Personal Finance 
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How Do You Count Cash?

Grab a few dollars out of your wallet and start counting them. Pay close attention to how you counted them because it may be a good indication of where you are from! People from different areas of the world count money differently. Many of the “methods” are similar but each has its own distinct style.

I definitely count money the way they say Americans and my parents and relatives, who are from Taiwan, count money the way they say. Check out this video:
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 Shopping 
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Hottest New Money Maker: The Plunder Funnel

What happens when you take a pyramid and turn it upside down? That’s right… you have a funnel. A plunder funnel. If you’ve been wondering how to turn and and every human relationship you have into cold hard cash, then you need to request this special package teaching you how to make your very own plunder funnel.

It’s pretty amazing, I hope to earn my $700,329 a month (I hear the limit is infinity but I don’t want to seem greedy) and I definitely know two people.

Pssst… it’s a parody.

Brought to you by the fine folks at the Consumerist.


 Personal Finance 
29
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Lemonade: It’s Not A Pink Slip, It’s a Blank Page

The first thing I thought of when I watched Lemonade was – “Wow, I’m surprised no one else has made a movie like this before.” The economy is slowly recovering, job losses are slowing, but we’re living in a world where 10%+ of the people who want to have a job, can’t get one and it was only until today, this morning actually, that I saw an uplifting and powerful movie about how being fired isn’t always a bad thing.

The movie itself is a mere 35 minutes and is beautifully done, with interviews of recent fired people (from advertising) who took what was an otherwise horrible experience (I’ve been fired before, though not as jarring as any of their stories) and made it a very powerful one. Some started new businesses, either in an unrelated field or as freelancers. Some focused on other endeavors like charitable and philanthropic work, painting, yoga, … you name it.

Lemonade is a very appropriate title. If you have the time, you can watch it in its entirety here:
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 Investing 
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BVC #24 – How to Pick A Stock Broker [VIDEO]

Every week or two, I get an email from a reader wanting to know who I think is the best stock broker. I usually tell them that when it comes to my retirement, I use Vanguard because I like their mutual funds and because I can invest in those mutual funds for free. For my taxable broker, I use E*Trade and TradeKing. E*Trade because they had a high yield savings account that I could use as my sweep account (not anymore though) and now TradeKing because trades cost $4.95 and they consistently win awards for customer service (though I’ve yet to call them, never had a reason to).

In my emails, I don’t go through the methodology I used to picking a broker because I had planned on making a post about it. I only talk about the brokers I use and why (like in the above paragraph). So, I decided to make it the subject of the latest Bargaineering VideoCast.

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 Banking 
49
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Consider Moving Your Money to Local Banks

This past weekend my wife and I went home to New York to visit my parents and my visiting relatives for the holidays. My parents recently moved within spitting distance of Port Jefferson, a cute little “village” that features a ferry and lots of restaurants and small boutique shops. My parents have been saying that the recession has really hurt the area and it’s most visible in the shops. Small shops have gone out of business and parking was now free, when before non-residents would have to pay.

On our walk we stopped by Boardwalk Games, a little board game store on the corner of Main Street and W. Broadway (their website says differently but I swore the store was on that corner). Anyway, we walked inside, talked to the couple who owned the store and walked out with a copy of Dominion, a card-based game that won some game award this year. We paid more for the game than we would’ve online but since the owners were so nice and friendly and the economy being so weak, it was good to put some of our money back into the local economy.

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 Investing 
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BVC #23: Your Mutual Fund May Be Ripping You Off [VIDEO]

When it comes to investing, you can’t predict the future. What you can predict, with 100% certainty, is how much your broker is going to charge to get you there. If you’re like me, the majority of your stock market investments are in mutual funds in retirement accounts like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs. While we can’t control how they will perform, we can be smart about where we invest by picking good funds with reasonable costs.

In this video, I look at some index funds, the easiest type of fund to compare, and how picking a low cost one can make a huge difference in your retirement nest egg.

Bargaineering #23: Your Mutual Fund May Be Ripping You Off from JIM WANG on Vimeo.



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 Personal Finance 
22
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BVC #22: Big Impact of Small Everyday Spending [VIDEO]

All too often we go through our lives spending a little here, a little there. We make these purchases automatically because they can be so small and so routine that we forget we even make it. A lot of these things are habits, like smoking, or they’re part of our daily routine, like a cup of coffee in the morning. In this video, I talk about how you should take a look at all those small purchases because over time they can accumulate into something bigger.

I also want to thank the fine folks at Intuit and TurboTax for supporting Bargaineering and sponsoring this video. With the end of the year coming, you’re bound to see a lot of tax related articles everywhere as people give advice on what you should do before the end of the year, so it’s fitting that TurboTax is the inaugural sponsor of these videos. If you’re on Twitter, I invite you to follow @TurboTax for more information on tax and product news straight from the experts.

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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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