Blog Posts by

  • How to Find Affordable Health Insurance

    Where Can I Find Affordable Health Insurance?Where Can I Find Affordable Health Insurance?

    By: Juliana Weiss-Roessler

    With all the debate about the new federal Affordable Healthcare Act, there is not much discussion on how to find health insurance for your budget now.

    Some of the changes have already happened. For instance, your children can stay on your plan until they are 26 and insurers are prohibited from charging co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles for a wide range of preventative care and medical screenings. But many more changes won't go into effect until 2014, assuming that the court challenges to the new legislation don't go through. And of course, the verdict is still out on exactly how these changes will impact the healthcare system.

    So where does that leave you now if you are unemployed, self-employed, or your current employer doesn't offer health insurance as a benefit? There is hope! Here are a few places to look if you need affordable coverage:

    Go COBRA.
    After resigning or being terminated from your job for reasons other than gross misconduct, you Read More »from How to Find Affordable Health Insurance
  • Are "Tiny Houses" the Next Big Trend in Homeownership?

    By: Benjamin Gran

    During the housing boom, many Americans became enamored with the idea of "trading up" in the housing market - bigger homes, massive square footage, plenty of extra storage space, multiple guest bedrooms and bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, huge kitchens and master bedroom suites. Between 1950 and 2006, the average size of a U.S. house doubled to 2,349 square feet.

    "Bigger was better" until the housing boom turned to bust. Now the trend is for Americans to buy smaller houses that are closer to their workplaces. According to a survey from Coldwell Banker, 75 percent of new home buyers say that higher gas prices are motivating them to choose a home that is closer to where they work. And according to U.S. Census data, the average size of a new home in the United States actually declined in 2009 (by approximately 100 square feet) for the first time in almost 30 years.

    Although some experts claim the recent downsizing of the American home is simply a result of Read More »from Are "Tiny Houses" the Next Big Trend in Homeownership?
  • Are You Looking at Spending the Wrong Way?

    A Different Approach to Spending MoneyA Different Approach to Spending MoneyBy: Michael Dolen

    We all know Benjamin Franklin's famous quote, "A penny saved is a penny earned." It's actually a misquote, but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is that the spirit of this lesson is a cornerstone for good personal finance… or at least it used to be.

    Contrary to popular belief, ol' Ben's quote no longer holds true. Why? Because back in his day, there was no IRS, no FICA tax, nor any of those other pesky things that shrink your paycheck. In the 18th century, a penny saved truly was a penny earned. However in the 21st century, a penny saved is much more than a penny earned.

    Today: A Penny Saved = Two Pennies Earned?

    Let's say Joe is a self-employed handyman who lives in San Diego and his adjusted gross income is $55,000 per year. He happens to be unmarried, which means he is in the 25 percent federal tax bracket. He would owe up to this much in taxes:

    • 25 percent for federal income taxes. Income between $34,500 but not over $83,600 is taxed at 25
    Read More »from Are You Looking at Spending the Wrong Way?
  • How to Save Money at Publix

    How to Save Money at PublixHow to Save Money at PublixBy: Kate Parham

    This is the last article in our 10-part series covering money-saving strategies at the nation's largest retail grocers, including CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, Target, Safeway, Rite Aid, Walmart, Albertsons and Whole Foods. For our final post, we're looking at Publix, the employee-owned supermarket based in Florida.

    Publix has more than 1,000 retail locations in the South, promising customers a grocery store "Where Shopping is a Pleasure." Here's what you need to know about Publix before shopping (to ensure that promised pleasure):

    Sales Cycle:
    Publix sales cycles run Tuesday through Wednesday, meaning that advertised sale prices change on Wednesday.

    Bonus: Top 5 Places to Find Coupons

    Rewards Program:
    Unlike many of its competitors, Publix does not have a rewards program or loyalty card. They do, however, participate in the uPromise program, which helps shoppers save for college with every purchase. You can sign up for this program online. Publix also offers online

    Read More »from How to Save Money at Publix
  • 6 Ways to Make a Few Bucks with Everyday Items

    Consider Doing Yard Work for a Neighbor for Extra CashConsider Doing Yard Work for a Neighbor for Extra CashBy: Juliana Weiss-Roessler

    Want to start a new side business but you're afraid of the overhead costs involved with investing in equipment? Well, for some business ventures, you might already have the tools you need lying around the house. Here are a few ideas for making a little extra money with items you already own.

    Needle and thread.

    Become a seamstress! Many people are afraid to pick up a needle and thread even for simple tasks like sewing on new buttons. If you enjoy sewing, you can offer your services. Afraid you'll get in over your head? You can always let your clients know that you don't handle complicated things like wedding dresses.

    Lawnmower and shears.

    Offer to take care of your neighbors' yards - for a fee, of course. In the summer months, many people will welcome a reprieve, and it's likely you can offer your services at a much lower rate than most lawn companies.


