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Home-Sweet-Home Equity

Home-Sweet-Home Equity Buying a home is a long-term commitment, so it’s not surprising that older Americans are much more likely than younger people to own their homes “free and clear” (see chart). If you have paid off your mortgage or anticipate doing so by the time you retire, congratulations! Owning your home outright can help provide financial flexibility and stability during your retirement years. Paying Off the Mortgage The percentage of homeowners with a primary r
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When You Can’t Speak for Yourself

When You Can’t Speak for Yourself It’s not pleasant to think about the possibility of being unable to make your own medical or financial decisions. But taking the time to express your wishes in advance could help ensure that your health-care and financial affairs are handled as you wish and that your loved ones feel more confident about any decisions made on your behalf. Here are three legal documents you might consider. The first two deal with health-care issues, and in some stat
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Debit or Credit? Pick a Card

Debit or Credit? Pick a Card Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1 This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free o
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Pandemic Relief Measures and Your Tax Return

Two emergency relief bills passed in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will make this an unusual tax season for many taxpayers. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed in March, and a second relief package was attached to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, in December. The federal government relied on the tax system to deliver financial lifelines to struggling households, boost consumer spending, and help speed the economic recovery.The followin
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