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Going back to school? Nontraditional students face special hurdles

by Miranda Marquit on October 15, 2013

Nontraditional students don't have to be as crazy as Pierce Hawthorne to have trouble adjust to collegeWhen most of us think of college students, we picture young adults between the ages of 18 and 23.

But according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 21 percent of U.S. college students in the 2011 school year were over the age of 30. You’d think with that with so many older students, colleges would be focused on meeting their needs, but older students still face special challenges as they complete their degrees.

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Are women really paid only 77 cents for each dollar men are paid?

by Miranda Marquit on October 14, 2013

Do women really earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men?It’s fairly common to hear that women are only paid 77 cents for each dollar that men earn. While this number comes from the Census Bureau and is based on solid data, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t account for factors such as education and experience.

Indeed, when you start digging into the data a little bit, you find that there are a number of causes that influence the pay gap between men and women. And, while it’s definitely there, it might not be as big — or quite as sinister — as we think.


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Struggling financially? The stress might hurt your decision-making

by Miranda Marquit on October 10, 2013

Stress reductionOne of the tenets of the “American Way” is that anyone can “make it,” no matter how dire their circumstances. While this is a comforting thought, the reality might not play out quite so nicely. According to research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, there are indications that financial stress can reduce the ability to make good long-term decisions.


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Getting the best bang for your student loan buck

by Miranda Marquit on October 09, 2013

Make sure you don't take on too big of a student loan burdenThere’s no doubt that the rising cost of a college education, and the student loan debt that individuals and families are taking on to cover it, are hot-button issues right now.

But it’s worth remembering that the costs and benefits of different college degrees can vary widely; earning a bachelor’s and master’s in engineering might cost more than an associate degree in paralegal studies, but it will probably pay more, too.


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How to get the most out of your HOA fees

by Miranda Marquit on October 07, 2013

What are you getting for your HOA fees?In my neighborhood, which is still being developed, HOA fees aren’t much of an issue. They are small — just $25 a year — and only cover road maintenance.

But other neighborhoods with HOA fees offer a lot more amenities, and charge a lot higher price for them. If you live in such a community, it makes sense to know what you’re paying for, and how to get the most out of those hefty monthly dues.

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Live and work overseas? Don’t forget to pay U.S. taxes

by Miranda Marquit on October 02, 2013

Working overseas can make your U.S. taxes difficultA few years ago, I worked for a company based in Taiwan. Whenever I received a check from this company, taxes paid to Taiwan were deducted. Then, during tax time in the United States, I was required to report that income, even though it was earned working for a foreign company. The good news is that I received a tax credit for the money paid to Taiwan’s government.

My situation was fairly straightforward; I lived in the United States and the income from the foreign company wasn’t very large. Others face a more daunting situation related to their residency in a foreign country.


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4 red flags of a bad 401(k) plan

by Miranda Marquit on October 01, 2013

Some 401(k)s have big red flags like these.One of the great advantages of working for “the man” is retirement benefits, including the possibility of contributing to a 401(k) plan that offers you the chance to save for retirement with pre-tax dollars.

But are all 401(k) plans created equal? Certainly not. Right now, Fidelity Investments is being sued by some of its current and former employees due to the nature of its plan. According to the lawsuit, Fidelity’s plan funnels employees into investments that have high costs, and might not provide the best bang for the buck. (Fidelity plans to fight the suit, and counters that there are plenty of low-cost choices available with its plan.)

Seeing a lawsuit like this hit one of the biggest providers of workplace retirement plans in the country should make you wonder: How does your own plan stack up?
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Are your genes influencing your investing decisions?

by Miranda Marquit on September 30, 2013

Is your DNA influencing your finances?We hear a lot about money personalities, and how they influence our financial decisions. But why do you have the money personality that shows through in your life? What’s behind it? The answer might be in your genes.

When it comes to the decisions you make with regard to financial risk, research shows that your genetic makeup can be a big influence.

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