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Insurance mistakes to avoid – Consumer Report

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Your Money | 0 comments

Insurance mistakes to avoid – Consumer Report

You spend a lot of money on insurance to protect your home and vehicles. Don’t get caught short because you misunderstood how these insurance policies work. Here are four big gotchas to avoid. Car: You buy only the minimum Coverage Home: You fail to add coverage Renters: You assume you don’t need it Personal Liability: You don’t think your are a target.   Cover yourself from common key risk. For a  rundown of the most critical elements of car, homeowners, renters and personal liability insurance  Click Here. These tips will save you money and give you the piece of mind that you have the right insurance coverage to protect you and your love ones.    ...

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10 Tax Traps and Snares to Avoid in 2014

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Featured, Your Money | 0 comments

10 Tax Traps and Snares to Avoid in 2014

Taxpayers can ring in 2014 knowing that they don’t have to wait on Congress to finalize tax laws affecting their 2013 returns. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that was finally enacted on Jan. 2, 2013, made many tax laws permanent and extended other provisions through 2013. But the tax-related celebrations are likely to be short-lived. Here are 10 tax traps you need to watch out for in 2014. 1. Get ready to wait early in the year. The federal government shut down for 16 days last October, but taxpayers are still paying for it. The IRS says Jan. 31, 2014, is the earliest it will be ready to process individual tax returns. That date might even be pushed back to Feb. 4 in order for the agency to complete system updates and tests, which were interrupted by the shutdown. The IRS promises to make an official announcement of the filing season start date as soon as it knows for sure. You can go ahead and submit your return electronically as soon as you’re ready; your e-filer will hold it until the IRS is ready to accept returns. If, however, you file a paper return, the IRS encourages you to wait until Jan. 28 (or later) to mail it. 2. Get ready to wait later in the year. Every year or so, some temporary tax provisions are renewed by Congress. In recent years, however, lawmakers have let the laws expire and then renewed them retroactively, most recently in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, also known as the “fiscal cliff” tax bill. Expect a replay in 2014. Fifty-five tax provisions expire on Dec. 31, 2013. This doesn’t affect your 2013 tax return, but tax planning for 2014 will be a different story. Consideration of extenders has been complicated by possible overall tax reform and budget considerations. Uncle Sam could bring in billions by letting some or all of the extenders fade away. That would mean, however, that individual taxpayers would lose such popular tax breaks as the itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes, the above-the-line deductions for tuition and fees and educators’ out-of-pocket classroom expenses. The consensus is that Congress will take up the extenders in 2014, but whether that will be before or after the Nov. 5 midterm election is unclear. The longer lawmakers wait, the harder it will be to plan and implement your 2014 tax...

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Investing in Start-Ups Is Risky Business - Kiplinger

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

Investing in Start-Ups Is Risky Business - Kiplinger

Imagine touring dozens of online marketplaces that feature hundreds of investment prospects in start-up businesses. You choose ten or so companies, investing perhaps $1,000 each—and dream of getting in on the ground floor of the next Facebook or Twitter. Welcome to “crowdfunding,” a new asset class that offers big opportunities for small investors—and perhaps even bigger hazards. Under a new federal law, fledgling businesses will be able to raise small sums online from a lot of investors. “This provides entrepreneurs with a fresh way to raise capital,” says Ryan Feit, a founder of the crowdfunding Web site SeedInvest. For small investors, he says, sites such as his “make investing in start-ups as easy as buying a share of Microsoft.”   Read More...

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10 Best Public College Values, 2014 – Kiplinger

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

10 Best Public College Values, 2014 – Kiplinger

We rank Kiplinger’s top 100 public colleges and universities based on measures of academic quality and affordability — among them, low student-faculty ratios, high graduation rates, reasonable price tags and rich financial aid, including need-based aid (grants, not loans) for students who qualify. These ten schools are the cream of the crop of that already-elite list. In 2014, tuition increases are slowing for in-state students at public colleges, but faltering financial aid means that the net price — what students actually pay Read more...

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Holy wow, you can actually swim like Scrooge McDuck in this bank vault

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

Holy wow, you can actually swim like Scrooge McDuck in this bank vault

People of Earth, dreamers of the universe and possible alien organisms of the beyond: you can swim like Scrooge McDuck in a Swiss bank vault in real life. Like, literally swim in money. This is incredible. A bank safe swimming pool filled with 8 million Swiss coins is being auctioned off to the highest bidder who wants to fulfill every person’s childhood (and adult) dream of swimming in money. …   …read...

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3 Things You Need to Do Now to Buy a Home Next Year | Credit.com

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

3 Things You Need to Do Now to Buy a Home Next Year | Credit.com

With big changes coming to the mortgage industry at the beginning of next year, many consumers will want to evaluate their home-buying plans. Regulations drafted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will change the definition of a qualified mortgage for any loan applications received on and after Jan. 10, and many consumers may find themselves unable to meet the new requirements. Qualified mortgages are loans that meet certain standards designed to ensure that borrowers are highly likely to be able to pay back the amount in question. Facing this challenge, it’s up to the hopeful homeowner to improve their chances of mortgage approval by doing the necessary research, improving their credit profiles and meeting the qualified mortgage standards well in advance of filling out loan applications. It’s important to meet qualified mortgage standards because government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said they won’t buy non-qualified mortgages starting next year, said Joshua Weinberg, senior vice president of compliance with First Choice Lending/Bank. Fannie and Freddie don’t lend to homeowners directly, rather they purchase mortgages from banks and then bundle them into securities and sell those securities to investors. For lenders that originate mortgages with the intention of selling them to the GSEs, as many do, originating non-qualified mortgages won’t be feasible. Other lenders own the mortgages they originate, meaning they don’t have to worry about selling them to GSEs, and such larger portfolios could probably take on non-qualified mortgages. WHAT CHANGING? Read...

