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9 Basic Steps to Buy Your First Home

Details: Buying your first home is a huge commitment and a time-consuming process. Learn about the steps you need to take on your way to home ownership.

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How to Day Trade With Less Than $25,000

Details: The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the U.S. established the "pattern day trader" rule, which states that if you make four or more day trades (opening and closing a stock position within the same day) in a five-day period and those day-trading activities are more than 6% of your total trading activity in that five-day period, you're considered a day trader and must maintain

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How to Mail Your Taxes to the IRS

Details: Beverly Bird—a paralegal with over two decades of experience—has been the tax expert for The Balance since 2015, crafting digestible personal finance, legal, and tax content for readers.Bird served as a paralegal on areas of tax law, bankruptcy, and family law. She has over 30 years of writing and editing experience, including eight years of financial reporting, and is also a published

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How to Handle Taxes if You Received Unemployment in 2020

Details: That represents a lot of Americans who will find themselves grappling with taxes on their unemployment benefits during filing season in 2021 for 2020 tax returns. The good news is that up to $10,200 of those benefits received in 2020 are tax-free for those who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

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The Best Ways to Become a Millionaire

Details: In retirement, $1 million might provide you an income of $50,000 a year if you carefully invest it using either withdrawal rate rules or a time-segmented approach. However, a million dollars in the bank is well worth aspiring to, and it may be more achievable than you think.

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How to Write Out Numbers Using …

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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Calculate Mortgage Payments: Formula …

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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How to Officially Become a Florida …

Details: Julie Ann Garber is an estate planning and taxes expert. With over 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer, Julie Ann has been quoted in The New York Times, the New York Post, Consumer Reports, Insurance News Net Magazine, and many other publications.

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How to Mail Checks Safely and Other …

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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How Much Money Should You Keep in …

Details: Average Checking & Savings Account Balances . The average amount of money that Americans keep in both checking and savings is hard to pin down. The best data available as of June 2020 comes from the Federal Reserve’s 2017 Survey of Consumer Finances.

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Social Security Withholding and Other Tax Payments

Details: William Perez is a tax expert with 20 years of experience who has written hundreds of articles covering topics including filing taxes, solving tax issues, tax credits and deductions, tax planning, and taxable income.

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How to Calculate Your Modified Adjusted Gross Income

Details: In 2021, the American Rescue Plan allowed more households to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the Marketplace. In tax years 2021 and 2022, you may be eligible for new tax credits that lower the cost of your Marketplace health insurance, even if your MAGI was too high to qualify in previous years.

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How to Set Up a Health Savings Account (HSA)

Details: What Is a Health Savings Account or HSA? A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a special type of tax-free savings account that you can use to save money for medical expenses when you are enrolled in a qualified high deductible health care plan.Health Savings Accounts have many benefits and can double as a savings vessel for you if you do not use the money in the plan for medical expenses.

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How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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How to Buy Municipal Bonds Directly

Details: How to Buy Individual Municipal Bonds . You can buy individual municipal bonds through bond dealers, banks, brokerage firms, and in a few cases, directly from the municipality.You can buy them either on the primary market, which is for new-issue bonds, or on the secondary market, which is a market for trading bonds after the bond has already been issued on the primary market.

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Bank Wires: How to Send or Receive Funds

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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Open Interest in Trading: What Is It

Details: Open interest becomes more complicated when you consider that each of the traders is buying/selling from someone else is who selling/buying. Sometimes both parties will be opening trades and increasing open interest; other times one party will be closing a trade and the other opening (no effect on open interest), and other times both parties could be closing trades (dropping open interest).

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How to Obtain a Copy of a Deceased Person's Will

Details: It's important to realize, that not all wills succeed in governing the distribution of a deceased person's property. This can happen if all of the deceased person's property consists of non-probate assets, such as joint deeds and accounts, TOD and POD accounts, life insurance and retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s. In cases like these, the deceased person's property would pass

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How to Contest a Will

Details: The will is a do-it-yourself will: When someone writes their own will, some of the legal formalities required to make it valid may have been overlooked.Another common problem with a DIY will is that it may not address all of the "what ifs" that could happen. If a situation occurs that isn't laid out in the will, you may be able to make a successful case against the will's validity.

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How to Write a Check: A Step-by-Step Guide

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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10 Simple Ways to Manage Your Money Better

Details: How To Manage Your Money Better . Have a Budget: Many people don’t budget because they don’t want to go through what they think will be a boring process of listing out expenses, adding up numbers, and making sure everything lines up. If you’re bad with money, you don’t have room for excuses with budgeting. If all it takes to get your spending on track is a few hours working a budget

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How to Pay Off an Auto Loan Early

Details: For example, if you have three years left on your car loan with a 5% interest rate and refinance to a five-year loan with a 2.5% interest rate, you just extended your loan two years unless you choose to pay the loan off early.

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How to Invest in the Thrift Savings Plan: TSP Funds

Details: Kent Thune is the mutual funds and investing expert at The Balance. In addition to writing for several prominent online publications, Thune owns an investment advisory firm, Atlantic Capital Investments, in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

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Learn How to Verify a Check Before Depositing

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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How to Retire By Age 50

Details: These three strategies will set your path to retire at 50, a goal that can be accomplished by saving, getting lucky, or making something profitable.

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How to Endorse Checks, Plus When and How to Sign

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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9 Ways to Know You Found the Right House

Details: Elizabeth Weintraub is a homebuying, home loans, and mortgages expert. With more than 40 years of experience in real estate, including areas such as title and escrow, Elizabeth was nominated as a founding member of the California Association of REALTORS' Real Estate Certificate Institute (RECI) and has received more than 600 hours or real estate education.

