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If you're a new employee -- or are looking to be hired -- these tips can help you start building your career.

By MSN Money Partner May 23, 2013 1:41PM

This post comes from Lindsay Olson at U.S. News & World Report.

USN logoIf your child has recently graduated from college and is now looking for -- or has hopefully found -- her first "real" job, you may want to impart great wisdom to her. It's a difficult time for an inexperienced worker to enter the workforce, but these tips can help make the entry easier and better align her expectations with reality.

Office workers © Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures, Getty ImagesFord R. Myers, the author of "Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring," offers the following business truths to new grads:

1. The most qualified candidate does not necessarily get the job offer. Having been in the workforce for a while, you know that hiring isn't always fair and based on merit. What better time to learn that lesson than as a new grad?

Tell your kids it takes more than just a well-qualified résumé to get hired. According to Myers, "the candidate who will get the job is the one who self-markets and demonstrates to the employer that she is the best fit for the company's needs, problems and challenges."

2. Research is the route to success. Getting a job is sometimes a little like all those exams your grad is happy to leave behind. Hiring managers want to know that a candidate has done her research on the company and industry. Reading press releases, the company website, industry websites and blogs and even social media profiles can help your job seeker find out what this company is all about, and its recent success.


The 'terms and conditions' pages can seem overwhelming. Here are 7 things you'll want to know about a credit card before you apply.

By MSN Money Partner May 23, 2013 12:32PM
This post comes from Daniel Bortz at partner site U.S. News & World Report.

USN logoA zero percent introductory interest rate sounds great. So does a juicy rewards program. And who couldn't use a sweet $100 sign-up bonus? We've all seen credit card commercials touting such offers, but most close with those dreaded words: "terms and conditions apply."

Man with magnifying-glass (© Jupiterimages/Jupiterimages)Digesting the high volume of information contained in a credit card offer is not only time-consuming for many people but also headache-inducing. Fortunately for consumers, credit card issuers must include a Schumer box in the terms and conditions, named for Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., which contains basic information in large type, including the card's annual percentage rate. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 also gives credit card users legal protection from unfair practices. For example, issuers can't raise the interest rate for the first 12 months after opening the account unless the cardholder is more than 60 days late on a minimum payment.

Despite these protections, long disclosure statements can be overwhelming, and the language can confuse the average consumer, says John Ulzheimer, the president of consumer education at "Even if they wrote them in fourth-grade English, I don't know if people would take the time to read them or fully understand them," he says.


You're in debt. You need a plan and lots of discipline and follow through to pay it down. It's a lot like dieting.

By Smart Spending Editor May 23, 2013 10:50AM
This post comes from Danielle Warchol at

savingadvice logoDieting is probably not the first word that comes to mind when you think of debt reduction. However, when it comes to trying to reduce your debt, many of the steps you have to take are similar to the steps you’d take when trying to reduce weight.

Person on scale © Purestock/SuperStockProbably the most important part to both is that better health requires a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. Diets don’t work if there are only for a short period of time without making long-term fundamental changes in the way that you eat, and the same is true of debt reduction. Both require that you make changes to your current lifestyle to solve the issues and habits that have created the current situation.

Acknowledging the problem

Perhaps the biggest similarity between debt reduction and dieting is that you have to acknowledge that there’s a problem. Just as it’s easy to ignore poor eating habits, it’s easy to ignore money problems. You might not want to believe that your debt keeps piling up or that you have no way to pay it all off. If you’re serious about trying to reduce your debt, the first step is acknowledging that you have a problem.

Yes, sometimes retail therapy has a place. Just try to be aware of shopping to beat the blues, and don't overspend.

By MSN Money Partner May 22, 2013 7:01PM
This post comes from Daniel Bortz at U.S. News & World Report.

MSN Money partnerWhen your significant other says it's over, your first instinct may be to seek comfort in a pint of ice cream or a stiff drink. But there are healthier ways of nursing a broken heart – including shopping.

Image: Woman with shopping bags (© Tanya Constantine/Getty Images)In a recent survey by TNS Global on behalf of, around 52% of respondents said they've engaged in "retail therapy," the act of shopping and spending to improve one's mood. Both men and women admitted they've opened their wallets when feeling blue. However, this form of therapy can put your finances at risk if it's the only way you can temper your mood, or if you feel guilty about your spending behaviors and don't shop in moderation.

When you're sad, you see the world differently, says Scott Rick, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan whose research focuses on the emotional causes and consequences of financial decision-making. Rick says people who are upset often think they live in an environment that's out of their control. One way to restore control, he says, is by making choices about what to buy.


AAA says fewer will travel this year, but destinations for those who are going are a bit farther. Gas prices are not a factor, but airline 'fee fatigue' is.

By Mitch Lipka May 22, 2013 3:13PM
Barbecue © Michael Hitoshi, Digital Vision, Getty ImagesMore people will be spending their Memorial Day weekend at home this year as rising airline fees and uncertainty over the economy have made consumers a bit more hesitant to travel, according to a survey released today by AAA.

About 1% fewer people -- 34.8 million compared to 35.1 million last year -- will travel at least 50 miles from home over the Memorial Day weekend, the organization said.

But gas prices, down from the peak in February, are not a factor. The price of a gallon of unleaded gas is averaging $3.66 -- about the same as it was this time last year. About 62% of those surveyed said the price of fuel would have no impact on their plans. 

Getting married? Money could be the reason you end up divorced. Take these steps now and avoid the battles and frustrations later on.

By MSN Money Partner May 22, 2013 1:22PM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.

moneytalksnews logo


If you're heading down the aisle, we have some scary statistics for you. Nearly 30% of married couples say money is the No. 1 source of stress in their relationship, according to a study by American Express, and money issues are largely blamed as a top cause of divorce by many experts.

How do you avoid the strain? Here's how to get on the same financial track as your partner before you wed.


Now that school is over, you'll need to prioritize you living expenses, debts and more. Here's how to navigate the financial road ahead.

By MSN Money Partner May 22, 2013 12:42PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler of logoRemember that first week of college or university, when you wondered how you’d ever make it through? If you’re like most students, simply trying to map out your course schedule probably felt overwhelming. There there were forms to fill out, books to buy, and lots (and we mean lots) of coursework.

Mortarboard , diploma and money © Comstock, Getty ImagesHopefully, you had a good adviser to help give you through the process.

Similarly, if you are out of school, trying to navigate your options for paying back your student loans may seem just as daunting. You probably have several loans with different repayment terms. Some may be federal loans and others may be private loans. How do you prioritize them, along with all the other financial demands -- housing, food, transportation, etc. -- you are facing?

When it comes to your student loan debt, think of your credit reports and scores as your advisers. They are there to provide some necessary context for your emerging financial life. As you begin to pay back your student loans, refinance them, defer them or opt for forbearance, you’ll need to understand the impact of your choices over time.


When it comes to dealing with debt and clearing your credit, what you don't know really can hurt you.

By Donna_Freedman May 22, 2013 9:51AM

Logo: Couple talking to bank manager (Image Source, Getty Images)Working with a credit counselor won't ding your credit score. Honest. Yet some people seem to think it will, according to a survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.


The fact is, credit counselors don't report to the credit bureaus. Seeking help from a professional, nonprofit credit counseling agency can help you fix what's wrong with your finances -- which will ultimately improve your credit score.

Besides: How does your credit report look right now?

"What about the eight months you haven't paid your Macy's card? Dings to your credit score already exist," notes NFCC spokeswoman Gail Cunningham. 

Five common themes emerged from the 2013 survey, including the notion that asking for help would damage your credit score.



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