tuition.gifCollege costs increase at about twice the inflation rate. Current increases have averaged 5% to 8%.

It is no secret that college tuition and expenses have been on a steady rise for many years. This has many families worried that they will not be able to afford to send their kids to college. Many even shy away from encouraging their children to dream of a college education. Trade skills are almost being forced on the younger generation. The daunting and staggering college costs are changing the way that we raise our kids.

Imagine if you were told not to dream. What if you told your parents that you wanted to be a doctor and they just had to turn you down? What does this do to the self esteem of a young child? Many families, college educated or not, struggle to keep up with housing costs and the cost of living in general. Saving for college simply is not in the cards for a lot more families than many would like to believe. What does this mean for the future of our country?

We are trending towards generation after generation of minimum wage and poverty level workers. What happens then? They can not afford college for their children and so the cycle continues. If you have been worried about affording college for your children, then there are some things that you should realize.

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college_degree_250x251.jpgAn education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. Student loans also provide a variety of deferment options and extended repayment terms.

Student and graduate loans are becoming more popular as student debt continues to rise and students seek alternative ways of dealing with it. The good news is that student or graduate loans are generally available without the need to show steady income or offer security. This is extremely helpful, as most students will not have either of these.

Student and graduate loans also come at relatively good interest rates, particularly having regard to the fact that they are completely unsecured. The thing to be wary of is that such loans may lock the student into a long-term relationship with the lender that may not be the most advantageous one.

Graduate loans on the other hand, are far more expensive than student loans. These loans are generally offered on graduation, when student loans are no longer available, to cover the costs of transition from student life to working life. This may include finding a new place to live, buying work clothes etc.

Graduate loans will also be used to pay off student overdrafts, which are offered to all students as standard features of their bank accounts. The point to remember is that while graduate loans are relatively cheap when compared to personal loans, they are far more expensive than student loans.

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Offshore investment is the keeping of money in a jurisdiction other than one’s country of residence. Offshore jurisdictions are a commonly accepted solution to reducing excessive tax burdens levied in most countries to both large and small scale investors alike.

Selected offshore domiciles are superficially viewed by some as havens used by to conceal or protect illegally acquired money from law enforcement in the investor’s country. Although this may be the case, legitimate investors also take advantage of higher rates of return or lower rates of tax on that return offered by operating via such domiciles. The advantage to this is that such operations are both legal and less costly than the solutions offered in the investor’s country – or “onshore”

Another reason why ‘offshore’ investment is superior to ‘onshore’ investment is because it is less regulated, and the behavior of the offshore investment provider, whether he is a banker, fund manager, trustee or stock-broker, is freer than it could be in a more regulated environment.

Offshore investing refers to a wide range of investment strategies that capitalize on advantages offered outside of an investor’s home country.

The most important advantage in offshore investing is that you can make a lot of money without paying almost any taxes. If the investor lives in a place where he pays taxes like most countries then he will only pay taxes on his dividend or interest made.

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There was this lady Hillybilly
Told Obama you look silly,
With your policies so dumb,
Just like your black bum,
And your small black willy.

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All Obama could do was have a big laugh and say “How silly can you get Hilly?”

425obamabarack041807.jpg“We won north, we won south and we won in between,” Obama told a roaring crowd, referring to his victories over Washington and Nebraska. “The Democratic Party must stand for change, not change as a slogan, change we can believe in.”

To deafening cheers Obama, 46, hammered home to party activists that he was the candidate of change, as he laid claim to the Democratic Party’s nomination and down the track the presidency.

Tomorrow’s contests have been dubbed the Potomac Primary, Obama, bidding to be the first black president, is expected to do well in tomorrow’s vote due to the large African-American population in the region.

Hillary Clinton was seen as the inevitable Democratic nominee. She has run a strong campaign, and been an impressive candidate, but much has changed in a short time. Instead of finding a clear path to the White House, has run into the rather extraordinary movement set in motion by Barack Obama.

In reflecting on all of this, I am reminded of a haunting line in one of Bob Dylan’s more memorable songs from the 1960s (Ballad of a Thin Man) It was written in the midst of the upheavals of that period, as the civil rights and anti-war movements and the just-dawning cultural revolution were converging into a social movement.

What is clear now, months later, is that the threads of Obama’s appeal and inspiration, woven together, spring from a powerful philosophy of change that has resonated across generational lines.

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In a bid to remain independent, Yahoo plans to reject Microsoft Corp.’s unsolicited takeover offer, according to reports on the Wall Street Journal’s web site.

Quoting sources familiar with the situation, the Journal reports that Yahoo’s board feels the offer of $31 per share “massively undervalues” the company. A letter spelling out the position is expected to be sent Monday. Yahoo also expressed concern that Microsoft’s offer does not account for risks to Yahoo should the deal be overturned by regulators.

The Journal source said the company would be unwilling to consider an offer below $40 per share, which would represent a $12 billion increase over Microsoft’s original $44.6 billion bid. It is unclear if Microsoft would be willing to increase its bid by such a significant amount.

The two companies have been in discussions about an alliance or merger for more than a year. Yahoo has long hoped to remain independent, believing it can reverse its fortunes and lift its flagging stock price.

