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home : life : personal finance
February 24, 2018

5 practical and fun ways to spend your tax refund
(BPT) - It’s that time of year again when you may find a little bit of extra money in your pocket, thanks to your annual tax refund. There are plenty of practical ways to spend it, such as putting it toward paying off credit cards, loan payments or even starting a college fund, but there is a... More >>

House hunting? Use this handy checklist before you make the offer
(BPT) - House hunting can feel like an adventurous new chapter in your life. If you're lucky enough to find the property that checks off all the "must have" boxes — appearance, size, price, location — it’s easy to fall in love.Not so fast. Before making an offer on any property, i... More >>

6 other college costs (and opportunities) to consider when the financial aid letter arrives
(BPT) - The last year of high school is a whirl of activity, and it’s no different when it comes to the final leg of college selection. Once the acceptance notifications arrive, it will soon be time to sit down with a different stack of mail: financial aid letters.As you undoubtedly know, the... More >>

Navigating Medicare: 5 allies who can help
(BPT) - Enrolling in Medicare for the first time or starting coverage under a new plan? It might bring you back to that first day starting a new job. You knew some of the basics, but you also knew there was a lot more to learn. More than likely, you got help from colleagues who have been around for... More >>

The secret to sticking to your resolutions just may lie in your Medicare benefits
(BPT) - Despite our best intentions, 80 percent of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions by mid-February. Determined to make this year different? If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you might be surprised to learn that your benefits could give you an edge in your quest to stay moti... More >>

An underutilized retirement strategy
(BPT) - Across the nation, thousands of seniors have used a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), commonly called a reverse mortgage loan, as a savvy way to access the equity in their homes as part of their retirement strategy.Those who are interested in a reverse mortgage loan should know that t... More >>

Small-business & self-employed surprises at tax time [Video]
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Survey: Biggest concerns if tax refund is delayed [Video]
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4 tips for protecting your home this season and beyond
(BPT) - Winter is in full swing and extremely cold temperatures continue to grip much of the U.S.; which mean hats, gloves and high home maintenance bills could be in your future. According to recent data from the Insurance Information Institute, in 2016 severe winter weather cost homeowners more t... More >>

How retailers can build trust and relevance in their communities
(BPT) - Over the past decade, technology has reshaped the retail industry in profound ways. Ninety-six percent of Americans are now shopping online, according to a recent study from CPC Strategy. Which means today’s business leaders face increasing pressure to keep retail spaces relevant and ... More >>

Transform the look and feel of your kitchen with an updated sink
(BPT) - While everyone would love a complete kitchen makeover, you can still freshen and update the look of this room by taking on smaller projects.The perfect place to start is the kitchen sink. Most people don’t realize it, but a well-chosen sink has the potential to create the perfect foca... More >>

5 ways travel will change in 2018
(BPT) - As international travel gains popularity each year, new destinations are added to bucket lists and new travel gadgets and accessories appear on the market. The way we travel has changed in the past few decades, but that age-old itch to explore and discover new places and experiences remains... More >>

Top trends to inspire your outdoor living
(BPT) - Outdoor living spaces rank first among special function rooms desired by consumers, according to the American Institute for Architects, and so homeowners are expected to be going all-in for the outdoors in 2018.Trex Company, a maker of premium decking and railing, has gleaned insights from ... More >>

Do the math: Homebuying now may save a lot
(BPT) - It is a common misconception that a 20 percent down payment is required to buy a home. Advice to wait and save a large down payment is often based on the theory that the cost of mortgage insurance (MI), which is required when you buy with a smaller down payment, should be avoided. This may ... More >>

Deciphering the legalese in your furnace warranty
(BPT) - From smartphones to mattresses, almost everything you buy comes with a warranty. How can you ensure you get the most benefit from a warranty, especially for a major investment that’s critical to the comfort of your home, like a new furnace?“Warranties are meant to assure a homeo... More >>

Rent vs. own: Which is right for you?
(BPT) - If you’re thinking of buying your first home, you’ve probably wrestled with the decision to rent or own your home — and for good reason.Owning a home is a big commitment. With it comes a lot of responsibility and a long-term financial relationship.But which is right for yo... More >>

5 tax tips for the self-employed
(BPT) - Self-employment offers the perks and benefits of not working for someone else, but often means taking on risks and becoming responsible for providing a valuable product or service, generating income and having a steady customer base. With all of this considered, along with the newly enacted... More >>

What New Year's resolution can you stick to and feel like you're making a difference in the world?
(BPT) - This time of year, many Americans are setting (or already breaking) New Year’s resolutions focused on getting healthier, saving money, spending more time with friends and family, etc. These are great resolutions, but perhaps this year, you’re thinking about ways you can make a d... More >>

6 ways to reach your New Year's financial resolutions
(BPT) - Sponsored content from Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.With the New Year upon us, many people are thinking about what they want out of 2018, what goals they’d like to accomplish and what changes they’d like to make. After the holidays have come and gone, America enters into... More >>

