A Pay Stub We Are Both Happy with

When I first hired someone a few months ago to help me with some work around the house, I knew that I wanted a professional record of it. I did not want to have to pay someone a lot of money though for just a bit of work that I was having done. I decided to look online, which is how I found a company that does real check stubs for a very low price. It only costs 7.50 per document, and I knew that I would only need to do this a handful of times.

That price alone is what got me excited to try this service out. I didn’t even have to try it without seeing what my pay stub for the handyman would look like first. I liked that this service is available for both contractors as well as employees, because the two are distinctly different. If I had hired him as an employee, I would be responsible for taking his taxes out. Instead, I hire him as a contractor, and he is responsible for his own taxes, which saves me a good chunk of change. Continue reading “A Pay Stub We Are

How to Make Your Financial New Year’s Resolutions Stick

New Year’s resolutions aren’t always financial in nature, but those money-based goals require just as much discipline as any of the others.

According to a Marist Poll, 39% of U.S. survey respondents said they’d going to make a New Year’s resolution for 2016. That’s down from a peak of 48% in 2009, but still up from five years ago. While 12% of those polled planned to lose weight, 10% planned to get a better job and 9% planned to exercise, stop smoking or improve health, just 7% wanted to spend less money or save more. Worse, just 2% wanted to set goals.

Why aren’t more people worried about their finances? Well, according to a survey by Hartford Funds of folks with $100,000 or more in investable assets, 44% anticipate that their overall financial situation will improve in 2016. Another 54% say they are very or somewhat confident about their investments, and even the 39% who expect to experience a significant life event in 2016 aren’t all that worried. More than half (53%) of that latter group don’t expect those events to affect their finances. Even the Fed hasn’t rattled them, as only 14% expect interest rates

Cars to Drive You to Your New Year’s Resolutions

You have 366 days to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions in 2016. That’s a long way to go without a ride.

Automakers may want to resolve themselves being more active in 2016 after more than 5% vehicle sales growth through the first 11 months of the year. That’s an improvement of about 800,000 vehicles from the same span in 2014, but a noticeable slowdown from the rapid pace of the industry’s recovery from both automaker bailouts and the economic collapse. With the average gas price making its way below $2 nationally, automakers might want to draw more connections between cars and people’s lives that just their daily commute and the distance between Point A and Point B.

A poll commissioned by Marist last year found that 44% of Americans planned to make a New Year’s resolution in 2015. That jumps to 56% for Americans younger than 45 years old and 64% of those under 30. That’s identical to the 44% of Americans who made similar promises last year, but last year’s results bode ill for this year’s crop. Of those who vowed to make changes after 2014, 59% stuck to their word, down from 72%

6 Ways to Protect Your Home From the Coming Foreclosure Crisis

Think the mortgage foreclosure crisis is long over? Think again. A legacy of the Great Recession, the problem of financially pressed Americans losing their homes wasn’t solved — only deferred.

Many public and private temporary relief measures will expire in 2016, likely triggering a new wave of home repossessions. This scenario is only one of many dangers lurking for investors in the new year. Below, we show you six ways to protect your home from foreclosure.

To be sure, eight years after the mortgage crisis initially emerged, foreclosures are down. At the peak in 2010, nearly 3 million homes experienced foreclosure filings in 2010; in 2013, the number was down to 1.1 million.

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But that’s about to change. Notably, home equity lines of credit that homeowners took out during the prerecession “go-go” years (when homeowners routinely used their homes as ATM machines) will start to feature increased payments in 2016, as borrowers are forced to pay back principal instead

How to Avoid Dying in Holiday Credit Card Debt

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One in five of you is going to die in credit card debt.

That isn’t our opinion, and it isn’t some prediction from a credit agency talking; that’s the cardholders themselves talking. More than one in five Americans currently carrying some debt (21%) think they will never get out of it, according to a new CreditCards.com report. That’s more than double the 9% who gave that response when CreditCards.com asked the same question in May 2013 and up from 18% last year.

Even when Americans think they’ll be able to pay off debt, they don’t expect to do so until they’re on the verge of receiving AARP magazines. On average, Americans expect to be debt-free by age 54. The definition of debt-free includes credit card debt, car loans, student loans and other types of debt but also includes mortgages — which skews that number a bit for folks carrying a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. However, 48% of those with debt expect to remain in debt at age 61 or later, including those who predict they will still owe money when they die.

If you’re accumulating debt anyway, why not pile up some more, right? More than

What you need to know to work in the Forex market?

There is a certain set of information that is needed on the Forex trader to succeed.

