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  • How to Find Cheap or Free Legal Advice

    How to Get Free Legal AdviceHow to Get Free Legal AdviceBy: Juliana Weiss-Roessler

    Finding yourself in a situation where you need legal help can make you feel powerless, frustrated, and confused - especially if you can't afford the incredibly high price many lawyers charge. The way our legal system works, you'd almost be better off getting charged with some kind of crime (and guaranteed a pro bono lawyer) than needing to ask about the legal implications of setting up a business or dealing with damage caused to your property by a neighbor who won't pay.

    Obviously, the best way to get legal advice is through your own personal contacts, but not all of us are best friends with a lawyer or have the family attorney on speed dial. Luckily, there are people out there who know how tough it is, and a number of different options are available to those who just have basic questions or need a little advice.

    American Bar Association (ABA)

    The ABA website not only has a list of pro bono legal services, but a map tool you can use to find them locally

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  • Is the Financial Services Industry Failing African Americans?

    Is Financial Services Failing African Americans?Is Financial Services Failing African Americans?By: Benjamin Gran

    African Americans represent more than 12 percent of the U.S. population, but are less likely than the rest of the country to be financially secure. A 2010 study from Brandeis University on the "African American wealth gap" found that many African American families have a negative net worth - meaning that they have more debt than assets - and at least 25 percent of African American families have no savings or other assets to turn to in time of need.

    The causes of this wealth gap are complex and long-standing. For years, many African Americans have faced discrimination in housing, the workplace, and getting access to credit. One of the many scandals that emerged from America's recent housing bubble was that some banks allegedly steered African Americans into high interest "subprime" loans, even if the borrowers had good enough credit to qualify for better options.

    Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a great article recently

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  • 5 Ways to Save for Your Kid's College without a Lot of Money

    How to Save for CollegeHow to Save for CollegeBy: Jessica Drew

    If you're expecting a baby or have a young child, and have very little extra money, you're not alone. Many young couples have children while they are trying to establish themselves financially.

    At the same time, perhaps you or your spouse, close friends or family are suffering from private student loan debt. Many young professionals have variable rate, private student loans that they can barely afford, or cannot afford, to make monthly payments on. You certainly do not want your children to start their professional lives out this way.

    Even though you may have very little money, you can start a college fund for your kids with a little planning and a few good ideas, like these:

    1. Start early.

    The earlier you start, the better. Time is on your side this way. If you begin putting $10 a week away on your child's first birthday, by the time he or she is ready to graduate high school and go to college, you'll have almost a $10,000 nest egg! This strategy will not work

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  • 9 Tips to Stretch Your Vacation Dollars

    How to Save Money on VacationHow to Save Money on VacationBy: Juliana Weiss-Roessler

    Most of the money we spend goes to necessities like housing, food, and gas, so when it comes time to let loose and go on a vacation, some of us get a little "loose" with our spending for that, too. But being frugal on your vacation pays. You can do more - or even go on another vacation later in the year!

    Most people know the first rule of saving money on travel: book it ahead of time. But there are many other ways that you can get more value for your money.

    Buy a package. Often, you can get a better deal if you buy your flight, hotel, and car rental together. Check sites like Kayak to see what's available. When you're searching, try out different combinations of times and dates to see which gives you the best price.

    Stay in a hostel.
    This isn't for everyone. You may have to share a bathroom, or you could end up sharing your room with one or more people. But if you can put up with it, you can get a room for a steal. To find a hostel where you're traveling,

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  • 5 Basics of Personal Finance in a Crazy Economy

    How to Manage Your Finances in a Volatile EconomyHow to Manage Your Finances in a Volatile EconomyBy: Bill Rice

    A couple of days ago, I wrote an article on the S&P credit downgrade and its impacts on your personal finances. Literally hours later, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), who sets the fed funds rate and is a major influencer on overall interest rates, shuffled the deck chairs again.

    Interestingly enough it doesn't really change the guidance I gave you:

    • Financial market volatility is giving you great opportunities to lock in a historically low mortgage rate, and,
    • You should learn from this US government debacle and keep a close eye on your personal credit rating.

    There is a reason that the volatility in the market didn't dash my advice: I like to lean on the basics in times of financial market volatility. With that premise in mind, let's review some of those personal finance basics that will guide you through crazy economic times.

    1. Create a Budget.
    You really have to start here. Forget what the financial markets are doing and the economic pundits are Read More »from 5 Basics of Personal Finance in a Crazy Economy
  • How to Save Money at Walmart

    Walmart Coupons and Money Saving TipsWalmart Coupons and Money Saving TipsBy: Kate Parham

    As we continue to analyze shopping strategies at the nation's largest retailers, including how to save money at CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, Target, Safeway and Rite Aid, we finally reach the big kahuna: Walmart.

