Why Politics Matter
January 25, 2016 by
In writing my first blog about politics, I really wasn’t sure where I should begin. Politics sometimes can be a touchy subject matter and I wasn’t sure if I should just dive right in and take a stance on something I believe in, or start with something a bit lighter.
While thinking about that for awhile, a different point of view struck me. Not everyone may be into politics, and younger people do seem to be the most detached. Since this site is geared towards helping young people, it seemed appropriate to set issues aside and start from the beginning asking the simple question, why do politics really matter?
Before I try and tackle that question I think its best to try and define what politics actually is. While reading essay about What is Politics, I decided I probably couldn’t define it any better, so just go to the site and read this brilliantly written article on what politics really is.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand, why do politics matter to us? Politics guide and influence our society, ranging from many of these important topics and issues, but not limited to:
- Defining laws through our legal system
- Providing protection through military defense
- Influencing our economy
- Guiding our foreign affairs
- Providing Environmental security
All of these have a direct impact on the way we live our lives. Becoming knowledgeable and involved in politics, in my opinion, is the natural way to improve our society and our lives. Feel free to leave comments as to why politics matter to you.
The YouTube for Gamers!
January 11, 2016 by
We are all well aware of the success of YouTube since its creation around February of 2005. Since YouTube has been such a success, there have been many spin-offs of the site recently. For those “gamers” out there, this is one of those sites you will not want to miss.
Welcome to WeGame.com — the YouTube for gamers. By using this site, people can record in-game videos and post them for everyone to see. The site provides a desktop client for users to record their video, thus eliminating the usage of software for this process, which typically slows down computers. The client currently only works on Windows operating systems.
The site has much of the same feel as does YouTube. You can browse the database of videos and screenshots and leave comments if you like. All in all, this looks to be a fun site that gamers can enjoy.
For those of you out there looking for a great GMAT study guide online, look no further than here. This study guide from 800score.com provides hundreds of pages of in depth analysis, examples, explanations, and practice questions for everything you would need to know to pass your GMAT test.
AOL Finance Beta
December 11, 2015 by
For those of you with investments, AOL has come out with a new Finance Beta site bringing you new tools to use in making investment decisions. AOL Finance has been around a long time, however they have not always been on the cutting edge in terms of the tools they have to offer.
Before the release of their Beta, AOL Finance ranked third in finance and money sites behind Yahoo Finance, and MSN Money, but were ahead of CNN Money, and Google Finance, their two other main competitors. With their new site and new array of tools, AOL is making a push to the top
Taken from AOL’s site, here are some of the features the site includes.
Among the new features on the site
- Real-time headlines from more than 3,000 hand-picked sources, powered by Relegence, the leading financial search engine in the market.
- Automatic “heat indicators” notifying users when a stock is driving news coverage.
- Interactive charts that offer decades of price data, comparison functionality and more.
- In-depth research data, including financial statements, mutual fund ratings, peer comparisons, insider transactions, SEC filings, earnings information, analyst recommendations, research reports and more from well-known partners including Hemscott, Interactive Data, Morningstar and Thomson Financial.
- Stock prices that automatically update without having to refresh the page.
Other new features appearing in the coming weeks and months include:
- Richer public company, mutual fund and private company data sets
- Technical charting
- All new portfolios platform
I only have checked out their new site a few times, but I haven’t had time to look at most of their new features in much detail. I personally rotate between Yahoo Finance and MSN Money, but I would say I like MSN the best. I will say AOL’s new site looks extremely visually attractive. The upgrades to this site provide yet another means for people to get financial information in order to make their investment decisions.
Tax Rebate Information
December 4, 2015 by
As most of you konw, many Americans will be receiving a tax rebate in the near future. These tax rebates that most people should be receiving by spring are part of a plan by Congress and the President to jump start the economy. The idea is to have the rebate increase consumer spending, which in turn helps out the economy.
So how much money can you expect? There details still have not been finalized, but here is a breakdown of basics:
- Individuals could get a tax rebate up to $600
- Couples would be eligible to get a rebate up to $1200
- Those with children are eligible for $300 per child, with on limit on the number of children
This tax rebate will be welcome income for many people. For more detailed information on this rebate, go here to read more.
I’m sure there are a few people who were in the same boat as me when I got out of college. I didn’t have any student loans in my name and I never had a credit card. Basically I had no credit history, and I was trying with no success to get approved for a credit card. Things got so bad for me I couldn’t even get approved for store credit cards such as Gap, Kohl’s, or American Eagle. I finally found a credit card after hours of searching online who approved me.
I got my card approved at Credit One Bank. Although its not the best card, it was a credit card that I could use and make payments on to start building my history. Here are the basics of the card.
- I started off with a $200 credit limit. It has since been increased and the maximum limit is $1,000.
- $69 one time Enrollment Fee
- $69 Annual Membership Fee. This fee is billed to you at $5.75 each month
- 23.90% APR
Thats the basics of the card there. As you can see its not the greatest but you WILL get approved and be able to start building your credit history. I’ve been approved for several cards since and you need something to get started at some point.
