Many Americans have taken steps in recent years to protect their identity. However, one report found identity theft hit an all-time high in 2016, affecting an estimated 15.4 million consumers. If you haven’t taken measures to protect yourself, it may be a good idea to consider your options.1 Identity theft is a crime in which [...]
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Buying a home is the single-largest financial commitment most people ever make. And sorting through mortgages involves a lot of critical choices. One of these is choosing between a fixed- or variable-interest-rate mortgage. True to its name, fixed-rate mortgage interest is “fixed” throughout the life of the loan. In contrast, the interest rate on a [...]
When selecting a fixed-rate mortgage, a prospective borrower has to determine how many years to finance the loan. Some financial institutions offer 10- and 20-year fixed-rate mortgages as well as 15- and 30-year fixed-rate home loans. For the purpose of comparison, this worksheet takes a look at 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate loans. The payments on [...]
The U.S. personal saving rate stood at 3.7% in January of 2017, a bit lower than its 10-year average of 5.5% and well below the recent five-year high of 11% in December 2012.1 The personal saving rate is the federal government’s estimate of what percent of their incomes U.S. households are saving. But market watchers [...]
Your credit score is simply a statistical estimation of how likely you are to pay your debts and, by extension, how much credit you should have. Everyone is different—everyone has a different history, different experiences. But have you ever wondered how you compare to other Americans? The illustration below shows cities with the best and [...]
Fast Fact: Credit Inquiries. Your FICO score won’t drop by much when you apply for new credit. But if you apply for several new credit cards over a short period, your credit report will reflect the activity. American households with credit card balances carry an average debt of $16,425.¹ [...]
Taxes are one of the biggest budget items for most taxpayers, yet many have no idea what they’re getting for their money. In 2017, as in recent years, Americans spent more on taxes than on groceries, clothing, and shelter combined. In fact, we worked until late April just to earn enough money to pay our [...]
The Internal Revenue Service estimates that taxpayers and businesses spend 8.1 billion hours a year complying with tax-filing requirements. To put this into perspective, if all this work were done by a single company, it would need about four million full-time employees and be one of the largest industries in the U.S.1 As complex as [...]
By any measure, the tax code is huge. According to Commerce Clearing House's Standard Federal Tax Reporter it's up to 74,608 pages in length.¹ And each Monday, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a 20- to 50- page bulletin about various aspects of the tax code.² Fortunately, it’s not necessary to wade through these massive libraries [...]
Term insurance is the simplest form of life insurance. It provides temporary life insurance protection on a limited budget. Here’s how it works: When a policyholder buys term insurance, he or she buys coverage for a specific period and pays a specific price for that coverage. If the [...]