Are You at Risk of Identity Theft?

Are you at risk for identity theft? As it turns out, a company called ID Analytics has created a website called where they perform a statistical analysis of your “basic identity elements” to assign you an ID Score. […]

Lexus GX 460, A Safety Risk: Would You Buy A Toyota Now?

Be a smart and safe consumer when it comes to making those big purchases. How vigilant are you of car recalls? I’m one of those people who finds it hard to trust again. Once I find that the credibility of something (or someone) is shot, I start giving it (him/her) a wide berth. Especially when it comes to safety. […]

Would You Rather Receive a Refund or Owe More Taxes?

If you haven’t noticed, it’s tax time. I have noticed, not only because of the relentless emails I receive reminding me of this grand celebration, but also due to people I interact with. […]

Help a Reader: Dental Work?

Here's an email I recently received from a reader: My husband and I bought our first home last year ($165,000). Our monthly mortgage payment is about $1200. We also are still paying off loans on our cars, mine about $2,500 (monthly payment $180) and his $16,000 (monthly payment $465). My husband has about $25,000 in school loans. We have about $15,000 in ING for emergencies. […]

Worried About an Audit? Six IRS Red Flags

ShareThisAround February, my commute home starts to give me a knot in my stomach. That’s because my bus passes a tax-preparation shop where, as tax season draws nearer, a woman stands outside wearing a Lady Liberty costume and holding a sign that promotes the shop’s services. […]

Calculating Your Life-Time Income

This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently released an online guide entitled, Unautomate Your Finances. J.D.’s note: According to Facebook, today is Baker’s birthday. Happy birthday, Adam! In continuing celebration of Financial Literacy Month, my GRS contributions throughout April are covering basic techniques to raise your financial awareness. […]

Replacing Things Early

Recently, I took a serious look at our non-stick skillet, the one we use to cook sticky things like eggs. While it was still very usable, I found that in one place a bit of Teflon was beginning to peel away. I immediately tossed the pan into the trash. A few weeks ago, I replaced a perfectly good filter on our car – or at least it seemed like a perfectly good filter. […]

What is the Average Cost of Tax Preparation?

I just ran across a bit of interesting information on the cost of tax preparation from the National Society of Accountants. According to their biennial survey, the average tax prep fee for an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A plus a state tax return is $229. […]

Fighting Financial Trolls

The following is an excerpt from Your Money: The Missing Manual, an excellent book written by JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly. Copyright 2010 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. […]

Free Experian PLUS Credit Score

For a limited time, American Express is offering a free look at your Experian PLUS credit score and Experian credit report. The Experian PLUS credit score is not the same as your FICO score but there’s no way for you to see your FICO score based on Experian data, so this is about as close as you’ll ever get. […]

Three Tips to Make the Most of Your 401k

How's your 401k doing these days? Like most others, mine took a huge hit during the stock market decline, but has raced back at a frantic pace since then. If you'd like to give your 401k a bit of a nudge on its return to glory, MarketWatch has some ideas for you. They list eight do's and don'ts for your 401k, but these three are the ones that really stood out to me: 2. […]

The People Around You

The single biggest advantage I’ve had in my life is that I’ve largely been surrounded by supportive people. My wife, my parents, my closest friends – all of them have always been incredibly positive towards everything I’ve ever chosen to do. My mind continually goes back to the period in my life where I was trying to convince myself to make the leap into being a full-time writer. […]

IKEA Survival Guide

When it comes to buying stylish furniture on the cheap, IKEA has become the number one destination. My wife is an interior designer and I know how expensive "real" furniture is from "fancy" stores. So I know how awesome IKEA's prices are. But shopping at IKEA can be kind of a nightmare. […]

Avoiding and Reducing Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses

Investing in mutual funds is a wonderful way to grow your investments, but all the fees associated with such investments them can be a financial drain. Learning about these expenses and how to reduce or eliminate them is a relatively easy way to increase your returns. […]

If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong

Make a list of your favorite things to do. Start with your most favorite thing to do, then your next most favorite, and keep going until you get to budgeting. Go ahead; I'll wait. If you haven't gotten down to budgeting yet, that's okay. There's a reason that most people don't enjoy budgeting, which I'll get to in a minute. […]

Everlasting Fun Ball: It’s All True

As you might know, I live alongside three ridiculous dogs. We take turns being in charge, but most of the time I end up feeling like their servant with titles like “Emergency Backup Food Giver” or “Guy With the Food That Smells Better Than Mine.” The eldest of our three dogs has a friendly relationship with me, though. […]

How Much is Minimum Wage?

The labor laws in the United States can be, at times, very confusing. Ever wonder why waiters at a restaurant can be paid as little as $2.13 while the federal minimum wage is over three times higher? How much is the minimum wage? Why is overtime pay 1.5x regular pay for nonexempt employees but not required for exempt employees? […]

Finding a Financial Guru

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. At certain stages in your financial journey, you need a catalyst to get you to the next stage. Perhaps right now you are coming out of the zeroth stage of personal finance, deep in debt and trying to take that first step to turn things around. Maybe you are debt-free, but you have no clue how to invest in the stock market. […]

Earned Income Tax Credit: Do I Qualify?

For people with low and moderate income level, the earned income tax credit (EITC/EIC) is one of the most overlooked tax credit. In 2008, 25% of taxpayers that qualify for this tax credit but miss out on it because the rules can be complicated (no surprises there), or simply because they did not know the credit exist or that they qualify for it. […]