Finance Globe

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

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Update Your W-4 to Reflect Your Actual Tax Bill

W-4 forms should be updated when your tax situation changes.When you were hired at your current job, your employer had you fill out a W-4 form. This form helps the employer take the right amount of taxes out of each paycheck, based on your current filing status and number of personal allowances. It's important to fill this form out as accurately as possible. If too little is taken out for taxes, you could be hit with...
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The Housing Bust and Our Country's Recession Fears

What is a recession? A recession is often defined as two consecutive quarters of slowing economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), but it's really a little more complicated than that. Economists must measure data regarding personal income, unemployment rates, industrial production, and sales and manufacturing volume to determine whether we are heading towards or already in a recession. Even after the pros analyze the data, they often don't agree whether we are...
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Choose the Correct Filing Status

Be sure to use the correct filing status when you file your income tax return; choosing the wrong filing status can cost you. If you fail to utilize a filing status that can lower your tax bill, you may end up paying a lot more than your fair share of the tax burden. If you intentionally or mistakenly use a beneficial filing status that you don't qualify for, an audit by the IRS can ensure that...
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Say "No" to the Tax Refund Anticipation Loan

With tax season around the corner, many Americans are anticipating an income tax refund. Some are so anxious about their refund that they are willing to take out an exorbitant loan at a cost equivalent to the APR of up to 300%, and higher. The loan will only get the money in their hands a couple of weeks sooner, but millions of taxpayers a year are somehow convinced that it is necessary to pay a huge...
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A Big Tax Refund is Equal to Losing Money

Overpaying your taxes all year long to get a tax refund the next year is a terrible way to save money. Do you really want the government to be in charge of your savings plan? Intentionally overpaying your taxes literally takes money out of your pocket, and out of your control.Some people like to get a big tax refund because they think they don't miss the money that was withheld from each paycheck since they never...
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Make Good Use of Your Income Tax Refund

What should you do with your tax refund?Anyone who anticipates a big tax refund usually starts the year daydreaming about what they are going to do with all that money. Why not start the year off right, and put that money to good use? It's easy to spend that big chunk of cash like it was a gift from the government if you don't make plans for the money before you receive your tax refund.First of...
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Don't Get Caught in the Minimum Payment Trap

Smart shoppers know to look for good deals. We look for ads in the Sunday paper, listen for commercials on the radio, and hear from our friends about our favorite stores having a sale.When you find that perfect item at the perfect price, do you pay for it in cash? Do you use a credit card with a zero percent introductory rate, and then pay it all off before the introductory period ends? Or do you...
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Get the Most From Your Credit Card

Credit cards can be a valuable money management tool if used properly. We have many choices in card features, perks, and rewards. Getting the most out of any credit card starts with choosing the one (or several) that best suits your needs. Credit cards offer more than a convenient way to pay, and if you manage your credit card accounts well, you can be sure to get the most out of your credit card while paying...
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Variable Rate vs Fixed Rate Credit Cards

Smart consumers know to shop for credit cards based on the cost of using that credit. The card's annual percentage rate, or APR, is often one of the first factors many consider when choosing a card.All credit cards either have a fixed or variable rate, and understanding the difference between the two can prepare consumers for the possibility of a change in their credit card's current APR.Some credit cards may be a combination of both; it...
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Your Credit - Creditors Aren't the Only Ones Looking

We are all aware that lenders routinely consider our credit report when we apply for credit. We would only expect them to. But do you realize that your credit report can be seen by others without you even being aware of it? According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), anyone with a "legitimate business need" can see your credit report. Who looks at credit reportsLenders need to know the financial risk in granting credit; that...
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