Friday, August 27, 2010

Guest Post: How to Earn Passive Income At Home

Nearly everyone has the desire to earn extra income, I know that I did. My situation was probably similar to many of you. I was the stay-at-home and take care of the house portion of our large family. While I did not mind staying home each day and watching my husband go off to work there were a few things about having a job that I missed like earning money and feeling like I was contributing financially to the household. However, with a brood of children, I knew that the cost of day-care would not be worth my going to work outside the home. Instead my husband and I started researching ways for me to earn a few dollars on line, just to keep me a little busy.

If you want to work from home you first have to think about what it is that you are good at, in my case it was writing. Even though I stay home now I used to work and had a Master's degree so I knew a little bit about writing. There are tons of ways to earn money on line if you want to write, web sites like Elance, Textbroker, Ezine, and HubPages are great places to look for work or to post articles that you have written. In my case, the first job a found was from a webmaster looking for someone to write a blog about different reality based television shows. All I had to do was watch the programs and then write an interesting and opinion filled recap of the episode.

This first job was not at all difficult, but it did require a lot of time. Between watching the actual episodes and then writing the article I had to spend a lot of time on lock down in front of the television or computer screen. The lucky thing was that I could record an episode, and watch it late at night or during the day at nap time. This allowed me to continue taking care of the house and the family while still earning some extra money. This job was a great way to get my feet wet and learn a little bit about Internet writing. I did not make a lot of money at first, but that was alright with me. What was more important to me was to make sure that this was something that I actually enjoyed doing and to find out if I was any good at it.

If you are thinking about taking on an at home job I suggest following a similar path. Others might suggest that you throw yourself whole-heartily into your new at home job, but I prefer a more cautious approach. I went into my online job search expecting nothing. Even when I got a job, that only paid about $50 a month at first I knew that there was a possibility that it would not work out and that the pay was not going to be very much. I even referred to it as my "shoe money" so that it never was considered part of the family budget. In the end it turned out that I was pretty good at writing so I started taking on other writing jobs that I found at the previous mentioned web sites and eventually left that low paying blog job in favor of higher paying gigs.

You might be reading this thinking that you hate to write so maybe earning passive income from home is impossible for you. However, there are loads of at home income options that do not require you to write one single word. You can also do customer service from home. This is especially great for people who crave interaction with others. With these jobs you simply have wait for calls to come in from people placing orders for items or looking for customer service assistance. All you usually need is a reliable Internet connection and a phone line to get started in this lucrative field.

Data entry is another way to earn extra income and requires neither great writing or customer service skills. While this type of work can be a little bit repetitive it also has the benefit of requiring no special skills and allowing you to work whenever you want. Much like writing articles you can set up a schedule where you work in their early morning hours before the rest of your household gets up, after they go to bed for the night, or any other time of day when you can get an hour or two to focus on your work.

In my opinion, the best part about earning passive income from home is that you get to decide when you work and how much you work. If you want to add a little bit to the household income you only have to work a little bit. But, if you decide it is time to start working full time you can do that too, the choice is completely up to you. Just remember in the beginning to be both patient and cautious.

Be cautious about working for just anyone that you meet on line. Make sure that the person or company whom you are doing work for is reputable. Trust me, there is nothing more discouraging then not getting paid for a job. However, if that does happen do not give up, those who do not pay are truly the exception and not the rule.

Also, be patient. Do not start out expecting to make a hundred dollars on the first day or even in the first month. If you are writing, be willing to write a few things for a low price in order to build a strong reputation, once you have that you will be able to command higher rates. No matter what job you choose to do from home you will quickly find that you can earn a lot more money in a much shorter time then you ever anticipated. Before you know it you will be adding to your household income and feeling great about your choice to work from home.

About the Author
Timothy Ng is an experienced personal finance writer, specialising in credit card comparison. Check out his guide to best credit cards where he will step you through the process of finding the best credit card.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guest Post: Stock Investment Tips for Beginners

If you are planning to invest your cash then you need to have a stable financial base. Your priority task would be to pay off your existing debts, added to it save a decent amount of money from your income and control your expenses. In order to avoid any loopholes in the plan a guidance of a financial advisor is mandatory.

You need to have an excellent understanding about your financial condition. If you are still not aware then try to acquire more knowledge in the field of financial investment.

In case you are planning to invest your hard earned money in stock market then you need to study the stock market structure carefully. This article would share few tips for the beginners in the investment field so that you can glide in this journey.

