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Facing financial pressures: 5 tips for the sandwich generation
(BPT) - Would you sacrifice your retirement and savings to simultaneously support your elderly parents and adult children? It’s not something many people envision, but millions are doing just that. These individuals are part of the sandwich generation—middle-aged adults caring for two di ...
A quick, 3-step energy audit could save you big bucks this winter
(BPT) - If you are winterizing your home to protect against the headache of frozen pipes and potential water damage, conducting a quick, three-step energy audit now can help prevent nasty surprises when the heating bill arrives.It’s human instinct to increase the heat during the coldest winter ...
3 tips to create and stick to your financial goals this season
(BPT) - Holiday sales are expected to reach more than $600 billion this year, an increase from 2013 according to the National Retail Federation. For the average household, that equates to spending $804 on gifts - up 5 percent from last year. And rest assured retailers will be pulling out all the sto ...
Small businesses: Check tax forms for errors to avoid fines for 2014
(BPT) - For many small businesses, tax form filing season can be one of the most dreaded times of the year. But with the winter months quickly approaching, there is one simple step that can save you and your business headache, heartache (and money): double-check all reporting documents and deadlines ...
3 things you need to know before starting a home-based business
(BPT) - About 16 million Americans work from home – a number that Global Workplace Analytics expects will increase by 63 percent over the next five years. In fact, every 12 seconds someone starts a new home-based business in the United States, according to Business for Home. Access to new tech ...
Research study uncovers small business predictions for 2015
(BPT) - Small business owners can easily get caught up in the December rush. But once the holiday sparkle fades, business owners and entrepreneurs will need to refocus and make decisions likely to impact their business in 2015.Before coming to any conclusions, entrepreneurs should be aware of some b ...
Your credit scores: What you don't know could cost you
(BPT) - Do you know what your credit scores are? If you don’t, you’re not alone. In fact, many people know very little about their credit scores, what they are or how they work. And they certainly don’t understand that having low credit scores can have a big impact on their future. ...
Changes to know before filing your federal income tax return
(BPT) - Most tax law changes don’t affect the average taxpayer. That's fortunate news, considering the U.S. averaged at least one tax law change per day every day between 2000 and 2012. Some tax changes generally happen every year, such as inflation adjustments to standard deduction and ...
Holiday shoppers have more money to spend than they think
(BPT) - Having a happy holiday shouldn’t mean stretching your finances paper thin. But many Americans already know they’ll likely go over their holiday budgets this year, which can mean financial stress in the new year. Fortunately, a few unexpected tricks and shopping strategies can hel ...
Learn about this home improvement that can save you money
(BPT) - For many homeowners the biggest utility bill is electricity. Heating and cooling the home makes up nearly half of electricity costs, but the next biggest source is the water heater. Water heaters can account for up to 25 percent of total household energy use. Taking steps to improve the ener ...
Small businesses: Are you ready for 2014 filing deadlines?
(BPT) - For small businesses, January’s arrival usually brings one very important task: issuing W-2s and 1099 forms to employees and independent contractors. The good news is this year, due to the typical filing date of Jan. 31 falling on a weekend, businesses have a built-in buffer and a coup ...
Will the Affordable Care Act impact your taxes? Myths debunked
(BPT) - There are a lot of changes to this year’s tax code – 46 to be exact – as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What’s most important is to be aware if your taxes – and your annual refund – will be affected.Tax experts at H&R Block address common m ...
Parents: School is back in session, time to teach kids vital financial lessons
(BPT) - The first months of the school year are full of new lessons and experiences for children. While subjects like history, science and math aim to prepare kids for college and careers, there’s one vitally important educational goal that falls to parents to fulfill – financial educati ...
A higher standard: understanding the types of financial advisors and under what rules they operate
(BPT) - What’s in a name? When choosing a brand of paper towels or laundry detergent, one name may be as good as another. When it comes to selecting a financial advisor, however, consumers should know there are different types of advisors who are held to significantly different professional st ...
