Category ArchivePersonal Finance

Personal Finance 24 May 2007 10:29 am

Fed Wants Ease Credit Card Confusion

Ben Bernanke Pop Art

Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve wants to make credit card statements easier to understand and give consumers more time before their terms are changed:

To help, the Fed’s proposal would call for a table summarizing the changes to appear on the statement above the list of the consumers’ transactions. That’s where people are most likely to notice the changes, the Fed said.

From solicitations to monthly statements, the Fed’s proposal would require key information appear in larger print, with rates and fees in an easier-to-see boldface. The proposal also aims to make language easier for people to understand.

“The purpose is to avoid those ‘gotcha’ moments,” said Fed Governor Kevin Warsh.


Personal Finance 26 Apr 2007 07:52 am

Schwab Offers New High-Interest Checking Account

Earning interest on your checking account no longer requires you to have tons of money sitting in the bank. (That whole “you need money to make money” vicious circle.) Charles Schwab is offering a no-fee checking account paying 4.25% no matter what your balance is.

Moving to a new checking account can be a pain. If you have direct deposit–and why not?–you have to make sure your paycheck gets into the new account. Then if you do electronic bill paying or have automatic withdrawals you have to change those. That will keep Schwab from stealing a lot of customers from traditional banks. If you’re about to change banks take a look at what Schwab is offering. Now, if you’re a Schwab customer you have a way to earn some interest on your non-invested funds while having greater liquidity.


Personal Finance 23 Feb 2007 09:52 pm

Millions Forgetting Phone Tax Refund

"Where's my refund?" picture

When the IRS lets you keep more of your money don’t be like the ten million who have filed already neglecting to get an easy thirty bucks minimum:

More than 10 million taxpayers who have filed their federal tax returns so far this year failed to claim the telephone excise tax refund, a one-time refund that’s worth up to $60, the IRS said Friday. And about half of those returns were filed by a tax preparer, the IRS said.

Last year, Treasury announced it would stop collecting the tax on long-distance service and would refund taxes billed from Feb. 28, 2003, to Aug. 1, 2006. The government decided to issue refunds after federal courts ruled the telephone excise tax was illegally applied to long-distance service.

Taxpayers who paid excise taxes on long-distance or “bundled” service have the option of claiming a standard amount, based on the number of personal exemptions on their tax returns, or the actual amount of taxes paid.

To claim the standard amount — which ranges from $30 to $60 — all taxpayers have to do is check a box on their tax return. But as of Feb. 16, about 30% of taxpayers who had filed didn’t claim the refund, the IRS says.

And IRS Commissioner Mark Everson says the IRS was surprised that many tax preparers failed to request the refund for their clients. “We want all taxpayers entitled to this refund to get it, whether they are using a tax preparer or doing the return themselves,” he said.

Make sure you check that box. You don’t need to have a mortgage, have kids, or any other loophole tucking away in the massive U.S. tax code. You just need to have paid for long distance (and the illegal tax). If you already filed you’ll need to file an amended return. Yes, it’s more paperwork, but it’s your money. Who would you rather trust with the cash, you or someone in Washington buying “Bridges to Nowhere?”


Jobs & Personal Finance 19 Jan 2007 09:11 pm

Quit Your Job in a Year

Quit job for Sox game

The beginning of a new year brings resolutions to change one’s life. It could be losing a few pounds, organizing the house, or saving money for a down payment on a house. You get the picture. The Simple Dollar takes the extreme makeover approach by offering tips on how to quit your job. From determining why you want to quit to preparing for the financial hit Trent gets you organized if you want to act out your own version of Office Space.