February 24, 2014 |
In the run-up to tax day, April 15, when returns are due to the IRS, you may have to unwind some of the complicated new tax rules - and fend off a few tax scams. Here is some help. The IRS last week issued its annual list of "dirty dozen tax scams" and said identity theft and phone scams lead the list. Many of the scams are perpetrated by tax filers, for example, claiming false expenses or exemptions. In the case of fraud-by-phone, the IRS says, "scams include many variations, ranging from instances where callers say the victims owe money or are entitled to a huge refund.
February 17, 2014 |
Romances, always tricky, can turn difficult when couples face financial issues. After Valentine's Day, we look at the hard facts of life and love and mingled wallets. Advice that couples "may not want to hear," outlined at About.com, includes a way for married couples to avoid some financial disagreements by maintaining separate accounts - along with a joint acccount. Writers Sheri and Bob Stritof say: "Having your own money that you can spend however you want can lessen arguments about money.
February 10, 2014 |
In a power outage, utilities can't charge you for electricity they didn't deliver. But what responsibilities do they have in providing service, and what are your rights - and responsibilities - as a consumer? The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission displays the "PA Energy Consumer Bill of Rights" in this document. There's nothing specific about how your utility should respond to an outage, but it notes that utilities "are required to make necessary repairs and improvements to service and facilities.
February 3, 2014 |
Janet Yellen is to be sworn in Monday, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve. Will she oversee an ongoing economic recovery? And what of the legacy of her predecessor, Ben Bernanke? Bernanke's legacy is the subject of this Breakout video at Yahoo Finance. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, says of the exiting Fed chair, "He gets credit, and quite rightly so, for steering us clear of a depression back in 2008. " However, McBride says, it will be some time before Bernanke's real impact is known.
January 27, 2014 |
The data heists from Target and Neiman Marcus continue to focus attention on the problem of information and identity theft. If you're a victim, or just don't want to be one, see these sites. Immediate steps to take when your identity is stolen include placing an initial fraud alert with one of the three big credit-reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission's page on how to handle ID theft tells how. The alert entitles you to free credit reports from all three reporting companies, and you'll need them.
January 20, 2014 |
Credit-card debt can sneak up on you. If you think $20,000 in such debt is no biggie, you're wrong. If you think you'll never have to deal with that kind of number, better think again. For all but a few of those facing it, living with a credit-card debt of $20,000 or more is a major life problem. A Credit.com online survey this month found 5 percent of respondents had such debt - and a significant portion of that group thought most people were like them. The most common reason for running up such debt, the post says, is that people "don't have sufficient income to cover their expenses.
January 13, 2014 |
Many people settle for a job, but there are online tools that can help you choose a career that suits your personality, education, stress tolerance, and, of course, your need for money. Stressed out? At BusinessInsider.com, there's a list of "high-paying jobs for people who don't like stress" - illustrated, strangely, with a photo of a couple nursing tall glasses of beer. The list includes jobs with annual pay averaging from about $65,000 to $186,000, the latter number belonging to orthodontists, who apparently find it relaxing to realign people's teeth and jaws.
January 6, 2014 |
If you think your retirement will take care of itself, think again. A secure retirement requires planning, no matter how modest your expectations. If you're getting a late start, here are some helpful ideas: "Tax Guy" Bill Bischoff says in this Marketwatch.com post that making "catch-up" contributions to a 401(k), IRA, or similar tax-advantaged retirement account can significantly increase your savings. In many cases, catch-up payments for the 2013 tax year are allowed through April 15 for people who were at least 50 years old by the end of 2013.
December 16, 2013 |
We are not a nation of savers. But can some individuals and families be "oversaving"? A few advice-givers contend that is the case, putting oversaving in a league with hoarding. Could you oversave for retirement? That surprising question is answered with a yes in a Morningstar report that's described in this post on Yahoo Finance. Financial advisers and retirement calculators "often rely on a generic formula that could lead some workers to oversave for their golden years by as much as 20 percent," according to the post.