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15 Low Cost Weekend Activities Without Leaving Home

by Tim Parker on May 07, 2012

Have you read the other two parts of this series? In the first article we looked at a few weekend activities that cost little or no money. In the second article, we looked at ways to make more costly activities more affordable.

In this article, we’re going to look at 15 ways to have fun without leaving the house. Who said that you have to get in the car and go somewhere in order to have a fun weekend? All of the below 15 activities can easily take place at home or get some friends and family together and make it even better.

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CARD Act: Fewer 0% Balance Transfer Offers

by Tim Parker on May 03, 2012

Oh, the good ol’ days. You might remember the days of old when life was simple, credit wasn’t feared like it is today, and if you found yourself in over your head you could move your credit card balance to a card that offered a 0% introductory rate. Then, when the rate was about to expire, you moved it again. Balance transfer offers were plentiful.

It was a great plan that could be used over and over but one thing that never disappeared during the card hopping process was the actual debt and the card companies knew that. If a person had charged up a large credit card balance, why would they suddenly change their habits after they changed cards? Sure, just like we make New year’s Resolutions to lose weight, when we’re given 12 months to pay off our credit card without any interest, we make the resolution to pay it off but the card companies knew that in 12 months, you would likely still hold a balance and they could start making money off of you.

And that money came in the form of some hefty late fees, a high interest rate that was raised even higher, and over the limit fees. They didn’t lose any money by offering you a 0% interest rate for 12 months. They had you right where they wanted you because they knew that most people would not change their spending habits.

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How to Prepare for the Death of Your Spouse

by Tim Parker on May 02, 2012

Who pays the bills in your house? Our house isn’t much different from most households around the country. I’m the financial person in the family so I handle all financial matters in our home including paying bills, watching all of our accounts, managing our investments, and corresponding with people regarding financial matters. My wife barely knows what comes in and goes out.

The Suze Ormans, Dave Ramseys, and Clark Howards would probably say that each person in a marriage should take an equal part in financial affairs of the household but over the years I’ve talked to a lot of people and I haven’t found many of my friends that operate differently than my house. Maybe you and the people you know are different but managing the complicated maze of household money isn’t easy and two people can make it more confusing.

That isn’t to say that my wife doesn’t have total access when she wants to look at the accounts but a few years ago I started thinking about the fact that none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow and what if something happened to me? Would she know where to start when she was thrown in to being the financial manager of the house? Because of that, I put the information together for her. Here’s what I gave her.

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How Does an Annuity Work?

by Tim Parker on April 30, 2012

If you’re a baby boomer or work for a government agency, you may still know about pensions. As a public school teacher I paid in to the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio and if I would have taught for 30 years, I was guaranteed a certain percentage of my highest paying year.

Not much is guaranteed anymore and that’s why pensions are largely a thing of the past but there’s a product on the market that can give a person pension-like benefits as they head in to retirement. It’s called an annuity. Annuities are insurance products that guarantee you a certain amount of income once you retire. Here’s what you should know.

Quick Facts about Annuities

  • Most annuities are sold and marketed by insurance companies.
  • They are designed to guarantee a certain income once you retire.
  • The money you pay in to the annuity is invested which is what allows for the guaranteed payout.
  • They may come with a lot of fees.
  • There are a lot of different kinds of annuities.
  • Investment income generated by the annuity is tax free until you begin drawing on the annuity.

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How to Read a Stock Chart

by Tim Parker on April 25, 2012

If you’re one of those people who invests your money in to stocks and bonds for the long term, good for you. For the large majority of retail investors it’s not only the best way to make money, it’s the only way. As they say, there is a fine line between investing and gambling in the markets and for those who attempt to trade the markets, many are doing nothing more than gambling.

First, let’s define trading. Trading is a short or medium term investment in a financial product. Traders have no intention of holding an investment for a long period time and the short term and day traders may hold a stock (or other product) for as little as a few minutes.

The sophisticated traders don’t consider their craft to be gambling because they often employ very sophisticated tools that help them make educated choices about the products they will trade.

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20 Overlooked Discounts

by Tim Parker on April 24, 2012

CouponsWe’re always on the lookout for a bargain but either we don’t have the time, don’t have the desire to hunt, or we don’t know where to look. For me, it’s often a combination of all of those. I love a good discount but I only take advantage of those that are easy to find. Here’s a list of a few others I found after a little bit of digging.

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Dollar Cost Averaging vs. Lump Sum Investment

by Tim Parker on April 23, 2012

You’ve probably heard of dollar cost averaging. I do it down here in Florida when the ocean water starts to cool down in the fall. I start with just my toes in the water and over the course of ten minutes, I’m in up to my head. It doesn’t change anything about my situation other than my comfort level. If I were to run in to the water instead of taking a series of slow, tentative steps, I would be used to the water faster and enjoying my swim ten minutes earlier.

In many situations, your money works the same way. Dollar cost averaging is one of those well-known investing ideas that we’re all supposed to believe but it only works as intended for certain investors.

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How Long Should You Keep Your Tax Records?

by Tim Parker on April 19, 2012

I don’t have any evidence of this but I would guess that the one of biggest mistakes made by most of us during the year is not keeping important receipts and paperwork. I don’t know many people who claim that they have a talent for keeping their important documents organized. In fact, most of the people I know are the type that can’t keep track of things at all and that can be detrimental during tax season.

Since its tax time, how long is long enough to keep your tax or financial documents? When can you throw them away or should you ever?

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