IRS Free File is now available for the 2024 filing season

IRS.gov

woman accepting job offer

IRS Free File is now available for the 2024 filing season. With this program, eligible taxpayers can prepare and file their federal tax returns using free tax software from trusted IRS Free File partners.

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Tips to stay safe on money transfer apps

BFine.org Administrator

woman using cell phone

Money apps like Cash, PayPal, Venmo and Zelle, are convenient ways to pay friends, family and businesses without carrying cash or a checkbook.

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Unexpected Ways Holidays Break Your Budget

by BFine.org Administrator

father and daughter walking

Let’s face it, the holiday season is expensive. Even if you save all year and shop the sales; there are unexpected ways that the holiday season leads to exceeding your budget.

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Not Participating in Your Employer’s 401K Program Can Cost You in the Long Term

Keith L. Rucinski, CPA, JD Chapter 13 Trustee

couple making decision

You have started a new job. The human resource department sent you a stack of paperwork. Among the paperwork is a form asking if you want to reduce your take home pay by putting retirement funds into your employer’s 401K retirement program.

You have bills to pay. Your student loan payment is due. Your rent is due. You are trying to save up for a car. You cannot afford to reduce your take home pay and save for your retirement.

Actually, you cannot afford not to save for retirement.

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Social Media Scams: Con Artists Target the Vulnerable

by Michael B. Joseph, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Retired)

woman reading cell

Social media and internet dating sites have given rise to romance and confidence schemes. Catfishing and spear phishing are extensively used. Catfishing is faking an identity on the internet. Spear phishing uses more sophisticated and direct messages to trick the victim. New AI programs make it easier to reach and victimize the targets.

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How to Report Rent Payments to Credit Bureaus and Boost Your Credit Score

by BFine.org Administrator

man smiling at laptop

Are you looking for ways to improve your credit score? Like many people, you may have a poor credit score because of missed credit card payments, loan payments, declared bankruptcy or defaulting on a loan.  However, one thing you are doing monthly is paying rent and the three major credit bureaus will include rent payment information in credit reports if they receive it.

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Tax Deadline Extended to April 18 - Later for Filers in Disaster Areas

BFine.org Administrator

couple working with accountant

Most Americans consider April 15 an unofficial “holiday” with the final rush to file federal income tax at midnight. The Internal Revenue Service has given taxpayers a little more time in 2023.

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Urban Legend #4 : Creditors Never Seek Collection From Co-Signers

Keith Rucinski,  Chapter 13 Trustee, Akron, OH

bankruptcy urban legend 4

Every year, there are people who never went to college, but are required to pay on a student loan.

Every year, there are people who are required to pay for a car they do not own or drive.

Every year, there are people who have to pay on credit card debt for charges they never made.

Who are these people? They are co-signers.

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21 Steps To Landing A Higher Paying Job

Moneyunder30.com

woman accepting job offer

In a competitive job market, it can be hard to make a strong impression, but it is important if you want to land the job. Here's how!

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When it Comes to Personal Finance, Budgeting is an Essential First Step

Melinda Opperman,
President, credit.org

Smiling young 30s woman in eyewear looking at smartphone screen, feeling satisfied with fast secure online service, paying household bills taxes or insurance, managing budget, calculating expenses.

Anyone hoping to take control of their personal finances must start with budgeting.

Simply put, a budget is a plan. People need to plan for how much they’ll earn, how much they’ll spend, and what their long-term financial goals will be.

There are many reasons we urge everyone to take the time to create a budget:

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10 financial New Year’s resolutions to set now and achieve in the new year

CNBC
2023-GOALS

New year, new financial goals: If you’re starting off the new year with a list of resolutions, consider adding some financial to-dos, such as improving your credit score and making a plan to pay off your credit card debt once and for all. Nearly half (49%) of Americans want to save more money, a third (33%) want to improve their credit score and another third (31%) plan on creating a personal budget, according to an Experian poll on the top financial resolutions for the new year.

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VA Debt Collection, Attorneys Talk Strategy

Disabled Veterans

VA Debt Collection Strategies

Veteran law attorneys talk strategy for veterans hit by VA Debt Collection when pursing degrees using the GI Bill or Veteran Readiness and Employment. Here are top three tips veterans can use from Attorney Peter Cianchetta.

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What to do if you are sued on an old credit card debt?

Bay State Banner

R

Are you being sued in Smalls Claims Court for an old credit card debt by a company you do not recognize? You are not alone. In Massachusetts, 17% of people have a debt in collection, and that number nearly doubles to 31% in communities of color.

