When It Comes to Buying an Engagement Ring, What’s a (Middle Income) Man to Do?

January 10, 2013 | Posted in Debt, Finance, Men, Romance and Relationships, Women | By


You like it, so you got to put a ring on it. But how?

I recently had a conversation with a young man named Shawn, who shared how he’s been struggling with a decision regarding the woman he loves.

He started off by sharing the story of how he met an awesome woman, and how she has exceeded his every desire. The two of them have been dating for over a year, and they’ve discussed all of the core topics including faith, finances, family and how they envision the future with one another. Shawn is ready to move forward with the next level of commitment and wants to propose to her. Everything seems perfect right?

Here’s his dilemma. Shawn works as a schoolteacher in the inner city and cannot currently afford the ring he knows she wants.

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Jobs with the lowest (and highest) unemployment (CNN Money)

January 10, 2013 | Posted in Business and Professional, Career, Education | By

 Business Discussion

Want a guaranteed job? Get used to being called doctor. And stay in school.

The top jobs with the lowest unemployment rates for 2012 include fields in areas from health care and finance, to social services and engineering — and all require a lot of education and training.

“You look at these jobs, they are all high skilled, high education, and high experience,” said Abraham Mosisa, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Therefore, demand is generally high in all those areas.”

On the other end of the spectrum are jobs in construction, sales, and transportation. Not only do many of these jobs require less formal training and education, but some – like telemarketing — tend to have high rates of turnover, said Mosisa.

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‘I paid off $26,500 in debt in less than two years’ (CNN Money)

January 8, 2013 | Posted in Career, Debt, Finance | By



A couple of months ago, I finished paying off $26,500 in debt — most of it student loans. It took less than two years to save up that cash. During that time I became a pro bargain shopper, tested my limits with expiring foods and briefly resorted to using food stamps.

Like most 20-somethings, I thought I’d be saddled with debt well into my 30’s and possibly 40’s, just like my parents. But here I was, just 25 years old, and debt-free.

My mission to wipe out my debt kicked into high gear right after graduation from Arizona State. I had landed my first job as a local reporter in Green Bay, Wisc., making $13 an hour. Not only did I have $20,500 in student loan debt, but I also owed another $6,000 for my 2003 Honda Civic.

I tackled my car loan first since it charged a higher 8% interest rate. I also had six months before I had to start making payments on my five student loans.

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7 Small Business Goals for 2013 (via

January 7, 2013 | Posted in Business and Professional, Career, Education, Life | By

Goals 2013

The New Year is officially here, and with it comes New Year’s resolutions. By now, you probably have your market and performance goals for your business well-defined, but consider these seven meta-goals to help you reach those other benchmarks.

1. Delegate One Task Each Day

While planning your work each day this year, choose one task to assign to an employee or assistant. Most business owners fail miserably when identifying what they can and should delegate. This practice will help you learn.

2. Jettison 20% of Your Mass

Consider this weight loss for your business. Whether it’s furniture you don’t use, stock you can’t move, junk in the back room or an entire department, figure that roughly 20 percent of the stuff in your office is unnecessary and costs you money each day. Lose it.

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Forget discouraged, 3 million workers hopelessly unemployed (CNN Money)

January 7, 2013 | Posted in Business and Professional, Career | By

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) By Annalyn Kurtz

Employers may be hiring, but there’s another big problem with the job market that isn’t being tracked as closely: the hopelessly unemployed.

An often overlooked number calculated by the Labor Department shows millions of Americans want a job but haven’t searched for one in at least a year. They’ve simply given up hope.

They’re not counted as part of the labor force, the official unemployment rate, or the category the Labor Department refers to as “discouraged workers” — those who haven’t bothered to look for work in the last four weeks.

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Retirement Checkup for the New Year (CNN Money)

January 6, 2013 | Posted in Business and Professional, Education, Finance, Life, Men, Women | By

I save 15% of my salary each year in my 401(k), my company matches another 4.5% and I contribute the max to a Roth IRA. Am I doing enough to safely retire? — Dave K., Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

If you continue at the rate you’re saving, it’s hard to imagine you’ll come up short at retirement time. After all, you’re socking away money at more than double the rate of most 401(k) participants, plus you’re funding that Roth IRA.

But as important as diligent saving is, your savings rate alone can’t tell you whether you’re on track for a secure retirement. To know for sure, you’ve got to undertake a more comprehensive review of your retirement planning efforts.

You can do that by performing what I call my annual New Year’s Retirement-Planning Checkup. It consists of just three simple steps:

1. Figure the odds. There are so many unknowns and potential detours along the road to retirement — market setbacks, spates of unemployment, emergencies that drain savings — that you can never say that a secure retirement is a given.

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