Special counsel says Paul Manafort deserves up to 24.5 years in prison for financial crime

Prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team intend to file a sentencing recommendation in the Paul Manafort case Friday.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Investors may have already missed out on the bulk of the market’s gains this year

Those expecting the stock market to build on the robust start it's seen in 2019 don't have history on their side.
Economy

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Dear Penny: I’m Retiring Soon. How Do I Protect My 401(k) From a Downturn?

Dear M.,

Economic ups and downs are inevitable, but sometimes it’s hard to think beyond the downturns.

We seem especially sensitive to the condition of the stock market, since we’ve just passed the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Great Recession. Those memories of turmoil and heartache bubble right back up, and suddenly, we’re checking our retirement account statements with a bit more interest than usual.

To calm your nerves about the state of our economy, I called upon Bridget Todd, head of client strategy and development at New York-based coaching firm the Financial Gym.

“I usually tell clients to think about the 2008 financial crisis, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 50 percent of its value,” she explained by email. “In the nine years since, it is up about 200 percent.”

While there are periods of discomfort, she said, the market will always recover. “The most important thing to remember is not to sell when things get bumpy,” she said.

Your 401(k) is a place to hold your investments. You can make decisions about what’s inside that account — stocks, bonds, mutual funds, derivatives, exchange-traded funds — depending on the level of risk you’re comfortable with.

If you’re at least 10 years from drawing from your 401(k), Todd recommends allocating 90 percent of holdings to stocks and the remainder to bonds.

“Stocks are the riskier asset,” she said, likening them to a roller coaster. But that fluctuation is OK. It will all settle out eventually, helping you earn that average stock market return of 7 percent per year that you hear about.

If you’re closer to retirement and nervous about the health of the market, you can pull back on how much you allocate to stocks to reduce your risk. But you still want some of your investment to be in stocks to help that nest egg grow.

In short: Hold on and enjoy the ride. Even if the economy takes a temporary dive, your contributions will still have value to carry you through to retirement.

If only we had that crystal ball in the meantime. Wait. That would probably be insider trading. Maybe skip the crystal ball.

Worried about managing your money in trying times? Write to Dear Penny at https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/dear-penny/

Lisa Rowan is a personal finance expert and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny. For more practical money tips, visit www.thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Republicans pay the price for Trump’s wall crusade

Republicans might be resorting a lot more often to prayer — the new strategy several senators have adopted for dealing with their capricious President — because of the forces unleashed by the latest fraught moment of the Trump era.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Colorado has sold $6B worth of pot since 2014

DENVER — Colorado regulators say more than $ 6 billion in marijuana products have been sold since 2014 in the state. The figures released Tuesday represent sales through the end of 2018. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, more than $ 1.54 billion of marijuana for medical or adult use was sold during 2018. That is…
Business | New York Post

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A.I. Could Widen Economic Disparity Between Urban and Rural Areas, Brookings Report Warns

Among the key factors driving the economic divide in America is the rise of technology that has eliminated many jobs through automating manufacturing tasks. A new report from the Brookings Institution warns that, thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence, economic disparity between coastal cities and heartland regions is about to get even worse.

The 2016 Presidential election served as a wake-up call to the economic effect that the automation of many routine jobs is “massively rearranging the nation’s economic geography,” says the report, written by Brookings Senior Fellow Mark Muro.

“The 2016 election may go down as the first time society began to grasp the full implications of automation’s potential to transform the physical world,” Muro wrote. “As big, techy cities like New York, Washington, and the Bay Area seemed to increasingly inhabit a different world from the rest of America, the people and places that were ‘left behind’ revolted.”

Since then, the field of A.I. has made gains in developing machine-learning tools that could automate even more jobs. Brookings looked at the kinds of jobs that could be replaced by A.I. applications, namely, ones that involve more routine or repetitive work in manufacturing and service industries alike. The bottom line of jobs at risk of automation: They already pay some of the lowest wages today.

Jobs that were more vulnerable to automation were more likely to be found in rural towns like Kokomo, Ind., and Hickory, N.C., the report said, while those in coastal cities like San Jose and the District of Columbia were more likely to be safe.

“Less-educated heartland states and counties specialized in manufacturing and low-end service industries could be especially hard-hit by automation in the A.I. era, whereas well-educated states and counties along the Boston-Washington corridor and on the West Coast appear less exposed,” the report said. “In parallel fashion, smaller, less-educated communities will struggle relatively more with A.I.-phase automation, while larger, better-educated cities will experience less disruption.”

In response, Brookings urged government and industry leaders to focus on strategies such as expanding support for communities to cope with job automation and “future-proofing” workers by teaching skills that are more resilient to automation.

The report comes a few days after the Trump administration unveiled a vague A.I. initiative that will spend on artificial intelligence and train workers in computer science. Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty have joined Trump’s advisory board on A.I. and job automation.

Fortune

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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PRECIOUS-Gold prices firm as dollar eases on grim U.S. retail sales

Gold prices firmed on Friday as the
dollar weakened slightly after disappointing U.S. data indicated
slowing economic momentum, supporting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s
“patient” monetary policy approach.


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McConnell says Trump will sign funding bill, declare a national emergency

President Donald Trump’s aides now say they are less certain he will sign a bipartisan spending compromise that doesn’t include the money he demanded for a border wall — a major shift from earlier this week when officials indicated privately that he would.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Worried You Won’t Qualify for Life Insurance? This Company Has You Covered

Nobody’s perfect. Maybe you’re interested in getting some life insurance, but you’re worried you won’t even qualify for it because of your health.

Maybe you have diabetes or heart disease. Maybe you’re a smoker. Maybe you’re a little heavy. Maybe your family history is littered with medical landmines. Or maybe you’re… welllllll, just not as young as you used to be. That happens to all of us.

If that’s the case, how can you get life insurance without paying through the nose for it?

The short answer is to shop around. Here’s the tricky part: Life insurance companies have radically different ideas about what constitutes a health risk.

“Not all companies treat health conditions equally. Some may offer better rates for people with diabetes, while others are cheaper for baby boomers,” advises Policygenius, an online insurance marketplace. “Make sure you’re going with a company that gives you the best possible price.”

Policygenius would know. It’s a digital platform that offers you instant quotes from competing insurance providers.

Even if you’re not in picture-perfect health, you can still get life insurance, and this company can help.

First, you type in your information and answer a series of questions. Policygenius uses its algorithms and its search engines and works its magic to find your best options for you to compare side-by-side.

Specifically, you can see how much money they want to charge you.

It’s a smart way to find out what insurers like Prudential, Lincoln Financial or Transamerica really think about your particular health issues, whatever they may be.

It Doesn’t Cost as Much as You Think

Don’t be afraid. No matter what, life insurance probably isn’t as expensive as you think it is.

For instance, nearly half of millennials overestimate the cost of life insurance by about five times the actual amount, according to a 2018 study by the life insurance industry group LIMRA.

The fact is, most people who use Policygenius can get covered for less than $ 30 per month.

Now, if you really have health issues, you may have to pay a bit more.

Policygenius spells this out in its “Life Insurance Shopping Guide,” which it emails to you upon request. “The older, unhealthier or riskier you are to insure — for instance, if you scuba-dive — the more expensive your policy will be,” it says.

That’s why you’ll need to answer a few questions about your health and take a free medical exam. That takes about half an hour, and it can take place in your home or office, if you want.

“The healthier you are — and the less likely you are to die while the policy is active — the cheaper your life insurance will be,” Policygenius says.

Ultimately, it pays to shop around.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He likes to comparison-shop for pretty much everything.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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2.13.19 Risky home loans; broker kickbacks; Eyeglasses are super expensive

Risky home loans are back. Avoid them at all costs; Incentives lead brokers to steer you towards pricier investment options; Clark talks with David Lazarus of the LA Times about why eyeglasses are so expensive. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Judge voids Paul Manafort plea deal, says he ‘intentionally’ lied to the FBI, special counsel and grand jury

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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U.S.-China Trade Fight Risks Fragmenting Global Market, Says Beijing Ambassador

The trade fight between the U.S. and China risks fragmenting the integrating global market, China’s ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said in an interview. He was speaking ahead of the summit meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires later this week.
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Online Dating Scams Are on the Rise — How to Save Some Heartache (and Cash)

Just when you thought dating couldn’t be any more annoying.

Last year, people reported losing $ 143 million to romance scams — that’s more than any other type of scam reported to the FTC. And the number is only expected to increase.

I know what you’re thinking; online dating is expensive enough, and now we have to worry about being scammed?

Don’t move to a convent just yet. There are ways to spot a romance scam and even get your money back if it happens to you.

How to Spot Online Dating Scams

Your first red flag is if they can’t meet you in person.

If someone says they’re abroad and can’t meet, you should tread carefully. If they continually make excuses about why they can’t meet, it’s best to move on.

Scammers will use excuses like memberships that are about to end to get your phone number or email address so they can communicate free from scam monitors. While even the best dating sites can miss scammers, they still have systems in place to block suspicious behavior, so don’t be fooled.

That’s how one woman lost over $ 50,000 in an online-dating scam. The 2.5-month relationship included over 10,000 text messages, 400 phone calls and zero first dates.

Do a Google image search for their profile pictures to see if they’ve been used anywhere else. Scammers will post well-groomed pictures with nice things in nice places. It makes you think they’re wealthy, so when they ask you for money, you trust they’ll pay you back.

If their speech reads like a bad Google translate, then it probably is a bad Google translate. And a sudden emergency is always a telltale sign of a scammer. Even if they don’t ask for money, scammers have guilted victims into giving to not-so-worthy causes.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

First, don’t be embarrassed.

FTC reports of romance scams jumped from 8,500 in 2015 to more than 21,000 in 2018, so you’re not alone.

If you’ve given your banking information to anyone you believe may be a scammer, call your credit card company or bank and file a fraud victim statement with the three credit bureaus.

If you received any attachments from the scammer, update your computer’s anti-malware software and do a virus scan.

Money-transferring services are making every effort to protect victims of fraud. The BBB recommends reporting scams from as far back as 2004 to the FTC.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder and gives money saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Your first trade for Wednesday, February 13

The "Fast Money" traders share their first moves for the market open.
Economy

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Calling all wannabe project managers: Learn Lean and Six Sigma with this online training

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Without a coach to call, direct, and execute plays, a football team is just a bunch of beefy dudes running chaotically after a leather spheroid. 

In a similar vein, corporate teams can struggle to achieve desired outcomes if they lack the planning, organization, and oversight of a skilled project manager. Such professionals are the oil that keeps a company’s engine running smoothly; they’re the reason why shit gets done, and done efficiently.

Lean and Six Sigma are a pair of methodologies that contributes to a project manager’s valuable ability to effectively lead a team — and they can both be learned via online courses. Read more…

More about Project Management, Online Learning, Lean, Mashable Shopping, and Shopping Stackcommerce


Business

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Going it alone on the wall would be peak Trump

President Donald Trump’s mantra “I alone can fix it” is about to face its ultimate test as he contemplates a vast, contentious sweep of executive power to build his wall.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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On a Budget for Valentine’s Day? This Fun Date Idea Only Costs a Penny

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, which means it’s almost time to blow an entire paycheck on a dozen long-stem roses, a six-foot-tall teddy bear and a rare, perfectly aged bottle of Champagne.

And don’t forget to make a reservation for that fancy restaurant that’s only serving an overpriced “tasting menu” on that particular night!

Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to spring for a couple’s massage, too, right?

Wait, did someone mention a box of chocolates?

Well, the good news is you can forgo the romantic candles — at this point, your empty wallet is useless and you can just set fire to it and let the soft, warm glow of broke-ness wash over you and your date.

Romance, amiright?

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

A Valentine’s Day Date Idea That Only Costs a Penny

In fact, if you’re in it for the long haul, finances can be a pretty touchy subject, and the last thing you need is to add another pricy line-item to your budget this month.

Luckily, there’s a way to take your sweetheart on a fun and interesting date — the likes of which they’ve probably never been on before — that won’t cost you more than, say, a penny.

(Which just so happens to be our favorite coin!)

The Penny Date Rules

Here’s how it works:

First, find a penny. If you don’t have a penny handy, it’s just a matter of yanking the cushions off the couch, checking the cupholder of your car or sneaking one out of your kid’s piggy bank while they’re at school.

Next, roll a 30-sided die. Alternatively, have your date pick a number (without telling them what it’s for) or use an online random number generator. This number is the number of turns you’ll take throughout your date.

Hop in the car or, if you’re walking, pick a corner to start on.

To start the adventure, have your date flip the penny. If it lands heads up, turn right. If it lands tails up, turn left.

Start walking or driving in whichever direction the penny instructs. Stop and flip again each time you reach a stop sign, stop light or intersection.

Continue flipping the penny, turning left or right at each juncture, until you’ve reached the number you set at the beginning of the night.

Once you reach that number, stop the car (or, uh, your legs).

Wherever you are, that’s where your date will take place.

If you look up to find a park with a lovely, lit gazebo, good for you!

If all you happen to see before you is a gas station, all I can say is I wish you the best of luck throwing a romantic spin on that one. Yikes.

But it’s all part of the adventure, right?

No, really. The fun of the penny date is in the mystery, the confusion and the downright ridiculousness of your time together. It’s a way to do something different, something that you wouldn’t have done ordinarily, and to have fun doing it.

Either way, it’s sure to be a memorable date, right?

A Few Notes to Help You Create the Perfect Penny Date

To keep costs low, pack a picnic meal to bring with you. That way, wherever you end up, you’ll have dinner ready to go. (This is especially important if you’re going on this date on Valentine’s Day, because most places will be booked solid. You won’t be able to randomly show up at a restaurant and expect to get a table.)

You don’t have to be in a metropolitan area to make this date work, but you’ll want to adjust your number of turns based on your location. Thirty turns won’t take very long on city streets, but if you’re driving long back roads, 30 turns could take forever.

Even if there’s a stop sign or traffic light, don’t turn into a parking lot or street with no outlet. Just move along to the next intersection and flip the penny there.

Keep your adventurous spirit open to the experience. Chances are, you’re going to end up somewhere less than romantic (or maybe even downright weird), but it’s all part of the fun of a date night left totally up to chance.

More often than not, a penny date offers up a little nonsense, a lot of laughter and a couple of really great stories.

Besides, like any good relationship, a penny date is about the journey — not the destination.

Right? (No, left.)

Grace Schweizer is the email content writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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REI Chief Executive Jerry Stritzke Resigns After Investigation into Undisclosed Relationship

The chief executive and president of Recreational Equipment, Inc., Jerry Stritzke, abruptly resigned Tuesday, REI announced in a statement. The company’s board accepted Stritzke’s resignation “following an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding a personal and consensual relationship between the REI CEO and the leader of another organization in the outdoor industry.” The investigation, which found no evidence of financial misconduct, was conducted by an external law firm and overseen by REI’s board of directors.

The company announced that Eric Artz, REI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, will take on the role of interim CEO effective immediately. In an open letter to REI employees, REI board chair Steve Hooper praised Stritzke’s drive and innovative contributions to the company since taking over as president in October 2013. “Jerry has been an excellent CEO for REI and together, all of you have delivered outstanding results for the co-op during remarkably challenging times in retail,” Hooper wrote, adding, “The co-op is stronger today than when Jerry joined.”

Kent, Wash.-based REI was founded in 1938, an early pioneer in outdoor retail that now has 147 stores in 36 states. The company has been repeatedly ranked by Fortune as a best place to work, and measures such as REI’s Black Friday closures and million-dollar investments in initiatives that demonstrate the relationship between being outdoors and good health are often cited as evidence of its progressive workplace culture at the member-owned cooperative.

