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Are Banks Ratcheting Up Their Profiling Efforts?

You know that your consumer profile is used by financial services providers to make a number of decisions about you. Before I could get satellite TV service, I had to submit to a credit check.  Employers increasingly want a peek at your credit report, and insurers often use your credit as one of the criteria in determining your premiums.  But your credit history isn’t the only thing that others are interested in.  Consumer behavior — and how to protect against risks — is becoming a major concern of many financial services companies. Which is why banks are increasing their efforts to learn more about you.Continue Reading

Should You Use Your Credit Card to Buy Gold or Silver?

Gold and Silver Coins

Gold and silver prices have been on the increase for many months and this is no surprise to Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, business consultant and publisher of the Trends Journal.

This “Trends Expert” stated that gold and silver prices would continuously increase almost two years ago.  As CNN Headline News stated, “When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.”  As per usual, Gerald Celente called it right.

Many financial experts are stating that gold and silver demands will continue to be high for quite some time to come.  According to the vice president of the RBC Capital Markets Global Futures George Gero, he stated at Forbes.com that worries about the US debt and tensions in the Middle East are a couple of reasons why investors like to turn to gold.

As of the posting of this blog, gold was $1548 per ounce and silver was $36.21 per ounce.  Compare that to one year ago, gold was about $1200 per ounce and silver was $18.50 per ounce.

So investing in gold and silver is still proving to be profitable.
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Try a No Spend Month: Your Wallet Will Thank You

Do you find your expenses creeping up month after month? Do you use cash but don’t know where all of the money goes at the end of the week?  Do you feel you have gotten a bit lax with personal finance?  If so, you may want to try to have a no spend month.

During a no spend month, you limit yourself to only a certain amount you can spend on variable expenses.  My family has had two no spend months, and each time we allowed ourselves to spend no more than $500 on variable expenses including groceries, dining out, gas, entertainment, and miscellaneous.  Both no spend months made us more aware of our spending weaknesses and taught us some valuable lessons.Continue Reading

Investing VS Speculating: The Difference Between Building Wealth and Gambling

How do we know when we’re investing—or speculating but thinking we’re investing? It’s not always obvious.

One of the factors that can make it difficult to know the difference between investing and speculating is that both produce gains and losses.   Some sound investment strategies can turn losses for a few years, while speculating rakes in high returns just long enough to earn some credibility.

Since the lines between investing and speculating can often be blurry how do you spot the difference between the two?Continue Reading

Save Money on Vacation Plans with Frugal Staycation Ideas

Lego Indy On Vacation

I like to travel, but sometimes a vacation just isn’t practical. After all, a vacation can require quite a bit of planning — and expense.  You have to plan airfare (or pay for gas when you take a road trip), pay for hotel stays, and arrange for food.  All of this can become overwhelming as well as costly.  If you want to go on a trip, but know that a full-on vacation isn’t practical, you can plan a staycation.

Here are some ideas for frugal staycations:Continue Reading

What’s in Your Pocket? ING Direct! Capital One to Buy ING Direct USA Online Banking Division

ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), the Dutch parent company of ING Direct USA, has agreed to sell its online bank to Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF)

The sale will be for $9 billion in cash and stock.  This move helps Capital One move up from the 8th largest bank in the U.S., based on deposits, to the 5th largest depository bank.  Capital One also becomes the largest direct bank with the acquisition.

Why sell ING Direct?

ING Direct is a successful division and a pioneer in online banking – why sell it? Back in 2008 ING Groep NV received a 10 billion Euro bailout from the Dutch government.  As part of that loan, ING Groep NV is required to restructure and divest itself of ING Direct USA.
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How Being Trusting In a Marriage Can Hurt You in a Divorce

Divorce: it’s a subject nobody feels comfortable talking about. Divorce is the true “D” word in the English language.  And yet divorce is something that may affect 50% or more of every American that enters into marriage.  Nobody wants to believe they might end up on the wrong side of that equation, but what if you did?  This post is not to give legal or financial planning advice, but rather to start a dialogue about how many of the practices of a healthy marriage might actually be detrimental were the marriage to end in a divorce.  This post certainly isn’t meant to give love advice either, nor financial advice.  Again, this post just wishes to raise some issues, even if the subject is taboo.  After all, divorces are one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy filings in the United States.

Here are some potential ways being trusting in a marriage could hurt you in divorce:

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