wallet full of money
I’ve been getting a lot of flack for how much I spend lately. I’ve been told I spend too much on a cause I’m involved with. I’ve been told I spend too much on going to the spa. I’ve been told I spend too much on travel.

It’s true that I like spending money, but just because I’m spending money doesn’t mean that I’m being totally irresponsible about it. What’s actually important is to figure out what really matters to you and your future.

So take a step back, and reconsider what you’re spending money on.

Once I did that, I realize that while I spend what other people might consider more than I should — or that I spend money on things that I shouldn’t — the reality is that I still pay myself first.
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new homes
The American dream is a goal we’ve all heard of at some point in our lives. This dream involves raising a family, building a successful career, and (most importantly some would have us believe) owning a home. Everybody dreams about owning a home and it’s marketed as your biggest asset in life.

But is owning a home really your biggest asset in life? You start paying the mortgage and equity begins to build, but you have to remember that the typical mortgage spans 30 years. Who really stays in their homes long enough to reach that 30-year mark to have their house become a full asset nowadays? With house maintenance, and the fluctuating value of the housing market coupled with how long someone stays in their home, a house can actually be a liability on the balance sheet and an expense on the income statement.

Think about it. The upkeep on a house is a constant. A good rule of thumb is to estimate maintenance at roughly 1% of the value of a home each year. Until the house is paid off, you have a mortgage that is debt, along with sunken costs of maintaining a functioning home such as water heater replacement or kitchen appliance replacement. That’s money down the drain just to maintain your homes value or increase it minimally.
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It’s always startling to get those bank letters in the mail that say “important information enclosed.” I got one last week notifying me that my account “may have been” compromised. As a precaution, my bank was sending me an entirely new debit card and number (my first chip card — a sign of how long I’ve had the old one). My old card was de-activated within a few days, and I had to call to activate the new card. As usual, the new pin number will be sent separately, which meant I couldn’t use an ATM if I needed to.

If you’ve ever had this happen before, it elicits all sorts of questions. Was there fraudulent activity on my account? Who ‘may have’ compromised my card, and when? Am I liable financially?

Although I haven’t had this happen frequently (if it does, it’s a good sign you need to re-examine your habits), I’ve learned a few things to keep in mind, going forward.
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I absolutely love the library, and I am continually surprised that more people don’t take advantage of their local library. It’s really more than a place for checking out books! Here are the top benefits you can get from your local library – all for free.

1. Family/Kid Activities

The children’s librarian at my local library is fantastic and she is always trying to come up with creative classes or activities for all different age groups. I have visited story time, craft time, dance class, and even play dates with different sensory stations set up.

I have seen other libraries host magic shows, kid concerts, and movie days. As a stay-at-home parent, any fun and free activity is welcomed because it breaks up the day for both my kids and me.
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Going out with friends is always a fraught situation. When you sit down to a meal in a restaurant, trying to figure out who pays can be difficult. Do you each pay for your own meal? Split the bill evenly? Or is someone responsible for paying the whole thing?

In the end, the most important thing is to talk about it up front, and figure things out ahead of time — before the check shows up at the end of dinner.

Who Invited Whom?

One of the easiest rules of thumb is to base who pays on who did the inviting. You should probably pay if you invite everyone out to dinner on your birthday. You did the inviting after all. When I asked my parents, siblings, and cousins to a dinner for my birthday last year, I took care of the bill, since I had invited everyone to a dinner that required driving.
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diy investing
The internet is allowing information to be spread at unheard of rates and this has helped the retail investor gain vast amounts of knowledge.

Could the internet eventually replace our reliance on investment bankers and representatives? With so many websites out there to learn from, anyone who care about saving money can educate themselves enough to not require a reliance on investment professionals if they so choose.

And these savings can add up big. With a typical advisory fee of just 1%, you are basically paying $2,500 each year if you have $250,000 invested. Add in any fees they may have for meetings, advice, etc. and the numbers add up quick. We’ll go through the three websites out there and expand on what information they deliver and what can be utilized in replacing your financial advisor.
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