Chasing the American Dream

How would you define “the American dream?” A nice car? An annual vacation? A home theatre system? A recent MetLife survey asked that question and the most common answer was financial security. In previous surveys, the American dream was defined as a combination of home ownership, a happy family life, and a stable career. But […]

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The Rodney Dangerfield of Money Management Tools

It’s quiz time. What money management tool is used by over half of all millionaires in the U.S. yet is widely despised by most non-millionaires? Answer: a budget. The lowly budget’s image problem was the focus of a recent article by syndicated columnist Gregory Karp, and I was pleased to be part of the story […]

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Can’t Buy Me Love?

Technically, the Beatles had it right. But that doesn’t stop us from spending a lot to _demonstrate_ our love. According to the National Retail Federation, 63 percent of people are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, and they’ll do so to the tune of $120 each. Men tend to outspend women by a nearly […]

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The Uncle Sam Savings Plan

Are you among the 75 percent of federal income tax filers who’ll get a refund this year? If so, the government is making it easier to deposit the money straight into a savings account where you won’t be tempted to spend it. According to a story on _MSNBC_, the refund can even be split and […]

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Protect Your ID, Save the Planet

Got junk mail? Everyone does – an average of nearly 11 pieces each week. Some of it can tempt us to buy more than we should. Some of it even puts us at risk of identity theft, such as credit card offers that fall into the wrong hands. Recent articles from _Marketwatch_ and _SmartMoney_ suggested […]

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’til 200,000 Miles Do Us Part

Looking for ways to free up some cash? Look no further than your driveway. As was pointed out in a recent _MSN_ article, the average U.S. household spends a whopping $8,000 a year on transportation. That includes car payments, insurance, gas, repairs, and public transportation. h3(matt). Matt’s View p(matt). Breaking the cycle of financing cars […]

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1a Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to celebrate the people we love.  It’s also a good reminder to celebrate the One who came up with the idea of love in the first […]

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The Cost of Zero Percent Financing

These days, zero percent financing “deals” can be found on everything from trucks to TVs. But it’s important to read the fine print. According to a story in the _Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune_, the prices on some such items are often inflated to help retailers make up for lost financing charges. Or, they come with […]

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Cake, Candles, and Sanity

A new organization is trying to help parents stop the one-upmanship associated with many of today’s children’s birthday parties. As reported by the _Associated Press_, was formed by a group of “concerned parents and professionals” to address the excesses they say have led to kids feeling stressed, envious, and entitled. Its web site lists some […]

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Shopping for Opportunities to Give

We’re all accustomed to shopping for things to buy, whether flipping through the latest catalog that came in the mail or browsing the aisles of our favorite stores. But have you ever “shopped” for ideas about where to make charitable donations? The _Chicago Tribune_ recently profiled , an organization described as “a sort of philanthropic […]

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