In the summer of 2007, investors believed it was possible as well. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang replaced Terry Semel as CEO and announced he would unveil a new strategic plan for the company within 100 days.

“There will be no sacred cows and we need to move quickly,” he said. But, after the 100 days – and then some – passed, investor patience wore thin, driving the stock lower.

In late January, the slumping Internet pioneer reported a fifth-consecutive quarter of lower profits and warned of “headwinds” for 2008. Yahoo’s battered stock fell to a four-year low, below the $20 per share level, and Microsoft pounced.

Read Yahoo rejects Microsoft bid

wreck_logo227.jpgHow is it that very few investors can make real profits, grow their net worth and consistently beat the market? That’s because it often takes one or more of the following rare traits…

The vision to identify breakthrough products, leaders, and brands.
The knowledge to spot an undervalued gem in a sea of glass
The courage to buy and hold when others are running scared

Occasionally, you’ll come across an investor with one of these valuable characteristics. And it’s likely that person does quite well. But I can’t imagine a person who can offer all three.

That would take two very different and even contradictory approaches…Fortune favors the brave only!!

The global economy looks set for a rocky ride in 2008. But for investors with enough cash in their portfolios this year will offer many opportunities to pick up undervalued assets. Equities in developed markets look particularly cheap.

While economists believe that the US is already in recession, other parts of the world are still enjoying good growth. Nonetheless, lower corporate profitability, inflationary pressure decreased liquidity in international markets and the slow pace of interest rate cuts are likely to spell modest returns across many asset classes.

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wallstreetdrop.jpgNo matter how much you’ve read about trading, or how much experience you have as a trader, it is difficult to trade profitably in a volatile market environment like the one we are in now. A rising market is often perceived to reflect optimism and investor faith. Enthusiasm and rejuvenated interest in the markets rides high. Many investors have multiplied their money manifolds.

Now, is it time to quit? Will the bubble burst? The investor has many questions and very few options before him. Strategies for a rising market are crucial and much depends on the risk appetite of the investor.

Don’t sell into the panic. Don’t buy the greed. This is of course obvious to say, but harder to execute when it is actually happening. When you have extreme market conditions, the individual stock movements can be big and rapid, and they are not necessarily, and in fact, usually not at all, related to fundamentals or economics.

Will the upswing continue? This is a difficult question and much depends on the factors that contribute to the bull run. Many perceive the market to be over-heated and fear to set foot in it. Others view corrections as an opportunity to make quick money. But this calls for quick decision-making and considerable tolerance to risk.

The unfailing strategy is to buy great companies with long track records of rising stock prices and dividends. Pick them low and hold on. Over a long haul, such companies with good fundamentals will not fail you. It is not unusual to find some stocks faring poorly in a bull market and some doing exceptionally well in a bear market. A bull run implies a booming economy, low unemployment rate, high production of goods and low inflation.

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microsoft_yahoo_070724_ms11.jpgMicrosoft is buying when Yahoo is at its nadir rather than when it was ridiculously overvalued. Besides, when you think about it, what other company might make Microsoft’s short list to buy to stay in the game with Google. AOL? Spare me.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates offered California-based Yahoo! An unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.’s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets.

The offer – made when Yahoo’s share price had reached a two-year low – will be hard for Yahoo’s board to resist because the company’s financial outlook doesn’t instill much confidence. Luckily for Microsoft, it is probably paying half what it would’ve had to shell out a year ago, which is the main reason we’re seeing it.

Leading members of the committee scheduled a hearing on Friday after Microsoft offer. Microsoft and Google are locked in the equivalent of an “arms race” building up computing and storage capacity to accommodate more and more of the world’s web-based computing activities.

Microsoft’s bid to acquire Yahoo! is certainly one of the largest technology mergers we’ve seen and presents important issues regarding the competitive landscape of the Internet. Indeed Yahoo needs Microsoft’s protection and resources simply to as a brand, while Microsoft needs Yahoo’s Web-savvy to help it keep up with the ever quickening metabolism of high-tech.

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moneyjj.jpgLook at any bear market and even at its lowest point you will find stocks that do quite well. Similarly, in any bull market there are stocks that do poorly. It is true that market risk – the danger that a declining overall market may affect your stock – is real. However, investors who have done their homework know the difference between a general market decline and something wrong with their stock.

There’s this bit in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry and his friend Ron Weasely go into the dark forest and come upon a giant spider. When Ron, who is mortally scared of spiders, looks like panicking, Harry shuts him up with a stern “Don’t Panic.” A short while later, when the duo are attacked by a huge hoard of giant spiders, Ron turns to Harry and asks matter of factly, “Can we panic now?”

That’s the question that many people are asking about the economy, the continuing credit crisis in that country and the hastening collapse of the dollar. Back in August, when the sub prime crisis first broke, there was a worldwide panic but the US Federal Reserve stopped it by lowering interest rates and generally acting like it was determined to not let things get worse.

Lately, in a testimony before the congress, many seemed to suggest that the worst is yet to come and it could be a lot worse. They admitted that the credit crisis resulting from soaring defaults of sub-prime mortgages had become worse since it first broke in August. Bernanke predicted that growth would fall sharply at least over the next two quarters. He also said the crisis would worsen in the coming months and appeared to hint that the crisis on Wall Street could spiral into a full-blown recession.

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