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If you could get a check every month from now through the end of your life, how much would you be willing to pay? Like most other investment decisions, it depends on the size of the check and the initial cost. This is far from a hypothetical scenario, though. Most financial institutions offer this exact deal. They call it an "immediate annuity."

While most people were safely home for the holidays, the Department of Education released a terrifying new report: The estimated cost of college education in America is $62.6 billion. That seems like a staggering number until it's compared to how much the federal government spends on making college education affordable. The total of the grants, tax benefits, work-study opportunities, and loan subsidies provided by the federal government is $69 billion. That's right; America spends more money making college affordable than college actually costs.

If the current economy is forcing you to take a closer look at your finances, you may be surprised at how much extra money you are spending each month on items that could otherwise be earning you money. Many people have an unhealthy set of spending habits that could be causing unnecessary stress. There are several ways to reduce your spending, without giving up the things you enjoy. Here are some personal finance tips that can help to build your credit union savings account, instead of draining it each month:

Except for Veterans Administration loans, it still generally takes some cash up front to get into a home. How much cash you'll be required to have up front depends on the type of mortgage (whether FHA or conventional) and your personal financial situation. The better your credit, though, the lower the down payment the lender will typically expect.

Ever notice how many people walk down the street completely engrossed in their smartphones and tablets? I fully expect to see one of them to walk into a light post one day.

Here are a few considerations before purchasing a rental property.

Financial health, like physical health, requires regular examinations. Here are five questions to ask yourself annually, in order to diagnose problem areas early and keep tabs on your overall well-being:

Did you know: 38% of consumers have no life insurance and one third of consumers believe they do not have enough life insurance.*

Which type of auto loan works best for you and your situation?

I'm a frugal fanatic , and saving a buck on day-to-day items like groceries and bigger purchases like electronics is basically second nature to me. I take the rule of spending on "needs" but not "wants" to a new extreme. But when it comes to major expenses and long-term purchases, it's tough to feel frugal in the face of high price tags. It's a completely different side of the savings game: The art of negotiation. I was surprised to learn how much room for negotiation many sellers have, and if you don't know when to ask for a discount, you could be losing thousands of dollars. Here are seven types of expenses you should always negotiate down on.

How will you pay for long term care? The sad fact is that most people don't know the answer to that question. But a solution is available.

If the memory of hours spent hunting for and organizing paperwork to file your taxes is still fresh, think about doing some financial spring cleaning so next year's tax preparation won't be such an ordeal.

For decades, millions of kids have faithfully followed the adventures of their favorite comic book superheroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men - sometimes well into adulthood. Although often considered pure escapism, comic books also can serve an educational role - whether it's teaching the principles of science, demonstrating right vs. wrong or even helping kids learn how to read.

Prior to the Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA), if you wanted to keep your 457 savings growing tax deferred after you left your job, you only had two options: a) leave your plan with your former employer, or b) transfer it to another 457 plan if you went to work for another government employer.

Safe deposit boxes are typically offered through your financial institution and can be used for a wide variety of items. Some people choose to leave their important documents such as a Social Security card, birth certificate, passport or even old coins and bills. If you're considering renting a safe deposit box to keep your valuables, family heirlooms or important documents, here are a few things to consider before you rent one.

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