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Posts Tagged ‘My Blogs’

My Latest Personal Finance Articles

Over at my personal financial advice blog FinanceGourmet, I’ve been busy writing about everything from 2011 tax deductions to credit reports to investing.

As people file their taxes, they look for tax minimization strategies. While there are various actions you can take throughout the year to lower your overall tax burden, once December 31st rolls around, the only option most people have for lowering their taxes is to contribute to an IRA account. Of course, there are limits on IRA contributions, so that only offers so much relief. Otherwise, the best you can do is find every possible tax deduction you can.

When it comes to your credit report, there isn’t much you can do to manage it other than to pay all of your bills on time and keep your credit card balances from getting too close to their limits. (Credit line utilization is one of the big components of a credit score.) However, you do have to constantly watch your credit reports to ensure that negative information is not lowering your credit score without your knowledge. One of the easiest ways to monitor your credit report for free is with Credit Karma. I wrote a nice review of Credit Karma on Finance Gourmet after first determining that Credit Karma is not a scam. You can see my latest update where I delve into Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring service.

Lastly, this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average mananged to top 13,000 for the first time since 2008 when the housing bubble triggered the financial crisis and the stock market managed to drop all the way down to about 6,500 before bottoming out and recovering as economic indicators started to look better. But, what does Dow 13,000 mean? Is that nice, round number really worth anything, or is it just a lot of media hype?

Either way, it’s been a good time over on FinanceGourmet.com. Check it out.

 

What Does A Freelance Writer Do Exactly?

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve been a professional freelance writer for almost two years now. I haven’t had a “real” job in all of that time. Last holiday season most people nodded politely when I told them I was a freelance writer, or furrowed their eyebrows at me as if to ask if that was the same thing as being unemployed.

However, no one really asked much about it. In hindsight, I guess that they figured it was just some phase, or maybe just another person they knew trying (and probably failing) to start-up a small business because they got tired of the corporate world. Or, perhaps even more likely, they all figured that since my wife is a lawyer, that maybe she was supporting me and I was just dabbling in writing.

What a difference a year makes. My wife has dropped down to part-time at her job and we are planning on her quitting altogether some time this coming year. Couple that with the fact that this is the second Thanksgiving or Christmas in a row that I have given the same answer to the question, “So, what are you doing these days?” and people’s curiosity has peaked.

Follow up questions have become much more common this year.

The number one question about being a freelance writer that I get is, of course, “What is it that you write?”

This question, which used to only come from close family and friends, is the reason I started this little blog in the first place. I figured I could point people to this webpage if they were truly curious, and not just being polite. From here, they could follow whatever links they liked to my various writings around the web. It is less “business-y” than my official freelance writing business website, and less particular than my official freelance writing samples webpage.

The truth is, that most people are looking for an answer like, books, magazine articles, or even advertisements – something along the lines of, “You know that radio commercial for the Denver Zoo…” Ironically, I don’t really write any of that.

It turns out that I found clients for my freelance writing business fast and easy on the Internet. Since then I’ve earned plenty of money without pounding the sidewalk or banging the phones to find new “in real life” clients, so I’ve never really tried.

What that means, however, is that my answer about what I do leaves most people confused.

“Oh, you mean you build websites?” — Well, not complicated ones, but I do write content for big well-known websites. [More puzzled looks]

The major difficulty lies in the same place that it does when trying to find new freelance writing clients. If you have never worked with a freelance writer on a project before, you just aren’t familiar with how it works. Even the most astute can only get so far as to assume that my job is to do the writing when no one else has the time.

In the end, I don’t really try too hard to explain anymore exactly what value I provide as a freelance writer and instead just direct the conversation to things people can more readily understand, like I work from home out of a home office and my commute happens in my flannel pants. This immediately turns the conversation away from what I do and how I do it, to how lucky I am, and then, inevitably, how they should try it sometime.

Sigh.

By the way, if you want to check out some of my not-so-business writing that I get to crank out for fun and profit (sometimes) you can look at some of the Hubs published under HubLlama at HubPages.com

Initializing My Places Bar Post

September 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The blog I write at Best Hubris isn’t about computers, per se, but lately, it has seen a lot of posts from me regarding computer programs and the annoying things they do.

initializing-palces-bar-slow-to-save-reason-thumbFor example, my post about the window that pops up and says Initializing My Places Bar when you are trying to save something in Microsoft Office and ends up making you wait FOREVER just to save a simple Word document, came about after I got frustrated by the slow My Places Bar window and went looking for a way to get rid of it. Imagine my frustration when I found out that it was Microsoft that put it there and that they didn’t really tell you that they were doing it, or give you a way to easily get rid of it.

As it turns out, the post has been good for traffic at Best Hubris since there are a lot of people searching for how to get rid of the my place bar message, and not that many people out there talking about it.

As a writer, it is always nice to know that people are reading your stuff. It’s even better to know that your stuff is helping some people out.