Millennials: How to make your home ownership dreams a reality
(BPT) - Owning a home is part of the American Dream, yet standards on income, credit and debt are making it tougher to buy a home than it was 10 years ago. Even though requirements are relaxing, only three out of five borrowers get approved.While stricter standards make it tougher for young families ...
New coaching program helps people living with multiple sclerosis improve financial wellness
(BPT) - Suzanne is a Las Vegas resident who spent nearly three decades fundraising for museums and universities until a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis in July of 2012 changed her life. Now MS keeps her from working full-time."Following my diagnosis my self-esteem took a hit and fear came into pla ...
6 simple ways to make your bank account work for you
(BPT) - Are you making your bank account work for you? These days, checking accounts come with a variety of features, such as mobile alerts, that can help you take control of your finances and better manage your spending and saving. Are you taking advantage of them?The recent Bank of America Tr ...
4 things you should know about choosing your first credit card
(BPT) - Whether you are headed to college, joining the armed forces, or simply looking to take greater control of your finances, you might be wondering if it’s time to open your first credit card.Although credit cards are not for everyone, they have some important benefits you should consider. ...
5 financial fitness habits to begin in the new year
(BPT) - While many people focus on personal health goals in the new year, the beginning of the year is also a great time to check your financial fitness. So how can you whip your finances into shape?South University College of Business, Virginia Beach faculty member Dr. Alan Harper says everyone sho ...
Breastfeeding? Take advantage of FSA dollars
(BPT) - If you’re an expectant or new mom who has made the decision to breastfeed your baby, you’re not alone: 79 percent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding following the birth of their babies, according to the CDC 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card. Obtaining the right supplies and suppo ...
Home improvements that give you the most bang for your buck
(BPT) - Prioritizing a home-improvement wish list is never easy. Do you put design and aesthetics ahead of functionality? Or do you choose comfort and convenience over energy efficiency and cost savings?If you’ve found yourself trying to figure out which home improvement project to tackle next ...
Common new mom question: Are all formulas created equal?
(BPT) - New parents have plenty of concerns when it comes to raising a newborn, and pediatricians have heard them all. While some questions are unusual – “When can I feed my baby fast food?” or “Is it OK for my newborn baby to go kite surfing on my back?” – the mo ...
Could you use $100,000 in extra Social Security benefits? Where to find it
(BPT) - Did you know there are more than 8,000 ways a married couple can file for Social Security benefits?With all those thousands of options, knowing how to pick the right strategy for your household could result in $100,000 or more in additional retirement income, according to a recent surve ...
Answering these questions will help you plan for life's emergencies
(BPT) - It’s impossible to anticipate what life will throw your way. But still many families spend countless hours considering life’s many “what ifs.” What if we have kids? What if they are not healthy? What if we build a life that requires two salaries to make ends meet? Wha ...
Why the cheapest 'retirement investment' is also critical to your health
(BPT) - You maxed out your 401(k) every year you worked, invested wisely and planned carefully in preparation for retirement. Perhaps you even researched your Medicare options and you know exactly what health and drug plans you’ll choose. But if you’re like the majority of other American ...
5 rules to negotiate a better salary
(BPT) - Between networking, polishing your resume, applying and interviewing, finding a job is time consuming. Once the offer comes in, all your hard work is done, right? Not necessarily. Now is the time for negotiating – a process few people are comfortable with. Skipping it, however, can mea ...
What makes the best credit card option? [Infographic]
(BPT) - A new survey conducted by Chase Ultimate Rewards in partnership with Mercator Advisory Group explores the shift in consumer attitudes and behaviors toward their credit cards and loyalty programs. The survey of 1,000 adult credit and charge card consumers reveals cardholders prefer attra ...
6 tips for finding more affordable, better coverage during Medicare Annual Enrollment
(BPT) - Are you among the 54 million Americans currently receiving health insurance through Medicare? The Medicare annual enrollment period (AEP), running from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, means you have the opportunity to change plans, and possibly find cost savings or better coverage.Seniors and people with ...
