Posted April 27, 2012 at 12:58 am
by Gerri Detweiler
Before I tell you what those words are, let me first state that I am not a bankruptcy attorney or credit counselor, and I don’t run a debt relief firm. I consider myself first and foremost an educator, and my goal for the last twenty+ years has always been to try my best to provide consumers with reliable answers to their credit questions.
The method they choose to resolve their debt problems makes no difference to me personally.
With that out of the way, here are those six dangerous words:
“Bankruptcy should be your last resort.”
By taking these words to heart, many consumers have caused themselves needless heartache and enormous financial pain. Yet, these words are perpetuated by the news media, financial advisors, and creditors every day.
If you hear these words, put up your guard, and question carefully whether they are true.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Six Dangerous Words If You Are In Debt" ]
Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:30 am
If you have a refund check coming your way, consider using it to bolster your personal balance sheet.
The average refund has been around $3,000 for the past two years (most people receive their refund within three weeks of filing their returns). That’s a nice chunk of change.
Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:37 am
by Emily Brandon
There are many things that could go wrong with your retirement plan. You could develop a health problem, lose money on your investments, or simply watch inflation slowly reduce what your savings can buy.
A recent Society of Actuaries survey of individuals ages 45 to 80 identified older Americans’ biggest concerns, and what current retirees are doing to cope with them.
Here’s how to manage seven of the biggest retirement challenges [continue]…
Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:07 am
by Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA
As we approach the tax deadline, I’m sure that many of you are putting a lot of time and effort, blood and tears into filling out your tax returns.
As you do so, hopefully you are remembering to include everything necessary, but sometimes things slip through the cracks.
Below are 13 reminders for you – topics that you may not have thought about – that may help you as you prepare your tax return this year. Good luck and many happy returns!
1. Don’t forget to make the IRA contribution that you said you were going to on your tax return. It’s perfectly legal to file your return before you make the IRA contribution, but you have to do your part and actually make the contribution by April 17, 2012 for the 2011 tax year. Forgetting to do this will cause you to have to pay extra tax and most likely penalties and interest once the IRS catches up to you.
2. Don’t forget to include the IRA deduction. On the other hand, if you’ve made your IRA contribution much earlier in the year, or possibly by monthly automatic payments or some other arrangement, don’t forget to include that deduction on your tax return as you prepare it.
3. Remember to file Form 8606 if you made nondeductible IRA contributions or Roth Conversions. This form is required for these options, so make sure you file the correct forms.
4. Check out the Saver’s Credit. If you make an IRA contribution, or participate in an employer’s plan like a 401(k) you might be eligible for an [continue]…
Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:02 am
by Clark Howard
The average person in their 20s has a backbreaking load of debt and it’s not all about student loans.
A new PNC Bank survey found that the average 20-something is carrying debt approaching $50,000. While student loan debt represents the bulk of it, there are also credit cards and car loans in the mix, in addition to a very small percent of mortgage debt.
I believe parents have a responsibility to guide teenagers when they’re in high school about making wise college choices. Many parents feel reluctant to do this because they feel guilty they don’t have the resources to pay for a kid’s college.
But you need to let go of that if you’re a parent. Have a conversation based on [continue]…
Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:10 am
by Bill Hardekopf
Using a mobile device to access your bank account is not only convenient, but it appears to be helping consumers better manage their finances.
A new Federal Reserve study shows that mobile phones and Internet access are in widespread use and changing the way that consumers access their financial services.
According to the study, 21 percent of mobile phone owners have used mobile banking in the past twelve months, and an additional 11 percent think they will probably use it within the next year.
Two-thirds of mobile banking users say they used their mobile phone to check an account balance or available credit before making a large purchase in the past twelve months.
Of this group, 59 percent say they did not make a [continue]…
Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:45 am
by Andrea Coombes
An unexpected letter from the Internal Revenue Service can make your stomach drop, but you can take steps to reduce your audit risk.
Taxpayers overall face a low audit risk: The IRS audited 1.1% of all individual tax returns filed in 2010, or 1.6 million returns of 141 million filed.
The vast majority of those audits—1.2 million—were done by mail. Just 392,000 involved an in-person meeting with the IRS. That’s not necessarily good news. Taxpayers often are confused by IRS correspondence, and with such audits they don’t have the benefit of working with one single agent, the National Taxpayer Advocate says.
But the risk of an audit skyrockets for some. Fully 12.5% of taxpayers whose income topped $1 million faced an audit. And self-employed people who filed a Schedule C with gross receipts of $100,000 or more faced an audit rate of about 4%—four times higher than average taxpayers.
Here are seven red flags:
Sole proprietors filing a Schedule C can reduce their audit risk by sticking to the facts—or at least making sure their expenses and income are not dramatically different from similar businesses.
For example, one Chicago-based hot-dog-stand owner said his [continue]….
Posted March 27, 2012 at 3:45 am
by Abby Rogers
In Michigan, $1.5 million buys a custom-built log house, complete with perks such as a heated floor and Jacuzzi.
And in Arizona, that same amount buys a house that comes with its own mountain.
But it’s a tighter squeeze in New York, where $1.5 million buys a two-bedroom apartment. At least it’s within walking distance of Central Park.
Our friends at Zillow helped us figure out what a home buyer can get for around $1.5 million in real estate markets across the country [continue]…
Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:48 am
by Marla Brill
Karin Prangley, a 33-year-old Chicago estate planning attorney, attempted to guess her father-in-law’s password to gain access to his business computer after he suffered a debilitating stroke several years ago at age 62. None of them worked.
“At the time he owned a building supply company, and he ran most of the business through his Yahoo e-mail account,” Prangley says. “But he hadn’t left his password with anyone, so the family had no way of accessing the contents. We didn’t know which orders had been filled, what was coming in, who the business owed money to, or who to bill.”
Yahoo would only provide the password with a court order. “As an attorney, I knew that takes at least a month,” Prangley says. “The business couldn’t wait that long.” With important records sealed off, the business lost a significant amount of money and eventually closed.
Computer passwords, increasingly the portals to our financial and personal lives, can be sealed in [continue]…
Posted February 14, 2012 at 3:47 am
by Jerrold Mundis
You can have more money. And you can have it — get it — without turning your life upside down or driving yourself nuts. Seriously.
I got it that way, quietly, simply, and still am. You can, too. Maybe only a modest amount more, maybe a lot more. I don’t know. But I do know that you can have more. I’m not doing anything so far as concept and technique go that you can’t either. I just work the simple little four-point program that follows. You’re welcome to it.
Here’s what I do — and don’t do.
I don’t debt and haven’t for 28 years now.
I know: using debt as a verb is unlovely. But it helps to distinguish that act from other uses of money, to be clear about what is actually being done — not spending, buying, enjoying, but: going into debt.
Readers of Get Rich Slowly and other personal finance blogs almost certainly know that using unsecured credit is a bad idea. But I’ll tell you: It’s more than a bad idea. It’s a catastrophe. If any single thing can crush, break, and poison a life, kill anything of value or pleasure in it, it’s unsecured debt, the sustained and mounting pressure of it over months, years, and even decades.
In his play A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen wrote more than 130 years ago, “There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing or debt.”
True. I’ve never seen anyone for whom it isn’t.
By the time I bottomed out on debt myself, way back in [continue]…