In many ways, we are conditioned to believe that anything boring is undesirable. However, in some cases, “boring” can be a good thing. I like to think that investing is one of those things that can be better when it’s boring, rather than exciting. I consider myself a rather boring investor, focusing mainly on index funds and dividend aristocrats. Here’s why when it comes to investing, why boring is good: Continue Reading
When you file a joint tax return, you are responsible, along with your spouse, for the information in the return. If it turns out that your spouse under-reported his or her income, or claimed deductions or credits without being entitled to them, you might be liable for the resulting taxes, penalties and interest — just as your spouse is.
There are some instances in which you might find tax relief, however. The IRS, with a new rules regarding innocent spouse tax relief, is making it a little easier to get free of your spouse’s tax debt. If you want “equitable relief” there is no longer a two-year limit for applying. And, if you have been turned down because of being outside this limit, you can reapply under the new rule. But, in order to take advantage of this rule, you have to be an “innocent spouse.”Continue Reading
College! For many, leaving home for the first time to attend university is an exciting time, full of promise. As you get ready for school, or as you prepare your child to start a new chapter of his or her life, it is important to remember some of the basics.
Here are 5 smart money moves for college freshmen:
1. Get a Job
It doesn’t need to be a full-time job. It doesn’t even need to be off-campus. Many colleges hold hiring fairs one or two days before school starts so that students can see what’s available on campus. I worked part-time in the college cafeteria for two years, before getting a job as a resident advisor. A part-time job on campus is usually manageable, and many students benefit from working at least a little bit. The extra income comes in handy.Continue Reading
One of the realities of our economy is inflation. Inflation, which is a rise in prices (or a reduction in purchasing power) has a very real effect on your finances. As inflation increases, your ability to get more for your money decreases. This means that it takes more money to buy the same amount of product or service as you could buy a few years ago. Unfortunately, there is almost no way to stop inflation. Hedging against inflation, is something you can work on so that your wealth grows at pace with inflation — or beats it.Continue Reading
With people increasingly using technology to make money from home, it is becoming more common for many of us to live on a variable income. The problem for many, though, is how to create a budget for variable income? Whether you have a stable base of income, with some variable elements, or whether your entire income is variable, you need to have some sort of plan for your money.
Estimates: Break Down Your Monthly Income and Expenses
I like a good staycation as much as the next person, but sometimes what I really want is a good, old-fashioned road trip.
Getting out on the open road, heading for adventure, is one of my favorite ways to travel. I rarely get tired of seeing new places and things. However, a road trip can get expensive. With planning, though, you can save some money on your next road trip.
Here are 8 road trip money saving tips to help you get the most for your road trip dollar:
One of the most difficult things for many a homeowner during the recession following the recent financial crisis is that through job loss, or through underemployment, foreclosure might be imminent. In order to help those who are in danger of foreclosure due to income loss, the government is offering the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP). This program is limited, though. You only have until July 22 to get your preliminary application in, so you need to act fast!
Who Qualifies for HUD Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP)?
You know that your consumer profile is used by financial services providers to make a number of decisions about you. Before I could get satellite TV service, I had to submit to a credit check. Employers increasingly want a peek at your credit report, and insurers often use your credit as one of the criteria in determining your premiums. But your credit history isn’t the only thing that others are interested in. Consumer behavior — and how to protect against risks — is becoming a major concern of many financial services companies. Which is why banks are increasing their efforts to learn more about you.Continue Reading
I like to travel, but sometimes a vacation just isn’t practical. After all, a vacation can require quite a bit of planning — and expense. You have to plan airfare (or pay for gas when you take a road trip), pay for hotel stays, and arrange for food. All of this can become overwhelming as well as costly. If you want to go on a trip, but know that a full-on vacation isn’t practical, you can plan a staycation.
Here are some ideas for frugal staycations:Continue Reading
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.