If you’re a regular reader of financial websites, you’ve probably seen plenty of articles urging you to cut “unnecessary” expenses from your personal budget. And in many cases, if you read further, you learn that the unnecessary expenses the authors have in mind are luxuries, like coffeehouse lattes. Cutting out these “pointless” expenses, they argue, can save you thousands of dollars each year that you can put toward your long-term goals.
When most people hear the phrase “credit card rewards,” their minds immediately turn to cash back rewards. And why not? Flip on the TV, navigate to your favorite website, or drive around your hometown and you’re bound to see an ad for a cash back credit card before long.
Cash back credit cards are popular because they provide tangible, easy-to-understand benefits. Who doesn’t like getting a credit on their monthly credit card statement – or, better yet, actual cash deposited into the account of their choice?
Not all cash back credit cards are created equal though.
Looking for employment when you are over 50 years of age can be a humbling experience. Although you have amassed a lifetime of knowledge in your profession, it can feel like you have two strikes against you.
Age bias is something very difficult to prove, and focusing on it can be extremely counterproductive – therefore, rather than becoming angry or depressed, take the proactive route and do something about it. With a few changes to your approach, resume, social media presence, and self-image, you can make yourself the front-runner, even among younger candidates.
1. Update Your Skills
For most Americans, housing is the single biggest expense in their personal budget. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends more than 30% of its after-tax income on housing expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, and furnishing. For single people, the figure climbs to more than 40% of after-tax income.
One way to reduce this cost is to share housing expenses with others. Doing this is one reason married couples tend to have lower expenses per person than single people. However, there’s another way to share housing expenses that’s open to both single and married people: cohousing.
According to a 2014 Gallup survey, 71% of Americans have at least one credit card – there are 2.6 active credit cards in circulation for every American man, woman, and child, including those who don’t use them. Americans who do use credit cards have an average of 3.7 active cards each. And that figure doesn’t account for bank-issued debit cards and prepaid debit cards, which leverage the same payment networks (such as Visa and MasterCard) as many credit cards.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency, or cryptocurrency, that’s controlled by a decentralized network of users and isn’t directly subject to the whims of central banking authorities or national governments. Although there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies in active use today, Bitcoin is by far the most popular and widely used – the closest cryptocurrency equivalent to traditional, state-minted currencies.
Like traditional currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, Bitcoin has value relative to other currencies and physical goods. Whole Bitcoin units can be subdivided into decimals representing smaller units of value. Currently, the smallest Bitcoin unit is the satoshi, or 0.00000001 Bitcoin. The satoshi can’t be broken into smaller units. However, Bitcoin’s source code is structured to allow for future subdivisions beyond this level, should the currency’s value appreciate to the point that it’s deemed necessary.
Cryptocurrencies, or virtual currencies, are digital means of exchange created and used by private individuals or groups. Because most cryptocurrencies aren’t regulated by national governments, they’re considered alternative currencies – mediums of financial exchange that exist outside the bounds of state monetary policy.
Bitcoin is the preeminent cryptocurrency and first to be used widely. However, hundreds of cryptocurrencies exist, and more spring into being every month.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies use cryptographic protocols, or extremely complex code systems that encrypt sensitive data transfers, to secure their units of exchange. Cryptocurrency developers build these protocols on advanced mathematics and computer engineering principles that render them virtually impossible to break, and thus to duplicate or counterfeit the protected currencies. These protocols also mask the identities of cryptocurrency users, making transactions and fund flows difficult to attribute to specific individuals or groups.
As the old saying goes, nothing is certain except death and taxes. Nobody really likes either one of these things – and when you put the two together, people hate the combination even more.
The best example of this is the federal estate tax. According to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), this tax raises about $246 billion for the Federal Government every year. Many politicians argue that this “death tax” should be reduced or even repealed completely – and many Americans seem to agree. For example, when NJ.com posed the question, “Should the estate tax be repealed?” to readers, 53% of them said yes.
Outsiders associate the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and Minnesota in general, with cold weather, funny accents, and perhaps the Target bullseye logo.
There are grains of truth in these cliches. Minneapolis-St. Paul is the coldest major metro area in the United States, according to The Weather Channel. Local modes of speech, particularly in rural areas, still bear the influence of the German and Scandinavian settlers who arrived in the late 19th century. And the region is home to many blue-chip corporations, including Target, General Mills, 3M, and UnitedHealth.
If you pick any 10 people at random off the street and ask them all whether they’d like to be rich, chances are all 10 will say yes. But if you ask those same 10 people what they mean by “rich,” you’re likely to get 10 different answers.
One person, perhaps, would say that a million dollars is enough to make you rich, while another would say that it takes 10 million. Still others would give answers that weren’t expressed in dollar terms at all. They’d say that wealth means having a big house, a boat, and a private jet – or maybe just a comfortable home and good health insurance.