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Is Gold a Good Investment Right Now?

Since reaching a high price of $1,913 back on August 23rd of 2011, gold seems to have fallen off the investment radar screen.

In fact it seems the only time gold is ever on that screen is when it’s on its way to establishing new record prices.

Now that gold has settled comfortably in the mid-$1,600 range no one seems to be paying much attention.

But how should we take that?

Will gold slowly drift its way back down below the $1,000 mark, or will it—as some claim—continue to rise to ever higher prices punctuated by periods of price stability? And should we even consider gold as an investment?

Why invest in gold at all?

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What is a Spousal IRA and How Does It Work?

The rules surrounding your ability to contribute to an IRA generally require you to have earned income in order to contribute at all.

This prevents people trying to exploit loopholes such as parents opening and funding an IRA for a child well before the child earns any income.

However, there is one exception available for married couples that can allow for both individuals to contribute to an IRA even when both do not earn an income.

This exception allows stay at home parents and other non-working spouses the ability to still contribute to an IRA despite not earning an income.

Spousal IRA Contributions

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Use Alternative Housing Arrangements and Save on Your Next Vacation

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The family vacation is pricey.

According to Free Money Finance, in 2007, the average American spent $1,654 on their summer vacation.

If the vacation is a week long, that is approximately $236 a day, of which I am guessing accommodations are a large portion of the expense.  If you are a family of four, you may be able to stay in cheaper hotel accommodations, but if you have three or more children, hotel stays get to be tricky (and expensive) because most hotels will only sleep 4 to a room and want you to buy two rooms or a suite, both expensive options.

If you would like to minimize your expense for accommodations on your next vacation, there are several hotel alternatives.

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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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The Financial and Physical Toll Caused by Lack of Sleep

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Did you get up today and stumble to the coffee maker to make your coffee because you needed the caffeine to wake up?

Do you have dark circles under your eyes and yawn throughout the day?

If so, you may be part of the growing ranks of Americans who are chronically sleep-deprived.

There are many reasons for sleep deprivation ranging from staying up too late to watch tv, trying to do too many tasks, having children (who are notorious sleep robbers), having an overloaded schedule including working full-time and caring for children and a home, to more serious causes such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

Whatever the cause, chronic lack of sleep can have a high toll on your finances.

We are trained to reward those who push themselves, who stay at the office late, work hard, and short change themselves on sleep every night so they can get more done.

However, this societal norm should change because Americans’ lack of sleep has very expensive consequences.

Consider the following financial and physical tolls caused by lack of sleep:

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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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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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