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Wall Street Investor Bernard Madoff Confesses to Running Pyramid Scheme Longtime Wall Street investor Bernard Madoff confessed last week to running a years-long Ponzi scheme thats believed to have swindled up to $50 billion in investments from more than thirty high profile individuals and organizations. The New York City based Madoff first told his children that he was deeply involved in a fraud in which he was receiving artificially high returns using money originally put up by investors. Most morally concerning is that Madoff targeted a wide variety of ... Identity Theft Where You Least Expect It It's no suprise that identity theft is a growing problem that causes billions of dollars of financial losses each year. By now, most of us are aware of "phishing" schemes and credit card "skimmers" and the common methods used by identity thieves. Unfortunately, identity thieves are working faster than most consumers, financial industries and retailers. Consequently, personal information is being stolen from places that wouldn't seem to have much to offer. Would you think to protect information here? medical ... Tax Documentation: What are you waiting for? It seems like 2 months is a long time but the tax deadline will be here before we are ready! By now, tax documentation from a variety of sources should be filling mailboxes across the country. Some taxpayers may already have all the information they need to get busy filling out the returns. Especially for taxpayers that are expecting refunds, now is a great time to get everything filed and get that money on its way back to you! Before ... The Beginning of a Budget Without question, a written budget is one of the most useful tools available for managing healthy finances. Creating a budget is a process, however, that demands patience and flexibility. Budgets are extremely personal and unique documents. Their creation and management is only effective when they contain accurate information about the specific finances they relate to. If you are creating a budget for the first time (or re-creating a budget after having let your last one slide), take time to ... How much are you worth? If someone put an actual "price tag" on you, what would it read? In other words, how much, in dollars and cents, are you actually worth? If you don't know the answer to that question, there is a way you can find out. A "personal balance sheet" is a financial document that defines the actual bottom line. Creating a personal balance sheet is not a difficult process. Here's 3 quick steps that will help you put one together today!A ... Many Happy Returns? Picture this...It's bright and early on Christmas morning. Santa has left bright, shining new bikes with matching coordinated helmets for the children. The Christmas tree lights are glowing and soft, holiday music is playing in the background. (It really could be a scene from a movie!) As the excited children are inspecting the new bikes and preparing to take them outside for a "test drive", they attempt to put the helmets on and find that they are the ... Money Motivation for the Middle of the Month Living on a budget is not nearly as difficult at the beginning and end of the month as it is in the middle. The days between the 10th and the 20th can be the most challenging for maintaining focus and discipline toward financial goals. These 5 strategies will help you stay motivated during the middle of the month when it can be the most difficult. 1. Update your records Budgets are powerful tools because they are right in front of you "... 6 Money Mistakes You DON’T Have to Make Where money is concerned, there are lots of areas that affect your finances that you cannot control - the stock market, interest rates, real estate values, etc. Likewise, it is easy to make mistakes with your money and trying to manage it successfully. No matter what your income, financial circumstances and goals, YOU have complete and total control over how YOU spend and manage YOUR money. Before spending it, read about these money mistakes that you don't have to ... The Identity Theft Alphabet Identity theft is a serious problem. Over 10 million Americans have already been victimized by this crime and there is the potential for millions more to fall victim to it. The terms and concepts listed below will help you become aware of some of the main components of this growing problem. A Adware - These programs are one way that ID Thieves are able to install programs that assist them with obtaining personal information. Annual Credit Report - The Fair ... DIY: 5 Steps to Becoming Your Own Financial Planner It seems that more and more people are talking about their financial planners these days. At times, it feels like not having a financial planner means that you are not serious about money or that you are just not serious about doing smart things with your money. I don't buy that idea! I think that it is possible to be VERY serious about your money without paying someone called a "financial planner" to give you advice that you can ... Put your article here… If you have an article that you would like to have featured on My Money Thinks, submit it for our blog carnival consideration. We are accepting articles related to all areas of personal finance and we want to read what you have written. SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Saturday, August 25, 2007 Links to accepted articles will be posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 ALL submissions should be sent to http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_2240.html We cannot wait to hear from ... What you need to know to write a budget It's one thing to admit that you need a budget but it's quite another to actually write one down! It can be intmidating to organize financial information in a usable format. If you are trying to create a budget with someone else, there are decisions that need to be made about philosphy and structure. The truth? Setting up a budget is hard work! Make it a little easier by finding out what you need to know before you start ... Creating a Financial Organizer Document: What do you have and where do you keep it? A couple of years ago, my husband had some serious health problems. After that experience, we spent some time re-evaluating our finances, wills and insurance to make sure everything was current. Part of that process was the creation of a document called a "financial organizer". It is a word processing document that lists pertinent information about our financial, legal, property and insurance records. It specifies what we have and where it is kept. When something happens to one or ...