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How’s your 401(k) or IRA doing? A typical 401(k) plan returns from 5% to 8% based on a portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds and other conservative investments. If your retirement plan is not meeting expectations, you may be tempted by the high returns of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – but should you be wary
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We frequently hear about America’s crushing student loan debt – but auto loans are not far behind. While student loans are approaching $1.5 trillion, outstanding auto loans topped the $1.2 trillion mark in the third quarter of 2017 according to the New York Federal Reserve. Subprime borrowers (FICO credit scores below 620) hold almost one-quarter
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Subprime Loans are Back Since the housing crisis began over a decade ago, subprime mortgage loans basically disappeared – thanks to regulatory actions from government and self-preservation for both lenders and borrowers. The effects of borrowing more than you could safely afford to repay became obvious to all parties. Subprime mortgage loans have been making
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You are experiencing sweet satisfaction knowing that your taxes were filed on time. That is, until you realize that you took a deduction when you did not qualify for it, or forgot to claim an important tax credit that could save you hundreds of dollars … or until Congress suddenly resurrects some expired tax breaks,
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If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, check your mail very carefully. You’ll be receiving a new Medicare card with an important new identification number that you’ll need soon. Your current Medicare ID card contains a Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), which is the same as your Social Security number. Your HICN serves as your identification for
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America’s economy is improving by most standards – but is it improving on the backs of excessive debt? According to the New York Federal Reserve, total household debt reached a new high of $13.15 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017. While the majority of household debt is mortgage debt, consumer credit rose by the
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Have we bridged the gender gap when it comes to household roles, domestic duties, and career choices? Not entirely – but a new survey suggests that women are leading the way in closing the gap and preparing the next generation of men and women to continue the fight. According to the YouGov survey Women’s Voices:
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By Kelly Hartog It’s been more than seven months since the credit reporting agency Equifax revealed in September 2017 that 143 million Americans’ personal data – including Social Security numbers, addresses and birthdates – had been accessed. Several weeks later, they announced that number was actually 145.5 million. Even though the data breach occurred between
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April is National Social Security Month! Your Social Security Number (SSN) may be your most important piece of identification – yet it’s likely that you never carry your Social Security card with you. You probably committed your number to memory long ago because it’s required in so many places. Generally, you won’t need to produce
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Your credit score may not be good enough to allow you to qualify for a home at a reasonable interest rate, but can a less-than-stellar credit score also keep you from finding a good place to rent? “Credit scores aren’t just about mortgages,” says Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at the credit bureau Experian.
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Are you financially literate? How about your kids? MoneyTips can help, but there may be something special soon going on in your neighborhood to help you learn more about personal finance. Money Smart Week®, a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances, will take place April 21-28, 2018. The effort,
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When your identity is stolen, you have so many potential issues to deal with — changing passwords, closing accounts, dealing with fraudulent charges, and placing fraud alerts with the credit bureaus — that you may forget about potential tax fraud. Armed with your personal information, identity thieves can file a fraudulent tax return in your
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Waiting until the last minute to pay your taxes can cost you if you are expecting a refund, since the government hangs on to your money and receives more interest on it. However, if you owe money to the government, that same principle applies to you. Why not wait until the last minute? There is
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By Eric Olsen Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm According to the Kaiser Foundation, almost half (21 million) of American seniors have incomes below 200% of the poverty line. Many have debt they can’t afford to pay. When debt is not paid, collectors call, send demand letters, and sometimes file a lawsuit. Being served legal
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America’s collective readiness for retirement is improving, according to Fidelity’s latest Retirement Savings Assessment study. The study distills America’s retirement readiness into a single score representing the percentage of estimated retirement income that the average saver will require. According to the current study, America’s combined retirement score is 80 – meaning that the average American
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Why do you even bother signing your credit card receipts? Nobody ever looks at it. You could write your name, Donald J. Trump, Samuel L. Jackson, or Bullwinkle J. Moose and nobody would care – would they? Theoretically, your signature does matter. That signature indicates a binding contract for the purchase. A seller could choose
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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s sound advice for almost all aspects of life, including the search for mortgage relief services. Distressed homeowners don’t have to resort to third-party mortgage services. Free counseling is available at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD programs such as the
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How many times in life do you have to worry about removing too little money from a financial account? Before retirement, there are few such concerns – but, for most retirement plans, once you reach age 70½, you must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) every year from your plan. (Roth IRAs are excluded –
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Are you a procrastinator who waits until the very last moment to file your taxes? Thanks to Emancipation Day, the filing deadline is April 17, 2018, to file your taxes for the 2017 tax year. That gives you a few more days to consider last-minute ways to lower your taxes. Start by reviewing your possible
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What’s in your savings account? If you’re a millennial, there’s a decent chance that there’s nothing in your account but IOUs and promises. A 2017 survey by GoBankingRates found that 46% of millennials aged 18-24 have $0 in their savings account – a sharp increase over the 2016 survey where 31% of millennials reported empty
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