Down Payment Saving: Five Steps to Save For Your First Home

A down payment between 10 and 20% on your first home or condo is more important today than ever before. Following the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, lenders are more cautious with mortgage applications and borrowers have (hopefully) learned some lessons about risky home loans. Of course, socking away $20,000 or more isn’t easy, especially in your […]

Online Car Loans Compared: Get Approved Before You Shop

Buying a car with cash is stressful enough; finding the right auto loan is even harder. In my car shopping tips from an ex-car salesman, I recommend knowing what you can afford, and getting a pre-approved car loan online before heading to the dealership (even with bad credit). Here’s how, plus reviews of online car […]

Reader Question: Should You Ever Defer 401(k) Contributions?

Stephanie asks: I recently started a new job that will not match 401(k) contributions until I complete one year of service. Should I still contribute prior to being eligible for matching?

Four Career Lessons I Learned Working at Starbucks


I’ve never much so much fun (at work) as I did slinging lattes and bagging beans at Starbucks. Maybe not everyone that’s worked in coffee feels that way, but for me, working part-time at the ‘Bucks to help pay off debt was actually fun. I liked moving around, I liked working fast, I liked being […]

Financial Tips for Your First Job Out of School

The New York Times recently published an excellent financial primer for recent graduates accepting their first full-time job. The gist of the article is simple: even if you’re only 22, don’t neglect health insurance, taxes, and your retirement.

Should You Take Financial Help from Your Parents?

Yesterday being father’s day, I was thinking about the often controversial topic of twenty-somethings receiving financial assistance from their parents. If your parents offer financial help, should you take it? And how?

Financial Gifts: The Etiquette of Giving and Receiving Money

As a kid, did you ever have a relative that sent a check – or cash – for your birthday? While cash can’t always replace a thoughtful gift (avoid giving $100 bills as an anniversary gift, for example), there are times cash money is the most appreciated gift you can give or receive. That said, […]

How to Take a 401(k) Loan – And Why You Shouldn’t

As the economy hiccups, more workers are turning to 401(k) loans for emergency cash. According to a recent study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 18% of U.S. workers took a 401(k) loan last year. That’s an increase from 11% in 2006. Taking a loan from your 401(k) account is not difficult, but it’s […]

Blogging for Profit Part Two: Starting Your Blog

Continuing our series on how to blog for profit, this post looks at how to start your blog for less than $20 – or even for free.