Personal Finance

Personal Finance

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Democracy Scratch

Scorpions and Centaurs
via Creative Commons Flickr user Scorpions and Centaurs

It’s an election year, albeit a midterm one. But with the presidential race looming in 2016, and campaigns starting earlier than ever, it is imperative that you start thinking about how to get the most political bang for your buck. You don’t want to be one of those chumps blindly donating to your preferred candidate with no assurance that anything will come from it, do you? Of course not. You want to make sure your actual “change” translates into political “change”! (Feel free to use that around the water cooler. That’s where I heard it.) So let’s jump in. I’ll take you through the various ways in which you can insert your money into the political process, and determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of each choice.

1. Donate to someone running for office. This is a direct way to put your money into the coffers of your preferred candidate. You might think that would be a good thing, but it isn’t. According to federal law, individuals can only donate a paltry $2,600 to a candidate’s campaign. That contribution isn’t going to amount to much in a presidential election when television ad buys cost millions of dollars. Not to mention the fact that such campaign war chests are so huge, the influence your $2,600 is going to be extremely minimal. For this reason, if you do insist on taking this route, it’s best to donate to campaigns closer to home. Forgo presidential and even senate campaigns for a congressional race. Or magnify your donation further by only donating to state, county or municipal candidates. Your local dog catcher may not be able to make pot legal, but you’ll at least have one politician in your pocket.

Personal Finance

How much money should you save in 2014?

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How much money should you sock away in savings in 2014?

It’s the ultimate question, right? If only the answer were that simple. Of course how much you save throughout the year will depend on a lot of variables like where you live, what debt you’re paying down, your salary, etc.

Different experts will probably suggest different things when it comes to saving. I myself have always liked to follow something called the 50/20/30 rule (a term coined by the personal finance site, Learnvest). It’s simple to follow, and you can make it work on any salary.

Personal Finance

The 7 biggest financial mistakes to avoid in the New Year

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The beginning of a new year offers the perfect opportunity to reflect back on the choices we’ve made in the previous one, and to make any necessary adjustments for better returns in the months ahead.

This is perhaps the most true when it comes to our financial decisions. Many of the systems you put in place for 2013 might not suit you in 2014. Perhaps you’ve received a large holiday bonus, or maybe even a raise? Maybe you’ve moved into a new house, had kids or became a stay-at-home parent. Whatever your circumstances, take the time to check in with your personal finance situation … and to avoid making these big mistakes in the new year.

Personal Finance

Exploring the most popular college funding options: 529 Plans

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Saving for a child’s college expenses can seem like a daunting task. However, it is a lot simpler than many people think. When it comes to paying for a child’s education, parents tend to have a million and one questions. All of which are completely understandable. Some of the more frequently asked questions are:

  • How do you get started saving?
  • How much do you save for college?
  • Where do you invest the money?

The answer to the first question, “How do you get started saving?” can be answered by referencing the article, “Three Steps to Start Saving for Your Child’s College.” As for how much to save for college, there is a bounty of online calculators available to determine just how much of a contribution is required to meet savings goals. These calculators work by looking at a variety of factors including a child’s specific circumstance, public or private education, and the level of funding.

Personal Finance

Top 10 companies offering full-time benefits to part-timers

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When it comes to working in today’s world, many people prefer flexible schedules that fit with their busy lifestyles. In fact, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder, 59% of employees said they value a flexible schedule over a title, and a third would rather telecommute.

Still, whether you’re working part-time, a few hours a week or full-time, it’s often also important for employees to have the option of some kind of health insurance package. Luckily, PT Money put together an updated list of the 20 best part-time jobs with benefits for 2013. The following are their top 10 companies. Check out the link for the full list of 20.

Aerotek
Aerotek, the national temp agency, offers medical benefits to workers putting in 20+ hours a week. Benefits include dental and vision, as well as eligibility for spouses and dependent children.
Check out their full benefits package here.

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