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When You Will Get Your Inheritance After Someone Dies

Details: Julie Ann Garber is an estate planning and taxes expert. With over 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer, Julie Ann has been quoted in The New York Times, the New York Post, Consumer Reports, Insurance News Net Magazine, and many other publications.

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Millionaire: What Is It

Details: Peggy James is a CPA with 8 years of experience in corporate accounting and finance who currently works at a private university, and prior to her accounting career, she spent 18 years in newspaper advertising.

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How to Read (and Understand) Your Credit Score

Details: What a Good Credit Score Can Do for You . A good credit score offers more than just bragging rights. Having a high score makes it easier to be approved for credit cards and loans, qualify for lower interest rates, and get higher credit limits and loan amounts.

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How and When to Pay the IRS if You Owe Taxes

Details: The IRS will charge a late filing penalty, a late payment penalty, and interest on any unpaid balance you owe if you don't file your return or an extension on time and if you also fail to pay on time.But you'll avoid the late-filing penalty—which is a hefty 5% of the taxes you owe for every month your return is late—if you file an extension by the April due date, then file your return by

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10 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Details: Bad credit isn't permanent. There are things you can do right now to improve your credit score. Get tips to raise your credit score from bad to good.

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Step-By-Step Guide to Make a Personal Budget

Details: 4. Determine Fixed and Variable Expenses . Fixed expenses are those mandatory expenses that you pay the same amount for each time.   Include items like mortgage or rent payments, car payments, set-fee internet service, trash pickup, and regular childcare.

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Should You Put Your IRA or 401(K) Into Your Trust

Details: Putting your IRA or 401(k) plan into your living trusts would require retitling your plan into the name of your trust, and this can raise some serious tax issues. Your plan custodian or administrator would almost certainly advise against it because the Internal Revenue Service takes the position that retitling a plan is treated the same as a 100% withdrawal for tax purposes.

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How to Pay Your Bills Online (Simplify Your Finances)

Details: Paying your bills online can save you time and money. Here is a guide to different options to pay online and how to decide the best one for you to use.

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How to Make Changes to Your Will

Details: A codicil is a secondary document attached to your original will, spelling out the change you want to make. Most states require that a codicil is prepared and signed according to the same rules that apply to wills.

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Unemployment Solutions: Summary, Most Cost-Effective

Details: Unemployment benefits can provide growth as well.According to Wayne Vroman, an economist and senior fellow at the Urban Institute for the Department of Labor, unemployment insurance led to the creation of 1.6 million jobs on average each quarter from 2008 to 2010.

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How to Pay Less Taxes in Retirement

Details: You can minimize your taxes during your retirement years with a few retirement tax strategies, but there are also ways in which you can lay the groundwork in the years or before your retirement so you can pay less in taxes at that future time.It all begins with an understanding of how your various sources of retirement income will be taxed, including Social Security benefits.

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The Ultimate Guide to Doing Your Taxes for 2020

Details: Why You Have to File a Tax Return . You'll be asked to complete Form W-4 for your employer when you begin a new job. The information you enter on this form determines how much in the way of taxes will be withheld from your pay.

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The Basics of Lease Options and Purchase Sales

Details: Elizabeth Weintraub is a homebuying, home loans, and mortgages expert. With more than 40 years of experience in real estate, including areas such as title and escrow, Elizabeth was nominated as a founding member of the California Association of REALTORS' Real Estate Certificate Institute (RECI) and has received more than 600 hours or real estate education.

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How to Increase Your Social Security Benefits

Details: There are many smart ways to increase your Social Security (SS) benefits, but some require more work than others. Learn the basics of getting more.

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How to Use 72(t) Payments for Early IRA Withdrawals

Details: The Substantially Equal Periodic Payment rule allows you to take money out of an IRA before the age of 59 1/2 and avoid the 10% early distribution penalty tax.This approach is also referred to as 72(t) payments because the rule falls under IRS code section 72(t).

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Tax Considerations When You Sell Gift Property

Details: William Perez is a tax expert with 20 years of experience who has written hundreds of articles covering topics including filing taxes, solving tax issues, tax credits and deductions, tax planning, and taxable income.

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How to Build Good Credit: A Beginner's Guide

Details: How to Build Good Credit: A Beginner's Guide Good credit depends on good information. Use these techniques to help yourself build a solid credit history.

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A Beginner's Guide to Living Trusts

Details: Julie Ann Garber is an estate planning and taxes expert. With over 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer, Julie Ann has been quoted in The New York Times, the New York Post, Consumer Reports, Insurance News Net Magazine, and many other publications.

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How to Use a Debit Card Online

Details: Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on banking. He covers banking basics, checking, saving, loans, and mortgages. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to …

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Obamacare Subsidies: Are You Eligible

Details: Obamacare subsidies are available to 11.7 million Americans, but 60% missed out in 2019. Make sure you find out whether you are eligible.

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Buy Stock at a Lower Price With Stock Options

Details: Call and Put Options . A stock option is a contract giving the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to purchase or sell an equity at a specified price on or before a certain date. An option that lets you buy a stock is known as a call option; one that lets you sell a stock is known as a put option.

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Offer Strategy When Buying a House That Needs Work

Details: Elizabeth Weintraub is a homebuying, home loans, and mortgages expert. With more than 40 years of experience in real estate, including areas such as title and escrow, Elizabeth was nominated as a founding member of the California Association of REALTORS' Real Estate Certificate Institute (RECI) and has received more than 600 hours or real estate education.

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