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home : lifestyle : personal finance January 20, 2017

4 reasons you should review your beneficiary designations
(BPT) - Baby boomers have been planning and saving for retirement for decades. They are also planning their legacy - creating wills, trusts and other sophisticated estate planning strategies to transfer their wealth to the next generation.However, most people may not realize their IRAs and qualifie... More >>


Paying for college: Options reduce need for student loans
(BPT) - While only a fortunate few students can expect a free college education by winning full academic or athletic scholarships, everyone can take advantage of a combination of academic aid, grants, fellowships, work-study and student loans to pay for a four-year degree, says Peter Gayle, a vice ... More >>


4 life changes that affect your taxes and how to tackle them
(BPT) - Life changes often mean tax changes. Whether it's getting married, buying or selling a home, moving abroad or having a baby, misunderstanding the tax and financial implications of these life changes can lead to taxpayers making mistakes or leaving money on the table.Depending on your situat... More >>


Top 5 tips for doing your own taxes
(BPT) - With the 2017 tax season a few short weeks away, now is the time to start thinking about your taxes, especially if you are doing your return by yourself. Whether you are a seasoned filer or a first timer, keeping a few tips in mind could help you increase the size of your refund (or minimiz... More >>


Two out of Three middle-income Americans lack a financial plan. Do you?
(BPT) - As the holidays (and all the extra spending that goes with them) wind down and the new year ramps up, many people turn their attention to their finances. While New Year's resolutions to spend less and save more come with the best intentions, when it comes to your financial future, you need ... More >>


No will? Haven't documented financial information? Now's the time to do something about it
(BPT) - Do you want to be remembered for being a great mom, dad, daughter or son? Do you believe you're taking the necessary steps to leave this legacy?More than half (53 percent) of respondents in a recent survey commissioned by MassMutual indicated they want to be remembered for being a great mom... More >>


Forget post-holiday sales: Find the best deals at local boat shows
(BPT) - Post-holiday sales aren't the only deals to be found during the winter months. Starting in January, boat shows take place across the country. They offer some of the best pricing and incentives of the year - a major draw for the millions of Americans who take to the water each year on more t... More >>


6 common tax filing mistakes to avoid
(BPT) - It's probably safe to say handing cash to Uncle Sam does not top the list of your favorite things. When it comes to filing taxes, making a small mistake can mean paying more taxes than you need to or forking over cash to cover penalties.Fortunately, there's an easy way to make sure your tax... More >>


5 steps toward improving financial well-being in the new year
(BPT) - With the start of a new year comes New Year's resolutions. Many will focus on physical wellness, some on organization. Now is a perfect time to take stock of your financial house and work on financial wellness, which will take off a level of stress that can immediately have an effect on you... More >>


5 ways to save money when buying a car [Infographic]
(BPT) - If you're heading to the dealership for end-of-year deals or considering a new car in 2017, there are a few ways you could save money before hitting the showroom.The tips below highlight steps you can take to get the best deal on your vehicle, and help eliminate stress from the car-buying p... More >>


Where there is a will - and more - there's peace of mind
(BPT) - What's the state of your estate? Robert Fishbein, a vice president and corporate counsel in Prudential Financial's Tax Department, says now's a good time to find out.Changes in federal estate tax law have significantly increased the amount at which federal estate tax is triggered, says Fish... More >>


The New Year's resolution you haven't thought of yet [Infographic]
(BPT) - Have you plotted your path toward retirement? If you have, you're on the right track. Or, if you're just starting to save for retirement, the new year could be a great time to map out your savings plan!More than one-third of Americans don't have a retirement plan in place. Even those with a... More >>


5 easy tactics for making your New Year's resolution to save money a reality
(BPT) - It's almost that time of year again - you prepare for the holidays and start thinking about what you want your New Year's resolution to be.According to research from Nielsen, one quarter of Americans want to spend less and save more money in the New Year. If you're one of these people, foll... More >>


Buying your first home? Follow this New Year's plan to get fiscally fit
(BPT) - So buying a new home tops your list of New Year's resolutions. As you picture the big moment - the one where you pull up to your dream home in your moving truck, sprint up and unlock your front door - you probably understand there's something you need to do first. You need to get your finan... More >>


Get fiscally fit in the new year [Infographic]
(BPT) - Here are four easy ways to shape up your credit score and right size your spending so you can afford your new home.SaveSave... More >>


Rebel against rogue investing and the dark side of market forces with these 7 tips
(BPT) - There is great unrest in the financial universe. The next disturbance in The Force is anyone's guess. Like the rebels in the forthcoming Star Wars film Rogue One, you seek a new hope. Fear not and reach for a promising investment future.I. Look to the setting suns.In Episode IV: A New Hope,... More >>


4 tax changes that could impact your 2016 return
(BPT) - With tax filing season upon us, it's a good idea to educate yourself on what's changed since last year. While it's been a relatively quiet year in terms of new tax laws, there are a handful of items for which you'll want to prepare.1. The Tax Deadline is April 18.This year, the deadline to ... More >>


