Personal Finance

Download Jean Chatzky’s New Book The Difference for Free

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Career & Work, Personal Finance | Tags: , |

Click here to download The Difference by Jean Chatzky

On Friday, March 13, 2009, Jean Chatzky will offer her new financial book, The Difference, as a free download for 24 hours exclusively on Oprah.com. The book will be available for download from 11 a.m. ET Friday until 10:59 a.m. ET Saturday, March 14. Come back on Friday for your free copy!

What can The Difference teach you?

  • The top five things you can do to not just survive but thrive during tough times
  • The eight things that make The Difference (i.e., the key traits and abilities of people who describe themselves as financially free)
  • Advice for those having job insecurity as well as strategies for finding a job
  • Why money doesn’t breed happiness—but happiness can breed money
  • The direct connection between The Difference and your health
  • How people who know The Difference make a difference for others
  • Myths and facts about the wealthy
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Article: Jean Chatzky on ‘The Difference’ Between You and the Rich

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: Personal Finance, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Some people seem to move relatively easily from paycheck to paycheck into comfort or wealth, while others get stuck or worse, fall back. What are the attributes and abilities that set them apart? Do they exhibit common behaviors and personalities? In her new book, “The Difference,” financial expert Jean Chatzky lays out the four types of people that make up today’s economic strata in America, and shares tips on how people can move up to being financially comfortable or even wealthy.

To read the complete article, click here

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Article: Slash Your Property Tax

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Home & Garden, Personal Finance | Tags: , , |

Slash Your Property Tax

By Lisa Scherzer
Feb 25th, 2009

From Broward County, Fla., to Flint , Mich., homeowners might be facing exorbitant hikes in property taxes.  In one of the more extreme cases, residents of West New York, N.J., are fighting a planned 27% bump in their property tax rates.

Squeezed by foreclosures and falling revenues, many local governments are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls. To fill some of the gap, more municipalities will have to raise property taxes, says Sharon McCabe, associate director of the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin.

While homeowners would have a hard time fighting the local government on such increases (although West New York residents are certainly trying to), there are ways to reduce the impact of the hit.

Like most homeowners, your property’s value has most likely fallen off a cliff over the past year. If your assessment is based on a higher valuation from several years ago, it’s probably time to get it reassessed, says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. The end result could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Here are a few things to consider before seeking a reassessment:

1.  Understand Your Town’s Methodology
2.  You Can Do it Yourself
3.  Check for Mistakes
4.  Check Out Similar Sales

For the complete article, click here

Appeals
If your home has declined below its assessed value, you can apply for a tax reduction.  By law the county assessor must check to see if you are correct and even if the assessor denies your application, you can file an appeal.
Specific to the state of California, the California State of Equalization web site has some videos to walk you through the process of preparing and presenting your Assessment Appeal of your Property Tax Assessment at your county Board of Equalization or Assessment Appeals Board.

The video segments viewable on the link above include:

Introduction

Decline In Market Value

Base Year Value

Reassessment After Calamity

Escape Assessment And Roll Changes

Filling Out The Application

Preparing For Your Hearing

Your Hearing

Credits

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AP Article: Homeowners’ Rallying Cry: Produce the note

Posted on February 18, 2009. Filed under: Home & Garden, Personal Finance | Tags: , , |

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) — Kathy Lovelace lost her job and was about to lose her house, too. But then she made a seemingly simple request of the bank: Show me the original mortgage paperwork.

And just like that, the foreclosure proceedings came to a standstill.

Lovelace and other homeowners around the country are managing to stave off foreclosure by employing a strategy that goes to the heart of the whole nationwide mess.

During the real estate frenzy of the past decade, mortgages were sold and resold, bundled into securities and peddled to investors. In many cases, the original note signed by the homeowner was lost, stored away in a distant warehouse or destroyed.

Persuading a judge to compel production of hard-to-find or nonexistent documents can, at the very least, delay foreclosure, buying the homeowner some time and turning up the pressure on the lender to renegotiate the mortgage.

For the complete article, click here

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Boston Globe article: Mysterious credit card charge may have hit millions of users

Posted on January 14, 2009. Filed under: Personal Finance, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Mysterious credit card charge may have hit millions of users

By Mitch Lipka Globe Correspondent / January 11, 2009

Several Internet complaint boards are filled with comments from credit card customers from coast to coast who have noticed a mysterious charge for about 25 cents on their statements.

