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Money lessons aplenty are tucked in and among all the pow! zap! action of the newest film in the Marvel franchise.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 1:02PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyI went to the midnight movie premiere of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" last Friday and am still reeling from all the explosions and hand-to-hand combat. In a good way.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier © W.Disney/Everett/Rex Features
Despite the comic-book colors and pow! zap! action, "The Winter Soldier" is a smart political thriller with enough modern paranoia to allow both conservatives and liberals to believe the film is talking specifically to them.


Old-fashioned patriot Captain America (Chris Evans) has learned from the Greatest Generation's wartime mistakes. When he views a high-tech weapon that's more doomsday than deterrent, Cap vows never to support a system that emphasizes fear over freedom.


Which brings me to personal finance. The whole point of Money Talks News is that being smart about finances lets you be secure, rather than afraid.


Due to the way I make a living, I can find money wisdom in just about any form of entertainment, whether it's Wagner, science fiction or even a Coen brothers movie.

"The Winter Soldier" is no exception. Personal finance themes aplenty are tucked in among the incendiary devices.

 

Opportunities abound to mix volunteer work with a vacation. The big payoff: helping others.

By Cheapism.com Apr 7, 2014 12:41PM
This post comes from Louis DeNicola at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyImages of sandy beaches, warm weather, and a cool drink may come to mind when thinking about that next vacation. How about helping to rescue animals, picking olives, or building a house instead?

A woman works with children as part of the Global Volunteers program © Global VolunteersSure, these volunteer projects seem an awful lot like work, but you'll be contributing to a worthy cause while getting away from your day job.

Indeed, sometimes a "working vacation" can be more rewarding than a week at an all-inclusive resort.
 

Sometimes bad stuff happens to good workers. A few belt-tightening tactics will help you hang on until better times return.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 12:28PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneySuppose the first thing your boss says tomorrow is, "Sorry, but I'm cutting you back to 28 hours a week." How long before you couldn't pay your bills?


Sometimes bad stuff happens to good workers. No one wants to think about a major income drop, but getting ready now means that you won't be quite as blindsided later on.

 

Ease the stress of living on minimum wage by drawing on government and other assistance programs. Also, invest in yourself.

By Cheapism.com Apr 7, 2014 12:02PM
This post comes from Louis DeNicola at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyMysti Reutlinger has been through tough times. Although now in the process of starting her own business in the Cheyenne, Wyo. area -- the third in six years and the result of two prior successes -- she raised two children while working a minimum wage job. She and the children lived with the bare minimum, no cellphone or cable TV, and occasionally relied on an understanding landlord come rent time.

Woman with paperwork © Big Cheese Photo, JupiterimagesThere are millions of people like Ms. Reutlinger who struggle to make ends meet on meager pay. Today, a full-time worker earning the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour grosses approximately $14,500 a year. As Ms. Reutlinger can attest, that doesn't go very far. Getting by demands a good hunk of creativity and resourcefulness. Here is her advice from the minimum wage front lines:
 

Still trying to decide how to protect your credit and your identity? Take a look at these options.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2014 4:07PM

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

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHave you been searching for ways to protect your precious credit that you've worked so hard to build, as well as protect your identity from hackers? If so, you've probably read about both credit monitoring and security freezes.


Credit card © Mike Kemp, Getty Images,That's particularly true if your credit card information was stolen in one of the major security breaches we've read so much about recently. Perhaps Target or some other retailer has offered you a year of free credit monitoring.


Wondering which route you should take? Let's take a closer look at each of the services and what they entail.


What is credit monitoring?

Credit monitoring is a daily tracking mechanism that immediately alerts you if any activity takes place in your credit files, such as untimely payments, credit limit changes, credit inquiries and the opening of new accounts. At the end of each month or quarter, depending on the service provider, you will receive an activity summary electronically or via snail mail.


The service is reactive in nature because it does not shield you from identity theft.

 

These mortgages regain popularity despite concerns that many baby boomers are using them to drain their home equity too early, leaving them nothing to fall back on.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2014 1:15PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyReverse mortgages are growing in popularity now that the big baby boom generation is entering its silver years.


Couple stood outside of villa © Image Source, Getty ImagesA reverse mortgage is a type of loan that lets you borrow some of your home's equity. The twist is, no payments are required until the last surviving borrower dies or sells.


Boomers in financial distress

The new surge in equity borrowing is partly a legacy from the recession, which wounded the boomer generation financially. But even before then, boomers (and nearly half of all American workers) were short on retirement savings.


Reverse mortgage borrowing grew by 20 percent between 2012 and 2013, Reuters says, adding:

Many retirees haven’t saved enough to cover expenses for the rest of their lives. But many of them have one major asset -- a home.

The oldest boomers turn 68 this year. The concern is that many are using reverse mortgages to drain their home equity too early, leaving them nothing to fall back on in 15 or 20 years.

 

Just say no to fine china. Instead, bring one of these 30 gifts to the weddings you attend this year.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2014 11:51AM

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


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyChina and crystal may be traditional wedding gifts, but unless the happy couple lives at Downton Abbey, they probably won't have much use for such finery.


Instead of sticking with what's traditional, consider a gift the couple can actually use or, better yet, one that will save them money.

 

Balance transfer cards can be a powerful tool for those climbing out of debt. They do, however, come with pitfalls you must avoid.

By Dough Roller Apr 4, 2014 11:35AM

This post comes from Rob Berger at partner site the Dough Roller.


The Dough Roller on MSN MoneyBalance transfer credit cards can be a cost effective way to tackle your debt.  For a relatively low fee, you can transfer high interest debt to a 0 percent card for as long as 18 months.  They are not, however, without pitfalls. 


Credit card (© Astock/Corbis)To help you avoid those pitfalls, here are eight tips for managing balance transfer cards.


1. Know the difference between 0% on purchases and 0 percent on balance transfers
There are two types of 0 percent APR introductory rates–purchases and balance transfers. While they both offer no interest, they work in very different ways.


For 0 percent interest on purchases, the credit card issuer won’t charge interest on purchases you make with the card. You’ll still have to pay a minimum payment each month, but it won’t include any interest charges. These interest free deals on purchases typically last from six to 18 months. Once the introductory rate expires, you’ll be paying the regular APR on any remaining debt on the card.

 

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