Diversify Your Investments with Forex Trading

by Sean Bryant on May 22, 2015

Forex trading

When it comes to investments, many people simply think of the stock market. They know that there are stocks and bonds, and maybe mutual funds, but beyond that many don’t know of the other opportunities. These traditional investments only scratch the surface of what is available. For over a decade now Forex has been making currency trading available to investors no matter what their net worth is. If you haven’t heard of Forex, now is the time to learn.

What is Forex?

Forex, derived from the words Foreign Exchange, is trading currency and profiting on the fluctuation of their values. Since most countries have their own currency, and its value is constantly fluctuating against the values of other countries’ currencies, you can make a profit by trading them.

The idea of Forex was conceived back in the 1990’s and it was made available online in 2003. Since that time investors have been making money by capitalizing on the changes in currency values.

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How Living at Home During College Saves You Money

by Sean Bryant on May 20, 2015

Living at Home

Trying to save as much money on college as possible? One of the easiest ways to do college on the cheap is commute while continuing to live at home.

I know, this doesn’t sound particularly fun. College is supposed to be about leaving your parents (and possibly friends) behind, becoming independent, and making important discoveries about yourself along the way.

While that’s true, you can still have a great college experience while living at home. If keeping your college expenses as low as possible is a priority for you, then you should consider it. here’s why.

You Save Thousands on the Cost of Room and Board

As someone who personally chose this route for college, I speak from experience. My parents graciously allowed me to continue living with them rent free while I was in college (I paid once I graduated), and I was able to graduate which much less student loan debt than I would have otherwise.

Let’s compare – my fiance went to a state university, which was cheap by most standards. He graduated with at least $10,000 more in student loans than me, and that was largely because he had to pay for a meal plan and a dorm room.

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Is 2015 the Year You Should Buy a Home?

by Scott Sery on May 15, 2015

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Mortgage Banking for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

The great recession technically ended in June 2009, but many Americans are still feeling long lasting effects. Some of those are good, such as the low interest rates that we have been able to enjoy for the past several years, and some of them are not as good, such as the unemployment rate that is taking a long time to work its way down to a reasonable level.

To gauge consumer interest in buying a home, Chase Mortgage Banking conducted a survey. It turns out that there are a lot of people out there who are looking to buy; and the reasons vary considerably.

Consumer Interest in Homebuying

Real estate costs are picking back up. Because of this rise in prices, there are a number of people out there that want to buy before the price gets too much higher; in fact the survey shows that 3 out of 10 Americans want to buy in the next 18 months (many of them are house hunting now during the 2015 spring and summer homebuying season). The motivation to buy soon? 20% of those who responded stated that the rising cost of renting, which makes owning a better value, is their number one reason to buy; and, for those who are already homeowners, 20% say their desire to upgrade from their current home is their number one reason to buy.

It’s not just the fact that prices are going up for homes, it’s also that interest rates are likely to increase this year. Low rates, increasing rental costs, and increasing housing costs mean that it is a perfect time for many people to get off the fence and make the decision. But that decision needs to be made soon; 35% of potential buyers say that if the rates go over 4% (for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage) they would likely delay their decision.

So if the interest rates are great, and the cost of rentals is going up, why are so many people still putting off their decision? One reason is that many people feel they missed the bottom of the market. In fact, almost 70% feel they have missed the best buying opportunity due to the rising cost of homes. An even bigger factor, however, is the fact that many people simply don’t know what to look for or what to expect when it comes to buying a house.

Resources Available to Homebuyers

Fortunately, there are a great many resources available online and in the community. To begin with, everyone who is interested in buying a home should start their learning process online. It doesn’t cost anything, and can be done whenever there is spare time.

Not only does One Smart Dollar have a number of great articles, there are some other resources that dive into different aspects of the buying process. For example Chase has a YouTube channel called My New Home. On the My New Home YouTube channel there are dozens of high quality videos that answer all sorts of questions that range from credit score, to pre-approval, to inspections, to what you do if your loan application is declined. If you’re not into videos, and you would rather read the information, Chase Mortgage Banking has plenty to read as well.

Sometimes, however, you need to interact in order to get your specific questions answered. That is a lot easier than you think, and there is no reason you should ever pay for a class. Simply call your Realtor or the agent with whom you are working, and ask about a first-time homebuyer class. There should be one offered at least every weekend, and it is there that you can get the majority of your questions answered.

Is 2015 the Year You Buy a Home?

Have you been looking at buying a home? There is speculation that in June 2015 interest rates are going to start ticking back up. If they do, your mortgage will only get more expensive. If you want to get locked into a lower interest rate, it may be beneficial to buy your house sooner rather than later.

What are the biggest factors in your homebuying decision?

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Is An Online Degree Worth It?

by Scott Sery on May 13, 2015

Is an online degree worth it?

If you attended college from fall 1970 until spring 1974 (a typical 4 year span), you could have graduated with an undergrad degree from a public university and have spent a total of about $6,500. Add in the costs of room and board, and that number is closer to $10,500 (in current dollars). Fast forward to 2003 to 2007 (the latest dates for which information is available) and that same degree will run you almost $52,000. Include room and board and you’re looking at closer to $80,000. The exact same degree now costs 8 times as much as it did 40 years ago. These rapidly increasing costs have spurred a lot of people to look for alternatives. Many turn to online degrees; but are they getting a good deal?

Different Types of Online Degrees

Not all online degrees are created equal. And I’m not just talking about different institutions that issue them, but that is a huge part of it. One could get a degree from a university in their home town, without ever setting foot in that university.

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Great Ways to Keep Your Kids Occupied This Summer

by Sean Bryant on May 11, 2015

Keep Kids Occupied at Home

School is out in one month in some areas of the country. For parents, their children’s elation at a two month reprieve from homework quickly turns to “We’re bored.” Even more worrisome is how many kids will quickly spend their summer months in front of TVs or gaming systems. Sometimes you don’t want to go on costly vacations and you may be looking for ways to save. I know that I have to be creative to compete with an Xbox. If you have to play cruise director or camp counselor this summer, here are a few suggestions for fun activities to keep your kids occupied and your sanity saved.

Throw Back Fun for the Outdoors

When we were kids, riding bikes around the neighborhood and staying out until dusk was the norm. Today, kids have less freedom to roam. However, even in the backyard, they can get an awesome work out. Set up games like croquette or bocce that can be played in any size yard. You can find relatively inexpensive sets from vendors like Target. A scavenger hunt will have them searching high and low for various items. Blowing bubbles is an inexpensive but delightful way for one child or many to spend a warm summer afternoon. You can find a giant bubble tube at any discount retailer. Hula hoops are another throw-back to our childhood that today’s kids might find fun yet challenging. Host a contest to see who can keep theirs up the longest. Since this is a great waist whittler, you may even want to join them. Don’t forget the joy of running through sprinklers; it can bring a smile to even the most tech-oriented boy or girl.

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5 Tips for Attracting Renters to a Home

May 8, 2015
Rent

You have a home to rent – and so do hundreds of other landlords in your area. Some property owners erroneously assume that in today’s high-priced rental market, they can list unkempt rentals and still secure tenants year after year. However, savvy lessees tend to do their research, and move on when presented with outdated […]

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Target REDcard – Save 5% Off Your Target Purchase

May 8, 2015
Target REDcard

My wife and I love to shop at Target.  The prices are great and the quality is even better.  We are always looking for a way to save even more money and that is where the Target REDcard comes into play. We use the debit card version which works just like a check by drawing […]

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