Rich or poor, chances are you are paying too much in bank fees. A Bankrate survey of 1,000-plus Americans found that those with household incomes of $30,000 per year or less paid an average of $...
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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...
5 Things You Didn't Know Could Hurt Your FICO Score
When it comes to figuring out credit scores, there are very few things that are obvious. Really, I spend a lot of time following this stuff and sometimes I wonder if someone sat down and...
Don't have the credit history or other formal credentials to get a traditional home loan?  No worries, there's an alternative way to get the home of your dreams: owner financing (...
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...
Those of us familiar with selling property know real estate agents don't come cheap. With real estate agent commission and fees amounting to as much as 6% of the selling price (that's $...
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....
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...
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...
The goal: You want to get top dollar for your home or investment property when you sell. You're confident you can renovate a few things, recoup the cost and even enjoy some serious profit when...
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...
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...
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...
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:...
Investors are taking a closer look at the rental housing market. After all, rental property is another way to diversify your investments. However, owning rental property is a hands-on endeavor...
Despite an ever-improving economy and an optimism surrounding the stock markets, the housing sector remains in a deep funk.  The foreclosure crisis continues to take its time getting...
Whether you're using them for cash back rewards or rely on them to make ends meet each month, there's no question that credit cards have become an integral part of our lives. For proof, just...
Filing paperwork is as fun as calculating your taxes, but blowing off this very adult task can lead to hundreds of dollars in late fees, interest charges and even identity theft. Think about...
How to Build Credit Fast on $30k a Year or Less
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 (2020)
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 Top 4 Balance Transfer Credit Cards for 2020
Tired of dragging credit card debt around with you? Then do a balance transfer to transfer debt from a high-interest credit card to one with a lower interest rate. This hack could save you...
The 5 Best Rewards Credit Cards for 2020
If you're spending money, why not get paid for it with one of the best cashback credit cards of 2020? When you receive a percentage of what you spend with every purchase (normally between 1 to 5...
Are you struggling to figure out how to get out of credit card debt? You're not alone. Americans collectively carry more than one trillion dollars worth of credit card balances on their cards...
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...
No one likes to spend more money than they have to -- whether it's for a snazzy new pair of shoes or an everyday purchase such as gasoline. And while you can't make an offer at the mall or...
A credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate sounds like a dream to a lot of folks. And it can be, if you use it to your advantage. But it can also become your worst nightmare, if you don'...
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,...
Being in credit card debt is the pits. I've been there, and believe me, I'll never forget how awful it is to be in that situation. But I know that as soon as I started taking steps to tackle...
Auto LoansSee all
The Top 3 Reasons You Should Refinance Your Car Loan
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
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
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
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
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....
CDs and the Money Making Magic of Compound Interest
Albert Einstein called compounding "the greatest mathematical discovery of all time." For those regularly carrying hefty debt on their monthly credit card bill, Einstein's law of financial...
3 Types of Municipal Bonds Boasting Tax-Free Returns
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
In times where interest rates are on the rise, you may start hearing financial advisors and bankers sing the praises of an income strategy called "CD laddering" (short for certificate of deposit...
4 Certificate of Deposit Alternatives You Should Try Today
Question: My CD is expiring and I'm not thrilled about getting 1% interest from a new one. So I'm thinking about switching into a safe-but-non-FDIC-insured product to get a higher yield. What...
5 Things to Know Before Opening a CD
Want to keep your emergency fund safe while earning interest yields that are three to five times higher than a typical savings account? Putting your money into an FDIC-insured Certificate of...
10 Ways to Save 10% or More on Car Insurance
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...
7 Car Insurance Myths You Can't Afford to Believe
Most of us coast through life thinking that because we're up to date on our car insurance premium, we're covered in the event of an accident. That could be the case, unless you're hit by an...
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...
Imagine finally starting your dream vacation. You step out into the streets of Venice, sit down to take your first bite of real Italian pizza and ... wait. Where's your wallet? You'd better hope...
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,...
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,...
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...
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...
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...
Are you a renter? Are your kids renters? In most cases, people leasing apartments or homes ask themselves, "Why should I bother paying for renters insurance?" The short answer is that even...
There are few places in America that aren't subject to some type of natural disaster. Whether it's severe weather like tornadoes and thunderstorms, floods, earthquakes or wildfires, or water...
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
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...
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...
Learning about insurance policies may seem about as exciting as a graduation speech, a trip to the DMV and the color beige. However, if you don't do your homework, you could get convinced to...
When it comes to retirement accounts, the Roth IRA is an investor favorite – and for good reason. It’s a retirement account that offers tax-free growth that can help you reach your saving goals...
Question: Hello. I've decided I want to start investing, and I'm thinking of using an online broker instead of visiting a brokerage firm. Is there anything I need to know before I start?...
