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Should You Use a Mortgage Broker or a Bank Loan Officer?

Shopping for a mortgage can be intimidating. There are thousands of mortgage lenders and hundreds of ways lenders can tweak home loans to distort their real costs. You’re also facing the excitement of buying a new home and you may feel vulnerable as lenders nit-pick your credit report. It’s understandable that many home buyers get […]

Should You Save First for Retirement or a Down Payment on a House?

Last week, a long-time reader e-mailed a superb question: If you must choose, should you save first for retirement or save for a down payment on your first home? Obviously, both are important. The younger you are when you start contributing to a 401(k) or IRA, the longer compounding interest will work its magic. At […]

Four Common Investing Mistakes

Following your heart is often a good thing… except for when it comes to investing. Keeping a cool head while investing will most likely give you better returns. And that’s just one mistake that can cost you. Here are four common investing mistakes to make sure you avoid.

Watch Out For The Alternative Minimum Tax

Watch Out For The Alternative Minimum Tax

The alternative minimum tax, or AMT, is designed to keep wealthy tax payers from taking so many deductions that they end up not paying taxes. If you end up qualifying for the AMT then quite a few of your deductions no longer count. So just when you thought you had it all figured out they change the rules.

The Secret to a Lower Credit Card APR

Do you have a credit card that raised your interest rate within the last year? You’re not alone. Credit card companies raised nearly everybody’s APRs because as of this month, the CARD Act prohibits them from doing so again without jumping through a lot of hoops. But once your credit card raises your APR, how […]

Itemized Deductions: A Beginner’s Guide

Itemized Deductions- A Beginner’s Guide

Should you itemize your deductions? It’s a question you will have to answer when you start filing your tax return. Here’s a quick look at what’s deductible and when you should take the standard deduction and when you should itemize.

Economic Bubbles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and Why You Should Care

You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to know that economic bubbles—and their ensuing POPS!—can take us all for a wild ride. Bubbles occur anytime asset prices appreciate unrealistically; and they happen more often than we think. In the United States alone we have seen two in the past twenty years: The dot-com bubble in […]

Is Investing Gambling?

There is a thin line that differentiates investing and gambling. We might consider professional gamblers—poker players, for example—a breed of speculative investors. Of course, we might also call investment professionals who take wild risks in financial markets gamblers. No matter how skilled the card shark or how practiced the investing maven, one thing is certain: […]

When to Sell a Stock

To make a successful investment, you must know when to buy and when you should sell. The reality is that there are only a handful of companies worth holding onto for long periods of time—and there are very few investors who are perceptive enough to buy only those companies. There will always be good times […]

Finance 101: How Do Banks Make Money?

Have you ever wondered why your checking account is free? Obviously, it’s not because your bank is feeling charitable. Big banks make big money. The kind of money that leads to the obscene Wall Street bonuses we so often hear about. But banks make money even when they’re not involved in Wall Street’s multinational investment […]