Lara's Feed
Apr 20, 2011
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5 steps to make your property a hot rental

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If you have a second home that you’re considering renting out for extra income, there’s no time to waste. With summer vacation season just around the corner, now is the time to get it on the market and attract top dollar.

But as the old cliche goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression: “Once your home is passed up, most people won’t go back to view it again,” says Christine Karpinski, author and rental property expert. “You need to catch people’s attention the first time.”

Apr 11, 2011
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How safe is your mobile wallet?

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When you whip out your smartphone to transfer money, deposit a check, or “tap” it on an electric reader to buy milk at your local 7-Eleven, do you ever wonder how secure it is?

The good news is, using your phone as a “mobile wallet” is largely considered safe. In fact, some experts argue the security of  mobile payments is on par with online banking, with the added layer of password protection.

Apr 5, 2011
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Dream jobs for the 20-something set

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How does someone go from having an interest in criminal law to penning a book about finding your dream job?

Just ask 29-year-old Laura Dodd, whose own bizarre career trajectory led her to having dozens of conversations with people just like her: a hopeful 20-something ready to jump into the worst market in decades — without settling for a mundane 9-to-5 job.

Apr 4, 2011
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How to avoid boomerang kids

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Attention blissful empty-nesters: there’s a good chance your college graduates will be moving back home.

That’s the not-so-pretty picture being painted by a handful of grim reports, including Monster.com’s “2010 State of the College Workplace,” which found that a whopping 52 percent of recent grads are living with their parents, up from 40 percent in 2009.

Mar 30, 2011
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Second child may bring debt “breakpoint”: research

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If you’re thinking of having a second child, consider this: your debt load could rise dramatically, according to new research released Wednesday from CareOne Services.

“For the last three years in a row, families moving from one dependent to two dependents saw around a 20 percent jump in outstanding debt,” says Mike Croxson, president of CareOne.

Mar 29, 2011
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You’re the boss now. Here’s how to deal

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All those years of climbing the corporate ladder have finally paid off: you’re the boss now.

But being the head honcho isn’t easy — just look at Michael Scott, the needy boss in hit TV show The Office, whose bumbling handling of being a leader and a buddy brings no shortage of corporate hijinks.

Mar 24, 2011
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My favorite stocks: Microsoft, Pfizer, Electronic Arts top list

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Fund manager Michael Levine is the first to admit Microsoft isn’t exactly winning any popularity contests these days. It hasn’t unveiled a sleek tablet or had blockbuster success with its smartphone. Oh, and Microsoft’s share price hasn’t seen anything near the meteoric rise of Apple. And yet, the tech giant is one of Levine’s favorite stocks.

“Simplistically, we like cheap stocks with good yield,” says Levine, who manages the Oppenheimer Equity Income Fund, a Lipper Leader in the 10-year performance category in the 2011 Lipper Fund Awards. “Here’s a company with a huge installed base … and they’re beginning to return more capital to shareholders.” The stock is trading at 9.6 times next 12 months earnings versus 25.5 times earnings for the software industry and 20.3 times earnings the overall tech sector.

Mar 9, 2011
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Can you pass a high school financial literacy test?

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When it comes to money, are you smarter than a high school student? Now’s your chance to find out.

Students across the country are taking part in the National Financial Capability Challenge, a voluntary test running from March 7 to April 8 aimed at ramping up knowledge in basic financial matters such as spending, savings and investing.

Mar 8, 2011
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We’ve come a long way, baby — but we have far to go

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Lara Pingue is a Personal Finance producer for Reuters.com. The opinions expressed here are her own.

A coworker recently sent me a YouTube video of a 5-year-old girl declaring to the world her intention to get a job before she gets married. It’s a funny clip, filled with the kind of urgency and drama only a pre-teen girl can muster. But something about it made me uneasy: Isn’t getting a job before marriage a given? Since when is this decision worth broadcasting on the Internet?

Mar 7, 2011
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Card balances could take 8 years to erase

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They say everything is bigger in Texas — and apparently that includes debt, according to a new ranking of U.S. cities with the highest credit card balances, released by Experian.

San Antonio tops the list with an average bank card debt of $5,177, a whopping 20.9 percent higher than the national average. Debt levels in San Antonio have stayed steadily high since 2007, despite an eight percent decrease in debt levels nationwide.

    • About Lara

      "Lara Pingue joined the Reuters online newsroom in August 2007. Before that, she reported for a national newspaper for financial professionals and freelanced for several Canadian publications. Pingue majored in Magazine Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto."
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