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Big health insurance rate hikes sought

Several insurers across the country are requesting double-digit percentage increases in their health insurance premiums for 2016, according to federal data released this week. The proposals are for plans both within and outside of the Obamacare online exchanges. Proposed rate hikes of up to 85 percent Insurers who intend to raise their health plan rates…

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Toasting 25 years of financial freedom

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired so early — at age 38 — that you almost can’t call it retirement. But whether you identify their experience as extreme early retirement or financial independence, the two are now entering their 25th year without the benefit of regular company paychecks — and with a higher net worth, despite inflation and withdrawals,…

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Sen. Warren pens scathing letter to SEC

Sen. Warren pens scathing letter to SEC The Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, is tasked with protecting investors. That includes overseeing a vast industry — the securities markets and the companies that raise capital through those markets. Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized SEC chairman Mary Jo White’s performance as a regulator. © KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters/Corbis But…

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Get more money for your old iPhone

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade to iPhone 6, now might be the right time. The website 9to5Mac was the first to report that Apple has increased trade-in pricing at its retail stores for iPhone 4s, 5 and 5s. © Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis Trade in your old phone now and you’ll get: $200 — an increase…

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4 reasons to love annuities

Annuities are hard to love. They are often complex, expensive and full of gotchas. A lot of people are inclined to run in the other direction. But before you lace up your sneakers, consider that some of the most highly respected retirement planning experts consider annuities some of the best tools in a future retirees’…

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Deducting transgender medical expenses

Bruce Jenner has a new life as Caitlyn Jenner. She revealed her new look this week on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. It’s the most followed male-to-female transgender case since Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced in July 2013 to 35 years at Fort Leavenworth for Espionage Act violations in connection with Iraq…

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Fannie Mae and housing discrimination?

Does the term “housing discrimination” come to mind when you think of Fannie Mae? Maybe it does if you go by a complaint filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance. The NFHA, together with 19 local fair housing groups, has filed a complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The complaint alleges that…

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Avg. dog-bite claim now costs $32K

Avg. dog-bite claim now costs $32K When it comes to home insurance, we tend to worry about ice and snow on our roof, flooding in our basement and our neighbor’s towering trees suddenly converting our upstairs into a tree house when severe weather strikes. But one of the likeliest threats to our home coverage is…

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Jean Chatzky: 5 money tips for college

If you — like me — are sending a child off to college in the fall, you’re probably looking forward to a last summer of sorts. I know I have a few quality-time trips planned, plus lots of errands for dorm essentials. The to-do list is not short. But one thing I am prioritizing is…

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Speculate … but only a little

I’m a fan of core-satellite investing, where investors allocate most of their money to core holdings, using indexed mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with low management and administrative expenses. Earlier blog posts covered the basics of this approach. The balance of the portfolio is actively managed where that investor is trying to outperform the…

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Signs of housing market strength in April

Even though sales of existing homes slowed down in April, there are other signs that point to continued strength in the housing market. For one, more home sales are coming up, based on a forward-looking indicator of sales contracts signed for existing homes. And sales of new homes strengthened in April.Lawrence Yun, chief economist of…

Check your car for recalls NOW

With the giant Takata air bag recall expanded to nearly 34 million cars a couple of weeks ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been busy working with automakers to compile a complete list of the cars affected. Recently, it announced that it now has all Chrysler, General Motors, Mitsubishi and Subaru cars…

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New way to replace a Medicare card

If you are older than 65 and rely on Medicare for your health insurance, you know that every time you go to a new health care provider, you are asked for your Medicare card. If you have never seen one, the card is old school. It’s made out of heavy paper — not plastic or…

Discover offers double rewards

Discover just launched what amounts to a potentially lucrative sign-on bonus. Starting today, Discover will double the cash rewards new card holders earn through their first year. You must apply for a cash back credit card by July 31 to be eligible. Why should you care? There’s no cap on how much cash back a…

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US losing grip on billionaires

Self-made billionaires generated more than $3.6 trillion in wealth globally over the past two decades, according to a recent report by UBS and PwC. But over just the past five years, both the industries and regions for wealth creation are shifting. Tech rules More of the self-made billionaires (30 percent) created wealth in the financial-services industry,…

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Some used car prices declining

While prices of used cars 5 years old and more recent are 7.1 percent higher on average in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2014, some used car prices are actually on the decline, according to Edmunds.com. Small used cars saw greater price drop Analysis by the auto information…

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Mobile app review: Ally Assist

App name: Ally Assist Publisher: Ally Financial Inc. Price: Free Available on: iPhone What’s it supposed to do? Ally Assist is a feature within the Ally Mobile Banking App. Ally Assist is a virtual assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri, that responds to user inquiries and adds to the mobile banking experience. Ease of use (4/5):…

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Worst debit card ever?

Imagine a debit card that only allowed you to withdraw $25 per day, and you had to pay an ATM fee each time you made a withdrawal. No one in their right mind would choose a debit card like that, right? But if you’re in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program in Kansas,…

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Bankrate report prompts call for probe

The Consumer Federation of America is calling for federal and state officials to investigate auto insurance companies’ use of ZIP codes in setting rates, following a Bankrate report published Thursday. We gathered online quotes for six-month premiums from three leading insurers in 10 major U.S. cities, using a pair of neighboring addresses in each city…

Home sales slow down in April

If you are looking to buy a house, you likely know that the housing market has been on the upswing this year. This comes about as an improving economy draws more buyers while interest rates remain low by historical standards. Up year-over-year Still, sales of existing homes dropped off 3.3 percent in April, the National…

Laws to prevent elder financial abuse

“Financial Planning” magazine is running an online series this month about how financial advisers can better serve seniors. Day 14 of the series addressed the use of “pause laws,” that give financial institutions and advisers the right to delay executing a transaction they think is suspicious. In an earlier blog post, I talked about advisers…