Banking 
7
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Series I Bonds Inflation Rate Update (Nov 2009)

Treasury Direct Series I Savings BondsUpdate: The Treasury Department announced the fixed rate component on new Series I bonds would be 0.30% for the bonds issued in the next six months. Coupled with the inflation component we all know ahead of time (see below), the new Series I bond rate will be 3.36% for the next six months.

For the last six months, my Series I Savings Bonds have been earning exactly 0.00% APY interest. If you remember from the Savings Bond Foundation post, Series I savings bonds earn interest based on an equation that has both an inflation rate component and a fixed rate component.

The inflation rate component is set twice a year, November and May, and calculated based on six months of inflation data. The November rate is set based on inflation between March and September, the May rate is set based on inflation between September and March (see how that works out?).

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 Banking 
10
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How to Close ING Direct Subaccounts

In my ongoing quest to simplify our personal finances, I started cleaning up some of the connections in my Financial Network Map. The target today was my ING Direct account, which played host to both my CD ladder and my bank account firewall, two financial constructs that have proved invaluable in my financial planning and protection schemes.

What I didn’t disclose to you all earlier, when talking about the bank account firewall, was that I created a firewall account for each individual external account. Creating ING Direct subaccounts is and was so easy, I created one for each external connection. I had one for Paypal, one for E*Trade, one for … the list went on to the tune of about half a dozen accounts. Along the way, I also created a checking account to take advantage of a free money promotional offer that has since expired. Between the CD ladder, the five external accounts, the checking account, and the main online savings account, I knew I had to pare it down.

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 Personal Finance 
10
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Teach Kids Money: Tying Chores & Allowances

Coins in a JarThis is a guest post by Danny Kofke, a special education teacher and author of How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary. Danny and I have been emailing back and forth for the better part of the last month or two, working on a guest post about children and allowances. I asked Danny to write this post because it involves a hotly debated topic in parenting – should you tie your kid’s allowance to their chores? Or should they do chores “for free” because they are part of the family? Here’s his take.

My wife, Tracy, is a stay-at-home mom to my two young daughters – Ava, age 5 and Ella, 2. We don’t make a large salary so we have to be frugal with our money. We are trying to pass on our values to our children. Ava gets an allowance every week for the chores she does. We check each chore off on a daily basis and at the end of the week Ava gets paid for doing these chores.

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 Personal Finance 
11
comments

PearBudget Review: Really Simple Budgeting

PearBudget LogoLast night, on the 25th episode of the Personal Finance Hour, we discussed mostly about budgeting and touched on some popular budgeting tools. PearBudget is an online budget management tool, mentioned by both JD and members of the chatroom, that I had never heard of.

PearBudget’s tagline is “really simple budgeting” and it delivers on that promise. Within ten minutes, I was able to setup a budget and begin tracking expenses without even entering an email address. You can play with the full tool right from the start, without even registering. That’s uncommon in any tool, let along a budgeting one.

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 Debt 
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What are Junk Debt Buyers?

So many bills!Junk Debt Buyers, also called JDB’s, engage in the business of buying distressed assets at pennies on the dollar and then try to collect on that debt. Sometimes they try to go after the full amount, sometimes they’ll accept a settlement amount of 50% or less. It’s not a bad business to be in, except they suffer from one very crucial weakness a smart debt collection fighter knows. When challenged, they can rarely obtain any sufficient documentation of the debt. In other words, they can’t validate the debt after someone has sent a debt dispute letter!

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 Credit 
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Avoid Credit Card Cash Advances!

Johnny Cash Rocks, Cash Advances Don'tReader Jane emailed me last week to warn me about cash advances on credit cards. She recently stuck her credit card into an ATM, withdrew money, and was surprised to learn all the fees associated with a cash advance. She was in a bit of a pinch (she didn’t elaborate, nor did I ask) and needed cash but she left her ATM card at home, so she resorted to her credit card thinking a cash withdrawal from an ATM would be the same as a charge. Unfortunately she was wrong.

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 Reviews 
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Checks for Vets by Joseph Scott McCarthy

Checks for Vets by Joseph Scott McCarthyChecks for Vets is a guidebook that will help wartime service vets and their surviving spouses receive their VA pensions as a result of their service. If you’ve ever filled out a government form, then you know how complicated and vague that can be. How certain line items, despite “instructions,” can be difficult to understand and that every accidental error or inaccuracy results in a processing delay. Just think about your tax return!

When I was approached by Joe McCarthy’s publicist about the book, I knew I had to get a copy and review it. I’m always grateful for those who serve, have served, or work in support of our armed services. Knowing how complicated government forms can be, I knew a guide to the whole process, written by someone with intimate knowledge of the process, would be invaluable for those seeking to claim their benefits.

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 Your Take 
59
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Your Take: Married Women Outearning Husbands

Money money money!An MSNBC article this week discussed how women are increasingly earning more than their husbands. Twenty years ago, 17.8% of women outearned their husbands. In 2007, 25.9% outearned their husbands if they both worked and 33.5% of married women outearned their husbands period. It’s estimated that the percentage bas probably jumped because of all the jobs lost in the recession, it’s estimated that nearly 75% were held by men.

The Shriver Report conducted a survey and found that 65.3% of women and 61.2% of men were comfortable with women earning more than men. I want to know, what do you think?

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