Common tax mistakes to avoid in 2018
(BPT) - Life changes — getting married, having a baby, buying or selling a home, sending a child off to college or retiring — often come with changes to your tax situation. Overlooking these changes when filing your taxes can lead taxpayers to make mistakes that leave money on the table... More >>

Here's how the tax reform plan could affect you
(BPT) - With the newly passed tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), now is the time to start thinking about how this will affect you so that you can plan ahead for the outcomes you will start to feel in your paycheck as early as February 2018.This tax reform affects virtually everyone;... More >>

5 spring remodeling projects sure to brighten your home
(BPT) - During the coldest months of the year, it’s hard not to think about the warmer months to come — and all that they hold. You may already be planning your next vacation or outdoor activities to host in your backyard this summer. Now is the time to brainstorm about your spring home... More >>

Growing your business? These 3 financing mistakes can cost you big
(BPT) - Starting a business can be tough. Growing one can be even harder.Dr. Nacondus Gamble knows this all too well. After her optometry practice, The South Eastern Eye Center, began to establish a reputation for great patient care, Dr. Gamble decided she was ready to expand. So she began looking ... More >>

Tax Survey: Top 3 Things Americans Would Rather Do [Video]
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Survey: DIY taxpayers willing to take on stress to save money [Video]
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3 things you might not know about boat shows
(BPT) - Winter may be frigid for many, but it’s an ideal time to plan for warmer days ahead and make dreams of owning a boat a reality. Boat shows across the country offer some of the hottest deals around, with special pricing and incentives on new boat models and marine accessories — a... More >>

Options available to help students pay for college
(BPT) - With student debt increasingly becoming a long-term burden on graduates and families, says Peter Gayle, a vice president for Prudential Advisors, it’s never been more important to minimize the out-of-pocket expenses to put a student through college — and reduce reliance on stude... More >>

Retirement readiness: Hitting the retirement preparation sweet spot
(BPT) - A recent study by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College suggests an alarming state of awareness about retirement readiness: Of surveyed households, 33 percent realize they are not well prepared, 19 percent are not well prepared but don't know it, and 24 percent are well... More >>

3 documents you need to create your estate plan
(BPT) - While creating a will and other estate planning documents may not be top of mind, it's a concern you should take seriously. You don’t need celebrity-sized assets to be concerned that a lack of estate planning on your part could cost your beneficiaries dearly. And that’s just one... More >>

Solving 5 pain points in the homebuying process
(BPT) - When it comes to buying a home, the beauty of the process is truly in the eye of the beholder. Some people see the opportunity to start a new life, live their dreams and make memories that will, quite literally, last a lifetime. Others get caught up in the problems associated with the home ... More >>

Useful tips to help caregivers navigate the cost of care
(BPT) - When a patient receives bad medical news, it can be a paralyzing moment. It’s easy to see how any serious diagnosis can shatter someone’s life into a million pieces, but we often overlook what’s happening to the caregiver who’s devoting their time and energy to provi... More >>

22 million strong: 4 ways to make VA loans work for you
(BPT) - If you’re a veteran, active military member or reservist, you’ve likely heard about all the benefits offered with VA home loans.Since 1944, some 22 million vets have taken advantage of the powerful U.S. program enabling affordable low-interest mortgages that require no down paym... More >>

New ways renters are becoming homeowners
(BPT) - Sponsored Content from Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.The world that millennials have grown up in is a lot different than the world the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers knew. The digital revolution, widespread use of smartphones and adoption of disruptive technologies such as ride sharing an... More >>

Would direct sales work for you?
(BPT) - The Federal Reserve Board discovered in a survey of working Americans that nearly half of U.S. adults don’t have enough cash on hand to pay for a $400 emergency. If that’s a concern for you, you might be thinking about joining the 44 million Americans who have found ways to make... More >>

Tips to protect yourself from online shopping scams this holiday season
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Growing need for ag expertise: Not all high-paid careers are on the farm
(BPT) - (BPT) – As the farming industry faces growing consolidation in the U.S., one might get the impression fewer jobs are now available in agriculture.In fact, just the opposite is true. Today, one in three people worldwide — more than a billion employees — work in an ag-relate... More >>

5 Must-know Investing and Retirement Tips
(BPT) - Parents and grandparents typically pass down many things to the next generation — jewelry, furniture and other family heirlooms. But what if the best thing that the preceding generation passed along was their financial wisdom? Through years of investing and saving for retirement, Baby... More >>

Top trends for the 2018 housing market identified
(BPT) - In the real estate market, springtime is go time. It’s the busiest time of the year for home sales, and with this year’s stable economy and low unemployment rate, the spring of 2018 has the potential to be especially active.Every market is defined by its trends, and while each y... More >>

5 strategies for protecting your valuables
(BPT) - Home is your sanctuary, your castle, the place where you feel the most secure and protected. It is natural to feel this way. So, it is not surprising that you store your prized possessions and valuables at home as well. But is that the best choice for all your valuables?The recent wildfires... More >>

