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Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to handling your money. The articles in this section feature practical advice about planning for retirement, investing, insurance and issues involving housing and jobs.

7 Easy Steps to a Faster Tax Refund

The sooner you get your money back from the IRS, the better, so start now. Get your taxes done faster and more accurately with these seven strategies from Jeff Schnepper, author of the best-selling “How to Pay Zero Taxes” and a tax expert for MSN Money.
Online Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Online shopping can be the best of all worlds: wider selections and bigger bargains that can be purchased from anywhere, at anytime. This is particularly true during the holiday shopping season, a time when many Americans turn to the Internet to complete their shopping list. But while the majority of Internet merchants are honest and trustworthy, there is always an underlying risk when buying online.
Rising Interest Rates Make Bank Certificates of Deposit Worth Another Look

Many consumers are taking another look at Certificates of Deposit (CDs) as an investment option when reviewing their financial portfolios, particularly with the recent rise in interest rates and flexible CD features offered by financial institutions.
Buying While Selling? Tips on Juggling Two Escrows

The real estate market continues to be hot for both buyers and sellers, resulting in lots of opportunities for those folks looking for a new place to call home.
Upgrade or Buy a New PC: Maybe a Tune-Up is in Order?

Your PC is running like a vintage ’57 Chevy. You’re frustrated with choppy graphics and slow game play, or maybe you added some new software, pictures, music and movies after you purchased your PC. To keep up with today’s latest and greatest version of Windows, online games and multi-media applications, it may not be necessary to invest a small fortune into a whole new system.
Which Wireless Networking Technology is Right for You?

With increased access to broadband and increasingly connectable audio, video, and gaming devices, more people are linking these devices using networks. According to the NPD Group, more than 34 percent of American homes have a network. And of those, 68 percent include wireless connectivity, according to The Diffusion Group.
Be Sure to Budget for Baby

When they find out a baby is on the way, most couples spend more time thinking about how to decorate the nursery than on how their new addition is going to impact their family budget; but it’s something they need to start thinking about.
College Student? Do Your Homework on Insurance

If you or your child is a college student, don’t forget to review your insurance. By making sure the student’s possessions are protected in case of theft, fire and other damage while they’re at school, you could save yourself a lot of stress and expense later on. Plus, certain policy updates could save you money — a real bonus for anyone footing tuition bills!
Beef Up Your Holiday Budget: Easily Turn Change into Gift Cards

Top gift cards for 2005 holidays / painless help for holiday budgets: Gift cards have become the number one gift choice for the holidays. Results from a new survey provide tips for matching the right gift card to the right recipient. Also, think ‘out of the box’ ways to fund holiday budgets with unused cash in your home. The average household has $99 in overlooked cash in change. Now a new program from Coinstar makes it easy to put that change to use for the holidays.
Study Up on Back-to-School Health

College comes with a laundry list of expenses. Tuition, books, and housing can add up quickly, but with all the new college costs, purchasing health insurance is probably last on your list, if at all.
‘Tis the Season to Use Your Credit Wisely

The holidays can be a dangerous time for credit card users. You’re in a generous mood, you’re at the mall, and the credit card bill seems a long way off. But the reality is that, sooner or later, you’ll have to pay for all of those gifts. Here are some suggestions to help keep you in the holiday spirit while protecting you from excessive credit card bills in the New Year.
Holiday Shopping On Your Own Schedule

The holiday season should conjure images of spending time with the family by the fireplace enjoying cider and eggnog. In today’s busy world with limited free time, holiday season ends up being a time of standing in long lines at the post-office, and enduring the frenzy over the sale items at the stores to buy something for everyone on your gift list.
Mattress Shoppers Can Rest Easy

Americans like to comparison shop when looking for a new mattress set – a task that 66 percent of people report as difficult, according to the Better Sleep Council. The process can be confusing, especially considering that people typically only shop for a new bed every eight to 10 years.
What Would Happen to Your Business in a Disaster?

Imagine losing your computer or PDA and not having any of the information backed up. How long would it take you to reconstruct that information? What would you do in the meantime? Losing your personal information is devastating enough, but now imagine that you are a businessperson whose company has been hit by a natural or man-made disaster, destroying all your records and the ability to process transactions.
Daydreaming About Retirement Instead of Planning For Your Dreams?

Most of us envision retirement as a time to relax, spend time with loved ones, travel or start a new hobby. But it’s difficult to reap the rewards of our hard-earned years of work without some careful financial and health benefits planning. A new national survey of pre-retirees and retirees reveals that Americans are not spending enough time planning for their retirement.
You’ve Invented the Next Big Idea! Now What?

