From the monthly archives: May, 2015

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'May, 2015'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Do you buy lottery tickets?

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter May 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM Lottery tickets can be expensive…and addicting. According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, in 2014, $70 billion was spent on lottery tickets in the 43 states where lottery tickets are legal. That adds up to $300 for each adult alone. In fact, more people spent money on lottery tickets than books, video games, movie tickets, and sporting events combined. The average varies among the different states. For instance, in North Dakota, the average is just $36, but for number-one, Rhode Island, the average is $800. The lottery sets aside 40% of their revenue for state purposes such as schools, so winners of $600 or more must pay 45% of their winnings on taxes. Consider that 1/3 of poor households buy half of lottery tickets according to Duke University. In fact, ...

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Today, some advice on settling with your past due credit accounts.

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter             If you have one or more credit accounts that you are struggling to pay on time, there are a number of options to consider helping you resolve this terrible financial bondage.  First, do your best to pay your bills on time and pay them off entirely if you are able. If you have an unforeseen problem with your job, your health or your income is interrupted, other approaches may become necessary.  Second, your creditors are likely willing to allow you to pay off your debt by negotiating a settlement amount.  According to Sally Herigstad, a certified public accountant and the author of "Help! I Can't Pay My Bills”: “Paying the negotiated amounts is the fastest way to resolve your debts and be done with them. Because the creditors are already offering stee ...

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Need a tip to drastically save some money on your food expenses? Today I have a novel tip…

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter I recently read an article about a Cooking Co-op…Here is how it works according to the author, Dee Sarton Bower: Four families have gotten together to form a cooperative effort to cook for each other Monday through Thursday. They each have a designated day to prepare meals for the entire group.    Dee explains, “What makes our co-op work is that our families are about the same size and we have children with similar appetites. We also have similar lifestyles (busy!) and compatible tastes in food. Since we live on the same block, delivering meals is as easy as loading up the kids' wagons.”   Dee says that her Cooking Coop has helped her save between $200 and $250 a month. She says she also spend less time in the grocery store. Menus are set up weeks in advance. No more last minute expens ...

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Was Jesus a socialist?

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter                             A number of Christians mistakenly think that Jesus promoted the idea of centralized wealth redistribution.  This is not true and cannot be supported by Scripture.  As Dr. Larry Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education had this to say,  “The fact is, one can scour the Scriptures with a fine-tooth comb and find nary a word from Jesus that endorses the forcible redistribution by political authorities. None, period.” Dr. Anne Bradley, Vice-President of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics says, “Close study of Scripture reveals that there isn’t a discrepancy between faith and economics, nor between diminished government involvement and ...

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Could you live in a “tiny house”?

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter It may not be as crazy of an idea as it sounds. What exactly qualifies as a “tiny house”? U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a tiny house as one that is fewer than 320 square feet. That is room about 20’ long and 15’ wide that are generally hand-built, and constructed on a trailer.   So why has this becoming a booming industry? In most cases it makes living costs more affordable than buying or renting. A tiny house generally costs around $23,000 for approximately 186 square feet. The average starting price for a new home in the U.S. is $277,000 for 2,600 square feet. The cost of living in a tiny house is much lower. Electricity, heating and air, all cost less. ABC News did a recent feature on this growing trend and gave the three main things tiny house home owners say that they love best about it is Less time spent cleaning. It takes less than an hour to clean tiny home ...

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Do you rent your home? Be careful you are not paying too much….

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter   Recent Census data revealed that more than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities. That's the finding of an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. The number of such households has jumped 26% due to the Great Recession. The recession pushed more millennials, former homeowners who faced foreclosure and low-wage workers into rental housing. Since the end of 2010, rental prices have surged at nearly twice the pace of average hourly wages, according to data from the real estate firm Zillow and the Labor Department. Just as buying too much house can strain your budget, so can rent.  To avoid the trap of ever rising rental costs, here are some tips:   Consider negotiating a longer-term lease agreement if you are a “permanent ...

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Thinking of buying a used car? Here are some tips..

I think buying a quality, used car about 2-4 years old is a great way to save money…as long as you don’t get ripped off…Here is how to avoid it. First, determine what you can really afford. It is best to be able to pay cash. I once bought a car for $800 and drove it two years without any major maintenance issues. I sold it for $750.  That was one of the better deals I ever made on a car.  It was ugly, but it was paid for. Second, be well informed of the prices and values of the car you want. Use websites like Edmunds.com ,KBB.com or NADA.com, AutoTrader, EBay and Craigslist for the true market value so you come up with a feel for the price. Clark Howard recommends CarGurus.com, which lets you put in your zip code and the make/model of the vehicle you're interested in at their website. They'll comb through some 2 million listings available on published databases and rate the vehicles available for sale with notations of ...

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Crown Says Don’t exchange your Cap and Gown for a Financial Ball and Chain: Make plans to win the “Game of Loans”

KNOXVILLE, TN (05-15-15) – “Graduates across the country need to make plans to avoid a debt that may never go away,” advised Crown CEO Chuck Bentley. “Winning the ‘Game of Loans’ is possible, but too few achieve that victory.” Today, seven in 10 graduating seniors at public and private colleges have student loans, totally about $30,000 per student. And while many people don’t know this, bankruptcy is generally not a get-out-of-jail free card when it comes to education. “Just like home values collapsed when the housing bubble burst because loan amounts and home values didn’t match up, more and more graduates find that they can’t find jobs to pay for the degree they earned,” said Bentley. For making a plan for a debt-free degree or at least minimum loans, Crown launched a special website for students, parents, grandparents or anyone who wants to invest in a graduation gift that lasts a lifetime, where a number of on-line resources and u ...

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Are you adequately putting enough money aside for retirement?

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter If you feel you’re falling short on your retirement savings plan, don’t feel alone. One third of Americans report they are not saving much at all. A study by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald and Associates showed that 28% of Americans have only set aside $1000 for retirement; 34% say that they haven’t even started saving. A popular assumption is that to live comfortably in retirement one must put aside $1 million, but David Marotta, president of Marotta Wealth Management, says that $7 million is necessary to live without fear of running out of money. The reason for this is inflation. Marotta says, “Someone retiring now in 2014 with $1 million at age 65 can safely withdraw $43,600 a year. However, (because of inflation), today’s 20-year-olds will need over $7 million to have that same lifestyle when they retire. In 1970, they would only have needed $1 ...

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Are you adequately putting enough money aside for retirement?

Posted by Chuck Bentley Find me on:  Facebook Twitter If you feel you’re falling short on your retirement savings plan, don’t feel alone. One third of Americans report they are not saving much at all. A study by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald and Associates showed that 28% of Americans have only set aside $1000 for retirement; 34% say that they haven’t even started saving. A popular assumption is that to live comfortably in retirement one must put aside $1 million, but David Marotta, president of Marotta Wealth Management, says that $7 million is necessary to live without fear of running out of money. The reason for this is inflation. Marotta says, “Someone retiring now in 2014 with $1 million at age 65 can safely withdraw $43,600 a year. However, (because of inflation), today’s 20-year-olds will need over $7 million to have that same lifestyle when they retire. In 1970, they would only have needed $1 ...

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