Tips to save money and energy this winter
(BPT) - Winter is a time of year when expenses can soar, especially your utility bills. Thankfully, Chip Wade, HGTV expert, has some advice on how you can save energy, and ultimately money, this year:* Lighting: LED bulbs are 90 percent more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.* Prevent heat lo... More >>

5 tips for working adults returning to college
(BPT) - Most working professionals want to advance their skills, land that promotion and get a raise. However, some 36 million adults face a significant barrier to achieving their goals and aspirations: They still need to complete a significant amount of coursework in order to earn a college degree... More >>

5 ways digital natives are giving our lives a mobile makeover
(BPT) - Their heads may be buried in their smartphones, but don’t be fooled; the youngest generation is changing the world as we know it, one emoji at a time.According to recent findings from the Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, Generation Z — the youngest generation ... More >>

The hidden dangers of oversharing on social media
(BPT) - Locking doors and windows and leaving a light on used to deter criminals from breaking into homes when you were away on vacation, but our obsession with sharing photos and experiences in real time on social media has created a whole new security risk for travelers. According to Mercury Insu... More >>

Buckle up for the new passenger economy
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Beyond the diploma: Helping teens forge their futures
(BPT) - What’s the key to optimism? From a career standpoint, it’s having a vision where you see yourself climbing and thriving, and you know there will be a place in the world for your skills and knowledge.Unfortunately, there are many teens and young people who have a much bleaker vis... More >>

Seeking a smartphone? Here are 10 things to look for
(BPT) - There are many choices when shopping for a smartphone these days, and the differences can be very subtle. Here are some of the key things you’ll want to look at to make sure you find the one that works best for your needs.Operating System (OS): There are two different operating system... More >>

Buying life insurance can be complicated. But it doesn't need to be
(BPT) - Getting insurance can be famously complex and time-consuming. Whether it’s life, health, automobile or home, it takes time to understand what coverage you need and how to get it. As a result, it’s easy to put off items that don’t feel truly urgent until it’s too late... More >>

How you can improve your FICO Score
(BPT) - Anyone who has tried to borrow money to purchase a car, buy a home or open a revolving line of credit may be familiar with the term FICO Score. Most lenders use this scoring model, which essentially determines a person’s creditworthiness."The FICO Score may seem like a big, daunting m... More >>

3 ways to save money on diabetes medications
(BPT) - Controlling the “ABCs of diabetes” — A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — is difficult enough, but when you add that second C — costly medications — it’s easy to see how one’s levels can spiral out of control quickly.According to the A... More >>

Considering disability benefits? Answer these questions first
(BPT) - Age and chronic illness can take a toll. A June 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the costliest health conditions in the U.S. include: heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke and type 2 diabetes. An estimated 117 million people have one or more chronic... More >>

Time-saving tricks that save hours each week
(BPT) - When you look at your to-do list, does it seem a mile long? From running errands, returning emails and making hurried trips to the ATM, modern life has never been busier for Americans.You can reclaim your day by using a few simple time-saving methods. By simplifying common tasks, you can op... More >>

Women in agriculture are challenging stereotypes
(BPT) - About a third of the nation’s farmers are women, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And most of these women are working family farms, since 99 percent of all American farms are family-owned and operated. Just under 1 million women farmers contribute $12.9 billion to the ... More >>

Don't get hooked: Know warning signs of a phishing scam
(BPT) - Half of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants use email, generating 269 billion emails per day in 2017, according to technology market research firm The Radicati Group. Email is so commonly used in business and personal interactions that it’s also become a prime avenue for scammers ... More >>

5 steps to making annual enrollment the most wonderful time of the year
(BPT) - It’s that time of year again. But before you plan your Thanksgiving menu or check off your gift list, it’s time to think about employee benefits.VSP Vision Care surveyed employees about their attitudes around that special time of year when they must choose a benefits package and... More >>

Home smart home: Boost your home IQ with smart appliances
(BPT) - If you think a Jetsons-like home of the future is still a ways off, think again. Today’s smart home is here offering simple ways for consumers to operate their home, adding the ultimate in efficiency, convenience and enjoyment. It’s easier than you think to create a connected ho... More >>

A New Kind of Life Insurance for Those Living with Diabetes
(BPT) - For people living with diabetes, the condition is a part of their everyday life and one that impacts many of their decisions, from balancing what they eat to taking care of their health. One area that might not be top of mind for people living with diabetes is life insurance. That’s b... More >>

5 auto insurance myths you've been wrong about all along
(BPT) - Most drivers “know” for certain just two things about car insurance: they’re required by law to have it, and it’s expensive. Beyond that, there’s a lot of confusion and a lot of misconceptions, according to a recent survey by The Zebra, an online auto insurance... More >>

Debunking home ownership myths for millennials
(BPT) - We’ve all been told, that owning a home is part of the American dream. It’s the biggest and most rewarding investment many people will make in their lives. Instead of paying rent every month and having nothing to show for it, paying a monthly mortgage builds equity and wealth.Wh... More >>








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