The Best Way to Borrow for College

As recently as the early 1990s, most students did not take out college loans. Today, almost two out of every three college students borrow due to runaway higher education costs. The typical student borrower leaves college with roughly $35,000 in debt. As a result, federal college loan debt now exceeds credit card debt. The level of debt is less risky and more manageable if the student only has federal student loans. For most students that...
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Steps a Widow Should Take

The death of a spouse is one of the most traumatic experiences that someone will ever experience. It can also be a costly one,  if the right steps aren’t taken. In most cases, the husband dies first which leaves his widow struggling to deal with his passing both emotionally and financially. Here is some advice for widows which holds true for widowers as well. Know what needs to be done right away. While a spouse’s death will lead to many changes, it’s important to know which tasks should be attended to in the weeks immediately following. Bills need to be paid and so do taxes. Some recurring...
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How to Avoid This Tax Nightmare

Imagine this nightmare scenario: You have finished your taxes and feel a sense of relief as you hit the button to submit your return to the Internal Revenue Service electronically. The government, however, blocks the return. The problem? Someone else has already filed a fake tax return with your name and Social Security number! Unbeknownst to a growing number of taxpayers, crooks are filing fake federal and state income tax returns to...
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Two Important Social Security Strategies Disappearing

Two ways to optimize Social Security benefits, known as “file and suspend” and “restricted application,” were eliminated for most pre-retirees by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. In the year 2000, Congress made changes to Social Security that allowed Americans who had already started their Social Security benefits to stop their payments, and continue to earn delayed retirement credits. Since monthly benefits are greatest if claimants...
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Don’t Make These 7 IRA Mistakes

The biggest source of wealth for most Americans is their retirement accounts and much of that money is tucked away in Individual Retirement Accounts. Roughly $7.4 trillion dollars is sitting in Individual Retirement Accounts, which exceeds the $6.8 trillion invested in workplace defined contribution plans such as 401(k) and 403(b) accounts. With so much money invested in these IRA accounts, it’s important to avoid costly mistakes. Here...
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States With the Greatest Tax Pain

As tax season approaches, here is a bit of good news from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation:  State and local taxes, as a percentage of Americans’ income, have decreased across the country. The foundation’s analysis of 2012 tax data concluded that the tax burden declined because Americans’ income increased at a faster rate then tax collections. You might assume that Americans pay the most taxes to the federal government, but in reality state and local taxes take a bigger bite. The foundation’s research revealed that 78 percent of taxes collected were from state and local governments. The average...
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Starting the Year With a Crazy Financial Resolution

It’s a brand new year to create new habits. And creating better financial habits can bring great rewards.  Here are some financial self-improvement tips for the months ahead: Financial Resolutions for 2016 Since there are countless ways to improve your financial lives, this post will provide a few more ideas to get you motivated. And we’re starting the list with the most unusual suggestion first. 1. Save later. This is going to sound like...
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Why You Shouldn't Panic

The stock market is the only market where things go on sale and all the customers run out of the store....           Twitter Tweet We are sharing this tweet, which takes a wry look at investor behavior, because it’s important to remember the impulse of investors to bolt when the stock market is struggling like it has since the start of 2016. Long-term investors should try not to get stressed out about the short-term direction of the market. Of course, if your time horizon isn’t long, your money should be invested elsewhere.   There certainly has been a tremendous amount of coverage of the...
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Financial Resolutions for 2016

The new year is just days old which means that millions of Americans have already vowed to improve their lives in 2016. Uppermost on the minds of many individuals is this goal:  becoming more financially secure. If you would like to improve your own dollars and cents, here are a few great ways to start fresh. Increase your retirement savings. According to a report by The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, about half...
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Tax Update for 2016

The new year always brings tax changes and for 2016 one of the big developments is the federal government’s determination to crack down on tax fraud. With taxpayer data stolen from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration, crooks have been filing fake electronic tax returns that generate refunds. The government has estimated that criminals bilked the U.S. Treasury out of $5.8 billion in fraudulent tax...
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