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Crowdfunding is all the rage. Here's the skinny on seven sites promising to help you raise cash. We'll also tell you how to improve your chances of success.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 13, 2014 12:37PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWant to swim with the dolphins but don't have the bank account to justify that type of splurge? Or would you prefer to save the dolphins rather than swim with them?

 Roll of bills © John Wilkes Studio/CorbisPerhaps you'd like to start a company selling dolphin-shaped hats?

Don't let your lack of cash stop you. Today, you have many options to ask family, friends and even total strangers for their help in funding your dreams.

Enter the world of crowdfunding.

Whether it's to fund your small business or get that killer wedding gift, crowdfunding sites exist for virtually every reason. The sites differ on the details, but all work in the same way. You put out a request, and the masses decide whether to donate money to your cause.

Keep reading for a list of notable crowdfunding sites, plus learn some tips on how to up your chances of success.


Knowing the implications of car insurance while away at school should be on your college prep checklist.

By QuinStreet Aug 12, 2014 2:10PM
This post comes from Marjorie Musick at partner site on MSN MoneyIn their song, "Wide Open Spaces," the Dixie Chicks sing about a Dad yelling, "Check the oil!" as he drops his daughter off at college. This is good advice. Here are seven more tips from auto experts for students taking their cars to college:

Woman with car keys © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc/Blend Images/Jupiterimages1. Keep your car in good repair

"Many students have a long ride from their hometown to their college campus so they need to make sure that their vehicle is up-to-date on oil changes and other required maintenance so as to avoid breaking down before they even arrive at college," says William Van Tassel, manager of driver training programs at AAA National. "Having a back-up plan such as a AAA membership which includes roadside assistance also helps."


Technology will soon allow you to control who uses your card, and when -- helping you fight fraud.

By Aug 12, 2014 1:04PM

This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyEmerging technology gives consumers the ability to turn their credit and debit cards on and off through a smartphone app, a capability that can not only help families and businesses control how authorized users shop with the card but also, and perhaps more importantly, help prevent card fraud.

On/off switch © imageBROKER/AlamyOne of the companies developing this tool is Ondot Systems, which works with payment processors to make the technology available to banks and their customers. The on-off function, in addition to other control preferences, is available to cardholders through their bank or credit union's mobile app. Some financial services companies are working to develop their own technologies as well.

A remote control for your credit card

"The basic idea is very simple," said Rachna Ahlawat, founder and executive vice president of products at Ondot Systems.


A federal survey also found that only 18 percent of Americans close to retirement age plan to retire on a set date and not work again.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 12:51PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyMany Americans are not prepared for retirement. While that may be no surprise to you, this might: One in 5 people who are nearing retirement age have no money saved.

Piggy bank © Hemera Technologies,, JupiterimagesThat alarming statistic was highlighted in a recent report by the Federal Reserve  Board (.pdf file) on the economic well-being of U.S. households. According to a report press release:

Thirty-one percent of non-retired respondents reported having no retirement savings or pension, including 19 percent of those ages 55 to 64. Additionally, almost half of adults were not actively thinking about financial planning for retirement, with 24 percent saying they had given only a little thought to financial planning for their retirement and another 25 percent saying they had done no planning at all.

So why do so many Americans lack a retirement savings account? The survey found that many young people haven't started saving for retirement yet. But it goes beyond that, the report said.


Fed up with your current position or thinking about jumping ship for a more lucrative opportunity? Here are a few reasons why that may not be such a bad idea.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 12:35PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyConvinced that you should remain loyal to a job, even if you absolutely loathe the thought of being there each day? Maybe a better opportunity is at your fingertips, but you fear the long-term consequences of making the move.

Resume © Dynamic Graphics, age fotostockIt may be time to adjust your mindset: The days of hiring managers frowning upon the resumes of those with cameos in the workplace are coming to an end in a number of industries.

A press release about a recent survey by CareerBuilder said, "More than half (55 percent) of employers surveyed said they have hired a job-hopper and nearly one-third (32 percent) of all employers said they have come to expect workers to job hop."

According to the survey, the industries where job hopping is most common are:


A reader is frustrated because at age 21, she can't get a credit card. She thinks it's because of her lack of credit history. I think it's something else.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 12, 2014 12:12PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThere's lots of talk these days about how to improve your credit history and score. With good reason: If you want to borrow money, they're a critical part of the equation. But they're not the entire equation.


December has a reputation for being the best time, but statistics suggest you may get a better deal in August -- and you've already missed the second-best opportunity for low prices.

By Aug 12, 2014 11:24AM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyIf you're looking for a deal on a new car, August may be the time to hit the dealerships. An analysis of new-car sales data by TrueCar shows average August prices as the lowest available throughout the year: about $169 lower than the average prices of any other month.

Couple shopping for car © Don Mason, Blend Images, CorbisThe analysis looked at new car and truck prices each month over the past five years, and August emerged as the clear time for bargain hunting, with the average new vehicle costing $29,296. December is commonly perceived as the time to get a good deal on a new car, because it seems like fewer people would venture out to car lots in the winter, and it's the end of the year, but TrueCar's data showed December had the most expensive average price: $31,146. That's $1,850 more than new vehicle price tags in August, on average.


Major contact lens manufacturers are setting price minimums for some of their products, which critics say will eliminate consumers' ability to find discounted lenses.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 12:40PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyShopping around to find a good deal on contact lenses is a thing of the past, for some lenses anyway.

Woman putting in contact lens © Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images
Three of the top four contact manufacturers have set price minimums for some of their lenses, a controversial move that prevents discounts for consumers.

According to Consumer Reports:

We've noticed that three of the top four companies -- Alcon (aka CIBA), Bausch & Lomb, and Johnson & Johnson -- have already adopted resale-price maintenance policies for some of their products. And the fourth, CooperVision, might not be far behind. The four account for 97 percent of all contact lenses sold in the United States.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel recently met to discuss whether the contact manufacturers' new pricing methods amount to anti-competitive behavior.

"The only winners with this pricing strategy are manufacturers, high-priced retailers, and doctors, who would no longer have to compete with discounters," CR said.



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