Some Useful Tips:
  • Right financial education: The newbie in the field of investment should acquire enough domain knowledge about the stock market. Do an extensive research on annual report and market history in order to get better perception on stocks. You need to expand a wide range of knowledge in case of personal finance. So consult the experts in order to get right information on the investment theories. Keep yourself updated with latest news on finance so that you can analyze the market well.
  • Definite time for investment: If you are nascent in this field of investment then take some time out to trace the definite period for investment. If this is your first investment then take advisors guidance to make correct decisions. Once you start buying and selling stocks you would get a better knowledge on this field.
  • Logical approach: Always have a logical approach when you are dealing with stocks. As you are investing your money so you would always expect a successful deal. While investing get a fair idea about the investment plan where you are putting the money in order to get a positive result. Look for companies that are booming and has a good reputation in the investment market.
  • Look for a stock broker: If you are looking for a reliable broker only online searching won’t fetch you better result. Ask your friends and relatives who are veterans in this field to find you a trustworthy broker. Even if you have found one then verify his reliability from your friends and relatives as well as his market reputation. If you make a wrong choice in this case then you might land up in a soup.
  • Look for a reputable company: If you look for investment in a reputable company then you are bound to get reward for it. The success rates of the investment plans are quite high. If you are investing your hard earned money then you need to go for loyal and trustworthy companies.
  • Investigation is crucial: You need to collect information regarding the investment plan as it would help you to take correct decision. Try to get information from multiple sources and do a comparative study of the different plans as this would help you get a better result. In case you are evaluating the investment plan it would help you to trace the flaws in it.
  • Go for low risk investment: One of the low risk investments would be to invest in bonds. If you compare the returns of savings account with bonds then opting for later would be a better option. In this case your money is quite secured and would also boost quickly. As you would invest in low risk securities so you would reap a low income from it.

About the Author
This is a guest post by Kevin Craig who is a financial writer. He has helped lots of debt burdened people with free counseling and advices on many finance related topics.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Money Market Rates 8/10

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.35% Discover Bank Online Savings
1.29% Ally Bank Online Savings
1.10% HSBCAdvance Online Savings
1.10% ING Direct Orange Savings
1.03% Shorebank Direct Online Savings**
0.70% Citibank Ultimate Savings
0.65% Western FCU Money Market
0.40% Chase Plus Savings
0.30% E*TRADE Complete Savings
0.16% PayPal Money Market*

NOTES: *The PayPal Money Market fund is NOT FDIC insured.
**On Friday, August 20, 2010, ShoreBank, Chicago, IL was closed by the The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. The FDIC has issued a press release regarding this matter.

Rates are believed to be accurate as of 8/20/10. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list.

This month, Discover Bank Online Savings has the highest interest rate of the banks that I'm tracking. So, there is the latest list. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Problems With Blogger Polls

For a while now, there have been technical problems with some of the polls that I use in the sidebar of my blog. I have one poll about annual income and one about net worth in the right sidebar. In short, these polls have not been properly recording votes. In my post about annual income and net worth, I stated that there were already 93 respondents to the annual income poll. However, since I wrote that post, new votes have not been recorded and the total number of votes has actually dropped below the 93 that were already recorded.

I first noticed this problem when Blogger upgraded their "Template Designer" a couple of months back. The polls in Blogger are supported by Google. Some bloggers have complained about this problem in the Blogger help forum. But, judging by how Google is responding in posts like this one, it is clear that the polls are not working. Google doesn't really have a solution to the problem, and they are denying that any problem even exists.

In any case, this is a word of caution that my polls might not be up to date. Are there any suggestions for more reliable polling sites that I could use for my blog?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest Post: Simple ways to pay off your credit card debt

The total consumer credit card debt in the U.S. today exceeds a whopping $800 billion! Credit card debt can be crippling and lead to a lot of stress. This menace is almost like an epidemic today gripping a large number of people across the globe. Are you also one of the victims? If yes, then read on to know how you can avoid being in credit card debt.
  1. Assess your financial situation: First of all, you should stop panicking. Try to get a complete picture of your financial situation. Figure out how much debt you need to deal with. Prepare a list of your debts and prioritize them as paying the wrong debts could be costly. Tackle the balance with the highest interest rate first, when that one is paid off move on to the next highest interest rate.
  2. Prepare a budget: If you think that budgeting means financial handcuff, then you are wrong. On the contrary, it helps to inculcate a sense of financial discipline in you. When you are fully aware of your financial situation, you are less likely to overspend. Thus you keep yourself away from debt. Create a budget that will help you to stop relying on credit cards.
  3. Reduce your expenditures: You are in the process of repaying your debts; therefore cutting out on expenses would be a great idea. Look for ways to lower your phone bill, electricity bill, auto insurance and the like. Challenge yourself to restrict your expenditures for bare necessities. You will be surprised at the savings that you make after this. Now apply your savings to pay off your debts.
  4. Opt for low interest cards: Transfer your balances from high interest rate cards to the low interest one. Now you can make a single monthly payment towards this card. You are basically consolidating your credit card debts into one affordable payment. This way you are eliminating the need to manage too many payments at one time. While transferring your balance, do not close all your cards at once as this can affect your credit score.
  5. Increase the monthly payments towards your balances: Now that you have started paying down your new consolidated balances, double the minimum payment you were paying on the old balances. Avail yourself of the low monthly interest and pay more in order to reduce your total debt.

