Banking 
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What To Do When Your CD Matures

We put our emergency fund into a CD ladder and every month one of those certificates of deposit matures and is automatically renewed. As an added bonus, ING Direct, where our CDs live, gives us a CD rollover bonus whenever we renew (currently the bonus is 0.15% on CDs of at least 12-months long). For us, the decision is simple. It’s a CD ladder and you simply renew the CD each month for the 12 month term.

What if you’re money isn’t in a CD because it’s part of a CD ladder, what should you do?

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 Credit 
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Chase Blueprint Payment Program Review

If you’ve been watching any TV, visiting any financially focused website, or have opened a financial magazine or newspaper, you’ve probably seen a Chase ad and information about their “Blueprint” program. They’ve done a huge media push over a program that, while a little innovative, only helps people who are carrying a balance. With the average credit card debt, it’s refreshing to see a credit card company offer up tools to help people pay down debt.

I think there are two reasons they’ve pushed these features out. First, it’s great PR to have a credit card company offer features that help people pay down debt. Second, it’s great business to have a credit card company offer features that help people pay down debt because it means they are less likely to default on it! I read the August 2009 Nilson Report, a credit card industry trade magazine, and it listed Chase has having the most outstanding debt at nearly $166 billion. A good customer is a paying customer, not a bankrupt one.

The Blueprint program has four components: Full Pay, Split It, Finish It, and Track It.
Chase Blueprint Program components
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 Investing 
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What is a Trailing Stop Loss Order?

New York Stock ExchangeThere are two mistakes that most people routinely make. They let emotions play too big a role in their decision making and they fail to adequately plan for the worst case scenario before the worst case scenario actually happens. These two mistakes aren’t a big deal when you’re planning dinner, but they can be disastrous when it comes to investing in the stock market. Reacting emotionally to the market can lead to bad decisions, which is compounded by the fact that we react to worst case scenarios rather than plan for them!

Fortunately in investing, we can use some of the tools to protect ourselves against it. I’ve recently been reading more about it and one of the best ideas I’ve seen is the use of stop loss orders and trailing stop loss orders to your advantage.

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 Government 
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Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (HR 1207)

Federal Reserve Bank in New YorkRepresentative Ron Paul, Republican from Texas and long-time favorite of the Internets, introduced a bill earlier this year called the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207). HR 1207, which now has 303 co-sponsors and last saw action in committee hearings on September 25th, would call for a full audit of the Federal Reserve by the Government Accountability Office before the end of 2010. The audit would be reviewed by Congress.

I think accountability is fundamental and I agree with many that the secrecy of the Fed, protected by the U.S. Code under 31 USC 714 – Sec. 714, is not in keeping with the transparency and openness we should require of our public officials (I understand the Fed technically only quasi-public, but for all intents and purposes it’s public in my mind). I understand it when we need to keep things hidden for purposes of national security but I don’t think this extends to national financial security.

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 Debt 
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When Debt Collectors Violate the FDCPA

DebtAs we learned in this classic abusive debt collection story, and Craig’s awesome response, debt collectors are often unfamiliar with the law. Not only are they unfamiliar with it, they routine violate it… which means you get to collect from them.

Want an example? Let’s say you call a collector to check on the status of your dispute. They decide to solicit payment from you… that collector has just violated the FDCPA and they now owe you at least $1,000.

Oh… it gets better.

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 Government 
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First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension (HR 3842)

Representative Kurt Schrader, Democrat from Oregon, and Representative Steve Driehaus, Democrat from Ohio, have co-sponsored a bill, H.R. 3842, that would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the first time homebuyer tax credit.

The current first time homebuyer credit is set to expire on December 1st, 2009. Schrader’s bill would do two crucial things:

  • The program would be extended to October 1st, 2010,
  • Homes purchased “after 2008,” rather than “in 2009″ would be elivible.

There is also one other change, you could treat the purchase of a home after December 31st, 2009 and before October 1st, 2010 as occurring on December 31st, 2009 for tax purposes. In other words, if you bought the house in 2010, you could take the credit on your 2009 tax return.

Don’t get too excited just yet, the bill was introduced on the 15th and was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. Several bills just like this one have been introduced over the last few months and died in the Committee on Ways and Means (HR 1993, HR 2606, HR 2655, HR 2905… the list keeps going).


 Frugal Living 
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How to Save on Halloween Candy

Burning Jack O' LanternAs the sugar-fueled, much anticipated mischievous holiday of Halloween draws near, frugal families are trying to figure out how they can save money on Halloween candy. Unfortunately for the money conscious, this year’s Halloween falls on the worst possible day, a Saturday. A Saturday Halloween means trick or treaters will be out earlier and longer than if it were on a workday and that means there will be more ghosts, pumpkins, and football player zombies wandering up to your door asking for candy.

However, if you’re smart about how you approach Halloween, you can save yourself some a little bit of money and every little bit counts.

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 Banking 
27
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BVC #21: True Power of Compound Interest [VIDEO]

It doesn’t take a genius to know that compound interest is a pretty remarkable thing. When your interest earns interest… and then earns some more, it can make for some large numbers over a long period of time. That part isn’t so difficult to understand even though plenty of people have written about it.

So why did I make a video about the “true power” of compound interest? Watch. :)

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