Personal Finance 
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Roundup: Financial Reform & Financial Tips

The big financial news of this week, besides the correction in the markets, has to be the Senate passing the financial reform bill – Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S. 3217). As they work to reconcile this bill with the one passed by the House in December, we’ll discuss some of the more significant amendments that affect us directly. There are a lot of new banking regulations, new regulatory bodies, and the like but we’ll start taking a look at things that affect people directly (banking regulations affect us indirectly).

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 Personal Finance 
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Weekly Roundup: Not Enough Taxes

Taxes!I’m sure you’ve heard about the TEA Party, “Taxed Enough Already,” and how they want change (if you haven’t, turn on the news!). Well, did you also know that, according to a USA Today’s article, we are paying the lowest amount of taxes in 60 years? Federal, state, and local taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest since 1950 and far below the 12% average of the last fifty years.

Remember, the tax brackets are just a starting point… after deductions and credits, very few people pay anything close to their marginal tax rate.

Here are this week’s choice cuts:
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 Personal Finance 
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Weekend Roundup: They’re Back!

For those who follow my Twitter account @bargainr, you get treated to interesting links as I find them throughout the day. Many of them are personal finance in nature, some of them are not, but I hope everyone finds them somewhere in the spectrum of entertaining and educational.

Well, not everyone is on Twitter (let’s be honest, it’s a huge time sink) so I thought it would be best if we revived Weekend roundups with some of these interesting links sprinkled in!

Before we begin, I want to pay homage to a bookmarklet I recently discovered – Readability With a click on a bookmark, you can turn any page into something slightly prettier and easier to read. May I recommend you load up this page on the four stages of burnout, put it through Readability, and read it. The article is important but it’s difficult to read sans serif, black text on a brown background.
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 Personal Finance 
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pfPicks: We’re Almost to 2010!

Whew, the end of yet another week. Can you believe it’s already November? It seemed like only yesterday I was trying to figure out what to get my wife for Valentine’s Day and already we’re planning for Thanksgiving in a few short weeks. It’s been a heck of a year so far, though we still have a little bit to go, and while things haven’t been too rough, I know that everyone’s been dealing with challenges this year. One thing we can be thankful for is that we’re still here, still kicking, and 2010 is just a few weeks away. Keep your head up and keep fighting, you only fail if you give up.

I hope you enjoy this week’s picks:

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 Personal Finance 
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pfPicks: Like A Phoenix, Roundups Reborn!

Pontiac FirebirdA year or so ago, I’d do weekly roundups highlighting some personal finance articles that I really enjoyed each week. Sometime within the last year, I fell behind and soon abandoned these articles because I felt like they weren’t adding much value. Well, over the last few weeks, a few new readers have told me that they discovered Bargaineering from roundups on other sites.

So, I’ve decided to bring these Weekly Roundups back in order to share with you some other websites I personally enjoy and hope that you will to. These will be once weekly and I will try not to link to the same sites because that really doesn’t help you find new and fun places to spend your valuable time.

And yes, that’s a Pontiac Firebird. It’s not a Phoenix, but it’s close enough!

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 Personal Finance 
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April 2009 Roundup: Finances, Food & Fun

Stack of TextbooksStarting this month I’ll be doing a monthly roundup of some posts I found particular entertaining, interesting, or informative. I won’t inundate you with a list of posts, each one will be carefully selected and given some context.

This month I’ve been doing a lot of food blog reading since I’ve been writing about a variety of cooking topics, like making bread crumbs and pizza crusts, so I found a couple foodie blogs to share with you all. I hope you like this new monthly feature!

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 Investing 
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Investing Roundup: Dogs, Aristocrats, and a Distressed Index

I wrote about the Dogs of the Dow this week but did you know about the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats? Nickel wrote about them this week and it’s a fantastic name for the companies in the S&P that have increased their dividend payouts for twenty-five consecutive years. They have outperformed the S&P index over the past 3, 5, 10, and 15 years and had a lower standard deviation (probability that their stock price will go up or down in a given year), they are stable, income generating, blue chips. So, what are they and how do you invest in them? Read Nickel’s post!

Curious how the companies that participated in the TARP program are faring? Check out the NASDAQ’s Government Relief Index, ticker QGRI. It kicked off at 1000 this week and it tracks the performance of U.S.-listed securities that are participating in government sponsored relief programs, including but not limited to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). How’s it faring? As of Friday, January 9th, it was around 941.

Jeremy at GenXFinance is finding the silver lining in this recession in his post, Why the Recession Will Be Good for Us as a Country, and I agree with him. There will be some good out of this situation, it’s just unfortunate it has to come at the expense of so many hard working Americans. SVB at The Digerati life also compares this business cycle to past business cycles. Here’s a great one-liner: “Ours is a red-headed stepchild of a recession.” (in other words, it’s a bad because it’s triggered by credit system woes instead of monetary tightening, yikes)


 Personal Finance 
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Financial Advice from Experts

Doom and gloom are on the menu and you have to order something. Fortune tapped eight brilliant minds to ask for their outlook on our dismal economy and none gave a positive answer. There are some big names on this list like PIMCO’s Bill Gross and Oppenheimer’s Meredith Whitney, definitely give this one a scan because they give some very detailed answers. This isn’t a fluff piece.

Now that you’ve been scared, here’s a Money Magazine piece with financial advice from six financial advisers. These won’t be names you’ve heard of before but under each picture is how long they’ve been advising, the assets their clients hold, and what they may be known for. When others are panicking, stay level-headed.

Gary Bonner sent me two great articles by Victor Hanson: The Hysterical Style and Ten Random, Politically-Incorrect Thoughts. They’re both good reads too.

Here’s a bonus link for this week:

Finally, for those with a less than stellar fraud detector, Ben Popken of The Consumerist penned an article for Reader’s Digest this month, How to Avoid A Scam. “When times get tough, the cons get cagier. The latest scams, shams, and devious flimflams to avoid.” Check it out.


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