  1. Firstly, a trader needs to master the professional language of the Forex market, understand the significance of Forex terms. You can find important information about successful forex trading
    from Forex encyclopedia.
  2. Secondly, you must have an idea about the basic laws of the market rates.

Each of the major currencies traded on the Forex market – dollar, pound, euro, etc. – It has its own “character”, and work with it requires the presentation of the general laws of its movement in the market.

  1. Thirdly, it is necessary, at least in general, represent the economic situation in the world. As a rule, the Forex market is most affected by the publication of information on the macroeconomic indicators of the world’s leading economic powers. And the connection between the high economic “empyrean” and the most modest game in Forex is absolutely straight.
  2. Fourthly, an effective tool in the work on the Forex market can be a communication with other traders.

The more experienced and sophisticated investors can tell you this or that decision, or to familiarize with the information that you are for some reason missed. But remember, traders, professionals

Best Exercise Machines for the New Year

As clichéd as it may be, the start of the New Year can be a great time to purchase fitness equipment. Manufacturers know that many New Year’s resolutions center on health as they time their promotions and product releases accordingly. Even if exercise is already part of your daily routine, you can still benefit from the uptick in fitness fanaticism that emerges each January.

To help you navigate the market, we have compiled a list of our favorite new workout machines, from entry-level basics to professional-quality rigs.

ProForm Tour De France 5.0

The newest version of the Official Training Bike of Le Tour de France combines professional-grade machinery with motivational technology.

This stationary bike has 30 gears, a range from -20 percent decline to 20 percent incline, toe cage pedals, and silent magnetic resistance – all features that contribute to a realistic, challenging indoor cycling experience.

The iFit and Google Maps-integrated console represents a big improvement compared to programmed workouts of the past. You can map your own course anywhere in the world, and the bike will automatically simulate the terrain. You can even recreate the 2015 Tour de France, complete with cheering spectators and scenic views.

Nordic Track X9i Incline Trainer

This treadmill

Selling Your Losing Stocks and Admitting You Were Wrong Could Net a Gain

Selling Your House This Winter? Warm Up With These Deal-Closing Tips

Ideal months for selling a home, but if you really need to, don’t let Old Man Winter stop you from closing a deal.

Maybe you’re transferring jobs transfer, getting a divorce or handling the task of selling a parent or grandparent’s home after he enters a long-term care facility. All are strong reasons to sell, but in the winter months, closing that deal is an uphill climb, with an abundance of ice patches and looming snow banks in your way.

How to bypass those impediments and sell your home? It may not be as tough as you think, as long as you have a plan.

For starters, know there really is a market for homebuyers in the winter months. According to Realtor.com, December’s U.S. housing market may have been “cooler or slower” than the October and November markets, but housing supply is moving faster than last year, with the all-important days on the market housing numbers down 7% on a year-to-year basis. Buyers also saw “fewer choices at the end of the year” and prices were “stronger than usual” as 2016 drew to a close, the company reports.

If you’re selling in the winter months, and want your home to

Fat Cats, Here’s Your Shot at Fame 2015’s Most Shameful Award-Winners

It was, to put it mildly, not a banner year for the Little Guy.

As 2015 was winding down, fat cats snuck language into a federal spending bill that would protect $1 billion in tax savings for the casino and other industries.

The securities industry tried to persuade the public that a proposal for brokers to act in clients’ best interest was not in clients’ best interest. And some people actually believed them.

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Joe Average, in the meantime, racked up 12 months’ worth of lumps of coal.

Must Read: How to Turbocharge Your 401(k) for 2016

Consumers and workers had the courthouse doors slammed in their faces as corporate lawyers who hadn’t already jumped on the trend cranked out mandatory arbitration agreements.

Interest rates went up, but savings rates paid to customers didn’t.

All in all, business this year often came out a winner at the public’s expense. Which isn’t all bad, because it gives us an excuse to pause and recognize the dubious accomplishments of the victors:

1. Hands-down winner of this year’s Whiner’s Award is JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, the man who can’t

Selling Your Losing Stocks and Admitting You Were Wrong Could Net a Gain

Selling your stocks that have lost an insurmountable value appears like a practical financial decision to make since there is a tax advantage, but an overwhelmingly percentage of investors are loath to take action.

Accepting a loss is extremely difficult for many people to accept and even harder for diehard investors who are convinced they made the right decision, resulting in this phenomenon.

“When you buy a stock you believe that it should go up: after all we believe that we are smart and that are decisions are reflective of that intelligence,” said Patrick Morris, CEO of New York-based HAGIN Investment Management. “So, if you are wrong you must not be as smart as you had thought. Ouch. That hurts.”

