Say Goodbye to Paper Bonds, Say Hello to Electronic Bonds

You know those paper bonds that you got from Grandma and Grandpa as a kid?  Well kiss those goodbye!  Yup, as in non-existent.  It looks like the Treasury is being forced to make some serious cut backs and one of those cutbacks is physical United States savings bonds.  The Bureau of the Public Debt made this announcement on July 12, 2011.

The official date for a 100% phasing out of paper treasury bonds is slated for January 1, 2012 according to Treasury Direct.  Their goal is to save the US tax payer 70 million dollars over the course of five years with this new procedure.
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Rebates are a Sham and I Hate Them

Rebates, ahh yes, rebates.  They have to be the greatest “catch” of them all when it comes to buying products at a discounted price.  I’ll say it: rebates are a sham!  How many times have you really wanted something and written a check for a rebate thinking you’d see your money back soon but don’t?  Then you get the sinking feeling.  You realize that your money is now gone forever.  It really is a terrible feeling.  Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar for a lot of people out there. Continue Reading

Pay Off Debt or Save? That is the Question

If you’re a typical American, you probably have some sort of consumer debt and are actively saving your money either in stocks or in a general savings account.  Unfortunately, those two things don’t go hand in hand.  Deciding to pay off debt or boost you savings is a tough choice.  The best decision for you might not work well for someone else.  It is entirely dependent on where you are at financially.  Let’s dig deeper and take a look at some of the positives of each scenario: Continue Reading

Popular Honeymoon Spots on the Cheap

Big spending has dropped in popularity since the 2008 financial crisis.  The era of glamorous weddings and honeymoons appears to be over.  Engaged couples and newlyweds are downsizing to more affordable scenarios.  More couples are choosing to emphasize the emotional and conjugal aspects of marriage instead of focusing on “bling.”

Honeymoons have shifted from exotic, romantic locations to places that, while still beautiful and romantic, do not cost so much to travel to them.  Affordable honeymoon locations are more popular than ever.  Many of them serve their patrons well.  Couples can start a life together just as well if they stick to a budget when planning the trip.  Here are the top five most popular,cheap honeymoon locations. Continue Reading

What You CAN’T Hold in an IRA

We hear a lot about what we CAN hold within our individual IRA accounts, but never anything about what we CAN’T hold within them.  A Roth IRA or Traditional IRA is an appealing financial vehicle since you have a wide range of choices versus something like a 401(k) plan where you are limited to a number of mutual funds to pick from.  We all know that investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, ETF’s, and annuities can be held within an IRA.  The list goes on and on but you should be aware of the types of investments that are barred from these accounts.  Watch out for the following investments, since they’re not allowed in a tax deferred retirement account!

What you can’t hold in an IRA:

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How to Avoid Buying a Used Car Lemon

It was the summer of 2010.  I had just graduated college and had saved up a down payment for my dream car, a 2004 Acura TL.  I had researched the heck out of that car and it came out on top whenever I compared it to other vehicles.  I was on a mission to get my used car and no one was stopping me!

At first, I tried the used car dealerships.  A found a couple that I loved but my excitement about the cars overtook my common sense.  I narrowed it down to two cars and brought my Dad to help me look and check for warning signs.  At each of the cars we looked at, it took my Dad literally less than five seconds to tell me the car was a lemon.  I was in denial!  How could these cars be lemons!  As it turns out, my Dad spotted spray paint near the bottom of the doors.  Also, when we asked the dealers about maintenance records, they didn’t exist.  According to my Dad, these were signs that we were looking at a lemon.
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Playing the Retirement Catch-Up Game in Your Forties

So, you’re in your forties and have little to no retirement savings.  “What shall I do?” you ask yourself.  First thing you need to do is not lose hope.  You have a challenge ahead of you but you can win this battle.  It’s something I like to call “Retirement Catch-Up.”  At its core, it’s a fairly simple game.  You have a certain time horizon and need a certain amount you need before you can retire.  With the proper knowledge, anyone can win this game.

Here’s you have a sort of “cheat sheet” to win the retirement catch-up game:

Max out your 401(k) plan immediately

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