Ah, spring! It's the season of renewal, when we can count on longer and brighter days, the return of baseball and the urge to get the house in order. That goes for many people's financial houses as well. Spring is a good time to comb through your personal finances and ensure that you're managing your budget, credit cards, investments and insurance in the best possible way. Here's how to get started.
Hardwood floors. Sleek new appliances. Back yard landscaping. If you own a home, chances are you have a pretty good idea about the steps you can take to improve it. But did you realize you can freshen and improve another aspect of your home? You can make over your mortgage by refinancing.
Human beings are habit-creating machines, craving any mental or physical shortcut that lets us focus on higher-level thoughts, such as what’s for lunch or developing theories about Netflix dramas.
Bad money habits are more difficult to steer out of than other automated behaviors like driving a car. Why? Financial peace of mind is a much more subtle reward than the satisfaction of navigating a half-ton piece of metal through city streets without death or injury.
Still, every person who is good at money learned good habits, which means you can, too. “What we know from lab studies is that it’s never too late to break a habit. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” told NPR.
What's not to love about receiving money? It's why millions and millions of people play the lottery each year. And while most won't be lucky enough to win the jackpot, they may very well receive money in a far more common way — getting a tax refund.
Have you ever developed a gut-wrenching fear in the pit of your belly or a feeling of despair when you thought about creating a household budget? Consider thinking about it as a "spending plan". A budget is simply the framework for planning how to spend and save your money. Follow these simple steps to create your own spending plan.
If you’re like many people, the holidays cause more financial stress than any other time of year. Figuring out how to afford gifts, décor and food for the big feast is often overwhelming. You might never be able to remove all of your holiday money worries, but you can alleviate some of them. Even though your shopping list might continue to grow while your wallet shrinks, you can enjoy this season without breaking the bank. Here are five ways to survive holiday financial stress.
According to the National Council on Aging, almost 90 percent of the ﬁnancial abuse committed against older Americans are at the hands of someone they know and trust. Here are seven tips to help older Americans choose the right ﬁnancial caregiver and prevent elder ﬁnancial abuse:
Cyberattacks seem to be making national news more frequently these days. And although most of the coverage focuses on large companies or government organizations being hacked, individuals often fall prey to cybercriminals as well. To help stay on top of your personal and financial security while continuing to enjoy the benefits of banking, buying and investing online, make sure to take these five precautions.
By: Eva Velasquez
Identity theft is one of the hardest-hitting crimes that consumers face, largely because it’s easy to pull off. Whether through old-fashioned means like dumpster-diving or stealing your driver’s license, or through more sophisticated cyber crimes like hacking into a university network, thieves can make off with your entire identity before you even know your information was compromised.
There are a lot of steps that college students can take to prevent this crime. Passcode and password locking their hardware, shredding those pesky pre-approved credit card offers, locking their dorm rooms … the list goes on. But what too many college students aren’t aware of is the wide variety of crimes that fall under identity theft.
Sometimes it's smarter to buy certain items according to the season, like sweaters near the end of winter and swimsuits in late summer. But what's the best season for buying a house? The answer: the fall. As temperatures cool and trees shed their leaves, enough factors break in the buyer's favor to make it the No. 1 season for homebuying. Here's why.
It's easy to ignore the misguided dating advice of elders at family gatherings, so why do we let the financial tidbits sink in?
Money advice often gets woven into humdrum conversations between family and friends, and it can be hard to know what to take seriously. Here are some financial “tips” to let in one ear and out the other.
(Federal Communications Commission)
Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices as "mobile wallets" to pay for goods and services, downloading software that allows them to complete both mobile and in-person transactions. As the use of mobile wallet services increases, consumers need to protect their smartphones, mobile wallet applications, associated data, and mobile wallet services from theft and cyber-attacks.
Vacation is supposed to be a time to unwind. Unfortunately, there are thieves who are waiting to strike when we let our guard down. That’s why it pays to keep customers updated on the latest travel scams. Here are five all-too-common scams for customers to watch for:
In recognition of American Housing Month, the American Bankers Association Foundation and banks across the country are offering consumers valuable housing information throughout the month of June. The ABA Foundation will provide renters and homeowners with tips for choosing Add Imagethe right home, saving for a down payment and preparing a senior to ‘age in place.’
Think identity theft mostly happens to older people? Or to high-income earners? The truth is that identity thieves focus their efforts wherever the opportunities are, and there are plenty of opportunities across most age groups.
Identity theft complaints are on the rise, with 16 percent of consumers filing reports, up from the previous year, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2016 Consumer Sentinel Network Databook.