What should you do if you are sued? Show up to court. If you do not show up, the court will enter default judgment against you, and you may have to pay 12% interest on it. Judgments are good for 20 years and may negatively affect your credit, making it difficult for you to get housing, a loan or even a job.

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Money Anxiety: Navigating Financial Uncertainty Today

 CNET


money mindset during the recessionalternate

After battling pandemic-related hardships over the last two years, many Americans expected some level of normalcy in 2022. Except now they're facing a volatile stock marketrising interest rates and stagnating wages that aren't keeping up with sky-high prices. And as macroeconomic tailwinds point toward a recession (whether it's already here is up for debate), concerns over finances are taking an even heftier toll. 

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Utility Bill Deferments Are Ending. Here’s a State-by-State List of Programs That Can Help

TIME


utilitiesdeferment

More than 80 million Americans are having difficulty paying their bills during the COVID-19 recession, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey

This financial insecurity extends to necessary household expenses like utility bills. As a result, many local governments and public utility companies have passed moratoriums on utility shutoffs, so that people can still have running water, electricity, and heat even if they fall behind on payments. 

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Medical debt ruined her credit. 'It's like you're being punished for being sick'

NPR


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After a year of chemotherapy and radiation, doctors told Penelope Wingard in 2014 that her breast cancer was in remission. She'd been praying for this good news. But it also meant she no longer qualified for a program in North Carolina that offers temporary Medicaid coverage to patients undergoing active breast cancer treatment. Wingard became uninsured. She'd survived the medical toll, but the financial toll was ongoing. Bills for follow-up appointments, blood tests and scans quickly piled up. Soon, her oncologist said he wouldn't see her until she paid down the debt.

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As U.S. Interest Rates Soar, Four Ways To Manage Credit Cards Now

Reuters
graduation

Try holding your credit card up to your ear, real close. You might hear the soft tick, tick, tick of your interest rate going up. Back on May 4, average U.S. credit card interest rates clocked in at 16.41%, according to financial information site Bankrate. By July 6, 17.01%. By August 17, 17.67%.

In fact, such rates are at a record high since CreditCards.com started compiling data 15 years ago. And more Federal Reserve rate hikes are expected down the pike, in an ongoing effort to rein in inflation, putting upward pressure on lending rates across the board.

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How to Avoid Financial Panic When a Recession Threatens

Kiplinger
graduation

More Americans are worried about a recession with record inflation and a downturn in the stock market. If you’re among them, here are a few steps you can take that could help you sleep better at night.

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Co Signers Put Themselves in Creditor’s Spotlight

Cathy Moran, Esq., (Redwood City, CA)

A white haired grandfather and teenage grandson are looking at the same laptop computer sharing the same passion or interest - friendship and family love concept

The responsibility of a co-signer is one of the single most common misunderstandings about law.

Put bluntly, a co-signer is just as responsible for the debt as the primary borrower.

Co sign someone else’s loan and you put yourself in the creditor’s spotlight.

That should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

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People Facing Debt Have Many Options

Author: Melinda Opperman
President, credit.org

Mature middle-aged couple family wife and husband counting funds, savings declarations, investments,paperwork, financial documents, bankruptcy, court case, bills, pension with laptop.

When people are struggling with their debts, they have a lot more options than they might realize. There are professionals, non-profit organizations, and free online resources available to help no matter how one’s personal finances look.

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BFine Resources: Terms You Need to Know

BFine Administrator

e-learning education concept, learning online with webinar, video tutorial, internet lessons

Managing your financial future is easier when you understand what is being said. Below are some of the key terms that are used with finance and bankruptcy.

For more definitions visit:

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Budgeting

Financial Planning Now That Your New Baby Has Arrived

Kiplinger

Two parents and their son enjoying time together while watching a movie on the sofa at home. Family concept.

First, congratulations! Second, a seasoned wealth adviser is here to share his knowledge and experience of planning for and protecting the future of his newborn.

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Budgeting 101: How to Budget Money

Nerdwallet

credit cards

Divide your income among needs, wants, savings and debt repayment, using the 50/30/20 budget.

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Five retirement myths busted

HerMoney.com

seniors looking at papers

Retirement will be here before you know it. We bust five myths people have about planning for the years ahead.

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Estate Planning for Young Families

HerMoney.com

family eating dinner

Estate planning isn't just for the old or wealthy. Learn the basics of creating a will and how much life insurance is needed.

