Is YOUR Employment Picture Brighter?

The most recent figures show that the rate of unemployment has dropped to 8.2%, down from a recession high of over ten percent.

That’s an impressive drop, but it is, after all, a statistic.

The real question might be, are the statistics real?

By “real” I mean do they accurately describe what people are actually seeing?

Is the improvement the product of government jobs programs, changes in the statistical count, or are most of the new hires part-timers at the Golden Arches?

Remember, that percentage you hear about is the OVERALL average unemployment.  Truth is, there are many areas and groups that have much higher unemployment numbers.

Below are some employment categories that I think tell more about the employment situation in America than the unemployment numbers.
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The $100 Startup Only72 Sale – Follow Your Passion and Make Money Doing It

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How do you answer “what do you do?” when you meet someone for the first time?  Do you give a sheepish answer?  Do you shrug off the question because you don’t truly love the work you do?

I’ve been in that position!

Ever wish you could start your career over?

Would you love to create your own business that you love?

Do you want to be your own boss?

Chris Guillebeau has travelled to over 175 nations.  He’s looking to visit every country on Earth.  Oh, and he’s only in his early thirties (in contrast, I’ve been to about 5 countries besides the U.S. and except for Canada, all the others are Caribbean tourist destinations).

That in itself is a pretty cool and interesting feat!

But how does he pay for all that travelling?

Well, Chris has a certain knack for taking his ideas and turning them into profit.

In his latest book The $100 Startup, Guillebeau culls together information from 50 case studies of individuals who have built businesses that earn $50,000 and more, many of which started out with $100 or less.

The book is a simple guide to help you find your own personal expertise that you can build a business into.  Read valuable lessons from other successful entrepreneurs and see how you can do the same.

Sounds like a pretty cool book, right?

It’s on my reading list and it’s not even out yet.

Only72 Sale

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Bank of America Mortgage to Lease Pilot Program

Although the foreclosure crisis is making far less headlines than it once did, it is still a big problem in America.

In fact, underwater mortgages are back to 2011 levels, currently at 11 million homes or 22.8% of all residential mortgages.

For those 11 million homeowners, an underwater mortgage represents an impossible financial situation to rectify because homeowners can’t sell their home but also can’t afford the payments and for most, it will likely be many years, at least, before they see the value of their home return if they see it at all in their lifetime.

When a homeowner can’t meet their mortgage obligation, the bank or mortgage lender holding the loan suffers because the bank still has to make the payment to the investors holding the loan.  These toxic loans aren’t draining the balance sheets of these large banks but it does affect profitability and that’s bad for business at a time when banks have underperformed the stock market since 2009.

For four years, banks have tried to get these bad loans off their books.
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President Obama Signs STOCK Act – No Congressional Insider Trading

If you’re a retail or individual investor you may feel like the little guy can’t win in the stock market.

The individual investor is a little fish in the vast ocean we call the world’s investment market and only the biggest of the investors can actually get ahead.

Many of us have said that in the past but we were hoping that it wasn’t true.  The market is supposed to be set up so everybody has the same information and although insider trading is difficult to police, some high profile cases over the past couple of years have made big investors a little less likely to share illegal information when others aren’t looking.

How does it make you feel to know that insider trading was not only legal, but your elected officials were taking part?

Thanks to the recent signing of the STOCK Act, or Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act, members of Congress can no longer profit from insider trading. Continue Reading

Visa® Black Card™ Review – A Luxury Card That’s Expensive But Full of Benefits

For years, American Express has had the luxury/executive card market to itself with its wildly successful Platinum Card®.  Visa® has entered the upscale luxury card market with its Black Card (the card is backed by Barclays Bank Delaware).

The Visa Black Card is working to differentiate itself from other credit cards with its appearance and exclusivity.

The Visa Black Card is made with carbon (no, you shouldn’t concern yourself with how a card looks but it is kind of neat that’s it’s carbon – maybe it could come in handy in a MacGuyver situation?).  Also, membership is limited in order to ensure top-quality service for members.  That’s a big distinction from most of the plastic credit cards on the market today.

Let’s take a look at the features and benefits that the Visa Black Card offers, shall we?

Visa Black Card Benefits

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Student Loan Debt Bubble – Is This Our Next Economic Crisis?

As if the student loan problem wasn’t already approaching crisis levels, it may get a lot worse.

In 2010 more than $100 billion worth of student loan debt was taken out, making the total amount that Americans owe for education now more than $1 trillion.

The average graduate leaves school with $25,250 in student loan debt and faces decades of payments.

Although the recent student loan reform may ease the burden by making it possible to lower the payments based on the borrower’s level of income, some students face loan payments that are higher than they would pay on a modest size home mortgage.
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What is Mortgage Amortization and How Does it Work?

Paying off a mortgage is an overwhelming task.

A mortgage is a big debt—almost as big as your house—so the best most of us can hope to do is to shorten the term by prepaying as much of the loan that we can as quickly as we’re able.

Why should we want to do that?

Owning your home free and clear is a good place to be.  You’re living in your home with no mortgage payment and that’s when saving money and life in general get easier.

But there’s something more.

The cumulative interest on mortgage loans makes your loan balance even bigger.

A mortgage of $200,000 will require nearly $350,000 in monthly payments over a 30 year period.  Anything you can do to shorten the term can save a lot of money.

What is Mortgage Amortization?

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