    Walmart is the 18 th largest corporation in the world, the biggest private employer in the world and the largest grocery retailer in the United States - whew! Fortunately, despite the grand titles, shopping at the mega-retailer is actually a breeze. Here's what you need to know about Walmart before shopping:

    Sales Cycle:
    Walmart does not regularly put out weekly ads. Instead, what you'll need to watch for are "Roll Back" prices, which are sales prices at the store. Combine those Roll Back sales with a coupon and you'll maximize your savings!

    Bonus: Top 5 Places to Find Coupons

    Rewards Program:
    Walmart does not have a rewards card or program.

    Bonus: Secrets of Extreme Couponers

    Coupon Policy:
    You can view Walmart's full coupon policy on their website, but here

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  • Is there a Connection between Financial and Mental Health?

    Financial and Mental Health: Is there a Connection?Financial and Mental Health: Is there a Connection?By: Kristie Lorette

    When you get yourself into debt, it affects more than your credit score and bank account balance. Financial woes can take a toll on your mental health and even trickle into physical ailments that affect your body and overall health. Learn about the connection between financial and mental health, as well as ways to help keep your financial woes from creating health problems for your body or your mind.

    Stress = Health Problems

    Stress often presents itself as a medical condition (and sometimes even more than one medical condition). Headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, eating problems and even worse, are some of the symptoms that patients complain of to their doctors. Doctors run tests, fill out questionnaires with patients and scour through medical journals to figure out what circumstances are causing the onset of symptoms their patients are complaining about, but that they cannot diagnose.

    In the end, many patients simply hear the doctor say, "It's just stress."

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  • US Credit Downgrade Could Mean an Upgrade for Your Mortgage

    The US Credit Downgrade and Your Mortgage (Copyright

    By: Bill Rice

    Have you ever looked at all three of your credit scores? Most likely all three are slightly different.

    That simply means that three different companies have come to slightly different conclusions, based on the data they have, as to how likely you are to repay your debt. We're all financially beholden to these gods of credit scores.

    Ironically, the United States of America also has to answer to the credit gods - Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch Ratings bond (debt securities) credit agencies. One of those credit gods just dropped the hammer last Friday.

    Is there an Opportunity in a US Credit Downgrade?

    Okay, surely I'm starting to bore you with the financial techno-babble so I'll put the meat of the matter up front: There's a very short-term opportunity in mortgage rates. While everyone else is panicking about their stock portfolios and 401(k)s you can soften your pain by potentially recovering large amounts of cash every month with a lower mortgage paymentRead More »from US Credit Downgrade Could Mean an Upgrade for Your Mortgage
  • Where Can I Find Middle-Class Financial Advice?

    How to Find Affordable Financial AdviceHow to Find Affordable Financial AdviceBy: Benjamin Gran

    "Failure to plan is planning to fail," but many middle-class families struggle to get solid financial planning advice. The reason is that the financial planning profession is not well-suited to the needs of most middle-class families.

    Simply put, most financial advisers serve people who already have lots of money. If you're not wealthy, it can be hard to get objective, unbiased financial advice about your total financial picture. It can also be difficult to put together a financial plan on your own.

    Here are some reasons why it is hard for non-wealthy people to get good financial advice:

    Lack of Understanding

    Financial advisory firms and middle-class investors usually don't understand each other, according to a recent study, "Barriers to Financial Advice for Non-Affluent Consumers." Most financial advisors are used to dealing with high-earning, high-net-worth people who are savvy about money and investments, and who have enough money to manage so that the

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  • How to Rebuild Credit with Credit Cards: A Road Map

    How to Rebuild Credit: A RoadmapHow to Rebuild Credit: A RoadmapIf you have bad credit - as about a quarter of American consumers do - facing it head on is essentially your only option. Unfortunately, there aren't any quick fixes or shortcuts, even if you'd been a model consumer prior to an unforeseen event like the "Great Recession" or an illness, which wreaked havoc on your credit score.

    Credit building requires discipline and commitment, but it truly is worth it, given the inextricable link between your credit score and your loan profile, ability to buy or lease property, and chances of being hired for certain jobs. So how does one go about rebuilding credit?

    The Theory

    While your credit score is made up of a variety of factors, the only thing you need to focus on is having the positive information on your major credit reports far outweigh the negative. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use a credit card responsibly.

    Every month, information about your credit card usage is documented on your credit report. If these monthly submissions

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