Smart Money Page 6

  • New Bully on the Block: Identity Thieves Are Targeting Your Kids

    New Bully on the Block: Identity Thieves Are Targeting Your Kids

    Identity theft is on a frightening rise, and the most vulnerable group of victims might surprise you: children ages 6 to 11. It's a "startling and disturbing" finding from Child Identity Theft, a recent Carnegie Mellon University study that claims children are targeted as much as 51 times more often than adults. "Wouldn’t you want to know your child was in foreclosure on a home in another state? Wouldn’t…

  • Not Just Debt: 4 Ways Building Credit Can Help You Save

    Some people just prefer to pay for everything with cash, so they don't think having credit is important. But what do you do when you want to purchase something large, like a car or a house? Chances are, you're going to need a loan. And for a loan, you'll need credit. You have to determine for yourself if building credit is a good move for you. Having a credit score will likely be helpful for you in the future, …

  • The Hidden Danger of Payday Loans

    The Hidden Danger of Payday Loans

    Few things are more detrimental to your finances than payday loans. As a tool to effectively get paid before an individual receives a paycheck, a payday loan can lead to serious debt. These loans require repayment of the principal and a fee measured as a fixed dollar amount per $100 borrowed. Military personnel are no less susceptible to these loans than civilian consumers. In 2010, the Financial Industry Regulat…

  • 4 Financial Signs You're Ready to Start a Family

    4 Financial Signs You’re Ready to Start a Family

    Starting a family is arguably the biggest change in an adult’s life. Although the unique sleeping schedule that goes along with having a child may seem like the most drastic change, taking on the role of financial provider for another is a huge undertaking. According to new studies, it costs the average family $235,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, not including college. The financial investment in starting…

  • 4 Crucial Takeaways From The Cyprus Banking Disaster

    4 Crucial Takeaways From The Cyprus Banking Disaster

    Nobody lives a mistake-free life. Imagine how boring that would be. A life with no mistakes, no lessons learned and no maturation sounds unfulfilling. At the same time, humans try to avoid disastrous mistakes. Learning to handle your money will undoubtedly cause mistakes. Just ask Cyprus. Last week the island country’s two major banks sought a $13 million bailout. It’s really not much compared to the $650 m…

  • Quick Tips for Avoiding Last-Minute Tax Scams

    Quick Tips for Avoiding Last-Minute Tax Scams

    With tax season coming to an end, the stragglers waiting until the last minute are rushing to file on time. The IRS estimates around 25 percent of Americans waited until the last two weeks to file. If you’re one of the last-minute filers, be sure that the rush and deadlines don’t make you an easy target for scams. Dirty Dozen Every year the IRS releases a list of the top 12 tax scams to look out for. On…

  • Can the Caviar: 5 Signs You're Living Beyond Your Means

    Can the Caviar: 5 Signs You’re Living Beyond Your Means

    Have you checked your finances lately? Are you financially fit? If you feel like money is going out at a faster rate than you can bring it in, you may be living beyond your means. Here are five tell-tale signs that could spell trouble for your financial health. Your savings won’t cover at least six months of expenses An emergency fund is money tucked aside for an unexpected, costly event such as a medical eme…

  • Recent Increases to 2013 COLA

    Recent Increases to 2013 COLA

    Not all veterans, survivors and military retiree receive the 2013 cost of living adjustment (COLA). Although the COLA went into effect in December 2012, only certain federal retirees get the 1.7 percent increase. The increase for 2012 retirees is not necessarily 1.7 percent. Service members who left the Armed Forces between April 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2012 earn a partial COLA increase based on the calendar quarter…

  • Your 3-Step Plan To Reclaiming a Rogue W-2

    Your 3-Step Plan To Reclaiming a Rogue W-2

    “When will I get my refund?” “How much will I get?” These are the two most common questions people ask when tax season comes around, both of which depend on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Before you file this year’s tax return, you should have received a W-2 from each of your employers. Per IRS guidelines, companies had until January 31 to mail out the forms, but sometimes they are late, or misplac…

  • Hey Consumers, Stand Up for Your Credit Reports

    Hey Consumers, Stand Up for Your Credit Reports

    Your credit report won’t defend itself. When a nationwide consumer reporting agency — Equifax, TransUnion or Experian — makes a mistake on your credit report, it’s up to you to get it fixed. Those companies don't make exceptions for military consumers, as nice as that would be. As a consumer, you need to be vigilant in checking your credit and disputing errors. The number of consumers disputing item…