Generation 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.
By Valencia Higuera
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.
By Jacqueline Curtis
Anytime 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.
If 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.
By Michael Lewis
Malcolm 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.”
By Mary McCoy
Even 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.
By Michael Lewis
On 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.
I 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.
By Larisa Redins
QR codes – or “quick response” codes – are two-dimensional bar codes originally used by Japanese car manufacturers for a variety of purposes, including quality control and keeping track of inventory. However, marketing professionals eventually came to the realization that these codes could allow consumers to interact with a particular product or brand via their smartphones. Now QR codes are generally used for promotional purposes, linking smartphone users to promotional offers, websites, email addresses, phone numbers, and other text.
By Mary McCoy
No matter your background, it’s likely that you’ve experienced a mixture of triumph and hardship in your life. Life is sprinkled with joyous occasions such as weddings and births, as well as heartaches like divorces and deaths. In between the highs and lows, much of the human daily experience is full of the mundane: commuting to and from work, doing the dishes, and shopping for groceries. All of these experiences elicit emotions that range from joy to sorrow to boredom.
By Brian Martucci
Since March of 2009, the stock market has been on a tear. All three major U.S. indices have at least doubled their value, and retirement investors – not to mention those who make their living off the market – are breathing a long, collective sigh of relief. On paper, much of the damage of the late-2000s financial crisis has been undone.
However, many investors learned the hard way the value of diversifying their portfolio with low-to-moderate risk investment vehicles that provide an compromise between security and return on investment, or ROI.
By Christina Majaski
Student credit cards are designed to assist college students with little or no credit history in getting somewhat of a jump on building their own credit. However, in order to avoid establishing bad spending habits and lifetimes of debt, these cards need to be low-fee, low-interest rate credit cards – which is not always possible with cards that also provide rewards programs. The Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus succeeds in addressing these needs.
- Sign-up Bonus. When you are approved for the Discover it for Students card and make your first purchase within 3 months, you receive a $20 cash back bonus.
By Brian Martucci
Capital One is a well-known financial institution that made its name in the credit card business. Capital One 360, one of its major divisions, offers a related, if less sexy, suite of products: online banking and personal lending services. If you’re not satisfied with the brick-and-mortar banking options in your area – or you want to cast as wide a net as possible during your search for an attractive mortgage – then this institution should be on your radar.
By Kira Botkin
The eSmart Tax service, previously called CompleteTax, was purchased in early 2013 by Liberty Tax Service and subsequently renamed. However, despite the change in name, the eSmart Tax online tax filing software remains largely the same product, designed to help you file your taxes online for a low price. If your tax filing is relatively simple, eSmart Tax can help you file for free. However, more complicated tax situations cost more, and you may find that some of your forms aren’t supported.
eSmart Tax offers three versions at different price points that address situations from simple to moderately complex.
If you were one of the 8.5 million viewers who sighed when the latest season of “Downton Abbey” came to an end, join the club – I’m a diehard fan. Blame it on my love for all things British and the amazing costumes – and, of course, the juicy storyline and gasp-inducing plot twists as well.
But while “Downton Abbey” might simply be seen as a bit of fun for a Sunday night, I’ve noticed a recurring theme that colors literally every part of the show, characters, and plot: money. After all, the entire premise of the show is to prove that between the “have” and the “have nots,” everyone has their own challenges. With this in mind, I started watching the show with renewed interest in the theme of money and financial security.