READ MORE

Tips for Dealing with Inflation

CNBC

woman looking at cars

Keeping up with the rising cost of living has become almost second nature for many Americans at this point. But that doesn’t make it any easier, especially when it comes to putting food on the table. Though inflation has widely cooled off, grocery prices remain high — with food giant Nestlé predicting that prices will keep rising this year.

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The Caregiver's Lament: How to handle the costs of care

Reuters

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You might know P.J. Byrne from the movies, most likely as one of the fast-living brokers alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street." But these days Byrne's most important role is closer to home: that of son and caregiver. His 79-year-old father has suffered from dementia for about 10 years, which currently requires 24/7 home care from not just one but often two health aides. It adds up to about $200,000 a year in costs for the family.

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How to manage subscription overload

Reuters

gym goers

For Michael Whitty, it all started with one question: "I wonder how much this is all adding up to?" That is what the Chicago estate planning attorney asked when he kept getting email notifications about subscription renewals. For a few apps, some magazines, wine sites and software charges, "I was spending something like $150 a month on subscriptions," he said.

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The High Cost of Rising Rents

AARP1140 rose thompson maryland

The Rev. Rose Thompson has lived in her home for 25 years, in an apartment building in Laurel, Maryland. Suddenly last December, she was in danger of losing it. Thompson and her neighbors received notice that the building had been sold and that the new landlord was instituting a steep rent hike. “My rent was $875 a month, and the letter said the new rent would be $1,600,” says Thompson, 65. “It said we had 60 days to move out if we didn’t sign the lease for the new rent.”

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3 women on their biggest financial wins

Her Money

diverse women reading a book and using a tablet 2022 09 16 09 25 50 utc 840x487

Do you have a budget? There’s no shame if you don’t — only 32% of U.S. households do. But that’s a problem. For example, 65% of us have no idea how much money we spent last month, and that “not knowing” can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and dread at what might be on the horizon. No one wants to be afraid to take a peek at their finances — far from it! 

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What is a budget?

Fortune

Recommends What is a budget

One of the building blocks of personal finance is budgeting. But the word budget can be confusing or feel restrictive. Adding to that, there are many ways to budget—but what it boils down to is creating a plan for your money and tracking where it goes. Ideally, a budget creates more freedom, not less. 

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Tips On Budgeting as a College Student

Her Campus

student loan forgiveness

 

Getting to college and learning how not to spend all your money can be very daunting. Maybe you spend all your money the first two weeks of school even though your parents told you to be wise with your allowance, because you only get paid once a month. Or maybe you have a job and are completely financially independent, so you’re fickle with your money which prevents you from doing anything fun. It can be difficult trying to figure out the basics of having to provide for yourself. 

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20 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances

The Balance 

girl sorting bills

Whether you're stuck in a cycle of debt, earning too little to maintain your desired standard of living, or simply wanting to get a jump on saving for a major financial goal, such as buying a home or investing, you may need help to get on track with your objectives. Follow these strategies for taking control of your finances right now.

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57% of young adults dread budgeting. Here are 4 easy ways to remove the stress.

USA Today - July 1, 2022

guy on computer

For many young people, budgeting can feel like a chore. A recent study found that 57% of young people dread the thought of budgeting..

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Essential Household Budgeting Tips

Credit.org

father_daughter_cooking

We’ve seen countless different household budgeting strategies over the decades we’ve spent educating consumers about managing their personal finances and conquering their debt.

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Lesson 3: Budget to Control Spending

Judge John Ninfo - May 20, 2021

How to make a budget

CNN - Jan. 13, 2022

bfine hive150

Crafting your own monthly budget isn’t all that complicated, but it can be tedious and downright depressing when you’re first starting out. After all, creating a spending plan usually means cutting in areas you probably enjoy, such as dining out and entertainment. 

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Credit

How to build credit without a credit card

USA Today

man on laptop

There’s no question that opening a credit card and managing it in a responsible way can be an effective credit-building strategy. Yet the reality is that not everyone is a fan of credit cards. If you do prefer to build your credit score without a credit card it is possible.

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‘What Happens If I Just Never Pay My Credit-Card Bill?’

The Cut

man on laptop

I have outstanding credit-card debt that I haven’t looked at in a couple of years. I can’t afford to pay it, so I feel like what’s the point in trying? I accrued most of it during college (I’m 28 now), but I dropped out before I got my degree. I think it’s probably somewhere around $15,000, with interest. As a result, my credit score sucks.

