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Chicago now taxing some cloud services

If you live in Chicago and are a fan of Netflix’s House of Cards and other shows, be prepared to pay an added 9% to stream its programs. If you live in Chicago and are planning to binge-watch some popular streaming programs this long Fourth of July weekend, get ready to pay more. Effective July…

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Take team approach to senior finances

Consumers tend to think of investment professionals when they think of money management, but there’s more to managing your personal wealth than putting together an investment strategy aligned with your life goals and financial needs. Accountant Having professional tax advice can help seniors reduce the tax bite in deciding which investments to sell and the…

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Are you insured for Shark Week?

Monday marks the start of the 28th annual Shark Week, arguably the least necessary, most gratuitous celebration of our deep-seated, irrational fear of the submerged world to ever spill out of cable programming, in this case the Discovery Channel. Are you insured for a shark encounter? Most health insurance and many accident insurance policies provide…

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Financing a tiny house

Photo courtesy of HGTV The “tiny house movement” is one of the hottest retirement living trends, and one answer for people seeking a low-cost living alternative. Tiny houses are carefully designed dwellings that average about 400 square feet, although some are as small as 100 square feet. A few people who live in homes as…

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Americans hit the road this July Fourth

Low gas prices and rising household incomes mean more Americans will travel this Fourth of July holiday than they have since 2007. AAA projects 41.9 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home this holiday weekend, a slight increase of 0.7% from last year. “Although some consumers are using their recent savings on…

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6 things same-sex couples must do

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, gay couples — especially those living in states that are changing their rules in light of the court ruling — should examine their retirement planning. “Go back and look at everything and consider what is possible,” says Karen…

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Why Mom and Dad Should Charge Millennials Rent

Getty Images By Erin Lowry The cliche of 20-somethings taking up refuge in their parents’ basements is a now tired way to describe millennials. Unfortunately, it became a stereotype because it’s true. Millennials have been known to graduate college, quit work or just opt out of adult life and scurry back to the nest. But…

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Obama wants to spread overtime pay

President Barrack Obama is going around Congress to raise pay for more than 4 million Americans.  His proposed change in a Labor Department overtime rule means salaried employees making less than $50,440 per year would earn extra pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in a week. Think of it as a kind of…

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PayPal backs off robocall policy

PayPal’s backtracking on a controversial policy that would have automatically signed its users up for automated calls and text messages. Why should I care? Because it really sounded like the online payments company was getting ready to robocall you like crazy. Earlier this month, PayPal unveiled a new user agreement that appeared to essentially give…

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US banks not perfect, but ATMs work

American banks aren’t perfect. They charge us overdraft fees like it’s going out of style, they’ve been bailed out by billions in federal money and over the last decade they’ve racked up a rap sheet longer than Whitey Bulger’s. But at least when you go to an American ATM, as long as you’ve got money…

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6 tax tips for newlyweds

June is prime wedding time. This year, there were a few more ceremonies than usual, thanks to the Supreme Court’s expansion of vows to same-sex couples. But regardless of when you and your beloved say I do, there are some tax to-do’s you’ll need to take care of when you return from your honeymoon. 1.…

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What’s more important than your phone?

We probably wouldn’t admit it, but for some of us, our most important relationship is not with our spouse or significant other, nor is it with our children. Nope, our most important relationship is with our phone. A new mobile consumer survey from Bank of America found that 23% of Americans have fallen asleep with…

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Time to rewrite same-sex health plans

Many within the health insurance industry, along with millions of newly-insured Americans, heaved a collective sigh of relief Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against a challenge to the Obamacare subsidies that could have scuttled President Barack Obama’s signature health reform. Whew! What a mess it would have been to undo Obamacare, am I…

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Jean Chatzky: Maximize job benefits

It’s shaping up to be a good hiring year for this year’s graduating class, with 65% of companies reporting they plan to hire recent college graduates, according to CareerBuilder research. Even better? A third plan to offer higher pay than they did in 2014. But pay is just a portion of the compensation package offered…

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Meanwhile in China, the bear roars

While Europe has squirmed in the spotlight over the past week, China has been experiencing a huge drop in the mainland stock market — the biggest two week plunge in nearly 20 years, Bloomberg reported. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index hit a high on June 12 and has since fallen 22 percent. As a…

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Greek crisis: Good for mortgage rates?

Greece is having trouble paying its debt, and markets around the world are taking a hit. Those columns in front of the Bank of Greece are Doric. Maybe they couldn’t afford Corinthian. Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, announced a July 5 referendum to allow citizens to vote on whether to accept the repayment terms offered…

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Money fears put the brakes on life

While the majority of Americans in a new survey report that they have made positive financial changes since the recession of 2009, more are delaying major life events, such as marriage and retirement, due to worries about money. Medical procedures and having children put on hold The survey, conducted by Harris Poll for the American…

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Banks under constant hacker attacks

It makes sense that hackers would go after banks. When you’re looking to steal as much money as you can, as quickly as possible, why not go where the money is? But the effort that hackers expend to break into financial institutions’ computer systems every day is pretty staggering, according to a new report from…

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Will the jobs report be a sparkler?

Get your lawn chair ready. As Americans prepare for a holiday break to celebrate the nation’s independence, the status of the U.S. economy will be on full view this week just like a fireworks display. The Labor Department releases the monthly employment report Thursday, a day earlier than usual because of the federal holiday on…

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Mobile app review: StockTwits

App name: StockTwits Publisher: StockTwits Inc. Price: Free Available on: iOS and Android What’s it supposed to do? Help users keep track of stocks and market trends. Users can get fast information and analysis from investors and traders. Ease of use (4/5): It’s easy to get started with StockTwits. Your stock watchlist is your home…

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CFPB airs consumers’ complaints

Looking for some light summer reading? You might want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website. The consumer watchdog made enhancements to its complaint database this week, including, for the first time, more than 7,700 consumer narratives of problems they are facing with financial companies. Our consumer complaint database can help you make…

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Same-sex marriage now law of the land

© JOSHUA ROBERTS/Reuters/Corbis Attention engaged gay and lesbian couples: Call your wedding planner. The Supreme Court says you now can get married wherever you wish. In a 5-4 decision, the country’s highest court ruled on Friday that no state can ban same-sex marriages or ignore such legal ceremonies performed elsewhere. This is the second major…