Personal Finance 
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College Savings Interview: Part One

Yesterday, we had a discussion with Gary Hoover, Ph.D., Professor of Economics/Assistant Dean of Faculty and Graduate Student Development for Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama. Today, we’re continuing our look into the booming costs of a college education and we’ve asked Warren Smith, Associate Professor of Economics at Palm Beach State College in South Florida, to join us to help provide a few more insights for us on smart tips to save and prepare for both kids and parents.

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 Family 
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Is Upromise a Scam?

There are a lot of programs out there, and you might be worried about which programs are legitimate, and which really will help you earn rewards and save money. One of the more popular programs out there is Upromise, acquired by Sallie Mae in August of 2006.

Upromise is a program designed to help you save up for college. The idea is that every day purchases can add up over time so that your child has enough to go to college. Upromise comes with the added benefit of allowing you invest your rewards money into a 529 college savings plan and help pay down your student loans.

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 Personal Finance 
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College Savings Tips: Interview with Gary Hoover

Gary HooverOne of the big personal finance topics of the last year has been the skyrocketing cost of higher education. It’s a big topic because we’re talking enormous sums of money. Students are graduating with an absurd level of student loan debt, very little in savings, and with the recent failure of a motion to extend low cost loans, costs are probably not coming back down anytime soon.

We reached out to some experts to try to gain greater insight into these issues. Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Gary Hoover, Professor of Economics/Assistant Dean of Faculty and Graduate Student Development, Ph. D. at the University of Alabama. He’s the William White McDonald Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow and has published papers in the American Economic Review P&P, Southern Economic Journal, Public Choice, Journal of Economic Literature, International Tax and Public Finance, Applied Economics, and the European Journal of Political Economy. We reached out to him to get a better idea of what parents can do to help their kids save for college.

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 Career 
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Best – And Worst – Paying Jobs in the United States

AnesthesiologistAs this year’s college graduates get ready to enter the ranks of those looking for jobs, it’s worth considering the highest paying (and worst paying) jobs available in the United States. Indeed, if you are wondering whether or not your degree is worth the money, this list might help you make a decision.

Most jobs, of course, fall somewhere in between the extremes of best paying and worst paying. As you consider the top paying jobs and worst paying jobs (as listed by Forbes on Yahoo! Finance), you can look at your own situation, and your own options and decide what path your career should follow.
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 Cars 
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7 Best Cars for College Students

2010 Ford FocusAs another school draws to a close, thousands of high school seniors around the country are preparing to head off to college. For many, this means that it’s time to get a car. However, taking an expensive car to college can put financial strain on a student who is already expected to live off Ramen. If you are shopping for yourself, or for your child, it helps to be smart about the car that you choose. Choose a car that’s cheap to own.

Sometimes, the cheapest option can be to buy used. When I bought a car my freshman year, I spent about $3,000 for a used Mercury Topaz. It was a five-speed (I learned to drive stick on an old Festiva), and it got great gas mileage. My car was cheap to own, and it didn’t need a lot of repairs. It was a great option for me. However, not everyone is willing to go through the used car lots in an effort to find a good deal. Here are some ideas for cheap cars from Forbes and CNN Money, with my thoughts thrown in. You just might find something that makes sense for the student in your life:
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 Personal Finance 
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Where Can I Get the Best Price for my Used Books?

During the first six months of 2012, my wife and my sister have challenged each other to an contest. The person that sells their unused space-takers from around the house for the most, wins a free spa day from the other. As frugal as I tend to be, I’ve never had much use for EBay but I’ve sold my fair share of books online. I did it during my college years and was happy to get something back from the high price of my text books. (Especially my master’s degree books. Why are they the same size but more expensive?)

My wife is doing the same thing around the house. She has bookshelves full of books that she hasn’t touched since we were married and finally, she’s getting rid of them. But what is the best way to do it? There are plenty of web companies who would love to be involved in selling your books so who is going to help my wife win the spa day?

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