Keep these points in mind to ensure that you stay away from debts forever. Clearing off your debts completely takes time and you should be patient. Determine to take a pro-active approach and then even you can proudly live a debt free life!

About the Author
This guest post was written by "Jack Reed". He writes on various financial topics with a special focus on bankruptcy. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact PF Stock at the Email address listed in the sidebar.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

S&P 500 Video

I have recently figured out how to embed videos into my blog thanks to the folks at (pronounced "I know"). This video is about the Standard & Poor's 500. More specifically, it is about the battle between the Bulls and the Bears, and analyzes whether the S&P 500 and the general stock market will move up or down. uses Trade Triangle technology for technical price analysis of the stock market. You can view this video without leaving PFStock.

This short video talks about the price movements of the S&P 500 over the past couple months. The presenter, Adam Hewison, shares his views on the stock market. I think you'll find this video technically interesting as well as educational.

When I viewed the video, I noticed that it appears a bit grainy unless you view it in full-screen mode. The embedded video also seems to slow down the loading of blog pages slightly. So, I'll try not to publish more than one video at a time. Please Email me, or leave a comment if you have any difficulty viewing the video. At the end of the video, you can click on the video for a Free Email Trading Course offer. I encourage you to sign up for this since it is free.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate and member of Although I have been able to make money using their MarketClub product, no guarantees can be made. All investments involve risks, so please consider your objectives wisely before investing.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pay The Early Withdrawal Penalty?

When you hear the term "Penalty" as in Early Withdrawal Penalty, do you automatically recoil thinking that if you have to pay a penalty that you have done something wrong, something bad? I am here to tell you that one alternative to keeping your cash in a low-yielding money market account or short-term CD is to get a long-term, 5-year CD now. Then "pay the penalty" if you need to withdraw the money, or find a better interest rate later.

I recently opened a 5-year Ally Bank High Yield CD that yields 2.94% APY. Some people may think that it is not a good idea to lock in such a mediocre interest rate for 5 years since only a couple years ago, these interest rates were in the range of 4-5% or higher. However, the rate currently being offered by Ally is much better than any short-term CD or money market available.

The second part of the equation is that Ally Bank charges an early withdrawal penalty of 60-days simple interest if you close your account prematurely. I did some research and found that this is one of the lowest early withdrawal penalties available.

If CD or money market rates go back up to the 4-5% range, I intend to close my CD account, pay the penalty, and establish a new account at the higher rate. I already did some back-of-the-envelope calculations that show I would be much better off doing that even after having to pay an early withdrawal penalty.

Let's take a quick example of a $10,000 CD and for simplicity, round off the interest rate to 3% instead of the 2.94% offered. Assume that you deposit the $10,000 in a 5-year CD, but have to withdraw your money after a year to handle an emergency. At 3% simple interest, you will earn $300 before the penalty. Sixty days of interest equals about $50. So your actual return for the year would be $250, or 2.5%. Even with the penalty, the 5-year CD beats out the typical rate on a 1-year CD (which currently yields about 1.5%) by a wide margin. Another point is that the $50 penalty is tax-deductible as an above the line deduction. (This is line item #30 "Penalty on early withdrawal of savings" on form 1040).

The main risk of a long-term CDs is the chance that interest rates will rise and you’re committed to the lower rate until the CD matures. But with a small early withdrawal penalty, if rates rise significantly, you can still consider withdrawing the money, paying the penalty, and putting the money back into another account with a higher interest rate.

Disclaimer: The example provided here is for illustrative purposes only. I am not providing tax or investment advice. I encourages readers to consult with a tax adviser if they have specific questions about how to deduct early withdrawal penalties on their taxes.