Financial News from US News & World Report

  • 5 Ways to Avoid Raiding Your Emergency Fund US News - 14 hours ago

    Most experts say it's important to keep three to six months' worth of expenses in an emergency fund, a sentiment that presumably many people living paycheck to paycheck find daunting or laughable. Or a savings account easily linked to your checking account?

  • 3 Ways to Plan for Your Funeral Expenses US News - 18 hours ago

    A 2014 survey by the National Funeral Directors Association of adults older than 40 found only 19 percent of respondents had prearranged their funeral, and of those, about 26 percent had prepaid. "I just know how emotional my daughter is," says Carole Walsh of Lowell, Michigan. Walsh and her husband, both 62, are among those who have planned and prepaid the bulk of their funeral arrangements. To do so, they purchased an insurance policy through a funeral home that will cover expenses, which is one of two ways funeral homes typically set up prepayment plans.

  • 5 Gifts for New Parents That Don't Cost a Dime US News - 19 hours ago

    While I love our family time, one of my favorite aspects of being a new parent is introducing our baby to friends and family members. I love that our friends and family think enough of us to not only visit but to also to bring gifts and am incredibly grateful for what we have received.

  • 4 Ways to Cut the Clutter and Make Money Doing It US News - 19 hours ago

    The winter is thawing (finally) and with that comes the inevitable closet purge. Piles of bulky sweaters, your sixth pair of blue jeans and that dress you haven't worn in over a year -- these are all signs ...

  • A Smart Investing Plan for 30-Somethings US News - 19 hours ago

    Consider your interests, hobbies and travel dreams as you envision your retirement, writes Jacob Gold, financial advisor and president of Jacob Gold & Associates Inc. "Once you've thought about how you want to spend your time in retirement, it's important to make a plan on how to accomplish these goals. Put something down on paper and take advantage of planning resources available through your employer or retirement plan provider," he writes. "Allocate a certain percentage or dollar amount of your salary to be automatically taken out of your paycheck or checking account and invested in a retirement savings account. "You adjust to your new budget, and have the assurance that you are taking care of your retirement readiness." Here's how to test your 401(k) IQ.

  • 5 Ways to Break Your Bad Money Habits US News - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 3:38 AM AEST

    But solutions are hard to come by, says Ramona Pearson, a certified public accountant and personal financial advisor in Detroit. Shelly Smith-Acuna, dean of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver, agrees.

  • What to Do If You Owe the IRS But You Can't Pay US News - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 3:03 AM AEST

    Let's say you owe $20,000 and you usually get a refund," says Cari Weston, senior technical manager on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants tax staff.

  • 4 Tips for Managing Veterans US News - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 1:33 AM AEST

    In the late 80s, Peter Gudmundsson went from overseeing artillery and military intelligence in the Marines to executing mergers and acquisitions on Wall Street. These cultural differences -- in this case, the value of mission versus money and success of team versus individual -- can be among the toughest aspects of transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. By simply being sensitive to this transition, managers can help their veteran employees, as well as the team and company, be successful. "The important thing is to understand the diversity of the veteran experience," Gudmundsson says.

  • 3 Important Facts About Stocks Within College Savings Plans US News - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 12:30 AM AEST

    By choosing a stock-based fund within a 529 plan, parents can marry the tax-advantaged savings with the opportunity for growth. Parents can choose from a range of investments within a 529 plan, including bond funds and cash options, among others, with changes allowed once every 12 months. Parents can't choose individual stocks in a 529 plan, but they do have the option to invest more heavily in stock-based funds. "Current estimates have college expenses increasing at 5 to 6 percent per year," says Kevin Gahagan, a certified financial planner with Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco.

  • New York City Comptroller Wants to Make Fiduciary Status Clear US News - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 12:00 AM AEST

    You may have expected New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, in a "politics as usual" scenario, to closely ally himself with Wall Street interests. Wall Street can be a significant source of campaign contributions. In March, Stringer's office issued a blistering report, entitled, "Safeguarding Our Savings: Protecting New Yorkers through the Fiduciary Standard." Although much has been written about the difference between a fiduciary obligation, which legally requires an advisor to place a client's interest above their own, and the lower "suitability" standard of brokers and insurance companies, this report goes for the jugular. All registered investment advisor, or RIA, firms, on the other hand, are held to the fiduciary standard.

  • How Money Can Buy You Happiness US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 11:29 PM AEST
    How Money Can Buy You Happiness

    The link between money and happiness is more nuanced and intuitive than you might imagine. Let's take a look at three fascinating studies that document a link between money and happiness. University of Colorado psychology professor Leaf Van Boven conducted a study in which he found spending money on life experiences, rather material possessions, is generally correlated with higher levels of happiness. On the other hand, the level of happiness associated with owning material possessions, such as cars, appliances and televisions, depreciates over time.

  • 4 Ways Retirement Is Like Baseball US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 11:14 PM AEST
    4 Ways Retirement Is Like Baseball

    While watching the season opener for the San Francisco Giants, it dawned on me how planning for retirement is in many ways similar to the great American pastime. Despite our best preparation, it is conceivable we may strike out a few times before we get a hit.

