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  • Will the Obama Administration Side With Debt Collectors?

    Column Blog 

    With the Supreme Court in flux, the highest authority in U.S. law has punted a landmark case over to the executive branch, effectively asking it to decide whether debt collectors can charge interest rates so high they’re deemed illegal in some states. In Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC., a debt collection company purchased the plaintiff’s charged-off debt, but the plaintiff resided in New York state where the usury limit is 25% annually. The complaint was […]

  • Homeowners

    6 Things You Need to Investigate Before You Buy a House

    Mortgages Personal Finance 

    If you’re in the market to buy a house, you already know you need a real estate agent, a mortgage lender, a down payment and, well, a house to buy. While finding the right house can be a tough but exciting challenge, it can also be full of heartbreak. You might find a beautiful home, but, surprise, it needs a lot of expensive work you didn’t initially see — a new roof, a new furnace or a tall fence since […]

  • Tax return

    5 Things You Can Do Now to Get a Tax Refund Next Year

    Personal Finance 

    If you aren’t getting a tax refund this year, it might be a good idea to sit down now and figure out what adjustments you can make to ensure you do get one next year. Here are five things you can consider to help make that happen. 1. Adjust Your Withholdings If you’re truly looking to get a payout come April, you may want to adjust your withholdings with your employer so you pay more […]

  • Housing wealth

    Can’t Find an Affordable Home to Buy? Here’s Why

    Personal Finance Money 

    If you’ve been searching for a new home, whether to buy your first or “trade up” into a larger or fancier home, chances are you’re having a hard time finding suitable options. That’s because availability of starter (median price $154,156) and trade-up (median price $267,845) homes on the market has decreased over the past four years all across the country, according to a new quarterly report on the supply and affordability of homes. The Trulia Inventory and […]

  • Fraud

    A Tax Fraud Survival Guide

    Personal Finance 

    Despite tales of highly sophisticated, fluid-fingered cyber ninjas working tirelessly to penetrate heretofore impenetrable, firewalled, super secure databases, many identity thieves actually have a pretty easy job getting what they need to make a killing. The number of people out there with tight personal cyber security is fairly limited — those who only go online via virtual private networks (VPNs) and communicate solely via encrypted email and messaging apps. They aren’t so easy for the […]

  • Tax return

    Bernie vs. Hillary: How Do Their Tax Plans Really Stack Up?

    Financial Literacy Politics 

    Tax policy is a crucial component of any political campaign, but as important as taxes are to many voters, they’re not easy to understand. Expert analysis comes in handy, but due to the complex nature of tax policy, even that can be puzzling. Take, for example, recent joint research from the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. Researchers from the left-leaning think tanks’ tax policy centers assessed the tax plans from Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and […]

  • Medical history

    You Aren’t the Only One Who Knows What Meds You’re On

    Personal Finance 

    Most people expect their medical data to remain in just a few hands — their doctor, their pharmacist, their family, etc. — but prescription medication data can be shared with a number of companies you may not expect. Consumer Reports reminded readers last week that prescription drug data can be shared not only with your pharmacist, but with the pharmacy chain, data miners and insurance companies. These companies use the data to send you ads for medical […]

  • Election Scam

    One More Thing to Hate About Election Season: Scams

    Politics Consumer Protection 

    In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s an election year, and with that comes the onslaught of election-related phone calls, emails, snail mail, campaign signs, TV ads, radio ads … yeah, it’s enough to make you stop paying attention. But within that onslaught are things you do need to pay attention to: The scammers that are hoping you’re too fatigued or too naive to notice that they’re not on the up-and-up. They want to lift your […]

  • Your Identity Portfolio Can Make or Break You

    Data Security Identity Theft 

    No matter how good or lucky the investor, no one beats the market 100% of the time—unless, of course, you are Bobby Axelrod. There is, however, an investment portfolio that is somewhat more predictable. It works along similar lines, but it is possible to exercise significantly more control over it than equities. I’m talking about your identity portfolio. I’ve written elsewhere about your credit portfolio, which can be a wealth-builder or a weapon of individual […]

  • What to do if you're audited

    What to Do Immediately If You’re Audited

    Personal Finance 

    Unless you’ve intentionally done something wrong on your tax return, chances are you’re not going to get audited. The Internal Revenue Service’s 2014 Data Book shows the overall audit rate for individual taxpayers was under 1% of all returns filed. IRS audits fall into two categories: Correspondence audits, which typically just look to correct a filing error and can be handled by mail with an IRS agent; and field audits, which take place in person […]

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