Visa Clear Prepaid Card – Taking Part in the 30-Day Challenge

To experience the versatility and ease of my Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card firsthand, I planned and participated in a 30-day challenge, sponsored by Visa Clear Prepaid and Green Dot, that required me to pay for my day-to-day expenses with my prepaid debit card. The Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card is one of the prepaid cards in the Visa Clear Prepaid program, which helps alleviate stress in choosing and using a prepaid card. Cards meeting the Visa Clear Prepaid standards provide you with transparency and consumer protections. Here’s how it went:

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Radon in Your Home – Symptoms, Mitigation Systems & Cost

radonRadioactive gas seeping through porous building foundations and threatening residents’ health sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s something that homeowners in many parts of North America should legitimately worry about.

The culprit is radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the soil and bedrock underlying huge swathes of the continent. According to the EPA, radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. It’s the second most common cause of lung cancer overall (after smoking) and the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

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How to Find a Tailor for Clothing Alterations – Cost & Benefits

alterationsThere’s nothing so frustrating as having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Maybe you’ve lost a few pounds, and pants that once fit you like a glove now fit more like a saggy diaper. Or maybe you have a whole stack of shirts that you bought because they were such great bargains, but every time you try them on you remember that the sleeves are too long or they gape open between the buttons. Perhaps you even have a few garments lurking in your closet that were the height of fashion when you bought them, but now they make you look like you’re stuck in the past.

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Career Advice: 5 Keys to Job Promotions, Raises & Bonuses

businessIn 1931, historian James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream as the “dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” The growth of America’s middle class, especially after World War II, seemed to validate the premise that wealth and security were within the grasp of anyone who worked hard. Between 1945 and 1979, gross domestic product growth averaged 10.69% a year, and the number of families in the middle class exploded. According to figures from the Economic Policy Institute, productivity and worker compensation grew together until 1979 when the link between productivity and wages and salaries was severed. For decades, the formula worked.

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How to Make an Offer on a House – Tips & Strategies

house for saleOnce you’ve located the perfect house for you and your family, it is time to prepare an offer. The offer is the foundation of real estate transactions, and upon review, the seller will either accept or decline your bid. It includes basic information, such as the location and physical description of the property, the proposed price, down payment information, and stipulations. It goes without saying that preparing a real estate offer is anything but easy. For this matter, it’s best (though not required) to work with a professional real estate agent.

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Top 10 Equity Crowdfunding Sites for Investors & Entrepreneurs

crowdfundingTranslating an innovative concept into a thriving business is a complicated and unpredictable proposition. For entrepreneurs without the resources to fund a startup out-of-pocket, it’s essential to secure adequate financing – often before the nascent company has any revenues – or even a marketable product – to speak of.

Traditional banks are often reluctant to fund vulnerable startups with what they perceive as unproven ideas. And though there are numerous nontraditional startup financing options, not all are suitable in all situations.

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What Is a Radiant Heating System – Costs, Benefits & Drawbacks

radiant heating systemOutside of tropical climates, every dwelling requires a reliable source of artificial heat. Depending on the type of dwelling, geographical location, and the property owner’s budget, heating systems take different forms: forced-air ducts connected to heat pumps or central furnaces, steam radiators connected to boiler units, electric baseboards, and electric space heaters that plug directly into wall sockets, to name several.

When the weather is cool, heat is a nonnegotiable expense, no matter what type of system you have. However, there are many ways to reduce your heating bills, such as installing a programmable thermostat or bulking up your home’s insulation.

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How to Create a Home Inventory for Insurance – Methods, Apps & Checklist

taking inventoryImagine that one night your house catches fire. You and your family escape unharmed, but by the time the fire is extinguished, there’s hardly anything left of the house or its contents.

Once you recover from your shock, you call your home insurance company to file a claim. The company tells you that in order to process the claim, they need a complete list of everything in the home you’ve lost with details, such as the age and estimated value of each item. Would you be able to come up with that list from memory?

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Buying an Old House? – Common Problems, Hidden Costs & Benefits

colonial homeAmerica has lots of old houses. According to HUD’s 2013 American Housing Survey, the average owner-occupied structure is about 37 years old. For reference, that’s higher than the U.S. median age.

In some parts of the country, the housing stock is far older. On average, owner-occupied housing in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania is more than 50 years old. Though there are exceptions to the rule, homes tend to be older throughout the Northeast and Midwest, and in urban cores across the country.

By contrast, newer homes and bona fide new construction homes are more common in Southern and Western cities in general, and in suburban and exurban communities across the country.

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How to Reduce or Avoid Capital Gains Tax on Property or Investments

capital gainsIn addition to paying income tax and payroll tax, individuals who buy and sell personal and investment assets must also contend with the capital gains tax system. If you sell one of these assets – such as vehicles, stocks, bonds, collectibles, jewelry, precious metals, or real estate – and you sell it at a gain, you’ll pay a capital gain tax rate on some of the proceeds.

Capital gain rates can be just as high as regular income taxes. Therefore, it’s worth exploring every possible strategy to keep these taxes at a minimum.

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