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Money/Finance

Umbrella insurance: Are you adequately covered?
Insurance protects you and your loved ones should an accident occur but what happens if you get sued? Learn about how an umbrella policy can protect the most important things in your life.
 
How to protect yourself from uninsured drivers
Some drivers ignore insurance laws. If you get in an accident with an uninsured driver, will you be protected?
 
Clever tips and tricks to save on auto insurance
Car insurance can take a bite out of your budget. Check out these tips to help cut insurance costs.
 
Throw your retirement accounts into the spring cleaning to-do pile
Spring cleaning is about more than just your garage, basement or wardrobe. It's also about cleaning the clutter from your retirement accounts.
 
Knowledge is power: How the right reporting agency can help you
Learn how the right consumer reporting agency can help you detect irregularities in your accounts and prevent you from being a victim of fraud.
 
Worried about data breach risks? What you can do to help protect yourself
While you can't prevent a breach from occurring, you can still do a number of things to help better protect yourself from one of the most serious potential consequences of a breach - identity theft.
 
Smart shopping tips for budget-savvy baby boomers
While the economy is moving again, many Americans - baby boomers included - continue to realize the importance of good money management skills. Boomers are focused on making the most of their money by boosting earnings, investing more and shopping smarter. Here are some smart shopping tips for baby boomers.
 
Smart ways for small business owners to spend their cash this spring
Small business owners expecting a tax refund should consider these ways to make the most of the money they'll get back.
 
Renovating? Laying a good foundation for home improvement success
You've probably heard the saying: "Your home is your castle." But if your current home - or the home you're thinking of buying - feels more like the servant's quarters than the royal palace, you may need to plan a renovation. At times like these it's easy to give in to your excitement and get the project moving forward, but take a moment to plan your overall strategy. You'll find that, much like your future castle, your renovation project will benefit from a solid foundation.
 
Flab to fit: The five money moves that can whip your finances into better shape
Taking control of your finances doesn't have to be limited to the first few months of the year - you can get started anytime. Here's how.
 
Tax filing and planning tips for small business owners
With an April 15 tax deadline looming, businesses across the country are preparing to file their 2013 taxes. Tax season can be both an administrative and financial burden. New data reports that only 41 percent of small business owners feel very confident that they are maximizing their tax benefits for the 2013 year, according to a recent Spark Business OmniPulse Survey conducted by Research Now. In fact, 22 percent of business owners plan to file for an extension this year. Statistics suggest that small business owners are faced with a lack of resources and tools when it comes to filing their taxes.
 
Avoid tax identity theft and keep your information safer this tax day
For a growing number of Americans, the tax nightmare is just beginning. These people will not receive a refund or pay for taxes due, because in the eyes of the IRS, they've already filed a return. Except, they haven't - an identity thief has.
 
Save green indoors and out with energy-efficient home upgrades
Many are motivated by the desire to save a little green in their wallets with a fresh new season of home repairs. If you're one of these people, you can help save some green for the planet, as well as your hard-earned cash, by making energy efficient upgrades throughout your home.
 
Expert tips for navigating tax-season changes
With the deadline for filing taxes fast approaching and many changes that occurred thanks to legislative and legal decisions, tax filers will want to keep these caveats in mind.
 
Increasing your resale value is easy when you save smartly
Investing in home improvements is a smart idea when you're thinking of putting your home on the market. So where is the best place to spend your money?
 
Stay ahead of cybercriminals: use caution and common sense online
Cybercrime is everywhere these days. It happens in the dead of night, in broad daylight, in homes, hotels, restaurants and airports. The good news, however, is that it doesn't take a computer genius to protect yourself and your family from the proliferation of cyber criminals who are running scams or seeking to steal your identity.
 
Getting cash back from Uncle Sam? Tips to make your tax refund work harder for you
Tax season is well underway, and many Americans expect to receive a refund, or have already gotten theirs. For many families, tax season is just one part of a broader financial picture for an overall budget.
 
Still need to file your taxes? Tips for faster, easier filing
Spring can inspire a renewed sense of confidence and optimism in do-it-yourself activities. For nearly 40 percent of Americans, this includes preparing and e-filing their own income tax return. Like most things DIY, following a few simple strategies can save you valuable time and money at tax time.
 
Money talk: Educating the next generation
At a certain age, our kids stop listening to us on all topics except for one. Money.
 
Discover the little-known investment strategy that your advisor isn't telling you about
Did you know self-directed IRAs allow Americans to invest in assets other than stocks and bonds, while enjoying the tax-free or tax-deferred status of their retirement account? Very few Americans realize that they have the option to self-direct their IRAs, or other retirement plans, into real estate and other alternative assets. Most investors believe that the only IRA investment options are bank CDs, the stock market or mutual funds - often because of inaccurate information from their current IRA custodian. Here's what every investor should know.
 
