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Study says it takes quite a bit of money to reach economic stability, which includes not just 'decent' housing and a 'low-cost' food plan, but also saving for retirement and emergencies.

By doubleace Apr 5, 2011 11:58AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


The good news just keeps rolling in: 216,000 jobs added nationwide in March, and unemployment down to 8.8% from 9.8% in November, the biggest four-month decline since 1964.


And on the personal front, you're working and your spouse is working -- both full time. Life is good.

Or is it? According to a study commissioned by the nonprofit Wider Opportunities for Women, a family with two full-time wage earners and two children needs nearly $68,000 a year to afford fundamentals like housing, utilities, food, health care, transportation, saving for retirement and child care. The average such family in America makes less than that.


There are lots of reasons why you shouldn't do this, but let's consider the other side of the argument.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 5, 2011 8:33AM

This Devil's Advocate post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


One of the oft-discussed cardinal sins in personal finance is to borrow from your 401k, 403b, or other eligible retirement accounts. The reasons against borrowing are obvious: Those assets are for you to consume in retirement, not right now. If you borrow those funds, they can't grow with the market tax-free and you lose one of the great vehicles for retirement planning.

Not everyone can borrow from their 401k or 403b -- the plan administrator has to permit it -- but this Devil's Advocate post will discuss reasons why it may make sense for some employees.


Affected companies began notifying their customers over the weekend that hackers may have accessed their email addresses.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2011 8:23PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


In what could be the largest security breach in U.S. history, a virtual who's who of U.S. companies have begun notifying consumers that their names and email addresses, held in a vast database, may be been illegally accessed.


What the companies, including Citigroup, Capital One,Kroger and TiVo, all have in common is doing business with Epsilon, a provider of email marketing services.


Online game lets you make financial and moral choices for a struggling but working single parent. What would you do?

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2011 8:00PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


"Fourteen million Americans are unemployed. Now imagine you're one of them. Your savings are gone, you've lost your house, you're a single parent and you're down to your last $1,000. Can you make it through the month?"


That is the opening page when you begin playing Spent, a online game conceived by national advertising agency McKinney to bring attention to the needy on behalf of Urban Ministries of Durham, N.C. Nearly 360,000 have played this game.


I am a semi-retired man and financially comfortable, but I tried to visualize myself as a single working mother with a 6-year-old daughter in order to get inside that person's head and make some of the choices. Here are my/her decisions and reasoning. Frankly, I was stunned by the choices I was making by the end.


These days, getting an edge over the competition means combining traditional techniques with tech-savvy creativity.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 4, 2011 6:07PM

The following post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


With the U.S. unemployment rate at 8.8%, many people are still looking for work.


Given the crowded field of applicants, job seekers need an edge anywhere they can find it -- and some are finding it through social media and other technology.

For example, one guy got a job through a $6 ad campaign. He bought sponsored search results from Google that turned up his website when the people he wanted to hire him searched their own names. Of course, that trick won't work for everyone. But it's just one example of using technology wisely.


Try one of these drug-free methods to relieve the pain.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 4, 2011 4:39PM

Right in the middle of a recent deadline I developed a real blinder of a headache. Rather than take an aspirin or ibuprofen I drank a glass of water -- and felt better almost immediately.

I won’t say I was actually dehydrated, but I might have been on the way. Or maybe I wasn't. All I know is that water made me feel better. It often does.

It was also, of course, free.


A new report says that a borrower remains in debt to the payday lender for more than half a year on average.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2011 1:43PM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


Cash-strapped workers may think taking out a payday loan to cover expenses until the next paycheck is a minor risk, but a new study suggests that these borrowers aren't incurring just a short-term debt.


According to the consumer watchdog group Center for Responsible Lending, payday borrowers actually remain in debt, on average, for more than half a year, despite the fact that a payday loan typically must be repaid within two weeks.


Here are 5 tips for getting past 'no' and ending up with the solution you want.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2011 12:38PM

This guest post comes from Jason Steele at Money Crashers.


Lately, it seems as if most customer-service representatives are either not empowered to help you or have actually been instructed not to. It has gotten to the point where getting a company to give you the service you deserve is not just a challenge, but almost a sport.


We all know how to lose our temper or ask for a supervisor, but what if you want to take your customer-service game to the next level?


Here are five recent incidents in which I was told unequivocally that a company could not help me. Eventually, I found exactly the right nerve to hit in order to force their hand.



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