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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The Foreign Currency Market, often called the FOREX or FX market, is a marketplace for the buying and selling of currencies, which are considered a form of commodity. Investors make or lose money based on changes in the value of relative currencies. Trades on the FOREX market are made in currency pairs – you are
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An investment is considered “triple-tax-free” if it is exempt from taxes at all three levels of government – federal, state and municipal. What kind of investment gives you that sort of a sweet deal? The answer is municipal bonds. Generally, a state or a municipality offers the bonds with tax-free interest payments to promote investments
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“The Witching Hour” sounds like a bad public access television show, but it really refers to a particular time of day where odd and unexplainable things happen. When referring to stocks, it means pretty much the same thing, except that the reasons behind the activities are somewhat explainable. Triple-witching days occur four times a year
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Natural gas has been touted by some as a greener alternative to other fossil fuels, and thanks to technological improvements to increase supply, the current price also makes natural gas an attractive option. The relatively sudden increased availability of natural gas was a boon for energy consumers. Unfortunately for investors, natural gas price plummeted through
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If you are one of those people who likes to post on social media about all the things going on in your life, there is at least one event you might want to think twice about before hitting the “post” button: a car accident. That is because insurance adjusters are increasingly turning to social media
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MedPay Car Insurance, otherwise known as Medical Payments coverage, is a common target for people who are trying to reduce their insurance premiums to save money. However, MedPay is one of the better bargains in insurance today in terms of the value you get for the premiums that you pay. A typical cost is between
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APR and APY – are they new texting acronyms? IDK, you say – or rather, you text? (For the benefit of the textually-challenged, IDK means “I don’t know.”) If you think they are texting acronyms, or just “DK” what they are, it’s time to learn. APR and APY are financial acronyms, short for Annual Percentage
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A microfinance loan is a loan extended by non-traditional lenders to people who are not served by traditional banks, such as lower-income borrowers, people without collateral, or people with lower credit scores. It does not necessarily refer to the loan amount, although most loans are small – from the $500 range to thousands. Microfinance loans
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There are two avenues of government assistance to disabled Americans – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. To qualify for these programs, generally a person must meet the definition of disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration, must have resources of less than $2,000 and the disability must prevent them from holding a job.
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