What is Passive Investing?

For some, the idea of investing conjures up images of crazed traders on the floor of an exchange.

Others think of someone in a home, sitting in front of a computer screen, desperately trying to time the exact best time to buy — and then to sell.

These images, and the idea that you have to be on top of all the market movements and news, discourage many from investing.

Not all investing is a short-term attempt to profit, though.

Indeed, many investors are passive investors, doing very little to actively manage their portfolios.  Think investing in a tax-advantaged retirement account like a 401(k) or an IRA.

A passive investment doesn’t have to be all about your retirement account, though.  Anyone can be a passive investor and come out just fine in the end.

Definition of Passive Investing

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How to Avoid Investment Scams

We all want to make more money.

And, for many, the dream is to make money quickly and with a minimal amount of work.  This is why investing is such a popular method of making money.

If you take a measured approach, you should be able to regularly invest in carefully chosen stocks, index funds or some other boring investment, and, over time, amass a reasonable amount of wealth as you receive returns on your investment.

Many people, though, don’t want to take the measured approach.

There are stories of people making money fast by choosing the right investment, at the right time.

How many of us regular folks harbor the dream of, perhaps, taking $10,000 in capital and turning it quickly and painlessly into ten times that amount?

The unfortunate truth is that investments that promise such riches, fast and easy, are usually scams.

Does that Investment Send Up Red Flags?

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Education: Your Hedge Against Inflation

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Every now again, we hear about inflation, and the way it erodes your earning power.

As prices rise, you either have to earn more money, to keep pace, or you have to cut back on your spending so that you aren’t using as much of your money.

Most people prefer to look for better returns.

The right investments, or leveraging your money on low-rate loans to position yourself for the future, can help you make the most of your money now and hedge against inflation.

However, you can also hedge against inflation in a more indirect way: Get an education.

Higher Degree = Better Earning Power

You’ve heard stories about how someone with a degree makes more money than someone without one.  And, for the most part, it’s true.  If you invest in a college education, you are repaid with a higher lifetime earning power.

Take a look at the following chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on how education pays off:

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How Will Your Student Loans Affect Your Credit Score?

You’d be hard-pressed to make it through college these days without student loans.

With the cost of a post-secondary education rising each year, most people can’t afford to attend university without the help of student loans.  Even a 529 plan and a partial-tuition scholarship might not be enough to avoid student loans.

While there are many advantages to student loans, and you can get special treatment with your student loans, it’s important to understand how a student loan can affect your credit.

Since your credit score is an important part of your financial life, it’s a good idea to consider the impact of your student loans.

Student Loans And Your Credit Score

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Should You Give Human Resources Access to Your Facebook Profile?

More and more, our private lives are available online.

When you sign up for a social network, you are putting yourself out there.

Post on Facebook?  Send a tweet?  Share on Google +?  You are putting information about yourself in the public domain, and it could be searchable.

While some privacy settings can limit what’s out there, you never know what sort of trail you are truly leaving online.

This is becoming important because, increasingly, companies are using online search as a way to determine whether or not you would make a good hire.

Social media is becoming a big part of the job search, and you need to be aware of this.  There are even companies offering services compiling social media profiles for employers.

Some companies, though, are going beyond simply searching the web for dirt on your past, or purchasing a report on your social media habits from a third party.

There are reports that some companies are actually asking for Facebook logins, and making friend requests.

Should Employers and Potential Employers Ask For Your Facebook Password?

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6 Audit Red Flags the IRS Uses to Choose Which Returns to Audit

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When it comes to your taxes, there are few things scarier than the prospect of a tax audit.

The good news is that most people aren’t audited.

Further, most audits are actually taken care of through the mail.  Many audits are routine, and require only that you send in a piece of missing documentation.

However, most people still prefer not to be audited at all.

As you prepare your tax return, consider the following 6 audit red flags that could lead to an increased chance of audit:

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