The Home 
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How to Compare Mortgage Refinance Offers

Investments Refinance Mortgages signWith mortgages once again at historic lows, I’ve once again considered refinancing our mortgage. A few months ago we weren’t sure how long we’d be living in our current home and so we put off refinancing, despite rates being as low as 4.75% APR. Fortune has smiled on us and rates have once again come close to those lows and I’m taking another look.

Mortgage refinancing, much like buying a home, can sometimes be a scary process because it involves what usually is the largest asset you have. That’s the case for us, our home is our more valuable physical financial asset by far, and so any decision involve something of that magnitude can be a little scary.

Fortunately, mortgages aren’t quite that complicated and there is a wealth of resources available to help you compare different offers.

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 Insurance 
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Researching Life Insurance

We dont have accident insurance.I’m 28 and I don’t have any life insurance. For many people, they don’t begin thinking about life insurance until they start a family and I’ll be no different. While we don’t plan on starting a family in another year or so, it’s important to learn things before you need it (before emotion and time pressure begin affecting judgment) and today I spent some time looking at life insurance.

I’m not an insurance professional and everything I wrote in this article is simply my opinion. I understand that I may have made some mistakes or misunderstood some things, so take what I write with a grain of salt. Insurance can sometimes be a confusing topic and I, like many of you, am learning it as I go along. If you do see anything inaccurate, please let me know so I can fix it!

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 Personal Finance 
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Request & Check Your Specialty Reports Annually

Antique Magnifying GlassMost people are now aware that they can get a copy of their credit history from each of the three major credit bureaus every twelve months. We can thank the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for that right (which you can exercise by going to annualcreditreport.com). What most people aren’t aware of is that the FCRA also gives you the same level access for other “specialty” reports as well. There are several companies that don’t create “credit” reports but do collect your data into what are commonly referred to as special reports. Fortunately, you are afforded the same rights to those reports as well!

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 Personal Finance 
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Memorial Day: Remember the Fallen

Child saluting United States flag
Thank you to all the brave men and women of the Armed Services who made the greatest sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedoms and liberties that come with being a citizen of the greatest country in the world. We owe you a debt of extreme gratitude as you are the ones who protect our our most unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thank You.

(Photo: respres)


 Reviews 
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10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget Review

Earlier this week I gave away three copies of Wise Bread’s new book – 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, while promising a review later in the week.

Like Wise Bread, this book is colorful, approachable, and while I haven’t confirmed the actual number of tips, 10,001 doesn’t seem that far off. The two main sections of the book are Frugality and Personal Finance, with a staggering 196 pages devoted to Frugality alone. If you’re going to live large on a small budget, frugality is going to have to be a regular part of your vocabulary!

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 Reviews 
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Review: How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

How Successful People Think by John C. MaxwellUntil I saw this book, I had no idea who John C. Maxwell was and why he was qualified to write a book on how successful people think. Maxwell is a “leadership expert” and a New York Times bestselling author who has sold over 16 million books. He’s also a speaker, having spoken to Fortune 500 companies, government leaders, NFL, UN ambassadors, and many other groups. At first I thought his website was making a case of why Maxwell was a leadership expert, but in the case of this book, How Successful People Think, it merely explains why Maxwell is qualified to write this book. He knows how successful people think because he’s talked with, worked with, and interacted with plenty of successful people.

I was very surprised with out action oriented this book was. I don’t real many personal improvement books for Bargaineering but this one has many qualities I like in a book – it’s short, action oriented, and easy to understand. At about 115 small pages (the book is 6″ tall by 4.5″ wide), the book is not long at all. It’s action oriented in that he establishes a framework for both “how to think” and “how to get yourself to follow his framework of how to think!” Finally, to illustrate what I mean about easy to understand, here’s what he says about how you can become a better thinker.

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 Your Take 
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Your Take: CARD Act Credit Card Legislation

The buzz in the personal finance blogosphere lately has been about the new Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. The House passed their version last month, the Senate passed their version this week, and they’ve already reconciled it. I bet by the time this post is published, President Obama will probably be putting pen to paper and signing it into law.

What do you think?
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 Credit 
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Don’t Carry Debt To Improve Your Credit Score

Shackles of Debt!One of the biggest misconceptions I hear and read about regarding your credit score is that you need to carry debt to improve your score. Some articles say that you should get a car loan because it’ll boost your credit score. Others will recommend that you leave a little balance on your credit card rather than pay it off in full each month. While all of them are technically correct, those strategies will improve your score, they are financially wrong.

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