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Miranda Marquit

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There has been a lot of hand wringing lately by banks. Regulations are in effect, and soon, a debit fee interchange cap will be instituted. Big banks, which have been enjoying big profits since many of them repaid their TARP obligations, are complaining about lost revenues. And, in order to recover some of the money they say they are losing as a result of regulations and caps, they are starting look for ways to raise…

Many people automatically assume that interest is a bad thing. This is because many of us encounter interest in negative settings: We are often paying it on loans. Credit card interest seems like Exhibit A when it comes to decrying interest. However, interest isn’t all bad. In fact, interest can be your friend. The key is to earn it, rather than pay it. Earning Interest You can actually get on the good side of interest…

Almost everyone these days wants to know how you handle credit. Your credit history is increasingly viewed as a window into your life and personality — including whether or not you are responsible and reliable. It might not be fair, but that’s the reality. As a result, it is important to make sure that the information in your credit report is accurate. On top of that, it is just helpful to know what’s in there.…

One of the questions you need to ask yourself before you purchase something on sale, or take advantage of a “great bargain” is this: Am I really saving money? In so many instances, we think that we are saving money when what we are actually doing is spending it. If you really want to save money and build wealth, you have to get real about your spending and saving habits. Saving Money vs. Spending Less…

One of the biggest questions people ask about finances is what the 30% rule means for housing. Does it mean net or gross income? Is it just the mortgage plus interest, or does it include other expenses? You might get several different answers. The most generous answer, of course, is that you can “afford” to pay 30% of your gross income on mortgage and interest payments. While you might feel good about this plan, it…

One of the big pieces of news recently is that the PlayStation Network was hacked. The end result? A large number of people had their personal information compromised. I’m one of them. I had a credit card stored on the PlayStation Network, and I’m a little bit worried that it is compromised. So, what are my options? Get New Cards Rather than wait to see what happens, I decided to be proactive. I called the…

One of the things you have to watch out for when you are opening new bank accounts is the fine print associated with bank deals and cash bonuses. These ploys are used to get you to open an account, and they can provide you with competitive yields and cash bonuses, but you do have to be aware of some of the catches that might come these opportunities. Temporarily High Interest Yields Like some credit cards…

One of the products that some savers use in order to get higher yields on their CDs is brokerage CDs. For the most part, brokerage CDs are regular CDs. However, when you get them through a broker, sometimes you can find higher rates, since the broker might have access to a wider variety of offerings. In some cases, too, the brokerage will put a large amount of money into a CD, and you can get…

As you decide on a bank or credit union, it is a good idea to consider your options and thoroughly vet your choices. You want to make sure that your bank will provide you good service, as well as provide you with the financial products and services that you need. It is also worth noting that the era of having all of your banking in one place is over. Electronic banking via the Internet has…

One of the most common concerns for many consumers is whether or not they can afford a mortgage. Figuring out whether or not you can afford a mortgage should be more about simply figuring out what your mortgage payment should be. You should also realize that once you buy a home, there are other costs involved. Better Safe Than Sorry Many personal finance experts will tell you to keep your mortgage payment to 1/3 of…

One of the basic rules of personal finance is to make sure you have an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a short-term savings account that provides you with access to money when you need to cover unexpected expenses. It can be a wise idea to have two different emergency funds: One for short-term costs, such as car repairs, and one for long-term problems, such as unemployment. Your short-term emergency fund can find a good…

One of the consequences of the recently enacted Credit CARD Act is that many credit card issuers are changing some of the terms of their agreements. This can include providing you notice that they are changing the fee structure, as well as changing your interest rate. It’s true that credit card issuers aren’t supposed to raise interest rates on existing balances (except in a few cases), but they can up the interest rate on your…

One of the ways that some banks are trying to lure customers is by beefing up their checking account offerings. Rewards checking accounts are becoming more common, including high yield checking accounts that offer a fairly high rate of return. While any return isn’t going to be particularly attractive right now, earning something on your checking account is better than nothing. [ad#Content 300×250] It is important to be careful, though, when you consider high yield…

You know that an emergency fund is a necessity if you want to achieve financial security and freedom. However, it can be rather depressing to see the rate which you earn interest on a savings account. Traditional savings accounts can be especially depressing. But that is the price you pay for the liquidity and access that you get with a savings account, right? [ad#Content 300×250] You can get slightly higher CD rates — and the…

Your credit card spending may have a bigger impact on your revolving accounts than you might think. Indeed, some credit card issuers and others have admitted that your spending habits may be influencing what happens to your credit card interest rate, or to your credit limits. Of course, the Credit CARD Act passed last year provides some protection against these practices, but even the fact that the issue has come up in recent years offers…

Before you sign up for a new credit card, make sure you understand all of the terms. A credit card rate, especially a 0% credit card, might look attractive initially, but once you start reading the fine print, you might change your mind. After all, there is a lot of stuff in that fine print. Information about what could happen to your rewards points, as well as what could make your credit card interest rate…

We hear a lot about how money can’t buy happiness. However, in some cases it really can. Recently, a study pointed out that $75,000 was the salary for happiness. Many might argue that they are perfectly happy with less than $75,000 a year. And that is probably true. However, the report does point something interesting out: Money can contribute to happiness. [ad#Content 300×250] It would be nice to think that money can’t really buy happiness,…

The recession saw a definite drop in the amount of 0% credit card offers seen in the mail. With the credit crunch, it was quite difficult to qualify for any kind of loan — including a credit card. Even though credit is still a bit crunched, issuers are starting to come back from the brink a little bit, offering credit cards again. [ad#Content 300×250] One type of credit card offer you might see in your…