Move over Thomas Edison! You’ve just had a eureka moment for the world’s next great modern marvel. Now, the hard part begins — ensuring your brilliant idea comes to life. Here’s a five-step guide that will turn your big idea into the next big thing!
How to Save Money on Home Heating Costs this Winter

During the frigid winter months, heating bills in many homes go through the roof. This winter could be worse than usual as the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are likely to cause an increase in heating costs.
More New Business Owners Are Opening Their Stores with a Click instead of a Key

Entrepreneurs eager to start a business, but held back by the costs and complications of setting up a store or office, have opened their doors to a new community — online shoppers. Research conducted recently shows that nearly four out of 10 entrepreneurs plan to launch their new business on the Internet, often operating it from their home.
Save Money This Holiday Season By Using Online Shopping Comparison Web sites

If you have a lot of people on your Christmas list this year, you’re probably already dreading the thought of pushing your way through the crowds, dealing with long lines, and then handing over more of your hard-earned money than you thought you’d spend. The holidays are traditionally a time of year when deals are hard to find.
From Wine to Wedgewood, Insure Your Collectibles Properly

From fine art and vintage wine, to Faberge eggs and shrunken heads, the variety of what people choose to collect can be vast, impressive or even amazingly eccentric. More amazing still is how much these collections are actually worth. However, even the most experienced collectors might not know the ins and outs of assessing the value of their most cherished valuables and protecting their treasures accordingly.
Six Steps to Personal Financial Independence in 2006

Every New Year’s Day millions of Americans make resolutions to be more responsible about eating, exercising, smoking, etc. With the average per person credit card debt in America at $8,562 and total consumer debt topping $1.7 trillion, this New Year consider committing to financial resolutions by creating a “Declaration of Personal Financial Independence.”
Fighting Identity Thieves Online

Identity theft and fraud cost consumers and businesses nearly $53 billion in 2004, according to a report commissioned by the Better Business Bureau. The average victim of identity theft spends about 28 hours resolving the damage the crime inflicted on their credit, the study shows.
Make a Resolution that Can Really Make a Difference in the New Year

Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. Among the most popular ones: to eat better, exercise more and work at losing that extra weight. Another healthy resolution you may not have thought of, but should, is to tone up your credit.
Simplifying Your (Investing) Life

Bill Miller and most other top portfolio managers will tell you that there’s a lot of day-to-day “noise” in the market, most of which has little to no bearing on the actual value of their holdings. Individual investors would do well to adopt a similar mind-set when building their own portfolios.
Protect Yourself from Buying a Flood-Damaged Vehicle

People who live thousands of miles from the areas hit by hurricanes this summer may think they have little to be concerned about. But those in the market for a used car should take steps to protect themselves from purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle.
Small Steps to Take Control of Your Debt

Results from a recent survey indicate that 32 percent of Americans give themselves a perfect 10 in debt management. Thirty-four percent say having a budget and sticking to it is the tool they most likely would use to reduce debt.
Cash Flow: A Behind the Scenes Look at ATMs

From microwaves, to fast food, to e-mail, society has come to expect instant gratification from everyday conveniences – even when it comes to money. Today, customers take for granted the effortlessness of automated teller machines (ATMs), even though the functionality of these cash dispensers is usually a mystery.
A Holiday Gift You’ll Wish Someone Had Bought for You

Every year around this time, people rack their brains trying to come up with the perfect gift for their family members. Shopping for the kids is easy. They are happy with whatever the latest hot toy may be; but the adults in the family are harder to shop for, so Dad ends up with another fishing lure; Mom gets another new sweater; Grandpa a new tie; and Grandma some new dishes.
How to Get Scholarship Money

One of the biggest challenges college-bound seniors face is how to pay for school. Applying for scholarships should be one of the first steps in their search. However, scholarship myths continue to flourish and need to be dispelled.
Maximize Your Tax Return

There are two approaches to doing taxes. One is to wait until the last minute and rush through them, crossing your fingers that you don’t owe the government an unexpectedly large chunk of money. Judging from the lines at post offices across the country at midnight on April 15, there are many, many people who take this approach.
How to Save Money on Your Automobile Insurance

There’s a saying: “Ask and you shall receive.” That’s true about a lot of things in life, including saving money on auto insurance. The premium you’re charged can vary dramatically depending on the coverage you request; the kind of car you drive and your driving record.
Scholarships for Everyone

Parents hoping their college-bound children will scratch up a few extra dollars for their higher education probably aren’t encouraged to see them riding skateboards, designing prom fashions with duct tape, or studying Klingon. But these activities could, in fact, pay off.
Cash in Your Spare Change to Boost Your 2006 Financial Fitness and Lose a Few Pounds in the Process

The pledge to stick to a budget is one of the most commonly made, hardest to keep and often broken New Year’s resolutions. Yet becoming financially fit in 2006 is not an impossible goal for the average American family.
“Nanny Tax” Compliance Pays

If Bernard Kerik had talked to Kathy Webb before hiring a nanny, he might be the United States’ homeland security chief today.
Ten Tips to Protect Seniors from Financial Crimes

Sweet, trusting, kind. These are three words most people use to describe their aging parents or grandparents. But unfortunately, a growing number of people are adding the word “victim” to the list.
Savvy Investors Turn to Life Insurance and Annuities for Added Tax Deferment Benefits

Tax season – many of us consider it to be the least wonderful time of the year. Increasingly savvy investors are taking advantage of investments that allow them to defer a portion of their tax burdens.

James Dean

James Dean - President ~ Money Canada Limited (MONEY.CA)