  • 9 Hidden Homebuying Expenses That Can Really Cost You US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 11:05 PM AEST

    So, you're finally ready to purchase your first home -- congratulations! Not to be a Debbie Downer, but there's something we need to tell you: You're about to be really, really poor. Before your lender hands you a boatload of money to buy your house, you will be required to get an appraisal from a professional real estate appraiser -- your agent's market valuation or online search doesn't count.

  • 6 Chic Budget-Friendly Backyard Ideas US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 10:55 PM AEST

    This is the perfect opportunity to create a budget for your fresh new space, prioritizing what is most important for your yard. No budget to modernize your outdoor furniture and accessories? Consider drought-resistant plants. Planting drought-resistant plants such as catmint, lavender or succulents helps preserve water, saving you money on your water bill, and giving you some spare cash to put toward other garden updates.

  • How to Earn Cash Back When You Shop US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 10:52 PM AEST

    Cash-back shopping websites earn a commission when purchases are made through their site, and then the commissions are shared with shoppers. So how can you find a credit card with a cash-back program that works for you?

  • Managing Your Mom or Dad's Money US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 1:11 AM AEST

    Shortly after Terrie Hull's mother got in a car accident in 2011 that caused brain damage, her mother married a man Hull didn't trust. "We want people to know that no matter how close a family is, something this tragic can happen when there's a new influence involved," she says. We need to discuss this while we're all lucid, before age 50," Jon Hull says. The aging of the baby boomers, who will start turning 85 in 2030, means that a growing number of Americans are responsible for managing their family members' money.

  • 5 Qualities Every Employer Wants in a Job Candidate US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 1:00 AM AEST

    Preparing for a job interview can be a time-consuming and nerve-wracking experience. Some people spend a ridiculous amount of energy trying to prepare and memorize answers for every imaginable interview question.

  • How to Transition to a Nonprofit Job US News - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 12:59 AM AEST

    Maybe you already identified a nonprofit organization with the potential to provide you a paycheck and a sense of purpose? If so, you likely have questions about what moving to a nonprofit organization would mean for your personal bottom line. If you are thinking there's more to life and work than a paycheck, keep Gassner Otting's suggestions in mind to prepare for a more purposeful career. "Many corporate employees find themselves in nonprofit job interviews because they simply cannot afford not to make this change," Gassner Otting says.

  • How to Afford Retirement in Paris US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:54 PM AEST
    How to Afford Retirement in Paris

    Living in Paris, the world's most beautiful, romantic city, would be a dream come true for many. In fact, retirement in Paris is a more realistic idea now than it's been in a long time, thanks to the dollar's strength versus the euro. Paris is an ideal place to consider for part-time retirement overseas, an increasingly common choice among expat retirees. Pair Paris with a more affordable choice (somewhere in the Americas, for example), bolster your retirement nest egg with revenue from your cash-flowing rental apartment and, voilà, Paris could be temptingly within reach.

  • Is Your Home a Sound Investment? US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:37 PM AEST

    All this can enhance its value, and to be sure, Rich Arzaga inhabits a fabulous residence in San Ramon, California. The founder and CEO of Cornerstone Wealth Management estimates that its value approaches $1.9 million. "Most people who insist that owning is a great investment are purely emotional on the matter and have not done any serious overall calculation. "A home is a significant investment, but homeowners must not make the mistake of thinking of a home in the same terms as your stock portfolio," says Elle Kaplan, CEO and founding partner of LexION Capital in New York.

  • Say Hello to Spring Savings US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:23 PM AEST

    After swimming, it's the number one-ranked fitness activity that kids (ages 6 to 12), young adults (ages 18 to 24) and older adults (ages 55 to 64) say they'd like to try, according to the Physical Activity Council, a trade association group. Credit, of course, is not available if your clubs are bent or lying at the bottom of a lake somewhere off of the 15th hole.

  • A Wealth Building Plan for You: Ready to Retire US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:18 PM AEST
    A Wealth Building Plan for You: Ready to Retire

    A general rule of thumb is that you'll want to aim to have 70 to 80 percent of your current income in retirement. In January 2014, Fidelity Investments estimated that to get there, you'll need retirement savings totaling at least eight times your ending salary.

  • How One Blogger Learned to Cook and Saved a Fortune US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:17 PM AEST

    On the day of my bridal shower , I received tons of amazing cooking supplies. When I finished opening gifts, my best friend leaned over and asked me, "What would they say if they knew you couldn't ...

  • 7 Outdoor Adventures That Won't Cost a Penny US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:10 PM AEST

    You'll only need some basic supplies and gear to make this adventure happen -- bottled water, a good pair of hiking shoes and a smartphone with a GPS device may come in handy. Just choose a good viewing area -- the outskirts of a city or a rural area are ideal spots for astronomy enthusiasts -- or head to the nearest science center for free lectures and viewing nights. Just make sure you're well-equipped for the ride with bottled water, a helmet and some snacks for the road. This can be a fun social activity, give you a chance to learn about nature and also contribute to your community in a new way.

