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Brokered CD may offer higher rates

Low rates on certificates of deposit got you down? A brokered CD may be the answer. Before rushing over to the Fidelity or TD Ameritrade website, know that brokered CDs come with a couple of complexities. Those can include the math involved with buying a CD trading at a premium (or a discount) to par,…

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Scamming Medicare just got harder

Medicare cards will no longer carry Social Security numbers, thanks to a mostly ignored section of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization ACT of 2015, which President Obama signed into law April 16. Social Security numbers on Medicare cards have facilitated fraud attacks on seniors for years, but getting Medicare to remove this source of…

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TurboTax faces tax ID theft lawsuit

Two taxpayers have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the leading individual tax preparation software company didn’t do enough to prevent the theft of their tax identities. In fact, in their lawsuit filed April 20 in a California district court, the pair charges Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, with facilitating the filing of fraudulent tax…

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Feds clear insurer for drone use

As the spring tornado season ramps up, some homeowners may soon hear an unfamiliar whirring sound overhead. Last week, Pennsylvania-based Erie Insurance received conditional approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use unmanned aerial drones in its operations. The conditional approval enables Erie to deploy drones for: Underwriting Surveys and inspections Risk management and assessment…

Mortgage rates in Washington, DC

Mortgage rates mostly decreased this week in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, population growth in the Washington area is slowing down, The Washington Post reports. In three Virginia counties — Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington — more people moved out than in over the past year, according to the latest census numbers. In D.C. 5,000 residents left the…

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How to Get Rid of Unhealthy Black Mold

The disgusting stuff on your wall could be mold, black mold or mildew. Figuring that out is the first step in getting rid of it. Removing black mold from your home can sound like a daunting task. Just the term “black mold” sounds scary enough. If you’re willing to buy the proper safety equipment and…

Mr. Boss Man, we need help

If your boss would listen, what would you tell him (or her) about the problems you face saving for retirement? PwC, a human resources consulting firm, recently conducted a survey to help employers understand what worries their employees. How closely do the responses mirror what you would have said if someone had asked you? Are…

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Where the Stars Spend the Night

By Melissa Allison It’s not often you can peer into the bedrooms of the rich and famous, but these homes for sale or rent are your chance. Harold Perrineau Zillow Lost? Nope, he’s just down the street. After buying a house nearby, Perrineau listed this Spanish-style compound that oozes old-time Hollywood charm and boasts a…

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Home buyers in these markets have the upper hand

New homebuyers: Time to buy? It continues to be a sellers’ market in many areas of the country, but that doesn’t mean buyers everywhere are out of luck. The top housing markets for buyers are Philadelphia, Chicago and Cleveland, according to a report from Zillow. In these markets, inventory tends to be strong and homes…

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Free FICO scores for the struggling

FICO continues to propel the free credit score movement forward. The analytics company announced Tuesday it will give away free FICO scores to around one million financially-strapped consumers annually through qualified non-profit credit counselors and participating government entities. The free scores are being offered as an expansion of its Open Access program, launched in November…

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Big bosses who earn a measly buck

This month, companies listed in the S&P 500 file proxy statements disclosing CEO compensation, and we expect big numbers to reflect the big position. After all, they don’t work for a pittance — or do they? At one end of the scale is Nicholas Woodman, CEO of GoPro, who took home a whopping $284.5 million in…

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Water bottles recycled as car seats

If you feel guilty about buying pre-filled plastic water bottles this Earth Day, knowing that they are not reusable and pile up in landfills, you can ease your mind a bit knowing that some innovators have found a way to transform these plastic bottles into fiber used to make fabric. Ford has partnered with Unifi,…

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Will you wear it like the 18 percent?

Picture this unlikely scene: It’s rush hour and the subway is filled with men and women, talking to no one. They are all staring intently…at their watches. As the first Apple Watches hit the streets this week, a newly released study finds that 82 percent of people indicate they won’t buy a wearable device —…

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Survey says: ‘Yes, we can retire’

Americans are feeling a lot more confident about their retirement prospects than they did in the post-Great Recession years from 2009 to 2013, according to findings reported in the 25th annual Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI. Workers say they are: Very confident  they will have enough money to retire and…

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Would you retire early if you could?

I have a friend who retired about 10 years ago and he says if he knew how much he was going to enjoy retirement, he would have done it sooner. Apparently, many folks agree. New York Life released the results of a survey last week of retirees age 62-70 with at least $100,000 in retirement…

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For Earth Day: 22 Shades of Green

Courtesy of MandibuleThe Positive Energy ECOXIA House in Yerres, France, is a certified Passivhaus, built for sustainability and efficiency.There are many options available for those who want to build a “green” house. The number of sustainable and energy-efficient options used in the construction is dependent on budget, taste and the level of desire to be…

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Cap One gets you Uber rewards

A Capital One Quicksilver credit card now entitles its holder to Uber rewards. The issuer announced it has partnered with the popular rideshare service. Why should you care? Starting today, consumers will receive 20 percent cash back on Uber rides through April 2016 when they pay with their Quicksilver credit card. Cash will be refunded…

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88,000 apply to get in this ‘poor door’

NYC luxury condo building has separate entrance for low-income renters. The line for this “poor door” stretches as far as the eye can see. A 33-story luxury complex in Manhattan has 55 affordable rentals at below-market rates for those who meet certain income requirements – and a staggering 88,000 applications have been received. For those…

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Are e-cigs a blessing or a scourge?

There was good news and bad news on teen tobacco use last week. First, the good news: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen smoking plunged from more than 13 percent to an all-time low of 9.2 percent last year among the 22,000 middle- and high school students polled. The nationwide survey…

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Jean Chatzky: How to reduce car costs

Some troubling automotive news: The average amount people are borrowing to finance their cars hit record highs last year. And no doubt related to that is the fact that car loan terms have gotten longer, with 62 percent of loans in 2014 issued for terms of 60 months or more. These two facts mean we’re…

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A credit card for nature lovers

Calling all nature lovers. National Geographic is partnering with FirstBankcard to offer a new credit card. Why should you care? The National Geographic Visa card lets cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent on purchases through National Geographic as well as one point per dollar on all other transactions. Points can be redeemed for merchandise,…

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Daily market volatility? No big deal

I’m writing this blog post on Monday morning, April 20. At 11 a.m., the U.S. stock market as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJAI) was up 248 points, or up 1.39 percent after closing down 279.47 points, or — 1.28 percent, on Friday, April 17. If your reaction is, “so what?” good for…

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What does 1-percent pay in taxes?

Wonder how much the rich pay in federal income tax? According to estimates by the Tax Policy Foundation, the top 1 percent of earners (incomes in excess of $615,000) are paying nearly half — 45.7 percent — of individual income taxes for tax year 2014. The top 20 percent, with incomes above $134,300, contribute nearly 84 percent…

Podcast: Job interviewers get rude

Transcript (OPEN) From Bankrate.com, this is “Your Money This Week.” I’m Mark Hamrick in Washington. In order to get a job, first there’s the interview. But what if the person on the other side of the table asks you a question that’s inappropriate, or even illegal? A new study from CareerBuilder finds it happens much…

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How now housing?

Americans love comeback stories, whether in books, movies or even real life. They particularly love to see the economy stage a comeback, not only because it makes for a good story but also because of the promise of financial security underpinning emotionally-charged hopes. We’ll get a look this week at a number of metrics from…