Tuesday, May 20, 2014

9 best cash back credit cards

9 best cash back credit cards
When you shop with your credit card, you can earn cash back for your purchases.  I personally prefer cash back credit cards since I can use the cash for whatever I want vs. a rewards card that forces you to use it in specific categories (i.e. travel).  I use the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card, which offers 2% flat cash back on all purchases with no annual fee.  The chart below contains the 9 best cash back credit cards.  I haven’t included Annual Percentage Rates (APR) below since you should always pay off your credit card in full each month and that should not be a factor in choosing a card.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The art of negotiation and tips to becoming a better negotiator

Parasailing in Cancun, Mexico
Negotiating the price of para-sailing in Mexico made for a very reasonably priced adventure
Throughout your life, you’ll likely be involved in thousands of negotiations.  In fact, you probably negotiate at least a few times each day of your life.  Whether you’re negotiating with your significant other about what movie to watch, deciding what restaurant to eat at with your friends, or haggling over a good price to pay for a used car, you’re negotiating whether you know it or not.

There are certain techniques that you can use that can make you a more effective negotiator.  The goal of using these techniques is not to somehow gain the upper hand in a negotiation, but rather to find out what you value and what the other party values, and to find a solution or deal that satisfies both parties. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ridiculous Ways to Save Money #2

Did you already implement all of our ridiculous money saving tips #1?  Don’t despair, here's a fresh list to keep you saving money like nobody’s business:

1. Unplug electronics when not in use
Leaving your household appliances and electronics, like desktop computers, TVs, cable TV boxes, and toasters plugged in when not in use is a serious drain on your cash.  Even though they’re turned off, they’re still costing you money.  The Department of Energy estimates that 5% – 10% of energy goes towards these devices.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Highest and lowest paying jobs

Construction workers erecting a crane. Construction worker median pay was $41,000 in 2012.
Growing up, one of the toughest decisions is to figure out what job to eventually pursue.  The job should align with your interests and passions, and ideally, should compensate you well.  All jobs are essential for the economy to function, but some jobs simply pay much better than others.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Is Dr. Dre the first billionaire rapper?

Last week, Apple announced its largest deal ever with plans to acquire Beats Electronics, a producer of headphones and speakers, for $3.2 billion.  Forbes' Zack O'Malley estimates that Dr. Dre has a 20% to 25% stake in Beats.  At a valuation of $3.2 billion, Dr. Dre would gross between $640 to $800 million.

After paying California capital gains taxes, which qualify as ordinary income, Dr. Dre would have between $430 and $670 million left.  To become a billionaire, Dr. Dre would need an additional $330 to $570 million outside of his stake in Beats.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You know you're rich when...

Serene super yacht docked in Seattle at Pier 90
You know you're rich when you own a yacht that carries a crew of 52, includes 12 cabins, your very own master suite, a gym, a pool, a Jacuzzi, multiple smaller boats, an elevator, and two helipads.  The super yacht is called the Serene and is owned by Russian Stoli vodka tycoon Yuri Scheffler.  Built in 2011 by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, the yacht is 439.3 feet long and cost a cool $330 million USD.  Commence drooling in 3, 2, 1...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why we should all love airlines and their added fees

Stormy weather approaching a Lufthansa plane parked at Frankfurt Airport in Germany
If you’ve flown anywhere recently, you’ve likely encountered an agonizing security screening experience, extra fees for everything from your bag to your meal, and overcrowded flights.  Since the 9/11 attacks, security has been tighter than ever, requiring passengers to remove shoes, take out laptops, and proceed through onerous imaging technology.  Airplanes are more crowded than ever as airlines cut back on capacity as they retire older less fuel-efficient planes.  When storms hit and airlines cancel flights, it can be challenging to find new flights in a reasonable time.  Checking in at least one free bag and eating a free meal on your cross-country flight were once birthrights.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What’s the value of your mom on this mother's day?

My mom
With Mother’s Day today, what’s the value of your mom?  Of course, the only right answer is priceless.  However, if you really had to put on a value of all the jobs that your mom does, which is a truly exhaustive list, you’d need to take on another job to cover the cost.  Being a mom requires all sorts of skills ranging from cooking, to driving, to helping with homework.  Not only does a mom need to be proficient in these varied areas, your mom must work overtime and be on call throughout the night.  If you interviewed for a job like this, you’d likely balk at all of the requirements.  How much would the typical mom make a week for everything that she does?

Friday, May 9, 2014

5 Money Saving Tips #2

Happy Friday!  Kick off the weekend with some quick money saving tips:

1. Install energy efficient light bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs might give off a more pleasant color, but most of the electricity goes towards heat.  Consider installing LED or fluorescent light bulbs to reduce your electric bill.  The initial cost might be higher, but the lower energy costs will save money over the long run.  Plus, the color from new LED bulbs is comparable if not better than incandescent light bulbs.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How do you spend your money?

My condo, my single biggest monthly expense
The first step to reducing your expenses is to understand how you’re spending your money.  You should already have a sense for where your money goes, but having a precise view gives you a better understanding of whether you’re spending your money wisely.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Comparing your net worth to others

While it’s interesting to calculate your own net worth to see how your financial situation is progressing, you’ll likely be curious to see how your net worth compares to others.  How does your net worth compare to others with similar age, education, or region of the country?

For example, what’s the net worth of your friend who earns close to what you earn but is constantly buying new clothing, eating out, and living large.  Is your friend simply maxing out all of their credit cards or do they have a trust fund that they’re relying on?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5 Fun Summer Activities That Won’t Bust the Bank

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to get outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.  All sorts of activities are screaming for your attention, but many carry a hefty price tag.  Amusement park admissions are approaching $70 a day at Six Flags and up to $99 a day at Magic Kingdom.  Many camps are approaching $1,000 to watch over your rug rats for a week.  Here are five almost free things to do this summer that are sure to delight:

Monday, May 5, 2014

12 Ways to Know You're a Saver

You probably already know whether you’re a saver or a spender, but if not, this list will help you be certain.  If you’re a proficient saver already, let us know about your most ridiculous money saving tips in the comments below.

1. You turn off the lights when you leave the room to save on your electricity bill.