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What Is Global Warming and Climate Change – Facts & Effects

By Michael Lewis

climate changeClimate change – specifically global warming – is one of the more controversial issues mankind is facing. Consensus about climate change’s definition, effects, and causes, especially the role that humans play in the acceleration of climate change, is virtually impossible to reach. The controversy is particularly clear in the energy industry, where many assert that there is no scientific agreement about the causes of global warming or its potential problems.

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What Is Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) – Comparison to Store-Bought Produce

By Brian Martucci

csaMy longtime girlfriend and I recently took a brief break from our busy lives to tie the knot. The whole experience was unforgettable, but one of the highlights was the amazing outpouring of generosity from our friends and family members, many of whom we hadn’t always been good about keeping in touch with. We got all sorts of presents, some of which are still sitting in storage as we get moved into our new place.

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7 Hotel Booking Websites With Private Sales & Exclusive Deals

By Brian Martucci

hotelThough changing technology and the digital revolution have put many travel agencies out of business, it has been a boon for the lodging industry. Thanks to travel booking sites such as Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Kayak, you can seamlessly book hotel rooms in every corner of the world without picking up the phone. With so many travel booking resources at your disposal, it’s easy to compare prices and accommodations at different sites to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.

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How to Climb the Corporate Ladder – 5 Keys to Career Success

By Michael Lewis

corporate ladderIt’s good to be the boss. People in charge of an organization not only make more money, they also have happier family lives, are more satisfied with their work, and worry less about their financial futures, according to a Pew Research report. Those in the top levels consider their employment a “career,” not just a job that pays the bills.

Of course, promotions to those top levels are never guaranteed. However, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances of advancing your career – whether with your existing employer or a new one. Long-term success relies on having as many options as possible and ensuring that you’re prepared when an opportunity arises.

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Are Annuities a Good Investment? – 7 Things to Consider

By Michael Lewis

annuitySome financial advisors assert that annuities are expensive, contrived insurance/investment combinations promoted by brokers who, according to The Motley Fool, “are getting rich with big commissions.” The site continues to bluntly state that “investors can generally do far better for themselves elsewhere.”

Suze Orman, financial advisor and television host, says that “not very many of us should be investing in annuities at all,” and that “there are reasons why they sometimes make sense, but there are even more reasons why they mostly do not.” However, even the most critical do recognize that annuities provide real benefits for some investors with unique needs.

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Airline Fees: 13 Best & Worst Airlines When Traveling in the U.S.

By Jacqueline Curtis

airline feesLast October, the members of my large family made their way back to Toronto, Ontario for Thanksgiving. After the week’s festivities, we all said goodbye and headed back to the airport. My family headed home, but one of my brothers was completely stonewalled when he went to check into his flight. The airline agent told him that his suitcase was not only going to cost him an extra fee, but new weight restrictions meant that his 45-pound suitcase was now considered “oversize.”

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6 Tips to Avoid DIY Home Improvement Disasters & Mistakes

By Jacqueline Curtis

diyThese days, you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a commercial for a home improvement store. And the commercials make it seem so easy: If you don’t like something about your house, a trip to the hardware store and an afternoon in your paint clothes should do the trick. After watching one of those commercials, you might end up getting the itch for a new paint color or to finally build the deck you’ve always wanted.

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Ride Sharing and Car Sharing – Cheaper Than Owning a Car?

By Brian Martucci

carsharing and ridesharingI own a car, a bike, and two legs. When the weather is nice and I need to run to my neighborhood store or get to an appointment in another part of the city, I walk or bike. If the weather’s bad and I’m not in a rush, I take public transportation. And if I need to buy a lot of stuff at the grocery store or make a suburban rendezvous, I use my own car.

Lately, for a variety of reasons, I’ve been driving less. But since I like to feel mobile and want to keep my transportation options open, I’ve been reluctant to get rid of my trusty automobile.

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Discover it® chrome Credit Card for Students – Review

By Christina Majaski

discover it chrome for studentsDiscover Card has included two new credit cards: the Discover it chrome and Discover it chrome for Students. The Discover it® chrome for Students includes features commonly found with Discover cards, such as the benefit of low fees and a rewards program for earning cash back on purchases.

