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Are We Going To Run Out Of Special Days?

The New York Stock Exchange isn’t closed often during the course of a calendar year.  New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, 4th Of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in case you were wondering or wanted to mark it on your calendar.   As I glanced through all of the holidays during the course of the year, I was reminded about how Hallmark and American Greetings must have been in a war room together to see how many more ‘special days’ they could add to the calendar so Americans will buy more cards and gifts. I’m all for celebrating something important, but this special day and special month deal is absolutely out of control.  I’m not sure whether we are out of months of the year yet, but here are just a few ‘special days’ on the calendar as a reminder of the heightened level of idiocy we’ve attained by making sure every group ...

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How Marketers Manipulate Us To Buy More Stuff!!

Did you know that the highest paying job in America is and will always be marketing?  That’s right.  No matter how good your product is, it all doesn’t matter if you can’t get people to line up and make a purchase.   Marketers are smart.  Marketers are cunning.  Marketers (well some of them anyway) have learned the secret sauce that makes us want to buy more stuff even though we don’t really need it or even want it!   If you pay attention, you can learn the tricks of the trade but here are three ways that marketers learn how to separate you from your money: We Don’t Buy In Absolute Terms–   In one of my favorite books, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, he discussed the theory of relative pricing vs. absolute pricing.   Don’t confuse this with the idea of presenting you with three choices knowing that you’ll likely pick the one in the middle.  In the case below of the Economist ...

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How To Organize Your 2014 Budget

Even though exercise and diet remain the top two New Year’s resolutions that most Americans have, the next few days might provide you with some opportunity to visit your overall 2014 spending plan.  It can be a painful process sometimes building out a spending plan (or budget) as your self-reflection may often reveal ugly spots that you just don’t want to see. The first and most important step toward a financially successful 2014 is to get a reality check around where your dollars and cents were actually spent in 2013.   Here are my six tips on how to organize and set up a household budget.  This is the bedrock of what has created a successful personal financial plan for my household for many years. Gather The Last 12 Months Of Fixed Expenses– Fixed expenses are generally expenses that do not change much over the course of the year.  An example of this would be your rent or mortgage.  Most of ...

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Three Apps That Are Downright Creepy

In the decade where we have seen the proliferation of the ‘app’, not all apps are turning out to be useful.   When I have conversations with people about their smart phone apps, it quickly dawns on me that most people have downloaded hundreds of apps only to really use a half dozen or so on a regular basis.   Some apps are really cool and can help you become more productive while others are simply downright creepy.   Here are three that you might want to be on the lookout for when you are out and about on the town. SCENETAP (www.scenetap.com)- Scenetap is an app that will help you avoid the dreaded bar hopping from joint to joint only to realize that the bar isn’t full, or instead, its full of a crowd you don’t want to hang out with on a Saturday night.   This app can tell you how crowded a bar is in terms of its capacity, the male ...

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Three Reasons NOT To Lease A Car

Ownership is still one of the greatest feelings in the world.   I’m not talking about a house you have with a big mortgage because you really don’t own it yet.  The day you pay that puppy off will truly be cause for celebration.  It’s a feeling that less than the majority of people get to experience in America.   When it comes to your automobiles, I’m a much bigger fan of owning versus leasing.   The one time in my life I had a leasing experience back in 1993 with my Nissan Altima, I felt like an upside down pineapple cake by the time it was all said and done.  Since that purchase, I will only buy used cards and I will only own them.  Here are three reasons why NOT to lease a car. The Mileage Limit– When it comes to leasing a car, you need to make sure you always read the fine print.   Typically, the lease will stipulate some ...

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Four Lessons We Can Learn From Tony Soprano’s Estate

“You woke up this morning and got yourself a gun, Mama always said you’d be the chosen one.” Am I the only who sorely misses seeing the Soprano’s on an HBO Sunday night?  No matter what happened during the weekend, I could always count on a gripping hour of Drama and seeing the slicked back hair of Paulie Walnuts.   With the recent death of TV and movie superstar James Gandolfini, he will be sadly missed for some of his great work as Tony Soprano.    At times like this, there are always lessons to be learned.   Gandolfini did a few smart things with his estate, but he made some major mistakes that you can learn from so you don’t get capped down the road. Not making use of the unlimited marital deduction– Gandolfini left his $70 million dollars estate to his two sisters, his wife, and his daughter.  His son was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy not including in ...

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Should I Loan Money To A Friend?

All of us have had awkward money scenarios happen to us in our lives. There are the immediate face-to-face confrontations when a personal friend asks us for money while out on the town. Or what about the time that your college roommate asked you if they could borrow $5,000 or $10,000? Remember when your 2nd cousin said they would be starting a business and were wondering if you would invest $25,000 in the new venture? So, how do you handle a money situation that may make you lose sleep at night? Here are three smart money moves steps to diffuse the problem. Step 1: Empathize. Listen, and Show that you’ve heard by recapping what specifically the other person is wanting to do with the money. Make sure you initially understand it from their point of view. Indicate that you know that economic times are tough, and their individual circumstances are particularly difficult. In a certain sense you need to be ...

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SHORT SALES AND HARP 2.0 Webinar Replay

Join Jane McAuley, Top Real Estate Agent from Coldwell Banker, and Sam Johnson, Senior Mortgage Banker Fidelity Bank, as they discuss the do’s and don’ts on short selling your house and how you can benefit from HARP 2.0 when it comes to looking at your existing mortgage. Have questions or would like more information – Please visit oXYGenFinancial.net ...

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5 Homemade Gifts For Under 5 Dollars

With Mother’s Day just past us and Father’s Day around the corner, those of us that have kids look forward to getting some type of handmade card or some ceramic object that we aren’t sure whether they are supposed to be a mug or a tray to hold our jewelry.    However, with money still being tight across America, is there a way to use your imagination to make some cool gifts while keeping money in your pockets.  I’ve scoured dozens of different sites, and here are five cool gifts that you could make for under $5. 1.) Candles With Personalized Printing– If you stop in a high end store like Jonathan Adler, a scented candle can cost you almost $60.  By getting a candle and a stamp pad you could make something really cool for almost any occasion! (source: The 36th Avenue) 2.) The Photo Jar- Who needs a pricy frame from Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel when you ...

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