In times of economic uncertainty, identifying a safe and secure environment in which to live, work and raise a family has undoubtedly become a much bigger priority for many Americans than before. In a survey released by Farmers Insurance Group in late December 2009, Madison Wisconsin ranked the third most secure place to live in the United States compared to the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

The rankings used in the study considered factors ranging from crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, threat of terrorism, housing market depreciation, foreclosure rates, air quality, life expectancy, and job loss numbers. In total, 379 U.S. municipalities were evaluated for the study.

The survey ranked the top 20 cities (or…

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Madison residents have long enjoyed the many benefits that the city has to offer. From easy access to numerous cultural and recreational activities to ample employment opportunities and beautiful homes to select from, the capital city of Madison Wisconsin is simply a beautiful place to live. According to a recent article in Men’s Health magazine, however, the city is also among the top healthiest places for men to live.

In the January/February 2010 issue of Men’s Health, Madison was listed as the second healthiest U.S. city for men. To determine rankings, Men's Health Magazine weighed 35 criteria including employment rates, air quality, commute times, life expectancy, death rates related to different health conditions, weight-related health issues and even…

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The biggest investment many people make is their home and in recent years that investment has turned sour.  Rapidly rising home values appeared to be a sure bet.  As home values went up and equity magically increased, many homeowners sought and were given second mortgages which left very little net equity.  

Like all financial bubbles, the inevitable crash has arrived.  A major cause was Wall Street's securitization of "sub prime" loans.  A great explanation can be found at  As housing prices fell, and as homeowners lost jobs or had other financial problems, their second mortgages and high interest rate loans combined to make many homes unaffordable.

One option to avoid unaffordable monthly mortgage payments is a short sale.  A…

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