Photo By Ryan Sommas

Whether you are a renter, a first time buyer or an empty nester searching for your retirement home, green real estate – an increasing trend in the real estate market – can save you money in the long run. While green real estate might cost you more upfront, you will certainly see a return on your investment with your reduced monthly bills. From community gardens to solar chimneys to geothermal heat and cooling systems, there are many ways in which your green real estate will help save the environment and your wallet.

Three Ways Green Real Estate Can Cut Down on Your Monthly Bills

  1. Community Gardens – A community garden, a green real estate amenity, at a condo complex in New Jersey is saving its tenants some cash on their grocery bills by allowing the occupants to grow their own produce. Jennifer Finotti and her fiancé, Scott

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Photo By Leoncillo Sabino

Approximately 46 million people are uninsured in the United States and are greatly in need of affordable comprehensive medical care. The new health bill that was passed into legislation by the Obama Administration in March of 2010 is the most far-reaching health regulation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. Of the 46 million who are uninsured in the United States, five groups could benefit the most from affordable health insurance. By 2019, the new health bill aims to expand health insurance to these five groups of Americans and to nearly 32 million people.

Five Groups of Americans who could Benefit the Most from Affordable Comprehensive Medical Care

  1. 1. Age group: 18-24 – Americans, ages 18-24, are the age group that is the most uninsured and would benefit the most from affordable health insurance. Under Obama’s new health bill, this age group will now be allowed to stay on their parents’ policies until they turn 26.

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Photo By Andres Ruedas

It’s no secret that Better Businesses Bureau are not fans of debt settlements companies. According to the Better Businesses Bureau, most debt settlements companies do not do what they’re supposed to do, which is ensure that creditors are getting paid as agreed to by the consumer.  This would be a serious problem if it were true in most cases.

According to The Association of Settlement Companies, the Better Businesses Bureau “felt that the creditors had a right to get paid and that debt settlement obstructed that right. Included in this general line of thought was that debt settlement companies tell consumers not to pay their debts or that the business model ‘educates’ consumers not to pay their debts.”

Unfortunately for the Better Businesses Bureau, this could not be less true of most of the debt settlements companies out there today.

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Kinds of Lawyers - Joshua Just

Pick wisely! (photo: www.sxc.hu)

The decision on what kind of law to specialize is likely causing a great deal of stress to those students on the verge of entering law school. While the majority will decide to be the kinds of lawyers that work on standard law specialties like construction or will and trusts, others will choose to take a bit braver route. These kinds of lawyers – those who choose to take part in newer and innovative fields – are the kinds of lawyers that are the ones will become leaders as they advance in their fields. What kind of fields offers countless opportunities to set precedence and assist in changing the way we function? Fields like health care, energy solutions, and insurance offer this and so much more.

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hidden bankruptcy fees

Okay, you already know that filing for bankruptcy is a very serious decision and not one you should make without studying up on and considering alternatives for. When doing so, it’s important to remember that there is no quick fix to bankruptcy as there are countless hidden bankruptcy fees, lawyer’s fee structures, court costs and all around annoyances that are associated with this “simple” way of relieving your debt. Here’s an idea of some of the bankruptcy fees you should expect when filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Fees #1 – Lawyers’ Fee Structures

Attorney Billing Still Applies to Bankruptcy!

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Joshua Just Lawyer Fee Structures

For anyone searching for information on how much a lawyer will cost, the lawyer fee structures seem like a complicated and often misunderstood process. However, rest assured that the number one lawyer fee structure (hourly rate) is pretty straightforward. Here is an explanation of how the different types of lawyer fees are generated.

Lawyer Fee Structures #1: Hourly Billing

Hourly billing is the most common way lawyer fee structures are set up and how most attorneys make their money.  The lawyers typically get paid an agreed-upon hourly rate for the hours he or she works on a case until it is completely resolved.  This is the most common practice of lawyer fee structures because it adequately assesses all the “behind the scenes” work that goes into the majority of cases – phone calls, research, analysis, etc – that are accomplished whether a case is won or lost.  Rates vary considerably per attorney. From lawyers.com:

“Rates may vary anywhere from $50 an hour to a $1,000 an hour or more…Hourly billing rates can often depend on a combination of the lawyer’s professional experience and reputation.”

In addition, law offices may also charge for the time of other legal personnel. For example, hourly billing rates for senior paralegals and legal assistants vary significantly.

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As political robocalls get flak from the FTC lawyers, who claim they’re in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, I’m reminded of when TASC sent an open letter to the FTC last fall after FTC lawyers gave testimony before the U.S. Senate on abusive telemarketing.

According to the FTC lawyers, consumers who signed up for the debt settlement services were charged money up front and promised it back if the callers failed to deliver at least $2,500 in interest rate savings. Instead of arranging reduced interest rates, the complaint states, the defendants sent consumers instructions to pay down their credit card debts early, thus saving money on interest. Consumers who complained and demanded refunds allegedly were denied outright, got the run-around, or had a $199 “nonrefundable fee” deducted from their refund.”

At the request of  FTC’s  government lawyers, a federal judge shut down the three debt settlement companies in question. Then the FTC lawyers went on to argue for stricter telemarketing laws, specifically for the marketing debt relief services.

The Joshua Just take? Joshua Just, an attorney and debt settlement specialist points out that those companies definitely weren’t acting on the up and up, and deserved to be shut down. But debt settlement telemarketing helps reach those who need help getting out of debt – it’s a viable way to let people know about services that are helping thousands of citizens with financial struggles. According to TASC’s letter, a recent survey by the organization yielded results that show that:

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Even though debt settlement companies have helped thousands of Americans get out of debt, trustworthy debt settlement companies often feel few and far between. In truth, the industry sometimes gets a bad rap. While my own company, Debt Logic, operates under very strict principles of clear and honest transactions, sadly not every debt settlement company does and a few bad apples can spoil the reputation of the bunch. As a consumer, one way to protect yourself from a damaging business relationship is to spot the red flags of a shady company.

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Want some of this?

If you watch the precious metal market (as I do) you might have read this Wall Street Journal article that the gold market in New York went up this week. Or maybe you just hear all those cash for gold advertisements flooding airwaves lately. Perhaps it has you wondering – why is the gold market on the rise?

Why is Cash for Gold on the Rise?

The issue has to do with our economic recession, and the fact that people are unsure what the future holds. Some economists argue that we’re in store for an inflationary period which will contribute to the devaluing of our currency. In times of inflation, even though money devalues, the value of the gold market does not fluctuate. Inflation has no effect on non-monetary items like gold and real estate, which could be used to secure goods if currency is unavailable.

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Consumer Debt In America

What does the credit crunch mean?

The most recent consumer credit statistics issued by the Federal Reserve show that nationwide total consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 5-1/2 percent in February 2010. In addition, revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 13 percent and non-revolving credit decreased by roughly 1.5%. Basically, this means there’s less credit available for people to use right now but when you look at the numbers, you might be tempted to think that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As of April 2010, the total consumer debt in America stands at roughly $2.5 trillion dollars. That’s approximately $8, 100 in debt for every person (including children) that lives in the United States. A 2007 study conducted by the National Association of Business Economics showed the combined threat of subprime loan defaults and excessive indebtedness posed the biggest short-term threat to the U.S. economy and we certainly saw the fallout from that in the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

So if the total consumer credit numbers declining, and there’s a little less easy credit floating around, you’d think most debters would use this time to reign in spending and focus on paying down their debt. Here’s why that’s not quite so easy.

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