Saving for retirement, no matter what your age, is a very good idea. Making the choice between types of retirement accounts can be difficult, but 401(k) and Roth IRA are very different types of ways to save.
Basics of a 401(k)
A 401(k) savings account is generally a retirement savings account that is employer-supported. Contributions to a 401(k) plan come out of an employee’s paycheck before taxes, and the money grows tax-free in the savings account until the money is removed from the account. Once the money is removed, then the employee owes taxes on that full amount. Generally, 401(k) plans are [...]
One of the chief complaints about things holding back an economic recovery has been the lack of willingness of banks to lend money. They appear to be opening back up to it somewhat; the FDIC has reported an increase in bank lending.
More credit being extended
Recessions are not good; the root word is “recede,” so it means that the overall economy is shrinking. Part of that includes credit, such as money that banks are willing to lend to people.
Bank lending has not been as active as many would like in the past few years. In 2009, according to the Washington Post, [...]
The Federal Trade Commission released its annual list of the top consumer complaints for the last calendar year. For the last dozen years the top complaint among consumers has been identity theft. And this year’s list, released Tuesday, did not offer any surprises.
Fifteen percent of all complaints
According to the FTC, there were more than 1.8 million complaints filed by U.S. consumers in 2011. Of those, about 15 percent, or 279,156, were for identity theft. The report breaks down fraud complaints by state and by nature of the complaint.
Colorado had the highest incidence of reported fraud in the nation, followed by [...]
There are plenty of things to worry about when running a small business, but identity theft is one challenge that is rarely discussed. Small business identity theft, however, is a problem that can be difficult to address, legally.
Small business identity theft
Identity theft of a small business operates in much the same way as the theft of an individual identity. A person finds or digs up the pertinent information about a business and duplicates that information in order to obtain credit, contact information of customers or even loans under the name of the business. Businesses will also pop up that sound [...]
TLC may have unleashed a monster with its “Extreme Couponing” television show, documenting people who use coupons to realize massive savings. However, stores are catching on and changing policy to restrict extreme coupon use.
Kate plus coupon fraud
Reality television channel TLC started running a show several years ago called “Extreme Couponing,” which shows people fastidiously collecting and using coupons to save massive amounts of money on groceries and sundries. Subjects often have to buy huge amounts of stuff, but it isn’t unusual to see an $800 bill go to $30 or $40.
However, the show unwittingly documented a fraud. One subject, according [...]
Considering that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers 16 to 19, it’s no wonder auto insurance companies charge families a high premium for teen driver coverage. However, devices that monitor teenage driving habits can lead to lower insurance rates and a great deal less heartache for worried parents.
Risk equals higher premiums
Any auto insurance underwriter will tell you that teenage drivers’ high rate of accidents, due to lack of experience and ease of distraction, is what makes their insurance rates so high. With a monitoring device in place, parents can be notified of their teen’s location and [...]
Any homeowner who is underwater on their mortgage and wants an escape hatch has considered the merits of the short sale. Avoiding foreclosure by selling a home for less than the remaining mortgage balance may be a stretch for a lender. For the homeowner, such short sales can be stressful and time-consuming if not done properly. Here are some tips for how to survive a short sale.
Choose a real estate agent with short sale experience
A real estate agent with short sale experience can help a distressed homeowner navigate the ins and outs of the process. Daniel Gomez, board member at [...]
The words “thank you” can hold a great deal of emotional currency, when shared in kindness. Being thankful for gifts received, services rendered and more reflects not only our degree of politeness, but how much we appreciate the people in our lives. Saying thank you through acts of kindness – with or without spending cash – can make the world a better place. It doesn’t necessarily require grand gestures of great expense. Here are some inexpensive ways you can deliver a sincere “thank you.”
Write a thank you note
While sending a thank you email is easy and meets the basic requirements [...]
For a small business owner or freelancer, one of the scariest words to hear is “audit.” Statistics say that small business owners get audited about 3 percent of the time, and most taxpayers are audited 1 percent of the time.
The differences in taxes
Taxpayers who work for themselves, as freelancers or contract workers, have more complicated taxes than an individual who works a day job. Someone who does contract or sole proprietorship work is required to file and pay taxes to cover not only their personal income, but the portion of the taxes that an employer would normally charge. Additionally, some [...]
Water is perhaps the one resource most people take for granted. The cost of it is getting outrageous in some places, as some people have outrageous water bills that are practically draining them dry.
Updating infrastructure is expensive
When it comes to any public utility, such as power grids or highway systems, the reality is that infrastructures age and eventually have to be replaced.
In March of 2011, CNN reported that a number of cities were dealing with fantastically high water bills due to upgrades and repairs that had to be implemented for various water systems in various cities. Citizens of Atlanta saw [...]
The average interest rate of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is about 4 percent, a historically low rate. The cost of about a third of all new mortgages will be going up when the Federal Housing Administration increases fees.
Backed mortgages to get more expensive
The Federal Housing Administration currently backs about 30 percent of all new mortgages. In an effort to shore up flagging income, the FHA has announced that government-backed mortgages will increase in cost by about .75 percent on most 30-year loans. This increase will make the upfront cost of a mortgage through the FHA about 1.75 percent. Cumulatively, [...]
Many people might think that getting into investing, like stocks and bonds and so forth, is something for only for dentists, doctors and lawyers. That’s far from the truth, as there are plenty of mutual funds that a person can buy for only a few hundred bucks.
Sitting on a goal mine
When it comes to making investments, one of the most stable investment instruments is a mutual fund. A mutual fund is a mix of investments like stocks, bonds, cash and so forth; the exact composition depends on exactly what fund from what broker. However, like many other investments, there is [...]
Back taxes can be really scary, especially if you are already in a financial mess and struggling hard to make ends meet. However, you could qualify for tax debt relief options to pay off tax debt.
5 Tax solutions to consider
One of the ways in which you can pay off your income tax debt is through an installment agreement. It is a monthly plan that helps pay off tax debt. You may be eligible for this plan provided that you have never fallen behind on tax payments in the preceding five years, your tax debt is less than $10,000, you have [...]
Many people are hazy on the concept of personal net worth. They see houses, cars and clothing and mistake such signs of wealth for high net worth. As Wise Bread reminds us, however, net worth deals with two key columns on the financial ledger: assets and debt. Just because a person appears to have all the trappings of success doesn’t mean their debts aren’t keeping their net worth down. Knowing how to calculate net worth can provide you with some of the answers to financial success.
Net worth: Discovering your magic number
Net worth is an accounting of what you own (assets) [...]
Bank transfers were a media darling in the last few months of 2011, as millions switched banks. A recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates found that, to no one’s surprise, that bad service and high fees did the trick.
Banks shoot themselves and shareholders in the feet
The primary obligation of a large retail bank is to make a profit for itself and its shareholders and investors. In order to accommodate that, many banks of that sort began levying new fees and eliminating customer perks. They ended up shooting themselves, and their shareholders, in the foot, as public resentment to such [...]