Archive for November, 2015

Tips: Avoid Scams This Cyber Monday

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Saldutti

Online fraud spikes during the holiday shopping season, as people searching for the perfect gifts take to cyberspace and head to traditional stores armed with their smartphones.  The Pandora’s box of cyber-attacks is about to open,” says Pete Tyrrell, chief operating officer for Digital Guardian, a data protection firm. “The cybercriminals are getting more and more creative – and at the end of the day, it’s your personal information at risk.” Here are some tips for protecting yourself and your information from online Grinches. BEWARE OF GIFTS OF FREE WI-FI – It’s awful tempting to sign on to a store’s…

Items to Avoid on Black Friday 2015

Posted on November 27, 2015 by Saldutti

Black Friday has become synonymous in our minds with great deals. Often, the deals are impressive as businesses compete for shoppers’ attention and dollars. But there’s a dirty little Black Friday secret.  Just because you’re buying on Black Friday doesn’t mean you’re getting the biggest savings. You might do better buying before or after, depending on the product. But how do you know? Every year, software giant Adobe uses its Adobe Marketing Cloud to crunch numbers and make predictions about the upcoming season. Adobe says that it’s been accurate within about 2% every year so far. This year, it examined 55 million…

Thanksgiving 2015: By the Numbers

Posted on November 26, 2015 by Saldutti

It’s time to baste that turkey, bring out the good china and lay out fresh towels as we get ready to welcome family and friends for the traditional Thanksgiving feast. But how much do you know about this annual holiday?  Here are some interesting facts and figures that you may not know about this holiday.  Memorize a few fun tidbits to spring on your know-it-all uncle as America celebrates its 152nd Thanksgiving. 1621: The Pilgrims, early settlers of Plymouth Colony, celebrate harvest with a 3-day feast with the Wampanoag tribe.  There is no evidence that turkey was eaten at the first…

It's Getting Cheaper To Buy A Home

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Saldutti

Earlier this year, the Federal Housing Administration began reducing mortgage insurance premiums on its loans by an average of $900 a year. While the FHA loans typically come with low down payment requirements, they often have higher monthly payments as a result of the mortgage insurance that (unlike conventional loans) continues for the life of the loan, even when 20% equity is reached. Now it appears the mortgage insurance premium reduction is having the desired effect.  Data from RealtyTrac shows that FHA loans were used in 23% of all financed purchases in the second quarter of 2015, up from 19% in the second quarter of…

What Retirement Looks Like Today

Posted on November 24, 2015 by Saldutti

Baby boomers are not embracing traditional retirement as we know it. In fact, the time-honored idea of packing up your desk and retiring to a beach on your 65th birthday may very well be a relic of the past, thanks to factors like longer life expectancies and inadequate savings.  This generation dutifully played by the rules: 81% of employed boomers who are offered a 401(k) or similar plan participate. The median they save each year is 10% of their salaries. A little more than 50% surveyed say that they have a “large enough” nest egg for retirement.  Yet, even with all this,…

Financial Fraud is a Growing Epidemic for Seniors

Posted on November 23, 2015 by Saldutti

Seniors lose at least $2.9 billion annually to financial exploitation, and roughly 1 in 5 Americans aged 65 or older have been victimized by financial fraud, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), which is the voice of the nation’s securities industries.  SIFMA’s Lisa Bleier, Managing Director & Associate General Counsel, discusses the growing epidemic of financial fraud and how to make sure you don’t become a victim. What are the biggest risks to senior investors? Bleier:  Seniors are often at greater risk of becoming victims of financial exploitation – both because they often have the most…

Can Churches and Nonprofits Boost Homeownership?

Posted on November 20, 2015 by Saldutti

As part of a broader effort to attract more potential borrowers to its 3% down payment home loan product, the government-sponsored Freddie Mac is reaching out to faith-based organizations to help preach the gospel of homeownership – particularly to low and moderate-income families who may think that owning a home is out of their reach. “When we think about communities that we’re trying to access and the distrust of homeownership as a whole, it’s very important that the message of this opportunity be channeled through trusted advisers,” said Danny Gardner, Freddie’s vice president of affordable lending and access to credit….

More Renters Considering Home Ownership

Posted on November 19, 2015 by Saldutti

An increasing number of renters are considering whether to purchase a home, according to a new TD Bank survey.  About 50% of renters are likely to purchase a home in the next 2 years, TD Bank said. The reason is the rising cost of rents, according to Scott Haymore, head of pricing and secondary markets. “With an improving job market and economy, renters are gaining more confidence in the housing market and starting to explore home ownership as a feasible option,” Haymore said.  TD Bank’s survey was conducted between Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 and queried 1,046 consumers. The breaking…

The Cost of In-State Tuition Across the Country

Posted on November 18, 2015 by Saldutti

In-state or out-of-state?  Public or private?  The decision on where to go to college is a personal and complicated decision between child and parent.  According to a recent report from the Urban Institute, across the country 81% of college-bound high school graduates enroll at home state schools or private institutions in state. (The latter arrangement can be a money saver if students live with their parents and commute to school.) Authors Sandy Baum, a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, and research assistant Martha Johnson, however, make the larger argument that a true sense of the status of…

The Dark Art of Buying Back Stolen Credit Card Data

Posted on November 17, 2015 by Saldutti

There are many potential buyers of stolen bank account data, including the banks themselves. But fraudsters are increasingly reluctant to sell their data back to its original owner.  Security experts say the banks’ strategy of buying their stolen data is an effective and inexpensive way to determine the source of a breach and suppress criminal activity. But at the same time, the most sophisticated black-market “card shops” are getting less welcoming to outsiders. In the mid-2000s, approximately 80% of black-market participants were unaffiliated with criminal organizations or groups, according to a report published by Rand Corp. Today, that number is closer to 20%.  Fraudsters…