Personal Finance

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Using the Quicken 2006 Retirement Calculator

Imagine that you decide to jump into your employer's 401(k) thing (a type of profit-sharing plan) and that it allows you to plop $6,000 into a retirement account that you think will earn about 9 percent [more…]

What Are Charitable Trusts All About?

Setting up a charitable trust to leave property to a qualified charitable organization can reduce your estate taxes similar to the way giving gifts to charitable organizations offers the charitable deduction [more…]

Mining the History of Precious Metals

Long before government-issued currency existed, people relied on bartering to obtain the things they needed (unless you were a barbarian and preferred plundering). Civilized merchants and consumers traded [more…]

Actively Oversee Your Debt Management Plan

To ensure that your debt management plan helps you get out of debt, you must take an active role in overseeing it. Even when working with a reputable credit counseling agency, problems can develop if you [more…]

Understand Your Credit Consumer Rights

Federal laws and agencies govern lender behavior when you apply for and use credit, protecting you from creditors who engage in illegal or bad credit practices. [more…]

Flipping Houses: Making Money in Any Market

The housing market, like the stock market, fluctuates. Home values can steam ahead, stay put, or spiral down out of control. You make your money when you buy a house at less than market value. By adjusting [more…]

How to Get Your Credit Report and Score

Three main sources of credit information dominate the credit industry today: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These credit bureaus are basically huge databases of information from lenders, bill collectors [more…]

Using Will Substitutes to Reduce Estate Taxes

Why would you want to use a will substitute (a legal agreement that transfers ownership upon your death) rather than your will for certain property? Property covered by a will substitute is transferred [more…]

Pinpointing House Flipping Hot Spots

Whether you're an average home buyer or a seasoned real estate investor, every search for the right home begins with a search for the right neighborhood. After all, location is everything. [more…]

Stock Trading: Learning from the Mistakes of the '90s

Because most investors ignored some basic observations about economics in the late 1990s, they lost trillions in their stock portfolios. In the late 1990s, the United States experienced the greatest expansion [more…]

529 Guaranteed College Savings Plan Guarantees Return on Investment

A few states have started a movement to meld 529 prepaid tuition plans and 529 savings plans into a hybrid: the guaranteed savings plan. Guaranteed savings plans follow all the rules and requirements of [more…]

What Are Coverdell Education Savings Accounts?

You can invest money in Coverdell Education Savings accounts in a variety of ways: stocks, bonds, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, and so on, although you may not invest in life insurance [more…]

How to Avoid Unnecessary Banking and Credit Card Fees

Even small fees can take their toll on your finances, so try to avoid fees whenever you can. To avoid getting dinged for unnecessary fees, follow this advice: [more…]

Educate Yourself about Student Loans for College Expenses

Student loans based on financial need are subsidized. When a student loan is subsidized, you usually don’t have to pay yearly interest while the student for whom the loan was granted is still in college [more…]

The Dangers of Growth Manias

Wall Street’s mantra is “anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” and growth versus value is no exception. In the uncertain times of the last 40 years, growth-stock investing has twice been taken to extremes [more…]

Examining High-End Investment and Speculation Vehicles

In some ways, higher-end investments aren't much different than traditional investments: You invest your money and make all the same decisions that an average investor does. The difference is the amount [more…]

Estate Planning with Homestead Statutes in Mind

You definitely want your home to be protected after you die. Some states have homestead allowance statutes to make sure that your spouse and any minor children have a place to live after you die. Your [more…]

Working with a Credit Counselor to Deal with Debt

After you have chosen a credit counseling agency to help you get out of debt, your assigned credit counselor will spend time becoming familiar with you and your finances. Your initial face-to-face meeting [more…]

Federal Laws Help Ease Tax Burden in Estate Planning

The federal tax system includes a gift tax, generation skipping transfer tax (GSTT), and estate (death) tax that work together to make as much of your estate as possible disappear. The laws and rules for [more…]

Flipping Houses: Lining Up a Home Inspector

Whenever you make an offer on a house, make the offer contingent upon the house passing inspection. Then, have the home professionally inspected. This contingency ensures that you don't get stuck holding [more…]

Investing Rules and Regulations for Coverdell College Saving Plans

Coverdell ESAs generally follow the same rules as traditional and Roth IRA accounts. Unlike 529 plans, there’s a lot that’s allowed, and not much that’s prohibited. Still, to keep everything kosher, you [more…]

How to Save Money on Holiday Decorations and Gifts

You can have festive holiday celebrations without dipping into savings or running up a credit card balance. Use these holiday-planning ideas to jump-start your creativity and see where your imagination [more…]

Taming the Lingo: Bull and Bear Markets

A bullish market is one that is rising and a bearish market is one that is falling. A bull is an optimist who thinks prices will rise and a bear is a pessimist who thinks prices will fall. [more…]

How to Use Home Equity to Consolidate Debts

If you have credit card debt, a second mortgage, or other loans in addition to your first mortgage, debt consolidation can take a chunk out of your monthly expenses, freeing up money to cover other bills [more…]

Qualifying Criteria for 529 College Savings Plans

Section 529 plans seem to be wrapped in qualifications. Your plan must qualify and so must your student, but don’t allow these endless lists of criteria discourage you from using 529 plans. In order for [more…]

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