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How HARP Can Put Money in Your Pocket | Zillow Blog

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

How HARP Can Put Money in Your Pocket | Zillow Blog

By Frank E. Nothaft Is your house underwater? Did it lose value during the last recession? Could you use a few extra thousand dollars next year? If you said “yes” to one or more of these questions, then you probably haven’t taken advantage of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The federal government launched HARP in 2009 to help eligible homeowners with mortgages owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae save money by refinancing into low-interest loans despite a drop in the value of their home. As of August 2013, HARP has saved approximately 2.9 million homeowners as much as $12 billion a year on their mortgage interest payments. It’s estimated that new HARP borrowers who refinanced into Freddie Mac mortgages during the first nine months of 2013 reduced their mortgage interest rates an average of 2 full percentage points, from about 6.1 percent to 4.0 percent. (In some states, such as Texas, the average HARP borrower’s interest rate fell by 2.7 percentage points.) Read...

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Top 10 Ways to Make Money on the Internet – How Stuff Works

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

Top 10 Ways to Make Money on the Internet – How Stuff Works

Unless you’re a freegan and have found a way to live entirely off the grid, you probably need some sort of steady income in order to survive. The traditional way to earn money, of course, is by having a job. You work for a company or start your own, and the work you do earns you money, which you spend on things like a mortgage, rent, food, clothing, utilities and entertainment. Most people typically work from their company’s central location, a physical space where everyone from that organization gathers to exchange ideas and organize their efforts. But a few lucky souls have found ways to make money within the comfort of their own home. With the Internet, an ever-changing arena for businesses, some people looking to earn money are finding ways to do so. Some forms are best for part-time endeavors for those looking to make a little extra money on the side, while others can lead to full-time jobs and Internet success stories. We’ve put together a list of our top 10 ways to make money on the Internet, in no particular order. On the next page, we’ll start with an old favorite. Read...

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10 Savvy Tax Moves to Make Before Jan. 1st – Yahoo Finance

Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

10 Savvy Tax Moves to Make Before Jan. 1st – Yahoo Finance

April 15 is the target date for taxes, but to ensure that you pay the Internal Revenue Service the least possible amount on that date, you need to make some tax moves before the tax year ends. The good news this year is that the federal tax laws are in place, unlike at the end of 2012, when Congress was still fighting over legislation. The bad news is that if you earn a lot of money, you could face some new taxes. The best news, regardless of your income level, is that you still have time — until Dec. 31 — to reduce your tax bill. Some tax moves will take a little planning. Others are very easy to accomplish. But all are worth checking out to see if they can reduce your tax bill. Following are 10 year-end tax moves to make before New Year’s Day. 1. Defer your income The top tax rate is 39.6 percent on taxable income of more than $400,000 for single taxpayers; $450,000 for married couples filing joint returns ($225,000 if filing separately); and $425,000 for head-of-household taxpayers. If your remaining pay will push you into the top tax bracket, defer receipt of money where you can. Ask your boss to hold your bonus until January. Put more money into your tax-deferred workplace retirement plan. Hold off on selling assets that will produce a capital gain. If you’re self-employed, don’t send out invoices for year-end jobs until early 2014. This strategy works even if you’re not in the top tax bracket, but just about to cross into the next higher one. Read More...

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Five costly home insurance mistakes to avoid – Yahoo Homes

Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in Your Money | 0 comments

Five costly home insurance mistakes to avoid – Yahoo Homes

Figuring out what kind of home insurance you need might feel like a big headache, but it’s nothing compared to the headache you’ll face if you’ve got the wrong coverage and disaster strikes. “I have been eyewitness to numerous instances when an insured thought some problem was covered by their policy, but the insurer received the claim and immediately looked to two ways in which they could deny it,” says Ted Corless, a property insurance attorney.  First, the insurer checked to see if the damage was caused by something not covered in the policy, and second, they checked to see if any information provided by the insured wasn’t accurate. Even small misrepresentations could result in your claim being denied, Corless warns. To avoid falling into this trap, keep some of these common home insurance mistakes in mind… Mistake #1 – Assuming You Have Flood Insurance No one likes to think about worst-case-scenarios, but they do happen. Even if you’re not in an area typically affected by flooding, a major storm – or a water main break – could put your home at risk. “We are all in a flood zone – it is just a matter of whether you are in a catastrophic zone or not,” says Patti Clement, first vice president and managing director at HUB International, a personal insurance practice in North America. With this in mind, did you know that homeowners’ policies exclude flood coverage? “The common policyholder has a tendency to think that any water damage is covered,” says Eddy Lang, CEO of Housefax, a national data aggregation service for homebuyers and sellers, and an 18-year veteran of the insurance industry. “Most of the time they do not realize that there are specific water losses that are excluded from all homeowners policies.” How This Mistake Could Cost You: “This mistake is huge,” says Kristofer Kirchen, president of Advanced Insurance Managers in Tampa. “Not having flood insurance can lead to a very costly uncovered loss – hundreds of thousands of dollars and a whole lot of heartache to boot.” There’s another sneaky way you might accidentally end up making this mistake, according to Corless. “Typically, mortgage companies protect their collateral at least up to the amount of their mortgage,” Corless explains. That means they might insist on certain protections like flood insurance. “Once this mortgage is paid off… many insurance companies will alter the coverage with obtuse, confusing documents, and flood insurance may not be incorporated into the policy.” The lesson to be learned from this? “Confirm you have flood insurance before you need it,” Corless says Read More...

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