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What to Do if You Lose Your Job and Can't Pay Your Credit Card Bills

US News

falling dominos

If you're facing a job loss, you could be worried about paying your bills. This may be especially true if you have credit card debt and little to no emergency savings.

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Debt Collectors can use social media to contact borrowers

US News

man on laptop

A message from a debt collector may be the last thing you’re expecting – or wanting – to see when you log in to your social media accounts. A recent regulation change, however, made it legal for debt collectors to slide into your DMs.

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This Black History Month, take charge of your credit

FTC Consumer Advice

parents and child

The FTC honors the contributions and legacy of Black Americans across U.S. history. One of the top consumer issues we’ve heard from people living in majority Black communities is related to credit bureaus. Your credit history tells businesses and potential employers a story about how you use money. What is your credit history saying about you — and is it accurate?

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Why the largest credit card companies are suppressing actual payment data on your credit report

CFPB

page of credit reports

Last year, we reported that Americans paid over $120 billion annually in interest and fees on credit cards. Since that time, average interest rates charged by credit card companies have quickly increased. It’s critical that consumers can find and switch to credit cards with the lowest and most competitive rates. That’s why we’ve been carefully examining barriers to a fair and competitive credit card market, especially as it relates to the role of consumer credit reporting.

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Liz Weston: Yes, spouse’s debt could lower your credit scores

Oregon Live

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Dear Liz: My spouse and I have added each other as authorized users on our credit cards. My spouse has more debt than I do. Does this impact my credit scores?

Answer: Possibly. Credit scoring formulas look at how much available credit is being used on each account. If your spouse has higher balances than you but also higher credit limits, your credit scores may not be harmed much, if at all. If, on the other hand, your spouse is using most of their available credit, your scores could suffer.

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5 easy options for checking your credit score

Fortune

Recommends how to check your credit score

When you want to apply for a credit card or finance a large purchase like a mortgage, one of many numbers a lender will consider before approving your application is your credit score.  

This three-digit number will also determine the interest rate you’re offered when borrowing money, which impacts the total cost over the life of the loan. So before applying for financing, it’s important to check your credit score and see where you stand.  

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Why Did My Credit Score Drop Suddenly? 11 Possible Reasons

Islandnow.com

Credit Score

As someone who gets credit report notifications, you should be familiar with changes in your credit score.. It is quite common for

your credit score to fluctuate with minor increments.

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Opt Out of Credit Card Offers

Credit.org

Two dads carrying child

How often have you checked your mail or answered your phone only to find another prescreened credit card offer?

Blank envelopes and phone calls from unnamed phone numbers may seem like official notifications. More often than not, answering these notices leads you to find yet another offer claiming that you have been prescreened for a new line of credit.

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How to Remove Negative Items From Your Credit Report

Nasdaq - July 7, 2022

Women sitting on floor drinking coffee

Your credit report is meant to be an accurate, detailed summary of your financial history — however, mistakes happen more often than you may think.

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Settled medical debt is now dropping off credit reports — here’s how to check your record and make sure it’s right

CNBC - July 1, 2022

A white haired grandfather and teenage grandson are looking at the same laptop computer

If medical debt you’ve already paid has been lingering on your credit report, you may want to see if that has changed. 

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Buy Now, Pay Later and Credit Reporting

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau - June 15, 2022

cfpb

In December 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a market monitoring inquiry into Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL).

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Where credit scores come from and why they don’t quite add up — but can

Boston Globe - May 30, 2022

ladder

Credit scores were founded on, and perpetuate, racial inequality.

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Millennial Money: What to do if you buy now, can’t pay later

The Associated Press - Jan. 18, 2022

bfine hive150

Buy now, pay later” can be a convenient payment method. But if you don’t factor the recurring payments into your budget, it can get messy.

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Consumer credit card debt and annual percentage rates are heading to an all-time high

CNBC - May 10, 2022

cfpb

Credit card debt is on the rise as consumers face higher prices almost across the board.

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Experts Agree It’s Best To Avoid Pulling Money From a 401(k).

Next Advisor - May 24, 2022

cfpb

When a financial emergency hits, you may find yourself scrambling to get your hands on the money you need.

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Lesson 1: Don't use credit cards to buy stuff you can't afford

Judge John Ninfo - October 26, 2021

Debt

Pitfalls of Debt Settlement and Consolidation

Dianne C. Kerns, Chapter 13 Trustee,  Southern Arizona

pitfalls

We’ve all heard the radio advertisements: “If you have more than $10,000 in credit card or tax debt, you may qualify for a new program that credit card companies don’t want you to know about.  Settle your debts for pennies on the dollar without filing bankruptcy.”

