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Women earn an average of 76 percent of men’s salaries. Does that shock you? Yes, even in 2005, women are still way behind the earning curve in corporate America. But rather than get into a discussion of the fairness or unfairness of it all, let’s concentrate on just what women can do to ensure that they aren’t left out to dry in their retirement age! 


After all, because women typically live seven years longer than men, combined with the skyrocketing divorce rate, many women will find themselves alone in their older years. (Statistics show that most women are alone by age 56!) And the figures show us that if a woman took out any time from her career to have children (about seven years) she will pay for it later with only 50% of what her male counterparts will receive in retirement benefits. 

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Let’s face it. Most of the financial advice out there says something like this, “If you make on average $60,000 per year…” Most of the advice is designed for baby boomers about to retire. The young generation 35 years-old and under are not going to relate when their incomes range from $25,000 to $40,000. True their income may rise someday but there is a good chance it could decrease with the onslaught of lay-offs, downsizing and cost cutting. The wages their parents earned who worked at companies like GM making a combined income of benefits and wages in the $65 per hour range are not likely to be around in the future. Many of these companies have two-tier wage systems that hire new workers somewhere around $24 per hour (benefits and wages combined). Not only are low wages going to be a problem but also lack of employment opportunities, high interest mortgages, expensive college education, lack of social security income and major cut backs in all federal spending. So what strategies should a young person making his/her way in a “tough times” economy to do? 

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Slow and Steady I am sure that many of us, as we have attempted to purchase assets and things not so asset-like, have had to fill out that little form affectionately known as a credit application. Many times, they are shoved under our noses as we just about to check out of a department store. Often we are told, just as we decide on a living room suite, that we are entitled to purchase it with, “No Interest! No Payments ‘Till March 2010!” The truth of the matter is, we should have all been schooled in the area of credit and how it works before we ever filled out that first application.

It’s a good idea to start building your credit slowly but surely.  Building credit is like letting a pot of gumbo slow-cook over a fire.  The taste will be long-lasting and you’ll appreciate it for a long time. If you are looking to establish credit for the first time or even looking to rebuild your credit, you could begin by visiting your local credit union or bank and telling them that you would like to establish credit by taking out an unsecured loan for a relatively small amount. 

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