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home : life : personal finance April 29, 2017

Changing weather patterns leave homeowners underinsured
(BPT) - The U.S. has experienced significant shifts in the frequency, severity and locations of natural disasters — including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires — during the past decade.As a result, more than 800 emergency or disaster declarations were made in the U.S. from 200... More >>


Survey: African-Americans passionate about homeownership, but fewer own homes
(BPT) - More than any other demographic group, African-Americans perceive homeownership as an integral component of the American Dream, and a way to build security and wealth for their families, according to a recent survey.The poll by Ipsos Public Affairs, conducted on behalf of Wells Fargo, found... More >>


5 tips to help teens master their money
(BPT) - For most teens, high school is an exciting time, one that offers the opportunity to set their own path and make some of their own decisions. However, with this added independence comes additional responsibility, especially regarding money.Today teens are spending $260 billion a year in the ... More >>


Spring cleaning to make money: Don't toss these 5 hidden sources of extra cash
(BPT) - Before we soak up the summer sun, we need to think about spring cleaning. As you clear out your closets and drawers, be on the lookout for these five often overlooked sources of money:1) Gift Cards: About $1 billion in gift cards goes unused each year, so instead of digging change out of yo... More >>


How PMI can make your dream of home sweet home a reality
(BPT) - In the 2017 housing market, those who choose to pursue the dream of owning a home face several important decisions, such as how much to put toward a down payment. Twenty percent down is typically recommended by most lenders.While 20 percent is not a requirement, paying less can have a big i... More >>


Get extra money all year: Tips to adjust your tax withholdings
(BPT) - Every year, nearly eight out of 10 taxpayers receive a federal tax refund. Many of them are more than happy to see that “extra” money drop into their bank accounts. In fact, according to a recent TaxAct survey, 61 percent of tax filers said they’d rather receive a big refu... More >>


6 tips for decoding college financial aid award letters
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Control mobile data costs by connecting to Wi-Fi at home
(BPT) - American's use of computers has shifted dramatically in the last five years. In the past, desktop computers were the main tools for accessing the Internet and communicating with others. Today, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are taking over.The use of mobile devices has skyrocke... More >>


Balance is the key to help build financial confidence [Infographic]
(BPT) - Taking small financial steps today can help prepare you for a more confident tomorrow. Learn how to get started with these tips for tackling your biggest financial concerns.SaveSaveSave... More >>


5 mistakes to avoid when buying your first home
(BPT) - Buying a home for the first time is comparable to the first time you ride a bike. You can learn about how it works from your parents and observe it from a distance, but you really won’t know the ins and outs until you actually sit down on the bicycle and start riding.Like most beginne... More >>


The data dilemma: How to choose a monthly plan
(BPT) - How much data do you really need on your monthly cellular plan? Buy too much and you're simply wasting money. Buy too little and you could end up socked with overage fees, or find your data speeds slowed significantly.The average U.S. wireless customer consumes about 1.8 gigabytes (GB) of d... More >>


Tips for paying less in taxes all year long
(BPT) - American taxpayers file roughly 140 million tax returns annually, according to the IRS. Of those, just 14 percent are the simplest type of form, the 1040EZ. In fact, all the 1040EZs, 1040s and 1040As filed - the least complex types of returns that you should, in theory, be able to do for yo... More >>


The lowdown on leasing
(BPT) - If you’re in the market for a new car, you might be thinking about leasing. After all, it seems very attractive on the surface — so attractive that leases accounted for one-third of all vehicles sales nationally in 2016. Taking a closer look though, you may be surprised to see t... More >>


Key retirement milestones everyone should know about
(BPT) - Retirement can seem like a very distant destination in your early working years. However, as you age, that once distant destination starts to become more real. As you enter your 50s you can really start to think about how much you have saved and how that will translate into retirement incom... More >>


Secrets smart investors use year-round to save on their taxes
(BPT) - Come tax time, many people work to locate tax breaks. While this is always a smart financial move, a little-known way to help build your net worth is to keep taxes top of mind throughout the entire year. Reducing taxes means you keep more of what you earn, according to Nick Holeman, a finan... More >>


Small nest egg, big dreams? Tips for buying your retirement home
(BPT) - Planning for retirement means making a lot of decisions, including when you'll stop working, how much you'll withdraw from your savings each year, and where you'll live. Many Americans view retirement as an opportunity to move into a house they'll love and live in for all their golden years... More >>


3 tax hints every investor should know
(BPT) - It's a common misconception that if you have investments you need to shell out a large chunk of change to have your taxes prepared by an accounting genius. The truth is, it’s easy and affordable to do your own taxes and maximize tax savings — even if you’re an investor.&ld... More >>


Seniors struggling to pay life insurance premiums have options, including selling their policy
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The lowdown on low down payment mortgage
(BPT) - You would like to buy, but you can’t manage that 20 percent down payment. Does this sound familiar?The down payment is the biggest impediment to buying a home according to surveys, but in reality many individuals can qualify for a mortgage with as little as 3 percent down.It is import... More >>


4 tips to help protect your identity this tax season
(BPT) - Tax season is a busy time for everyone. From accountants and small business owners to families and individuals, especially as more people choose to file their taxes themselves. Unfortunately, it's also a busy time of year for cybercriminals who use the flurry of activity to swindle sensitiv... More >>