The truth is that there is no debt settlement program.  Credit card companies and the IRS have no obligation to settle your debts.  These advertisements come from profit motivated companies that appeal to your desperation when you’re struggling under the weight of debt. 

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Credit Reports to Stop Reporting Billions of Dollars in Medical Debt

Keith Rucinski, Chapter 13 Trustee,  Akron, OH

Purple_Pink_Modern_Photo_New_Year_Resolution_Instagram_Post_302__202_px.png

One of the largest delinquent accounts on credit reports is unpaid medical debt. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, credit reports reflect unpaid medical debt of nearly $88 billion. Credit reports play a large role in everyone’s life and its important that your credit report is as positive as possible.

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Financial Literacy

Types Of Life Insurance Policies

Forbes

couple looking at documents

If you’re in the market for life insurance, you’ll quickly discover that there are many options. Choice is a good thing, but it does mean that you’ll have to understand the options before you can decide on the type of life insurance that best fits your needs.

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Personal finance hacks 101

Inside Indiana Business

family with baby

Life is busy, and not enough of us prioritize our personal finances. I have good news! You can move from “flying by the seat of your pants” to confidently being in control without a huge time commitment. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

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How to stay safe from financial scams

Seattle Times

hand with money

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comesto protecting yourself from financial scams comes from thinking you're too smart to be duped.

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I’m a Financial Planner: Here’s What I Recommend Clients Don’t Use Their Emergency Funds On

Yahoo Finance

man worries

Life can take twists and turns: surprise sickness, job loss and unexpected rent hikes can throw your finances into a tailspin. That’s why an emergency fund is an essential piece of your financial pie.

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Gen Z and millennial couples are more likely to keep their finances separate

CNBC

family eating dinner

Here’s how to stay financially independent while remaining together. You and your partner can manage money as a team without completely comingling your finances.

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Here’s what the Federal Reserve’s 25 basis point interest rate hike means for your money

CNBC

woman calculating budget

The Federal Reserve raised the target federal funds rate by a modest 0.25 percentage points on Wednesday, after nearly two weeks of turmoil in the financial industry.

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Lying to your partner about money? Here's how to come clean

HerMoney.com

couple calculating budget

New research shows 30% of Americans have either lied about money or have been lied to. Here are six steps to break the cycle and come clean.

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How to teach kids about money

CNBC

dads and kid

Learning about money is the foundation of financial literacy and the key to achieving financial security. Yet financial education isn't part of the curriculum in most U.S. schools.

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When banks are failing - is my money safe?

AARP

house safe

Recessions don’t always follow bank collapses, but the recent failures of First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank have pushed recession fears up a few notches. For retirees, this means added worry about the safety of their money. With that in mind, let’s take some time and review the financial safety nets you have — and those you may not.

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What to do with your tax refund

NY Times

family with baby

The average refund is down from last year, but still almost $3,000. One option experts recommend is stashing part of it for unexpected expenses.

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When is it time to hire a tax professional?

Keith Rucinski, Chapter 13 Trustee, Akron, OH

couple working with tax advisor

Many people prepare their own taxes each year.  The Internal Revenue Service website has computer programs to assist taxpayers to file online.   For people with only W-2 income,  using computer programs are a quick and easy way to file taxes. However, life is not always easy. Experienced tax professionals (Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents) can be helpful to address changes in your life that impact your finances.

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How can I protect myself and others I care about from fraud and scams?

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

cell phone showing scam alert

Criminals and con artists use many scams to target unsuspecting people who have access to money. Consumer scams happen on the phone, through the mail, e-mail, or over the internet. They can occur in person, at home, or at a business. Here are some tips to protect yourself from scams:

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National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees Encourages Financial Literacy in the New Year

Beth Hawks, Principle Consultant, CoreComm PR & MarCom

PRmedia

Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting finances in order, but most people don’t know where to start. The National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT) encourages people to begin with financial education from reputable resources such as their public education website, BFine.org. 

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9 Lessons to Know Before Buying a House

Her Money

moving day t20 8dgRGQ 840x487

Buying a home is more like buying a used car than renting an apartment. You need to ask questions, look under the hood and take it for a spin. Turn on all the faucets. Flush the toilet. Blast the heat and see what happens.

