How The Interest Rate Increase Affects You

MoneyTips

Your Christmas gift from the Federal Reserve is here. Surprise! It’s another 0.25% hike in the Federal Funds rate. Sure, you’ve already gotten this same gift three other times in 2018, and nine times since late 2015 – but what else would you expect to receive from the Fed?

Interest rate hikes from the Fed really can be a positive gift to you, but it’s more likely to be a negative – depending on whether you’re a saver or a spender.

The Federal Funds rate is the benchmark rate used to transfer money between banks. This rate is generally passed on to consumers. Borrowers are charged higher interest rates on the money they borrow, while savers are eventually offered better interest rates on checking and savings accounts as well as certificates of deposit (CDs).

In some cases, the changes are passed on directly to consumers. For example, credit cards and adjust…

Now Is When People Fall Behind On Bills

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Does your wallet take a bigger hit during the holiday season? If so, you aren’t alone. According to a recent study by LendingTree, more consumers fall behind on their bills in December than in any other month.

LendingTree reviewed anonymized credit report data from October 2017 through September 2018 and broke down the percentages of people who missed payments on any active account by month. December led the way with 7.5% of consumers missing at least one payment. October, November, and February were close behind with approximately 7.4% of consumers missing payments.

Note the correlation to holidays. October through December is the prime holiday shopping season (not everyone waits until December 24th to shop). Kali McFadden, Senior Research Analyst at

5 Steps To Be Your Own Mogul – Part 2

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Our prior article, 5 Steps To Be Your Own Mogul – Part 1, covers the first three steps to manage your finances like a business. Below we present the final two steps.

4. Forecasting

If you have performed the budget exercise and broken your expenses out into categories, you can start to highlight areas where you can improve. The idea here is to shift the negative spending into a comfortable routine that focuses more on building savings and trimming expenses for the long haul. You can do it quite easily without weekly envelopes of rationed money or other personal finance gimmicks that rarely work in the long term.Here are some suggestions for improving your financial forecast in painless and satisfying ways:

  • Calculate…

5 Steps To Be Your Own Mogul – Part 1

MoneyTips

Why not take some financial pointers from the business world and apply them to your personal finances? Whether you are a party of one or a family of four, it pays to be fiscally agile. Some of the longest financial plays in the business world today are small businesses that perennially stay afloat and drive their successes through careful planning and conservative financial forecasting. Why can’t these principles be applied to your personal financial life too?

1. Determine who your trusted advisors are

Major corporations rely on the skills and experience of a board of directors and you may be asking yourself, “Well, where am I going to round up 10 people to form my own personal board of directors”? Don’t worry – you don’t have to. It doesn’t matter if you are managing the budget of one or a much larger family unit. The real value in making an appraisal like the services rendered by a corporate board of directors is to shed light on where you …

Don’t Answer That Text From Your “Bank”

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Does your bank have a cardless ATM? Cardless ATMs interact with your smartphone to let you withdraw cash from your bank’s enabled ATMs without inserting a card into a card reader.

With some ATMs, your smartphone app generates a QR code for your withdrawal, and the ATM scanner reads the QR code off your phone. Other ATMs use near-field communications (NFC), the same technology that allows you to avoid slot readers by tapping your card or phone against a receiving sensor (think Apple Pay and digital wallet apps).

In either case, your smartphone substitutes for your card. However, that adds another avenue for fraudsters to trick you out of personal information and drain your bank account.

From a technology standpoint, cardless ATMs are relatively safe. They use tokenization to provide a random number for each transaction, avoiding transmission of the card number. The…

9 Easy Ways To Save At Christmas

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Does your Christmas season usually lead to the January blues due to excessive holiday spending? It doesn’t have to be that way. With a combination of planning and willpower, you can enjoy a festive holiday without starting the New Year in a big financial hole. Consider these nine ways to celebrate while staying fiscally responsible.

1. Limit Gift Spending – Start by establishing a shopping list and a budget for all of your items. Track special holiday online offers. Consider using price comparison apps and websites. Take advantage of any coupons. Large families can save by drawing names for a gift exchange instead of trying to buy multiple smaller gifts for every family member. If you want more credit, check out our list of credit card offers.

2. Reject Impulse Buying – Retailers expect you to impulse buy…

Disability Income And Debt

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By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

It’s a constant struggle to stay afloat financially on disability income. Many disabled persons have credit card debt they can’t pay, often incurred before they were disabled. What can disabled persons do about telephone calls and letters from collectors? What happens if you are sued? As the Executive Director of HELPS, a nationwide nonprofit law firm that protects seniors and disabled persons from unwanted collector contact, I’d like to answer some of the pressing financial questions we regularly hear from disabled persons.

1.How safe is disability income from collectors?

The most important thing to know is that Social Security in all its forms, including SSD, is protected by federal law from debt collectors. Almost all states have laws that protect private disability as well. Even if a creditor files a lawsuit and obtains a judgment, they can’t take…

Can The IRS Or Student Loan Creditors Garnish My Social Security?

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By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

Federal law protects Social Security and retirement incomes from garnishment by almost all collectors. But what about the IRS and student loan debts? The IRS and public student loan lenders can and occasionally will garnish 15% of a senior’s Social Security income. There is much information on the Internet scaring seniors about this practice, but very little information discussing how a garnishment of Social Security for taxes or student loans can be prevented or stopped.

It is not the general practices of the IRS or student loan collectors to garnish other forms of retirement such as pensions or VA benefits. State tax collectors and private student loan collectors cannot garnish Social Security or seniors’ other retirement income. The IRS or a public student loan collector must notify seniors in advance by mail before garnishing their Social Security benefits. Seniors often think they have n…

Checking Account Scams

MoneyTips

Your checking account is a tempting target for thieves. You must stay alert for the many varieties of checking account scams – but first, you must be able to recognize a scam when you see one. Have you ever been targeted by any of the scams below?

Free Prizes – This scam usually starts with a postcard or a telephone call notifying you of a prize that you have won. If you respond positively, the telemarketer will ask you for your checking account number, either for verification or to use for direct deposit. Once they have your account number, scammers will be able to apply a “demand draft”, allowing them to withdraw funds directly from your account without your signature.

Variations of this theme exist, such as a special credit card offer that applies even if your credit history is suspect. In all cases, the end result is the same – the telemarketer will ask for your checking account information. Don’t give it to them.

Compromise…