Will Your HELOC Be Tax-Deductible?

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Homeowners may see less of a tax break this year, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Beginning with homes purchased after December 16, 2017, you can only deduct the interest incurred on $750,000 of mortgage debt on qualifying residences (primary homes and one second residence). Under prior law, the limit was $1 million in mortgage loan debt with an extra $100,000 in home equity debt.

Can you still deduct interest on a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) under the new law? Yes – but only in certain circumstances.

To be deductible, a home equity loan or HELOC must be used to “buy, build, or substantially improve” the home that secures the loan. In addition, the total mortgage debt incurred after the new law took effect – including the home equity debt – must be at or below the cost of the home and below the new mortgage deduction limit ($750,…

Get Your Money As Soon As You Earn It

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You’re in a cash-flow crunch again. An important bill is due, and you’ve earned the money to pay that bill – but it’s not payday yet. You’re on a two-week pay cycle and have to wait for another week or so before your money is available.

What are your options? Ask a friend or relative to loan you money for a few weeks. Take out a payday loan and pay painful interest rates. Make the payment late and run the risk of penalty fees and a drop in your credit score. Ask your employer for a payday advance. All these options can be embarrassing and unpleasant.

Many Americans take the payday loan approach – approximately twelve million each year, according to 2016 research from the Pew Charitable Trusts – paying a collective $9 billion in fees and interest charges.

Payday access apps like Earnin are designed to fill this cash-flow gap. As opposed to a payday advance …

Identity Thieves Still Successful Despite Credit Freezes

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Credit freezes are one of the most powerful tools you have against fraudulent use of your identity. Unlike a fraud alert, which just requires that creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity when a credit request is made in your name, a credit freeze stops creditors from accessing your report at all. If a creditor can’t access your file, they’re unlikely to extend credit to you.

You must freeze your credit file with each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) individually. Each bureau will give you a PIN to use for future thawing and re-freezing of your credit. You may want to also freeze your credit at the lesser-known credit bureau Innovis, as it’s still a potential…

Video: 3 Secrets To Using MoviePass

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Have you tried to take advantage of MoviePass’s incredibly low price to see the latest cinema releases? How did that work out for you? Many have reported issues with the popular service, but there is a way to come out ahead. Watch our exclusive video above to learn three tips that Professor MoneyTips Jeff Hoyt had to learn through (bad) experiences to ensure that you win with MoviePass.

If you want more credit to sign up for a movie or television service, check out our list of credit card offers.

There’s No Correlation Between Interest Rates And Home Sales

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It just makes sense. When mortgage interest rates rise, fewer people can afford to buy homes. Home sales go down as a result. Conversely, when interest rates drop, homes become more affordable and home sales will go up.

There’s only one problem with this premise. It isn’t necessarily true.

According to Sam Khater, a deputy chief economist with CoreLogic, “the relationship is almost zero” between mortgage rates and home sales. At the very least, it’s difficult to determine the relationship because there are many other factors affecting home sales – some of which are far more likely to affect your likelihood of buying a home. Supply and demand, jobs, wages and inflation, and the availability of credit can all swamp the effect of interest rates. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using

How Much Does Your Dream Home Cost?

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What does your dream home look like, and how much does it cost? Whether it’s a cottage on a secluded beach, a stately mansion on a hill, or something in-between, your dream home probably won’t come cheap.

Two recent surveys agree that America’s dream home is relatively expensive but differ on the actual price – along with a few other aspects of the average dream home.

Homes.com and Northshore Fireplace each polled 2,000 Americans to determine what constitutes a dream home. Homes.com found the average dream home costs an estimated $879,000, while Northshore Fireplace came in at $1.3 million. Both are well beyond Zillow’s April 2018 median home value of $215,600.

What will you find in your $879,000 dream home as defined by the Homes.com survey? You’ll get a beach house – or at least beach-house décor – with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, hardwood floors, and an open kitchen. Other features include a deck, spacious walk-in closet, two-door garage…

Keep Your Data Off The Dark Web

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Be Afraid of the Dark

Is your credit card information floating around the dark web, waiting to be sold to an enterprising criminal? That’s increasingly likely. According to the cybersecurity research group IntSights, black-market credit card information for sale has increased by almost 150% over the last 18 months – surpassing 4,000 credit cards per bank.

To limit the chances of your data reaching the dark web, you must take a three-pronged approach – protect your data on a personal level, limit the number of places that your information is stored, and use secure, encrypted transfer methods whenever possible. You should also monitor your accounts for any sign of identity theft or fraudulent charges in case your measures fail.

Don’t Be Fooled

IntSights finds that so much credit card data is available on the b…

Worst States For Cybersecurity

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Your data is under constant attack from hackers. Unless you take steps to protect your personal and account information, you’re at a high risk for identity theft – and the residents of some states are less vigilant than others when it comes to cybersecurity.

A survey conducted by cybersecurity company Webroot and the Ponemon Institute found that Floridians are the least protective of their security. Sunshine State residents scored a -6.29 on the Cybersecurity Index – an average of survey results that assigns point levels to specific behaviors. Good security practices like the use of anti-virus software and regular updates earn positive points, while poor practices like sharing passwords and use of unsecure public wireless connections subtract points.

The rest of the ten worst states for cybersecurity practices are Wyoming (-5.55), Montana (-4.28), New Mexico (-3.78), I…

Can An Identity Thief Change Your Home Address?

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You’ve probably moved at least once in your life and had to fill out the Change of Address form at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The USPS makes it easy to change your address or temporarily forward mail to a different address. Forms are available at your local post office, or you can make the necessary changes online.

Maybe it’s too easy.

Identity thieves can potentially redirect your mail by filling out a change of address form in your name. If they succeed, they can receive bills, bank statements, and other mail with sensitive information. That information can then be used to open new credit accounts in your name and drain existing ones. Identity thieves who already have your information may use a change of address form to divert bills from fraudulent accounts away from your address.

The USPS requires a valid credit or debit card as an ide…