All About Free Online Checking Accounts – Why Pay More Fees Than You Have To

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Don’t you hate it when you look at your checking account and see less money there because of fees you were charged?

And isn’t it annoying when you look at the requirements of checking accounts of many traditional/brick and mortar banks?  (Are you checking the requirements?  Gotta ask.)

They say they have free checking but you have to fulfill a maze of requirements: have a direct deposit with them, have an account balance of at least X for the month, stay under Y transactions… It’s hard to keep up!

blank_checkSo what options are out there?  Free online checking accounts!

As technology and the internet have grown, companies have stepped up and recreated the wheel, so to speak.  A number of banks have introduced free online checking accounts that are easy to use and full of features.

And because these companies are online and don’t have to manage physical bank locations, they can offer their customers more benefits such as higher interest rates, cash back rewards, and free services like bill pay – all nice bonuses in addition to a free online checking account.

Are you not with me yet?  Fine.  Understand that there are many checking accounts out there that are chock full of serpentine fees just waiting to suck your hard-earned money out.

These Are some Common Checking Account Fees You Want to Avoid

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Would You Continue to See Your Doctor If He Stopped Taking Insurance?

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After I graduated from grad school, I paid my teaching dues by working as an adjunct instructor at three different community colleges and working part-time at a social services office. 

The pay for all of the jobs was lousy, and I had no health insurance.

I wasn’t brave enough (or stupid enough, depending on your view), to go without health insurance completely.  I paid for a catastrophic insurance policy that was fairly low cost, but would only pay for incidents over $5,000.  I was sick a few times that year, and though I would have liked to have gone to see the doctor, I simply didn’t have the money to pay for the entire doctor’s visit myself.

Unfortunately, many others are in this same position.

The Health Insurance Crisis

When we think about the health insurance crisis, we often think about those without insurance or those who go bankrupt thanks to outrageous medical bills.

As consumers, what we often fail to see is the flip side can be just as frustrating for doctors.
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iPhone 5S Sells Out While Blackberry Posts a $1 Billion Loss and Links

What a contrast.

Apple’s hyped iPhone 5S sold out within 24 hours of being launched and won’t be available until October at the earliest. (Supply chain problems, anyone?)

Meanwhile Blackberry, the former smartphone heavyweight, posted a $1 billion loss and announced it will be cutting 40% of its global workforce.

Will Apple be able to avoid the similar fate?  Despite selling out the iPhone 5S many critics have been unimpressed with Apple’s ability to truly innovate the iPhone.  Perhaps that is natural as there is only so much you can do with a smartphone, but where will the next blockbuster product come from?

Don’t sit back on your previous success like Blackberry did. You need to constantly push forward with your finances. Here are some good reads to encourage you to do just that:

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The Trick’s On You If You Pay Too Much For Halloween Costumes!

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Halloween is great fun!  I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite holidays.

Here’s the one holiday where you are allowed to dress up and go around asking people for candy.  And they give it to you!

I remember how exciting it was going around town in my Halloween costume, getting candy from all of the neighbors.  Some years I would really score.  We’d go visit my grandparents in the Bronx and go up and down their apartment building visiting as many doors as I could (don’t worry, the grand’rents and the ‘rents made sure all the candy was good to eat).

And do you remember those old Halloween costumes?

You know the ones that came in a box and it was made up of a thin plastic mask with eye holes that hurt and the mask would be full of sweat before long (because it was a big piece of plastic covering your face) and it was held onto your head with an elastic string with a couple of staples that usually didn’t last the night and the body of the costume was a plastic sack-like piece you climbed into which also didn’t make it through the night?

Those were great!

I remember one year I was Chewbacca and another I was Yoda ( I remember terrorizing my younger sister with those masks too.  I was such a stinker!).  I’m sure I was Superman and Batman as well.

I love being able to go through all that now through the eyes of my kids.

But have you seen the price of Halloween costumes these days?!?
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4 Obamacare Essentials You NEED to Know

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The provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — sometimes referred to as Obamacare — have been phasing in for a few years now.

The biggest provision affecting consumers, though, is the requirement to purchase individual health insurance.  That mandate doesn’t kick in until 2014.

But guess what?  2014 is just around the corner.

If you don’t have health insurance coverage in 2014, you will have to pay a fine, unless you qualify for an exception.  Before 2014 arrives, it’s a good idea to understand how all of this works.

Here are 4 essentials you need to know about Obamacare:

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My Employer Offers Life Insurance, Is That Enough For Me?

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Life insurance is one of the most critical pieces of financial insurance you can buy.

No amount of money will bring you back from an untimely death, but if your family is reliant on your income then going without it puts them at grave risk if you suddenly pass away.

The best option for most people is to buy a term life insurance policy for a minimum of 5 years worth of your annual income; 10 years or more is preferred.

But sometimes those polices can seem out of reach or simply inconvenient to get.

I’m not saying inconvenience is a legitimate excuse (you can buy a policy online and they will send a nurse to your home to the medical exam!), but it is one nonetheless.  Sometimes cost keeps us from buying the life insurance policy we really need, too.

Many people instead opt for their employer’s life insurance.

Using that life insurance is generally easier and more affordable because you are part of a group plan.  The cost can be taken straight out of your check so you never feel the impact of the insurance on your budget.  Your employer may even pay for your coverage, or at least part of it.

However, relying solely on your employer’s life insurance is fraught with danger.

Why Your Employer’s Life Insurance Isn’t Enough

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Apple Hype Machine Preps for September 10th Launch of iPhone 5S and Links

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The Apple Hype Machine has been running like a well-oiled machine for the past few weeks.

Leaked photos and videos.  Sneak peaks at new refinements to iOS and the iPhone.  Hints at new iPads.

Apple is running into a problem, however.

The prices of smartphones — good smartphones — keeps dropping.  The Google/Motorola team wants to push phone prices down.  There is a discussion that Amazon might give away their future smartphone to get users plugged in to the Amazon ecosystem.

Yet Apple remains stalwart in charging $649 to $849 for off-contract iPhones depending on the amount of memory provided.  That’s why Apple is all announcing something called the iPhone 5C.  It’s a — gasp — plastic version of the iPhone.  Plastic hasn’t been used since the iPhone 3/3G, and it is one of the things that Apple fans have made fun of Samsung for forever.

But Apple needs to reach the lower end of the market to continue to grow, and plastic is cheaper than the shiny metal used in the premium iPhone devices.  Will users bite or will they prefer to get a used premium iPhone on eBay or other marketplaces?

Are you planning to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone this month? Is that part of your financial plan? These articles will help guide you on your plan:

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