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While Congress still hasn’t passed the proposed $150 billion economic stimulus package that promises tax rebate checks for the majority of Americans, you might be wondering how much you’ll qualify for under the proposed terms of the plan.

Well, wonder no more…


Just plug the appropriate numbers into the calculator below and you’ll know where you stand.






At the beginning of the year, we committed to having things be different in our lives for 2006.  This is the year we will get our financial house in order.  We have taken the blinders off and finally, we know where our money has been going in the past.  Were you surprised that you spent so much money on food?  Was it the clothes or perhaps it was the Starbucks coffee at $3.50 per cup?  Nevertheless, we are now focused and we can establish a viable plan of action.  I asked you before about your strategy to save.  Let’s explore that even more.  You’ve worked hard all week and now its payday.  How much money do you keep for yourself?  What do you do with that amount?  Well sometimes people will buy themselves something special, save for a vacation, get their hair cut or nails done, or allocate the money for a night on the town. 

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One day you will wake up and your children will be ‘grown’ and heading off to school. 

Have you thought about how you will finance their education? 

If you haven’t heard already, the cost of a decent education is continually rising above and beyond what ordinary people can afford. 

If you have more than one child, you can expect a financial burden that might almost seem overwhelming. 

Did you know that within the next 10 years, the cost of an average education for a bachelor degree is expected to rise to $200,000 per year? 

Fortunately there is good news for parents of children that expect to attend college one day. 

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  As you walk around the corner you see the sign:  (fill in the blank) University Bookstore.  It’s filled with freshmans, sophomores, juniors and seniors, all searching for the books that match their professors’ names.  The store is usually a two-color pattern: purple and white, green and gold, take your pick.  These colors represent the fine University you’ve been pulling out student loans to attend.

            The colors also represent the University that, in today’s hard economy, is struggling to pay quality teachers and retain top notch sports teams.  What does this mean for you, the student?  This means that as much as possible you will assist the University in dealing with its financial hardships, with or without your knowledge.  I’ll give you an example.  I walked in my bookstore looking for a mechanical pencil.  Ignoring the price tag (that was a bad idea) I just grabbed the pencil and went to pay.  ‘This can’t be more than a few dollars,’ was my thinking. 

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Another Christmas has come and gone.  You promised yourself this year, you were going to stay within your budget.  You weren’t going to use your charge cards to purchase gifts and you were not going overboard.  But the sales were too good to be true and things you just had to have, now sit in your living room.  After all, you can start fresh next year, turn over a new leaf- stick to a plan.  Next year is going to be different, better than ever.  Next year you will gain control of your finances. 

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Women, in addition to spending hours poring over encyclopedic bridal magazines, I wish you would spend that same amount of time with your future spouse talking over these important points before you decide if you two should get married at all. In twenty years, the veil you selected will not come up in a fight with your true love, but the checking account surely will.

Here are some decisions to make before you decide if you will marry this person. It all comes down to priorities and expectations. Even if you don’t share the exact same priorities, if you have openly discussed them with each other, then you can manage the expectations each of your have for the marriage.

Joint Bank Accounts: I have heard many opinions on this question. The most important thing is to talk about it and make a conscious decision about it. My husband and I share all accounts and financial information with each other. I think this helps us work as a team as we save for the future and even as we buy groceries for this week. We remain accountable to each other at all times which can cause some tough conversations but serves us well in the end. I think that some couples who keep separate money just don’t want to have the discussions it would take to make joint decisions. If you don’t go deeply into these issues, you don’t allow each other to have input into, much less buy in to, the life goals that you need to share in order to move effectively toward them.

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