Expert Financial Articles & Advice

The best balance transfer cards have zero percent introductory rates. This allows you to move existing credit card debt to a new card and pay it off over time without the worry of added interest...
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It's a shame that more people don't invest in income-producing real estate, because it's one of the most powerful ways middle-class folks can generate wealth.  There is one major...
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When I looked for my first mortgage, I was skeptical about rates that were too low. There had to be a catch when one mortgage had a rate that was a full percentage point less than another. It...
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Mistakes are difficult to avoid in something as complex as home buying, especially for the first time home buyer. And it's the simple missteps that can end up costing you for years....
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If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a home mortgage, you may want to know about the thousands of dollars in hidden charges that some lenders are quietly adding to mortgage loans...
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If you haven't already felt the pressure to refinance your mortgage, you're probably really feeling it now. Mortgage rates are still hovering near historic lows. But with the economy...
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Lately I have become more familiar with the mortgage industry than I would have preferred.   Since 2002, we have taken out four mortgages, 3 of those since 2009. (We've had lots of...
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Our parents, and even grandparents, never saw rates like these. A 15-year home loan now averages 2.84%, while a 30-year loan is 3.59%. And more homeowners are riding the refinance train with the...
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There's a reason why you hire a real estate agent -- they're experts at selling homes! They're better informed on the worth of your house, the state of the housing market, and even the buyer's...
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The topic of home foreclosures has become quite a political brouhaha. As of this writing, 50 state attorneys general are getting ready to launch major investigations into the already beleaguered...
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As a new Congress gets underway, the typical populist clamor is emanating from Washington. But the oft-cited mantra of "cut taxes and slash spending" may be causing an unintended consequence:...
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The housing market is flooded with countless options. For many, especially first-time homebuyers, the proposition can be overwhelming. Here are nine house hunting tips that will help you...
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If you manage to lock in these low rates on a home mortgage -- the lowest we've seen in six decades -- you can literally save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. The constantly...
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A good Realtor keeps her eyes peeled, and Dallas Realtor Robin Moss Norcross admits hers open up when there's ambulance activity in the neighborhood or old carpet on the curb. Those signs mean...
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With the foreclosure market what it has been in recent years, we kept hearing horror stories about the insane things people do to their homes when they face eviction. So we decided to ask:...
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Ever wonder why that house on your street is just sitting there, making the neighborhood look crummy? You're not alone. Every month, there are hundreds of thousands of home foreclosures...
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Every day, consumers are bombarded with credit card offers promising big rewards if they “apply today.” From offers in our mailboxes, e-mail, and even banner ads, it’s impossible to ignore the...
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Americans spend $74 billion annually on hidden credit card fees, most notably on late fees. In addition to wasted money, this also affects your credit report (which can result in a lower credit...
How to Build Credit Fast on $30k a Year or Less" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Building up to an "excellent" credit rating or a FICO score of 740-plus isn't a feat only rich people can do. I can prove it. Not too long ago during my college years and for almost two years...
The Top 5 Credit Card Signup Bonuses (2021)" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
What's better than earning rewards for using your credit cards? Getting paid hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses in three months or less – just for trying out a new one.  Whether you'...
The 5 Best Rewards Credit Cards for 2021" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
If you're spending money, why not get paid for it with one of the best cashback credit cards of 2021? When you receive a percentage of what you spend with every purchase (normally between 1 to 5...
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Is your January credit card statement staring you in the face, and looking eerily similar to your December one? You know that unpaid holiday shopping, and everything else you're putting on your...
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A credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate can be used to your advantage – or it can be your worst nightmare. You need to understand the ins and outs of 0% APR credit cards so you can...
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Have you been tempted to open a credit account in your favorite store to earn a discount on your purchase or perhaps even receive a free gift? Many people have, and applying for credit cards,...
Auto LoansSee all
The Top 3 Reasons You Should Refinance Your Car Loan" alt="The Top 3 Reasons You Should Refinance Your Car Loan" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Is your auto loan's annual percentage rate (APR) higher than 6%? Or are your monthly payments on your car more than you can handle? Here's some good news: if you have good or excellent credit...
Annuities: Why the Experts Are Wrong About This Investment" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
One of the scariest things about retirement is the volatility of the market. What happens if the market crashes while you are drawing down your retirement portfolio? Even if you build up a good...
8 Retirement Deadlines You Can't Afford To Miss -- Age 50 to 80" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Way back in the Summer of 2012, a person walked into a Maverik convenience store in Meridian, Idaho, and bought a Powerball lottery ticket. Powerball, as many know, is a simple $2 bet: Pick...
Move Over Nest Egg -- Here's The Key to Not Outliving Your Money" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
We're so used to the idea that we need $1 million or $2 million to retire, that we forget about the real issue when it comes to our retirement spending. There's something more important than...
How to Buy Treasury Bonds Online Using TreasuryDirect" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
TreasuryDirect is the first and only financial services website that lets investors buy and redeem savings bonds, treasury bonds, and other U.S. government bonds directly from the U.S....
