Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

Mary Tomkins is a freelance writer located in Spartanburg, SC, with emphasis on economic news and research on the financial industry.

Tax Season Opens January 30 for Most

Though the tax filing season is open for most taxpayers - whether they are filing electronically or on paper - on January 30th, the Internal Revenue Service will not be ready to accept returns claiming education credits until mid-February, the agency reported on Monday. Those affected by the delay are taxpayers filing form 8863, Education Credits, used to claim two higher education credits -- the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Typically through...
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NAR: 2012 Most Affordable Year in Housing

Americans who were able to get a mortgage and bought a home last year took advantage of the low prices and great mortgage rates in the most affordable housing year on record. Housing affordability set an annual record in 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday.In 2012, the NAR’s National Housing Affordability Index hit its record high at 194, topping the previous record of 186 in 2011. The index is based on the relationship...
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Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Admit Responsibility for Financial Troubles

Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Admit Responsibility for Financial Troubles
Almost two-thirds of Americans admit that their financial troubles are of their own doing, according to a December poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Of poll respondents, 63% said their financial woes self-inflicted for reasons such as overspending or being financially unorganized, and 37% said their problems were caused by events beyond their control such as job loss or medical bills. "The poll results are encouraging, as the first step to correcting a problem...
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Ten Banks Agree to $8.5 Billion Settlement

Ten U.S. banks have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on millions of homeowners in the aftermath of the housing bust, the Federal Reserve reported on Monday. Banks involved in the settlement are Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. Four other banks - HSBC, Ally, EverBank and One West - are still in negotiations.The sum includes $3.3 billion in...
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Shared Housing and Food Stamps Rose in 2011

The number of adults living in shared housing and the number receiving food stamps increased since before the beginning of the recession through 2011, but the there was little change in the number receiving public assistance, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released on Wednesday.The Census Bureau defines shared housing as a home with an adult resident who is neither the householder or the householder’s spouse or cohabiting partner. Adult relatives, roommates, and other unrelated...
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Avoid Falling Victim to Post-Disaster Scams

Hurricane Sandy slammed the Northeast on Tuesday and left devastation in its wake. Dozens of human lives were lost, millions more have been affected by flooding and power loss, and property has suffered billions of dollars in damage.But the losses don’t end there. After any major disaster, the climate is perfect for the lowest of the low to come out and prey on unsuspecting victims - fraudulent creeps who come up with a number of post-disaster...
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Retirement Doesn't Look Golden for Many Americans

Retirement Doesn't Look Golden for Many Americans
Over half of Americans don’t feel secure about their upcoming retirement and more than a third could be living their golden years in poverty, according to a bank survey of people ranging from age 25 to 75 years. The annual Wells Fargo Retirement Survey found that paying the monthly bills is the most important day-to-day financial concern for 52 percent of middle-class Americans, up from 37 percent who felt that way last year. And 53 percent...
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Unemployment Rate Drops 0.3 Percent in September and Raises Suspicions

Unemployment Rate Drops 0.3 Percent in September and Raises Suspicions
The government’s unemployment figures reported for September reflect that the nation’s jobless rate fell a whopping 0.3 percent and brought the unemployment rate to its lowest level since January 2009. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent last month, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The big decline was unexpected - economists had predicted the September jobless rate would increase 0.1 percentage point to 8.2 percent. Since the beginning of 2012,...
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FTC Refunds Nearly $1 Million to Victims of Telemarketing Scheme

Refunds will be sent this week to consumers who were swindled by a telemarketing scam that promised “free” goods and services such as gift cards, gas cards, and resort vacations, the Federal Trade Commission reported on Thursday.Consumers who were victimized by the alleged scam were misled into thinking the caller was from the consumers’ own credit card issuer or a major retailer, and then billed for goods and services they never agreed to. When consumers didn’t...
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Census Bureau: Mississippi Poorest State in the Nation

Census Bureau: Mississippi Poorest State in the Nation
Earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that last year the nation’s median income slipped 1.5 percent to $50,502, the percent without health insurance coverage fell by 0.6 percentage points to 15.7 percent, and the poverty rate roughly held steady at 15 percent. On Wednesday, the Bureau released its findings on states, cities, and smaller communities for 2011. "The American Community Survey provides reliable, local statistics about our nation's people, housing and economy that are...
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