Shopping for a new vehicle? 5 questions to ask yourself before signing on the dotted line
(BPT) - It’s that time again - time to buy a new car. Maybe you’re excited because you’ve been dreaming of getting new wheels for a long time now. Or maybe you’re nervous; buying a car is a big financial commitment and you want to make sure you do your homework. If you fall i ...
Five ways to save big money on your cellphone bill
(BPT) - Cellphone plans these days can top $100 or even $200 a month, once you include the cost of data. That’s a lot of cash just to stay connected.Fortunately, consumers can take a few easy steps to slash their bills - without sacrificing quality.1. Switch to a no-contract provider &nbs ...
6 tips for managing your year-end tax planning
(BPT) - The end of 2014 is shaping up to be relatively quiet compared to the challenges of recent years - such as the fiscal cliff. After this year’s mid-term elections a lame duck Congress needs to fund the operations of the federal government, so it is possible new tax law changes could affe ...
One area of your home could be adding a lot of money to your heating bill
(BPT) - As ever-increasing home energy bills continue to plague Americans, homeowners are looking for cost-effective ways to reduce their heating and cooling costs. If your house has not been properly insulated, you may be paying more than you should to heat or cool it.Nearly all modern homes have i ...
Growing up financially smart: prepaid cards provide college students security, convenience
(BPT) - This fall, college students around the country will take their first steps toward financial independence. For many young adults, the college years are the first time they are responsible for managing and budgeting their money. With a combination of funds from jobs, their families and student ...
How health care will affect your taxes: 6 tips you need to know
(BPT) - The Affordable Care Act has changed the health care insurance landscape since last year, and for the first time, health care and your taxes are now directly related. Millions of Americans will have to start making decisions about health care insurance now to be able to save more of their har ...
6 surprisingly common student money misconceptions
(BPT) - From sports teams and extracurricular clubs to first jobs and first cars, high school students learn new lessons every day, many away from the classroom. But when it comes to balancing their obligations, many students learn some tough lessons for the first time as they dip their feet into ad ...
Most people underestimate their family's need for life insurance
(BPT) - If you have children and grandchildren, you have no doubt made it your goal to provide guidance, pass on your personal knowledge and build a foundation that ensures their comfort and security. You probably started by teaching your children early on how they could save money, shop wisely and ...
Business-boosting tips to help small businesses maximize holiday sales
(BPT) - It’s that time of year again.Small business owners are preparing for a lucrative holiday season – with nearly three quarters (71 percent) expecting consistent or better sales this year compared to last year, according to Capital One’s Q3 Spark Business Barometer.At the same ...
Don't be fooled by loan and collection scams
(BPT) - In the United States, federal and state consumer collection laws forbid debt collectors from using unfair, deceptive, and abusive means to collect debt. Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t stop scammers from using threats of arrest and jail time to coerce victims into paying bogus bills t ...
Filing taxes for the first time? Easily conquer taxes with 3 simple tips
(BPT) - Unless you majored in accounting, the thought of filing your own income tax return may evoke feelings similar to your first job interview.Though understandable, this is an unfounded fear, given the simple taxes most individuals have in their early to mid-20s and the easy digital tax programs ...
The 6 smartest money moves Millennials can make in 2015
(BPT) - Money worries know no age limit, and financial health is important for everyone – which could explain why financial pledges are among the most common New Year’s resolutions. Still, Millennials are a bit more likely than any other age group to be tempted into spending too much, ac ...
Better late than never for retirement planning
(BPT) - If you’re within 10 years of retirement and haven’t done any appreciable planning, you’re not alone.Nearly half of Americans age 50 and older expect to retire later than they hoped, citing financial concerns, according to a 2013 study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for ...
10 reasons you should add life insurance to your Christmas list
(BPT) - You can't drive it around the block. You can't wear it for an evening out. You can't watch anything on it. And chances are it won’t elicit squeals of delight when opened. But of the many gifts you can give, life insurance might make the biggest difference to those you love.So, what are ...
