What’s in Your Pocket? ING Direct! Capital One to Buy ING Direct USA Online Banking Division

ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), the Dutch parent company of ING Direct USA, has agreed to sell its online bank to Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF)

The sale will be for $9 billion in cash and stock.  This move helps Capital One move up from the 8th largest bank in the U.S., based on deposits, to the 5th largest depository bank.  Capital One also becomes the largest direct bank with the acquisition.

Why sell ING Direct?

ING Direct is a successful division and a pioneer in online banking – why sell it? Back in 2008 ING Groep NV received a 10 billion Euro bailout from the Dutch government.  As part of that loan, ING Groep NV is required to restructure and divest itself of ING Direct USA.
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How Being Trusting In a Marriage Can Hurt You in a Divorce

Divorce: it’s a subject nobody feels comfortable talking about. Divorce is the true “D” word in the English language.  And yet divorce is something that may affect 50% or more of every American that enters into marriage.  Nobody wants to believe they might end up on the wrong side of that equation, but what if you did?  This post is not to give legal or financial planning advice, but rather to start a dialogue about how many of the practices of a healthy marriage might actually be detrimental were the marriage to end in a divorce.  This post certainly isn’t meant to give love advice either, nor financial advice.  Again, this post just wishes to raise some issues, even if the subject is taboo.  After all, divorces are one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy filings in the United States.

Here are some potential ways being trusting in a marriage could hurt you in divorce:

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How to Recession Proof Your Life

Harvard Business published an article a while ago that talked about job security and how the younger generation question if their job is secure. No matter how old you are, there is one thing that is certain – gone are the days that we leave school and work at the same career throughout our lifetime.  Well, there may be a handful of people such as doctors that may remain in the same career, but still, the vast majority of us will ultimately have two or three careers.  One thing to always keep in the back of the mind is what if you are in the midst of changing careers and a recession hits?  Or even if you are in a pretty good position but the company you work for takes a hit if another recession occurs?  Recession proofing your life should be just as much a priority as having life insurance to take care of your family.

There are some steps you can take to recession proof your life and depending on your financial situation, it may not be too difficult.
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Citi Data Breach: How Can You Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud?

Recently, Citi experienced a data breach that exposed credit card numbers and contact information of about 1% of its customers. When you consider CitiGroup has tens of millions of customers, you realize that’s a pretty big number.  Citi says that it is contacting those who were impacted, but that could take a while.  Meanwhile, if you have a Citi account, you might want to consider how to protect yourself.

What Should You Watch Out For?

If there is some good news in this, it’s that, by law, your liability for fraudulent credit card purchases is $50.  (With debit purchases, many issuers offer limited protection, but you usually have to notify the issuer within two days if you want liability limited to $50.  If you take too long, you could find your checking account drained — and no recourse.)  However, it’s often better not to wait until a fraudulent purchase is made; you can call and ask for a new account number and a replacement card.
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Half of Americans are “Financially Fragile” – How Not to be One of Them

A disturbing article from the Wall Street Journal reports that Nearly Half of Americans Are ‘Financially Fragile’, which is defined in the article as households who “definitely or probably couldn’t come up with $2,000 in 30 days.”

The $2,000 figure was chosen because it’s roughly the cost of “an unanticipated major car repair, a large co-payment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair”—in other words, expenses that are hardly out of the question for a typical household.

According to the article 46.5% of all respondents are living very close to the financial edge—in other words, nearly half of America.  And it’s one of the worst rates in the world—in Italy for example, the rate is only 20%.  But it gets even worse; an additional 25.1% of U.S. respondents answered that they were “probably able” to come up with $2,000—meaning that they aren’t entirely sure.

That’s a sad state of affairs no matter how you interpret it.

How should we respond to this information? By making certain we don’t fall into the same category!Continue Reading

How to use a Stock Screener and Build Your Dividend Stock Analysis Template

Picking stocks

As a dividend investor myself, I’m always looking for my next trade. In order to find the right stock to buy, I use a free stock screener and I complete my analysis with my dividend stock analysis template.  I wanted to share both tools so you can improve your stock research and build a strong portfolio.

One of the tools I use to identify dividend stocks for further analysis is the Fin Wiz Stock Screener. This is a free stock screener that allows investors to input reams of criteria to come up with a list of stocks to do further analysis on.

Here are the criteria I use to filter stocks:
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What Is a Probate Lawyer and When Would You Use One?

At one point or another throughout our lifetime we hear about probate lawyers.

If you’re like most people you don’t pay attention until one day you’re faced with the inevitable – you need a probate lawyer.

So what specifically is a probate lawyer?

A probate lawyer manages the filing of the last testament or will of a deceased individual.  Sometimes there are some wicked disputes that arise from the disposition of property.  Basically a probate lawyer is an estate or a trust lawyer.

Far too many people do not think about finding a probate lawyer until someone has passed away.  When this happens, then there is a sense of urgency to hire a probate lawyer therefore not allowing time to shop around for the lawyer who will best represent your interests.
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