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Will My Gift Cards Expire?

Now that the holiday season is over, I’m sure that everyone walked away with a few gift cards from family, friends, or co-workers. Whether it be an i-tunes card, store card, or just a good old debit card, each gift card should be closely examined so you make a smart money move and don’t lose any value of the gift. The Federal Credit Card Act of 2009 included provisions for gift cards that became effective August 22, 2010 and applies to cards sold after that date.  Under the Act, many types of retail cards are prohibited from charging inactivity fees unless the card has been inactive for at least 12 months.  All terms and conditions for a card must be disclosed directly on the card.  Additionally, gift cards may not expire for at least five years after purchase. (source: federalreserve.gov) Gift cards may still have terms and conditions that can decrease the value of the gift card.  These include charging: ...

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Which Term Insurance Is Right For Me?

If you are in the market to buy life insurance, you need to remember that not all term insurance is created alike. Here are some key items to remember so you can make a smart money move. 1) Renewable Term – Most often this comes in the form of yearly renewable term which your premium starts out incredibly low and increases every year you get older.  Sometimes you can get this renewable term in a 5 year increment, but most often it is sold one year at a time. Depending on the company, you may not have prove your medical status yearly as long as you pay the premium. 2) Level Term – This is the most popular option today.  You can essentially get a fixed premium with a fixed death benefit for a fixed period of time. The premiums on these policies are level for the length of time you have the insurance policy, and generally cannot be cancelled ...

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5 Questions To Ask Before Refinancing?

With interest rates being incredibly low, I have been asked the question over and over the past several months about whether or not it is a good idea to refinance a home. Here are 5 questions I would consider before taking the plunge to refinance. 1)  How long do I plan to live in the home? Since most people don’t live a home for 30 years, you generally don’t see mortgages taken out on a home actually complete their full 30 year (or 15 year) cycles.  Since there are so many variations of mortgages today, (i.e.- ARM’s, 5/1, 15 year, 30 year), it is important to make a determination first on how long you think you will live in your current home. 2) What are the costs to refinance my home? There is no so thing as a free lunch. If you choose to refinance your home, there will be costs associated with making that transaction. You will have a ...

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Consequences of Unfiled Taxes and What to Do Now

Despite common belief, filing unfiled tax returns regardless of how many years have passed is not as scary as it may sound. Do not be deterred from doing so even if you do not currently have the funds to pay for the taxes. In fact, not filing your taxes at all can often have greater penalties and be more detrimental to your financial situation than being unable to pay. Ultimately, the faster you file your taxes the better. In this case the phrase, ‘better now than never,’ could not reign more true. Penalties for Unfiled Tax Returns While many people avoid filing their tax returns because they are unable to fulfill the payments, the penalties and added fees are far worse for not filing at all versus being unable to pay. In best case scenarios, you may even be due a refund without realizing. Keep in mind, the IRS will no longer honor this after a certain period of time. ...

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