Are Personal Loans Taxable?

On Friday, I talked about using your 401(k) to pay off your mortgage. Then, over the weekend, a reader wrote in to ask about a different scenario – a family member lending you the money to pay off your mortgage. Robert asked: Is a $100k personal loan from a family member to pay off a […]


Pay Off Your Mortgage With 401(k) Funds?

Earlier this week, I ran across an article about a new piece of legislation being promoted by two Georgia Congressmen who want to allow people to pull money out of their retirement accounts to pay down their mortgages. Dubbed the Hardship Outlays to Protect Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act of 2011, the legislation would allow homeowners […]


States That Don’t Allow Credit Card Surcharges

When I wrote last week about credit card surcharges, I noted that ten states have actually passed laws against such fees. This is in addition to the major card networks having banned them as part of their merchant agreement. The ten states with laws against credit card surcharges include: California Colorado Connecticut Florida Kansas Maine […]


Why Reverse Mortgages Are Not a Retirement Option

Everyone has seen how housing prices have taken a nosedive in most markets across America since the start of the 2008 recession. Almost $3 trillion worth of equity has disappeared, and homes are now worth significantly less than what their owners paid for them. This evaporation of equity has dealt a devastating blow to many […]


Series I Savings Bond Rates – November 2011

This is just a quick note to say that September inflation numbers are out, so we can now calculate the new Series I Savings Bond rates that will go into effect in November. I’ve talked in the past about how to predict Savings Bond interest rates. The short answer is this: The I Bond rate […]


Six Ways to Save on Transportation

Every family would like a little more money in the piggy bank at the end of the month, but sometimes it seems like trimming expenses is too painful or too much of a hassle. Well, here are six painless ways to save a few bucks on your transportation budget — and those few bucks can […]


Changes Aim to Make Refinancing Underwater Mortgages Easier

If you’ve been unable to refinance your mortgage because your loan is underwater, you’ll be happy to learn that the Obama administration has announced sweeping changes aimed at helping homeowners like you. More specifically, if your loan was sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009 and your loan-to-value ratio […]


Shopping Online? Be Sure to Get Cash Back

Do you like to shop online? If so, do you make a point of clicking through from an online “cash back mall” first? If you do, you’re saving a few extra percentage points. If not, you’re leaving some money on the table. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, there are a number of services […]


Credit Card Surcharges or Checkout Fees

I’m currently on the road and just had an opportunity to dine out at a fantastic local breakfast spot. After placing my order and being told my total, I whipped out my Chase Freedom card, at which point I was informed of a $0.40 charge for using a credit card. I was annoyed, but I […]


Social Security Benefits to Increase in 2012

In what’s sure to be a bit of welcome news, the Social Security Administration has announced that Social Security recipients will receive a 3.6% increase in payments, effective this coming January. This is the first such increase in benefits since 2009, when there was a 5.8% increase. The lack of increases over the past two […]