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ShareBuilder Now ING DIRECT Investing, a Redesigned Site, and a Bonus!

ShareBuilder has undergone a facelift! Not only has their parent company, ING DIRECT, redesigned the site to make it easier to use, they have also renamed it – ING DIRECT Investing.

It’s still the same awesome site it’s been when it was created over 10 years ago.  Their goal has remained the same: Bring Wall Street to Main Street.

I think they have succeeded.  They make it easy for the average investor to invest in the market.

So why a redesign and rebrand?

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Wyndham Rewards Hotel Points – A Review

Wyndham Rewards is the rewards program for a family of 12 hotel chains that are found throughout the world.  When you join Wyndham Rewards, you have the flexibility of choosing to earn points for free hotel stays and gift cards or airline miles or Amtrak miles.  If you stay at Windham resorts then it’s definitely worth checking out their rewards program.

You may be familiar with the members of the Wyndham Worldwide family:

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IRA Maximum Contribution Limits – Roth and Traditional

Roth IRA Contribution Limits 2011

An IRA can be a great tool to help you save for retirement and the traditional and Roth both have interesting tax advantages. But the amount you can contribute every year is limited.  The Federal government imposes limits as to how much money can be contributed to both the Roth IRA and the traditional IRA accounts.  An account holder’s age (and income) is also a factor in how much s/he can contribute per year.

The investors who are 49 years old or younger have had maximum limits that are $1,000 less that those investors who are 50 years old or older since the 2006-2007 investment year.

The nature of this investment fund demands that an investor contributes the maximum amount of contribution allowed every year in order to enjoy maximum yield.  For example, the contribution amount for a person 49 years of age or younger in 2010 was $5,000.  If he only invests $3,000 in 2010 he can’t add the $2,000 deficit to the $5,000 contribution allowed in 2011.  The IRA is a “use it or lose it” investment fund which means any money not invested into an IRA is lost forever.Continue Reading

What First Time Home Buyers Need to Know About Their Credit Card Balances

Many people who feel they are prepared to enter the real estate market by purchasing their first home have experienced a roadblock to good mortgage rates – their credit cards. Credit cards can play a positive, but also a negative role in the process of purchasing a home.

There is not a doubt that having a credit card can work highly in your favor when it comes time to shop around for your first home.  If you have a consistent history of timely credit card payments this builds a strong credit rating.  Having a high credit score not only will secure you a mortgage quickly, but one with very competitive rates.

Your credit card can be very influential when determining what mortgage you are seeking because the credit card payments are added to what the payments ‘would be’ on a possible mortgage to determine how much can be afforded.
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Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

Having excellent credit (usually 750 or higher) is good for more than mortgage and car loan rates.

An excellent credit score can also yield you a credit card that offers better benefits such as longer balance transfer periods, low introductory APR interest rates, cash back bonuses, better rewards, and better general benefits.

Below I’m going to highlight some of the best credit cards for excellent credit.  If you are looking for a new credit card, and you have excellent credit, see if any of the following cards fit your spending needs.

To keep things simple, I’ve left out specialized cards like airline miles cards, travel rewards cards, small business cards, or hotel rewards cards.Continue Reading

How to Figure Out How Much Life Insurance You Need

One of the biggest questions many have when it comes to financial planning has to do with how much life insurance they need.

There are some rules of thumb, such as getting seven times or 10 times your yearly salary in coverage, but, really, how much life insurance you need comes down to your personal financial situation, and what you hope your life insurance will accomplish.

Why Are You Getting Life Insurance?

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Betterment $25 Signup Bonus – Start Investing Smart and Simple

In my Betterment review I talked about how they make investing easy for someone who wants to start investing but doesn’t know where to start. Now they are adding a cool incentive to their program:

Get a $25 account bonus when a user opens up a Betterment account!

In order to qualify for the bonus you need to make an initial deposit of $250 when you open your account.

Why Betterment?

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