Psychological Hiccups

Far too many investors are averse to admitting they simply made a mistake when they bought a certain stock and then simply refuse to sell it when the loss is overwhelming, said Robert Johnson, president of The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

“Behavioral finance is a field that recognizes that individuals aren’t cold, calculated and rational economic actors with respect to economic decisions, but are often emotional, impulsive and at times,

Post-Holiday Money Blues Should the U.S. Have a National Financial Health Day?

Americans have driven themselves into debt this holiday season, and now that the dust of spending sprees has settled in the new year, Americans are lackadaisical about their financial predicament.

In a new study, MagnifyMoney states that, after a rush of holiday spending, Americans are heading into big financial troubles in 2016. Nick Clements, a consumer advocate with MagnifyMoney, says Americans spent more in 2015 while making less.

“While salaries are not higher, Americans spent more on holiday shopping this year,” he says. “MagnifyMoney found the average American spent $833 this holiday season, while MasterCard reported a 7.9% increase in holiday spending over 2014.”

What’s more, many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. “After spending money on the holidays, 56.3% of Americans have less than $1,000 remaining in their checking and savings account, and 38.3% of Americans will not be able to pay off their credit card this month,” Clements says. “Instead, they will be paying off their credit card balance over time, at high credit card interest rates.”

Despite the challenges that await them, American consumers aren’t particularly anxious.

“Americans aren’t fretting over debt – 85.7% of Americans say they have no regrets about their holiday spending,” Clements notes. “It seems we are a

What to Buy in Post-Holiday January

We can’t blame you for not wanting to spend another moment shopping after withstanding the holiday rush, but there are better deals out there than just leftover Christmas wrapping paper and decorations.

While it’s easy to note the chill in the air and surmise that bicycles, air conditioners, boats and motorcycles are all being sold at a discount around this time of year in cold-weather states, there are a few other items that don’t necessarily make their presence known until well after the new year has arrived. Quite frankly, they’re kind of well-hidden despite the fact that retailers know a seasonal slump is coming.

Last January, U.S. retailers took in a little more than $294 billion for the month, according to the Census Bureau. That’s their highest January total ever, but it was down considerably from $298 billion in December 2014 and $302 billion at the peak of holiday shopping season in November. While that dropoff isn’t always a given — from 2011 to 2013, spending actually increased from December to January — it regularly creates pockets of discounts that retailers roll out in anticipation of harsh winter weather and decreased foot traffic in the months ahead.

There also isn’t a big retail

AmEx Loses Fidelity as Branded Credit Card Rivalry Heats Up

American Express’s (AXP – Get Report) breakup with Fidelity Investments, the third branded-card client to leave in less than a year, signals heightened competition in the massive market as rewards for both borrowers and lenders fizzle.

Fidelity, a retail brokerage and retirement-savings provider, said Monday it would begin offering Visa (V – Get Report)  rewards cards issued by U.S. Bank (USB) to its 24 million customers, replacing rewards cards issued by Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America (BAC – Get Report) that had used the American Express and Mastercard (MA – Get Report) payment networks.

The deal marks another loss, albeit a small one, for New York-based American Express, the 165-year-old giant that issues cards and operates its own payment network. The Fidelity portfolio accounts for less than 1% of the company’s billings, said Marina Norville, a spokeswoman. In 2015, the company said it was ending branded-card deals with Costco (COST) , which made up 20% of its card-member loan portfolio, as well as New York-based airline JetBlue (JBLU) .

STOCKS TO BUY:

Should the U.S. Postal Service Contemplate Unconventional Markets and New Investments?

When was the last time you sent a letter when an email could do?

The economy and market forces are merciless when it comes to those who don’t adopt a simple maxim: adapt to survive. History has shown us that companies who take heed often enjoy longevity and success, while others fade into our memories. For example, Apple has come a long way from being a simple computer manufacturing company and has created the iPod, Apple TV, iCloud, iPad and iPhone, to name a few.

On the other hand, it’s probably been years since you’ve made Friday a “Blockbuster night.” Once a leader in the video rental industry, Blockbuster has fallen victim to cable TV on demand movie options and innovative companies like Netflix, Hulu and Redbox. Everything in life takes part in evolution to either become stronger and more diverse or fall victim to fate through extinction. Business entities and quasi-government agencies are not exempt.

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Now the United States Postal Service (USPS), long known

Selling Your House This Winter? Warm Up With These Deal-Closing Tips

January and February aren’t exactly ideal months for selling a home, but if you really need to, don’t let Old Man Winter stop you from closing a deal.