Fortune

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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US job openings reached record high in December

US job openings surged to a record high in December, led by vacancies in the construction, accommodation and food services sectors, which could bolster views that the economy is experiencing a dearth of workers. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 169,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 million, the Labor Department said in…
Business | New York Post

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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, FX surge on global trade optimism, Brazil shines

Most Latin American stock markets rose on
Tuesday, buoyed by hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal as they more
than recovered ground lost during the previous session, while
resurgent risk appetite strengthened Latin American currencies
against a softer dollar.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he expects to meet Chinese
President Xi Jinping to close a deal on trade at some point,
while officials from


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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is the latest villain in Trump’s 2020 stump speech

President Donald Trump claimed the Democratic plan was one "of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of 'let's hop a train to California,' of you're not allowed to own cows anymore."
Energy

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Trump ‘not happy’ with deal, weighing options for building wall

President Donald Trump must soon decide whether he can accept the border security deal struck by congressional negotiators that falls far short of his original demands.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Idea Where to Start

We know how easy it is to rack up credit card debt. Over 41% of American households carry a credit card balance, and the average balance for those households is $ 9,333, according to a study from financial data website ValuePenguin.

But here’s the thing about credit cards: They only benefit you when you’re building credit and receiving perks — but not paying interest. If you’re carrying a balance beyond an interest-free period, your cards only benefit the card issuers.

With average interest rates on new credit cards north of 17%, paying off credit card debt is a smart move.

If you’re ready to get rid of credit card debt, be prepared for inconvenient choices and a lot of saying no. But you can do it. And every difficult step will be worth it.

How to Pay Off Debt From Multiple Credit Cards

A woman sitting at her table contemplating expenses

Before you start, you should stop using your credit cards altogether until you can use them without putting yourself in financial risk. Though the specifics will vary based on your situation, we only recommend using credit cards if:

  • You don’t have any consumer debt.
  • You have an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses saved.
  • You can pay off your balance in full every month.

However you do it, make paying off your credit cards — and learning to use them responsibly — a high priority.

Credit card usage has a huge impact on your credit score. If you spend too much of your overall limit or miss payments, you’ll hurt your score. If you keep your balances low and make on-time payments, your score will probably increase over time.

1. Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche: Determine Your Plan of Attack

First, determine how much credit card debt you have. You can do this using a tool like Credit Sesame.

Instead of looking at your debt in its entirety, we recommend approaching it bit by bit. By breaking your debt down into manageable chunks, you’ll experience quicker wins and stay motivated.

Two popular ways to break down debt repayments are the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Using the debt avalanche method, you’ll order your credit card debts from the highest interest rate to the lowest. You’ll make minimum payments on all your cards, and any extra income you have will go toward the highest-interest card.

Eventually, that card will be paid off. Then, you’ll attack the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on, until all your cards are paid off.

With the debt snowball method, you’ll order your debts from the lowest balance to highest, regardless of the interest rates on the cards. You’ll make minimum payments on all your cards, and any extra income will go to the credit card with the smallest balance.

Starting with the smallest balance allows you to experience wins faster than you would with the avalanche, but you will spend more money on interest. While both have trade-offs, you can’t go wrong with either method.

Here’s an example of how each method would work if you’re paying off four credit cards of varying balances and interest rates.

  1. $ 654 with 0% interest
  2. $ 5,054 with 15% interest
  3. $ 2,541 with 23% interest
  4. $ 945 with 17% interest

If you followed the avalanche method, you would pay off card 3 first, followed by 4, 2 and 1. If you followed the snowball method, you would pay off card 1 first, followed by 4, 3 and 2.

Let’s say you have $ 600 per month to put toward debt. Using the snowball and avalanche comparison calculator from Dough Roller, you can see that it would take you 18 months to pay all of your cards off using either method.

The debt avalanche method would save you $ 105.73 of interest in the end, but you’d pay off your first card six months faster by going with the snowball.

Choosing the right method comes down to deciding whether you’d rather get quick results or save money on interest. We encourage you to check out Dough Roller’s calculator yourself, so you can calculate what each method would cost you.

2. Don’t Let Credit Card Companies Trick You Into Overspending

Credit card companies make it so easy to get in the habit of overspending. The introductory APR offers, new credit card sign-up bonuses and cash back offers are designed to get us using cards more frequently and thinking less about what items cost.

So if you want to be credit card debt-free, you need to change your lifestyle to lower your spending and maybe even increase your income.

Stop Blowing Your Money on These 3 Things

The quickest way to save a lot of money isn’t to nickel-and-dime your spending. It’s to save as much as possible on big-ticket items.

The three largest expenses in the average American family’s budget are housing, transportation and food, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To save on housing, you can rent a cheaper apartment or house if it’s not too far away from work. You can rent out a room in your house to a roommate or on Airbnb. You could even try an alternative living situation like an RV.

The easiest way to save on transportation is to get rid of your car payment. Trade in your vehicle for a used car you can pay cash for. If that’s not a possibility, consider trading it in for a car with a smaller payment. It may also be in your best interest to move closer to work if rent in that area is comparable or cheaper.

Finally, to lower your food spending, you’ll have to cut back on eating out and making random purchases at grocery and convenience stores. Plan out your meals each week based on what’s on sale, and try to use what’s in your pantry and fridge before you buy new groceries.

Side-Hustle Your Way to Paying Off Debt Faster

A side hustle is a great way to make money fast to put toward debt. You can use an app like Uber or TaskRabbit to get small jobs or see the unique services you can offer with your talents.

Taking surveys or doing mystery shopping won’t bring in cash fast enough to make a dent in your credit cards, so look for opportunities that don’t require spending upfront and pay more than minimum wage.

This credit card debt calculator is a great tool for estimating how much extra income you need to pay off your debt and how much you can save by paying it off faster.

3. Try These 4 Strategies to Lower Your Interest Rates

Cutting up credit cards

Many people will start by trying to lower their interest rates, but that typically doesn’t help. It can often just trick you into thinking you’ve solved your problem. This step is better left until you have a plan and are already working it.

Once you’ve started paying off your debt, you may find that you don’t need to go through the hassle of getting a lower rate. But if your debt payoff is going to take a significant amount of time, here are some of the ways you can get lower rates and save a little money.

Balance-Transfer Credit Card

If you have good to excellent credit (typically a FICO score of 690 or above) and can feasibly pay off your debt within a year, a balance-transfer credit card is a great option. Balance-transfer cards can save you money on interest charges by letting you transfer the balance of a card with a high interest rate to a card with zero percent interest.

Most of these cards offer zero percent interest for 12 to 18 months with no annual fee. They generally have a 2-5% balance-transfer fee, but you can easily find balance-transfer cards with no fee. A higher credit score will help you qualify for a card with better terms.

Personal Loan

You can also consolidate your debt with a personal loan. Online banks will allow you to prequalify for a personal loan without doing a hard inquiry of your credit, so if you want to shop around, head there first. Then, try your local credit union; they’re known for having the most affordable rates on loans.

It’s also important to note that lenders may tack on origination fees and prepayment penalties, or even require collateral. Read the fine print before you commit to anything.

Debt Consolidation Loan

If you don’t qualify for a personal loan, you can try for a debt consolidation loan. You’ll take out a new loan to pay off multiple debts, and then pay back the new loan — essentially consolidating your debt into one loan.

Debt consolidation is the go-to method for people who’ve fallen on temporary hard times or who have done the work to improve their finances and want to take care of their debt quickly.

It’s important to know that your debt consolidation loan may not cover the entirety of your debt. In those cases, you’ll want to prioritize paying off the remaining debts based on the terms of your new loan.

Home Equity Loan

If you own a home with equity, you have the option of taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, or doing a cash-out refinance.

For homeowners, these options will most likely offer the lowest interest rates, but they’re also the riskiest, because your home is the collateral.

4. Get Help if You Need It

The world of debt collections and creditors can be confusing, intimidating and sometimes even illegal. There’s a common misconception, for example, that someone can take your house or you can go to jail for not making your payments. But credit card debt is unsecured civil debt, meaning no one can put you in jail or take your house for not paying it.

If you’re being harassed by creditors or have circumstances that make your debt repayment confusing, don’t give up before finding out what options you have for assistance.

You’ll also want to be careful when seeking help. While some companies are legitimately there to assist you, others take your money and do very little to help your situation. Always seek reviews online and referrals from friends and family, and go with your gut when talking to their representatives.

Debt Management Program

With a debt management program, a credit counseling company will handle your consolidation in hopes of getting you better interest rates and lower fees. You’ll be assigned a counselor, who will set up a repayment and education plan for you. This program is specifically for unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical bills.

A debt management program pays your creditor for you to ensure you stay current on your debt payments. Your credit score may even improve during the program. But if you miss a payment, you can be dropped, and you’ll lose all the benefits you gained.

The program typically lasts three to five years, so it won’t help if you want to pay off your debt faster, but it is typically the best option for those who can’t.

Credit Card Debt Settlement

If you’re in more than just a temporary season of financial instability, and you can’t see yourself affording the amount of credit card debt you owe, debt settlement is an option, though we regard it as a last resort.

Debt settlement reduces the amount of debt you owe, but it will significantly lower your credit score and negatively impact your credit report.

The process isn’t as simple as debt consolidation, either. You have to convince every creditor that if they don’t settle with you, they probably won’t get anything at all. So, of course, during that time you won’t be making any payments — while interest and late fees accrue.

You can do this on your own, but most people seek the help of a debt settlement company.

Like a debt management program, a debt settlement firm will negotiate debts on your behalf, and the company will make lump-sum payments to creditors while you make monthly payments to the debt settlement company.

While you’re paying the debt settlement company, you’ll still be delinquent with any creditors the company hasn’t yet negotiated with, meaning you’ll still get calls from those creditors.

And there’s no guarantee the company will be successful. If it isn’t successful in negotiating, you’ll still be responsible for the full debt amount, plus any extra interest that accrued.

If the company is successful, you’ll have to pay the settlement amount in full. Then in April, you’ll owe taxes on the amount forgiven.

The settlement company will also charge you up to 25% in fees on top of the settlement.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is another last resort. The two major types for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the filer to completely discharge all their debts in four to six months by liquidating their assets. A trustee gathers and sells all of your nonexempt assets to pay off your debt. Those assets can include property that’s not your primary residence, a vehicle with equity, investments or valuable collections.

Those who earn a high income or have significant assets typically choose Chapter 13, which allows them to keep certain assets while still repaying some of the debts. It’s a long, arduous process that doesn’t guarantee to resolve your debt. It can be reversed if your income increases, and it wrecks your credit.

Both bankruptcy options have negative long-term ramifications on your credit.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Trump kicks off 2020 campaign season amid shutdown negotiations

President Donald Trump kickoffs the 2020 campaign season Monday in the border city of El Paso, Texas, which comes during an impasse on Capitol Hill to avoid a second government shutdown this year over border security.


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Krugman expects to see a global recession this year, warns ‘we don’t have an effective response’

There is a decent chance the world economy is headed for a recession in 2019, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.
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Major corporations are bracing for climate change

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From Coca-Cola to Apple, a new report shows the ways major corporations are preparing to lose — and gain — profit in a world of extreme weather. Read more…

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4 Financial Steps to Take if You’re Raising a Child With Special Needs

Raising any child is expensive, but when you’re raising a child who has special needs, there are additional financial responsibilities to consider.

The cost of doctor’s visits, therapy appointments, medication and special equipment add up. The amount of time needed to provide care may restrict you or your partner from working outside the home — or even at all.

Depending on your child’s condition, you may need to provide them with lifetime support.

It can be overwhelming just dealing with the medical and emotional aspects of your child’s particular challenges. Here’s what to know so that your finances don’t add to that stress.

Apply for Government Benefits

After your child is diagnosed, you’ll probably want to speak with a social worker who can help you understand what assistance may be available to your family and how to apply for that aid. Your child’s physician may be able to recommend a social worker, or you can contact your city or county department of social services.

A special needs attorney can also assist you. Robert Fechtman is a special needs attorney in Indiana and the president of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization made up of attorneys who specialize in disability and public benefits law. He helps families navigate the public benefits system and plan for their children’s futures.

Fechtman said families may qualify for financial assistance through Social Security.

The Social Security Administration gives out Supplemental Security Income, also referred to as SSI, to children with qualified medical conditions whose family’s income falls under a certain threshold. The amount of assistance, which is given out monthly, varies from state to state.

Once your child reaches adulthood, he or she may also be able to receive Social Security disability benefits, which the administration gives out when an adult isn’t able to work due to a medical condition.

Depending on your family’s income, your child may also be able to qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid. Oftentimes if your child qualifies for SSI, he or she would also qualify for Medicaid. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is available for families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but still can’t afford private health insurance.

The Fouche family of Ocala, Florida, qualifies for both Medicaid and SSI to cover costs for their 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, who has cerebral palsy. Vicki Fouche, Hannah’s mother, says the government aid has been a blessing for their family, but she worries that if her husband made more money, they’d lose those benefits and have more out-of-pocket expenses.

A mother puts shoes on her daughter as her daughter is playing on an iPad.

Families that don’t qualify for publicly funded medical insurance might find an affordable health insurance provider via the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Open enrollment has ended for 2019, but you can enroll if you have a qualifying life change, such as if you recently lost health insurance.

Fechtman also tells his clients to apply for Medicaid waivers, which allow those in need of long-term care to get free health care in home settings instead of a nursing facility. Children with special needs may qualify regardless of their parents’ income or assets. Each state operates its own Medicaid waiver program.

Fechtman said that many times, families aren’t aware of these waivers. There are often waitlists for applicants, so it’s generally one of the first things he brings up when meeting with new clients.

Families struggling with their finances should also check to see if they qualify for other public benefit programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). TANF provides monthly cash assistance for families, while SNAP provides money specifically for buying food. Both are income-based programs.

Set up a 529 ABLE Account or a Special Needs Trust

When you’re applying for government aid, the administering agency will typically have rules about how much income your family can earn and how many assets you can own. Money in a traditional checking or savings accounts could restrict a family from receiving public benefits.

However, Fechtman said parents can save money in a 529 ABLE account or a special needs trust, and those dollars won’t count toward a family’s assets.

ABLE accounts are tax-deferred similar to 529 college savings accounts. However, ABLE account funds can be used for more than just education. Fechtman said qualifying expenses also include health, wellness and transportation expenses for a child with a qualifying disability.

According to SavingforCollege.com, families can withdraw the money tax-free and can have up to $ 100,000 in the account without it affecting the child’s eligibility for SSI benefits.

The annual amount that could be contributed to an ABLE account in 2018 was $ 15,000.

Fechtman said it’s relatively inexpensive to open and maintain an ABLE account. However, one downside is if the child dies, the money in the account must go to reimburse whatever state provided Medicaid benefits for the child.

Families that save money for a child in a special needs trust don’t have to worry about those savings going to reimburse the state. A special needs trust is a legal arrangement set up to hold money for someone with a disability so that the person can continue to receive public benefits. The trustees — those who manage the trust — generally have few restrictions on how the money in the trust is used as long they don’t interfere with the beneficiary receiving government assistance.

Another difference between the two money-saving vehicles is the cost, which varies depending on factors such as who sets up the account and what state you live in.

Fechtman said an attorney might charge around $ 1,500 to draft a special needs trust. However, families can also join a pooled trust managed by a nonprofit organization, which could cost half that. Setting up an ABLE account could cost as little as $ 50.