Holiday shopping? Scammers hope you'll send them money for online purchases
(BPT) - This holiday season, will you be one of the 197 million Americans to shop online, according to eMarketer? Holiday shoppers will go online to buy everything from gift cards to cars, flat screen TVs to smartphones. And at least some of them will have their holiday spirit dampened by scammers w ...
3 empowering reasons why women can be better investors
(BPT) - Despite the earning power of today’s women, many still shy away from investing and long-term planning. One of the reasons may be a lack of confidence. A 2014 report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that half of women say they are not confident about the abil ...
Personalizing your Medicare options: What's right for you?
(BPT) - Finding the right Medicare plan can be a little confusing – there are so many plans and coverage options to choose from.Health and wellness company Humana is helping to simplify the selection process and educate Medicare shoppers as they decide on 2015 coverage during the annual Medica ...
4 questions to ask before purchasing a new home
(BPT) - Buying a new house is an exciting time in your life. Because it is one of the most important investments you’ll make for yourself and your family, there are many important factors to consider. Before making a purchase, take these four questions into account. Having the answers will all ...
Why grandma's holiday check could be the worst gift for a special needs child
(BPT) - You know that little check you can always count on from grandma or grandpa around the holidays? It could be the worst gift your child gets this year, if he or she is a child with special needs.If a child with disabilities accumulates more than $2,000 in total assets - including money in a ba ...
Plan for money emergencies before bringing a child into your family
(BPT) - Whether welcoming a newborn, adopting a child or becoming a stepparent for the first time, bringing a child into your life means big changes - and a big impact on your finances.According to the United States Department of Agriculture, parents of children born in 2013 will spend approximately ...
New study: Americans misinformed before donating to charities [Infographic]
(BPT) - Looking at overhead ratios or finances doesn’t give you a full picture of a charity’s performance, and can give donors a false sense of confidence. For example, a charity with a low overhead ratio may not have adequate oversight of its staff. In fact, no single measure can signal ...
Quick and simple at-home beauty treatments to try
(BPT) - Pampering yourself with skin and beauty treatments is important, but going to the salon or buying expensive products are not always the most convenient – or wallet-friendly – options.In fact, 82 percent of women prefer to save than splurge, spending less than 50 dollars each mont ...
Saving money on your holiday shopping list
(BPT) - The holidays can get expensive, especially if you have a large list of family and friends to shop for, or if you are planning to host a party or two. There are some ways, however, that you can save money this year and potentially make your planning for the season a bit easier as well.Be sure ...
Take action today to help better prepare you for retirement [Infographic]
(BPT) - Planning for retirement starts now. During National Save for Retirement Week - Oct. 19-25 - take steps toward a more secure retirement by increasing the contributions you make to your retirement plan. “Upping” the amount you contribute today can help you better prepare for your r ...
Learn how you can help your retirement plan in just 30 minutes
(BPT) - When is the last time you checked in on your retirement plan? A month? A year? Can you even remember? If you can’t, you’re not alone. Many people find the idea of reviewing their retirement plan intimidating, so they put it off. You can’t avoid reviewing your plan forever, ...
Important tax information for everyone with marketplace health insurance
(BPT) - Health insurance and income taxes, once an unlikely pair, are now close companions as a result of the Affordable Care Act's insurance mandate that took effect Jan. 1, 2014. If you have health insurance through the federal or a state-sponsored ...
Debunking common computer security myths
(BPT) - All businesses can be susceptible to threats like hackers and computer viruses. Making matters worse is the great deal of misinformation floating around regarding cyber security. The Internet attracts urban legends and computer security isn’t immune from this trend. Many alleged securi ...
Engage a financial professional to boost your bottom line
(BPT) - Women today are enjoying a hard-won sense of independence. While there are many aspects of a woman’s life that can be successfully navigated alone, when it comes to financial planning, a collaborative approach is best.Women are increasingly taking control of household finances, but the ...
How to keep your information safe this holiday season
(BPT) - It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and for a lot of us, that means holiday shopping. But how careful are you when you’re entering personal information online to purchase gifts for your loved ones?“Today’s technological landscape allows us to share more o ...
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