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How to Protect Your Credit and Online Data From Fraud—A Year After The Equifax Breach

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Building an Investment Plan to Buy a House

Do you dream of a white picket fence and kids running around in the backyard? Or maybe hanging out on the stoop of your own urban brownstone in the heart of the action? Perhaps lounging in your oceanfront condo? Owning a home is a cornerstone of the American Dream, and the appeal is easy to see. A home is a place to make your own and perhaps raise a family. It can provide security, both financial and emotional. And as the saying goes, renting means you’re paying someone else’s mortgage.

Even though a fair amount of people aspire to own a home, not everyone is able to make that dream come true. The homeownership rate among Americans is 64% , down from close to 70% before the 2008 recession. Purchasing a house is one of the biggest expenses you’ll have in your life, and it’ll take some careful planning. That’s compounded by the fact that housing prices are on the rise in many parts of the country.

Saving enough for a down payment can seem intimidating, especially when you might have to balance that with student loans, retirement planning, and other financial commitments. But being a homeowner is possible if you think ahead and make the right savings and investment plan to buy a house.

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A Guide to Keeping Your Data Safe: Top 11 Cyber Security Tips

Got cyber security? Last year, Equifax, one of the big three credit reporting bureaus, disclosed that a data breach it discovered on July 29, 2017, may have exposed as many as 143 million U.S. consumers to the risk of identity theft. In March 2018, Equifax announced that another 2.4 million people had their data stolen in the same breach. Almost half the U.S. population has been affected. It’s considered one of the worst data breaches in U.S. history.

Cyber criminals entered the credit bureau’s system though a web-application vulnerability. One of the most frustrating aspects of this breach is that there was a patch available to solve the vulnerable aspect of the website. If Equifax had taken the necessary precautions before the breach, it could have been avoided.

According to the company, the security breach lasted about two months, but in that time the hackers were able to access millions of people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, for some, driver’s license and credit card numbers. And while most of us know basic internet security tips or cyber security tips, there’s a whole different host of issues when it comes to a data breach.

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8 Ways to Save for Retirement While Paying College Tuition

Feeling like you’re stretched thin by college tuition costs? You’re not alone. The annual cost of a four-year public college education for residents is $20,770 .

That’s just one year. Ouch. Many parents are trying to balance daily expenses, retirement savings, and college costs at the same time and it can be a struggle. Some may even be prioritizing college payments over retirement contributions, a practice most financial advisors advise against.

While students can take out loans to fund their education, a parent might only have a retirement account to fall back on. Parents can be so worried about paying college costs that they may even be tempted to pull from their 401(k) for their child’s college, which can lead to unfortunate tax situations.

There are better ways to find the best retirement strategy for 50-year-old parents while still pulling together cash for college. In fact, here are eight ways to uncover hidden money.

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Dog in ghost costume

Investing Doesn’t Have to be Scary

The air is crisp, the leaves are changing—it’s time for jack-o-lanterns, spiderwebs, witches, horror movies and…Halloween! As all things spooky enter the spotlight, there’s no better time to face your fears. And if investing is one of them, we’re here to let you know that investing doesn’t have to be scary.

In one survey, SoFi found that 56% of millennial women say that fear holds them back from investing. But investing, as part of an overall financial plan, can help you grow your wealth. When armed with the proper information and assistance you can conquer your stock market fear. That way you have more time for Halloween costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating.

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House with open door

Home Remodeling Ideas to Bring Your House Up To Date

You might have fallen in love with the neighborhood and the bones of the house you purchased, but the interior design? Not so much. Maybe the home is on the older side and you’re looking forward to replacing the outdated tile in the bathroom. Perhaps you’re ready to say good-bye to the wood paneling in the basement.

Whatever it is, remodeling an old house is a rite of passage when it comes to owning a home. After all, unless you’re building your own house, there will most likely be something you want to change when you move into your new place. But remodeling an old house can also be stressful. It can be expensive and require complex planning in order to remodel successfully.

Whether you plan to DIY as much as possible or are placing your trust in a contractor for the renovations, it is highly likely that at some point during the remodel, you’re going to feel overwhelmed by costs, deadlines, or the design decisions that come with remodeling.

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