Look Into Assistance from Nonprofits

Government programs aren’t the only source of assistance. Nonprofit organizations also provide help to families struggling financially.

Here are just a few organizations that help families in need:

  • The HealthWell Pediatric Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for families whose health insurance doesn’t cover the critical medical treatments their children need.
  • The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation issues grants to help children get medical services that aren’t fully covered by their private health insurance.
  • The Different Needz Foundation provides grants for families so they can get medical equipment or services.
  • The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project has a pediatric disability equipment exchange program that lets families receive donated medical equipment for free.
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities provides families with places to stay when they have to travel so that a child can receive extended treatment at a hospital away from home. Families may be asked to make a donation of up to $ 25 per day, but no family is turned away if they can’t pay.

Organizations like United Way and the Salvation Army also help families struggling financially — not just those with special needs children.

Think About the Future

No parent wants to think about a situation where they aren’t alive to care for their child, but it’s important to prepare for — especially if your child has special needs.

“Every person who’s got a disabled child is horrified by the notion that they’re going to die before that child and that the child won’t have the care and support and everything that the parents provide,” Fechtman said.

Having a will is a given. But Fechtman said the will should direct inheritance money to a special needs trust so that the child can continue to qualify for public benefits.

Designating who will become the child’s guardian is also key, he said. Parents should look for someone who would be able to provide proper care for their child.

In addition, Fechtman said parents should have an adequate amount of life insurance to provide for their family in the event of their untimely death.

He recommends parents — specifically those in a two-parent household — get a survivorship life insurance policy, also known as a second-to-die life insurance policy. It covers both parents, but it doesn’t pay out until both parents are deceased.

One benefit of this type of policy is that premiums are generally much lower than for other policies. Another benefit is that coverage lasts until the policyholders die — unlike term life insurance, which ends after a certain number of years. This is especially important for parents who have special needs children, because those children may not be able to be independent and support themselves once they reach adulthood.

Of course, single parents wouldn’t be able to open this type of policy, and it may be insufficient if one parent is the household’s sole income earner.

“If you only have one breadwinner, you’d need to have individual insurance on that breadwinner,” Fechtman said. “Maybe you’re lucky enough that they have some kind of life insurance through work, so maybe you wouldn’t have to run out and get a seperate policy.”

The important thing is to have a plan in place so that your child is financially taken care of no matter what.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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2.8.19 State lemon laws vary widely; Clark Stinks

Lemon laws are different in every state. But new ratings are out detailing which states have the best ones; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here

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Back To School Sale – Get up to 40% OFF stylish footwear at Payless.com

Here are the Democrats who have said they’re running for president

The 2020 Democratic field is taking shape, with candidates revealing their intentions on a seemingly everyday basis.


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RPT-Wall St Week Ahead-U.S. fund managers brace for consumer slowdown

With expectations for slowing growth
escalating, U.S. fund managers are selectively avoiding stocks
in consumer companies as lofty valuations, concerns about
declining earnings estimates, and consumer confidence keep them
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Congressional Talks on Border Security Are Said to Have Broken Down

Talks to avert a second government shutdown over border wall funding broke down on Saturday, and Republicans and Democrats have stopped communicating for now, according to two people familiar with the state of the talks.

The latest sticking point appears to be over detention beds operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one person said.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said Sunday that a shutdown isn’t the most likely option but that he “absolutely cannot” rule it out.

“He’s going to do whatever he legally can to secure the border,” Mulvaney said of President Donald Trump on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” one of two scheduled appearances on Sunday talk shows.

“You cannot take a shutdown off the table, and you cannot take $ 5.7 (billion) off the table,” he said, referring to the level of funds Trump has been demanding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Mulvaney spoke as Congressional negotiators continue talks on a security plan that includes some sort of barrier on the border, hoping to complete a deal to avert another government shutdown. It wasn’t fair to say that Trump would sign whatever Congress comes up with, Mulvaney said, terming the level of proposed border wall funding “all over the map.”

As of Saturday it seemed that negotiators were homing in on a proposal with border barrier funding of between $ 1.3 billion and $ 2 billion, said a person familiar with the talks.

Trump was back in the fray late Saturday afternoon, indicating in a tweet that if Democrats didn’t give him all the wall money he’s demanded, he may use executive action to build it. Democrats have warned such action would face court challenges, and some Republicans have suggested it’s an option best avoided.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Klobuchar expected to announce 2020 presidential bid

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is expected to announce a presidential bid on Sunday, people close to her tell CNN, vaulting the three-term senator from Minnesota into the crowded field of Democrats angling to take on Trump in 2020.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Did You Flush Charmin Wipes or Use Dial Soap? These Class-Action Settlements are For You

Even though it may take years before a settlement is reached in a class-action lawsuit, the time frame to claim your share can fly by.

But if you purchased a Lenovo laptop that’s slow because of tracking software, a blouse at a Ross Dress for Less that had a misleading price-comparison label or Dial foaming liquid hand soap that promised to rid you of 99.9% of germs, you could be eligible for anywhere from a few cents to several hundred dollars.

Check out this month’s choice selection of class-action settlements that have deadlines approaching to see which ones align with purchases you’ve made.

Ross Stores “Compare at” Pricing

Did you purchase items at a Ross Dress for Less believing you were saving more money than you actually did?

Ross has agreed to a $ 4.85 million class-action settlement to resolve allegations that the store used deceptive pricing methods to convince customers they were getting a great deal.

Class members are customers who bought one or more items with a Ross price tag indicating a “compare at” price from any Ross store since June 20, 2011, and have not received a refund or credit for these purchases.

Plaintiffs allege the “compare at” price tags are not a true price comparison but are instead simply a reference price. They claim that this is not properly conveyed to the shopper.

Ross admits no wrongdoing by settling the lawsuit, but with the settlement, both parties avoid the risks and costs associated with continued litigation.

Class members may receive store credit in the form of a merchandise certificate or cash equal to 75% of the value of the merchandise certificate. No proof of purchase is required.

Click here now to file a claim, because this offer goes out of fashion (no more claims will be accepted after) May 31, 2019.

Lenovo Laptops Adware

If you bought a Lenovo laptop between Sept. 1, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2015, you could be eligible for a portion of an $ 8.3 million class-action settlement.

Plaintiffs allege several models of the non-Think-branded Lenovo laptops experienced inhibited performance capabilities because the company added a tracking software called VisualDiscovery by Superfish.

The software allegedly allowed Lenovo to monitor user activity to tailor advertisements to users.

Owners of the laptops also claim the monitoring of their online habits was an invasion of privacy.

Under the settlement, eligible class members include consumers who purchased certain non-Think-branded Lenovo laptops between Sept. 1, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2015. Models included in the settlement are:

  • G Series: G410, G510, G710, G40-70, G50-70, G40-30, G50-30 and G50-45.
  • U Series: U430P, U430Touch and U530Touch.
  • Y Series: Y40-70 and Y50-70.
  • Z Series: Z50-75, Z40-70 and Z50-70.
  • Flex Series: Flex2 14D, Flex2 15D, Flex2 14, Flex2 15, Flex2 15(BTM) and Flex 10.
  • MIIX Series: MIIX2-10 and MIIX2-11.
  • YOGA Series: YOGA2Pro-13, YOGA2-13, YOGA2-11BTM and YOGA2-11HSW.

A bar-code sticker should be located on the bottom of the laptop to indicate the machine’s model.

Class members may receive anywhere from $ 40 to $ 750 if they can provide proof of loss, such as receipts for expenses related to technical assistance or credit monitoring, with their claim form.

For more details on how to file a claim by the March 25, 2019, deadline, click here — even if you’re on your Lenovo laptop and the company might know you click.

Flagship Credit Acceptance Robocalls

Auto loan company Flagship Credit Acceptance LLC has agreed to a $ 4 million class-action settlement over alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Class members include anyone who received a call from Flagship through a TCN, LiveVox or Aspect dialing system or artificial/prerecorded voice between May 5, 2013, and Sept. 18, 2018.

The TCPA prohibits telemarketing practices that make use of robocalls through autodialers or prerecorded messages.

Flagship admits no wrongdoing but has settled the lawsuit to avoid the costs of future litigation and the uncertainty of a trial verdict.

The TCPA allows eligible consumers to collect between $ 500 and $ 1,500 per violation, but the potential reward through the settlement will be determined by the number of valid claims submitted by the Feb. 25, 2019, deadline.

For more information and to submit your claim, click here.

NIBCO Plumbing Fixtures

If you have NIBCO PEX plumbing in your home that has leaked and caused water damage, you could be eligible for a portion of a $ 43.5 million class-action settlement.

Class members include consumers who have owned or occupied a building that contained NIBCO plumbing fixtures since Jan. 1, 2005, and either have costs from water damage or costs from repairing water damage that have not been reimbursed.

In addition, compensation will be available for six years after the start of the settlement to compensate homeowners for future property damage if it occurs.

Plaintiffs allege NIBCO PEX plumbing tubes, brass fittings and stainless steel clamps include a manufacturing defect that can result in potentially damaging water leaks.

Class members who file a claim with qualifying supporting documents may be able to receive between 25% and 70% of their monetary losses due to water damage.

Time, if not water, is running out. Click here for more information and to make a claim by the May 31, 2019, estimated deadline.

Charmin Freshmates Flushable Wipes

If you bought Charmin Freshmates flushable wipes, or any other Charmin pre-moistened wipes that said “flushable” on the label, between April 6, 2011, and Nov. 26, 2018, you might be eligible for a portion of a class-action settlement.

The Charmin Freshmates wipes plaintiffs allege that consumers incur financial injuries of at least a few hundred dollars when they have to hire a plumber to unclog sewer lines impaired by the collection of wipes.

Plaintiffs allege the wipes were falsely advertised as flushable and safe for septic systems, when in fact the wipes purportedly clog and damage sewage systems.

Class members who submit proof of purchase may receive a payout of up to $ 30. Those without proof of purchase may claim up to seven purchases.

Class members will receive 60 cents per package. Class members include consumers throughout the U.S., except for those in the state of New York.

If plumbing problems from Charmin flushable wipes have been a drain on your wallet, click here for more information on how to file a claim before the Feb. 28, 2019, deadline.

Dial Complete Foaming Liquid Hand Soap

Several lawsuits against Dial Complete foaming liquid hand soap have been resolved with a $ 7.4 million class-action settlement.

The lawsuits alleged marketing, advertising and sales violations by Dial, based on its use of active ingredient triclosan.

The false advertising claims include statements such as: “Kills 99.99% of germs encountered in household settings,” “no. 1 doctor recommended antibacterial liquid hand wash” and “kills more germs than any other liquid hand soap.”

Dial Corporation denies any wrongdoing, but both parties agreed to the class-action settlement to avoid the costs and risks of ongoing litigation.

Class members include consumers who purchased Dial Complete foaming liquid hand soap between Jan. 1, 2001, and Jan. 2, 2019

They will receive 27 cents per package for up to 30 packages without proof of purchase for a total of $ 8.10. Those who provide proof of purchase may receive 27 cents per package as settlement compensation for all packages purchased.

If, after subtracting all expenses from the settlement fund, the funds remaining are insufficient to pay all timely valid approved claims, then payments will be reduced proportionately on a pro-rata basis.

Don’t miss your chance to clean up with this settlement offer. Click here for details on submitting a claim by April 12, 2019.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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EZ Pass’ floating funds keeps public officials honest

Dear John: E-ZPass has a minimum threshold of $ 42 and a replenishment amount set at $ 165 on my account. At times when I’ve been using more tolls, both these figures have been even higher. In any case, it is holding on to between $ 40 and $ 200-plus of my money indefinitely. Multiply that by millions of…
Business | New York Post

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U.S.-China trade talks resume next week, focus on intellectual property

U.S. negotiators are preparing to press China next week on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies’ intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.


Reuters: Business News

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The battle is on between Trump and his Democratic foes

A clarifying week in Washington showed how ugly the war of oversight between President Donald Trump and House Democrats will become and dug new battle lines in the most intense exchanges yet of the 2020 campaign.


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Investing for Beginners (Seriously, if You Know Nothing, Start Here)

If you’ve spent so much as 10 minutes reading a personal finance blog — and clearly you have — chances are, you’ve heard that investing is one of the best ways to put your money to work for you.

The power of compound interest can turn even modest savings into an appreciable nest egg over time. And best of all, it’s passive income.

But if you’ve never put money into the stock market before, the prospect can be overwhelming. What exactly does “buying stocks” even mean? And what kind of account do you need to get started?

What Is Investing, Anyway?

Investing is a way to build wealth by purchasing assets today that you anticipate will grow in value, yielding a profit over time.

There are many different ways to invest, including purchasing tangible items (like real estate or fine art) with the intent of selling them later. But in this post, we’re going to be focusing primarily on stock market investments.

Investing for Beginners: A Quick Vocab Lesson

A collage of financial information on computer screens.

One of the first things new investors come to realize is how much lingo there is to know. It’s hard to feel confident about spending your money on stocks, bonds or mutual funds when you’re not even sure what any of those words mean!

The good news is, nobody knows what they’re talking about (or which words to use) when they’re first getting started. Here’s a quick vocabulary rundown.

Stocks

The stock market is what we call the abstract space where investors buy and sell investments. There are many different types of investments, or “assets,” you can buy and sell on the stock market.

Stocks are shares, or small pieces of asset ownership, of a company. Stockholders earn money when the company performs well and increases in value — but they’re also vulnerable to losses if things don’t go as well as hoped. Thus, stocks can be a relatively high-risk investment.

Bonds

Bonds are another common type of stock market investment, but they work differently than stocks do. Bonds are actually debts owed by corporations or, more commonly, governments.

When you purchase a bond, you’re essentially lending your money to the bond issuer. Bonds help investors earn money by accruing interest — and because bond issuers are obligated to repay their debts, they’re considered a safer investment than stocks.

What’s more, bonds are repaid after a fixed amount of time and at fixed rates (which is why they’re known as “fixed-income” assets), making them a reliable source of investment return. However, they don’t have the exponential growth potential that stocks do.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are pre-built collections of stocks, bonds and sometimes other types of investment assets, like real estate, which are created and managed by financial professionals.

Investing in mutual funds allows individual investors to buy a diverse segment of the market without doing all the research and footwork to assess individual stocks themselves.

Index Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

These funds are similar to mutual funds in that they include a basket of different assets, but they’re not generally actively managed by a live human being. Instead, index funds are created based on a specific market index, like the S&P 500 or the Dow.

A market index is a representative collection of stocks that are used to track the performance of an area of the market.

Exchange-traded funds might be collections of companies that share industries, geographical locations or market capitalization — that is, the total dollar amount of the shares of the company available on the market.

Unlike mutual funds, they’re also traded throughout the day on the exchange, which may make them a better option for investors looking to play a more active role in their portfolios.

Investment Portfolio

Your investment portfolio is the collection of all the investments you make and keep, otherwise known as your “holdings.” For example, you may have 12 shares of Corporation X, 27 shares of Corporation Y and 17 shares of an ETF which includes stocks, bonds and real estate.

Phew! It really is a word salad, huh? Now that you’ve got a better handle on basic investing terms, let’s learn more about doing some actual investing of your own.

How to Get Started With Investing

How best to get started investing will vary depending on your personal financial goals, as well as the amount of money you can afford to put toward your growing portfolio.

But if you don’t have a whole lot of extra cash lying around, don’t worry; there are many ways into the world of investing, even if your initial investment is only $ 100 (or less!).

