After weeks of negotiations between the House and the Senate, Congress finally passed tax legislation designed to lower taxes and stimulate the economy. President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Friday, December 22 – right before leaving for the Christmas holiday. As a homeowner, did this bill leave financial presents under your
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What do you do when your credit card just doesn’t meet your needs anymore? Perhaps you have an airline or hotel rewards program that isn’t relevant anymore, you are paying annual fees that aren’t worth the benefits you receive, or you now qualify for a card with a better interest rate. If you are in
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Do you consider yourself a financial risk-taker? If so, what is the standard that you use to analyze risk? If you don’t fully understand risk, you may be looking at the wrong criteria to make the best financial decisions for you and your family. A recent survey by AMG Funds suggests that very few investors
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Santa was not so kind to your friends and relatives this year, so you felt the need to fill the gap. You overspent on holiday gifts, and now you are stuck with a significant amount of holiday debt. Gratitude from gift recipients is a great feeling, but gratitude is not going to pay off your
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Every year, floods cause significant property damage throughout America. Years ago, private insurers had difficulty providing economically viable flood insurance, so the government stepped in to subsidize the process. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was created in 1968 to provide flood insurance to properties that are
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Are you preparing to enter the housing market in 2018? Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, 2018 is likely to be a year of both challenges and opportunities. Our crystal ball is just as cloudy as everyone else’s these days, but based on recent trends and events, we can make a few predictions for
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Coming into a new year seems to compel us to look back and to look forward. How was your 2017? What do you expect from your 2018? While we can’t change the things that are now in our rear view, we do get to envision and create what is in our forward view. As a
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Every year, thousands of Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Medicare Advantage plans during the fall Annual Election Period. With low premiums and ancillary “extras” built in, these plans on paper appeal to many individuals. However, in all the election period excitement, people sometimes overlook aspects of Medicare Advantage coverage that are important. All too often, January
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How often are you asked at a retail outlet if you have a store credit card, and if not, whether you would like to apply for one and put today’s purchase on that card? These cards are examples of “instant approval” credit cards — cards that are approved or denied within a matter of minutes
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You may manage your money well, but do you also manage the bank that holds it for you? If not, you may be missing out on useful services and products, or paying more than necessary to receive them. Consider these tips that can help you to use your bank more wisely. 1. Shop Around –
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Cash flow sounds like a relatively simple concept, and in some ways it is, but poor cash flow management can take down a small business. Cash flow is equally critical for households. If you miss a paycheck when bills come due and you have no reserve funds available, you will incur losses in terms of
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Does your home state encourage or discourage partying? A simple way to assess the partying tolerance level is through “sin taxes.” Granted, low sin taxes do not necessarily equate to more partying, but they certainly don’t hurt. Alcohol and tobacco taxes are huge cash generators for governments, adding $7.04 billion and $18.17 billion respectively to
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Going over the fine print of a mortgage offer is about as enjoyable as a poke in the eye – or maybe both eyes. Even so, it’s important to ensure that any contractual offer that you make on a home has just the right terms you need before proceeding through the home-buying process. Consider these
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Wouldn’t it be nice to have a higher credit limit on your credit cards? A higher credit limit could serve as a buffer for an emergency cash flow problem, saving you from searching for short-term loan options. Another advantage of a higher credit limit is a potentially higher credit score through lower credit utilization –
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Isn’t it nice when your bank pays you instead of you paying them? Competition in the banking market has opened up opportunities for you to get paid simply for opening a checking account. Banks are often willing to part with cash, gift cards, interest-bearing checking accounts, or other rewards in order to gain your long-term
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The opening and closing bells on the major American stock exchanges ring at 9:30 am and 4:00 pm respectively (Eastern Time). If you cannot pack enough trading thrills into that six-and-one-half hour stretch, or your 9-to-5 job does not allow you the freedom to do your own trading at home, you are in luck. After-hours
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It’s no surprise why many Americans struggle with credit card debt – we spend more on our credit cards than we pay off at the end of the month. What are the expenses that drive that debt? It’s probably not what you think. Based on a new survey from CompareCards.com by LendingTree, the majority of
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There’s no shortage of data on America’s housing market. Analysts constantly review new and existing home sales, building permits, available housing units, and other metrics to gauge the health of the market and to assess its likely direction. ATTOM Data Solutions, a national property data warehouse with information on 150 million U.S. properties, adds another
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The holiday season is full of plans and activities that make December incredibly hectic. Late federal tax legislation is making it even more so. If you are the average American, tax considerations and financial adjustments are pretty low on your holiday to-do list. However, you are not the average American — you enjoy saving money,
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For the unprepared, the mortgage process can be a whirlwind of unfamiliar terms and procedures followed by stacks of confusing paperwork. Were you truly ready for the process when you bought your first home – or, if you are a prospective first-time homebuyer, are you ready now? A recent survey by FREEandCLEAR suggests that while
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Costs Increase, Defaults Follow Americans owe the government approximately $1.37 trillion in student loans – and, according to recent information from the U.S. Department of Education, student loan debtors are having an increasingly difficult time paying back those loans. The Wall Street Journal reports that some $631 billion of the $1.37 trillion debt load is
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