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Personal Finance


  • Filing taxes

    Why You Should Be Careful Who You Pick to Do Your TaxesFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance, Identity Theft

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    When you decide to work with a professional tax preparer, you’re trusting that person with your most sensitive personal information. As a quick Internet search for “tax preparer fraud” shows, those people abuse that information from time to time. For example, at the very end of 2015, a former tax preparer in Arkansas pleaded guilty to charges associated with a tax fraud and identity theft scheme that involved filing false tax returns using stolen names, […]

  • Why You Aren’t the Only One Who Knows the Answers to Your Security QuestionsPersonal Finance

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    If you’re protecting important personal accounts with nothing more than a few security questions, it may be time for an upgrade. A study from Google recently compared the use of security questions to other account recovery methods like SMS (short text messages) and an alternative email address. It found that true or made-up responses to questions like, “What was your mother’s maiden name?” or specific answers to prompts such as “Favorite Superhero,” “First Car” or […]

  • 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 […]

  • 12 Resolutions That Could Save Your Identity in 2016Column, Blog, Personal Finance

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    Another New Year is upon us. Bring on another raft of resolutions I say! I mean, what would a New Year be in the absence of resolutions? As Aldous Huxley wrote in Time Must Have a Stop, “Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.” This year, I am advocating something simple: It’s high time we (as in all of us – business, government and consumers) […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • Credit Cards

    What’s a ‘Good’ Debt?Financial Literacy, credit, Personal Finance

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    Thanks to the economic downturn and its lingering effects, the word “debt” predominantly carries a negative connotation. But you may have heard in the midst of balancing your budget or planning for retirement, that not all financing is created equal. In fact, some debts, experts suggest, may be good for you. But what exactly does this mean? What Is Good Debt? Simply put, good debt “is any debt that offers a return on the investment,” […]

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