Don’t Let Them Get Your Money! How You Can Hide Money from Lawsuits, Creditors, and the IRS

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Are you worried that someone might be coming for your money?

Whether it’s a potential lawsuit, or even if it’s the IRS or a creditor, you probably want to protect your assets.

If you want to protect your assets, you need to know where to hide your money, and know how to properly structure certain accounts in order to avoid having someone drain your financial well dry.

Here are some places that you can hide your money:

Retirement Account

One of the best places to hide your money is an ERISA-qualified retirement plan.  Not only can you keep some of your money safe, but you can also earn a tax-advantaged return on the money.  The money in your retirement account is protected from liability lawsuits.  Additionally, your retirement account might have some protection from bankruptcy and creditors (not always, though).
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What is Long Term Care Insurance, and Should I Buy It?

Handwritten Insurance Claim Form with pen and calculator

One of the biggest fears that many of us have is losing independence.

What happens when you can no longer keep up with your house?  Where will you go if you can’t stay in your home?  And how will you pay for it?

Long term care insurance (also known as LTC or LTCI) is supposed to answer some of these questions.

What is Long Term Care Insurance?

This type of insurance policy is supposed to help you pay for different types of long term care as you age.  Long term care insurance is designed to pay for services that might come in your own home, at an assisted living facility, at an adult daycare, or in a nursing home.

You are supposed to be able to buy a policy, make premium payments, and then, when you need help with care due to illness, old age, disability, or some other difficulty, the long term care insurance provides the means for you to pay for services that might include anything from helping you manage day-to-day to providing you with certain health care services.
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Buying Municipal Bonds: Do You Understand the Risk?

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One of the more popular investment strategies during tough economic times is to turn to bonds.

Bonds are considered relatively safe, when you invest in entities that are highly rated and stable.  Since you are supposed to get your principal back (barring a default), plus a small amount of interest, many people like the idea of bonds.

A type of bond that has seen an increase in popularity recently is the municipal bond.

Municipal bonds are issued by localities.  They often come with higher yields than Treasury securities and even many corporate bonds.  On top of that, there are tax advantages to investing in municipal bonds.

But before you decide to take the plunge with municipal bonds, make sure that you understand how they work, and the types of risks involved.

How Do Municipal Bonds Work?

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DOMA Goes Down: What Does it Mean for Same-Sex Finances?

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal recognition to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

Due to the ruling, there are a few things that same-sex couples need to consider as they plan their finances in a post-DOMA world.

First: What the Ruling Doesn’t Do

It’s important to note that the ruling doesn’t force all states to recognize same-sex marriages.  In fact, some rather thorny issues are being raised by the ruling, which essentially says the federal government has to recognize as marriage what a state sees as marriage.  So far, only 13 states plus the District of Columbia recognize same-sex unions.  Here’s a list of the states that currently allow same-sex marriage.

If you live in a state where same-sex marriage is recognized, and you are legally married there, there is no problem.

Things get a little dicey if you are married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions and you live in a state that doesn’t recognize such marriages.  If you are married in New York, where same-sex marriage is legal, but move to Utah, where your marriage isn’t recognized, what happens?

That’s something that hasn’t been worked out yet.
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How to Use a Prepaid Debit Card to Your Best Advantage

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Prepaid debit cards are becoming increasingly common, thanks to a push to cater to the unbanked.

In recent years, banks have raised fees on checking accounts, and many consumers are fed up with it.  You might not even be safe from fees at a credit union.

My credit union added a monthly fee to its checking account products a couple of years ago.

It’s possible to avoid these fees if you can maintain a minimum balance, or deposit a certain amount of money in your account each month, but some consumers can’t realistically meet those requirements.

On top of that, the fact that some banks will deny you a checking account due to a ChexSystems report or even a credit score, makes it difficult to open a “regular” bank account.

For the unbanked, and even for other purposes, it can make sense to use prepaid debit cards.

Here are the Best Ways to Use Prepaid Debit Cards

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What Should You Do If You Are Audited?

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It’s the ultimate financial nightmare: What if you are audited?

Many of us live in FEAR of a possible IRS audit.

However, less than 1% of taxpayers are audited each year.

Some audits come because of red flags that the IRS recognizes, and others are simply the result of random chance.  In many cases, all that is needed is for you to mail in some documentation that backs up your claim of a deduction or credit.  Getting an audit letter is no reason to immediately panic.

But there is always the chance that you have to go through a more difficult tax audit.

If that happens, though, you have options:Continue Reading

The New Job Market: Temporary Jobs and Freelancers

One of the challenges facing many job-seekers is the fact that the job market has changed quite a bit in recent years.

The recession that accompanied the recent financial crisis led to a rise in temporary jobs and freelancing jobs.

However, these are no longer jobs that people do to “get by” until they find something a little more permanent.  Indications are that these are becoming the permanent jobs.

Temporary Jobs and Freelancing are the New Job Market

Staffing Jobs on the Rise

The American Staffing Association releases data from a quarterly survey about trends in the workplace.  For the third quarter of 2012, there was a year over year increase of 4.3% in staffing jobs.  The latest data represent the 11th consecutive quarter that staffing jobs have grown since 2009 and the technical end of the recession.

Temporary positions are on the rise, in part, because freelancers, temps, and adjuncts cost a lot less than full-time regular workers.
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