The charge shows up on statements as coming from “Adele Services” in Melville, N.Y. There is no business by that name listed in Melville, or registered to any business anywhere in New York, for that matter.

Take a look at your credit card statements, and if the charge is there, don’t let it slide. It’s what the thieves want you to do. Instead, file a dispute with your credit card company, and lodge complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) – which is run by the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Federal law enforcement officials tend to react when the complaints reach a certain volume.

For full article click here

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Download Suzie Orman’s New Book Free

Posted on January 13, 2009. Filed under: Personal Finance, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan
Download Suze Orman’s New Book Free

Through January 15th, you get a free copy of Suze Orman’s new book, 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound, from Oprah.com.
This book is copyrighted. You may view and download the file, but you may not copy the file or share or forward it to any other person. Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CT on Thursday, January 15.

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Free Shipping Coupons and Coupon Codes to over 850 Stores

Posted on December 7, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Personal Finance | Tags: , , |

FreeShipping.org is the premiere free shipping resource on the internet. It is a site with one simple goal, to save online shoppers money by providing them with a list of trusted online retailers who are offering free shipping coupons.

Smart online shoppers have always known the cost of shipping can make the difference between a good deal and a great deal.  But finding out which online retailers are offering free shipping deals has not always been easy, and it can be very time consuming.  Here you can find free shipping coupons and coupon codes to over 850 Stores.

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How to find Black Friday bargain shopping deals

Posted on November 26, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Personal Finance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Here are some  web sites to help you get the best deals on Black Friday and year round. Make a shopping wish list, do your product research (e.g., read reviews), do some price comparisons for both online and in store deals (check the sales flyers) to get the best bargains.  Double check the accuracy of the information posted on these sites.

http://www.blackfriday.info/

http://www.bfads.com/

http://www.searchalldeals.com/

http://www.gottadeal.com/

Sign up for email updates, alerts and notifications when available.  Happy Thanksgiving, good luck and good shopping!

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Buyer beware: Gift cards, retail chain store closings and bankruptcies

Posted on November 20, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Personal Finance | Tags: , |

If you tend to give or receive gift cards around the holidays, or have gift cards you have not yet used, you need to be careful.  The cards may not be honored after the holidays if the retail stores are going out of business or have filed for bankruptcy.  Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be stopping operations, but it’s not a good sign.

Newspaper and journal articles have circulated with names of 32 retail chains that are closing some or all of it’s stores. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards may be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this.  On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankruptcy Planning.

“There are cases already showing up because gift cards will not be honored because the business is no longer in business,” UAB economics professor Mickey Gee states, ” If you buy a gift card, buy it from a company you think will be in business. Give it to the recipient and tell them not to wait to use the gift card.”

He says stores that have filed for bankruptcy aren’t required to honor the cards unless a judge orders them to do so.  In those cases, Gee says there could be stipulations. He cited Sharper Image that is allowed to redeem gift cards after you’ve spent 200 dollars.

Instead of a store specific gift card, you might want to consider giving a VISA or Mastercard gift card which the recipient can use anywhere.  If you do give a store brand gift card, just make sure the store locations near the recipient are not targeted for closing or can be also be used for online purchases if the store has an ecommerce site.

Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about:

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11 and closing 155 stores)

Ann Taylor 117 stores nationwide closing

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide

Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January

Cache will close all stores

Talbots closing down specialty stores

J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)

Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)

GAP closing 85 stores

Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January

Wickes Furniture closing down

Levitz closing down remaining stores

Bombay closing remaining stores

Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January

Whitehall closing all stores

Piercing Pagoda closing all stores

Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.

Home Depot closing 15 stores

Macys to close 9 stores after January

Mervyns closing all stores

Linens and Things closing all stores

Movie Gallery filed Chapter 11 and is closing at least 920 stores including 220 Hollywood Video

Pep Boys closing 33 stores

JC Penney closing a number of stores after January

Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.

Wilson Leather closing down all stores

Sharper Image closing down all stores

K B Toys closing 356 stores

Loews to close down some stores

Dillard’s to close some stores

Steve & Barry’s has filed bankruptcy

Shoe Pavillion has filed bankruptcy

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51 Ways to Save – Free advice brochure from U.S. government on ways to save on loans and credit cards

Posted on October 19, 2008. Filed under: Personal Finance | Tags: , , |

Resolve to keep your expenses in check and your credit intact—it’s a gift you’ll appreciate the whole year through. Check out this free brochure for advice on ways to save on loans and credit cards.

http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/rc/n7051waystosave.htm

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