IRS audits: 8 triggers to avoid and tips to help you survive
Ever wonder how the Internal Revenue Service selects which taxpayers to audit? Well, it isn't always a matter of chance. There are certain factors that can make your tax return stand out from the rest.
 
Selecting a cellphone and plan that fits your lifestyle
Whether taking the plunge and joining the smartphone crowd or simply replacing a tired old cellphone, buying a new device takes careful deliberation. From selecting carriers and avoiding contracts to deciding on a type of phone and a specific model, numerous decisions must be made to find the right phone for your life's next adventure.
 
Five insider tips to save money when buying a car
As the weather warms, car buying season gets into full swing. Even though interest rates are still at or near record lows, there are additional ways smart buyers are saving even more cash on their next vehicle and staying within their budgets.
 
Lost dress? No-show caterer? Bankrupt photographer? How to protect yourself from the worst wedding disasters
Your wedding is supposed to be a magical day you remember for the rest of your life. It also is sure to be one of the most expensive days of your life. With all that money and emotion on the line, you want to do everything you can to ensure this special day goes flawlessly. The reality is most weddings experience a hiccup or two, many of which are minor. But some can be more devastating, such as a reception hall that closes before the big day, a stained or lost wedding dress, or your photographer goes out of business right after taking your deposit. Here's what you can do to protect yourself no matter what.
 
Mind Your B.I.S. - Tips to jumpstart your financial well-being
In the next few months, high school seniors across the country will be anxiously checking mailboxes for college acceptance letters. With two-thirds of recent high school grads enrolling in college as of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is the first step on a journey towards personal and financial independence for many Americans. Whether an incoming freshman, soon to be senior or recent grad, it is never too early to get financially fit. The key to success is to make the process fun and manageable.
 
How to diversify your retirement portfolio in ways you might not have imagined
Many investors are taking more control of their financial future by investing in alternatives to the stock market including real estate, land, promissory notes, oil and gas.
 
Don't let crooks steal your tax refund: Identity theft prevention tips
To itemize or not to itemize, deductions, exemptions, interest income and capital gains - you have a lot to think about when you're doing your taxes. While you're preparing your return, don't overlook a consideration that's every bit as important as whether you owe or are due a refund - tax-related identity theft.
 
Preparing for peace of mind in retirement
Everyone's vision for retirement is different - for some it involves trips across the globe, while for others it means relocating to a new city or picking up a new hobby. Regardless of what your retirement goals might be, preparing to achieve them financially should include a plan that anticipates both the expected and unexpected events and expenses that may arise before or after leaving the workforce.
 
Building your professional brand
Personal branding is an elusive topic to most people, yet it is important for career success. Wise professionals with career success know it can mean the difference between landing that dream job and never getting noticed.
 
Five things they don't teach you in school about how to secure your financial future
Anyone over a certain age has heard about the "the three Rs" of education - reading, writing and arithmetic. The thinking is that if you graduate from school knowing how to read, write and solve basic math problems, you'll have the fundamentals for a successful life. But these days much more is required, especially when it comes to making sure you have the financial resources to take care of yourself and your family. Here are five things they generally don't teach you in school but that everyone should learn.
 
Family needs compete with retirement among Hispanic Americans, survey finds
Long term financial planning can be daunting for many Americans, however, Prudential's 2014 Hispanic American Finance Experience survey indicates that the Hispanic community may face distinct challenges.
 
Small business 101: What you may not know about your credit card processor
The electronic payment processing industry is a critical component for small, mid-size and large businesses alike. All merchants depend on reliable, affordable electronic payment services to grow their businesses; however, some credit and debit card processors take advantage of small businesses that do not have large accounting and auditing teams to protect their interests. Rates can be easily misrepresented, fees can be hidden or inflated - and the numbers quickly add up.
 
Is a refinance the right decision?
Once at rock bottom, interest rates have ticked up slightly in recent months. Still, the prospect of refinancing a mortgage remains attractive. Interest rates are projected to rise to 5 percent or above by August 2014, according to an August 2013, Freddie Mac study.
 
Survey says: Payday loan users savvier than you think
Read enough about the state of Americans' finances and you might get the impression that the average consumer is fairly clueless when it comes to making good money decisions. But a new survey indicates that Americans are more credit-savvy than you might think about how and when to use one of the most-maligned types of credit: payday loans.
 
Does your employer benefit package measure up?
Many Americans just went through their annual benefits enrollment period at their work. Precious time was spent reviewing the available offerings with spouses and determining which ones best meet their families' needs, weighed against the cost. Yet a good number of Americans may not have taken the time to review their company's benefit plans and may not be aware that what's available and what they selected could fall short of meeting their needs.
 
Save time and money: Do your federal taxes for free
Taxes can be, well, taxing. But there's a simple, easy way to do your federal taxes, and it's all for free. It's called Free File.
 
