Personal Finance 
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BVC #12 – Keeping Financial Documents [VIDEO]

In this latest video I take a step away from the whiteboard and talk about something my wife and I did over the weekend, we consolidated our financial and personal documents. We’ve been married for about a year and a half but never went through the process of consolidating all of our important documents. In this video, I talk about how we did some hardcore spring cleaning and how long you should be keeping financial documents.

As always, everyone has slightly different opinions and one opinion I respect is that of Jeff Rose, a Certified Financial Planner in Illinois. Just a few short weeks ago he wrote about how long you should be keeping financial documents so please read his advice as well.


 Investing 
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Precautionary Words from an Independent Trader

Stock Market GameThis is the third and final part of a three part series discussing life as an independent trader. In this final post, Matt offers some precautionary words if you’ve considered becoming an independent trader. If you haven’t been dissuaded after reading about A Typical Day in Life as an Independent Trader or the bevy of Tools of an Independent Trader, it would be wise if you took heed of his words of warning.

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 Investing 
6
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Tools of an Independent Trader

Stock Market GameThis is part two of a three part series discussing life as an independent trader. This is the second post, covering the tools of an independent trader, written by an independent trader. You may want to first read A Typical Day in Life as an Independent Trader, the first part of this three part series.

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 Investing 
16
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A Typical Day in Life as an Independent Trader

Stock Market GameLast fall, Jim and I exchanged the introductory, get to know you, emails about the dangers of being an active trader.

More specifically, his semi-reluctant admission that he had day traded AIG for a quick profit caught my eye since the majority of personal finance bloggers consider active traders to be the blasphemers of the financial world. Thus began the (temporary) downward spiral of Jim’s blogging productivity after we exchanged multiple conversations about trading Yahoo, General Motors, and a few other stocks I suggested he should avoid.

Several days ago, Jim asked for a brief synopsis of what it’s like to be a fulltime trader. I hope you enjoy the post, but moreover, I hope that I convince you that becoming a professional trader is a horrible idea!

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 Government 
29
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Credit Card Reform Imminent: Senate Passes CARD Act of 2009

May 20th Update: The House of Representatives gave their approval of the CARD Act passed in the Senate and the bill is on its way to President Obama.

Today, the Senate voted 90-5 in favor of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which is one step closer to credit card reform in America. In April, the House of Representatives passed a similar Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 (357-to-70) and now the two chambers must reconcile the bills for President Obama to sign into law.

Here are the major parts of the Senate CARD Act:

  • Credit card companies cannot raise interest rates on existing balances unless a card holder was 60 days behind.
  • If a credit card company raises rates, six months of on-time payment would restore the interest rate to the previous level.
  • Companies must notify consumers 45 days in advance of any rate increases.
  • Companies cannot charge a late fee if they were late in processing a payment.
  • Statements must be mailed 21 days before the payment due date.
  • Rules were put in place that would make it harder for for companies to issue cards to those under 21.
  • Interest rates cannot be increased within the first 12 months, promotional rates must be in place a minimum of 6 months.

The major points of the House’s Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 are similar. The House’s version also requires promotional rates to remain in effect for a minimum of 6 months and other similarities regarding interest rate hikes and payment rules. There are additional rules in the House version that remain to be reconciled. For example, in the House bill, credit card companies must warn a customer if they get close to their credit limit.

It’s expected that the two bills will be reconciled and President Obama will be able to sign the bill into law before Memorial Day recess.

Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 [Thomas.gov]
Credit CARD Act of 2009 [Thomas.gov]
Senate Passes Bill to Restrict Credit-Card Practices [New York Times]


 Personal Finance 
11
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Bargaineering Bucks Store Open For Business!

Thank you to the over three-hundred members of Bargaineering community who signed up as users of the site! I’m happy to introduce The Bargaineering Bucks Store, the only place you can turn those hard earned Bargaineering Bucks into “stuff.” Some of you may have seen already seen it because I put a link up earlier this week. You can find it in the yellow “control panel” to the right (if you’re logged in), it’s labeled BB Store.

The Bargaineering Bucks Store operates on an auction system where you all can bid against one another for products. I’ve always said I’m a free market kind of guy and the Bargaineering Bucks Store reflects that, everything is an auction and anyone can win. Shipping is free to US residents but if you are an international reader, unfortunately you will have to cover shipping (we can work something out).

If there are any bugs or kinks in the system, please let me know… and happy bidding!


 Personal Finance 
10
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What is Your Manifest Destiny?

Manifest DestinyManifest Destiny was the general belief that the United States was destined to expand from the United States’ current territory all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This belief, which was never codified into law or even an official government policy, was the guiding principle for a lot of the government’s policies and actions. It provided guidance in terms of expansion and helped bring about westward expansion. It’s important to note that the term wasn’t used until 1845 by an American newspaper editor, John O’Sullivan, and that westward expansion had occurred in earnest long before then. However, it gave the idea a name and ideas with names are very powerful.

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 Credit 
36
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How to Build Your Credit History with Tradelines

Hard hat area: credit history construction here!The key to building your credit history and getting it as high as possible is very simple: act responsibly with credit.

Sounds simple enough right? The problem is that the system is a bit of a catch-22. Companies won’t issue you credit if you don’t have a credit history. You can’t develop a credit history unless you start getting credit. Sometimes you can get around this if your income is high enough and the credit card limit they offer you is safely low enough. If you don’t fall in that category, how do you start building your credit history?

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