However, the biggest difference between the Discover it for Students and the chrome version is that chrome offers a different and possibly better rewards program.

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Key Features

  • Fees. There is no annual fee for the Discover it chrome for Students card. The balance transfer fee is 3%. There is no foreign transaction fee.

Discover it® chrome Credit Card Review – 2% Cash Back on Gas & Groceries

By Christina Majaski

discover it chrome cardDiscover it® chrome is the newest addition to the Discover card family, providing an alternative to its current rewards card opportunities.

Chrome includes many of the benefits that Discover cards are known for, such as low fees and a slightly different reward structure than is standard for cash back on gasoline and grocery store purchases.

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Key Features

  • Fees. There is no annual fee. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the transfer. There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. Discover it chrome has an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. After that, the APR is 10.99% to 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and variations in the prime rate.

GE Capital Bank Review – Online Banking for Savings & CD Accounts

By Brian Martucci

ge capital bankFrom Ally Bank to Capital One 360, online banks have made FDIC-insured banking more accessible to regular consumers and business owners. Offering savings accounts and CDs – but not offering loans – GE Capital Bank is one such online bank. It’s worth noting that GE Capital Bank is distinct from GE Capital Retail Bank, which offers its own suite of products, including loans.

GE Capital Bank, which is headquartered in the Salt Lake City area, provides FDIC insurance – up to a maximum of $250,000 per individual – on its clients’ deposit accounts. It lacks physical bank branches, but enables its customers to bank online or over the phone.

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SoFi Review – Refinance Your Student Loans Peer-to-Peer

By Brian Martucci

sofi logoEven college graduates who find great jobs can struggle with debt for years after leaving school, especially if they have expensive private student loans. And, for borrowers who can’t make ends meet, it’s nearly impossible to discharge student debts in bankruptcy. The result is an unending cascade, possibly decades long, of financial repercussions.

Social Finance, Inc., known as SoFi, looks to change this glum reality. Using peer-to-peer lending between members of the public and qualified student borrowers, it provides student loan refinancing for graduates of more than 2,000 U.S universities. Recently, SoFi has also delved into peer-to-peer personal loans, mortgages, and primary student loan markets.

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FreshBooks Review – Online Invoicing Software for Painless Billing

By Brian Martucci

freshbooks logoIf you work as a freelancer or run your own small business, you probably can’t afford a full-time accountant – but you also can’t trust your finances to manage themselves. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. With about five million global users, FreshBooks is one of the most popular cloud-based accounting programs available. It provides intuitive, non-technical tools to help with invoicing, expense tracking, timekeeping, and basic project management.

FreshBooks has many competitors in the crowded online accounting space, including Kashoo, Zoho Books, Xero, and Wave. With versatile payment options and automated accounting functions, unlike some of its cheaper competitors, it’s especially useful for busy entrepreneurs who can’t afford to devote time to manual accounting activities.

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Are American Schools Failing? – How to Improve the U.S. Education System

By Michael Lewis

students classroomA headline in the December 2013 issue of The Atlantic claimed that American schools compared to the rest of the world – the members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – were “expensive, unequal, bad at math.” Their conclusion was based upon American student performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. Far East countries such as China, Korea, and Japan were top performers, while most European and Scandinavian countries ranked higher than the U.S. as well. Even the country’s former Cold War competitor, the Russian Federation, ranked higher than the United States in the assessment.

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9 Ways to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation – Spending Less When You Earn More

By Jacqueline Curtis

overspendingMany of us can think back to a time when the idea of making a steady salary and having “nice things” was a bit of a pipe dream. After my husband and I were married, he was working two jobs while we lived in a tiny basement apartment, shared a car, and ate a lot of ramen noodles. It was difficult to ever imagine anything different – we thought we’d be in that apartment forever.

Of course, fast-forward 10 years, a couple of kids, and two lucrative career paths later, and our newlywed lifestyle is a distant memory. As we’ve aged and improved our earning potential, we are now more concerned about mortgages and retirement savings than stretching our grocery dollar and making rent.

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