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The era of what this space often calls “sort-of” health insurance has been with us for some time now. “Sort-of” health insurance, best exemplified in recent years by policies sold through exchanges under the banner of the Affordable Care Act, is characterized by expensive premiums, as well as enormous deductibles. The combination of costly premiums with impossibly-high deductibles has left those maintaining such policies to essentially have health coverage merely in theory; while they technically have insurance, the functional utility of the coverage is minimal, at best. Enter a new era in health coverage, one that has arrived precisely as... Read more →

If you are a regular reader, you know that I dropped cable TV about five years ago. Thousands of people have visited our website and downloaded our free 17 page report on cable TV alternatives. You can download this PDF report for free (right click here and select a location to to save the report to your own computer). The good news is that it is now easier than ever to replace cable TV with one of several streaming services. When I dropped cable TV years ago it was more of a patchwork to put together the channels I wanted.... Read more →

Our team at was moved when we read the story of a grandmother that came up with an amazing way to pay for a trip to Disney for her grandson and herself. She joined, a website that pays people to complete small tasks, such as taking surveys, watching videos, participating in focus groups, checking out free samples, and even browsing the Internet. They even have a mobile app that allows you to earn Swagbucks while you are away from your computer. I love the idea of having something productive to do while waiting in line at the grocery... Read more →

Years ago we had what I called a 'family bank' at our house. It took many forms, but most often it was some kind of a mason jar that I dumped my spare change into at the end of each day. The money would build up into a surprisingly hefty sum after only two to three months. My children used to watch the jar filling up, and when the time seemed right they would say, 'Hey, Dad can we cash in the family bank?' When that day came, we would dump out all of the coins into a plastic bag... Read more →

Yes, you read the headline right, there really is a bank with no fees. A couple of interesting stories crossed my desk this week. First, as part of her research, a university professor went to work as a teller at a check cashing service. Yep, one of those services that charges you to cash checks. Services like this are used primarily by the so called 'unbanked' population. These folks that don't have a banking relationship are typically viewed as being exploited. As a result, there have been many campaigns to try and 'help' these people by bringing them into the... Read more →

My wife and I took a few days over the Christmas break to embark on a driving vacation. We made several stops along the way, but perhaps the most interesting and enjoyable, was our day at Dollywood. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I don't drive a pickup truck, and I rarely listen to country music (forgive the stereotyping), but I wanted to check it out for myself. Dollywood was so gracious to offer two media passes for our one day visit. Being a financial guy, I did a little research on Dollywood as a business, and... Read more →

2017 Update - I am turning 52 on Monday January 23, so it is time for my day of free birthday meals! The list of free birthday meals in this article is by no means 100% complete. You may find many local restaurants (not chains) that offer a free birthday meal. Also, since I live in Florida, there be be chains in other regions of the country that I have not listed here. What is becoming more and more the standard is that you need to be signed up in advance through the restaurant's website and receive your free meal... Read more →

Wow, a new report by insurance analytics firm ValChoice concluded that over the past five years Americans overpaid for auto insurance by a whopping $101 billion dollars! The report also provided the simple reason why: some auto insurers have more profit built into their premiums than others. Specifically, auto insurers that operate as mutual insurance companies came out on top. A mutual insurance company can be compared to the business model of a credit union, and exists to serve its members, not to earn a profit for shareholders. Consumer Reports lists USAA and Amica Insurance as their two top picks.... Read more →

Is Cyber Monday still a thing? That question has been asked more frequently in recent years, as retailers, in a breathless effort at corralling as many customers as they can, however they can, have been going further than ever in making in-store Black Friday deals available to online shoppers. According to early data, while Black Friday sales results this year are expected to be the biggest yet, much of that will be attributable to the enormous growth in online sales made during the day originally designed to bring foot traffic into retail locations. According to Adobe Digital Insights, online Black... Read more →

When Donald Trump was running for president, one of his most prominent campaign promises declared that he would “repeal and replace Obamacare.” That may not be happening now. In fact, it seems very likely that while there may be some modifications to the Affordable Care Act, the law itself will remain intact. Trump has actually been saying for some time now that he has every intention of hanging on to two of Obamacare’s most notable provisions – the ability of adult children to remain on their parents’ plans, and the mandate that insurance companies must make coverage available to those... Read more →

Well, we have all done it - bought a lesser known brand, or even a 'generic' version of a product to save money. I know that I would do this more if I had a way of knowing that I was actually getting an item of similar quality for the money. 'Branding' is a big buzzword today in the marketing industry. Companies spend millions on brand identity, but why should you as a consumer pay more just because a brand is buying ads during the Superbowl? Take for example the GoPro Hero 4 camera that is going for about $300... Read more →

Most tend to think of the problems with having poor credit in terms of the higher interest rates charged, or even the inability to be approved at all for a home or auto loan. As you may have heard, many employers nowadays make a review of your credit a standard feature of the screening process, as credit history has come to be seen - fairly or unfairly - as a measure of your personal integrity. This means that your checkered history can not only stand in the way between you and a competitive, money-saving interest rate, or approval to buy... Read more →

Our daughter, Faith, is now a senior in college and has been driving one of our family vehicles that has over 200,000 miles on it. The air conditioning went out this summer (and was too expensive to fix) and it has begun to have chronic repair issues. So, we have been kicking around the idea of helping her purchase a newer car. As you may know, I am an advocate of buying cars that are two to three years old with less than 50,000 miles on them. I have found over the years that this is the 'sweet spot' in... Read more →