12/1/2009 - Loans between family and friends can get complicated
When your best friend views your nest egg as a source of start-up funds for his latest business venture, or your nephew hits you up for a car loan, your first impulse may be to reach into your bank account to help. But it's a fact that loans to family and friends often end up straining both finances and relationships. As Shakespeare said, "Loan oft loses both itself and friend." In other words, if you lend money to friends, you often don't get paid back and the friendship itself may disintegrate.
11/1/2009 - How to use credit cards wisely
Back in your grandfather's day, folks didn't have to worry about the ins and outs of adjustable rate mortgages, and credit cards. Such options simply weren't available, so when people wanted to buy something — a car, a house, furniture — they saved for it. Not so today. In today's microwave, fast food, gotta-have-it-now society, credit cards are widely available and widely used. Though credit (especially for larger purchases) is not as readily available as it was a few years back, many people still find at least one credit card offer a week in their mailbox.
10/1/2009 - Use caution when swapping vacation homes
If you're a vacationer considering alternatives to high-priced hotels — say you just want a place to hang your hat, prepare an inexpensive meal, and mingle with the locals — home swapping may be the ticket. For a few weeks you relinquish your house keys to another family and, in exchange, take up residence in their home — maybe in a different country, maybe elsewhere in the U.S.
9/1/2009 - Insuring your teen driver: How to control the cost
Your child is approaching 16 years old and for the past several years, he or she has reminded you (daily, it seems) of this inevitability. You, on the other hand, have been trying to expunge the thought that a teenager — a teenager! — will soon be driving one of your vehicles.
8/1/2009 - Women need to get serious about saving for retirement
Studies show that women often lag behind men when it comes to saving for retirement. That's especially troubling when you consider that, on average, women outlive men by three to seven years. One study, for example, found that a female retiring at age 65 can expect to live three years longer than a man retiring at the same age.
7/1/2009 - A Roth IRA is not always the best
If you want to contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement account that's outside your employer's plan, you have two main choices: the traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and the Roth IRA.
6/1/2009 - Should you pay off credit cards with a home equity loan?
One of Shakespeare's oft-quoted lines "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" is sage advice, especially for many cash-strapped Americans. But perhaps you haven't followed Shakespeare's wise counsel. If credit card payments are taking a big chunk from your paycheck, you may wonder if it's a good idea to use your home equity to consolidate high-interest credit cards into a more affordable monthly payment.
5/1/2009 - Streamline the cost of vacations and entertainment
Sometimes "luxuries," such as family trips and entertainment, get lopped off in the budget-slashing process. But we all need time to recharge, to have fun, to enjoy our families and friends apart from the daily grind. Without some of these so-called frills, we can work ourselves into ill health or just plain boredom.
3/1/2009 - Consider ways to streamline housing and food costs
These days many Americans are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Lost jobs, rising grocery prices, mortgage payments that adjust upward all can strain an already-limited budget. Here are tips for relieving some of that pressure in two important areas: housing and food.
2/1/2009 - It's time for an annual review
Financially speaking, 2008 was a real bummer for many Americans. Lots of us are licking our wounds, hoping the losses aren't as dismal as the press keeps proclaiming. If you're tempted to start a bonfire when those year-end investment statements arrive in the mail, you're not alone.
1/1/2009 - Check out the pros and cons of debit cards
Open your wallet and compare your debit and credit cards. Both probably sport a logo, an embossed account number, an expiration date and, of course, your name. Both may even come with the same nifty picture and background color. In fact, the only distinguishing characteristic may be that little word "debit" on the face of, you guessed it, your debit card.
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