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It takes preparation -- not 'think and it will happen' nonsense.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 3:11PM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.

Yep, you read that right. Luck.

To me, luck occurs when a positive and fairly unexpected event happens in your life, whether it be financial or otherwise. Thus, improving your luck means increasing the chances of such positive events happening -- and also increasing the chances that you'll be able to take advantage of them.

In other words, there's nothing supernatural about it. No hoping, no holding four-leaf clovers in your pocket, no rabbit's foot or lucky coin. No "think and it will happen" secret nonsense. Just preparation -- nothing more, nothing less.


Blogger holding contest for the best response.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 3:04PM

"DebtKid," feeling buyer's remorse about his 1 a.m. purchase of a Nintendo DS Lite that has since been gathering dust, is holding a contest for the stupidest purchase ever. He's gotten quite a response from readers and other bloggers. The winner will get his DS Lite.

There's also the $5,000 piano "purchased in hopes that one day Mini Me would become Mini Mozart," and Beauty, a hugely expensive bichon frisé that bites and leaves little presents on the floor "to show you she can." Oops, we almost forgot to mention that krninco bought a $200 car seat for the little dog.


Changing your driving habits can make a big difference.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 1:57PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

With gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, saving money on gas is more important than ever. Fortunately, there are a lot of relatively simple and inexpensive things you can do to save money on gas.

What follows is a list of 25 ways to reduce what you pay at the pump.


Expert names the 10 strongest professions.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 1:33PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

In "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets" (which I recently reviewed), author Peter Schiff provides a list of the best jobs to beat the economic collapse he predicts is just around the corner. "I foresee the following as the 10 strongest professions and industries over the coming decade and beyond," he writes.


Accounts can be canceled without advance notice.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 1:17PM

A Wall Street Journal story discloses what may be a surprising fact: Credit card companies can cancel your card without giving you advance notice.

The story relates how a lawyer tried to use her American Express card to pay for a spa treatment and was surprised to learn that her card was no good. The same thing happened to a man who wanted to pay for a sushi meal with his HSBC Cash or Fly Platinum MasterCard. (Both said they have very good credit.)

Many people have encountered similar denials as credit card companies -- facing rising delinquencies and new federal regulations -- "reassess risk" and cancel accounts, the story said.

We have to wonder: Has this happened to you? Is it embarrassing, or do you calmly reach in your purse or wallet for a backup? Shouldn't the card companies be required to give you warning?


Older cars build character and skills.

By Karen Datko Sep 28, 2009 8:24PM

The first car owned by Paul Van Lierop, the FiscalGeek, was a 1977 AMC Gremlin, presented to him for his 16th birthday. The year was 1989. If cars are a personal statement, it was a disaster.


"'Wayne's World' had not come out," Paul wrote. "AMC Gremlins, Pacers or Hornets were definitely not cool. I was actually laughed at by scores of kids the day I drove it into the parking lot of our high school."


Why would he now insist that his own kids' first cars will be equally used and unhip? He listed seven good reasons in a post called "Why my kids will drive a piece of crap." It's a fun read and also prompted many readers to reminisce about their first vehicles.


Study: 45,000 die each year because they're uninsured

By Karen Datko Sep 28, 2009 6:19PM

A new Harvard study estimates that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health insurance -- and that's after other factors like income and unhealthy behaviors are taken into account.


"Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease," an article by the Cambridge Health Alliance reports.


The study says the uninsured have a 40% higher risk of death than people who have private health insurance -- like the insurance you get through your job. Or, to put it another way, a person dies because of a lack of insurance every 12 minutes.


Of course, some people neglect their health. But many, we suspect, don't see a doctor because they're afraid of the cost. Doctor visits and tests can add up to an intimidating amount, even if you're uninsured but have a good income. A CNN story put a human face on some of these avoidable deaths -- a freelance cameraman, a self-employed mother of two, and a 25-year-old woman who worked in a movie theater.


So we had to wonder: Have you put off visits to the doctor because of financial considerations?


Congress may consider nationwide ban.

By Karen Datko Sep 28, 2009 6:13PM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


The vast majority of U.S. drivers believes handheld texting while driving is very dangerous and should be banned nationwide, according to a new survey.


The survey, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates on behalf of the Ford Motor Co., found that 86% of U.S. drivers believe handheld texting while driving is "very dangerous" and 93% support a nationwide ban on it.



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