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Personal Finance

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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…]

Defining Differences between Bad Debt and Good Debt

Whether your debt is good or bad depends on the type of debt, the reason you owe it, and whether you can afford to repay it. When used the right way, debt can help you manage your finances more effectively [more…]

Recognizing and Managing Investment Risks

As an investor, you face many risks. The most obvious is financial risk. Companies go bankrupt, trading decisions go south, the best-laid investment plans go awry, and you can end up losing your money [more…]

How to Find the Right Balance and Avoid Manias

Should you invest in growth funds or value funds in uncertain times? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose one over the other. Managing your portfolio can be a matter of shifting the emphasis as you participate [more…]

Laying the Groundwork for Credit Rebuilding

If your credit history is poor, you can rebuild it over time so that when you apply for credit, creditors who evaluate your application see an improved credit history and a higher credit score. [more…]

Examining Advanced Life Deferred Annuities (ALDAs)

Would you buy an insurance policy today that would cost you about one-fifth of your savings and pay you a guaranteed lifetime income starting at age 80 or so? If you died before age 80, you'd lose your [more…]

Using the Investment Saving Calculator with Quicken 2004

The folks at Intuit provide several nifty little calculators (most are dialog boxes) with Quicken. At the very least, the calculators should make your work easier. And if you invest a little time, you [more…]

Saving for College via Section 529 Plans and Coverdell Accounts

Postsecondary education isn’t free. The costs of attending college are huge. 529 Savings Plans and Coverdell Accounts provide built-in tax incentives to help you save for college expenses. [more…]

Shopping Around to Open a Coverdell Education Savings Account

Not every bank, savings and loan company, and mutual fund company offers Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Check around and ask questions. Financial institutions must apply to, and be approved [more…]

Basic Parts of Section 529 College Savings Plans

Qualified tuition programs covered under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code are programs that allow you to save money or purchase tuition credits for future college expenses for a specific beneficiary [more…]

How to Figure the Future Costs of College with Online Calculators

Calculating college expenses helps you plan for the time you’ll be sending your child to off to secondary school. Most college costs are paid with a combination of savings, financial aid, and student loans [more…]

Comparing Credit Card Terms before Accepting Card Offers

The federal Truth in Lending Act makes it easy to compare credit card offers, because it requires credit card companies to provide written information about the credit card terms. Do a comparison of credit [more…]

Exploring Ways to Fund Your College Education

If you’re not able to save enough to cover the full cost of your (or your child's) secondary education, various scholarships, grants, and loan programs are available to cover shortfalls. Here are some [more…]

The Dangers of Value Manias

Value stocks aren’t immune to manias. The value sector contains a large percentage of bank and financial services stocks. The inflation of the 1970s generated a lot of real estate lending by banks and [more…]

Figuring Out Who's Who among Financial Analysts

If you watch any of the financial news cable television stations, you've probably seen numerous industry analysts frequently touting certain stocks and panning others. Do you know who those analysts represent [more…]

How to Pay Living Expenses While Money's Tied Up in Probate

Your unanticipated death could create an immediate financial crisis for your family. Family allowance statutes enable the probate court to provide money for the support of your spouse and minor children [more…]

How to Take Control when Foreclosure Looms

If you sense that your financial situation has taken a turn for the worse and foreclosure may be on the horizon, deal with possible foreclosure as best you can. You and the rest of your household need [more…]

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