The economy is a tricky thing that at times makes perfect sense and others...well not so much. Articles here help you understand what is going on in the economy and how it affects your wealth.

What’s This Federal Reserve and Why Is It In the News All the Time?

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We hear about “the Fed” or the Federal Reserve doing various things in the news, but what exactly is the Fed?

How can one institution be responsible for rising and falling interest rates, and why does the stock market bounce around every time the Federal Reserve Chairman speaks?

Understanding the Federal Reserve System

How can you understand a quasi-Federal agency that is still independent, has mysterious meetings that impact the nation’s economy, and can cause the stock market to go wild?

Here are some key areas to understanding what the Federal Reserve is, what it does, and the tools it uses to achieve its goals.

What is a Central Bank?

The Federal Reserve is the United States’ Central Bank.  A central bank is a quasi-government institution that manages its country’s money supply and interest rates.  Most central banks also are in charge of regulating the banking environment of the country.
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Multi-Generational Living – Is a Next Generation Home for You?

The economy has hit many hard. 

Retirees have seen their investments drop leaving them with less money to pay their living expenses and ever rising medical and prescription costs.

College students struggle to pay their college and living expenses while not going too deeply in student loan debt.

Meanwhile, the so called sandwich generation, those who have elderly parents who need support as well as children that also need support, struggle to make ends meet and take care of both generations while also saving for their own retirement.

Multi-Generational Living:  Coming Back in Style

The idea of generations living together is not new.  One hundred to one hundred and fifty years ago, 3 generations living together was quite common.

Yet, as our society changed and people became more independent, multi-generational living fell out of vogue.  It is no longer necessary, so most people don’t do it.

However, the current economy has changed the most recent housing dynamic. 
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What is the European Debt Crisis and How Can It Affect You?

For the past several years the European Union — also called the Eurozone — has been enduring a deep financial crisis that has shaken the faith of the markets in the region.

The issue is complicated and difficult to summarize in a basic article, but having even the most basic understanding of how it might impact you personally is important.

The goal of this article is to highlight some of the key aspects of the European debt crisis so you as an individual are better prepared to seek more information on your own and avoid making critical financial mistakes.

What is the European Debt Crisis?

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The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013 – The Fiscal Cliff Averted

In an unusual act, Congress convened and passed a big time piece of legislation on a major holiday – New Year’s Day.

The bill, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013,  prevents the country from slipping off of the so-called fiscal cliff and it seems to have worked–at least temporarily.  Instead of collapsing on the first trading day of the new year, the financial markets had a strong rally on news of the passage of even an imperfect bill.

What Just Happened with Congress and the Fiscal Cliff?

The fiscal cliff negotiations were originally expected to include tax issues, spending, deficit reduction and even a hint of real tax reform.  Nothing that dramatic came about, but here are some highlights of what has been delivered:

  • Most Bush-era tax cuts have been made permanent
  • Jobless unemployed insurance benefits for 2 million long-term unemployed were extended for a full year
  • A Medicare reimbursement cut of 27% has been prevented
  • The top tax rate has been increased from 35% to 39.6% for individuals earning over $400,000 and couples earning over $450,000
  • Taxes on high income taxpayers will also increase on income from capital gains and dividends as well as inherited estates
  • Blocked a provision that would have made millions of middle class taxpayers subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

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How to File for Unemployment Benefits

There are millions of people that are currently unemployed and looking for work across the country.

Unfortunately, you just joined their ranks and find yourself on the wrong end of a pink slip.  You’ve never been unemployed and have no idea what to do.

How do you file for unemployment benefits?  Where do you turn?

You’re frustrated, lost, and perhaps a bit ashamed.

Don’t worry.  Every employer that has ever employed you paid into the unemployment insurance fund on your behalf.

It is now your turn to get to use that fund while you get back on your feet to find your next job.

How to File for Unemployment Benefits – 3 Steps

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What is Glass-Steagall and Why Do WE See it in the News?

One of the subjects that is often covered in the financial news, especially as talking heads try to figure out what can be done to avoid another financial crisis, is the Glass-Steagall Act.

Many people don’t exactly understand why this old law — parts of which were repealed in 1999 — is still a topic of conversation, and why it matter so much.

Brief Overview of the Glass-Steagall Act

Passed during the Great Depression, the Glass-Steagall Act is also called the Banking Act of 1933.

Glass-Steagall was designed to prevent some of the problems that caused the Great Depression, mainly the difficulties caused by the widespread failure of banks.  The Banking Act of 1933 included the creation of the FDIC and it also expanded the role of the Federal Reserve.

However, the item that is most emphasized about the Glass-Steagall Act, particularly in a post-2008 world, is the prohibition of commercial banks from participating in investing.

Part of the problem ahead of the Great Depression was that Main Street banks began underwriting corporate stocks, and even floated bond issues.  With all of these Main Street banks exposed to Wall Street, the crash of 1929 was hugely devastating.

The idea of Glass-Steagall was that banks separate themselves out by the type of banking they did.
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Are You Ready to Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff? What You Need to Know if the Bush Tax Cuts Expire

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The times they are a changin’ for taxes in the United States if legislation doesn’t change things soon.  Most americans are unaware of their taxes will be reshaped by the impending “fiscal cliff.”

The phrase that is being tossed around in the media is “falling off the fiscal cliff” or “taxmageddon”, and both are fairly accurate as to the repercussions.

Understanding exactly what is going to happen if we fall of the fiscal cliff is critical to your personal finances for 2013, so we’re going to break down some of the big points for you.

Repercussions of Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff

This list is pretty terrifying unless you enjoy paying higher taxes.

Expiration of Payroll Tax Cut

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