100 Words On: Why It Doesn't Always Pay to Do It Yourself

With the current economic malaise continuing to strain household budgets, it’s no wonder that a growing number of people have decided to stretch their incomes by taking on more do-it-yourself tasks. As a result, thrifty folk from all walks of life are now boldly tackling complex and ambitious jobs that they’d never dream of handling in better times. Even so,  DIY projects can be financially risky too.

The bottom line: Do-it-yourself

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Black Coffee: Indespensable Job Advice for the Employed & Unemployed

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe…

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…

This week, the blogosphere was loaded with plenty of good advice for both the unemployed and the employed. If you’re currently looking for a new

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100 Words On: The Importance of Having a Financial Back-Up Plan

Everyday, people lose their jobs, become seriously ill, and suffer other hardships that strain their household finances. Even so, a sobering study by State Farm found that 55 percent of those surveyed don’t have a back-up plan for weathering a long-term financial crisis that may occur due to unexpected circumstances. I have three back-up plans: a) adequate life, health, home and auto insurance; b)  an emergency fund with six months

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100 Words On: Why Luck Is So Overrated

We tend to give “luck” far too much credit for people’s good fortune. Likewise, we often blame our own personal misfortunes on bad luck. While it’s true that luck is often due to pure chance, more often than not it’s the result of something we actually can control: our mindset. That’s why it’s no coincidence that the “luckiest” people tend to be optimists who are, by

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100 Words On: Why Personal Responsibility Is the Key to Success

Nothing is easier in life than to blame the other guy when we encounter problems. That’s because it takes real courage and integrity to look inward and take responsibility for all of the troubles that are a direct result of our own making. When we take ownership for every decision we make in life, we become powerful in the eyes of others. It also earns us trust and breeds opportunities.

The

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True Story: What Happens When You Can't Pay the Restaurant Bill

I didn’t eat out too often as a kid, but when I did, you can bet I almost always enjoyed it.

I remember Dad always used to joke that he didn’t have enough money to pay the restaurant bill. “Well, it looks like they’re going to make us go into the kitchen and wash dishes,” he’d say with a wry smile.

Hey, that always made sense to me.

Fast forward to last week.

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Quit Sniveling: How to Make Lots of Money Doing What You Hate

Readers: Nobody has written more guest articles for my blog than my good friend, the inimitable Mr. Credit Card. Today Mr. CC is going to entertain us with another of his always thought-provoking ideas.  By the way, Mr. Credit Card has just updated his business charge card recommendations for 2011, so please be sure to check them out if you’re looking for one.

by Mr. Credit Card

Those of you who follow

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How Misplaced Financial Priorities Lead to Lame Excuses

My 13 year-old son Matthew had a bit of a tantrum last week — okay, actually it was a full-scale meltdown — after he found out that I wouldn’t let him ride his BMX bicycle until he got the brakes repaired.

It turns out his bike brakes broke (try saying that three times in a row) the previous week while he was doing some complex stunt called, if I remember correctly,

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A Layoff Story: The Ant, the Grasshopper, the Honeybee & COBRA

One of my favorite fables attributed to Aesop is The Ant and the Grasshopper.  I mean, really; what’s not to love?

You know the story; the grasshopper spends all summer long partying it up like a rock star while the ant prepares for the coming winter by building a shelter and storing food for the winter.  Of course, winter eventually arrives and the industrious ant finds himself well-fed and toasty-warm while

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18 Fast Facts You Didn’t Know About Social Security Numbers

President Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act of 1935 in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

This weekend I was looking through the safe that holds all of my most important documents, like family birth certificates, insurance policies and the secret recipe for mom’s sauce, when I ran across my Social Security card.

Now I’ll wager that, if you poll a room full of people at a triple-keg

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