The old phrase “you get what you pay for” really does ring true in some cases. There are some cases where quality is far more important than price. Would you consider discount brain surgery? Probably not… and if you would, we suspect it might be repeat business. Medicine warrants a whole category of areas where
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You’ve set up a lame date for the upcoming weekend but you’re hoping a better offer comes along. If one does, you’re ready to accept it and cancel your earlier date. You’re hedging your bets, so you won’t be sitting home alone on Saturday night. That logic applies to real estate transactions as well. Perhaps
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Certificates of Deposit (CDs) can be a useful part of your investment portfolio – but did you know that opening a CD at some banks and credit unions can drop your credit score? It’s possible, depending on how your bank or credit union assesses risk. When you apply for credit, lenders check your credit report
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A vacation home sounds delightful, doesn’t it? If you can’t afford one, you may be able to at least afford a part of one – by purchasing a timeshare. You’ll have plenty of company if you do. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) reports that timeshare sales have risen for eight consecutive years, reaching $9.6
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You decide to participate in a government survey regarding your debt and credit card usage. Will you answer the survey questions honestly, or will you shade some of your answers when you’re not proud of the truthful response? Researchers at the Federal Reserve decided to compare credit card data from different sources to answer that
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Tax preparation software has improved significantly over the past several years, and more and more people are using it to file their own taxes. If you are debating whether doing your own taxes is right for you, consider the following factors: Simplicity of your Tax Situation – If you have relatively few deductions, few sources
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The Internal Revenue Service has plenty of ways to penalize you for mistakes on your tax return. Some of these potential penalties are so convoluted and complex that there may well be disagreement within the IRS on when they apply. However, most people accrue tax penalties for very simple mistakes. Below are some of the
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The Premium Tax Credit (PTC) may sound like it is a credit only available to top-tier incomes, but it is actually quite the opposite. “Premium” in this case refers to health care premiums, and the PTC is a way to help those with relatively low incomes to afford health insurance premiums and avoid the potential
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Nature comes alive in springtime and we all want to take advantage of the warmer weather. However, some of our finances may still be recovering from our holiday spending, making a spring break seem like a pipe dream. Here are five ways to take a vacation without breaking the bank. 1. Take a road trip.
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The IRS recommends that you keep tax records for at least three years from the date you filed your original return, and longer for special situations. You may need copies of your tax returns for tasks like filing future years’ taxes, applying for a mortgage loan or student aid, or settling IRS inquiries. How to
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You have decided that it is time to sell your home. Regardless of the reason why, you want as smooth and as quick of a sale as possible. To keep your sale trouble-free, consider these potential stumbling blocks before you begin your home-selling journey. Overpricing – Set the price using appraisal values and market rates,
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Tax season is upon us, accompanied by many new federal tax changes. If you are one of the many Americans struggling to understand how to fill out your tax forms, the IRS — yes, that IRS — may be able to offer you free assistance. The IRS offers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
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The home appraisal process can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of a home sale. A single independent party is assessing the fair market value of your home, and the appraiser’s conclusion can sink the deal. Banks will not approve the loan if the appraisal does not give them sufficient collateral. The primary factors
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To pay someone to figure out how much you have to pay the government seems like adding insult to injury. For many taxpayers, there’s an easier way. Formed in 2003, IRS Free File is the product of a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a group of twelve online tax software suppliers that form
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Congratulations! You have just been handed your first little bundle of joy in the hospital and have embarked on the long journey of parenthood. It is a trip full of joyful experiences that make the corresponding aggravations worthwhile, and it comes with many benefits — some of which are tax-related. You can look forward to
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When you decide to revamp your home, the goal is usually to suit your lifestyle and create an ambiance more to your own taste. In a world of financial uncertainties, however, it is crucial to consider the effect on the resale value of your property. Home improvement projects that enhance sought-after features can make your
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You would love to embark on a home improvement project that will spruce up your property and improve its resale value at the same time, but you only have $1,000 in the budget. What sort of projects can give you the best return on your investment (ROI)? We have five options below for your consideration.
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Are you starting home improvement projects to celebrate spring – or to recover from this year’s wicked heating bill? Are you looking to sell your home soon, and investigating home improvements to improve the sale price? In any case, you want your home upgrades to result in savings and/or increased value. But which improvements are
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MoneyTips By Andrea Woroch Every year, countless people throughout the country dream up personal finance-related New Year’s Resolutions. Most of the goals are centered around saving more money, whether it’s by earning more or spending less. Some folks have trips they want to take or projects they need to cross off their to-do list, while
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While many deductions were cut or modified with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, most tax credits were retained. Tax credits are more powerful than tax deductions because they directly subtract from your tax bill (deductions only reduce taxable income). Refundable tax credits are even better, since refunds can be greater
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Refinancing your home can be a difficult task under any conditions, but with a low appraisal value, it is especially challenging. The recent housing crisis left many homeowners in this position – the overall drop in home values produced loan-to-value (LTV) ratios that were unacceptably high to banks, putting refinancing out of reach. Even without
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According to the Federal Reserve Board, there are three things to consider when determining whether refinancing your home is a good idea: How long you have already been paying your mortgage. How long you plan to remain in your home. Whether or not your current mortgage has a prepayment penalty. When you
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Are you considering refinancing your home? You may want to act before interest rates rise further. The refinancing plan that’s right for you and your family depends on your current financial situation. Is your home underwater (that is, you owe more on your home than it is currently worth) and you need to secure a
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