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5 Questions Newlyweds Have About Life Insurance

LifeHappens.org

married couple

Although it may not be the first thing on your mind as a newlywed, creating a strong financial plan for your future should be animportant point on your to-do list. Moreover, your financial strategy needs to include planning for risk—and thinking about what could go wrong, even if it’s uncomfortable. Often, that means buying life insurance.

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Four Scams That Target College Students

Mark Huffman
ConsumerAffairs.com

students on campus

College students are packing up to head back to school for the fall semester, and scammers can’t wait. They have a number of schemes planned to steal students’ money and personal information.

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These four free personal finance courses can set you up for financial success in three hours or less

CNBC - July 20, 2022

two dads kid laptop

While personal finance isn't typically taught in school, we can still catch up with online courses.

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Debt Consolidation Vs. Bankruptcy: What’s The Difference?

Forbes - June 14, 2022

class

If you’re looking for a way out from under overwhelming credit card bills and other debt, bankruptcy could wipe out your balances and offer a fresh start. But filing for bankruptcy has downsides, so you might consider debt consolidation as a way to simplify your finances and pay off debt faster.

READ MORE

The Personal Finance Advice Every College Graduate Needs

LifeHacker - May 25, 2022

bfine grad

For years you’ve lived on a college budget, scrounging meals where you can, buying gas on a trip-by-trip basis, and never once pondering the term “401(k).”

READ MORE

How women can take charge of their personal finance; here are 7 effective ways

Economic Times - May 24, 2022

woman1

Only 2% of women are investing for their retirement. It is important that you start early, start small and start investing in assets that leverage the power of compounding, like Equity Mutual Funds..

READ MORE

What Is a Homestead?

US News - May 23, 2022

bfine hive150

A homestead is an owner-occupied residence that can provide homeowners with certain financial and legal protections.

READ MORE

State-by-State List of Statute of Limitations on Debt

The Balance - January 7, 2022

bfine hive150

A statute of limitations is the amount of time a person can take in order to take legal action on a certain event..

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The Anxious Guy’s Guide to Financial Security

The Arrow - Aug. 17, 2021

bfine hive150

If you want to get your money straight, get your head straight first.

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What is right of redemption?

Bankrate - October 25, 2021

bfine hive150

No one wants to find themselves losing their home to foreclosure, but if you’re in this situation, there’s potentially still time to recover using the right of redemption.

Read More

Loans

Need a personal loan? Here are 7 essential questions you must ask before seeking one

Mint

couple getting loan

Personal Loans: There can be so many reasons for taking out a personal loan. However, are all such loans available from banks or fintech organisations worth your choice? You may need a loan to pay off some expenses, repay an existing loan, or for debt consolidation.

READ MORE

How Does Personal Loan Deferment Work?

Nerd Wallet

man on phone

Deferring a personal loan payment can relieve financial stress for a month or two, but the total cost could go up.

READ MORE

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Back a Payday Loan?

Nerd Wallet

worried man

Defaulting on a payday loan could drain your bank account and trigger collection calls. Try to settle the debt if you can.

READ MORE

Can Someone Take Over My Car Loan? Everything You Need to Know

Car & Driver

red car

If you need to end your current car loan and wish to have someone take it over, there are options available to explore..

READ MORE

Total Cost of Owning a Car

Nerd Wallet

car costs

Calculating the total cost of owning your car — or one you might buy soon — is the best way to make sure your auto budget is in line. But with soaring car prices, higher interest rates and jumping gas prices, it can be difficult to know exactly how much your car is costing you.

READ MORE

Leasing vs. Buying a New Car

Consumer Reports

couple talking with car leasing agent

The choice between buying and leasing a car is often a tough call. On the one hand, buying involves higher monthly costs, but you own an asset—your vehicle—in the end. On the other hand, a lease has lower monthly payments and lets you drive a vehicle that may be more expensive than you could afford to buy, but you get into a cycle in which you never stop paying for the vehicle.

READ MORE

Even after you think you bought a car, dealerships can 'yo-yo' you and take it back

NPR

family with car

If you've ever bought a car, you know the feeling when you've signed all the paperwork, driven off the lot, and think, "Wow, this is my car now."

READ MORE

Can You Get a Car Loan After Bankruptcy?

Car and Driver

car salesman handing keys to customer royalty free image 1669929532

If you've recently declared bankruptcy, getting an auto loan is difficult, but not impossible. Filing for bankruptcy affects your credit score, which makes you a less favorable borrower in the eyes of many lenders. However, there are ways to get approved for an auto loan even with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy on your record.

