Archive for January, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII: By the Numbers

Posted on January 31, 2014 by Saldutti

If the Super Bowl had a motto, it might be “go big or go home.” Everything related to the game is over-the-top, glamorous and . . . expensive. From the tickets to the ads to the halftime show to the parties, we lose our collective minds when it comes to spending money on the Super Bowl.  So what is the going rate for some of the most popular Super Bowl related items? The Tickets – Sometimes all the hype around the Super Bowl makes you forget that there’s actually a game. If you want to go, you’re going to spend…

'MyRA' Retirement Plan Unveiled

Posted on January 30, 2014 by Saldutti

Financial planners all say: The sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be in retirement.  But that advice often goes unheeded by young workers focused on paying down student debt and car loans. And even for those who can afford to set aside a little cash, investing can seem complicated and risky. In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama said he’s got a way to fix all of that. He calls it – a difficult-to-say-aloud name that is supposed to get people thinking about “my retirement account.”  This new way of saving would be different from…

Beware of $9.84 Charges on your Credit/Debit Card

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Saldutti

Be on the lookout for a recent $9.84 charge on your debit or credit card. It might be part of a massive, worldwide scam. Thieves are using stolen payment cards to make small charges that could easily go unnoticed. The charges are attributed to generic-looking websites such as, and, which claim to offer customer support services. The Better Business Bureau, a consumer protection group, put out a national alert about the scam on Monday, January 27. The organization urged people to closely monitor past and current credit card statements and to call the actual card-issuing banks to…

Data Breaches Not Changing Consumers' Habits

Posted on January 28, 2014 by Saldutti

American shoppers say they are very concerned about the safety of their personal information following a massive security breach at Target, but many aren’t taking steps to ensure their data is more secure, says a new Associated Press–GfK Poll. The poll finds a striking contradiction: Americans say they fear becoming victims of theft after the breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit cards and personal information of up to 70 million customers. Yet they are apathetic to try to protect their data. In the survey, nearly 50% of Americans say they are extremely concerned about their personal data when…

The Cure for Your Holiday Spending Hangover

Posted on January 27, 2014 by Saldutti

January can be a month of regrets. By the time the New Year rolls around, we begin to realize that, over the holidays, we ate too much, we drank too much, and we shopped too much. At this point during the year, your holiday spending can come back to haunt you like the ghost of Christmas past, keeping you up late at night and reminding you of the money mistakes you made in a frenzy of purchasing and celebrating. But, January is also a time of new beginnings, a chance to turn over a new leaf in a new year….

Credit Card Debt Grows Among Those With Poor Credit

Posted on January 24, 2014 by Saldutti

Consumers with low credit scores account for an increasingly large chunk of the nation’s credit card debt, with subprime borrowers carrying more than three times the average credit card debt held by consumers with excellent credit scores. In the third quarter of 2013, the typical consumer had a credit card debt load of $4,061, according to the most recent data from Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Reports and Experian’s IntelliView tool. That’s down from the same time the previous year ($4,137), though outstanding credit card balances didn’t change much overall: In the third quarter of 2012, outstanding consumer credit card debt…

'Tis the (Tax) Season: 8 Ways to Avoid an Audit

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Saldutti

Wouldn’t it be nice if the IRS released its secret formula for how it selects individual tax returns for audit? That way, we’d do everything we could to stay under the radar and not be selected for further review. Fewer than 1% of tax returns are audited, which is good news for all. But there’s no way to guarantee you’ll be exempt from the IRS’ prying eyes, so all you can do is take the proper precautions and hope for the best.  Here are 8 ways to help you avoid a tax audit, from Shady preparers – If you…

A Change is Gonna Come: New Mortgage Rules for 2014

Posted on January 22, 2014 by Saldutti

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) thinks it can stave off a future housing crisis with new regulations. Starting Jan. 10, a bevy of new rules came into play, affecting future homebuyers nationwide. Banks have already adopted some of the changes. They have every reason to. By following new regulations, they’ll enjoy insulation from fraud charges or legal liability — a banker’s worst nightmare. outlines the three biggest changes coming down the pipeline. 1. Goodbye, teaser rates – If there’s one thing that played a role in the last crisis, it’s this. Teaser rates are … well, a tease….

2014 Predictions: Mortgage and Real Estate

Posted on January 21, 2014 by Saldutti

In December, the New York Times ran a great article about what Americans can expect in the upcoming year when it comes to mortgages and home buying. Overall, the news is pretty good for home buyers, who can expect to get more home for their buck and lenders making getting a mortgage just a little easier as restrictions loosen. While affordability will continue to be a problem in hot markets like New York and San Francisco, buyers in general may find they have more homes to choose from and more lenders vying for their business. However, the news isn’t all…

Target Breach: Changing Card PIN is Only the First Step

Posted on January 17, 2014 by Saldutti

Changing the security code for your debit card may be as easy 1-2-3 following a widespread data breach at Target but guarding your personal information from hackers is a longer-term battle, according to experts. Even though the government protects consumers from this type of fraud, you are not guaranteed the store or bank whose computer system is hacked will tell you about the theft of your personal data. State laws vary on notifying consumers about such theft. So it’s ultimately up to the consumers to make sure their personal data don’t fall into the wrong hands or at least limit…