Why your life insurance is key to financial planning for your special-needs child
This holiday season, more customers than ever have debit and credit cards with EMV chips. While this may cut down on fraud, shopping may be a slower process.
With these cards, consumers don't swipe, but insert the card into the machine instead.
"This will be the first holiday season after the transition," said Rob Nichols, incoming president and CEO of the American Bankers Association. "It will be an instructive holiday season for our industry."
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The police recently arrested five suspects for stealing personal information from gas pumps, prompting an official investigation of credit card skimmers.
"It's crazy," said Craig VanBuren, director of the Consumer Protection Section at Michigan's Department of Agriculture. "What we're finding since August has just really blown our mind."
Skimmers, devices which allow thieves to record credit or debit information, are being found in both large and small towns.
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It's no secret that your bank account gets a bit strained during the holidays. But if you use your credit cards strategically, you can ease some of the financial burden.
If you're traveling a lot for the holidays, consider using a travel rewards card. Buy your tickets with the card to rack up miles for future trips and gain other special perks.
When you're cooking big holiday meals, you're going to be spending a lot of money at the grocery store. Get some of that cash back with a grocery rewards card.
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In New York City, one of the biggest trends right now are luxury entry doors. These doors help to personalize an apartment and create a grander entrance.
"It’s not just the front door — it’s the entrance to the apartment,” Ian Bruce Eichner, CEO of the Continuum Company. “And it’s the message you get when you walk off the elevator and look at it."
Buildings are also going beyond the door and putting more effort and money into creating dramatic entry spaces.
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Despite the higher interest rates of the past five months, buyers are still taking out home loans at an increasing rate.
According to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications increased 6.2 percent last week, up from the week before.
"This was despite the fact that mortgage rates reached their highest level since July," said Michael Fratantoni, the association's chief economist.
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High credit scores are really valuable, so it's important that you realize how to keep your score as high as possible.
Don't close old credit cards. Even if they are unused, keeping credit cards open helps your utilization remain low, which is an important part of your credit score.
When you're looking for an auto loan or mortgage, don't take too long to find the best interest rate. There is a 45-day shopping period, during which all credit inquiries count as just one inquiry. But if you take much longer, those inquiries can start to impact your credit score.
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A new Federal Reserve working paper is shedding light on credit card companies' solicitation strategies.
Companies prefer to target potential borrowers based on credit score, however other data, like the amount of time since a personal bankruptcy filing, are also taken into account.
"Interestingly, several socioeconomic characteristics also appear to influence lenders’ offer decisions, even after controlling for credit histories," the authors of the paper write.
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Credit card companies make it easy for consumers to borrow money for the holiday season, but there are a few things you should be on the lookout for.
Many store credit cards provide a discount on the purchases you make on the day you open up the card. But interest rates are usually very high on store credit cards.
Also, a discount with an expiration date, such as the one that is only good on the day you open the card, means you're more likely to spend more that day than you normally would.
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Warren Buffett recently bought Allie Beth Allman & Associates, a real estate firm in Dallas which specializes in luxury properties.
"Allie Beth Allman & Associates is a strong company with an exceptional reputation in a growth market," said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices of America Inc., an affiliate of Buffett's firm Berkshire Hathaway. "This transaction aligns with our vision of acquiring distinguished companies in leading markets that share our core values."
Found in 2003, Allie Beth Allman & Associates had $1.5 billion in sales last year.
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Your home represents a large portion of your overall wealth. But it might not be your best investment. However, it can still play an important role in your portfolio.
Real estate investments have low correlations to other investments, like stocks and bonds. That lack of correlation could signify stability in your portfolio.
From a tax perspective, real estate investments are hugely beneficial. But be sure you're not overdoing it on real estate. It should make up just 5 percent of your portfolio.
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