5 things life insurance companies don't always tell you
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Shopping for small business solutions? Tech talk translations for SBOs
(BPT) - As a small business owner, you do it all: the books, marketing, customer service, product, inventory and - oh yes - tech support. In fact, small and microbusiness owners are more likely to shoulder all tech tasks for their firms, according to a study by the National Small Business Associati... More >>


3 ways to plan ahead for the 2017 tax season
(BPT) - With the tax season approaching, now is the time to start thinking about creating a strategy to help maximize tax refunds in the year ahead. From the passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act to the increase in health insurance penalties, here are a few items to keep in ... More >>


New wrinkles in tax strategies could help smooth your year-end planning
(BPT) - As 2016 enters its final weeks, it's a good time for year-end tax planning strategies - including some new wrinkles:Plan for 2016-2017 together: Consider reducing your overall tax liability by shifting income and deductions across 2016 and 2017. Assuming similar income for both, you can acc... More >>


5 insights into the Asian-American financial experience
(BPT) - Prudential’s 2016 Asian-American Financial Experience surveyed more than 2,000 self-identified Asian Americans. Prudential’s survey found that this group — one of the fastest growing population segments since 2000 — places a higher priority on family-related financia... More >>


Hispanics at the forefront of digital banking trends
(BPT) - With a population of more than 55 million and estimated buying power of over $1.5 trillion, Hispanics in the United States are continuing to shape economic trends; however, as new research finds, they're shaping digital trends as well.This year's Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility ... More >>


5 tips to protect your devices from cybercrime
(BPT) - Your smartphone, your tablet, your computer - they are some of your most important and most used possessions. They are the daily tools you use for research, to connect with others and make purchases. You take them everywhere and fill them with your important, personal information.And all of... More >>


Creating desirable jobs by getting back to the basics
(BPT) - When it comes to hiring and retaining employees, companies are always looking at new alternatives to build their staffs. However, new research shows that when it comes to attracting top talent, many professionals prefer a return to the basics, meaning stable employment with competitive base... More >>


5 steps for happy holiday spending
(BPT) - For many families, holiday shopping may lead to a home full of toys, closets stuffed with today’s trends, and tech-savvy games and devices, some of which will be loved for months, while others will be tossed aside before they've even been paid for. Worse yet, if you use a credit card ... More >>


5 affordable ways to connect with family without breaking the bank
(BPT) - Ready or not, the holidays are fast approaching. While it’s a season known for celebrating family and friends, the stress of gift-giving and holiday planning can make people lose sight of what’s really important.Here are five ways you can easily connect with your family without ... More >>


Easy DIY tips to save on your winter energy bills
(BPT) - Here's what Americans have to look forward to this winter: While the south will be drier and warmer, the northern U.S. can expect "wetter, cooler conditions," predicts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)."Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extr... More >>


3 reasons why winter is a smart time to buy a home
(BPT) - Don't give up on buying a home as winter nears. In fact, December through February may be better for buyers than the busy season in spring and summer.Enjoy less competition and lower prices.Fewer properties are typically available during the winter, as sellers and buyers aim to complete tra... More >>


When bad health hits, look to this financial tool
(BPT) - Working hard may take a toll on your health. But what are your options when your work pays the price for your bad health?Chronic illness, an injury or a severe disability can create a financial crossroads for people. Often, people are torn between trying to keep working in ill health, losin... More >>


4 reasons why you should fill your shopping cart with store brands
(BPT) - Price isn't the only reason 97 percent of millennials say they buy store brands. Shoppers age 18-36 say store brand products are also more innovative than brand name ones, deliver better value and are higher quality than ever, according to a report by Mintel.What's more, millennials aren't ... More >>


The surprising way to stretch your retirement savings
(BPT) - The temptation to start collecting monthly Social Security checks at age 62 is hard to resist, but claiming the benefit too early can have damaging consequences for your overall retirement funds. According to Kiplinger.com’s October list of "Financial Decisions You Will Regret in Reti... More >>


An affordable way to qualify for a home loan without that big down payment
(BPT) - For many Americans, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is the 20 percent down payment they think is required for mortgage approval. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of respondents believe they need more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, low down pa... More >>


How bundling up your student loans could save you money [Infographic]
(BPT) - Juggling private student loan payments may seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. If you're looking to lower your monthly payments, or for an easy-to-track monthly payment, student loan consolidation may be right for you.Consolidating means adding each of your student loan balances to... More >>


7 Social Security facts you need to know
(BPT) - Planning ahead and getting an accurate picture of your options may be key to getting the most out of your retirement. However, a survey commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) aimed to better understand how much Americans know about Social Security retiremen... More >>


These online tools can help you find a mortgage that fits
(BPT) - Whether you're a first-time or experienced homebuyer, chances are a good portion of your real estate journey will take place online. In fact, four in 10 homebuyers start their house-hunting with an online search, according to the National Association of REALTORS. It's easy to understand why... More >>