5 fast shortcuts to make your home sparkle this spring
(BPT) - We all know that one person who just adores cleaning. But for the rest of us, it's a necessary evil that gets old very quickly!Before you tackle that long list of spring cleaning tasks, try some of these cleaning hacks designed to make these chores faster and easier. When cleaning is fun an... More >>


Tips to get the most out of your HSA dollars
(BPT) - Millions of Americans with high-deductible health insurance plans rely on health savings accounts to help them manage the costs of health care. If you’re among them, you know how important it is to maximize the value you get out of every HSA dollar.If you don’t yet have an HSA, ... More >>


Self-employed? Tips to help you navigate the mortgage process
(BPT) - Sponsored ad content by Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.When you’re self-employed, you often work harder than anyone else you know. That’s what it takes to be your own boss. While rewarding, it comes with a lot of added responsibility. This is especially true when applying ... More >>


Flood insurance: Does your excuse hold water?
(BPT) - We know the old saying: when it rains, it pours… and when it pours, it floods. With winter snow storms coming to an end, the threat of flooding increases as the snow begins to melt and the rivers and creeks begin to swell. It’s easy to forget about how powerfully destructive wa... More >>


5 reasons why talking about money can enhance a relationship
(BPT) - Thinking about combining finances with your significant other? Whether you're getting married or just thinking about getting serious, talking about money can help couples understand each other and avoid unhappy surprises down the road. Here are five reasons why talking about money can enhan... More >>


Learn the basics to avoid cell phone surprises
(BPT) - It's easy to be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a cellphone provider. Everyone claims to offer the best, cheapest and most comprehensive service. It can be especially baffling for seniors who, despite boundless wisdom elsewhere, may be newcomers to this technology.When you boil it dow... More >>


Security in an insecure world
(BPT) - The year 2016 was devastating for some safe deposit box holders. In New York, thieves cut holes in the roofs of three banks and brazenly emptied hundreds of safe deposit boxes, leaving the victims' pillaged boxes on the roof and strewn around the vault.A stealthier thief in Florida picked s... More >>


What you should know about rising interest rates
(BPT) - Homeowners planning to refinance and buyers searching for a home may have an idea of what’s in store for them with regards to interest rates, but they never really know until they lock in a rate. Rates can change direction fast, and when they rise—as they have recently—it ... More >>


2017 looking bright for small business owners
(BPT) - The year 2017 is still in its infancy, but research shows small business owners feel this year could be one of the best in recent memory.A new survey, commissioned by Staples and conducted by Wakefield Research, found that 85 percent of small business owners surveyed reported feeling "optim... More >>


Debt poses risks to financial security for Americans reaching their golden years
(BPT) - Americans now retire with far more debt than previous generations. This can pose a significant risk to retirees' income, and may result in them not having enough. It also means that when a spouse dies, there could be little left over as creditors deplete an estate's assets - forcing survivo... More >>


Where to find rebates, tax credits and rewards for energy-efficient home improvements
(BPT) - If you’re planning to make some home improvements this year, you’re probably thinking about energy-efficient options, knowing they can save you money in the long run. However, many eco-friendly home improvements that help lower your energy bills can also pay off right away in th... More >>


4 reasons you should review your beneficiary designations
(BPT) - Baby boomers have been planning and saving for retirement for decades. They are also planning their legacy — creating wills, trusts and other sophisticated estate planning strategies to transfer their wealth to the next generation.However, most people may not realize their IRAs and qu... More >>


Paying for college: Options reduce need for student loans
(BPT) - While only a fortunate few students can expect a free college education by winning full academic or athletic scholarships, everyone can take advantage of a combination of academic aid, grants, fellowships, work-study and student loans to pay for a four-year degree, says Peter Gayle, a vice ... More >>


4 life changes that affect your taxes and how to tackle them
(BPT) - Life changes often mean tax changes. Whether it’s getting married, buying or selling a home, moving abroad or having a baby, misunderstanding the tax and financial implications of these life changes can lead to taxpayers making mistakes or leaving money on the table.Depending on your ... More >>


Top 5 tips for doing your own taxes
(BPT) - With the 2017 tax season a few short weeks away, now is the time to start thinking about your taxes, especially if you are doing your return by yourself. Whether you are a seasoned filer or a first timer, keeping a few tips in mind could help you increase the size of your refund (or minimiz... More >>


Two out of Three middle-income Americans lack a financial plan. Do you?
(BPT) - As the holidays (and all the extra spending that goes with them) wind down and the new year ramps up, many people turn their attention to their finances. While New Year's resolutions to spend less and save more come with the best intentions, when it comes to your financial future, you need ... More >>


No will? Haven't documented financial information? Now's the time to do something about it
(BPT) - Do you want to be remembered for being a great mom, dad, daughter or son? Do you believe you're taking the necessary steps to leave this legacy?More than half (53 percent) of respondents in a recent survey commissioned by MassMutual indicated they want to be remembered for being a great mom... More >>


Get ready for summer and warm up with hot deals at your local boat show
(BPT) - Stop dreaming about summer boating and make it a reality by finding the best deals this winter. Starting in January, boat shows take place across the country. They offer some of the best pricing and incentives of the year — a major draw for the millions of Americans who take to the wa... More >>









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