Saving for Retirement

Aside from building wealth in general, one of the most common investing goals is to save for retirement. If that goal’s on your list, you’ve got lots of investment vehicles to choose from.

For example, if your employer offers a 401(k), contributing part of your wages to that company-sponsored retirement account is a way to get started investing. And if your benefits package includes an employer match, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of that — it’s free money!

Depending on your plan, you may have just a few curated investment options to choose from or access to a wide variety. (Psst — we’ll talk more about some basic investment skills in a second, so don’t hit that “buy” button just yet!)

Types of Investment Accounts

Even if you don’t have access to a 401(k), you can open a retirement plan like a traditional or Roth IRA — that is, individual retirement account.

These are investment accounts designed specifically for retirement, which are governed by special rules and tax incentives. For instance, contributions to a traditional IRA are taken pretax today, but they’re later taxed upon withdrawal; Roth IRA contributions are taxed now but grow tax-free.

And in both cases, it’s not as simple as pulling your money out whenever you want; except in specified circumstances, you’ll need to wait until you reach age 59 1/2 to fully access that money.

IRAs are available through a huge range of financial firms, from nationwide banks like Chase to brokerage firms like TD Ameritrade. Financial companies like these may also offer brokerage accounts, which aren’t subject to the same special rules and regulations as investment vehicles built specifically for retirement.

A brokerage account allows you access to a trading interface where you can purchase individual stocks, bonds or ETFs, creating your own portfolio from scratch. But if you’re not feeling up to DIYing your investments, you can also use a robo-advisor, like Ellevest, which will allocate your assets for you.

Apps, ETFs and Automatic Contributions

A phone displays a money saving app.

Only have a few bucks to spare? Apps like Stash and Acorns make it easier than ever to get started investing with as little as $ 5, and they offer curated ETFs to help you diversify your holdings.

You can also set up regular, automatic contributions, which will fuel your portfolio’s growth over time.

Basic Investing Strategies to Know Before You Go

Now that you’re versed in the lingo and you’ve got the lowdown on a few accessible investment options, there are just a few more things you need to know before you take the next step and become an investor yourself.

Since all investments involve some risk, it’s imperative to be prepared and informed on how to best mitigate those risks ahead of time.

Don’t Overcommit

Perhaps the most important investment strategy is one you’ve doubtless heard before: diversification. Diversifying your portfolio means purchasing a wide range of assets, including different types of holdings and different issuers.

Why is diversification so important? Well, it’s just like that old saying about not putting all your eggs in one basket. If you drop that over-laden basket and don’t have any other eggs in reserve, you’re in a messy situation.

Similarly, when market values fall, your portfolio will have a lot more margin for error if you’ve got a variety of holdings. If one of the companies you own stock in goes under, for instance, you won’t be entirely sunk if you own shares of other firms — and some government bonds, for good measure.

Diversification is one of the reasons mutual funds, index funds and ETFs are so popular among new investors.

However, some of these funds do come at an additional cost — particularly mutual funds, which are actively managed by a financial professional. That’s why it’s important to check out the expense ratios before making your purchase decision, especially if you don’t have a lot of investment capital to work with.

Do Your Homework

No matter what types of investments you’re most interested in owning or how you go about getting started, research the assets you’re considering, keeping both historical performance of interest rates and current events in mind. You might even consider hiring a financial advisor to help you make your decisions.

Although no investment is a sure thing, putting your money in the market feels a lot less like a harebrained bet when you have evidence and reason behind your choices. Investment advisors can help you assess your risk tolerance and make more informed investment decisions.

Keep Calm When the Market Gets Rough

And finally, keep in mind that investing is a long game, and market fluctuations are an everyday reality. Although it can be tempting to rip your money out of the market as soon as you see a scary headline, if you diversify your holdings and sit tight through the lean times, the market usually corrects itself.

Even taking major recessions into account, the market’s overall growth curve is historically positive — and stashing your cash under the mattress (or even in a traditional savings account) can’t come close to the earnings you can glean through compound interest.

Good luck, new investor!

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Fyre Festival’s CMO Grant Margolin appears to be working again … as a business tutor

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Grant Margolin, the chief marketing officer of the colossal disaster that was Fyre Festival, seemed to drop off the face of the Earth after the event. 

The festival’s founder and CEO, Billy McFarland, is serving six years in prison for defrauding over 100 investors out of $ 27.4 million. But Margolin, who is portrayed in both recent Fyre Festival documentaries as McFarland’s right-hand man, settled out of court and has kept a low profile. 

All the documentaries managed to say about what he does now is that he volunteers as an EMT. 

But now it seems Margolin has been found — selling his services in New York City as a tutor, specializing in business and marketing, for $ 90 an hour. But we’ll get back to that.  Read more…

More about Business, Fyre Festival, Culture, Other, and Celebrities


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The fate of the market this year could be in the hands of the ‘Powell Put’

In a Fed connotation, a put would be a point at which Powell would not let the market fall below before he steps in with more stimulus.
Economy

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Virginia’s week of tumult: Northam hanging on, Fairfax under fire, Herring in hiding

As Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was engulfed in scandal a week ago over a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page, a consensus grew among his fellow Democrats: He won’t last the weekend.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Dear Penny: I Want to Help My Elderly Parents by Buying Their House

This sounds like a super generous move. After so many years of turning to your parents for care and advice, this is, for many, the dream: to be able to return the favor. But caring for your parents in this way can have a lot of complications.

I called in help from two experts: financial adviser Stephanie McCullough, and financial adviser Andy Wang, who also hosts the “Inspired Money” podcast.

First: Can you afford to take on another mortgage in addition to your own? It’s worth spending the money to discuss the long-term impact of this move with a tax professional and an attorney, Wang advised.

McCullough took her warning even further. “If I were your financial planner, I’d be advising you to look out for yourself and your husband,” she wrote in an email.

Consider your upcoming retirement. What will happen when the paychecks stop and you have to start living on your savings? Look carefully at your cash flow and imagine what would happen if you or your husband lost your job, or became disabled prior to your target retirement date, she recommended.

Two technical matters Wang said to check on before moving forward: whether the loan is assumable, meaning you could take over mortgage payments by assuming the loan; and whether the loan has a “due on sale” clause that would require the loan balance to be paid upon transfer of property. The former might provide an alternative option for you, while the latter could lead you to pause on your plan to buy.

If there’s a reason you want to own the house beyond your parents’ tenure there — maybe it’s been in your family for some time — you’ll need to plan for that future, McCullough said. Unless you plan to eventually live there yourself, keep in mind that managing a rental from far away can be stressful.

Wang brought up one more “what-if”: the possibility that your parents could outlive you. “You’d also need contingency plans in case something were to happen to you to ensure your parents may continue to reside there,” Wang said.

What’s your real motivation here: to keep the house in your family, or provide financial stability for your parents? If it’s the latter, it may be worth thinking about alternative options to support them while ensuring your own long-term financial security.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Lisa Rowan is senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Kellyanne Conway describes alleged assault in a restaurant in October by a woman, who denies the charge

Kellyanne Conway says that she was grabbed and shaken by a woman while out with her teenage daughter in a Maryland restaurant late last year.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Jeff Bezos Publishes Emails From National Enquirer Threatening to Leak Salacious Photos

The dispute between Jeff Bezos and the National Enquirer just took an appropriately tabloid-ish turn.

In a detailed essay posted to Medium, the 55-year-old Amazon founder and owner of The Washington Post alleged that The National Enquirer recently threatened to release racy photos of Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez. Bezos described the attempt as “extortion and blackmail.”

“I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Bezos wrote. “Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing.” He added: “I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”

Bezos then printed an email exchange, purportedly from Dylan Howard, an employee at American Media, Inc. (AMI), the company that owns the National Enquirer. In the message, Howard notes the publication had acquired several potentially embarrassing photos of Bezos and Sanchez, including “a full-length scantily-clad body shot [of Bezos] with short trunks” and “a naked selfie in a bathroomwhile wearing his wedding ring.”

AMI chairman and CEO David Pecker is a long-time friend of President Donald Trump. Last year, Pecker received immunity for testifying in a federal investigation into his role in payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with the president.

Pecker has also sought to forge deep connections with businesses in Saudi Arabia. Bezos said he’d been informed that Pecker was “apoplectic” about the Post‘s recent investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “We were approached, verbally at first, with an offer,” Bezos wrote. “They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.”

Instead, Bezos decided to pre-emptively publish descriptions of the embarrassing materials himself.

Bezos’ missive is the latest in a lengthy feud between the Amazon honcho and the popular supermarket tabloid. Last month, after months of research, the Enquirer published an investigation detailing an affair between Bezos and Sanchez, a news personality and pilot. The report, which included several steamy texts between the couple, was released shortly after Bezos announced he’d split from MacKenzie Bezos, his wife of 25 years.

Earlier this week, the Bezos-owned Washington Post published its own investigation into the Enquirer‘s investigation, trying to determine whether the piece was a “political hit” on Bezos, and how his personal messages were compromised.

The Post‘s coverage apparently didn’t please representatives of the Enquirer. In his essay, Bezos also included an email purportedly sent by an American Media lawyer, demanding a “mutually-agreed upon acknowledgment from the Bezos Parties, released through a mutually-agreeable news outlet, affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

Bezos has strived in the past to distance himself from the work of the Post, in order to maintain the paper’s objectivity. He notably published his column not in the newspaper, but on the independently owned website Medium.

But Bezos acknowledged that his ownership of the paper “is a complexifier for me,” adding: “It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy. President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets.”

Still, Bezos wrote, he was determined not to back down on his dealings with tabloid. “Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here,” he wrote. “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” He ended his essay with a determined salvo: “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”

Fortune

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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2.7.19 Safeguard your ID while traveling; CFPB waters down payday lending rule; Paid leave

Clark gives you practical info for how to safeguard your electronic devices while traveling; The CFPB is back tracking on rules for payday lending standards; Paid leave is a hotly debated topic in this country. Clark talks about a few employers doing things differently and weighs in on how he thinks we should change pay leave policy in America.

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How This Family Lives Off $45K/Year While Raising a Special Needs Child

On a late November afternoon, Vicki Fouche heats up slices of frozen pizza in the toaster oven for lunch.

Her daughter Hannah, 10, waits at the dining room table in their Ocala, Florida, home.

Hannah has challenges eating on her own. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects motor skills, muscle tone and movement, when she was 6 months old.

Vicki, 48, places two plates in front of Hannah. “Look here. Which pizza do you want? Do you want ‘The Lion King’ or Olaf?” Vicki asks, referring to the Disney characters decorating each plate. “Which would you like? Lion King? Olaf?”

Hannah replies with just a sound — one that would be incomprehensible to most. But without any words exchanged, her mom knows what’s wrong.

“You don’t want either one?” she guesses. “You want pretzel bites?”

Hannah utters another obscure sound.

“You’re a pain in the butt, do you know that?” Vicki jokes, and she whisks the plates away from Hannah, handing a pizza slice off to Hannah’s 21-year-old sister, Bethany.

Vicki heads back to the freezer to get some pretzel bites, one of Hannah’s favorite foods.

When Hannah’s lunch is heated, Vicki brings a plate over to Hannah, whose attention is fixed on the iPad in front of her. Vicki proceeds to cut the pretzel bites into small pieces and feed her.

Hannah’s condition is hypotonic, meaning she has low muscle tone — specifically in her head, neck and trunk. She can’t stand on her own, walk or talk.

Hannah has the cognitive abilities to communicate; she just lacks the physical abilities to speak more than a few words. She uses an app on her iPad that lets her select words and phrases to speak aloud for her. In fact, Vicki says Hannah often uses the app to request pretzel bites.

There are many variations of cerebral palsy. For some, the disorder has a minimal effect on their lives. Others require around-the-clock care.

An older sister helps her little sister find a game on her iPad.

According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, 1 in 323 U.S. babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. There is no known cure for the disorder, which affects approximately 17 million people across the globe.

Hannah’s physical challenges mean that Vicki and her husband, Tim, have to care for Hannah in ways similar to caring for an infant. They feed her. They bathe her. They carry her down the hallway and lift her into her safety bed, which resembles an oversized crib.

Hannah’s parents also shoulder all the financial responsibilities of raising a child with cerebral palsy.

The Fouches are a family of five living off less than $ 45,000 per year. Though Bethany, their oldest daughter, doesn’t live at home anymore, Vicki and Tim have a 6-year-old daughter, Mikayla, and they took in their 15-year-old niece, Naomi, last summer.

Tim, 48, who works as a residential construction estimator for a custom home builder, is the family’s sole breadwinner.

“I work hard,” Tim says. “As a husband and a dad, you try to maintain a balance of working and being there for your family, too, at the same time. When you do that and you still feel like you’re falling short at the end of the month… it gets frustrating sometimes.”

Why Making More Money Isn’t an Option

A married couple sit at their kitchen table discussing finances.

The family qualifies for Medicaid and Social Security benefits for Hannah, plus a scholarship that covers home-schooling expenses. But Vicki says she’s scared of the possibility of losing that assistance if her husband makes more money.

“We’re [between] the proverbial rock and a hard place,” she says.

The Fouches know other families with disabled children that don’t qualify for assistance and aren’t able to get certain treatment or equipment covered under their private insurance.

“If [Tim] were to make more money and then they took [Medicaid away], it would cost us more in the long run,” Vicki says.

Vicki usually handles paying the bills and budgeting for the family since Tim works full time.

“How she does it, I don’t know,” Tim says. “She takes something out of nothing, and she pays the bills. But it’s a struggle every month.”

The Fouches have between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000 in credit card debt. They’ve used their credit cards when unexpected expenses came up, such as when the transmission went out in their minivan last year. They’ve made home-schooling purchases on credit, only to later find out Hannah’s scholarship wouldn’t reimburse the expense.

Every year, they like to put money aside from their tax refund to save for emergencies. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stretch through the year. They don’t have any other financial safety net.

“We never have money to save,” Vicki says. “We’re lucky that we have enough to pay our bills.”

Medicaid Helps… but It Has Limits

Each week, Hannah sees a speech therapist, physical therapist and occupational therapist. She also participates in therapeutic horseback riding. Because of assistance, the Fouches don’t have to pay out of pocket for any of that.

The Fouches have also gotten some of Hannah’s equipment paid for through Medicaid: an electric wheelchair, a manual wheelchair, a walker, a shower chair and Hannah’s safety bed, plus her nutritional drinks and diapers.

“We’re very, very blessed,” Vicki says.

But Vicki says the diapers Medicaid covers for Hannah leak easily. The electric wheelchair has malfunctioned several times.

Hannah never felt comfortable in the first shower chair they were able to get through Medicaid when she was little, so her father built one out of PVC pipe and trampoline material.

Vicki says she’s glad her husband is so handy. He also built a makeshift wheelchair ramp for their front door and widened the entrance into their kitchen so Hannah’s wheelchair could fit through.

A daughter is bathed by her mother.

Getting requests approved through Medicaid can be challenging, Vicki says. She says the agency requires in-depth explanations about why they need certain equipment or therapy and how Hannah will benefit.

And even when something is approved, the family sometimes still has to pay for part of it. Last spring, for example, Hannah received three weeks of intensive therapy at a facility in Melbourne, Florida. Medicaid covered the cost of the therapy, but the family had to pay for travel and lodging, since the facility was three and a half hours from home.

The family sold bracelets as a fundraiser and made about $ 2,300.

“We ended up having to come up with some of it out of our pocket,” she says. “We raised most of it, but not [all].”

