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Is using credit cards good or bad. That IS the question. Credit card debt is of course a bad thing. But what if you pay off your balance every month and earn reward points. Credit cards can be a good thing if used properly… right?
In this clip from the Dave Ramsey show, Josh asks Dave what the problem is with credit cards when he pays off the balance every month.
Since 1985, college tuition rates have skyrocketed, rising 2.5 times faster than inflation, according to Forbes magazine. As a result, prospective college students are facing tough choices when it comes to choosing a school. Although the average college graduate still makes $15,000 more annually compared to someone holding a high school diploma, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the value of a college degree depends on career goals and other factors.
Assess Your Career Goals
While some students are undecided about their final career trajectory when entering college, it’s a good idea to have concrete plans or goals. Think carefully about what you want to do with your life and the type of salary you’ll command. For example, someone planning to become a public school teacher in Oregon will make an average starting salary of $33,617, according to the National Education Association. Choosing to attend a private college and take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt may not make sense. In contrast, a student who becomes a chemical engineer commands an average starting salary of $65,618. This makes a competitive private college with a strong engineering program an attractive choice.
Consider Financial Aid
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average private college costs $33,617, while the average four-year public institution costs $13,564. However, the full sticker price for each does not necessarily reflect the amount of debt that students actually take on. Many private institutions have large endowments that allow them to be generous with need-based and merit-based financial aid, lowering the effective cost of attendance. For example, 90 percent of students who attend Harvard University pay the same or less than they would at a four-year public school because the university provides large amounts of financial support. In many cases, it’s worth applying to a school to see what financial aid package it offers before making your final choice.
Examine the Opportunities
Certain universities have reputations that smooth the way for internships, job interviews or applications to professional schools. For example, if you’re planning to attend law school, inquire about the law school placement rates at your prospective college and make decisions accordingly. For many individuals, however, choice of school does not have a substantial impact on their ability to get a job or attend graduate school. Certain programs, like accounting and finance degrees online, require taking a certification or licensing examination upon completion of the coursework that evens the playing field. For those programs, shelling out for an expensive private school may not make sense compared to an online degree program with high CPA exam pass rates.
Look at Graduation Rates
Examining graduation rates is an important part of making a college decision. A private school may costs more but has a larger percentage of students graduating in four years. In contrast, students attending a less expensive public university may take longer to graduate. In New York, for example, only 58 percent of students entering public institutions graduated within six years, compared to 69 percent in private schools. Even at a public school with relatively low tuition rates, taking more than four years to graduate can cause dramatic increases in debt.
Karen was interested in so many subjects in college, it took her seven years to graduate. She is putting her varied interests to work as a freelance writer, covering a number of topics. She doesn’t like to be pinned down to any one thing.
This newsletter is not to be confused with Grocery Store Wars. You see, this isn’t about the battle to see what gets on the shelves.
This is about the battlefield that exists in your mind. Stay tuned. Your shopping experience may not be what you think it is.
Get this complete step-by-step fully illustrated guide on how to create your own renewable energy sources in your own backyard!
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Originally posted 2012-09-30 17:26:09.
This question has been asked so many times, “Which is better, Debt Snowball or Debt Avalanche?” I have seen some heated debates on this, and that by itself I find really interesting. So to put an end to all of the controversy, I will do a newsletter on which one of these “magic” plans are really the best, and in the end, I will show you a revolutionary method that will beat both!
In the FYMO Resource Center, you will find resources to help you reprogram your mind, build wealth, achieve health, and most importantly, fight for what little freedoms you have left!
Originally posted 2009-08-31 03:00:10.
Could Your Spending be Out of Control Because You’re an Addict?
Shopaholic is a fairly throwaway term, it even features in the title of a series of novels and a comedy film, but could there be a darker truth to this jokey admission? Could your spending be out of control because you’re addicted to consumerism in the same way that a heroin addict is to their next fix or an alcoholic to booze? Some people certainly think so, and they’re serious people. Peter Whybrow is a director of the UCLA Semel Institute on Neuroscience and Human Behavior and his book, “American Mania: When More Is Not Enough” diagnoses the problem.
You Can’t Buy Happiness
Dr Whybrow is a particular expert on bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression) and has previously written on depression and other mental health disorders. Whybrow’s thesis is that while Americans can buy almost anything they want and strive to improve their financial health throughout their lives, many of us struggle to find real, long-term happiness and contentment.
Our brains are very ancient machines. They are fantastic, adaptable things that have helped us create societies of enormous complexity, but they evolved around 200,000 years ago when their chief purpose was to keep the body alive in a world of scarce resources and constant competition and threat. Putting this system into an economic context where there is almost no limit on the products available could be leading us into addictive spending according to Whybrow.
A National Problem
Some reviewers of the book have taken its prime theory to be applicable to not just individuals, but to the whole American economy. Religions have generally made some sort of restraint on acquisitive behavior part of their core message, possibly in acknowledgement of this historic problem. Governments however, do not major on restraint. This could be leading America to seek more power and influence than it can really afford, dooming the nation to same demise as previous great empires have suffered – overreaching military ambition and too much comfort at home are simply costing too much. It’s not just in the States either. British psychologist, Oliver James, has written on what he calls Affluenza, a sickness of the mind produced by rampant consumerism and which he finds in almost all developed economies. The extent to which shopping can be medically diagnosed as an addiction will always be controversial. Labelling behaviors such as indulging in casual sex or compulsively gaming addictions puts them on the same level as substances which have a physical hold on their users, like alcohol and heroin. However, psychologists certainly recognize the problem and offer treatment just as they would for any addiction. Low self-esteem is likely to be at the root of the problem for many sufferers of what is called oniomania.