Autumn and early winter: The best times to be a homebuyer?
(BPT) - The long-held belief that summer is the only time to buy a home is fading fast. Savvy home-buyers are learning that when temperatures drop, numerous benefits emerge that simply aren't available other times of the year."With warm weather and many homes on the market, summer is generally the ... More >>


No excuses: Preparing for earthquakes goes beyond the 'Big One'
(BPT) - Through September, more than 2,700 earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 2.5 have rattled the contiguous United States in 2016, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.A majority of those tremors are harmless and might provoke little more than a "Did you feel that?" However, the pure vol... More >>


Scaring up cash: Liberate yourself from haunted finances and prosper
(BPT) - Did you retire the checkbook and register years ago? Do you now pay your bills automatically? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may be in the dark about your account balance(s) and exactly where your money is going. One or more skeletons could be lurking in your financial clo... More >>


Open Talk About Open Enrollment: 5 Surprising Ways Americans React to the Annual Process
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Pension plan funding shortfalls threaten retirees in all 50 states
(BPT) - Everyone knows it is important to save for retirement in order to build a nest egg and enjoy the "golden years." So why is it that state and local governments many times act irresponsibly when it comes to saving for the future of public employees?Government pensions are the way in which sta... More >>


Chores earn high marks as financial teaching tools, parents agree
(BPT) - When you pay your child $5 to clean the garage or $6 to mow the lawn, you’re accomplishing far more than just getting the tasks done. A majority of parents use chores to teach their kids that money should be earned, a new study reveals.“Sixty-eight percent of parents believe kid... More >>


4 popular benefits that can help protect your retirement savings
(BPT) - Would you plug a leak if it cost $6 billion a year?That’s the amount of “leakage” or retirement savings lost every year from retirement savers defaulting on their loans from 401(k) plans, according to a 2014 report by the Pension Research Council (PRC), Borrowing from the ... More >>


Wireless home phone devices offer savings and mobility
(BPT) - It seems more and more of us are "cutting the cord" these days, moving away from hard-wired connections to cable TV, internet service and more. The freedom to go wireless offers options that we couldn't have imagined just five or 10 years ago - you can stream movies on your phone while sitt... More >>


Why you should cozy up to your chip card this fall [Infographic]
(BPT) - - By now you're aware of the shift in the U.S. from magnetic stripe credit cards to EMV chip cards. Either you've been issued one by your financial institution, or you've seen them being used at your local retailers. Although chip cards have received scrutiny because transactions take a lit... More >>


5 stress-less holiday shopping tips to save you time and money
(BPT) - Each year, before the autumn leaves even have a chance to fall, the holiday shopping season arrives. The cost of holiday gifts - not to mention, food and decorations - can add up quickly. Here are five money- and time-saving tips for surviving the holiday shopping season with your budget an... More >>


An easy way to save on your healthcare in 2017
(BPT) - If you’re like most people, there are a few times a year when you sit down to review your expenses — your cable bill, entertainment expenses and grocery receipts, for example — and try to figure out where you and your family can save money.One item you should consider is y... More >>


Open Enrollment is Here: Get the Scoop on FSAs and HSAs [Infographic]
(BPT) - Learn more about flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and healthcare savings accounts (HSAs) with Visa. aveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave... More >>


4 Smart Reasons to Upgrade Your Home Security System
(BPT) - Think of what has changed forever in the span of a decade. How do you watch movies at home? You’ve replaced the DVDs with digital streaming. How do you send a picture of your kids to your parents? You skip the printing and post it on social media or send a quick text.Another thing you... More >>


4 Techy Tips For The Ultimate Fall Camping Experience
(BPT) - Camping is a getaway, a break from the chaos and a chance to be in nature for that fresh fall air.For some, camping means getting back to the basics to recharge. But camping doesn’t always mean you need to sacrifice technology. In fact, your smartphone can be one of your biggest asset... More >>


Changes in your household? Tips for updating your insurance
(BPT) - The American household is changing. The typical single-family home has evolved in the 21st century.Today, it’s not uncommon for older parents to move in with their grown children, and with the combined rise in housing costs and debt from college loans, more college graduates are ... More >>


10 smart ideas to heat your home for less
(BPT) - As cooler temperatures begin to sweep the nation, homeowners are turning on their heat for the first time in months. With every degree increase on the thermostat, utility bills follow suit.A warm, comfortable home shouldn't cost you a small fortune. Luckily, there are some simple strategies... More >>


Millennial Matchup: Military Life Shapes Money Matters [Infographic]
(BPT) - Military Millennials have unique lives. While their civilian peers are reportedly job-hopping, living at home with Mom and Dad, and ubering when transportation by automobile is absolutely necessary, millennials in the military are forced to grow up faster, leaving home for bootcamp at a you... More >>



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