A Plan Abandoned

A mother pushes one daughter in a shopping cart and the other daughter in a wheel char as she grocery shops at Sam's Club.

Vicki used to work as a Girl Scouts program coordinator, but high day care costs caused her to become a stay-at-home mom after having Hannah. She thought it would be temporary and that she’d go back to work once Hannah started kindergarten. Then, she got unexpectedly pregnant with Mikayla.

Vicki had her tubes tied after that pregnancy. With Hannah in school, Vicki’s new plan was to go back to work once Mikayla was in kindergarten. But then Hannah started having troubling experiences at school.

“She came home one time with rug burn on her cheek, a black eye, a split-open lip, and they say she fell over at circle time,” Vicki recalls, saying she suspects Hannah fell off a changing table instead. “She would come home 90% of the time with her lunch [uneaten].”

The Fouches were concerned their daughter wasn’t getting proper care at school. Two weeks before Hannah was going to start third grade, her parents told her she’d be going back to school soon. She cried hysterically.

“What kid at 8 years old hates school so bad?” Vicki asks.

So the Fouches made the decision to home-school their girls, and Vicki abandoned her plan to return to work. Though Vicki does a lot for her family, she sometimes feels bad that she isn’t able to earn an income. However, Tim says he’s very thankful for the role she’s taken on.

“[It’s] worth a whole lot for her to be with our children, to keep them safe and [see to it] that they’re taken care of and getting a good education,” he says.

That’s not the only sacrifice the Fouches have had to make.

A girl with cerebral palsy rides on a horse as part of a therapy session.

Vicki says they choose not to go to places as a family that aren’t accommodating for Hannah, like the playground or the fair. If Mikayla wants to go, she has to wait until one parent can stay home to watch Hannah.

The Fouches try to make sure Mikayla gets to do things she likes — such as gymnastics and T-ball — but the money isn’t always there for her to participate. Vicki says they had to charge T-ball registration fees to their credit card. They pay per class for gymnastics, and when money is tight, they’ll just skip it for the week.

One special treat the entire family enjoys is going to Disney World, which is only about an hour-and-a-half drive from their home. Last year, the Fouches had annual passes. They got them as a Christmas gift for the girls and paid for them in monthly installments. However, Vicki says they decided not to renew the passes for this year after Disney raised its prices.

“That’s been really frustrating,” she says. “That’s really the only thing that we do with the kids… Hannah doesn’t feel disabled at Disney. She can go on all the rides. She can’t do that at all the other parks.”

Their Plans and Dreams for an Uncertain Future

About a decade ago, when Hannah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Vicki remembers the doctor explaining the diagnosis twice.

“I guess most people get hysterical and we didn’t, so the doctor [asked], ‘Do you understand what I’m saying to you?’” she says.

But Vicki and Tim knew something serious was wrong with Hannah. Their infant daughter wasn’t meeting typical milestones for her age. Unbeknownst to each other, they both had suspected it was cerebral palsy.

Instead of being devastated, they were grateful Hannah didn’t have a terminal illness, but rather a disorder that can improve over time through therapy.

And the Fouches have seen Hannah progress over the years. She can sit up unassisted, whereas before her body wasn’t strong enough to support itself.

One speech therapist told the Fouches that Hannah would never be able to work a communication device.

“She said she would never be strong enough to push the buttons on the communication thing,” Vicki recalls. “And yeah, this kid’s a whip on the iPad. It’s not even funny.”

A mother comforts her daughter at a doctor's appointment.
A family comfort one of the girls as she cries in bed.

In early December, Hannah was fitted for a leg brace that will keep her body from folding up in her sleep. Since she can’t control her limbs, it can be dangerous if she bends herself in half overnight, causing her to hurt herself or even block her breathing. Hannah often sleeps in her worried parents’ bed so they can closely monitor her.

A few weeks after getting the brace, Tim says she’s still having trouble adjusting to it. Hannah’s therapist suggested putting the brace on for an hour or two in the evening and working their way up to using it while she sleeps. Once Hannah is able to use the brace overnight and transition to her own bed, her parents will be able to get a more restful night’s sleep.

There’s still other equipment the Fouches wish Hannah had to better her life.

They’d love for Hannah to have a mobile stander, a device that would help her stand and move around without having to support her own weight.

“We can stand her for a little bit… but the last couple times we had her in her walker, she’s gotten so overheated, she’s thrown up,” Vicki says.

A father carries his daughter to the living room.

Having a device that doesn’t make Hannah strain to support herself would be ideal. Being in a wheelchair so often causes Hannah to have poor circulation in her legs.

However, Vicki says Medicaid won’t cover the mobile stander, because Hannah already has the electric wheelchair. She says it’d cost $ 5,600 to pay for out of pocket — money the family doesn’t have.

She also says it’d be wonderful to have a hoist system in the house to lift Hannah up. At 60 pounds, Hannah isn’t easy to carry anymore.

“I’m scared I’m going to fall with her,” says Vicki, who had to be hospitalized twice last year after bad falls. Luckily, she wasn’t carrying Hannah on either occasion.

A father sleeps on the couch in his living room.

The Fouches also wish they had a handicap-accessible van, but they can’t afford one. Vicki said even getting their current minivan converted to be wheelchair accessible would cost around $ 15,000.

Instead, they have to lift Hannah into the minivan, and they use her manual wheelchair when they go out.

Hannah’s only 10 now, but Tim and Vicki have thought about what her life will be like as she gets older. It’s uncertain what Hannah will be able to do on her own once she reaches adulthood.

“If we could have one wish for her… I would really hope at some point that she could be able to speak,” Vicki says. “I think that would make a huge difference for her, instead of having to rely on a communication device. I don’t know if that will ever happen — and if it doesn’t, it’s fine — but if I had a choice between her walking or speaking, I’d rather have her speak.”

One thing Vicki and Tim do know is that they never want to place Hannah in a nursing home. The Fouches say their faith in God gives them strength to handle all the challenges that come their way.

Overall, Vicki’s greatest hope for her daughter is one most parents have for their child.

“I just want her to have as [good of] a life as she can,” she says.

A mother and daughter laugh together at home.

If you are raising a child with special needs, learn more about how to plan financially for your child’s future.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Sony announces first-ever share buyback, stock rises 5 percent

Sony Corp announced on Friday a share buyback of 100 billion yen ($ 910 million) – its first ever aimed at boosting shareholder returns – sending the Japanese electronics and entertainment company’s shares up more than 5 percent.


Reuters: Business News

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Burger King trolls McDonald’s with menu revamp

McDonald’s bid to trademark “Big Mac” in Europe went down the drain — and Burger King came at them with a whopper of a burn in response. A European court ruled last month in favor of an Ireland-based fast-food chain called Supermac’s and revoked McDonald’s registration of the trademark for their iconic burger. In response,…
Business | New York Post

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Whitaker says he will not appear before House panel unless he gets guarantee he won’t face subpoena

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to authorize a subpoena for acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker ahead of his Friday testimony, which House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said he would use if Whitaker would not answer the committee’s questions.


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China and Russia loaned billions to Venezuela — and then the presidency went up for grabs

China and Russia are doubling down on their support for Venezuela's embattled president, and some say that has a lot to do with the billions of dollars Caracas still owes to Beijing and Moscow.
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3 digital industries that China is dominating

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China is one of the foremost nations embracing a fully connected society. In many major Chinese cities, sensor-filled machines that accept digital payments and support public data-collection are commonplace. Such technologies are found in supermarkets, malls, and even on sidewalks — Chinese panhandlers have notably used the WeChat platform to collect donations from passersby. Already, China’s mobile payments market is nearly 50 times that of the U.S.’s.

China represents a significant investment opportunity for breakthrough innovations in digital industriesData from late 2017 suggests that increased digitization may lead to a shift of 10 to 45 percent of industry revenue pools in China by 2030. This shift has particular implications for key sectors like consumer and retail, automotive and mobility, health care, and freight and logistics. Read more…

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How to Bank $40 Today If You Live in Pennsylvania

Do you live in Pennsylvania? Could you use 40 bucks?

Sure you could!

It doesn’t matter where in the Keystone State you live — Philly or Pittsburgh or Scranton or anywhere else. We’ve got a way for you to bank $ 40 for just a few minutes’ work.

It won’t cost you anything, and it won’t be a pain, we promise.

Here’s what you do:

Get a $ 20 Amazon Gift Card for Going Green

You can use your energy bill to support renewable energy — no matter where in Pennsylvania you live.

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes.

Arcadia matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

When you sign up your home or apartment (yup, renters are eligible, too!) with Arcadia, you’ll get a free $ 20 Amazon card.

Earn $ 10 Next Time You Shop

Sure, Ibotta is traditionally known as a cash-back app for groceries — and you can earn a heap of cash on your next haul — but you can also earn cash back on just about anything you purchase.

You can bank cash when you make an Amazon purchase, sign up for Hulu, book your next vacation or even order groceries through Shipt.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler earned $ 172 in just over a year’s time, thanks to the free app.

If you sign up now, you’ll snag a $ 10 bonus when you claim your first cash-back offer, and you can cash out once your balance hits $ 20.

Snag a Free $ 10 Walmart Card

One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash -back on online purchases at Walmart.

Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $ 25.
  3. Your account will be credited with rewards points you can cash in for your $ 10 Walmart gift card.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He could use 40 bucks.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Trump’s call for compromise is only on his own terms

The state of Donald Trump is unrepentant and defiant. And while he says he’s open to compromise and national unity — it must be on his terms.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Janet Yellen: Possible next Fed move is a cut if global growth continues to slow

The former central bank chief cited "slowing global growth" as the biggest threat to the economy she once watched over.
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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Spotify posts surprise profit in Q4, sees loss in 2019

Spotify, the world’s most popular
paid music streaming service, reported an unexpected
fourth-quarter operating profit on Wednesday and sales growth
matching expectations, but it said it sees a loss of 200-360
million euros in 2019.


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How to Get a $10 Gift Card to Target This Week If You Live in California

Have you ever heard of getting paid to save energy?

Earning cash when you switch off the lights, unplug the TV and pause the laundry cycle for a few hours each week?

It sounds too good to true, but it’s possible with OhmConnect, an energy-saving program for Californians.

Still not convinced? We talked with John Hastie, a San Diego resident who has earned up to $ 487 a month through the platform. Then there’s Tanya Williams, a stay-at-home mom who earned an extra $ 1,700 in 2017. She turned saving energy into a game with her kids.

So now you’re wondering: How does OhmConnect work? Can I just turn off my lights right now and make some money? Not exactly, but it’s almost that simple.

Here’s how you’ll get started:

  1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account and sync it with your online utility account though Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.
  2. Once or twice a week, you’ll receive a text message to participate in an #OhmHour, an hour of reduced energy consumption. Turn down unnecessary lights, hold off on doing the laundry or the dishes, and opt for a fan instead of the A/C. It’s the perfect time to go outside, play games on your phone, or go to the movies.
  3. OhmConnect then pays you for reducing your electricity consumption during #OhmHours.

So… why is OhmConnect willing to pay you?

OhmHours typically occur during times of peak energy usage (think: weekday evenings when everyone’s getting home from work). Rather than tapping into expensive (and dirty!) peaker plants (basically back-up plants for high-demand hours), utility companies offer an incentive to customers who cut back on energy consumption.

The money the utility company saves by avoiding these peaker plants is passed back to you, the customer, who so diligently saved during that high-demand time.

Your earnings are based on how much power you save. The more you save, the higher your OhmConnect status, which helps you earn even more.

To date, OhmConnect has paid its users $ 9 million.

Oh, and here’s a little bonus to get you started: Right now, OhmConnect is handing out $ 10 Target e-gift cards after you connect the service with one of the previously mentioned utility accounts.

(OhmConnect estimates the process typically takes less than two days.)

Once you’re approved, you can start earning points, for your energy savings, which translate to cash. In about two days, you’ll receive your Target e-gift card via email.

Not only are you helping save the world, you’re also earning some money along the way!

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Trump calls for rejection of ‘politics of revenge’ in speech that jabs Democrats

Donald Trump is set to deliver what his advisers claim will be a unifying State of the Union speech on Tuesday before a skeptical audience that for the first time will include a Democratic House majority.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Who Are the Democrats Inviting to Trump’s State of the Union Speech? Victims of the Shutdown, Transgender Service Members, and More

Inviting guests to a big event can be a delicate matter–nobody wants to be left off the list–and it’s even tricker for an evening that involves the storied history of the State of the Union address. Invitations to the annual event often take on the tone of a political statement.

President Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday night. Trump will address a Congress that is deeply divided in part because of a 35-day government shutdown that followed Trump’s insistence that Congress fund a wall he wants to build along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have invited select victims of violence, including a sixth-grader from Wilmington, Del., who was bullied at school because his last name was Trump and family members of an elderly couple from Reno, allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant.

Members of Congress are also able to invite one guest to the State of the Union address, whether that be a family member or an individual representative of the lawmaker’s platform. Axios published a guest list of people invited by Democrats. Some of those elected officials have already cast their hats into the 2020 Presidential-election ring.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California invited Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, a California air-traffic controller who lost her home during the devastating Thomas Fire in 2017, only to be furloughed during the recent government shutdown.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts invited Sajid Shahriar, a Massachusetts labor leader who, as an employee of the federal housing department, was also furloughed during the record-long government shutdown during late December and most of January.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey invited Edward Douglas, who was recently released under the First Step Act after receiving a life sentence in 2003 for selling 140 grams of cocaine.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York invited Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, whom she described on Twitter as “the first openly transgender servicemember to be promoted in our military’s history.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also of New York, invited Ana Maria Archila, who confronted former Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator ahead of the confirmation vote on now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Ed Markey of Masssachusetts, invited Varshini Prakash, the executive director and co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, an organization in support of the Green New Deal.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will sit just behind Trump during his address, invited multiple guests, including Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime died during the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a year ago; active-duty transgender service members, and Jos? Andr?s, the celebrity chef who has aided causes ranging from hurricane relief in Puerto Rico to the guy who couldn’t pronounce “flamenco” on Wheel of Fortune.

Fortune

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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State of the Union promises epic political drama

President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address is poised to deliver the kind of irresistible prime-time drama that its sporting equivalent, a snoozer Super Bowl, lacked.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

How to Get a Loan for up to $100,000 in Home Renovations

Does your home need some work?

Maybe the kitchen is stuck in the ’70s. That dusty old carpet in the bedroom has gotta go. And, well, new tile in the shower would be nice…

Home renovations aren’t just for the sake of vanity. You can increase the value of your home if you’re looking to sell soon.

Adding a wood deck to your yard, for example, will cost you, on average, about $ 10,000. Your resale value will tick up $ 9,000, according to “Remodeling” magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report” for 2018, so you’ll earn most of that cost back.

A new garage door? That job will cost you nearly $ 3,500 — but you’ll earn almost all of that back in resale value, too.

Afford Home Renovations — Without Going into Credit Card Debt

Unfortunately, you can’t walk into the backyard and pluck cash off the money tree. (Oh, yikes, that back deck is looking rough, too…)

Fortunately, there are ways to fund some light renovations to your home — even if you don’t have cash on hand.

One option is to take out a personal loan. If you qualify, you’ll typically receive your funds within a few days. Plus, the interest rates on personal loans are much lower than those attached to credit cards (which is another option, though one we definitely won’t recommend in this scenario).

Not sure where to find said loan? Pursue your options on the online marketplace Credible. Enter your information, and the site will spit out your personal loan options. It lets you quickly compare rates without visiting a bunch of sites and getting flooded with emails and phone calls.

