ING Direct Financial Independence Days Sale – 2012

ING Financial Independence

ING DIRECT is at it again!

ING Direct Financial Independence Days SaleTo help celebrate our country’s independence, ING DIRECT is offering up some juicy deals to help you achieve financial independence.  As our country’s independence was declared in 1776, you’ll find many of the offers play of the ’76 theme.

Hurry up and check out the offers as they as are only around June 30th thru 11:59 pm ET, July 3rd.

Here are the ING DIRECT Financial Independence Days Offers:

Liberate from Checking Fees

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Financial Freedom Starts with a Low House Payment

Is achieving financial freedom an important goal in your life?

If it is, don’t follow the conventional wisdom of buying the most expensive house you can afford.

Sure, by buying the biggest house you can afford you can grow into it, live in it longer and maybe even avoid a costly trade up in a few years.  Fair enough.

But when it comes to achieving financial freedom, buying the most expensive house you can afford is the exact opposite of what you want to do.

In fact it can be said that the more expensive your home is the less chance you have of ever attaining financial freedom.

Expensive homes and financial freedom are what you might call “mutually exclusive”—having one reduces your chance of getting the other.

How could that be?

A house determines general consumption patterns

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Makes Consumer Complaints Publicly Available

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Do you know about Yelp?  Maybe Tripadvisor?

If you’re looking for a new restaurant or you’re traveling and find yourself in an unknown place, Yelp and Tripadvisor take some of the guesswork out finding a quality restaurant by publishing customer reviews.  You can search for restaurants by the amount of positive reviews and companies can respond to the review in an attempt to rectify a negative customer experience.

Websites like these have caused some local businesses to clean up their act since they know that savvy consumers reference these sites en masse.  They know that bad reviews can affect their bottom line just as positive reviews can increase traffic.

Not all businesses have such a low tech yet effective system of oversight.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how a certain bank in your community treats its customers?  When trying to choose from the sea of credit card offers, wouldn’t it be nice if you could see what other card holders around the country think of the card?

Credit Card Complaints Made Public

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Roth IRA Contribution and Income Limits for 2012

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A Roth IRA can be a great way to build up retirement savings.  

One of the great advantages is that since you are putting money in after it’s taxed you get to take the money out, in retirement, tax-free.  And that includes the money’s growth over the years as well.

Another great advantage to the Roth IRA is that you can take out the contributions you put in without any penalties. This is due to the fact that you have already paid taxes on that money (opposed to a traditional IRA where you put pre-tax money in and get the tax break now).

As wonderful as the Roth IRA can be you can only put so much into it each year and there are limits to how much you can make as well.

Congress is always tinkering with the tax code and making changes nearly every year and in nearly all categories, and that includes Roth IRA contribution and income limits.

Below are the Roth IRA contribution limits for 2012.

Contribution limits

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What Do Bank Routing Numbers Mean?

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Bank routing numbers, or “routing transfer numbers” (RTN’s) appear on virtually all of our checks and other demand instruments, but as common as they are most of us have no idea what their purpose is.

Occasionally we’re asked to provide our bank’s routing number—such as for direct deposit of income tax refunds—but this does little to clear up the mystery behind them or why they’re so important.

Think of it this way: each of us has a checking account number—the bank has its own identification number, and that’s the bank routing number.  That number is at least as important to the bank as our checking account numbers are to us.

Where do you find a bank routing number?

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2012 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Tax Rates

The Federal Income Tax brackets and marginal tax rates for 2012 are out, and we’ll take a look at how the changes affect single taxpayers, those who are married filing jointly, those married filing separately, and head of household.

The changes from 2011 to 2012 are fairly small but they can have an impact for those who are at or over a threshold.

By knowing what bracket and marginal rate you may fall in, you can tax plan to lower your taxable income.

Every year the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, uses inflation data to revise the bracket amounts.  Congress sets the marginal rate percentages with changes in the law.

Note the marginal tax rates are remaining the same in 2012 as they were in 2011.  It’s the dollar amount of the tax brackets that’s changing.

Before we jump into the changes I want to let you know that a qualifying widow(er) follows the same rates as married filing jointly.

The 10% tax bracket—the lowest marginal tax rate

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Five Ways to Use Credit Cards Without Getting Buried in Debt

Everyone appreciates the importance of using credit cards responsibly; the issue comes down to tactics.

How do you use your credit cards to your advantage without also over using them to the point where they become a problem?

Let’s face it, credit cards are extremely user friendly!

Everything about them tempts you to use them even more.  From generous (and often rising) credit limits, to zero-interest introductory rates, to cash rebates and rewards, to the completely self-directed nature of the credit arrangement pull us into what is probably the most cozy relationship with any kind of debt we’ll ever have.

But credit cards are loans—as in debts that are required to be paid back.  If we ever lose sight of that we’re at risk of becoming credit card junkies or bankruptcy candidates.

How do we stay on the safe side of credit cards?

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