Alpha Consumer

February 2011


Money Tips for College Students

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College often means independence, a packed social calendar, and wacky classes in art history and political science. It’s also when many people experience their first credit cards, budgets, and debt. That makes it a good time to make sure you’re starting off your financial life on the right track.

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personal finance

The Truth About Target-Date Funds

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Target-date funds, which shift into more conservative asset allocations as investors age, have been hailed as the easiest way for people to keep their portfolios balanced over time. They’ve also been criticized for their fees, allocation choices, and losses. The personal finance queen herself, Suze ...

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personal finance

A Guide for Stressed Working Parents

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Before becoming a working parent myself, I didn’t really grasp the challenge of combining a career with family life. After all, don’t you just send your happy child off to school during the day while you pursue your professional life, and then gather around the dinner table for quality time at ...

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personal finance

The Dangers of Avoiding Credit

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My 25-year-old coworker thought she had done everything right when it came to protecting her credit. She paid off her student loans early. When she does use a credit card, she pays it off in full each month. And she’s never been late on a monthly bill. Her credit score was over 750, which is ...

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personal finance

3 Secrets to Living with Your Parents

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Shortly after landing my first entry-level job after graduate school, I moved back home with my parents. It wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it helped me save a decent amount of money on a tiny salary. It also gave me the chance to live at home with my parents and sisters one last time before starting ...

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personal finance

When You Earn More Than Your Parents

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Earning more money than your parents, feeling like no one ever taught you about money, and being the first family member to graduate from college are just a few of the experiences that define what it means to be “first generation white collar,” says author L. Marie Joseph. Mainstream financial ...

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personal finance

How to Be Thrifty

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In Generation WTF, sociology professor and self-help expert Christine Whelan offers up a game plan for overwhelmed 20-somethings who aren’t quite sure how to get their lives, money, and careers together. Whelan writes that thrift is a lost art that recent college grads can use to their advantage,

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personal finance

The Biggest Money Mistakes Couples Make

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As recently demonstrated by Camille and Kelsey Grammer, not talking about money before marriage can be expensive—especially for multi-millionaires. But it can also be costly for the rest of us. Deciding in advance how to handle debt, conflicting spending habits, and joint bank accounts can prevent ...

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personal finance

5 Tips for New Economy Entrepreneurs

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Recent college graduates frustrated with a slow job market are increasingly deciding to take matters into their own hands. A recent HarrisInteractive online pool found that over four in ten 18-to-24-year-olds have considered starting their own small business. But before plunging thousands of ...

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personal finance

Money Tips for Young Lawyers

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It would be easy to assume that young lawyers have little to worry about when it comes to money. Recent law school graduates can command high salaries and they’ve studied contracts, estate planning, and other financial technicalities. Why, then, do young lawyers so often struggle when it comes to ...

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personal finance

Money Tips for Young Doctors

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For all their potential earning power, young doctors also face unique financial challenges: How and when should they start paying off their massive student loans? How can they best manage a relatively low income early in their careers, while anticipating a higher salary later? When can they afford ...

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personal finance

Hollywood Video Debt? Not So Fast.

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If you get a phone call from a debt collector who says you owe money on your old Hollywood Video account, don’t be too quick to pay up.

Thousands of customers have received such calls, including a former coworker of mine who received a letter saying her family owed $162 on videos that were never ...

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personal finance

What You Need to Know Before Filing Taxes

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It’s that time of year, when tax forms start arriving in the mail and you know that one day soon you’re going to have to devote a Saturday to crunching some numbers for Uncle Sam. To make matters a little more bearable, we tracked down Eric Smith, IRS spokesman, for answers to your most pressing ...

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personal finance