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How Much Can I Afford for a New Car? – 4 Things to Consider

By Valencia Higuera

buying a carIf your current vehicle is on its last leg, or if you’re simply ready for something different, it might be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new car. That said, buying a new car isn’t some small, insignificant purchase.

There are many costs that inflate a car’s expense beyond the simple ticket price. You want to make sure the car you buy is one you can actually afford, so before you sign and drive, make sure you fully understand the costs of buying a car.

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Pros & Cons of Owning and Managing Rental Properties

By Mary McCoy

rental propertyThe idea of fuss-free income beckons many people into owning and managing rental properties, such as apartments, duplexes, guest homes, and even large houses. From the outside looking in, it appears that property owners simply sit back and collect rent checks on the first of each month, with little additional work. On paper, it’s a lazy (or savvy) worker’s dream come true.

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10 Best Ways to Make Money from Home (Legitimate)

By Suzanne Kearns

woman work homeWith job postings still scarce, job security dissipating, and wages seemingly stagnant at best, many people are trying to establish some security by creating multiple streams of income. It’s a smart strategy, but if you have trouble leaving your home or primary position to get to a second job, you’ll find yourself frustrated and stressed out.

Perhaps you’re raising kids and you’re committed to not using daycare. Maybe you’re a little older and can’t commit to a full-time job. Or you might be injured or disabled, making it difficult for you to leave your home each day. Whatever your reason is, if you’re stuck at home most of the day, you’ve probably thought about the income you could be making by taking a work-from-home job or running your own business.

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Sharebuilder Review – Discount Broker for Long-Term Automatic Investing

By Brian Martucci

sharebuilderThe Internet age has radically changed the nature of investing, giving rise to low-cost online brokerages that cut out the middleman and allow nonprofessional retirement investors to buy and sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, options, futures, and commodities. Sharebuilder is one such online brokerage.

As one of the oldest online trading platforms, Sharebuilder has been in operation for nearly 20 years, and is now a subsidiary of Capital One 360. Like other brokerages, Sharebuilder is a member organization of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a public corporation that compensates investors for losses of cash and securities in the event that their brokerage declares bankruptcy. SIPC provides $250,000 in insurance for cash balances held in your brokerage account, and $500,000 in insurance for securities, with a total insurance cap of $500,000 in combined cash and securities.

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Top 6 Ways to Sell Your Home Without Hosting an Open House

By Dan Rafter

house for saleHolding an open house has long been part of the home-selling process. The problem is, open houses no longer work – and real estate agents know this.

A survey conducted by Inman News reported that 62.6% of real estate agent respondents said that the now discontinued Realtors Nationwide Open House Weekend provided them with an opportunity to market themselves to potential buyers and sellers. However, only one out of every five respondents said the event was a good way to connect buyers and sellers. Essentially, this means that many agents rely on open houses only to sell themselves – and not their clients’ homes.

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8 Home Buying Tips to Learn from HGTV’s “House Hunters”

By Jacqueline Curtis

house huntersIf there’s one show that I chain-watch the most, it’s “House Hunters.” Seeing hopeful would-be homeowners search for the property of their dreams gets me every time – and because of my obsessive watching, my husband is now hooked too.

In each episode of “House Hunters,” a person or couple looking to purchase a home meets with a real estate agent and offers a budget and a list of must-haves. The agent then takes the hunters to three different properties, where they have the opportunity to explore and discuss each one’s pros and cons. At the end, the hunters pick which house they want, and the audience is treated to a quick post-purchase update.

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Limitations of Human Senses & Memory – 7 Commonly Held Illusions

By Michael Lewis

memoryMagicians and con-men have known for centuries how to deceive, seduce, and exploit audiences and individuals to their benefit. Francis Bacon, 16th century philosopher, scientist, and author, said, “Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.” We are willing victims, even active accomplices, in the regular misinterpretation of the world around us, often to our dismay and sometimes to our harm.

In fact, neuroscientists are just beginning to unravel the secrets of the brain – how we see the world, and how we remember details of events and environments. This can help us understand the hidden feelings that color our decisions and drive our actions, which in turn can help us make better decisions.