  • 6 Kinds of Annoying Co-Workers and How to Deal With Them US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 11:00 PM AEST

    Just about everyone's been there. Unless you're extremely lucky or tolerant, you'll have your share of annoying co-workers over the years. Here is how to deal with the six most common types. Hopefully ...

  • Some Do's and Don'ts of a Medicaid Spend Down US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 5:58 AM AEST

    If you have an elderly parent destined for a nursing home, but who lacks the money to pay for it, you may do what many people do -- help your parent apply for Medicaid, a joint federal-state program that covers medical bills for low-income seniors. That's a financial strategy used when the individual's income is a little too high to qualify for Medicaid. To be accepted into the program, some of your parent's income must be spent down to ensure his or her income is low enough to qualify for Medicaid. Then you'll have to do a $150 spend down before Medicaid will pay those nursing costs.

  • Avoid These Costly Mistakes on Your Tax Return US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 3:52 AM AEST
    Avoid These Costly Mistakes on Your Tax Return

    "If you paid an insufficient amount of taxes throughout the year, you'll receive an underpayment penalty," says Melanie Lauridsen, technical manager on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants tax staff. "If you're supposed to pay estimated taxes and don't, you can't just write a check for the full amount on April 15," says Jackie Perlman, principal tax research analyst at The Tax Institute at H&R Block. The IRS has a penalty called the accuracy-related penalty, which applies to gross exaggeration or misrepresentation of information on a tax return. But Perlman says for most people, it won't apply.

  • 6 Alternatives to Buying and Selling on Craigslist US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 12:47 AM AEST

    Craigslist has an enormous global user base -- the site gets more than 50 billion page views, and users post over 80 billion classified ads per month, according to the company -- but its size, anonymity and lack of policing also deter some would-be buyers and sellers. Most people have -- or know someone who's had -- a sketchy experience on Craigslist. For instance, when Josh Rubin of Sacramento, California, tried to buy a used laptop, the 32-year-old says he "ended up meeting someone that pulled up in a windowless van full of electronics -- no thanks!" (He bailed quickly, telling the seller he thought the laptop had too much wear and tear for his needs.) Many sellers, on the other hand, have dealt with counterfeit payments or otherwise dishonest buyers. Experiences like that have inspired a slew of new tools that allow you to buy and sell goods locally without meeting strangers on Craigslist.

  • 3 Investment Maneuvers That Will Help You at Tax Time US News - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 12:01 AM AEST

    Tax season is finally coming to an end. Now that the tedious task of submitting your tax return is out of the way, it's time to look for other opportunities to save on this expense. December is always the month when everybody suggests the masses look for capital losses to replace capital gains, but this tax-saving move is much more effective when done throughout the year.

  • 12 Ways to Spend Less on Food US News - Tue, Apr 14, 2015 11:59 PM AEST

    Food is expensive. In February 2015, Americans spent $58.9 billion on food eaten at home and almost the same amount ($57.5 billion) on food consumed away from home, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • How a Strong Dollar Could Affect Stocks US News - Tue, Apr 14, 2015 11:48 PM AEST

    Expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike short-term interest rates this year have driven the U.S. dollar higher in recent months. The Fed's expected rate hike reflects confidence that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand a move toward higher rates.

  • 4 Money Tips to Raise Financially Responsible Kids US News - Tue, Apr 14, 2015 11:08 PM AEST

    With most parents working from dawn until dusk, with their children in school, extracurricular activities and child care, parents tend to feel a bit guilty, leading them to say "yes" too often to their kids. Yet, holding children accountable and making them responsible, teaching them to earn what they want and making them realize there is no "free lunch" goes a long way toward raising respectful children.

  • When to Avoid the Mall US News - Tue, Apr 14, 2015 11:03 PM AEST

    A death in the family: Making any large purchase right after someone you love has died is a bad idea. There's rarely any reason you really have to rush into a purchase, so if it's more than $100, it wouldn't hurt to wait a month to make sure you really want or need it and that you've found the best price for it.

  • 10 Cheapest Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Out-of-State Students US News - Tue, Apr 14, 2015 11:00 PM AEST

    The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search. Students looking for affordable out-of-state tuition will pay less than $350 per credit at the 10 public schools below, according to data submitted to U.S. News in an annual survey. Massachusetts' Fitchburg State University offers students the biggest deal per credit out of the 80 public, ranked schools that reported the data to U.S. News, charging out-of-state students only $167 in 2014-2015.

  • 6 Common Money Mistakes People Make in Their 30s US News - Tue, Apr 14, 2015 11:00 PM AEST

    People in their 30s often continue to carry credit card debt.A credit card can be a useful tool for shopping, but if you can't pay off the balance in full each month, you're making a big mistake.That credit card debt will hang over your head for years, draining your finances steadily. A $1,000 balance on a typical credit card, if paid down only using minimum payments, will end up costing you more than an additional thousand dollars in interest.