Personal Finance Tips

Could your money management skills use a little fine-tuning? Are phrases like tax filings and interest rates impetus for headaches and confusion? Good news – now is the perfect time to enhance your financial IQ, as April is National Financial Literacy Month!

Business Minded

Regardless of your income level, think of yourself as a business; look at the amount of money you take in, add up all your expenses, and see where you stand. Viewing your financial situation from this perspective can help you run your own personal “operations” more efficiently. Are there opportunities to cut wasteful spending? Or maybe your savings rate isn’t quite as robust as it should be? This exercise can help you see where and how you allocate funds on a regular basis and provide you with opportunities to increase your personal bottom line.

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5 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account

When it comes to protecting your checking account, who better to give advice than the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, headed up by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke?

The Board’s advice may sound familiar, but it’s better to listen twice than get burned once. From “don’t talk to strangers” about your account to “know your rights” under the law, these tips are worth reviewing.

Not sure what the Federal Reserve Board does, or how the Federal Reserve System works? Check out In Plain English: Making Sense of the Federal Reserve on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Your next car — Lease or buy?

Maybe you’ve heard someone swooning about how happy they are to have leased their present vehicle. Or maybe you’ve heard car owners who insist they would “never, ever” consider leasing.

There’s no easy answer
Which path is the right path? With a little research, you’ll soon discover that there’s no “one size fits all” solution. The only real answer is: “It depends.”

Lease or buy — it depends entirely on you, your personal preferences, and your circumstances. Continue reading

Applying for a Mortgage? It’s About (Your Valuable) Time.

Buying a new home? Fun.
Saving money by refinancing an existing one? Even more fun.
Applying for a mortgage to make it all possible? Not so much fun.

The fact is, for many people applying for a mortgage can seem like a time-consuming and arduous process. In the past, you had to schedule time to meet with a loan officer, gather up your paperwork, and then sit down for what seems like hours to go over all the numbers. Continue reading

Social Security checks are going Direct Deposit!

Are you getting Social Security benefits by paper check? That’s about to change!

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is requiring all paper check recipients to switch to an electronic payment method by March 1, 2013. Using electronic payments will help save taxpayers money on printing and postage, plus they are more reliable and help protect from identity theft. No more worrying about losing your check or if a severe storm will postpone mail delivery. Continue reading

IRAs: A smart way to save for retirement.

The New Year is not just a time to think about making resolutions; it’s actually a great time to think about retirement. Or, more specifically, saving for retirement with an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

According to CNN Money, an IRA is “a saving account with big tax breaks that makes it an ideal way to sock away money for retirement.” The good news is that there’s no shortage of IRA options for today’s retirement savers. In fact, according to The Motley Fool, there are 11 types of IRAs – The most common being Traditional and Roth IRAs. Continue reading

Savings tip: Prevent overspending on in-app purchases

If you visit Apple’s iTunes store you may notice games categorized three ways – top free, top paid and top grossing. Now here is the really interesting thing – the top grossing games are, in general, free to download.

So how are the games earning enough to be considered “top grossing?” The answer is simple – In-app purchases. Continue reading