Maybe you’re transferring jobs transfer, getting a divorce or handling the task of selling a parent or grandparent’s home after he enters a long-term care facility. All are strong reasons to sell, but in the winter months, closing that deal is an uphill climb, with an abundance of ice patches and looming snow banks in your way.

How to bypass those impediments and sell your home? It may not be as tough as you think, as long as you have a plan.

For starters, know there really is a market for homebuyers in the winter months. According to Realtor.com, December’s U.S. housing market may have been “cooler or slower” than the October and November markets, but housing supply is moving faster than last year, with the all-important days on the market housing numbers down 7% on a year-to-year basis. Buyers also saw “fewer choices at the end of the year” and prices were “stronger than usual” as 2016 drew to a close, the company reports.

If you’re selling in the winter months, and want your home to stand out, start taking action now, experts

Top Insurance Stocks for 2016: Ace, Everest, Travelers, XL

Shares of ACE Limited (ACE – Get Report) rose over 4% last year, and the property and casualty insurer could enjoy another market-beating year in 2016 due to its ability to grow its top line, said Cathy Seifert, equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ.

“Growth in 2016 is also going to be aided by their pending acquisition of Chubb (CB – Get Report) , which also gives them an attractive franchise in the high-end personal lines market,” said Seifert. ACE announced its plans to acquire Chubb for $28.3 billion in cash and stock last summer.

Seifert is also bullish on Everest Re (RE – Get Report) , which saw its shares rise 8.5% in 2015. Seifert said consolidation in the mid-cap reinsurance space could help Everest’s stock climb to new heights in the coming year. She said all the mergers are providing that group with a significant tailwind and Everest will participate in that trend.

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Shares of Travelers (TRV – Get Report

Great Destinations for Winter Dark Week Travel

It doesn’t matter if an airport in much of January through February is basically a spa with jetways: there’s no way you’re going back there if it was your personal gulag in December.

It’s that post-holiday travel trauma that makes the last three weeks of January and first few weeks of February “dark weeks” for the travel industry. You’ll see airlines and hotels pull out all the stops to draw customers who’ve been scared off airports for a good, long time by hours of delays, wailing infants and subpar food ordered off of germ-laden touchscreens. These are desperate times for a travel industry that’s basically asking consumers to relive a holiday nightmare before they’ve had chance to heal.

Last year, 43% of travelers surveyed by TripAdvisor said they expected to be stressed out by their winter holiday trips. That doesn’t include the 31% of travelers who were already reduced to emotional rubble by Thanksgiving travel. That stress wasn’t helped by the cost of those trips — estimated at an average of $436 per person — which were up from $401 in 2013 according to Trip Advisor. Finally, the lack of vacation days accrued by many American workers this early in the year

How to Turbocharge Your 401(k) for 2016

A pilot relies on myriad indicators in the cockpit to help make the right decisions to safely fly a plane. The indicators reveal direction, altitude, velocity, wind speed and fuel level.

If one of the gauges is not within its proper boundaries, the pilot makes corrections to stabilize conditions. Without these dashboard indicators, the pilot would be putting his passengers and crew at serious risk.

Managing your 401(k) portfolio can be accomplished in much the same way. It requires a flight plan combined with an allocation dashboard. The process of developing your allocation dashboard will clarify your goals and methods for reaching them. It should be an essential part of your retirement planning.

All too often, 401(k) investors don’t follow an allocation dashboard, which means they’re flying blindly. Because 401(k) plans are invested for the long haul, investors tend to push them to the back of their minds and neglect calibrating their holdings according to an asset allocation strategy. Over the years, that sort of neglect can dampen gains and increase risk.

Must Read: 4 Stocks to Buy (and What to Sell) to Outperform the Market in 2016

Asset allocation is a continual process, not a one-time event. It is the process of

The Holidays Are Over Here’s How to Dig Out of Credit Card Debt

It may be time to put your credit cards in the freezer – literally. ‘You don’t need to have all of those cards in your wallet,’ said Sara Stanich, a Certified Financial Planner with Raymond James, based in New York. ‘Keep one in your wallet for emergencies and put the rest in a drawer or maybe a block of ice in the freezer.’ Aside from eliminating the temptation to spend money using credit cards, if you swiped your card too much during the holiday shopping season, first figure out exactly how deep the damage is. ‘You need to add it up and figure out whether it’s a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars,’ she said. ‘Log on to your credit card company’s [online portal] to track the balance, due date, interest rate and the minimum payment.’ Chances are you can’t pay off the entire balance in one lump sum. That’s where prioritizing your credit cards comes in handy. You can either begin tackling the card with the highest interest rate or the card with the lowest balance. ‘Sometimes the lowest balance is the way to go because maybe you can pay it off right away and that’s one