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home : life : finance January 25, 2015

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 ... More >>

Checking for errors on your taxes can help you 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 there is one simple step that can save you and your business headache, heartache (and money): double-check all reporting documents and deadlines.While checking these easy-to-find facts se... More >>

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 sh... More >>

Why a check from grandma 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 on birthdays and special occasions? It could be the worst gift your child gets, 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 i... More >>

What's your path to retirement happiness?
(BPT) - Retirees have a message for people still working but wondering what life might be like once they retire: “Come on in, the water’s warm.” But they also say that it pays to plan, the earlier the better, because retirement might come sooner than you expect.A recent study, spo... More >>

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 familie... More >>

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 th... More >>

Busting first-time homebuyer myths
(BPT) - When buying a first home, most people are making one of the biggest purchases of their lives. Without home buying experience, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.“Buying a first home can be exciting and stressful for most young buyers, especially the financing process,&rdquo... More >>

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 me... More >>

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 ar... More >>

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 ... More >>

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 Medic... More >>

This 30-minute check could increase your retirement savings
(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,... More >>

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... More >>

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 nex... More >>

5 easy ways to boost your budget
  (BPT) - It takes time and energy to be thrifty with your money. You can clip coupons and search for online discounts to save at the stores. You can reduce your expenses and find ways to cut back on things you dont need. And you can make the most of what you already have, which might be ... More >>

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 surv... More >>

Easy ways to get the breastfeeding supplies you want through your insurance
(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 supp... More >>

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 aff... More >>

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 a... More >>

5 tips to help savvy Latina moms raise financially smart kids
(BPT) - Latina moms juggle many priorities. You are entrepreneurs growing businesses, community leaders advocating for change, and still caring for children, parents and spouses who all rely on you for guidance and support. As part of this role you also need to make sure your children are embracing... More >>

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 ... More >>

How to prepare and e-file your taxes for free
(BPT) - Doing your taxes doesn’t have to be taxing. There are many programs available to help you process – and file - your taxes.Use Free File – available only at – and join more than 43 million people who have saved $1.3 billion in fees. You get brand-name software... More >>

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 ... More >>

How will the Affordable Care Act affect your 2014 taxes? [Infographic]
(BPT) - The Affordable Care Act brings a lot of changes to this year’s tax code that will affect 25-30 million people. What’s most important is to know how your taxes may be affected. People who will see the biggest impact fall into two categories: 1. had insurance through the marketpla... More >>

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 ene... More >>

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 program... More >>

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 st... More >>

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 signa... More >>

How the Affordable Care Act may affect your tax refund
(BPT) - The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings a lot of changes to this year’s tax code. Do you know if and how it will affect your tax refund?Here are five tips from H&R Block to help you understand how your taxes and tax refund will be affected as a result of the biggest tax code change i... More >>

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 d... More >>

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 America... More >>

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 T... More >>

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 tec... More >>

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 winte... More >>

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 fo... More >>

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 he... More >>

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 sam... More >>

Why women need to reassess retirement planning
(BPT) - Men and women are not the same when it comes to retirement planning. Consider this: A husband and a wife of the same age, earning the same salary and looking to retire during the same year need to account for different factors in retirement planning. This is true even if they share a househ... More >>

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, a... More >>

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 secur... More >>

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 ... More >>

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 ha... More >>

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 mon... More >>

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 cou... More >>

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 attr... More >>

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-sponsore... More >>

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 m... More >>

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 sur... More >>

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... More >>

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 abi... More >>

Find the right expert to help you manage your money
(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 s... More >>

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