Rates start at 3.99%. Remember: You’ll get better offers if you have a good credit score (think: around 640 or higher).

You can check out your personal loan options by entering a loan amount here (up to $ 100,000) and comparing rates in less than two minutes.

Now, start channeling your inner Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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How are people betting on sports like the Super Bowl?

Now that all the fuss about the Super Bowl is over, there’s one thing left to report. According to an online company called LendEDU, 60 percent of the nearly 900 people responding to a survey said they had never wagered on sports before it became legalized. And the average bet was $ 3,911, but the median…
Business | New York Post

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Business travel survival guide: How and why this entrepreneur refuses to settle

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Ad content from Hyatt House hotels

Stacy Garcia, founder of Stacy Garcia Inc., a licensing and design company, travels frequently as part of her job as an entrepreneur and business owner. Her company, which focuses on interior design products, has roots in hospitality design, and today includes a collection of global lifestyle brands and product lines including textiles, carpeting, furniture, and lighting.

Part of Garcia’s success is due to her “never settle” attitude. “When I believe in something, I never settle until I’ve accomplished it,” she says. “I don’t stop just because I’ve heard a few ‘no’s.’ I’ve trained myself to hear ‘not yet’ instead of ‘no.’ This challenge is what has made my journey so meaningful, and so much sweeter when I finally get the ‘yes’ I deserve.” Read more…

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Trump ignites new immigration furor ahead of State of the Union

President Donald Trump is carving new divides on immigration ahead of his State of the Union address that likely offer a more reliable guide to the year ahead than the ritual calls for national unity he is expected to issue on Tuesday night.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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6 things you might not have considered selling on eBay

Altoids tin

eBay touts that you can utilize their website to buy and sell “Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectables, Coupons and More.” Of course, “more” can include just about anything, and so it’s within this category where potential profits can hide in plain sight.

I wrote a Clark.com piece in 2017 outlining a few obscure items that sell well on eBay, like toilet paper tubes, but apparently this bizarro trend has run its course. A quick “completed listings” search for toilet paper tubes show that out of 50 listings, only three lots had sold, one collection for a mere 99¢. It’s not exactly worth the effort to collect, photograph and write up a description for a mere 6% chance that your item will actually sell!

Make extra cash selling these odd items on eBay

However, as one trend disappears other ones take its place. I asked on Facebook’s eBay Warriors group about possibly lucrative obscure categories, as I figured that their 100,000+ members would be clued into the buyers’ trends. Here are some of their tips, plus a few of my own.

Empty Altoids tins

I checked eBay’s completed listings, and sure enough there’s a market for empty Altoid tins, so instead of chucking these into the recycling bin, consider setting them aside until you have enough to justify a listing.

Empty luxury item boxes

This suggestion was completely off my radar, as my empty boxes trend more towards Cheerios than Cartier or Tiffany & Co. But once again, this tip rang true. Note to self: Keep an eye out for empty luxury brand boxes when I head out for my next afternoon of garage sale-ing!

Old perfume, even when it’s partially used up

You might think that half-empty bottles of perfume hold no value, but such is not the case. Perfume makers frequently discontinue and update lines, which means that customers will often pay up to keep backups of their signature scent.

Discontinued board games

Don’t assume that your closet full of dusty and forgotten board games holds no value. Instead, take a look to see if you own one of these surprisingly sought-after “The Office” board games. Turn “That’s what she said” into “That’s what she sold!”

Box Tops for Education

This eBay category was a surprise to me, as I stopped cutting apart my grocery packaging when my kids graduated from elementary school. However, seeing these values might inspire me to restart my old clipping routine!

Off season treats from Trader Joe’s

If you’re a Trader Joe’s shopper, you already know that their seasonal foods have ardent and loyal fans. So if you have the foresight (and self control) to set aside a few extra boxes, you can turn a tidy profit once their shelves switch over from Christmas to Valentine’s Day. Keep in mind that these completed item prices are still from December, so I can only imagine how much they sell for once more months have been allowed to pass.

Whatever you try to sell, just make sure to do a “Completed Listings” search to get a true sense of what your items are worth. Many people make the mistake of assuming that the listed price is what things sell for, when in fact many eBay items go unsold.

How to conduct your own Completed Listings search on eBay

Find the search bar on the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. Click the small blue  “Advanced” link:

This will bring you to the “Advanced Search” screen, where you can customize your search, including “Completed Listings.” You can now research which eBay items actually sold, and hold much they sold for. This will give you precise and current information, which then helps you to determine whether your unwanted items are worth listing on eBay.

Good luck!

The post 6 things you might not have considered selling on eBay appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Papa John’s, Sysco, Clorox & more

Names on the move ahead of the open.
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Got Unused Baby Gear? Rent It Out With These Services to Make Extra Cash

Stay-at-home mom Manuela Madrid needed to make some extra money for her family, so she started searching Google for “jobs for stay-at-home moms” to see if anything seemed appealing. Eventually, a baby gear rental service called BabyQuip appeared in her results.

Services like BabyQuip allow families to rent strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby items when traveling instead of lugging around their own gear. Madrid, 37, who lives in Brandon, Florida, near Tampa, had collected baby equipment over the years while raising her two children, now ages 5 and 1. She decided after doing some research that listing her gear to rent would be perfect for her.

Madrid says on average she works less than 12 hours per month, getting two rental orders and earning between $ 120 and $ 180 with each fulfillment. So if you’re a parent with some baby equipment you’re not using, here’s what you need to know to become a baby-gear renter.

How Baby Gear Rental Services Work

A woman unloads a crib from her car

When a family places a rental order with a service like BabyQuip, a local provider — an independent contractor — receives the reservation request.

These orders vary in quantity and type of gear. Each reservation includes a delivery charge, and every item has a specific per-day rental rate. Madrid says a typical order consists of portable cribs and car seats, but it can also include strollers, high chairs and playpens.

On the day of the order, the provider loads up their car with the equipment and delivers it to a predetermined location such as an airport, hotel, Airbnb or private residence. Madrid says she helps set up more complex items, like cribs, if the renter or the Airbnb host is there. Otherwise, she leaves them at the front door or check-in desk.

At the end of the rental period, the provider collects the items and takes them home to be cleaned before the next rental.

Rafi Zait has witnessed the growth of the industry since founding Traveling Baby Company in 2004. Despite an uptick in awareness, he says many people still don’t know this service exists.

“The main reason is that unless you have (a) small children, and (b) [are] traveling somewhere, you’re not going to think about it,” says Zait, 48, who is now a Traveling Baby Company customer manager and company affiliate based in Los Angeles and Orange County, California.

Kristen Knorr was one of those people who didn’t know the industry existed until about a year ago. She discovered stroller rental services when researching websites in preparation for a family vacation to Disneyland. Space was limited in her family vehicle, so she opted to place a reservation and leave the stroller at their home in Provo, Utah.

When Knorr’s family arrived at their hotel near Disneyland, a double stroller from City Stroller Rentals was waiting for them at the front desk. “That was really great, and it was a better stroller than the one we had [at home],” she says.

Having the double stroller made a three-day Disney trip with a then 2 ½-year-old and a 9-month old easier. When it was time to drive back to Utah, Knorr left the stroller at the front desk for the baby-gear service to pick up. In the past, Knorr says, she would bring her own baby gear on trips but is now open to renting, especially when her family goes back to Disneyland in February.

What Are the Pay and Hours Like?

A woman sets up a crib

Madrid and Zait both say they earn 80% of each order, and their companies keep a 20% service fee.

Zait says there are many factors that go into how much someone can earn, such as the affiliate’s location, overall demand and competition. He says the business is busier during the summer and holidays, and order requests are higher in major cities and near popular tourist attractions.

An affiliate with Zait’s company can spend about three to four hours per average week delivering, picking up and cleaning the equipment and more than 10 hours a week during the holidays. A typical affiliate with his company can make between $ 800 and $ 1,200 per month.

Madrid says she receives an average of two orders per month and spends between eight and 12 hours fulfilling orders around the Tampa Bay area. In addition to the 80% take on each reservation, she gets to keep 100% of the delivery fees.

Some Baby Gear Companies to Consider

Now that you know the basics of what to expect doing the job, here are some of the best baby gear companies to consider joining. These are companies with a national presence, but there are more companies out there. Zait says most of the industry consists of mom-and-pop providers that operate in smaller areas, such as a specific city. So also consider checking if there is a company in your area that may need extra help delivering gear.

Babies Getaway

Founded in 2012, Babies Getaway’s services are available in every city in the continental United States, according to its website. Click here to find out how to become a partner with the company. The application asks which city you wish to service, whether you have a secure location in which to store the equipment and how far you are willing to drive for deliveries.

BabyQuip

BabyQuip has providers in 48 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Canada. An initial sign-up fee of $ 100 covers your administrative expenses, general liability insurance and your first month of insurance coverage. Click here to sign up and learn more about BabyQuip.

goBaby

GoBaby began in New York City before expanding nationally in 2016. Now the company operates in 35 states, according to its website. Equipment owners snap pictures of their gear and list it on the goBaby marketplace for renters to reserve. Click here to find out more.

Traveling Baby Company

Traveling Baby Company currently operates in 30 locations in 15 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Zait says people interested in becoming an affiliate can contact the company via email at info@travelingbaby.com or call 800-304-4866 to set up a phone interview.

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers side hustles and the gig economy. Follow him on Twitter @MattReinstetle.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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McAuliffe predicts Northam ‘will do the right thing’

Former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Sunday he believes Gov. Ralph Northam will resign soon amid wide-ranging calls for his former lieutenant to step down.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Dear Penny: I Make Way More Than My Boyfriend. How Do We Combine Finances?

Dear M.,

If your boyfriend feels threatened by the fact that you make more money than him in our modern era, he can take a hike.

But don’t let me jump to conclusions and/or your defense right away. Let’s assume that your boyfriend is worried that he won’t be able to contribute enough to your household expenses.

To figure out how to combine finances when you’re living in two very different financial worlds, you need to stop thinking of your relationship as a 1 + 1 equation. Sure, emotionally and physically, it’s 1 + 1. But financially, you’ve got to work out the percentages. Splitting your expenses half and half is just not going to work.

Instead, try this method I learned from my colleague Lauren Sieben: Add both your salaries together, and then determine how much you each contribute to the overall pie.

I’ll give you an example. Say you make $ 50,000 per year before taxes, and your boyfriend makes $ 25,000. Together, you make $ 75,000 each year. He makes one-third of that total, whereas you earn two-thirds of the total. Therefore, he’d contribute about 33 percent of your household expenses and savings goals, and you’d contribute about 66 percent. To look at it another way: He’d kick in one-third of the rent each month, and you’d pay the remainder.

This may not be the most ideal setup for your relationship, but it’s one example to get the conversation started. When it comes down to it, you can combine finances any which way that makes you both comfortable — emphasis on both.

Be prepared to discuss combining your finances several times (before you get engaged, ideally) before agreeing on a plan. Rushing to pick a method without buy-in from both partners can lead to resentment. That being said, there’s no reason you can’t switch up your method if you figure out a better one or if one of you experiences a substantial career change.

Not sure how to discuss money matters with a partner? Write to Dear Penny at https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/dear-penny/

Lisa Rowan is a personal finance expert and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny. For more practical money tips, visit www.thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Democrats Are Urging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to Resign Over Racist Photo

Democrats are calling for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign even though he has said he will not after a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook resurfaced, causing national outrage.

The Democratic governor denied being in the photograph, which showed a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. However, he later admitted to wearing blackface during a Michael Jackson dance contest that same year.

Congressional Black Caucus leaders are among those making calls for the governor to step down. California Rep. Karen Bass, chairwoman of the CBC, and Virginia Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin appeared on Meet The Press Sunday morning. McEachin said Northam had “lost the authority to lead, he’s lost the authority to govern.”

Bass also criticized Northam for “forcing the wrong conversation.” She added, “What he should do is resign, and if he has any integrity at all, he should participate in that conversation.”

The remarks follow those made by other Democrats, such as those from the Democratic Governor’s Association, which issued a public statement on the matter. DGA Chair Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Vice Chair New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, urged Northam to resign, calling the yearbook photo “racist and inexcusable.”

Prominent Virginia legislators have also made public calls for Northam’s resignation, including the former Gov. Douglas Wilder, who became the first black governor since the Reconstruction era in 1990. Wilder wrote on Twitter that Northam has no other choice “but to resign.”

Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott all urged Northam to resign, writing in a statement: “Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders. He should step down and allow the Commonwealth to begin healing.”

The state’s Democratic Party echoed these calls, as did the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, who said in a statement that the “revelations” had caused “irreparable” damage, adding that their confidence in the governor had been “eviscerated.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who is considering the 2020 presidential race, said on Twitter that he no longer believes Northam has “the ability to effectively govern and effectively stand for the issues – moral and political – that Virginia and the nation must confront.”

Other 2020 presidential prospects made the same demand, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, who wrote on Twitter that the governor “should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted a call for Northam to resign, and said, “Hatred and discrimination have no place in our country and must not be tolerated.” New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard all also urged Northam to step down.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juli?n Castro, another 2020 hopeful; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; and Hillary Clinton all weighed in on Twitter.

Ocasio-Cortez called the photo “painful” adding that while Northam should resign, “those who try to help him stumble past this deserve scrutiny.”

Fortune

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Pressure intensifies on Northam to resign as key allies pull their support

Pressure was mounting on Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam late Friday to resign.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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China’s services sector moderates in January but still solid: Caixin PMI

China’s sprawling services sector maintained a solid pace of expansion in January even though growth moderated slightly, a private survey showed on Sunday, offering continued support for the world’s second-largest economy as manufacturing cools.


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Business Travel Survival Guide: Do more and stress less with these tips from a successful millennial CEO

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How This Couple Paid Off Debt and Saved $10K After Hitting Rock Bottom

In 2013, the apartment Tyler Philbrook shared with his wife, Ashley, started to flood from the vacant unit upstairs.

He called his landlord, who told him to rent the equipment to fix it and take it off the next month’s rent. The cost was $ 50, and he didn’t have it.

Their credit cards were maxed out. He didn’t have $ 50 in the bank to stop the flooding.

Standing in Home Depot with only minutes before closing, he called family and friends and begged them for money to stop his possessions from being destroyed.

“My dad came through and paid with a Home Depot credit card, which was the only kind of credit card they would take over the phone,” he said.

Fast forward to the end of 2018: Tyler and Ashley have paid off $ 6,000 of the $ 25,000-plus they had in credit card and student loan debt, and put away over $ 10,000 in savings.

But those financial accomplishments didn’t happen immediately. It took another financial rock bottom for the couple to finally start working together to solve their spending problem.

Why They Got Into Debt

A man works at his computer and wears headphones.

Tyler, an advertising manager, and Ashley, a restaurant server, married in February 2012. A short time later, Ashley became unemployed for a month.

“We started putting a bunch of things on credit cards then, [but] that wasn’t the problem,” Tyler said.” “The problem was then we’d get used to putting things on the credit card. And so it kind of built these bad habits.”

They refinanced their debt in 2015, but they didn’t change their habits. They ended up with even more debt.

Tyler watched as they slipped deeper and deeper into their financial mess. He tried to budget, but Ashley didn’t share his concern about their personal finances.

“I thought [he was] trying to be controlling over me and the money I spend,” she said.

The tension reached a head at the end of 2017. That’s when Tyler put Ashley in charge of the finances.