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How to Deal With an Elderly Parent’s Remarriage – Resolving Issues

By Michael Lewis

elderly coupleGeneration Xers are beginning to turn the corner, midway between their teens and retirement. Now in their late 30s and early 40s, they have lived through three recessions, 9/11, and culture wars amidst starting families, buying homes, and struggling to repay student loans. For most of their lives, they’ve been on the short end of the stick, facing unemployment and moving back home to live with parents, but the tides are turning economically and socially.

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5 Ways to Stay Within Your Budget When Buying a House

By Valencia Higuera

home on a budget A house is likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. And if you’ve waited a long time for this day to come, you’ve undoubtedly thought about the features you desire – maybe you’re craving a huge master bedroom with walk-in closets, or perhaps a gourmet kitchen.

While you don’t want to skimp on the amenities you love, adding too many can drive up the cost and destroy your budget. By thinking about your long-term financial goals and assessing your budget before you buy, you can score the home you want without experiencing buyer’s remorse.

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10 Cheap & Frugal Celebrities – Lessons You Can Learn About Money

By Jacqueline Curtis

leonard dicaprioAnytime you page through the latest issue of a tabloid magazine, you receive a lesson in excess: celebrities frolicking on expensive vacations, wearing thousands of dollars in designer clothes, and driving the latest must-have $100,000 SUV. Of course, it’s expensive to maintain that Hollywood image, so it’s never too surprising to hear about celebrities going bankrupt after their 15 minutes of fame are up.

But just because the majority of celebs are spending money like the gravy train is in perpetual motion doesn’t mean that all A-listers follow suit. In fact, there is a group of celebs in Hollywood known for their frugal way of life, even when it’s clear that they’re rolling in dough.

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How to Dye Your Hair at Home – 9 Tips to Get Salon-Quality Color

By Jacqueline Curtis

hair coloringIf you’re like me, you just don’t have three hours to sit in a salon chair to get your hair cut and colored. After realizing that a professional-looking treatment isn’t very hard to copy – and in the interest of saving my time, money, and sanity – I set about perfecting my home hair coloring technique. At first, it may seem like a recipe for disaster, but if all you’re doing is covering up grays or making minor changes to shade, you’re a prime candidate for home coloring.

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Importance of Community Banks and How They’re Threatened by Dodd-Frank

By Michael Lewis

bankMalcolm Holland, president of $650 million Veritex Community Bank in Dallas, Texas, worries about the future of community banks as a result of increasing federal regulations and growing compliance costs. His concern is based upon the increasing expansion of federal rules that limit the flexibility of community bankers to meet the needs of their customers: “Community banks need to be creative because small business is creative. If we can’t meet the needs of small business – the core of our business – the economy as we’ve known it will cease to exist.”

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How to Get a Mortgage Loan If You’re Self-Employed With Fluctuating Income

By Mary McCoy

home mortgage optionsEven with tighter regulations on property financing, folks with “normal” income from an employer can be approved for a home mortgage loan fairly easily. You simply have to prove that you have steady paychecks, a credit score of 640 or above, and enough money in the bank to cover your down payment.

However, if you’re a business owner or are self-employed, qualifying for property financing isn’t as simple. Regardless of your income, new federal regulations require self-employed individuals to jump through a number of hoops to obtain home loans, which means you may need to think outside the box to find the financing you need.

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Understanding the Impact of a Federal Minimum Wage Increase

By Michael Lewis

minimum wageOn February 11, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum pay for workers employed by companies that have federal contracts. The pay per hour would be lifted from $7.25 to $10.10 and go into effect on January 1, 2015.

As might be expected, the move ignited a fire storm of dueling statistics and questionable conclusions from both sides of the political spectrum. Consequently, the average American is likely confused about who the order affects and its potential impact on the economy.

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7 Affordable Spring Clothes & Accessories for Women

By Jacqueline Curtis

springtimeI grew up in Toronto, Ontario, and I can vouch that whatever you’ve heard about Canadian winters is absolutely true. They’re harsh, cold, and can feel never-ending. And of course, there’s always that one gorgeous day in March that makes you uncharacteristically optimistic about the arrival of spring, only to collapse back into winter the very next day.

Whether you need to dress professionally or casually, trying to match your style to the unpredictable mood swings of Mother Nature can leave you feeling frustrated. Learning to transition your wardrobe to warmer weather when the seasons are slow to change is essential.

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