How to Become Financially Independent in 5 Years or Less
Have you ever heard of a wage slave? Even worse... are you one? Wage slaves may live in big houses. They might drive Porsches. It doesn't matter how "rich" you look, if you can't walk away...
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
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
Your 401(k) is probably one of the best benefits you have with your job. But you'd never stay with a company just because of the 401(k), right? If you get a better offer somewhere else, you'll...
3 Steps to Finding Your Retirement 'Number'
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...
How to Choose the Right Portfolio Mix for You
It's probably the most important retirement question you can ask. But, unfortunately for you and for financial advisors, there's no right way to answer it. The question is: how should I allocate...
Why the First Million is the Hardest to Make
It's true that it's easier for the rich to get richer. That first million is by far the toughest to make. But once you're there, it gets much easier to make the next million. When you already...
10 Rules of Wealth They Should Have Taught Us in School
I like school as much as the next investor, and there's nothing wrong with learning history, languages, the arts and more. But for lifelong success and wealth building, there are "10 Rules of...
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...
The #1 Reason 20-Somethings Should Not Save for Retirement
With every passing year, the nation's social security system looks increasingly shaky. Today's 20- and 30-somethings will live in a world with later retirement ages and relatively smaller social...
As an investor who loves to buy, hold and collect returns from my investments, I usually hate the idea of having to sell one of the stocks in my portfolio. After all, I'd like to think...
Are you prepared for a severe market decline?
When it comes to stock market crashes and bear markets, the legendary Warren Buffett said it best: "Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked."He's right. We...
Compounding Interest: How One Normal Lady Turned $200 into $7 Million
Grace Groner lived nearly her entire life in Lake Forest, Illinois, about 45 minutes north of Chicago. After graduating from Lake Forest College in 1931, Grace was hired as a secretary at...
9 Ways to Save Thousands on Car Expenses
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...
5 Essential Tips for Buying a Used Car
Buying or leasing a new car right out of the showroom can really pump up the adrenaline. And in the first few months of ownership, you'll probably be smiling as you tool around in your newest...
5 Ways to Save $1,000 at the Gas Pump Each Year
If you're a typical driver, you may be paying $1,000 more than you need to on gas each year. And if you're like me, you'd prefer to spend that money on something more worthwhile! After all, $...
The 10-Second Trick to Outsmart a Used Car Salesman and Save Thousands
Used cars today are a great buy. No longer is the 100,000 mile mark a warning sign as much as it is a "deep discount" sign. In fact, owners of Toyotas, Hondas and Subarus will tell you that...
25 Ways to Save Hundreds on Your Monthly Expenses
It's often times easier to save 10% than it is to increase your monthly income by the same amount. And you don't necessarily have to make drastic changes to free up extra money each month --...
5 Reasons One Parent Should Stay At Home
For most couples, deciding who works and who stays home comes down to plain economics. Sure, many parents love their kids and still want to work. But many more think they can't afford to stay...
When I was in college, I eagerly applied for a credit card. It seemed that financial freedom was mine. All I had to do was swipe! Unfortunately, I racked up a decent amount of high-interest...
6 Common 'Black Holes' That Are Shrinking Your Family Budget
Want to get a handle on our household money? Use what psychologists call "creative visualization." Imagine yourself as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of My Family, Incorporated. A major...
9 Ways to Help Your Parents' Finances Without Going Broke Yourself
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Your parents have failed to save enough money for retirement and their ability to work is limited. Or their savings were hit by the last debt and housing crisis...
529 College Savings Plan: The Best Choice for Any Income
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
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
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...
Jackpot? 6 Smart Ways to Use a Sudden Financial Windfall
Windfalls come in many forms: inheritance, bonus, legal settlement... or maybe you just won the lottery. When you receive a financial windfall, you need to decide what to do with the money....
8 Steps to Prepare for Your Own Personal Financial Crisis
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
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...
Personal LoansSee all
4 Situations When a Personal Loan is a Good Idea
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
Prepaid cards, also known as reloadable debit cards, have become popular consumer financial products. Accepted everywhere traditional credit and debit cards are taken, prepaids offer access...
College savings plans vs Custodial Plans and More
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
It's terrifying to see all the news about stolen credit card numbers. These reports give rise to mass panic, as people envision thousands of dollars being racked up in their name.As hackers...
Money Market vs Savings: Which Account is Best for You?
Money market accounts (MMAs) and savings accounts make great places to set aside your emergency fund money and earn some interest income at the same time. Simply put, these special accounts...
As a player for the famed Brooklyn Dodgers, Eddie Stanky earned his stripes as a baseball great. His manager, Leo Durocher, summed him up this way: “He can’t hit, he can’t run, he can’t field....
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, as...
Sean Quinn was once the richest man in Ireland. In 2008, Forbes estimated Quinn's riches reached $6 billion. Today, however, he owes Anglo Irish Bank $2.7 billion and in November, he claimed to...