Maximum Return on Your Credit Cards

Most credit cards now offer reward points, cash back, 0% transfers, credit monitoring, discount gasoline or money-market savings.

By: Francis Kier
There has been an explosion of credit cards that specialize in certain benefits over the last five years: reward points, cash back, 0% transfers, credit monitoring, discount gasoline, money-market savings, etc. So how do you get the most return from your card, particularly when their plans change?

(Presuming you never, ever carry a credit card balance – interest charges and potential fees will more than consume any side benefit that a card can offer.)

In the old …

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How to Get a Free Credit Report

Many consumers do not know that everyone is entitled to a free copy of his credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year.

By: Daphne Succes
TransUnion, Experian and Equifax provide your credit report to loan officers, credit card companies, financial institutions and anyone whom you give permission to obtain a copy of your credit file.

If you are applying for a credit card, mortgage, car or personal loan, you should be familiar with the information included in your credit report. You are issued a number, known as a FICO score, which is calculated …

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senior living

Options for Senior Living Communities

What are your options for senior living communities if you are an independent and active senior? Top communities have wait lists for new residents.

By: James Connolley

Once upon a time, independent seniors did not have many options available to them when it came to retirement living. Retirement communities were largely dull and drab places that were reserved for the seriously infirmed. They certainly were not communities were active, vibrant people wanted to live. Times have certainly changed in the past decade or so as more and more people are actively choosing to live in retirement communities. In fact, …

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Paper Trail

How to Manage the Never Ending Paper Trail

Your obligation is to understand the paper trail before you begin shredding. I pieced together fractions of clues to find money that was never listed.

By: Stefania Shaffer

It hardly seems fair that as soon as we pay bills, review statements, manage family calendars and school cubbies for the month, all of this ironing out will inevitably become all bunched up again when next month’s paperwork requires the same attention.

When it’s our own personal finances, it is easier to put aside organizing—waiting until you have the time. This could be months down the road for busy people because …

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best places to retire

12 Best Places in the World to Retire

Globalization made the world a very small place. It has never been more affordable and easier to retire abroad.

You worked hard so why don’t you make sure you enjoy the fruit of your labor with some actual sweet fruit in your hand! All while relaxing on an idyllic beach under a palm tree. If sand between your toes is not your idea of bliss, then somewhere around the globe you are sure to find the ideal retirement location.

There is a lot to consider when deciding where to retire. As an aging person access to good healthcare is …

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Being Comfortable When You Travel

Sometimes being comfortable is not only about money. Here is a list of things that could make the difference when you travel.

If you no longer want to deal with the hassles of traveling by plane or train or car, and faraway places are no longer on your bucket list, take a step back and look around you. Do you know your town well? Have you seen all there is to see?

I am the first one to admit that I am guilty of overlooking what is right in front of me. Realizing this fact, I have started to …

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Travel Solo or With a Tour?

Many people wonder if they should travel solo or with a tour. Both have advantages and drawbacks, which depend on your age and relationship status.

Many people wonder about traveling solo or with a tour. Both have advantages and drawbacks, which depend on your age, relationship status, and how much comfort or adventure you seek. I have done both, and from my experience as a single woman, my advice is to go with a tour.

For my first trip when I was alone, I chose to go on a tour to Egypt. I had dreamed of seeing the pyramids …

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Louvre Art Gallery

Is Traveling to Paris on Your Bucket List?

Traveling is one of the bonuses that comes with retirement. You now have the time to go somewhere for as long as you like.

When it comes to traveling, you should take the advice passed on by Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN’s Places Unknown, who quoted Ernestine Ulmer: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”

Are you eating your dessert first? Many of my contemporaries say things like:

“I always wanted to go to Ireland.”
“I have never been to London.”
“It has always been a dream of mine to see Paris.”

“Why aren’t you going?” I ask them, …

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renovation scams

How to Avoid Renovation Scams

How can you tell if a contractor might not be reputable? To avoid renovation scams, you may not want to do business with these companies.

Signs of a Home Improvement Scam
How can you tell if a contractor might not be reputable? You may not want to do business with someone who:

* Knocks on your door for business or offers you discounts for finding other customers
* Just happens to have materials left over from a previous job
* Pressures you for an immediate decision
* Only accepts cash, asks you to pay everything up-front, or suggests you …

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owing money

Knee Deep in Debt

Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting , credit …

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Homeowners and Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover some catastrophic losses, such as those from earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods.

Homeowners and renters insurance protect your personal property against damage or loss, and insures you in case someone gets hurt while on your property. You may already have insurance on your home if you have a mortgage on the property, because most lenders make insurance a condition of the loan.

Renters insurance, or tenant insurance, offers renters coverage similar to homeowners insurance. If you are a renter, do not assume your landlord carries insurance on your personal belongings; you may …

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moving house

Protect Yourself Against Housing Scams

Follow these guidelines to protect yourself against housing scams. There are scammers that attempt to take advantage of people through fraudulent practices.

Avoid Moving Fraud
While most moving companies are reputable businesses that do quality work, there are some that attempt to take advantage of clients through fraudulent practices. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself against moving fraud:

* Get a written estimate from several movers. Some companies quote a low price to get a contract–and later ask for more money before they remove your belongings from their truck.
* Make sure the mover has insurance and is licensed …

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stainless steel countertop

The Right Kitchen Counter Tops

Choosing the right countertop can be a difficult task.  Arguably it’s one of the most important and eye-catching aspects of your kitchen. Your countertops need to be right.

Designing the kitchen of your dreams is an exciting task. From paint colors to appliances and cabinets to countertops, there’s so much that goes into kitchen design. The smaller design elements like wall colors and backsplashes are easier to choose, as you don’t have to take durability in consideration when making your choices.

Choosing the right countertop can be a more difficult task. Arguably one of the most important and eye-catching …

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retirement plan

Don’t Retire Without a Plan

Are you prepared for a 30- or 40-year retirement? Whether or not you choose to work with a financial professional, it is imperative that you retire with a plan.

The Social Security Administration estimates that the average 65-year-old woman today will live to age 86 and a 65-year old man today will live to age 84.

Are you prepared for a 20-year retirement? How about a 30- or 40-year retirement? It could happen!

About 25% of today’s 65-year-olds will live past 90, with approximately 10% living to be older than 95, according to Social Security Administration projections.

For generations …

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