Benefit from Compound Interest by Investing in Stocks and CDs" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
One of the most powerful forces in the financial world is the magic of compounding interest. Whether you’re investing in stocks or a more secure financial instrument like a certificate of...
3 Types of Municipal Bonds Boasting Tax-Free Returns" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
If you've ever had a job with a terrible commute, you know that road construction is like glitter -- once it gets on a city, it's almost impossible to get rid of, and it shows up everywhere....
How a CD Ladder Strategy Can Boost Your Income as Interest Rates Rise" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
CD laddering is typically used by investors as a safe way to lock in better CD rates when interest rates are rising. These CDs will have staggered maturity dates to help you “ladder-up” your...
4 Certificate of Deposit Alternatives You Should Try Today" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Thinking of switching from a certificate of deposit account to a CD alternative? As people have grown tired of settling for historically low CD rates, switching to alternatives to CDs has become...
5 Things to Know Before Opening a CD" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Although they’re not as popular as they once were, a Certificate of Deposit (CD) is still an investment that offers stable growth to balance out any portfolio. But do you know how to open a CD?...
10 Ways to Save 10% or More on Car Insurance" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
The average American driver spends around $850 a year on car insurance, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). If you pay less than this, you're...
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It's a good idea to purchase insurance for all sorts of needs. However, insurance agents are quick to play on our fears and ignorance to pressure us into buying more coverage than we really need...
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Ask that question of different people -- say, an insurance agent, a financial planner, an accountant, or an estate planning attorney -- and you're likely to get different answers, some helpful,...
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After home, auto, health and life insurance, most people don't give insurance much thought. While there's obvious value in having insurance to pay the mortgage and cover your family if you die,...
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Life insurance is more than simply an "umbrella" that protects your family financially in case something happens to you. Life insurance can also be an investment. As such, it's a good idea to...
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When you were a child, security items probably filled your childhood with peace of mind. Things like a blanket, stuffed animal or pillow might have protected you from monsters under the bed or...
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With the average annual premium for homeowner's insurance costing between $300 and $1,000 according to the Federal Reserve Bureau, there are plenty of reasons to look for discounts. Especially...
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You know those people who keep every store receipt and instruction manual nicely tucked away in a drawer or filing cabinet? Turns out, they've had the right idea all along. Why do I bring...
9 Overlooked Car Insurance Discounts That Can Save You Hundreds" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Lowering your auto insurance payments can be easier than you think. For drivers shopping for a new auto insurance policy or renewing their current policy, a quick conversation with an...
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You've probably heard for years that it's a waste of money to buy rental car insurance. It's just another way to get gouged, and you already have car insurance, right? In fact, it's not that...
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Insurance premiums are surging upwards in the wake of historical weather events and catastrophic claims. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of insurance rose a whopping 33.3%...
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Whether you're hitting the road on a holiday weekend or logging miles commuting to and from work, be sure to pay close attention to the posted speed limit signs. Otherwise, a rear view mirror...
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Homeowners across the country are getting squeezed by their homeowners insurance premiums. That's because in an attempt to stop their financial bloodletting, home insurance companies are looking...
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Editor's note: All data in this report supplied by the National Weather Service, Weather Underground and National Geographic. John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" stands as one of the most...
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If you’re like many American homeowners, the only liability insurance you carry is what your homeowner’s insurance policy gives you, and it’s probably not enough. Here’s why: liability...
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Have you ever heard someone stand up from their computer at work and scream in excitement, "Check it out! My favorite stock is up 10%!"  Okay, so maybe working for a company like...
How to Become Financially Independent in 5 Years or Less" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Financial Independence (FI) means having enough income to pay for your expenses for the rest of your life – without relying on a 9-to-5 job. A financially independent person generally lives on...
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Many of us invest for one reason: to build a big enough nest egg for retirement. Good old-fashioned fund picking is the preferred route for many 401k and retirement investors, but can be a bit...
Rescue Your Retirement in 3 Steps -- Even at Age 60" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Less than a quarter of Americans older than 55 has at least $250,000 in savings and investments, according to the Employment Benefits Research Institute. I don't want to be a downer on the...
The Smartest Thing To Do with Your 401(K) When You Leave A Job" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Your 401(k) is probably one of the best job benefits, but most people don’t stay at the same company for their entire career. So what happens to your 401(k) if you quit your job? Below we’re...
3 Steps to Finding Your Retirement 'Number'" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
How much money is needed for a comfortable retirement? It's a question only you can answer. The amount depends on factors such as your retirement goals, living situation, general health and...
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Question: I've read that index funds are the smartest choice for someone like me who's interested in low-cost investing over the long term. But there are so many to choose from! How do I go...
Compounding Interest: How One Normal Lady Turned $200 into $7 Million" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
As a secretary at Abbott Laboratories, Grace Groner never really earned an amazing salary. She lived in a modest one-bedroom house in Lake Forest, Illinois. She didn’t own a car, and she could...
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5 Money Moves That Made Warren Buffett Rich  Warren Buffett is perhaps the most famous investor in the world, amassing a fortune of over $80 billion during his lifetime. His fortune wasn...