At first, she was against it. But when she realized she could finally spend without recourse, she embraced it. And at the end of the month, there was no money left for rent.

Unbeknownst to her, Tyler had set aside about two to three months of expenses in an account he didn’t tell Ashley about. So when Ashley asked for help, he was able to pull from that account to pay their bills.

The next month, she shopped more, and again, they didn’t have enough for rent. But this time, she came to Tyler and confessed there was a problem. For the first time, she was on board with fixing it.

“Those two months were very expensive months for me,” Tyler said. “It wasn’t like I wasn’t looking at the finances. I was seeing it, [and] I was cringing the whole time.”

It was a rough time for Ashley, too. She realized she’d been blocking out the effect her spending had. Being confronted with it was humbling. “I didn’t like being wrong,” she said.

But those costly two months were worth it. For the first time in their marriage, they were on the same page about finances.

So, Where Was Their Money Going?

A man and woman put chia pets in a box.

The couple brings in around $ 60,000 combined, so they don’t have a lot of disposable income every month.

Tyler thought they stuck to a budget pretty well and that they weren’t making expensive purchases. But still, they somehow found themselves living paycheck to paycheck.

To find more money to pay off their debt, they first needed to understand where their money was going.

Tyler created an Excel spreadsheet. After tracking all their individual purchases on the spreadsheet, he learned a hard lesson: “We were spending way more on things that we didn’t realize,” he said.

The $ 200 monthly grocery budget they thought they stuck to? It was closer to $ 800, because they weren’t tracking the extra trips to pick up random items. Plus, they were spending way more on eating out than they thought.

Tyler and Ashley got a budgeting journal to help them stay on top of their daily transactions. It helped them identify where they were overspending.

The journal has drastically cut how much they spend, especially on eating out.

Now, because Tyler loves the show “Chopped,” Ashley will often pull items out of the pantry and challenge him to make dinner with them. “[It’s] been really great, because she usually picks stuff that we’ve been avoiding making something with,” he said.

Making lunch at home has saved them a lot, too. They still go out occasionally or fall back on ordering a pizza on busy nights. But because they have a budget, they can see as soon as those indulgences get out of hand.

How They’re Keeping Their Spending in Check

A woman swings on a swings and her husband stands next to her

Ashley is still in charge of paying the bills.

She even did a saving challenge in 2018 to contribute to their debt payoff. She saved almost $ 1,400 over 52 weeks.

“Going from someone who’s overspending by $ 1,400 a month to saving and then, you know, paying off debt in one big chunk… that was huge,” Tyler said.

With their spending in check, they’re making headway on paying off debt.

They refinanced their debt again, though they hesitated at first. But once they knew they’d both changed their habits, they did so using their car as collateral. They were able to consolidate $ 25,000 of credit card debt — some of which had a 23% interest rate — down to 4% interest.

They now have less than $ 16,000 left on their consolidation loan and $ 3,400 left on Ashley’s student loans. Tyler now documents their debt-free journey on his blog, I Am the Future Me.

Their goal is to be debt-free by the end of 2019 so they can volunteer overseas full time in 2020. And at this rate, they’ll be able to afford it — by working together.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Foxconn will build Wisconsin factory after talk with Trump

Foxconn Technology said Friday it will keep a manufacturing commitment to Wisconsin after the company’s chairman spoke to President Trump. It had been earlier reported that Foxconn was reconsidering making liquid crystal display panels at a planned $ 10 billion Wisconsin campus and intended to hire mostly engineers and researchers there. But after conversations between Trump…
Business | New York Post

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Northam tells Virginia Democrat it wasn’t him in racist photo, won’t resign despite mounting pressure to do so

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has told a source he now believes it is not him in a racist yearbook photo and that he has no recollection of taking the photo, according a top Virginia Democratic source who spoke to the governor on Saturday.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Trump’s State of the Union will offer ‘bipartisan way forward on immigration,’ White House official says

In a preview of Tuesday's speech, a White House official said Trump would adopt a "unifying, bipartisan, and optimistic tone." The official declined to say whether the president would declare a national emergency to build a border wall.
Economy

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Military Members, Vets and Spouses Can Attend This Virtual Job Fair Feb. 7

Military service members, veterans and spouses can attend this job fair without ever leaving home.

Hire Heroes USA is holding a free virtual career fair on Feb. 7 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST — aka between 1000 and 1500 hours.

According to the site’s FAQ page, participants only need a computer and internet access, as employers will communicate via online chats. Updated versions of Google Chrome or Firefox are recommended for viewing and hearing employer presentations.

Attendees can register for the event on the site and upload their resumes, then search the 25 participating employers by location and positions available.

When they find a company of interest, job seekers can apply for a position or sign up for chat sessions to ask questions and learn more about the company.

Employers and attendees can also request private chats to discuss specific opportunities. Employers may offer video one-on-one chats, but these sessions are not required if job seekers don’t have access to video conferencing.

The site encourages job seekers to prepare questions to ask in the chat room and develop an elevator pitch for private interactions with potential employers.

If this virtual fair isn’t for you, check out our list of other employment resources for veterans and read additional tips from veterans about finding a civilian career.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Virginia governor apologizes for ‘racist and offensive’ costume in photo showing people in blackface, KKK garb

A medical school yearbook page of Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam shows a photograph of two people, one in blackface and one in a KKK hood and robe.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Why Ctrip, China’s Largest Online Travel Agent, Will Be Celebrating Chinese New Year

The largest annual human migration is underway. China’s 1.7 billion population will make 3 billion trips around Chinese New Year on February 5, according to government officials. It’s a logistical nightmare, clogging China’s airports, train stations and highways with traffic. But, for China’s leading online travel agent Ctrip.com International, it’s also a giant pay day.

The $ 20 billion Nasdaq-listed travel agent occupies 60% of China’s online travel industry and is the world’s second-largest online travel agent (OTA) after Priceline Group in terms of gross merchandise value, which measures the total value of services sold through a company’s platform. The Shanghai-based Ctrip, which bought flight comparison site Sky Scanner in 2016 and operates in the U.S. as Trip.com, expects to service 390 million domestic and seven million outbound trips by Chinese tourists this Chinese New Year.

According to Ctrip, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia will be the most popular overseas destinations for China’s tourists this New Year. The U.S. ranks number seven on that list, the same place it held in 2017. Ctrip co-founder and executive chairman James Liang said in January that he doesn’t expect China’s ongoing trade war with the U.S. to affect Chinese travel plans.

Liang founded Ctrip as a travel comparison site in 1999 after working eight years at Silicon Valley software company Oracle. Neil Shen, now founder and managing partner at Sequoia Capital China, joined as Liang’s co-founder along with Ctrip president Min Fan and board director Qi Ji.

The company’s first revenues came from hotel bookings, into which Ctrip expanded after the dotcom bubble burst and investor capital dried up. Two years later the company added flight reservations to its portfolio of services, then package holidays, corporate travel, bus tickets, train tickets and travel logistics.

Since 2003, when the company listed on Nasdaq, its market cap has swollen to 40-times its pre-IPO value and annual revenues have surged from $ 40.3 million in 2004 to $ 4.1 billion in 2017.

“The buying power is there, in China,” says CEO Jane Sun, who joined the company as CFO in 2005 after spending 12 years working in Silicon Valley finance. “In 2017 we offered 22 high-end tour packages priced at $ 200,000 each. It only took us 17 seconds to sell them all.”

According to McKinsey & Company, Chinese tourists made 131 million trips overseas in 2017 and spent a total $ 250 billion. The consultancy expects those figures to grow to 160 million and $ 350 billion by 2020. With only 5% of Chinese citizens owning a passport, outbound travel has exceptional room for growth and is one of the reasons why Ctrip was included amongst Fortune’s list of “Future 50” companies with strong growth prospects.

Ctrip’s tech prowess is one of its strengths. Sun says the company invests heavily in ABC – artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing – and uses its proprietary data analytics to do things like push targeted adverts towards customers and help business partners such as hotels predict peak periods.

In 2017 Ctrip created a credit rating system – ever more the vogue in China – based on customer’s booking history. In a letter to shareholders, Sun explained that customers with higher credit scores will enjoy perks, such as deferring payment until arrival, and the system also allows service providers to “get a better sense of what kind of customers they will serve.”

However China’s two most formidable tech titans, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, are both invested in the travel market too. Alibaba’s travel unit Fliggy, launched in 2014, has chipped away at Ctrip’s share in flight sales and, according to analytics company Trust Data, Tencent-backed Meituan Travel surpassed Ctrip in hotel bookings by volume last year.

Ctrip’s executives have routinely dismissed the idea that Meituan or Alibaba poses a threat to their own business and maybe that’s fair. With China’s outbound travel market still so unsaturated, there’ll be room for more than one player.

Fortune

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Senate investigators told Trump Jr.’s mysterious calls weren’t with his father

Senate investigators have obtained new information showing Donald Trump Jr.’s mysterious phone calls ahead of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting were not with his father, three sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Money. These 13 Tools Are Here to Help

No one likes being judged. Especially when it comes to personal finance.

I’m keenly aware of my budgetary state, so having someone totally judge me for it — and not offer constructive advice — is the worst.

Yes, I understand I need to stash more into my emergency savings. And I know I shouldn’t have spent $ 5 on that latte. And investing… that makes me nervous.

But just help me; don’t chastise me.

That’s why I’ve rounded up some personal finance advisers — and some money management apps  — that’ll help you get your money in order.

And they’ll do it without a single shred of judgment.

And, perhaps even better, without an ounce of conversation.

1. Earn a 100x the Normal Interest Rate

Operating everything out of one checking account can make your finances muddy and contribute undue stress to your money management — and make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.

To simplify, open a second account for a dedicated purpose. One of our favorites is the Aspiration Account — there are no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 100 times the interest rate of other banks.

This online-only account comes with a debit card and free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it.

After you open your Aspiration Account, use it to split your income:

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your existing bank account, and use that to cover basic expenses like rent and bills.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Aspiration Account to use for fun stuff, like eating out, shopping or going on vacation.

2. Take a Deep Breath and Check Your Credit Score

A chalkboard with the number '610' written on it.

Your credit score is important. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

Even if you’re not buying a house anytime soon, a lousy credit score means you’ll get hit with a high security deposit whenever you rent a car or move into a new apartment.

But did you know your credit score could be inaccurate? One out of five credit reports have an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.

Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

3. Play Scratch-offs to Your Heart’s Content (It’s Free!)

man and woman scratching lotto tickets and drinking wine

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $ 1 to $ 10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.

4. Use This to Bust Your Debt

Shot of a young couple going through paperwork together on the sofa at home

Once you fall behind, you may find yourself getting crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. You’ll never catch up that way. You’re spending so much on interest, you’ll never pay off your balances.

If you’re financially treading water like this, it might be worth consolidating and refinancing your debt.

By refinancing an existing loan, you’re taking out a totally new loan, which comes with new terms and (ideally) a lower interest rate. By consolidating your existing loans, you lump all your debt into one big payment, so you’re only making one payment and dealing with one interest rate per month.

Make sense but don’t know where to start? Credible is an online marketplace that offers consumers personalized loan offers. It’s best for borrowers who have good credit scores (think: around 640 or higher), and it lets you quickly compare rates without visiting a bunch of sites.

Rates start at 5.99%, and you can check yours by entering a loan amount here ($ 500 to $ 40,000) and comparing your personalized options in under 90 seconds.

5. Stop Deleting Your Emails

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

6. Share What’s in Your Fridge

A young woman standing in front of an open refrigerator holds a bowl of salad in one hand and a plate of fried chicken in the other.

Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.

Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.

The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.

7. Stop Overpaying for Monthly Bills

A man and woman sit on a bedroom floor together. A laptop sits on her lap, while he lays on a pillow holding up paperwork.

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $ 12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

8. Earn Money Every Time You Swipe Your Credit Card

If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.

You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $ 417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

9. Save Money Mindlessly

String tired around finge

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

Using this set-it-and-forget-it strategy, one Penny Hoarder saved $ 4,300 without noticing — read his Digit review.

If you need that money sooner than expected, you’ll always have access to it within one business day.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $ 2.99 per month afterward.

10. Earn Cash Back for That 3rd Bottle of Wine (and for the Shoes You Ordered After Drinking It)

Little boy saving coin in a money jar

Look, it’s been a long week, and you just want to unwind with a glass of wine. Or three. We can’t promise the clerk won’t give you some side eye after your third such shopping trip — but you can have the last laugh.

Two of our favorite apps will actually get you cash back when you buy booze — and other stuff you might need on a week like this…

  • Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts. Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes. It’s free to download, and you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
  • Ebates is a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart. Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

11. Play the Slots — and Bank $ 5 for Your Savings Account

woman using phone

Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $ 5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.

In two months, she’s saved $ 35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. 

12. Invest Like a Woman

Businesswomen looking at fabric samples on presentation board.

Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO and an adamant proponent of women’s financial power, founded Ellevest.

It’s an investing platform designed for women, by women and in support of other women. It uses a unique algorithm designed to help you better plan for the future.

Once you sign up for free, Ellevest will issue you a free personalized investment plan. Plus, if you sign up before Dec. 31 through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $ 25 bonus in your Ellevest account.*

Ellevest’s “digital” plan is designed to be accessible. There’s no minimum balance, and you’ll pay an annual fee of 0.25% of your assets under management to Ellevest. For context, that’s $ 25 on a $ 10,000 account.

It’ll make you feel good about your future — and not so judged.

13. Manage Your Credit Card Payments in One Place

women hands getting cash in a bank teller

Carrying more than one credit card balance can feel a bit like herding cats. Just when you think you have one under control, you realize you’ve let a different one slip away.

High interest rates and late fees can make it feel like you’ll never get those bills under control.

That’s where Tally comes in. It’s a simple app that lets you store and manage your credit card payments in one place, optimizing the amounts and times.

Simply download the app, scan in your credit cards, and if you qualify (with a minimum credit score of around 675), Tally will give you a line of credit with an interest rate between 7.9% and 19.9%* and use the lower interest rate to make managing your payments easy.

No more missed payments. Lower interest rates. All in one place. And don’t worry, Tally uses bank-level security, so your information is safe.

Tally is currently available in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

*Your APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will depend on your credit history and varies with the market based on Prime Rate. Accurate as of July 2018.

*The Ellevest The Penny Hoarder promotional offer is valid from July 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $ 25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $ 25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting www.amazon.com. Please review Amazon.com Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest’s processing time for depositing $ 25 into a client’s Ellevest account or delivery of a $ 25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 days.

**Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of gentle reminders.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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How millennials can contribute to their financial futures while supporting their values

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Millennials have made headlines for everything from their tendency to job-hop to their fondness for avocados. There’s a reason the media has a laser-focus on millennial habits: In the not-too-distant future, the spending power of this avocado-loving generation has significant implications for governments, NGOs, and businesses the world over.

Financial experts are keeping a close watch on millennial investment data to gain insight into what this generation cares about and how it affects their long-term choices. According to a UBS Investor Watch report, millennials are optimistic about achieving their financial goals — even though they tend to invest conservatively. They also express interest in sustainable investments. This suggests that they’re more likely to put financial support behind initiatives that generate environmental, social, and governance resultsRead more…

More about Uk, Business, and Big Tech Companies


Business

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Amazon sales outlook falls short after record holiday quarter

Amazon.com Inc on Thursday forecast first-quarter sales below Wall Street estimates as new regulations in India created uncertainty around one of its key growth markets, even as the online retailer reported record holiday sales and profit.