READ MORE

9 Lessons to Know Before Buying a House

Her Money

moving day t20 8dgRGQ 840x487

Buying a home is more like buying a used car than renting an apartment. You need to ask questions, look under the hood and take it for a spin. Turn on all the faucets. Flush the toilet. Blast the heat and see what happens.

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Tribal Payday Loans (What You Need to Know)

Credit.org

payday loan

The payday loan industry is notorious for its predatory practices and tendency to disregard the law. Federal and state governments alike have attempted to rein in payday lenders to protect consumers, especially since most payday loan borrowers ended up regretting their payday loans.

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Protecting service members from costly auto loans and wrongful repossessions

CFPB - July 18, 2022

couple buying cars

If you take a drive down the main road leading to most military bases in the country, you’ll likely see car dealerships lining both sides of the street.

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How online loans like Affirm and Afterpay really work—and should you ever use them

CNBC - June 6, 2022

woman shopping on laptop

After the birth of her son, Lauren Hynds wanted a way to work out that would be easy enough to manage while caring for a newborn. That’s when she saw ads for Peloton, the workout bike with the cult following.

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How to avoid common car leasing mistakes (2022 guide)

MarketWatch - June 7, 2022

car

 Signing a car lease can be a big commitment since you agree to drive a vehicle for a fixed number of miles and months.

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Loan Modification Vs. Refinance: Which Is Best For You?

Rocket Mortgage-  June 6, 2022

bfine hive150

You might want to refinance your loan if you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments or to take advantage of a lower interest rate. 

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Mortgage Relief Scams

FTC Consumer Advice 

ftc

Scammers promise to make changes to your mortgage loan or take other steps to save your home, but they don’t deliver.

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On My Own

What Happened to All My Money - Budget Basics

Keith Rucinski, Chapter 13, Trustee Akron, OH

man with empty wallet

It is Monday morning and you need to buy gasoline on the way to work.  While pumping gas your stomach reminds you that you did not have breakfast.   You grab a coffee and doughnut (the breakfast of champions) at the gas station convenience store.

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Know Before You Go – Your First Business Trip

BFine.org Admin

first apt

Going on your first business trip as a young professional is exciting.  You are trusted to represent your company; you’ll have new experiences and might even experience a new city.  As exciting as it is, it’s still work and your company will only pay for business related expenses. 

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Financial Facts: Getting Your First Apartment

BFine.org Admin

first apt

Moving into your first apartment is one of the most exciting and memorable experiences in life. But it does not come without its share of financial responsibilities and surprises.

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Getting Real about Your First Job With Benefits

BFine.org Admin

first job

You’ve put in the time and effort to land your first full-time job with benefits. You have arrived in the adult world. You will have health insurance and a steady paycheck, but HR has more papers than you’ve ever seen. You are asked to make decisions on things you don’t know about.  Be prepared!

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Everyone Needs Help Getting Their First Credit Card

Keith Rucinski, Chapter 13 Trustee, Akron, OH

first credit card

When you learn to swim, it is a process. There is an experienced swimmer to guide you. There are flotation devices to help you stay afloat until you can tread water on your own. Learning to build credit is a similar process.

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Understanding Payroll Taxes for Your First Full Time Job

Keith Rucinski, Chapter 13 Trustee, Akron, OH

student in her first apartment

There is nothing like graduating from school. No more staying up all night writing a term paper or cramming for a test. No more anxiety about that final exam and hoping you passed the course. It is now time for the “real world” and your first full time job.

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Student Loans

Biden administration cancels student loans of more than 150,000 borrowers under new plan

NBC News

student celebrating

Those who qualify must be enrolled in the administration's Saving on a Valuable Education repayment plan, which was launched last summer.

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Student Loans: 7 Steps Experts Say To Take If You Can’t Make Your Payments

Nasdaq

student celebrating

As of the second quarter of 2023, the total student loan debt held by Americans stands at $1.77 trillion, reflecting a 1.25% increase since the same period in 2022. Out of this total, private student loan debt accounts for $128.77 billion as of March 31, 2023.

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Student loan borrowers will get a hand in saving for retirement next year

Yahoo Finance

student celebrating

A new federal rule next year will make it easier for borrowers paying back their student loans to also save for their retirement. Section 110 of the SECURE 2.0 Act, legislation signed into law last December, will allow employers to provide 401(k), 403(b), or SIMPLE IRA matching for qualified student loan payments. The provision is optional and effective January 2024.

