A lot of factors affect real estate prices, including interest rates, inventory, local foreclosure and short-sale rates, and even natural disasters. This year, as it was during the Great Recession, underwater mortgages and the potential foreclosure rate is a concern. Being “underwater” or “upside down” means that you owe more on your mortgage than the…

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The 401(k) originally began as a company profit-sharing plan. Companies had been funding defined benefit pensions for years, but as their annual profits and stock prices experienced volatility, they looked for ways to share that burden with employees. Through profit sharing, workers made money when the company did and made less during down years. While…

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