Is it tax time already? You may not want to admit it, but tax time starts well before the filing deadline. Your important tax forms start arriving in the mail in January. If you simply let them accumulate in a pile, it will be April before you realize it, and you will be scrambling around,
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Identity thieves have many ways to steal your money – including fraudulent tax returns. They file a return in your name as early as possible to beat your legitimate return, with fake financial data designed to claim a large refund. You won’t realize this until your tax return is denied because there’s already been a
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How would you handle $4 trillion of debt? Hopefully, you’ll never have to answer that question – but America’s total outstanding non-mortgage consumer debt is nearing the $4 trillion mark. (Add mortgage debt, and our total consumer debt tops $13.5 trillion.) According to Federal Reserve data as of October 2018, non-mortgage consumer debt was just
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Holiday Debt On the Increase Are your credit cards still smoking from holiday overuse? Based on a recent MagnifyMoney survey, it wouldn’t be surprising. Consumers who financed their holiday spending averaged $1,230 in holiday spending debt – a sharp increase from 2017’s $1,054 average and 2016’s $1,003 average. Increases in wages and consumer confidence are
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According to the latest Household Debt and Credit Report from the New York Federal Reserve, America’s total household debt has surpassed $13.5 trillion. Do you sometimes feel like $13 trillion of that debt is yours? Based on a recent survey by LightStream, almost one-quarter (23%) of Americans believe that it’s nearly impossible to climb out
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Is 2019 the year you finally buy that starter home? Are you upgrading or downsizing to a new home? Are you interested in how your home value is likely to change over the next year? We offer these 2019 housing market predictions to consider as you review your housing plans for the year. Inventory Will
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Your Christmas gift from the Federal Reserve is here. Surprise! It’s another 0.25% hike in the Federal Funds rate. Sure, you’ve already gotten this same gift three other times in 2018, and nine times since late 2015 – but what else would you expect to receive from the Fed? Interest rate hikes from the Fed
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It’s been almost a year since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought sweeping changes to the American tax system. Since there have been just a few headlines coming out of Washington, DC, since the TCJA was signed, we offer a reminder of changes affecting your tax returns for the 2018 tax year (filed
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A good 401(k) plan can be an attractive selling point for businesses looking to hire the best and brightest. However, smaller businesses may have a hard time establishing a 401(k) plan capable of competing for the attention of potential employees. Few small businesses have the resources to carry out 401(k) administrative tasks, and the smaller
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Are you finding it difficult to open a new bank account due to a previous mismanaged account? Your bridges with your bank may not have burned down completely. Get back into your bank’s good graces with a second chance checking account. Fresh Start, Second Chance Checking Account According to an FDIC National Survey, as of
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Do you take mobile device security as seriously as you should? You probably connect to the Internet more on mobile devices than you do on desktops – especially on smartphones, since you’re likely never far away from yours. According to the 2018 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, newly discovered malware for mobile devices increased by
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While you have plenty of tools to protect your personal information, your data is arguably in as much danger as it’s ever been. It’s not that you don’t take precautions (although many Americans don’t), it’s that your personal information is stored in so many places – some of which you can’t control. “The challenge with
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You’ve kept your will updated regularly to make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes upon death. Have you done the same thing with your beneficiary designations? If not, your wishes may not be carried out as you expect. A will covers the destination of most assets upon your death. However, assets that
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Times aren’t great in the mortgage refinancing market. According to the October 2018 Origination Insights Report from mortgage application software provider Ellie Mae, refinancing homes make up 32% of October’s closed mortgages – continuing a drop in refis that began five to six months prior. It’s likely that mortgage rate increases are to blame for
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Does your wallet take a bigger hit during the holiday season? If so, you aren’t alone. According to a recent study by LendingTree, more consumers fall behind on their bills in December than in any other month. LendingTree reviewed anonymized credit report data from October 2017 through September 2018 and broke down the percentages of
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The holiday season is full of plans and activities that make December incredibly hectic. If you are the average American, tax considerations and financial adjustments are pretty low on your holiday to-do list. However, you are not the average American — you enjoy saving money, are diligent in seeking ways to save, and excellent at
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Many people are reconsidering their budget to prevent holiday overspending over the next few months. If you are one of these people, good for you – but why stop there? This is a great time to look further ahead and tackle your 2019 budget. Lay out your calendar, spreadsheet, or whatever method you use and
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The Pool Is Shrinking A home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC) can be a useful financial management tool – but only if you have the available equity to take advantage of it. Do you know how much you could borrow against your home if you had to? Black Knight’s October 2018 Mortgage Monitor
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Our prior article, 5 Steps To Be Your Own Mogul – Part 1, covers the first three steps to manage your finances like a business. Below we present the final two steps. 4. Forecasting If you have performed the budget exercise and broken your expenses out into categories, you can start to highlight areas
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Why not take some financial pointers from the business world and apply them to your personal finances? Whether you are a party of one or a family of four, it pays to be fiscally agile. Some of the longest financial plays in the business world today are small businesses that perennially stay afloat and drive
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Have you ever enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, just to discover in January that your doctor doesn’t accept your new coverage, or to realize you should have stayed in a particular network? As a result, you had to remain in a plan that was less suitable for your specific needs for an entire year.
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