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How to choose the best student loan repayment plan

CNN

student celebrating

Millions of borrowers are required to make their monthly student loan payment for the first time in three-plus years in October, but there are several repayment plans available that could make the transition easier.

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Student loan interest resumes Friday and payments restart in October. Here’s what borrowers should know.

CNN

bankr student

For the first time in more than three years, federal student loan borrowers will be required to pay their monthly student loan bills starting in October.

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NACTT Statement on Dischargeability of Student Loan in Bankruptcy

NACTT

bankr student

With the Supreme Court opinion on the Biden Student Loan Debt Relief Program, the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT) remains committed to helping Americans who face financial hardship obtain a fresh start through bankruptcy.

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How to Stay Informed about Your Student Loan Payment

BFine Administrator 

woman_looking_at_finance

If you are one of the millions of Americans who have student loan debt you have probably been following the multitude of news reports about loan forbearance, repayment, forgiveness, and settlements over the past two years. You need to know what is going on with student loans, but keeping track of the news reports can be exhausting.

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Discharging Federal Student Loans in Bankruptcy Just Became Easier

Scott Waterman, Chapter 13 Trustee, Reading, PA

BFine_Website_Post.png

If a student loan borrower is having trouble making their monthly payment, bankruptcy may be an option.  When a Federal Court of Appeals blocked the Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Program in November 2022, borrowers thought their chance to free themselves from burdensome student loan debt had disappeared.  However, just three days later new guidelines were issued making it easier to discharge loans through bankrupty.

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Can Student Loan Borrowers Use Bankruptcy to Get Rid of Debt?

Newsweek

students drinking coffee

Student loan borrowers can file for bankruptcy, but it should only be considered as a last resort, multiple student loan experts told Newsweek after the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness program on Friday.

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Can you discharge student debt with bankruptcy?

Youtube

grad with child

According to Studentaid.gov, you can have your federal student loan discharged in bankruptcy court if you can prove that repaying those loans would impose an undue hardship.

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Biden administration launches new income-driven student debt repayment plan

CNN

Biden

The Biden administration is launching a beta website for its new income-driven student loan repayment plan today, officials told CNN, allowing borrowers to begin submitting applications for the program as federal student loan payments are set to resume in October.

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New income-driven student loan repayment plan available to borrowers

The Hill

woman with laptop

The Department of Education released a beta website Monday for the Biden administration’s new income-driven student loan repayment plan, known as the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan.

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Can’t Pay Parent PLUS Loans? How to Get Back on Track

Nerdwallet

father & son reviewing papers

Consider transferring the loan to your child, switching repayment plans, postponing payments or refinancing.

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The Student Loan Pause Is Actually, Really Ending — 6 Key Dates And Details

Forbes

loan officer

The student loan pause is actually, definitively coming to an end after over three years. President Joe Biden is soon expected to sign the debt ceiling bill approved by the House and Senate earlier this week. The compromise measure would preserve Biden’s signature student loan forgiveness plan, but would codify the end of the student loan pause.

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New Student Loan Problems: Prepare for Lost Payments, Surprise Late Fees as Contracts Change Hands

Yahoo Finance

loan officer

With student loan forgiveness still uncertain, borrowers can expect more changes — and perhaps some potholes — on the road to paying down student loan debt. As part of the Biden administration’s changes to the student loan system, the U.S. Education Department (ED) issued new servicing contracts for existing student loans.

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Today On the Table: filing for bankruptcy can now protect you from student loans

Fox 2 Detroit - Dec. 8th, 2022

studentloanpic

The Biden administraiton has made it easier to file for bankruptcy and cover student loans. But is that a smart financial step?

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Biden administration to make it easier for student loan borrowers to discharge debt in bankruptcy

CNBC

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The Biden administration announced on Thursday updated guidelines that will make it easier for those struggling with their student debt to discharge it in bankruptcy. The new bankruptcy policy comes from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, and allows federal student loan borrowers to prove that they’re experiencing financial distress requiring a fresh start. Under the rules, the agencies may recommend that a bankruptcy judge discharge a borrower’s student debt if they find their case warrants it.

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Biden's Education Department wipes out $1.5 billion in student debt for borrowers subjected to 'manipulation' by a for-profit school

Insider

graduation

President Joe Biden may have announced one-time blanket student-loan forgiveness, but that doesn't mean he's done helping borrowers who attended fraudulent for-profit schools. On Tuesday, Biden's Education Department announced it has approved $1.5 billion in student-debt relief for 79,000 borrowers who attended Westwood College. 

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