Archive for January, 2012

How to Avoid an IRS Audit

Posted on January 31, 2012 by Saldutti

Tax season is upon us, with most Americans putting together the materials they need to file their returns, gathering receipts, and searching for other tax deductions to maximize the amount they get back from the federal government. But some people go too far in searching for tax advantages. Perhaps they take a deduction that they aren’t eligible for, or claim a few extra dollars on a charitable donation. If the IRS begins to suspect that a tax return isn’t entirely truthful, the filer might be in for an audit. U.S. News spoke with two tax experts about how to avoid an…

Home Safe vs. Safe Deposit Box?

Posted on January 24, 2012 by Saldutti

Many folks believe that the safest place to store valuable items is in a bank safe deposit box. After all, banks have the best 24-hour security and alarm systems.  But the contents of a safe deposit box are rarely insured, while items in your home are typically covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.  Also, don’t think your cash in a safe deposit box is covered under FDIC insurance. The FDIC only insures the deposits in accounts held in banks, but not the contents of their safe deposit boxes. Finally, it’s not a good idea to store original copies…

Are You in Financial Trouble?

Posted on January 19, 2012 by Saldutti

While economies can collapse seemingly without warning, a personal debt crisis doesn’t happen overnight.  Most of the time any foreclosure or a personal bankruptcy is years in the making. Unfortunately, people often don’t see the warning signs that could stop – or at least slow down – the problem before it hits critical mass. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as of the fourth quarter of 2010 approximately 2.8 million U.S. homes have gone through foreclosure, and another 2 million homes are in the process. Bankruptcy numbers aren’t much better, either, even if they are trending in the…

Don't Cancel That Credit Card!

Posted on January 17, 2012 by Saldutti

Unless your idea of “streamlined” finances is having eight credit cards in your wallet (that’s about how many the average card-carrying U.S. citizen hauls around), you’ve probably considered canceling some of credit cards you don’t use often.  But before you dash off “Dear John” letters to your lenders, make sure you’re not doing more harm than good by parting ways. The Motley Fool clears up some common misconceptions: Closing accounts will not undo anything – Once a credit card is in play, there’s no denying its existence. It’s on your permanent record (your credit report) for at least 7 years even if you…

Tips to Manage Student Debt

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Saldutti

In an increasingly competitive global market, education is becoming more important. But many families find the cost of education to be outside their grasp. According to a study commissioned by the US Department of Education, from the 2001-02 to the 2010-11 academic year, the cost of attending a 4-year undergraduate in-state school rose by 47.3%. With ever-increasing education expenses, many families are accumulating significant debt, putting students further behind. However, with planning and financial management, students can control their finances. Here are some tips for parents of soon-to-be college students.  Start the conversation – Talk with other parents, teachers and…

Reduce Credit Card Debt in '12

Posted on January 10, 2012 by Saldutti

Trimming the fat may be the most popular New Year’s resolution out there, but trimming your debt is not far behind for a lot of people.  “Getting out of debt is more strategic than simply writing a check to your creditors,” said John Ulzheimer, President of Consumer Education with SmartCredit.com.  You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by prioritizing your debts.   You can also get the benefit of a higher credit score by being smart about what you pay first. Ulzheimer recommends these ground rules for those who are serious about reducing their debt in 2012: REMEMBER THE BASICS – Make…

Protect Your Money in 2012

Posted on January 05, 2012 by Saldutti

Want to start the New Year off right? Will 2012 be the year that you get your finances in order? New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) provides tips that can help you save money and become an educated consumer in 2012.  The DCA urges all consumers to take advantage of the helpful financial empowerment tips to secure a stronger financial future.  Financial Empowerment Resolutions for 2012: Do Your Taxes Early and File for Free or at a Very Low Cost to Get Your Refund – Did you know that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund may be…

Financial New Year's Resolutions To Keep

Posted on January 03, 2012 by Saldutti

Every January, you plan to make changes – you really do. This time, though, succeeding at some of the items on your resolutions list is imperative, not just for bragging rights but for your financial well being.  To give you a jump-start, DailyFinance.com asked experts to weigh in on what our personal finance priorities ought to be in 2012. With economic uncertainty still the order of the day, your best strategy for financial health is to control the things you can control. So, under the heading of “small changes that can add up to big savings,” here are 7 financial…