Tax- or wage-related fraud was the most common reported identity-related fraud, accounting for 45 percent of consumer complaints, followed by credit card fraud and phone or utilities fraud representing 16 and 10 percent of complaints, respectively.
First Security Celebrates American Housing Month with Practical Advice for ‘Aging in Place’
The vast majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes as they grow older, also known as aging in place.
First Securityoffers tips for those considering this option:
A CD ladder is a portfolio of fixed-income Certificates of Deposit, in which each CD has a significantly different maturity date. Typically, a CD maturing every year. Therefore we have a one year CD, a two year CD up to five years if we are doing a five year CD ladder.
Trust, Love, Password Sharing?
(Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information)
A strong password is a great way to prevent hackers and identity thieves from accessing your accounts. But what if you share it with someone you know? Many teens and young adults are giving passwords to friends or loved ones as a sign of trust or love. After all, sharing is caring, right? But what might seem like a milestone in a relationship can turn out to be a very harmful decision.
In March 2011 President Obama issued a proclamation establishing April of each year as National Financial Literacy Month in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.
Basically, financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage one's financial resources effectively for lifetime financial security. Taken further, it is a dynamic understanding of finances and the economy, enabling each individual to respond effectively to ever-changing personal and economic circumstances. Lois Vitt of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies (www.isfs.org) defines financial literacy somewhat more comprehensively:
"Personal financial literacy is the ability to read, analyze, manage and write about the personal financial conditions that affect material well-being. It includes the ability to discern financial choices, discuss money and financial issues without (or despite) discomfort, plan for the future, and respond competently to life events that affect every day financial decisions, including events in the general economy."
Emotions Aside, How to Choose the Right Home
When buying a home, it is easy to get caught up in emotions. You fall in love with the new kitchen or giant yard, but the largest purchase for most people requires some objective consideration. The best way to determine if a house has the potential to be your dream home is to visually apply your daily life to it.
byCamilla Cheung, Wise Bread
Sometimes, building a healthy cushion of savings can seem like a daunting task. We all know how easy it is to make a late credit card payment, or to end up spending all of your paycheck without remembering to save part of it. One easy way to get started on saving this America Saves Week is to automate your savings. Having technology work to save money for you takes much of the effort out of the equation, saves time, and makes it easier for you to achieve your goals.
In recognition of National Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28,
First Security is urging customers to take an active role in protecting their data.
"First Security’s first priority is to protect our customers’ money and information,” said Penny Gray, Marketing Manager. “We use a combination of safeguards to protect our customers’ information, and we encourage our customers to partner with us in that effort.”
To help ensure the safety of personal information, First Security suggests following these four tips:
Here is the IRS’s phone number: 800-829-1040. With an anticipated $21 billion in tax refund fraud this year, you might need it. And that figure doesn’t include losses from dodges like the IRS phone scam, which has been enjoying a renaissance of late.
IRS phone frauds aren’t terribly difficult to detect. You get a call from the IRS saying you owe money and that you must pay immediately. The threat of police intervention may or may not accompany this hot and heavy approach.
Here’s the one-step method: hang up. The IRS doesn’t call asking for money yet.
Let’s say you forget the one-step method. Here are four dead giveaways that it’s a scam:
The holiday season can be a frantic time for shoppers. For those that decided to forego the craziness of Black Friday, they can instead opt to shop online for Cyber Monday. This anticipated shopping event still offers discounted prices on items, but runs the same identity theft risks as Black Friday.
Identity theft doesn’t take a vacation—even when you do.
As winter sets in, the bogus offers go out: phishing emails that can unleash malware on your computer, so-called free vacations and prizes that require a credit card or Social Security number to claim, and low-cost vacation rentals that can lead to a quick gotcha.
October is a really fun month. The weather is turning, fall is in the air, and of course, there’s Halloween! But how can consumers make sure that October is full of treats, while not falling for any scammers’ tricks? By arming themselves with the facts and the resources to protect their personally identifiable information.
True or False? There was no way the Office of Personnel Management could have prevented hackers from stealing the sensitive personal information of 4.1 million federal employees, past and present.
If you guessed “False,” you’d be wrong. If you guessed, “True,” you’d also be wrong.
Cyberbullying can start as early as second grade, often peaks in fourth grade, and returns in the seventh and eighth grades, according to Parry Aftab, an Internet safety and privacy lawyer.
More than 85 percent of 45,000 students at North American schools admitted to being targeted in the past year, according to a survey conducted by Aftab.
Sometimes it is harder to admit that we need help in life and the same is true with investments.
I’m sure you all have heard, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” While this is definitely true, past performances are still very good indicators of how companies may perform again in the future, or under certain market conditions.