical branches, but it is an FDIC member, which means its customers’ deposits are insured up to $250,000.

Since its spinoff from GMAC in 2009, Salt Lake City-based Ally has accumulated nearly a million customers. With $54 billion in total deposits, it’s currently the 29th largest U.S. bank.

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How to Choose the Best Investments for Your 401k Plan

By Michael Lewis

investment planningEmployer-sponsored 401k plans are one of the best benefits available to employees. Because the money you contribute is deducted from your gross income before taxes are incurred, you’re not taxed on the money you put in. The principal within the fund continues to grow on a tax-deferred basis until you receive distributions, and many employers contribute extra funds to your contribution, what some term “free money.”

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6 Tips to Start a Business Overseas in a Foreign Country Outside the US

By Michael Lewis

starting business in foreign countryStarting a business in another country can be financially and emotionally rewarding if you do your homework, have realistic expectations for success, and avoid or compensate for the potential obstacles that inevitably accompany a new venture. All new businesses are inherently risky. In the United States, perhaps one of the most friendly climes in the world for entrepreneurship, almost one-half of new business operations fail by the end of the fourth year, and one in four fail by the end of the first year.

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How to Find a Good Doctor You Can Trust

By Laura Williams

doctor and patientAccording to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), cases of delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnoses are common – in the range of 10% to 20%. While some of these errors are due to misinterpretation of diagnostic tests, the more glaring issues are healthcare system-related errors and errors caused by the faulty reasoning of the healthcare provider.

The truth is, not every doctor is the best doctor. Some doctors graduate from the best medical schools with the best grades and go on to participate in the best residencies. Other doctors eke through lower-level medical schools with low grades and less competitive residencies. Still, other doctors fall somewhere in the middle, and their success hinges on their bedside manner and patient care.

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“United States of Texas” – What America Would Be Like Under Conservative Tea Party Influence

By Michael Lewis

texasFew people are aware that, in 2008, Igor Panarin, dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats, predicted that the United States would break into four separate countries in 2010.

He believed that the national and regional effects of the recent recession, and the people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo and the Federal Government, would result in the creation of five distinct, autonomous, political regions.

Panarin divided the U.S. into these new republics:

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  • Californian Republic. Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and all continental states west of them. Panarin predicted this group would fall under Chinese influence.

10 Social Media Etiquette Tips for Personal & Business Accounts

By Brian Martucci

social phoneSocial media use is exploding. Facebook has more than a billion global users, with Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn boasting hundreds of millions of active accounts. From preteens to senior citizens, every major age group is plugged in, whether they’re engaged in social media marketing, keeping in touch with old friends, or seeking out new connections.

Given today’s prolific social media environment, it’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago, social media barely existed. While it’s great to connect with friends and colleagues anywhere and at any time, this connectivity carries risks. A careless tweet or Facebook post can alienate your loved ones and jeopardize your job.

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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Review – 0% APR for 18 Months

By Christina Majaski

citi diamond preferred cardThe Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card does not offer rewards in the way of cash back or miles, but instead provides the longest 0% introductory APR available. Non-rewards credit cards such as this one provide benefits in the way of savings and elimination of debt rather than cash back or points, and depending on your own financial situation, they may be a better deal.

By transferring existing balances to the Citi Diamond Preferred card with a 0% promotional balance transfer offer, you can gain an additional 18 months to pay off your debt without incurring additional interest charges.

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How to Maintain Civil Discourse – Understanding Political Division

By Michael Lewis

argument“Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature: and in all causes of passion admit reason to govern,” thus proclaimed George Washington in his “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation,” written sometime before the age of 16. In the heated, often rancorous season of political contest, we Americans often forget that our fellow citizens are more similar to each other than dissimilar, our goals and ambitions more analogous than antagonistic. As a consequence, our public and private discourse has become intensely personal, focused on differences rather than consonance, so that friend, family, and work relationships are frequently in peril.

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ETF vs. Mutual Fund – 7 Key Differences Between Index Funds & ETFs

By Brian Martucci

investment chartsBuilding a balanced portfolio with individual stocks can be expensive and time-consuming. If you’re looking to save for retirement, or you hope to earn supplemental income by dipping your toes in the market, you probably can’t afford to purchase dozens of individual stocks in appreciable quantities. Not to mention, brokerage commissions on smaller purchases of individual stocks can add up quickly. For example, if you can only afford to purchase a few shares of a $25 stock, the typical $7 to $10 commission for your purchase would account for a significant piece of your total investment.

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