A Way Ahead
Addictive consumption then is likely to make you unhappy, it’s also going to contribute to financial problems. Relatively easy credit has helped fuel consumer booms in recent times and the collapse of that credit led to the financial crash of 2008. If you are spending too much and you feel out of control of your credit cards, what can you do? You could try counselling of course, or see a psychologist. A recent British study tried making use of a form of meditation called mindfulness to help replace the buzz found in purchasing and purchasing. It’s a treatment that has been used with some success in treating other addictions.
You have to wonder about the health of a society which now supports a website to track the deaths and injuries on its biggest discount day, Black Friday. This year, the hashtag #WalmartFights started trending on Twitter as the battle for cheap goods became physical and violent. BlackFridayDeathCount.com does exactly what it says, fortunately in 2013 there were no deaths to report. This year the Black Friday openings were shifted to Thanksgiving itself, and while no one lost their lives, a man was shot by police in Chicago, a Las Vegas shopper was robbed at gunpoint on his way home from the sales, and a police officer had his wrist broken in a fight in a queue in a Californian Walmart. Workers protested too – if the stores open, that’s the end of Thanksgiving for them.
Car shopping can be pretty low on your list of things you enjoy doing, probably somewhere above “major surgery” but below “being chewed on by small animals.” Buyers face plenty of questions and paperwork, costly decisions to make, plus a concern about the integrity of the salesman.
Plenty of great dealers exist, but some, like a Missouri dealer who used customers’ financial information to get secure loans to the tune of $170,000 to buy other cars, can make them all look bad. He was charged with 17 theft-related felonies and faced 40 years in prison. A fake New Mexico dealership promoted itself with a classy looking website and took customer deposits, but it had no physical location and no cars.
So what can prospective customers do to make sure they’re not taken for a ride while they’re searching for a new ride?
Start with finding dealers affiliated with the Better Business Bureau, which shows the dealer is willing to follow BBB guidelines to help with customer disputes. Your state might have a Consumer Protection Division where you can evaluate companies’ reputations. Customers with little credit who are seeking loans can look for auto sellers that are willing to work with first-time and higher-risk borrowers.
Watch out for these tricks:
- Title Fraud: Some dealers might not own the cars they’re selling, which means they shouldn’t be selling them to you. In some cases, the dealer might not want to pay for the balance of the car’s last loan, thinking it’ll make it up by selling it to you. MSN Autos says this a common scam. Smart customers can beat it by asking to read the title to see who actually owns the car. If there is a loan against the car, you should require the dealer to pay it off.
- Bait and Switch: This one can take place when a dealership advertises a vehicle to lure you to the showroom and when you arrive, the salesman tells you it’s gone. “But take a look at this beauty over here…” he says. The best defense is to be patient yet firm and repeatedly say that you’re not interested in the offered choice. Even though the salesperson might be trying to steer you toward a particular car, you can maintain that it’s not what you want and go elsewhere.
- Hidden Fees. Buyers are often barraged with “extra” requests toward the end of the deal, like undercoating, extended warranties, oil changes and similar smaller-cost items that are easy to say yes to so everything can wrap up, but the costs add up. Some dealers add these items to the final invoice without asking. To avoid this, check the final invoice carefully before signing or say that you’ll consider adding these extras later rather than including it in the final price.
Todd is a Detroit native who blogs about the auto industry.
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When people say that America has become a litigious society, they say so with good reason. The United States Courts recorded over 350,000 civil lawsuit filings during 2011. Winning a lawsuit, however, is much easier said than done, and nine out of ten lawsuits are settled and never make it to court. Since you may only get a fraction of what you file for, when should you consider settling if you are a single parent or on a limited income?
Anyone who has watched television, picked up a phone book, or sat on a bus bench knows how easy it is to get in touch with an attorney who can help to win a suit or settle a case after a personal injury. Car crashes in the USA result in $100 billion dollars changing hands each year, according to the Center for Disease Control. A lawyer helps you to maximize the money you can get from your claim. Go to as many free consultations as your schedule allows in order to find the most experienced lawyer with the most successful track record of dealing with insurance companies and motor vehicle accidents. Remember that all tort attorneys work on contingency, so you need not put any money into the case. Likewise, remember that nothing is given in the legal world, so steer clear of any lawyer who makes promises like a sack of potatoes.
The Benefits Of Settling
A single parent or a person on a limited income may not think they have the financial resources to contest a settlement and get the money they feel they deserve. This can become even more stressful when there are medical bills but no health insurance on one party or the other, or even worse- no insurance at all. The Insurance Information Institution reports that some 14% of drivers have no insurance whatsoever. Is it worth it to enter into a lawsuit with someone who can’t even afford coverage? The decision to settle or not is never set in stone, but since the vast majority of cases do end up in a settlement (some ninety percent), you should be wary of a lawyer who wants to aggressively pursue a trial option.
Time And Money Management
When you need money now, you either need to settle now or take out a loan in order to pursue a lawsuit. A trial can last several years, with an appeal taking even longer to determine. When you believe you can capitalize upon your case by pursuing a lawsuit, consider taking out a legal loan in order to pay for expenses between now and the date of the findings. You can find loan funding information at AnyLawsuits.com, or other similar resources, in order to determine whether or not the advantage of pursuing a legal decision outweighs the money available immediately from a settlement. Remember that you may need to plan months or even years ahead when you budget out the costs of a civil claim.
Rick has been restoring old cars since he first learned how to turn a wrench. His pride and joy is a souped up 1966 Ford Mustang.
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Brought to you by Consumer Reporter, Asa Aarons. This video contains tips on how to save gas money. And while each way may save you a small amount, using all of them can add up to significant savings.
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Originally posted 2010-08-31 02:01:07.