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  • Credit Card Interest Rate

    How to Score a Lower Credit Card Interest RateFinancial Literacy, credit, Personal Finance

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    The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first-time in nearly seven years this December, citing improvements in the economy. That means anyone with a variable-rate credit card might see their annual percentage rate go up. But you don’t have to weather the storm: Depending on your spending habits and financial health, there may be ways to score a lower APR in 2016. Here’s how. 1. Raise Your Credit Score A good credit score entitles you to the best […]

  • Responsible financial decision

    3 Smart Ways to Use Your Holiday BonusPersonal Finance

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    More than half of employers (54%) said they planned to give holiday bonuses in 2015, up from 47% in 2014, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. (Sadly, only 14% plan to give more than last year.) If you happen to be one of their lucky employees, perhaps you’re wondering how to put that cash to use. Fortunately, we have some ideas. 1. Sock It Away Study after study highlights Americans’ poor saving habits. Without emergency savings, you could […]

  • Tax return

    4 Last-Minute Tax Moves You Can Make on Dec. 31Financial Literacy, Lifehacking, Personal Finance

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    Why hello there, Procrastinator. I know you’re busy wondering how 2015 got away from you, but here’s some good news: 1. Clean Your Closet If you itemize deductions, you might want to take some time to round up unused clothes and household items, and donate them before Dec. 31. “Take a picture of what you’re donating, make a complete list of items and value, and get a receipt,” said Gail Rosen, a certified public accountant based in Martinsville, […]

  • Cyber thief

    2015: The Year in Data BreachesData Security

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    Every year at about this time, technology reporters typically recount the big computer crimes from the past 12 months and proclaim “The Year of the Hacker” or some such moniker. This year, it fits. Two years ago, the Target hack ushered in a new era of credit card theft awareness and ultimately helped inspire a big change in the way Americans use plastic. But as we all know, theft of credit and debit card information has a limited impact on consumers […]

  • Debt

    4 Ways to Jump-Start Your Debt Repayment Plan in 2016Financial Literacy, Lifehacking, credit

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    Paying down your debt is a popular and noble goal to work toward. Of course, getting to that zero balance is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are some ways you can make the task a bit easier and increase the odds you’ll stay on track. Here’s how to jump-start your debt repayment plan in 2016. 1. Keep Your Other Resolutions New Year’s can be a great time to rebalance your budget — which will in turn […]

  • Home ownership

    Why 2016 May Be A Great Year for HomebuyersFinancial Literacy, Mortgages, Personal Finance

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    The Federal Housing Administration continues its mission to help consumers realize the dream of homeownership. In today’s mortgage lending environment, there are three buckets of loan options available for borrowers, including conventional, FHA and jumbo loans. Of the three, FHA mortgages are significantly more flexible, especially in the following areas: Higher debt ratio allowance 3.5% equity Lower credit scores may qualify Spotty credit histories may be acceptable The fact that the FHA raised its loan limits in 188 counties nationally speaks […]

  • Credit Card

    5 Credit Card Mistakes You Repeat Every Yearcredit, Personal Finance

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    The approaching new year gives us all an opportunity to remedy financial mistakes — or at the very least, learn from them. But if you find yourself repeatedly visited by the ghosts of credit cards past, there’s a good chance you don’t know exactly where you’re going wrong. To help you break the cycle in 2016, here are some common mistakes consumers repeat every year. 1. Forgetting the Basics Credit cards come equipped with a lot of bells […]

  • Tax return

    5 Tax Mistakes Newlyweds MakePersonal Finance

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    If you said “I do,” in 2015, cut your cake and hopefully settled into marital bliss, how you file your federal income taxes is going to change in a big way. In order to avoid more than the usual headaches and frustrations that loom large around April 15, make sure you don’t do the following. 1. Trying to File as Single It might seem ridiculously obvious, but some people do get confused about this and cause […]

  • Scam Alert

    The Top Scams of 2015Consumer Protection, Review

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    Scams cost consumers more than $1 million this year, according to a roundup of reports by the Better Business Bureau. Since that figure only accounts for incidents reported to the BBB, actual losses may be even greater. The good news is 85% of consumers who reported these scams realized what was going on before it was too late. Then again, the best defense against scams is to know the signs. Most scams on the BBB’s list happened over the phone and involved asking consumers to […]

  • Data Security

    How Much Credit Monitoring Are You Entitled to After a Data Breach?Data Security, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    Given all of the big-name data breaches that have occurred during the past few years, there’s a good chance your personal or payment information has been compromised. There’s also a chance you’ve been offered some type of identity protection, usually in the form of free credit monitoring, by the company that suffered the breach. But how much (and what type of) protection are they legally required to provide? Well, chances are, the answer is zero. The […]

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