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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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6 Stock Market Investing Tips & Guide for Beginners – Checklist

By Michael Lewis

stock market chartBernard Baruch, known as “The Lone Wolf of Wall Street,” owned his own seat on the New York Stock Exchange by age 30 and became of the country’s best known financiers by 1910. Mr. Baruch, while a master of his profession, had no illusions about the difficulties of successful stock market investing, saying, “The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.” According to Ken Little, author of 15 books on investing and personal finance topics, “If you are an individual investor in the stock market, you should know that the system stacks the deck in its favor.”

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What Is Nanotechnology – Examples, Future Applications & Risks

By Michael Lewis

nanotechnologyIn 1959, physicist Richard Feynman predicted a future in which scientists would, by manipulating atoms and molecules, be able to build materials and structures of higher strength, lighter weight, increased control of the light spectrum, and greater chemical reactivity.

Everything of a physical nature – human beings, plants, minerals, air – is composed of combinations of atoms and molecules bound together either by shape or electronic charge. Manipulating atoms on a nano-scale would theoretically allow humans to reproduce everything from diamonds to food.

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10 Bad Financial Habits You Need to Break to Get Out of Debt

By Jacqueline Curtis

debtWe all have our creature comforts – those habits that, for better or worse, we indulge on a daily basis. However, while a regular morning latte or a new pair of shoes might seem harmless, you’ve got to consider their effect on your bottom line. A dollar here and a dollar there add up over time – and, despite your efforts in other areas, they could be one of many reasons you’re still mired in debt.

Those of us who find ourselves experiencing chronic debt problems often share similar behaviors and financial habits. If you catch them early enough, you can avoid trouble. But even if you’re already in the red, recognizing and adjusting these behaviors can help you get back on track.

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What Is Your Investment Risk Tolerance – Definition & Questionnaire

By Michael Lewis

risk toleranceThe consequences of “financial risk” became apparent to many investors during the a two-year period from 2007 to 2009. The stock market (as measured by the Standard & Poor 500) plummeted from 1562.47 on October 10, 2007 to 752.44 on November 20, 2009. As a consequence, more than one-half of the retirement savings of many people were lost.

Many investors had saved money for years in order to enjoy a comfortable retirement – but as a result of the decline in stock values in that two-year period, workers were forced to delay retirement or accept a significant decrease in their expected standard of living. The S&P 500 did not regain its previous high level until the first week of April 2013.

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How to Find & Choose a Financial Advisor – 7 Things to Consider

By Michael Lewis

financial advisorChoosing a financial advisor is one of the more difficult tasks that a person will make. If the choice is made correctly, the benefits are incalculable. But if the choice proves to be wrong, the results can be disastrous for you and your family.

The following tips are intended to help you identify, evaluate, and choose a financial advisor that is familiar with the problems you face as an investor and can help you achieve your financial goals. With his or her knowledge of your personality and risk profile, your advisor can guide you safely through the morass of choices to those most likely to lead to success.

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10 Best Cities for Food Trucks and Quick, Cheap Eats

By Brian Martucci

food truckSome parts of the country have a longer relationship with food trucks – or their predecessors – than others. The first mobile kitchen, the chuckwagon, catered to cattle drivers on the High Plains of Texas and Oklahoma from the mid-19th century onwards. In urban areas, the first food carts sold hearty meals to third-shift workers, long after regular restaurants had closed for the night. New York’s ubiquitous hot dog carts are remnants of this past as well. And starting in the mid-20th century, taco trucks – serving cheap, homestyle food to the region’s booming Latino community – appeared in southern California cities.

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9 Reasons to Break Up With Your Bank – When Changing Makes Sense

By Jacqueline Curtis

bankMy husband and I have been mulling over a refinance over the last few months. Our mortgage was rolled over to Chase when Washington Mutual folded, and I’ve never really enjoyed the service. The clincher came when I called Chase to talk about options and interest rates. I did my homework: I checked rates online, pulled my credit report, and ran a quick home valuation so I could approach Chase with solid numbers. Unfortunately, the rate they offered me was nowhere near their best.

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6 Best Low-Risk Investments as You Near Retirement

By Michael Lewis

retirementWith age comes wisdom – or, at least, so those of us who are approaching the age of retirement hope. For many people, wisdom includes the recognition that prices of assets can go down as well as up, especially in the short-term. In addition, experience shows that markets do not always reflect underlying values, driven in the short-term more by emotion and psychology than by logic. History is full of companies who have gone public and enjoyed soaring stock prices, only to go bankrupt in the harsh light of economic reality.

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12 Ways to Volunteer Your Time and Give Back to the Community

By Michael Lewis

volunteering at a hospitalDo you feel a personal responsibility to help others? Randy Lewis, author of “No Greatness Without Goodness,” claims that all people, including businesses, have the responsibility to make the world a better place. In his case, he spearheaded a Walgreens initiative to hire the disabled. In the five years following his initiative, similar programs were sparked across America and Europe.

In June 2014, Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee cafe, announced a free online college program through Arizona State University for any employee working 20 or more hours per week. Duncan Campbell, an Oregon entrepreneur, started Friends of the Children to provide emotional and educational support to at-risk children, starting with kids in kindergarten and progressing with them through college. Of the kids involved, 83% graduate high school and 93% avoid juvenile hall for breaking the law.

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