It isn’t uncommon to make a New Year’s resolution to start saving money. An excellent way to being saving money is through a good budget. Budgets allow you to see what your spending habits are and then you can decide on where you need to cut back on some spending. Budgets take a lot of time and sometimes it’s difficult to put together a complete picture of all your finances. That has all changed now with the power of computers and the internet.
Yodlee MoneyCenter is an online account aggregation service. Yodlee makes it easy to view a complete picture of your finances including bank accounts, investment, loans, credit card, mortgages and more. Signing up for Yodlee is free, however you must give them all of your login names and passwords so they can access your financial information and organize it for you. For example, if you give them your credit card logins they have all the information in real time off your credit card. This includes your current balance, and every transaction that you make is logged. Provided you feel safe disclosing your information, Yodlee can track and organize all of your transactions for you. The end result is real time update of all your financial information put together neatly on one page. No more logging into each bank account separately, then go to each credit card web site to log in there and check your information. It’s all on Yodlee now. I took a shot of my main page below, but I just took out my values for each.
Now that all your finances are together, it’s easy to analyze. Since they have a record of every single transaction that was made is now in one place, it’s also easy to organize.
Here is a list of services Yodlee can provide:
- Spending charts and expense reports to see where your money is going.
- Income vs. expenses categorized in any time frame you wish.
- Portfolio performance
- Bill paying
- Transaction details
- Net worth statements
- A wide range of reminders and helpful notices.
I will touch on some of these other services another time, but for a one stop shop in organizing your personal finances there is no better place in my opinion than Yodlee MoneyCenter.
This post right here is without a doubt an important piece of information for anyone who is in their early twenties. In fact, once past the age of 30 you will only receive diminishing returns in using this information here. With that being said, I will bring you the facts at hand.
In saving for your retirement it is absolutely essential that you begin saving at a young age. The reason this is compound interest. Investing earlier allows more compounding periods and more compounding periods allows your money to grow faster! In the two examples provided I am using the age of 25 as young, but believe me the earlier the better. Also these assume all the interest is reinvested and not paid out. Lets take a look at the first example to see why starting early is so important.
The graph below shows 3 individuals who invest $1,000 per year until the age of 65. The rate of return on these investments are a modest 7% and taxes and inflation are ignored. The key is is the difference of age at which each person begins saving. As you can see by the chart, one person begins at age 25, another begins at age 35, and the last person begins at age 45.
Source: Investment Company Institute
The difference in each persons value at age 65 is dramatic. Simply by starting earlier and only using an extra $10,000 of their own money the person who begins at age 25 has double of what the person who starts at age 35. By using these numbers it comes to approximately an extra $112,000 by age 65. Lets look at another example that is even more eye opening.
This example uses two people, one who starts at the age of 25 and invests $1,000 per year until the age of 35 then STOPS. The person never invests any more of their own money and just lets what they have sit there. The second person begins at the age of 35 and invests $1,000 per year until the age of 65. Our first person has invested $10,000 of their own money while our second person has invested $30,000 of their own money. Using the same 7% rate of return and ignoring inflation and taxes the person who started earlier but invested less money actually has more money by the age of 65.
Source: Investment Company Institute
I hope these two examples illustrated the importance of saving earlier. The more money you get in earlier allows more compounding periods and gives you much more money in the long run.
Microsoft Office 07 Budget
October 16, 2015 by
We all have a budget, but what do we use to keep track of it? An ancient way was to use a pencil and a pad of paper and write down our income and expenses.
With the advent of the computer, more people have turned to keeping their budgets saved on their computer. I am sure there are many different programs out there to do this, but I personally use and recommend using a template found in Microsoft Excel 07. The template can be accessed by following these simple steps.
- Open up Microsoft Excel and click on New.
- Go to the Microsoft Office Online section (yes, you will need internet access for get this template) and click on the budget tab.
- Scroll down until you find the template titled “Personal budget2″ and double click on it to open it. Here is a picture of what the template looks like for your reference.
The template is extremely simple to use and edit. At the top, you input your income. Below that you can enter a wide variety of expenses. The program automatically calculates your total expenses at the bottom. At the very bottom is your net total of income vs expenses. You can view this to see if you have a surplus of deficit of spending for the month.
The Real Beginning
October 15, 2015 by
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You have always wondered what these moments would be like since you were a little kid. Your first day as a freshman at college, purchasing your first car, buying your first house, heck — even your first blog! At one point in our lives, all of those milestones seemed too far in the future to matter. We were all too busy playing Nintendo to think about them right? Well all of a sudden we have grown up and those moments are now.
The above examples and many many others are what this web site is all about. In a nutshell, I will cover all the important events that a young adult goes through. So if you happen to be a young adult and you are reading this you must be thinking wow, jackpot! Well it gets better too. I also will also cover a few unimportant events too. I’ll put it like this…if it’s something you will go through in your 20s…I’ll cover it here. My master plan is to make this site an important resource to all young people who are just beginning to experience what the “real” world is all about. My secondary plan is to make coming here an enjoyable experience for all.
So to the few people who may have stumbled across this site in its earlier phases — Welcome! I encourage you to keep visiting and to give me feedback (comments, suggestions, even criticism) on any of the posts you may read here. I am only one person and believe it or not, I don’t know everything! (yet) Hope you enjoy!