How health care reform could impact your tax returns this year and next
Several key tax law changes in the Affordable Care Act have been implemented in 2013 and 2014. The impact of those changes on federal tax returns due April 15, 2014 and 2015 hinge mainly on your household's adjusted gross income (AGI) and health insurance situation. Here's the important facts everyone should understand.
 
Thinking about writing off Social Security? Not so fast
Social Security is a hot topic these days. Unfortunately, many Americans are still in the dark when it comes to planning for Social Security. And that could have significant consequences.
 
How to shop for dental insurance
Dental health is essential to overall health, affecting everything from our hearts to our mental well-being. Yet despite ample research that underscores the importance of taking care of our teeth, millions of Americans never go to the dentist. A lack of dental insurance is one of the top reasons Americans don't keep up with their dental care.
 
Turn your tax refund into savings
Millions of Americans get a refund on their taxes each year. If you are one of them, why not use part of your refund to save for the future with a Series I Savings Bond from the U.S. Department of the Treasury? You can invest as little as $50 in this affordable, safe and convenient savings option, which can help you meet your long-term savings goals and build a brighter future.
 
A reasonable explanation: What 'reason codes' tell you about your credit score
Consumer knowledge about credit scoring remains a challenge. In fact, nearly half of Americans still don't know that mortgage companies use credit scores when making decisions about credit availability and pricing. Even if you do understand the importance of a credit score, you may still wonder why yours isn't higher. That's where "reason codes" come in handy.
 
How to manage your money in the new year
As a new year unfolds, many people resolve to kick bad habits and take better care of their health and their finances. After a few late payments, messy receipt folders and carefree budgeting, it's time to make your personal finances a priority. It may feel like you don't have enough time in your hectic life to sit down and manage your money, but with a few secret weapons you can organize your personal finances like a professional in no time at all, from wherever your busy day may take you.
 
Get back to basics with your business technology
Technology can do a lot for home offices as well as small and medium-size businesses, but choosing and investing in the appropriate level of technology can sometimes feel overwhelming and time-consuming. Business owners and consumers alike sometimes overspend on technology rather than selecting the right tools to help them improve their productivity while keeping their costs at a minimum.
 
New credit score myths and why you shouldn't believe them
Myths and folklore endlessly evolve as cultures change, technologies emerge and societies grow. Some myths - like the one that warns against washing Pop Rocks down with Coke - are chuckle-worthy. Others, such as fallacies about how credit scores work, can be downright detrimental. Here are five new credit scoring myths and the truths that debunk them.
 
How to stick to your New Year's resolutions all year long
With the holidays past and a new year upon us, now is the time for Americans to focus on their 2014 resolutions. And while fitness goals often top the list of New Year's resolutions, diet and exercise aren't the only ways to get back into shape. This year, do yourself and your loved ones a favor by getting financially fit as well.
 
How to find rebates for energy-efficient home improvements
Home improvements that increase energy efficiency are appealing on many levels, from saving you money on heating and cooling costs to the confidence you get from knowing you're doing something good for the environment. They're even better when you can get some money back from the initial investment of making those improvements. Here are some ways to find rebates.
 
What is the generation gap on credit?
Whether you're wrapping up end-of-year paperwork, getting ready to create your 2014 budget, or preparing for tax season, something about this time of year inspires financial introspection. While you're evaluating your own financial well-being - including your credit status - it may be helpful to know how other Americans are doing.
 
Using your Health Insurance Marketplace coverage on Jan. 1, 2014
With the start of the new year, millions of Americans will have access to health coverage for the first time or have improved coverage because of the health care law. There are steps you can take now to ensure you have access to coverage beginning Jan. 1.
 
10 simple ways to instantly improve your finances in 2014
Do you wonder how you could better manage finances? You're not alone. When it comes to money, most people are far from perfect. Whether you make $20,000 a year or $200,000, some simple steps can start you on the right financial path, and some of them only take a few minutes to complete.
 
A resolution you can keep all year: The one-day identity checkup
Exercise. Lose the weight. Answer every incoming email. Those are the hard kinds of New Year's resolutions, because you have to think about them every day for the rest of the year. Many are forgotten long before Valentine's Day.
 
Financially fit: five steps to get a handle on your credit
After countless hours spent holiday shopping, you finally finished. Now, you're faced with the credit card payments as you roll into the new year. While it may have been difficult to keep your finances - particularly your credit cards - top of mind amid the dash from store to store, those payments aren't going anywhere.
 
Stretching your ski vacation dollar
With the Olympics right around the corner, skiing is on a lot of people's minds. While ski trips can get pricey quickly, there are ways to give your budget a lift.
 
Don't forget about insurance when discussing finances with children
When it comes to financial literacy, parents know it's important to give kids the knowledge and skills they need to manage money. While you're teaching children about smart spending, saving and credit management, don't forget to discuss another important aspect of financial health: insurance.
 
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