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Toxic Banking Conveniences

We live in a time when technology has made banking much more convenient. But few people realize the risks that come with the convenience.
Online banking is a good example. You can pay your bills from your living room. However, a hacker can pay his bills from Russia. It is true that you might be able to recover your stolen funds from the bank after a few weeks, but we have heard of…

National Panic Week

Tax filing time is upon us once again.

Millions of Americans are suddenly realizing that the dreaded April 15 deadline is next Monday. Its National Panic Week.

The Panic can be particularly acute for people struggling with debt burdens and unexpected tax liabilities. So lets review some tax wise ideas which we hope can help relieve the Panic:

1) Don’t…

Fixing Your Credit Score

People are always asking us how to fix a broken credit score.

The first thing you should do is get a copy of your credit report. You can get a free report once a year from the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. Credit reports often contain errors and you have a right to dispute incorrect information. The creditor which provided the incorrect information must…

The Distance to Cyprus

Little, far away Cyprus caused a big stink in financial circles this week. But the real question for us is not how far away Cyprus is from us, but how far away we are from Cyprus.

Cyprus ran into trouble when its banks lent money to insolvent Greece and then asked the European Union for a bailout. The EU and its Washington based cousin the International Monetary Fund then demanded…

Housing Still Improving

February brought a stream of good news for the Housing market.

First of all, the number of foreclosures dropped by 29% from the prior year. This is the lowest level since September of 2007, and half the record level of March 2010. While there is still an overhang of foreclosures in places like California and Arizona, it seems that the worst of the crisis is over. The improvement in…

The Stock Market and the American Dream

The Stock Market was busy congratulating itself this week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high.

Not so fast say the economists. After inflation is taken into account, the current Dow highpoint is still ten percent below its high reached during the Internet bubble on January 14, 2000. It has also not recovered from the housing bubble highs of 2007. However, thes…

Married to Debt

When it comes to questions about marriage and debt, knowing the right answers can make a big difference.
Many people think that marrying the person means you have married their debt. The truth is that you are not liable for your spouse’s premarital debts unless you sign on the debt to become liable. However, it still pays to know about your fiancée’s financial condition because joint…

Tax Free Debt Forgiveness

It’s that time of year again. Creditors who have forgiven debts are sending out IRS Form 1099’s for the amount of the debt forgiveness. And people are wondering if they are going to be taxed on their debt forgiveness.

The answer for most people is No. The reason is that even the Congress and the IRS know that you can’t get blood out of a turnip. So if your assets (less hom…

George Washington’s Secrets for Winning Your War of Independence

With the President’s Day holiday coming up on February 18, we thought it would be a good time to apply some wisdom from our greatest President, George Washington, to your financial war of independence.
Like you, George Washington faced a much stronger and richer opponent as he struggled to gain freedom from oppression. Like your oppressor, his enemies were determined to fight against…

Rendering unto Caesar

On February 3, 2013 the Income Tax reached its 100th Anniversary. Originally sold to the public as a scheme to soak the rich (Where have we heard this before? See our 1/9/13 Blog “Over the Fiscal Cliff Again”), it soon became apparent that the rich alone could not support our expansive government. Now 144 million Income Tax returns are filed and Americans pay almost a trillion dollars every…