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Wal-Mart CEO: Recession Has Changed Consumers for the Better Suggesting that retailers are closer to working men and women than any other industry, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott addressed the public once more in his farewell address after ten years at the helm of the retail megastore. Scott offered a candid take on the country's current economy and where its going. Hes confident that the first half of 2009 will bring more of the same struggles for both retailers and consumers, and its his belief, as ... Princeton Review: Which Colleges Are the Most Affordable? Just because youre in a bind financially doesnt mean that youve got to settle your collegiate aspirations. The Princeton Reviews 2009 Best Value Colleges report suggests that there are a number of extremely reputable colleges and universities, both private and public, working hard to help qualifying students pay for their educations. The rating system starts with the sticker price of each colleges tuition, a figure that includes required fees and room and board, and then ... 5 Reasons to Buy a Home Now Theres a brief exchange I had a few years ago with a friends father that Ill never forget. We were sitting outside a Washington DC lunch spot talking about what I was going to do when I got out of college when I asked Mark, whos been a real estate developer in Maryland for years, whether or not real estate would forever exist as a lucrative business. His answer was short, but it explained every ... Recent Gas Price Hike Could Forecast the Future Gas prices rose for the sixth consecutive day Monday, putting the national average at $1.842 a gallon. Its a figure thats 3 full cents higher than Fridays figures. Gas Comparisons Over the Last Year Despite the temporary jump in prices, gas is still selling for 39% of what it sold for last January and 55% less than this summer when gas prices reached record national highs of $4.114 a gallon on July 17. Only Alaska, Hawaii, California and Washington currently have gas ... Quick Exchange Rate Tip for Foreign Travelers If youre financially stable enough to have trips to foreign countries planned in the coming months you might want to be keeping an eye on the foreign exchange rates. The value of the American dollar has been in steady decline for the past few years, and current figures put the U.S. dollar in a very unfavorable spot. When stacked against the euro, the dollar was valued at $1.324 on Friday, $1.332 on Wednesday, and $1.318 on Tuesday. Against the pound, ... Are Republicans Risking Economic Collapse to Maintain Control? Just months ago McCain was dogging Obama as non-partisan. Just weeks ago Republicans were stressing the need for both parties to work together in order to pull us out of our financial downward spiral. Seems they have short memories. The first jab came just minutes after the presidential oath was flubbed. The Republican base was quick to latch onto the ridiculous Fox News claim that the flub somehow discredited President Obama's presidency. First red flag. Now as our economy ... Maximize Your Annuity Payouts Before Its Too Late If you were planning on holding off on making a charitable donation until after February, it may be time to reconsider. The American Council on Gift Annuities, the organization that operates under an exemption from federal antitrust laws and sets rates on charitable gift annuities, announced recently that they plan on cutting payout rates by as much as 15% for all annuities arranged after February 1. So how does this affect you? Every time you make a contribution of cash or ... Struggling Retail Industry Causing Major Slips on Wall St. That optimistic stock report we brought you a couple weeks ago is now officially old news. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped for the sixth day in a row yesterday, with its 250 point loss pitting the Dow at its lowest point since December 1. The same can be said about Standard & Poors 500 index, which lost 3.4%. The Nasdaq composite dropped to its lowest point since December 4. The New York Times Jack Healy attributes the figures to a gloomy retail ... Giving Obamas Stimulus Package a Closer Look President-elect Barack Obamas proposed economic stimulus package has garnered a great deal of hope and optimism from those being directly affected by the recession, but that doesnt exactly mean our countrys financial tide will turn on January 20 when the Illinois senator is sworn into office. In fact, Obamas camp has been quite tentative recently in their willingness to offer up a specific estimate of how many jobs could be created in the next year. And, ... Tax Returns Get User-Friendly This Year In light of the messy economic situation and the hardships our government is expecting Americans to endure in the coming months, the IRS has loosened its generally tight grip on the way it does business. Taxpayers should expect a little more leeway when it comes to paying their taxes, among other accommodations. Read and rejoice: The IRS will offer added flexibility for those who need to miss payments If youve lost your job or are dealing with ... Tax Questions to Ask If Youre Unemployed Those who werent working in 2008 should check out CNN Moneys Tax Tips for the Unemployed, a brief FAQ intended to help the aforementioned as we head into tax season. The six-part write up does a lot to answer any questions and concerns you may have about your taxable finances. CNN Money staff writer Jessica Dickler answers the following: Do I still have to pay tax if I was out of work in 2008? Do I have to pay ... Can You Avoid Higher Roth IRA Taxes? Attn: Retirees Yes, You Can Did you know you can switch your assets back to a more traditional retirement account if your Roth IRA isnt holding value? Its true, and CNN Money Magazines Walter Updegrave suggests the oft-overlooked tactic can be a smart move as our country looks toward whats expected to be a long-winded recession complete with Presidentially-revamped taxes. For example, Updegrave points out that your Roth IRAs value could take a huge ... Wells-Fargo Takes Control of Wachovia Wells-Fargo & Co. completed their $12.7 billion acquisition of Wachovia Corp. this past Friday. The California-based bank now heralds itself as one of the strongest financial companies in the nation and Americas #1 small business leader and can now lay claim to over $14 trillion in assets. The move puts Wells-Fargo in control of Wachovias 11,000 stores and 12,260 ATMs operating out of 39 states and does indeed make Wells-Fargo the nationwide leader in small business lending, agriculture lending, commercial real estate lending, ... Must Read: Bailout Cheatsheet The Trail of Tax Dollars CNNMoney.com has a great outline of where and when money has been allocated for this economic bailout were paying for in tax dollars. Check it out here. Were beginning to wonder what the figures for Citigroup loan-loss backstops and Auto industry energy efficiency loans will look like when alls said and done. Also, that unknown price tag for money market guarantees is something we're eager to see cleared up. There look to be four different ... 2009 Senior Savings Get a Boost from Congress Senior citizens across the country got good news in December when reports out of Washington stated that Congress suspended the law that requires those 70 ½ or older to withdraw funds from their retirement plans in 2009, even if they dont need the money. Traditionally, senior citizens have had to withdraw whats known as required minimum distributions, or RMDs, every year, with the price tag based individually on the IRA owners age and IRA balance on December 31 of the ... Wall Street on the Up and Up Good news coming from Wall Street today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 258 points, or 2.9%, to close above 9,000 for the first time since November. Standard & Poors 500 index gained 3.2%, and the Nasdaq composite rose 3.5%. Numbers have been rising since this past Wednesday but experts are remaining cautiously optimistic, according to CNN.coms David Goldman: Investors should brace for wild market swings as companies and the economy struggle to rebound. This past year was marred by horrid ... Milking the Declining Price of Dairy Products Like the auto industry in Detroit, Americas dairy industry is also taking a huge hit thats sure to affect your grocery shopping budget. The New York Times Andrew Martin reports: "In a warehouse that [Roger Van Groningens] company runs here, 8 to 20 trucks pull up every day to unload milk powder. Bags of the stuff surplus that nobody will buy, at least not at a price the dairy industry regards as acceptable are unloaded and stacked into ...