What do Silicon Valley and agriculture have in common? Not much, you may think… but agriculture and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined. Tech companies see financial opportunities in agricultural pursuits, farmers see potential cost savings and higher yields through technological improvements, and perhaps world hunger may be reduced as a result. The tech industry is
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It sounds like a great idea – purchase a vacation home in your favorite destination and recoup some of your costs by renting the home out when you are not using it. This can be an excellent choice, but investigate the tax issues that are associated with vacation/rental homes before you purchase. The tax concerns
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Investing in the stock market is an inherently risky endeavor. Throughout history, the major stock indices have risen and fallen sharply over both short and long periods of time, leading some investors to avoid stocks due to their volatility. However, what if you could buy “stock insurance” that would effectively limit your portfolio losses should
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In March of 2014, the IRS made an important decision regarding Bitcoins (including all virtual currencies) and taxes. IRS Notice 2014-21 declared that Bitcoins do not have legal tender status and therefore should be treated as property instead of currency. For those trading in Bitcoins only as investments, this ruling has fairly straightforward effects. Bitcoin
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There have been rough times in the commodity markets, but copper has been hit especially hard. From an early-2011 peak that approached $10,000 per metric ton, copper lost nearly 30% of its value in mid-2011, and after a brief recovery, has slowly dropped to its current price ($2.534 per pound or $5,575 per metric ton
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Tax discussions often focus on the largest payouts, typically the Federal Income Tax and the FICA taxes that are taken out of your paycheck to pay for Social Security and Medicaid (among other things). State and local taxes tend to be afterthoughts, but they shouldn’t be – they can absorb significant amounts of your income.
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If you have had to do battle with an insurance company to settle a straightforward damage claim, you may be surprised to discover some of the odd things that have been covered and paid under an insurance policy. Actually, a few cases are so outrageous you will probably be surprised whether or not you have
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Good news: you finally got that raise. Bad news: your paycheck still isn’t as big as your thought it would be. The problem is deciphering your pay stub; where does all that money go that doesn’t go to you? Don’t worry! Pay stubs are pretty easy to read with some common sense and a little
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Dealing with the aftermath of a home-destroying disaster is bad enough without uncertainty regarding your insurance coverage and replacement costs. A full inventory of your possessions can accelerate the process of sufficiently replacing them and starting the recovery process. Most of us have a scattering of files and information on our possessions, but not a
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The recent gains in home prices have helped some homeowners get out from “underwater”, a situation where the homeowner owes more on the home than it is worth. However, there are still far too many Americans in a negative equity position in their home. Halfway through 2014, there were still around 5.3 million underwater homeowners,
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MoneyTips Among the most attractive features of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) are the tax credits that are available to low income families to make health insurance more affordable. If you purchased your health insurance through one of the Exchanges (either Federal or state-based), you qualified for a tax credit or other subsidies if
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You are ready to buy a home, but you cannot find a home that has all the features that are important to you. However, you have found the perfect plot of land on which to build your own dream home. That means you will soon be entering the world of land loans – loans that
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The term “market correction” is unsettling to most investors, but it really should not be. If you take the longer view of investing and resist overreacting, you may be able to capitalize on the correction and make long-term lemonade out of short-term lemons. A correction is generally defined as a relatively short-term loss of 10%
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The state of Florida is well known for many things — sunshine, beaches, golf courses and Disney World, to name a few. Unfortunately, it is also known for bearing the wrath of one of Mother Nature’s most fearsome and destructive types of storms: hurricanes. Hurricane Andrew was one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit
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Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) can be tricky to value, because they have the pricing characteristics of both mutual funds and stocks. ETF’s, like mutual funds, contain a market basket of shares of different companies, and so their valuation is calculated as a Net Asset Value (NAV) which gives you the collective valuation of the underlying holdings
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CDARS may sound like trees you might find in the FREST – but it actually stands for Certificate of Deposit Accounts Registry Service, a method of insurance for very large deposits that is backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). CDARS exists primarily because of the limits on FDIC-insured accounts. FDIC limits for CDs
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“Buy low, sell high.” This simple piece of advice sums up the goal of every investor — to sell securities at a higher price than what was originally paid. Of course, this is easier said than done. Buying and selling the right stocks at the right time is tricky business, even for investment pros who
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During the financial crisis and Great Recession, thousands of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure when they were unable to pay their monthly mortgages. But now, a new type of foreclosure crisis is emerging in which people are losing their homes as a result of delinquent payment of their property taxes. How Tax Liens Work
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Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are securities issued by the government that adjust for inflation based on the value of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Unlike other fixed-income investments, the face value (and therefore the interest income) varies over time based on the amount of inflation adjustment. This makes TIPS a good choice for a laddering
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A new type of investment has recently emerged that has piqued the curiosity of options investors. Commonly referred to as binary options, this investment is an options contract in which the payout is based on the correct or incorrect answer of a simple yes/no proposition. Binary options are also sometimes called all-or-nothing options or Fixed
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“Operation Mis-Modification” may sound like a bad TV sitcom or a strange new form of pageant, but it is actually a joint effort from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and officials from fifteen states, designed to crack down on mortgage-relief scammers. During the mortgage crisis, desperate homeowners sought help
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Pairs trading, developed by analysts at Morgan Stanley in the 1980s, uses correlation between two similar investment vehicles to create a market-neutral trading strategy – where profits are not related to whether the overall market goes up or down. Correlation of two investment vehicles refers to how their prices change relative to each other. If
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