    Have you been building up your leg muscles? You may be able to offer your services as a bike

    Read More »from 6 Ways to Make a Few Bucks with Everyday Items
  • 6 Secrets to Choosing a Financial Planner

    How to Find a Great Financial PlannerHow to Find a Great Financial PlannerBy: John D. Buerger, CFP®

    I believe that every person in this country could use some financial planning help to make the smartest choices possible with their money.

    From my perspective as a wealth coach and Certified Financial Planner professional today, I wish that I had known a financial planner 25 years ago when I was starting out on my own. I would have made very different financial decisions along the way and would be in a much better place today if I had.

    Having been both a financial planner and financial planning client, I put together this list of the six secrets to choosing a financial planner:

    1. Their Passion Is to Help.

    The best doctors get into medicine because they want to help people live healthier and better lives. They don't do it for the money. The best lawyers have a fire burning inside from an early age to defend their case at all costs. They want - deeply and passionately - to fight for you in a court of law. Similarly, the best financial planners care about

    Read More »from 6 Secrets to Choosing a Financial Planner
  • Is It Better to Rent or Buy a Home?

    Should You Rent Your Home?Should You Rent Your Home?By: Kristie Lorette

    There is no doubt that the prices of houses are making it a highly attractive time for people to buy a home. This is not the case for everyone, however. Just because the prices of homes are right does not mean that it's the right time to buy. Renting may be the better option, depending on your own personal financial situation and a few other factors.

    Length of Stay

    The first point you should take into consideration is how long you intend to live in the property. If you are in a job that transfers you around every few years, now may not be the right time to invest in real estate. While you may pay less of a mortgage payment, you likely won't recoup your closing costs and you may have a hard time selling when it's time to move onto your next job location.

    On the other hand, if you are newly married and are planning to raise your family in the home, now may be the perfect time to buy. Because homes are "on sale" right now, you can buy a bigger home for less money -

    Read More »from Is It Better to Rent or Buy a Home?
  • Important Home Maintenance Tasks that Will Save You Money

    Monthly Home Maintenance ChecklistMonthly Home Maintenance ChecklistBy: Daniela Baker

    You already know that maintaining your car by changing the oil when you should, checking tire pressure regularly, and getting an engine tune-up once in a while is a great way to save money by preventing further expensive repairs down the road.

    However, you may not think about similar things you can do in your home that can help you save money in the long run. Making a list of basic home maintenance tasks that are often overlooked will help you remember to do them on a regular basis and will allow you to prioritize appropriately. Here are just a few of the essential tasks you should do on a monthly basis:

    1. Change heating and air conditioning filters.

    Changing the filters can make your heating and air conditioning systems more effective, which means you save money on cooling and heating your home. When you change the filters, vacuum out the ducts immediately around them, too, which can prevent the next filters from getting clogged as easily and can keep excess

    Read More »from Important Home Maintenance Tasks that Will Save You Money
  • Sell Your Home Faster by Making It FHA-Friendly

    FHA Loans: Appeal to More Buyers, Sell Your Home FastFHA Loans: Appeal to More Buyers, Sell Your Home FastBy: Kristie Lorette

    To qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, the home you are buying has to meet certain standards. While the FHA does not fund the mortgage directly, the government agency does insure the lenders that offer FHA loans to homebuyers. In fact, the FHA is responsible for insuring home loans for approximately 30 percent of homebuyers today.

    FHA loans offer option to homebuyers who:

    • May have lower credit scores (credit scores as low as 580 may qualify);
    • Are unable to come up with a 20 percent down payment ;
    • Or feel better about the security that a government-insured loan offers.

    As a home seller, if you make your home a best friend of the FHA, it will likely be easier and faster to find a buyer.

    Lending Limits

    The FHA limits the loan amounts that it will insure. These limitations may vary slightly from area to area, so you will want to check to see what your local lending limits are with your trusted mortgage lender or find out onlineRead More »from Sell Your Home Faster by Making It FHA-Friendly
  • Home Inspection: Don't Buy a House without One

    Home Inspection: A Must-Have for Home BuyersHome Inspection: A Must-Have for Home BuyersBy: Kristie Lorette

    The cost of homeownership certainly doesn't start and end with the monthly mortgage payment. When it comes to buying a home, the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover" applies.

    A home inspection is a small expense to pay upfront for a thorough inspection of your new home. It will identify any existing problems with plumbing, electrical, roofing and other home improvement matters, or what issues may arise in the near future.

    First and foremost, whether the home you're having inspected is newly built or an older home, hire a professional inspector. Just because your home may be a new construction does not mean that the house is perfectly built or that it does not or cannot have problems.

    Review the Seller's Disclosure

    Start by reviewing the seller's disclosure of the property. The current owner of the property, by law, must disclose anything that he knows is currently wrong with the property. The property owner is also required by law to let the potential

    Read More »from Home Inspection: Don't Buy a House without One


(410 Stories)