Archive for February, 2014

Student Savvy: Ways to Save for Spring Break

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Saldutti

Spring break is right around the corner for college students. Traveling somewhere warm and relaxing doesn’t always have to break your bank. The Huffington Post offers some tips to save money on your Spring Break trip this year. “All Inclusive” – A simple solution is to look for the all-inclusive deals when booking the hotel. All-inclusive packages will include the cost of accommodations, meals, and even admission to some attractions like nightclubs and bars. The majority of cruise lines are all-inclusive; although their prices seem high at first, remember you will be spending little to nothing more than that. Travel…

Student Loans and Home Mortgages Don't Mix

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Saldutti

An April 2013 New York Fed study found student loans were preventing many recent graduates from buying their first home. Now another study, from the home loan industry, has similar conclusions. An analysis by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) found that loan applications for home purchases have slipped nearly 20% in the past four months compared with the same period a year earlier. “This is a huge issue for us,” David Stevens, chief executive of the MBA. “Student debt trumps all other consumer debt. It’s going to have an extraordinary dampening effect on young peoples’ ability to borrow for a…

Credit Card Debt Near Historic Lows

Posted on February 25, 2014 by Saldutti

The credit card delinquency rate (90 days or more delinquent) dropped on a yearly basis from 1.61% in Q4 2012 to 1.48% in Q4 2013. In a sign that consumers continue to deleverage, average credit card debt per borrower also declined from $5,376 in Q4 2012 to $5,325 in Q4 2013. On a quarterly basis, both the credit card delinquency rate (up from 1.36% in Q3 2013) and credit card debt (up from $5,235 in Q3 2013) increased due to seasonality associated with holiday shopping. The data provided are gathered from TransUnion’s proprietary Industry Insights Report, a quarterly overview summarizing…

Time is Ticking … 50 Days 'Til Tax Day!

Posted on February 24, 2014 by Saldutti

You’ve worked hard all day, and you can’t wait to enjoy a nice dinner at home with your family. Maybe you’ll even take a quick jog around the block before throwing in a load of laundry and tucking the kids into bed. And if there’s any energy left at the end of the night, you’d love nothing more than to settle in with a good read. Not so fast! Uncle Sam has other plans in mind. That’s right. It’s tax season! The IRS estimates that taxpayers spend an average of 13 hours on taxes every year. That includes everything from…

How Does Tax Software Stack Up?

Posted on February 20, 2014 by Saldutti

In case you haven’t heard, tax season is here!  While some of us joyfully hand our tax files over to an accountant, many of us prefer to do it ourselves.  Not everyone is a good candidate for preparing their own taxes.  Some questions to ask yourself are: 1.  Am I a numbers person (are you meticulous with paperwork, do you keep receipts, is your checkbook always balanced)? 2.  Is my tax situation simple and relatively unchanged from the previous year (I have one job and not several sources of income)? 3.  Do I have a general understanding of the tax…

10 IRS Audit Red Flags

Posted on February 19, 2014 by Saldutti

Do you ever wonder how the IRS chooses which taxpayers it wants to audit? While the IRS audits only about 1% of all individual tax returns annually, you don’t want to be one of the unlucky few to get audited. The IRS says being selected for an audit does not always suggest that an error has been made. Returns are selected using a variety of methods, including: Random selection and computer screening – sometimes returns are selected based solely on a statistical formula. Document matching – when pay records, such as Forms W-2 or Form 1099, don’t match the information…

Student Savvy: How to Save Money in College

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Saldutti

Most students are going to have loans to pay off when they graduate college. Saving money may be hard for college students, but if they change their spending habits, saving may just become a little bit easier. Deposit Money – It’s hard not to spend the money earned or received while in college. College students feel entitled to spend their money and the possibilities where to spend it seem endless. Depositing a percentage from your pay check every month or a portion of your birthday money, will grow your savings and still allow you to splurge on those concert tickets…

How Well Do You Know Your Presidents?

Posted on February 17, 2014 by Saldutti

It’s Presidents Day and while many of us will be taking the opportunity to enjoy 30% off bath towels and other linens, it’s important that we also spend a moment reflecting on the commanders-in-chief we’ve elected thus far. With that in mind, Huffington Post presents 44 lesser-known facts about the leaders of this nation. From the great athletes (and cheerleader) to the weird rituals (Vaseline?), from the cradle-robber to the lone bachelor, and everything in between …. here are your presidents. Washington’s Teeth Weren’t Wooden – Contrary to popular belief, the country’s first president had dentures made of gold, ivory,…

Valentine's Day 2014: By the Numbers

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Saldutti

Love might not cost you a penny, but Americans shell out billions of dollars each year on Valentine’s Day, according to the US Census Bureau. Take a look at how much money was spent on chocolate, flowers, and diamond rings nationwide, and how marriage trends have evolved since 1960s. $130.97:  The per person average estimated amount that people will spend on Valentine’s Day. $18.6 billion:  The total spending that will be reached by Valentine’s Day. $13.5 billion: The estimated value of shipments for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products was $13.5 billion in 2011, according to the US Census Bureau. $8.4…

Let's Stay Together: Retirment-Age Women Most Loyal

Posted on February 13, 2014 by Saldutti

Will your spouse remain faithful?  A recent Russell Investments survey found that 78% of Gen X and 93% of “Silent Generation” women said they would stay with their financial advisor if they became widowed.  The survey of over 900 women who are working with advisors focused on women in Gen X (ages 32 to 47) and the Silent Generation (ages 67 to 80). In addition, 54% of Gen X and 64% of Silent Generation women said they have recommended their advisors to a friend or family member. More than half of respondents from both groups (52% of Gen X and…