4 Common Pieces of Money Advice You Can’t Afford to Follow

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Few of us feel like financial experts, so when it comes to money matters, we generally welcome advice. The trouble, though, is that not all the financial advice the professionals dish out is sound, despite often seeming so. Below you’ll find several examples of bad financial advice. There are plenty of others, though, so carefully assess any guidance you run across.

1. Save 10 Percent for Retirement. It’s a common piece of financial advice, and for many people, socking away 10 percent of their income will get them to a comfy retirement. But this guidance isn’t one-size-fits-all.

If your needs in retirement will be greater, saving 10 percent may not be enough...

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How Bold Smokers Can Get Life Insurance for Less: Just Lie

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By Juliette Fairley

When Alex Grebe signed up for term life insurance, he lied. The 28-year-old stated that he is tobacco-free. “I know not to tell insurers the truth,” said the Manhattan resident, who smokes cigarettes. Grebe only pays $50 a month for his term life insurance, but had he revealed he was a smoker, he would have paid more than three times as much as a non-smoker for the same policy, according to a new InsuranceQuotes.com report.

A 45-year-old nonsmoking woman pays $544 per year for a term life policy with half million in coverage for 20 years but with a smoking habit, her rate goes up 269 percent or $2,600 a year.

“Smoking causes one in five deaths in the U.S...

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Biz Brief: Congressional Watchdog Criticizes AIG Bailout

A government watchdog group Thursday criticized efforts by the New York Federal Reserve under the leadership of Timothy Geithner for failing to exhaust all options to arrange a private-sector rescue of American International Group (AIG) before launching a taxpayer-funded bailout in 2008.

A report by the Congressional Oversight Panel said Geithner, now U.S. Treasury Secretary, on Sept. 15, 2008 left the task of finding a private bailout for AIG to just two Wall Street banks, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group (GS), which had “severe conflicts of interest as they would have been among the largest beneficiaries of a taxpayer bailout,” the report said. “By failing to bring in other players, the government neglected to use all of its negotiating leverage.”

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Hospital Bills Just Got Easier to Manage

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Some welcome protection for American consumers struggling with health care costs has arrived. New federal regulations call on nonprofit hospitals to establish written financial assistance policies (also known as charity care policies), limit the amount billed to patients who qualify for assistance and screen patients for such assistance prior to pursuing aggressive collection actions.

The final regulations were released Dec. 29 by the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service after a period of scrutiny for medical debt. In early December, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a report that found 43 million American consumers have medical collections on their credit reports.

Millions of Americans have only medical collections on their reports and half ...

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More consumers seeking insurance deals and data online

online dataConsumers more often research an insurance company online and make a purchase at the website rather than make a call to talk with someone at the company.

Not surprising, since insurance salespeople have such a bad reputation for withholding full information or selling the product that will give them the best commission. And even if you feel more comfortable making your final purchase talking directly with a salesperson, you should do in-depth online research, including a full comparison of benefits, to form your final questions before purchase. Fortunately, there are more online resources to help you do so.
In the past, people have accepted a policy after talking with a salesperson and then had a certain amount of time — usually 30 days — to read the fine print...

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Treasury: Bailout Will Cost Taxpayers 85% Less Than Expected

The federal bailout program, also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP, will end up costing U.S. taxpayers approximately 85% less than originally expected, according to a U.S. Treasury Department report released Tuesday.

The bill will come to about $50 billion, far less than the $350 billion that the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated when the program was enacted two years ago. And if additional items that offset the cost — such as the Treasury’s interests in insurance giant American International Group (AIG), which was recently restructured — are factored in, the bill falls to about $30 billion.

“TARP has been unpopular for good reason — no one likes using tax dollars to rescue financial institutions,” wrote Timothy G...

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Got a Traffic Ticket? The Bump to Your Car Insurance May Not Be So Bad

speeding ticketWorried about what will happen to your car insurance premiums after you get caught committing a minor traffic violation? If you aren’t getting traffic tickets frequently, then the results of a new study by InsuranceQuotes.com — owned by Bankrate.com (RATE) — may ease your mind.

According to the study, in which drivers answered questions about their histories and premiums, most drivers, regardless of age, aren’t paying more for car insurance after getting a traffic ticket.

Only 31 percent of Americans who received a traffic ticket in the past five years saw their rates go up as a direct result. Of those 31 percent, most paid less than $100 more a year.

Younger drivers, ages 18 to 29, were more likely to have a higher increase after a ticket, and 41 percent said they paid more as a result of...

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5 Smart Financial Decisions for After You Buy a New Home

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There is certainly no shortage of financial advice available to those who are thinking of buying a new home. Where to buy, how to get the best mortgage rate, even why you shouldn’t buy a house in the first place — all this information is accessible with a few mouse clicks. And once the loan is approved, the piles of paperwork signed, and you have the keys to your new home in hand, there is a temptation to think that all the hard work is done. But it’s not, it’s just beginning.

Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people will ever embark upon, and that is why it is especially important to take a number of post-sale steps to make sure you protect your largest financial investment.

Like most of us, the previous owners of your home probably had multiple copies made of thei...

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Are Homeowners Better Drivers? Survey Finds Out

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Homeownership is often used as a factor in determining risk when setting auto insurance premiums. Even though the two aren’t directly related, there is an assumption that homeownership implies a higher level of responsible actions (assuming you pay your mortgage on time) and therefore that you pose a lower risk in other endeavors — including your driving habits.

Insurance.com undertook a survey to see if homeownership does indeed correlate to safer driving habits, as measured through the total number of claims filed. From 2012 to mid-2014, online questionnaires from 700,000 respondents were collected and analyzed by age group, home state, and homeownership status.

The results do show some correlation between homeownership and fewer filed claims, although the reasons are high...

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8 things you should pay for – no matter what

couple looking worried about billsHard times make for hard choices — especially when it comes to prioritizing which bills get paid, when what you have is not enough to cover all your expenses. But there are some bills it behooves you to keep high on the priority list. A Tennessee homeowner found out the hard way this month when his house caught fire and the firefighters arrived. All he could do was just stand there and watch as his home burned to the ground — with his pets inside. The homeowner lived outside the city limits and had “forgotten” to pay a $75 annual fire service fee, which would have earned him the fire department’s services, in what has since been dubbed a ‘pay for spray’ arrangement.

This situation presents a bizarre extreme, but it also serves as a grave reminder of the disastrous results that can arise fr...

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