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I usually don’t need to hold a finger up to the wind to feel which direction the housing market is blowing. Or read the latest stat sheets to see if homes are selling or not. No, I have my own barometer to the health of the housing market. If my wife is constantly on her cell phone, it’s good. She’s a realtor. And her phone has been glued to her ear the… Read More

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Mortgage rates have dropped again to record lows on both 30-year and 15-year fixed rates. Freddie Mac reports the average rate for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.56%.  That’s down from 4.51% this time last year. The rate on 30-year loans has fallen to or matched record lows 11 of the past 12 weeks. The 15-year fixed rate fell to 2.86%. These rates are the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the… Read More

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Want some good economic news? Sure you do. Here it is: the nation’s long housing bust has ended, according to The Wall Street Journal. In its story “The U.S. Housing Bust Is Over”, the WSJ says: “The housing market has turned–at last …. the numbers are now convincing.” The WSJ reports that home prices are slowly rising, there’s an increase in sales of existing single-family homes, and housing starts are improving. And… Read More

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Christmas is next month, and by now, kids are starting to place their order for their gifts. But that can create stress and guilt for parents if their finances are tight. Does your child have a long list of gifts for Santa to fit under their tree?  Are they starting to ask for a few of their favorite (and expensive) things? Betty Casey, editor of Tulsa Kids Magazine, says,  “During the holidays it’s… Read More

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Recently, we’ve heard the word layaway this time of year, and it’s back for the holidays. It’s an old-fashioned way to buy something without going into debt.   Layaway is simply putting money down on something you want at the store.  The store then saves the item for you, allowing you to make payments over time, minus interest charges.  When it’s paid off, you take it home.  For consumers looking to budget… Read More

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Finding a job in today’s economy is hard work. Here’s one way to make your search a little easier. Earlier this year, the U-S Department of Labor presented its “Tools for America’s Job Seekers Challenge”. It was looking for feedback and recommendations from people on their favorite job websites. Now, the best-of-the-best can be found in one place. More than 16,000 people reviewed and recommended over 600 job search and career advancement… Read More

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The economy is struggling, jobs are being cut, and employees are laying low, trying not to draw attention to themselves.  You may think, “This isn’t the best time to ask the boss for a raise.”   Maybe it’s not out of the questions, as long as you’re prepared.  CnnMoney.com has 5 things to consider before asking for a raise: Don’t wait for a rebound in the economy. Instead make your move when you… Read More

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I’ll make this brief.  The economy is improving.  How do I know?   Men are buying underwear again.  MarketWatch reported that Hanesbrand, Inc. had an 8.2% increase in first quarter 2010 sales. Remember former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s underwear/economy comments?  Years ago he said that men’s underwear sales is an important economic indicator.  Bottom line, according to Greenspan, is underwear is the first thing men stop buying during an economic squeeze, because… Read More

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An oil-free, drama-free day on the beach in Destin. At least for the beaches near us. That TV news satellite truck I wrote about yesterday, the one that parked in our condo complex lot , left around 10:30 last night. Presumably right after the 10 o’clock news, and presumably to head west of here where some beaches are closed. Here’s a report from firstcoastnews.com: A six mile stretch of Florida coastline is… Read More

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The coast is clear, but the natives are restless.  That pretty well sums up Day 1 of our beach vacation in Destin, Florida. The oil is getting closer to these sugary white sandy beaches.  Many of the locals I talked to today say it’s now within 10 miles.  And they’re all worried… from the grocery store clerk to the beach chair rental guy… what it would mean to the environment and the… Read More

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Do you ever wish you could take back a mistake you make during a job interview?  I think we all have.  Careerbuilder.com is out with a survey of some of the most common mistakes people make during job interviews.  And some of the stupid ones.  Here are a few of the most unusual blunders reported by hiring managers: Candidate wore a business suit with flip flops. Candidate asked if the interviewer wanted… Read More

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