Reuters: Business News

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Even some Republicans balk as Trump targets US spy chiefs

Even after two years, President Donald Trump’s assaults on US spy chiefs are shocking coming from a commander in chief.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Here’s a Simple Trick to Snag 1% Cash Back on Anything (Without a Credit Card)

Remember that sweet surround sound system you bought a year ago? “Game of Thrones” never sounded so cool!

You even used your special credit card so you could earn some cash back on that baby. Well, that was the idea, anyway. Six months later, when you still had a balance on that card, you realized you paid a lot more in interest than what you earned in cash back.

The score? Credit card company: 1. You: 0

Believe it or not, you don’t have to use a credit card to enjoy the benefits of cash back. You can earn 1% cash back just for making your everyday debit card purchases — if you have an Empower banking account

You Can Get Cash Back — Without the Risk

You love cash back. Who doesn’t?

The problem is, your credit card offers you a small percentage of cash back, but it charges you an astronomical interest rate.

Why not just get cash back without the risk of paying crazy interest rates?

Here’s the trick: Don’t get a cash-back credit card — get a cash-back debit card with Empower.

When you open an Empower checking account, you can start earning cash 1% back on your everyday purchases with your debit card up to the first $ 1,000 spent each month. Refer your friends to this awesomeness, and you could boost that number up to 2%.

Your morning coffee stop? Cash back.

Lunch? Yep, cash back.

That weekly trip to stock up on groceries? You guessed it. Cash back.

Stop risking your money with credit cards just to get cash back. With Empower, you can get the rewards you love without risking big interest charges. Plus, there are no ATM fees, annual fees or overdraft fees.

Handle all of your finances right from your phone with Empower. Pay nothing and earn cash back just for using your debit card.

The score? Credit card company: 0. You: 1%.

Winner winner.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Watch the Context Summits’ global economics panel

The panel, which will be moderated by Allianz Chief Economic Advisor Mohammed El-Erian, will discuss emerging trends and debate the key issues impacting the global economy.
Economy

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Ghirardelli, Russell Stover fined over ‘empty’ chocolate packaging

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ghirardelli and Russell Stover have agreed to pay $ 750,000 in fines after prosecutors in California said they offered a little chocolate in a lot of wrapping. Prosecutors in Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Fresno, Santa Cruz and Yolo counties sued the candy makers, alleging they misled consumers by selling chocolate products in containers…
Business | New York Post

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China says its manufacturing activity contracted for the second-straight month in January

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for January was 49.5, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That's higher than the 49.4 reported in previous month, and the 49.3 expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Asia-Pacific News

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GM halts operations at 11 Michigan plants after utility’s appeal

General Motors Co said late
Wednesday it will suspend operations at 11 Michigan plants and
its Warren Tech Center, after a utility made an emergency appeal
to users to conserve natural gas during extreme winter cold.


Reuters: Company News

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Bruegger’s Will Give You 3 Free Bagels on Jan. 31! Here’s How to Get Them

Many food chains give you birthday freebies. But what about when it’s their birthday? Why not celebrate that too?

Bruegger’s Bagels turns 36 this year. Instead of celebrating with cake and ice cream, the breakfast and coffee stop is doing what comes naturally: giving out free bagels.

Want to carb up for free?

How to Get Free Bruegger’s Bagels

First, sign up for the eClub to receive emails from Bruegger’s. You’ll get an email with the option to either show a mobile coupon for your three free bagels or print your coupon.

Then, visit your favorite of the more than 200 Bruegger’s locations on Jan. 31 between opening, which varies by store, and 11 a.m.

P.S. Signing up for Bruegger’s eClub will get a freebie on your birthday too. There’s really no downside.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and on-air journalist at The Penny Hoarder. She loves bagels, but not as much as she likes pizza. Editorial assistant Jessica Gray contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Stacey Abrams to give Democratic response of the State of the Union, Schumer says

Former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams has accepted an invitation to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A woman’s inner circle is how she gets ahead, study says

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The female-only networks that women use to share job openings, pass on interview tips, or even just complain about that time their boss interrupted them in a meeting are integral to their success.

That’s what new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern says, proving that yes, that female-only group email chain is, in fact, vitally important.

Researchers studied social networks and their role in job placement by looking at email messages sent by over 700 graduates of a U.S. business school who were placed in varying levels of leadership positions. According to the Notre Dame press site, the researchers then compared the networks’ size or “centrality,” gender composition, and connection strength. Read more…

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Polar Vortex Set to Drop Arctic-Cold Temperatures on Chicago, Minneapolis

The polar vortex that’s sending a blast of extreme arctic cold air down to the Midwest this week is likely to leave Chicago residents feeling like they living in some of the coldest places on Earth, including the South Pole and Mt. Everest.

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature in Chicago is forecast to fall to negative 24 degrees Tuesday night and 26 degrees below zero on Wednesday night. The wind chill could make the Windy City feel as cold as 51 degrees below zero.

The forecast low temperature will probably break the record for lowest temperature ever recorded in Chicago: minus 27 degrees reached on Jan. 20, 1985.

Other cities in the Midwest will be even colder. Weather.com says that Minneapolis, MN, will see a low of minus 31 Thursday morning, while International Falls, MN, will reach as low as minus 37.

The Midwest’s temperatures are forecast to be colder than the base camp of Mt. Everest, which according to CBS Chicago will be around 30 degrees (although temperatures at higher elevations could be much colder).

Chicago’s high will also be below that of points in the Arctic Circle. Utqiagvik, Alaska (formerly known as Barrow), the northernmost point in the U.S., will reach 7 below zero, according to CBS, while Zackenberg Station, Greenland, will be, compared to Chicago, a relatively balmy 11 below zero.

 

 

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13 Pro Budgeting Tips for People Who Wonder Where Every Paycheck Goes

A monthly budget is like Google Maps for your finances: You follow it because you don’t know where you’re going without it.

If you’re new to budgeting, don’t be discouraged by a few — or many —  wrong turns and closed roads along the way. The longer you stick with it, the better you get.

And with a few simple tips, you can be well on your way before you know it.

13 Budgeting Tips Anyone Can Follow

Whether you’re trying to pay off credit card debt or just boost your savings, here are some budgeting tips that will help you make (and stick to) your budget.

1. Set Your Goals Before You Make Your Budget

Without a goal, a budget is just a spreadsheet that tells you to have less fun.

Think about what you want in the next five to 10 years, and figure out what financial situation you need to get there. Whatever your goals are, know that any sound financial foundation starts with an emergency fund.

You might then want to pay off debt, save for a down payment on a home, or increase your savings.

Decide where you want to be financially next year and the year after. Knowing what you want to do with your money will guide you as you make your budget, and it will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to it.

2. There’s No One Size-Fits-All Budget. Find a Plan That Works for You

There are so many budgeting methods out there, and every guru says theirs is the best. But ultimately you have to chose the one that works for you.

If you’ve got an ambitious goal, we recommend trying a zero-based budget first.

To make a zero-based budget, start by prioritizing your expenses from essential to nonessential. Then, assign every dollar in your paycheck a “job” on the list until you run out.

The most important things — housing, food, minimum debt payments — get taken care of first, and you can disburse the remaining money for your goals and fun in their order of importance to you.

Zero-based budgeting is great for Type A planners. If you prefer to be a little more loosey-goosey, a 50/20/30 budget is a great option. With this approach, you don’t have to think too much about your expenses. You just allocate 50% of your income to your needs, 20% to savings and 30% to wants.

3. Use a Budgeting App or the Envelope System to Track Your Spending on the Go

A woman creates three different envelopes to control her spending. The envelopes say expenses, savings and fun.

It’s hard to lug around your laptop or binder to keep up with each budget category, so a budgeting app is a great tool for updating your budget on the go. There are many out there, whether you like to enter each transaction manually or see everything updated automatically.

If your goal is to take an intense look at your spending, manually tracking your transactions is going to work best. Once you’ve been budgeting for a while and you’ve got a grasp on your spending, syncing transactions automatically works fine.

If you still can’t stick to your budget, the envelope system can help you succeed without so much emphasis on constant tracking.

After you decide how much money goes toward each of your expenses, put the money you’ll spend for each expense in a given week into separate envelopes and carry them with you. Once an envelope is empty, you’re done spending in that category. You can keep receipts in the envelope and examine your purchases later.

Envelopes are best for categories you’re prone to overspending on. You probably don’t need envelopes for things like gas and utilities, because you’re not likely to go on a gas-buying spree.

Popular categories for envelopes are restaurants, groceries, clothes and entertainment.

4. Use the Past to Predict Your Future Income and Expenses

Whether you choose a zero-based budget, 50/20/30 budget or some other method, you’re going to have to calculate your income and the amount of money you want to put toward every category or individual expense.

Salaried employees will get off easy when they calculate their incomes. If you have a variable income or side hustles, you’ll need to do some digging.

Look back at your income from the past six months, or as far back as you can if you’ve been at your current job for less time. Then find your average monthly income and the average amount of each paycheck.

Expenses like utilities can also be unpredictable. Check your online statements to see which months were higher versus which were lower so you can make future budgets. You may not be able to take that impromptu weekend getaway the month your electric bill will be $ 300, but it might be totally feasible during a month it’s going to be $ 75.

5. Make a Monthly Budget AND a Budget for Each Paycheck

A woman draws a budget in a bullet journal.

Since most bills are monthly, it’s important to make a budget for the entire month to get a clear picture of everything due. But by breaking that down further into paycheck-by-paycheck budgets, you can pace your spending so you don’t end up penniless by the 20th.

You can make categories as vague or as specific as you want, but put as many barriers in place to prevent yourself from overspending in the first half of the month.

This is another time when the envelope system helps you, but you could do the same thing with reloadable gift cards for specific stores.

6. Don’t Confuse Infrequent Expenses With Emergencies

These aren’t the unexpected expenses that you’d cover with your miscellaneous or emergency categories. Infrequent expenses are the charges that come up once or twice a year — but we always seem to forget will happen.

Like when it’s Dec. 23 and you’re still not done with your holiday shopping. Who could’ve predicted Christmas would be on Dec. 25 AGAIN?!

Examples include things like auto insurance, car registration, license renewal, vet visits, car repairs and membership fees.

Keep a chart that includes your semiannual and annual expenses to determine what you need to save every month to cover them. Open a separate checking account or savings account where you put money every month to cover these expenses.

7. Remember the Obvious: You Need to Spend Less

Once the planning is done, it’s time for the hardest part: sticking to your plan.

If you’re in the habit of spending more than you make, your first priority is to find ways to save money.

We don’t mean you need to find better sales and clip more coupons. As much as we love a good coupon stack, the most important thing you can do is buy and spend less.

Some of our favorite tips to cut spending are:

  • Make a meal plan, and stick to your grocery list.
  • Prep meals on Sundays so you’re less likely to eat out during the week.
  • Opt for free events in your area instead of pricy activities or bars.
  • Try running and body-weight workouts instead of paying for a gym membership.

There are countless ways to save money. Our best tip: Start by slashing expenses that are making a big dent in your budget instead of shaving pennies off already manageable ones.

Do everything you can to resist the temptation to make impulse purchases or spend beyond your budget. An easy way to do this: Leave your credit card at home, and use cash envelopes or a debit card.

8. Use the 30-Day Rule to Stop Impulse Buys

If you still need to curb impulse buying, follow the 30-day rule: When you want to buy something that’s not in your budget, make note of the item in question for next month’s budget and revisit it in 30 days. If you still want it, you can consider buying it if you can afford it.

Online shoppers can use the Icebox Chrome extension that allows you to choose a 30-day “cool off” period before you can buy something.

9. Negotiate Your Bills to Save Money

People often take for granted that what they’re paying for their phone, internet and insurance is what they have to pay. By contacting your providers to negotiate your bills, you could lower your bills once or twice every year.

You can do this yourself by calling all your companies or using a negotiation app like Trim or Empower.

If you’re trying it yourself, be friendly, ask for more than you want, and back down from there. Stop when you feel you’ve reached a good deal. Oh, and be prepared to be on the phone for a while.

10. Remember That Things Will Go Wrong

Student loans and credit cards aren’t paid off overnight. And the perfect budget isn’t made in a day.

Things will change and go wrong. Impulse purchases will be made, and budgets will get obliterated by life’s little surprises. The most important tip for budgeting is to not give up.

When things go wrong, alter your budget to compensate. Move money from one category to another, put less in savings, or try a side hustle to add some wiggle room. And know that sometimes you’ll find yourself ripping up the entire budget and starting again from scratch in the middle of the month.

If budgeting continues to be difficult, try adding a small miscellaneous category somewhere to cover surprise expenses. These expenses come up often and derail the best budgeters. Make a category to cover them, and figure out where to put them later.

Eventually, you’ll get this whole budgeting thing down. But it’s going to start with a lot of bumps in the road.

How to Budget on an Inconsistent Income

A man places money in a tip jar.

Living off tips, sales commissions or freelance work can make for a flexible lifestyle, but it also makes it hard to budget.

When you have an inconsistent income, you can follow all the budgeting tips above. But there’s one thing you should add to your budget to make it easier for yourself during low-income months.

11. Have an Income-Sinking Fund for When Your Income Is Less

When you calculate your income and get your monthly average, compare it with your income each month throughout the year. In months you expect to make more than average, take the difference and transfer it to your income-sinking fund. It’s a separate account where you put money you plan to take out in the near future for a specific purpose, such as supplementing your income on low-earning months.

During months when you expect to make less, you can withdraw up to your monthly average to help with expenses.

Tips for Budgeting With a Partner

Another challenge is budgeting with a partner. It can feel like too many cooks in the kitchen are ruining the budget soup, but when there are two incomes, lives and futures at stake, everyone involved needs to have a stake in the budget.

12. Hold a Monthly Budget Meeting

The first tip is to have a monthly budget meeting that both of you are required to attend.

Whoever enjoys budgeting more can make the budget, but the other partner still has to contribute something. Whether they change one line or many, we repeat: They must contribute.

The budget can still be flexible and change as needed during the month, but both partners should be consulted about big changes. Feeling included is important to working as a team on your finances.

13. ‘Subtle’ Hints Can Help if Your Partner Hates to Budget

If your partner isn’t on board with budgets, they’ll need a little convincing.

Ashley Patrick of Budgets Made Easy tried having budget meetings with her husband, but he wasn’t interested.

Patrick desperately wanted her husband to be part of their financial planning, but he wanted her to handle everything. So she turned to money-saving guru Dave Ramsey’s podcast.

“The biggest thing that fully got him on board was playing Dave Ramsey podcasts in the car, especially when I did it on a long road trip,” she said. “Hours of Dave Ramsey helped change his mindset.”

Both people need to be flexible with the other’s priorities and supportive of their goals.

Budgeting together won’t be easy at first — but it’ll lead to a lifetime of financial strength and happiness.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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U.S. consumer confidence hits one-and-a-half year low in January

U.S consumer confidence fell to a 1-1/2 year low in January as a partial shutdown of the government and financial markets turmoil left households nervous about the economy’s near-term outlook.


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Trump shows weakness as 2020 rivals emerge

Donald Trump’s enemies smell blood in the water.


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1.28.19 Cruise deals happening now; Verizon reverses school fee stance; Almost no-one makes money via MLM’s

Wave Week is in full swing and the cruise deals are best to buy now through March; Verizon made a Clarkrage recently. Thankfully the massive company has rethought their stance; Less than 1% of people that participate in an MLM make money. 

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The post 1.28.19 Cruise deals happening now; Verizon reverses school fee stance; Almost no-one makes money via MLM’s appeared first on Clark Howard.

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