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Throughout my 20+ years working in the financial markets, I've developed my own process for picking stocks that has generated strong results for my portfolio. Clearly, it's not foolproof and not...
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Many years, the natural gas supply future looked bleak. In a 2003 speech, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said: "Today's tight natural gas markets have been a long time in coming...
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When asked what mankind’s greatest invention was, Albert Einstein answered, “Compound interest.” And he was right. If you’re investing at only 18 or 19 years old, retirement may feel like a...
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You hear it all the time. Save for retirement! Many financial experts -- including my favorite, Suze Orman -- tell you to contribute to a Roth IRA or traditional IRA outside of your 401(k)...
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One of the most interesting elements in the evolution of the ETF marketplace has been their seemingly never-ending popularity. Today, ETFs give investors exposure to countries and regions that...
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When buying or selling options, it’s important to know the option expiration date and the option expiration cycle. Selecting the option expiration month is an important part of any option...
9 Ways to Save Thousands on Car Expenses" alt="9 Ways to Save Thousands on Car Expenses" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Cars are supposed to give us freedom, but you really have to wonder sometimes when you add up the costs of owning one. Luckily, owning a car doesn't have to feel like an unnecessary indulgence...
25 Ways to Save Hundreds on Your Monthly Expenses" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Looking for the best ways to save money for a future holiday, buying a house, or simply to improve your overall financial health? Whatever your reason, with time, commitment, and a little...
529 College Savings Plan: The Best Choice for Any Income" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Many parents want to get a jump-start on college savings, and the smartest strategy depends on a family's own financial situation. Whether you can afford to set aside $25 per month or $28,000...
The Top 5 Money Tips For New College Grads" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Congratulations! You've worked hard for the past four (or five) years and it's finally time to graduate, get a job and start living in the "real world." But that doesn't mean you have to stop...
The First 5 Money Moves a New College Graduate Should Make" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Every year 3.5 million degrees are handed out to US students after they've completed their education coursework according to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics. With so many young...
8 Steps to Prepare for Your Own Personal Financial Crisis " alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
A money crisis can occur in the blink of an eye – and most aren’t predictable. COVID-19 is a perfect example of an unforeseen circumstance that caused massive personal finance issues for...
5 Unexpected Life Moments and How to Prepare for Them" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Just when you think you're on the right track financially, it happens. Your water heater breaks, you end up in a fender bender or your niece decides to have a destination wedding in the...
7 Steps to Building a Perfect Credit Score" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
You don't have to be a millionaire to have good credit -- there's no income-level prerequisite for a 750-plus rating. It's simply a matter of paying your bills on time, being in good standing...
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If you're a parent, here's a question that has probably crossed your mind: How do I teach my kids about money? It's not a topic that's easy for most parents to tackle. Besides the awkward...
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Volatility is defined as how quickly prices move. Traders can use technical analysis to assess volatility by using the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (Chicago Options: $VIX...
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We cringe when credit repair "experts" tell people that they can boost their credit scores by 60 points in 48 hours. The world of credit reporting simply doesn't operate that way – it takes...
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For most of us, the stress of tax season is so overwhelming that we put it off until we just can't put it off anymore. To prevent this year from being a repeat of the last, here are 10 tips to...
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If your image of bankruptcy is soup kitchens or the fallout from high-rolling excess, you need to think again. Bankruptcy has evolved dramatically over the last decade. Today, personal...
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The alternative minimum tax (AMT) was established in 1969 to ensure that every taxpayer, particularly wealthy individuals and corporations, pay at least some income tax each year. In 1970, the...
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Sometimes it seems like life is one never-ending battle against scam artists trying to part you from your money. Stay diligent and avoid the three latest schemes devised to take advantage of you...
Personal LoansSee all
4 Situations When a Personal Loan is a Good Idea" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
It's true that auto loans and home loans offer attractively-low annual percentage rates (APRs), while credit cards offer borrowing power without the risk of ever seeing the repo man haul away...
Savings/CheckingSee all
Prepaid Cards: How to Choose the Best Reloadable Debit Cards" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Prepaid debit cards are a great tool for sticking to a budget or as an alternative to carrying cash. You can use these reloadable debit cards in multiple ways, just like other payment methods....
College savings plans vs Custodial Plans and More" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
When our first son was born we wanted to set up a savings plan that would grow with him over the years. I mistakenly thought this would be an easy decision and casually strolled into our bank...
Stop Debit Card Fraud Before it Stops You" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
As hackers continue to perfect their craft, credit card fraud continues to be an easy way for crooks to get fast cash. But there's one kind of fraud that's potentially much more dangerous to...
Money Market vs Savings: Which Account is Best for You?" alt="" loading="lazy" width="400px" height="300px">
Saving money? That’s amazing, but you might be wondering what’s the best account to store your savings. Below we break down your options by looking at money market accounts vs  savings...
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How many times have you heard someone say something along these lines: "I wish I had bought Wal-Mart 20 years ago," or "I'm looking for the next Microsoft." It's easy to share that sentiment...