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Personal Finance

TIps and advice on personal finance by Adam K Levin.


  • Tax return

    The IRS Is Beefing Up Security. Will Your Taxes Be Affected?Personal Finance

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    In the past several years, millions of U.S. taxpayers have experienced the frustration of attempting to file their taxes, only to find that someone beat them to it: Tax-related identity theft is a common crime, in which people use stolen information (mostly Social Security numbers) to fraudulently obtain tax refunds. Then, when the rightful owner of that Social Security number attempts to file taxes, the IRS flags the return as a duplicate, and consumers end […]

  • Credit Cards

    Why Kicking Debt Collectors Off of Your Credit Report Just Got EasierPersonal Finance

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    Deborah is trying to clean up her credit so she can purchase a home. But it’s not proving easy. In particular, three collection accounts are causing major headaches. “One has listed a collections agency no longer in service, One collection agency will not return my calls. (left messages) and one has false info on it,” she writes on the Credit.com blog. Dealing with collection accounts on your credit reports can sometimes be a long, frustrating […]

  • Do You Really Understand Your Mortgage APR?Personal Finance

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    Everyone wants to know they’re getting a fair and reasonable mortgage offer. The federal government supports the annual percentage rate disclosure (APR) as the benchmark barometer of loan cost when mortgage shoppers begin their quest to find a good deal on a home loan, which is why it’s so important to understand what goes into a mortgage APR and how you can harness this knowledge to find the best loan for you. Quick APR Tidbits The […]

  • Shocked couple paying bills

    Paying Off Debt? How to Avoid Burning OutPersonal Finance

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    When you have a large amount of debt, it can feel like you will never be free of it. Even if you get yourself motivated to pay it off, it can be hard to stay motivated. While living on a tight budget can seem doable in the short term, to succeed long term, it’s important not to get burned out. Whether you are working to pay off student loan, mortgage or credit card debt, here […]

  • Home ownership

    5 Homebuying Rules You Shouldn’t Buy IntoPersonal Finance

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    Buying a home can be complicated, and it is likely the biggest financial decision you will face in your life. The housing market is changing all the time, and there are lots of antiquated sayings or supposed “rules” that you will hear about. If you are in the process of buying your first home, it’s important to know which sayings are helpful and which are just myths. Here are some common misconceptions about homebuying. 1. Buying […]

  • Credit Card

    Can You Get Chip and PIN Credit Cards in America?Personal Finance

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    If you have a credit card, chances are you’ve received a replacement card at least once in the past year or so. Perhaps it expired, or maybe your card information was stolen in a data breach and the issuer had to change it. Meanwhile, some credit card users have started to get cards with a shiny piece of metal embedded in the plastic. This is the start of the credit card revolution you’ve been hearing […]

  • 44K Cars Were Stolen Last Year Because People Left Keys in ThemPersonal Finance

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    Having your car stolen would be a terrible thing to experience, but apparently thousands of Americans aren’t thinking about that because they leave their keys in their vehicles — and then the cars get stolen. Sure, it may seem like a no-brainer to not leave your keys in an unattended vehicle, but people are increasingly making this mistake, according to an analysis from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. From 2012 through 2014, 126,603 vehicles were stolen […]

  • Credit vs Debit

    What Happens If I Swipe My Debit Card as ‘Credit’?Consumer Protection, Personal Finance

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    It’s a question we’ve all heard when shopping: “Credit or debit?” It seems straightforward, just the cashier asking you what type of payment card you’re using, but there’s actually a lot more history to that question than you might think. Debit and credit transactions are processed differently: Here’s how MasterCard explained it in an emailed statement to Credit.com: When you use a debit card and your PIN (personal identification number), the transaction is completed in […]

  • Shocked couple paying bills

    The Holiday Shopping Danger You Won’t See ComingColumn, Blog, Personal Finance

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    Around this time last year, cybercrime went mainstream with Target’s announcement that the credit and debit card accounts of 40 million shoppers were nabbed during the height of the holiday shopping season. Worse, the personally identifiable information of 70 million Target customers was in the wind. Before you get too worked up, here’s something to remember: Breaches are and will always be the enemy, but the more likely source of financial woe this holiday season […]

  • 5 Ways Your Kids Can Bust Your Summer BudgetColumn, Personal Finance

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    If you’re a parent, summertime can mean trips to the beach (along with parking fees, ice cream runs, boardwalk arcade games, funnel cakes, cotton candy, gaily painted hermit crabs, etc.), setting up camp on some far-away stunning vista (and all the must-have sundries and amenities) and, of course, hours of mindless — not necessarily inexpensive — entertainment. If you’re not vigilant, you may discover that your bank account has withered like an unwatered rose in […]

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