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How can I avoid becoming a victim of a social engineering scam?

Imagine that you receive an email with an urgent message asking you to verify your banking information by clicking on a link. Or perhaps you get an enticing text message claiming that you’ve won a free vacation to the destination of your choice – all you have to do is click on a link you were sent. In both scenarios, clicking on the link can accidentally result in revealing your sensitive personal and financial information to a cybercriminal. In…

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Is there any way to stop getting unwanted robocalls?

Whether it’s a helpful announcement from your child’s school or an appointment reminder from a doctor’s office, getting robocalls has become an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, robocalls are also used by criminals to collect consumers’ personal and financial information and/or conduct various scams. The good news is that consumers have won additional protections against unwanted robocalls under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. One of the main goals of the law is to make it easier…

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Spring Cleaning Your Way to Better Finances

Spring is a good time to clean out the cobwebs, and not just in your home or apartment. Your personal finances can benefit from a good spring cleaning, too. Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your budget, debt and taxes. Is there room in my budget to save more? A budget is the centerpiece of any good personal financial plan. After tallying your monthly income and expenses, you hopefully have money left over to save. But… is…

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Is It Time to Review Your IRA Estate Planning Strategies?

The Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which was passed in December 2019 as part of a larger federal spending package, included a provision that warrants special attention from those who own high-value IRAs. Specifically, the “stretch” IRA provision – which permitted non-spouse beneficiaries who inherited IRAs to spread distributions over their lifetimes – has been substantially restricted. IRA owners may want to revisit their estate planning strategies to help prevent their heirs from getting hit…

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Due Date Approaches for 2019 Federal Income Tax Returns

Tax filing season is here again. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to start pulling things together – that includes getting your hands on a copy of your 2018 tax return and gathering W-2s, 1099s, and deduction records. You’ll need these records whether you’re preparing your own return or paying someone else to prepare your tax return for you. Don’t procrastinate The filing deadline for individuals is generally Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Filing for an extension If…

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How can I improve my credit report?

Most lenders use credit report information to evaluate the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. Borrowers with good credit are presumed to be more creditworthy and may find it easier to obtain a loan, often at a lower interest rate. You can do a number of things to help improve what’s on your credit report, including the following. Pay your bills on time. Your credit report provides information to lenders regarding your payment history. For the most part, a lender may…

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How can I lower my credit card debt?

If you find that you are struggling to pay down a credit card balance, here are some strategies that can help eliminate your credit card debt. Pay off cards with the highest interest rate first. If you have more than one card that carries an outstanding balance, one option is to prioritize your payments according to their interest rates. Send as large a payment as you can to the card with the highest interest rate and continue making payments…

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Closing Gaps in Your Insurance Coverage

Buying insurance is about sharing or shifting risk, but you may think you’re covered for specific losses when, in fact, you’re not. Here are some common coverage gaps to consider when reviewing your own insurance coverage. Life insurance In general, you want to have enough life insurance coverage (when coupled with savings and income) to allow your family to continue living the lifestyle to which they’re accustomed. But changing circumstances may leave a gap in your life insurance coverage….

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The SECURE Act Offers New Opportunities for Individuals and Businesses

The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) is major legislation that was passed by Congress as part of a larger spending bill and signed into law by the president in December. Here are a few provisions that may affect you. Unless otherwise noted, the new rules apply to tax or plan years starting January 1, 2020. If you’re still saving for retirement To address increasing life expectancies, the new law repeals the prohibition on contributions…

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Tips for Targeting Your Retirement Savings Goal

What if you’re saving as much as you can, but still feel that your retirement savings goal is out of reach? As with many of life’s toughest challenges, it may help to focus less on the big picture and more on the details. Regularly review your assumptions Whether you use a simple online calculator or run a detailed analysis, your retirement savings goal is based on certain assumptions that will, in all likelihood, change. Inflation, rates of return, life…

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