The Adoption Tax Credit and Form 8839

IRS Form 8839

When my wife and I adopted our children (in the 1990s), there weren’t any adoption tax credits for us to take advantage of. Today, however, if you’ve adopted a child, you may be able to claim an income exclusion of $13,170 from your income and a tax credit for the same amount, depending on the […]

Published or Updated: March 12, 2012

How I Tripled My Money with an Emerging Market Fund

VEIEX Vanguard Emerging Mkts Stock Index (VEIEX)

You’ve probably heard of the expression, “it’s better to be lucky than good.” That sums up a lot of my success as an investor. And there is no better example of this than my investments in emerging markets. I first invested in an emerging market fund at the end of 2002. And the timing couldn’t […]

Published or Updated: February 19, 2012

Do Prepaid Cards Help You Establish Credit?

Do Prepaid Credit Cards Establish Credit?

I’ve had several readers ask me recently whether they can establish credit with a prepaid credit card. Most recently, a reader named Lynn asked the following: Please contact me about the availability of a pre-paid credit card to help me establish credit. The topic of building credit can be a confusing one, and whether prepaid […]

Published or Updated: May 22, 2012

3 Reasons Why Credit Cards Are Your Friend

Credit Cards

While we definitely don’t recommend overusing credit,  a credit card can be a really useful tool in your credit arsenal if you know how to use it properly. It can help you positively build your credit history, give you rewards like cash back when you use it, and help protect your money better than a […]

Published or Updated: April 21, 2011

Stop Saving and Start Paying Off Debt NOW!

Debt

Have you looked at interest rates recently?  I mean, local brick and mortar banks are offering less than half a percent and if you check out banks like Citi, Bank of America and Chase, you’d be lucky to earn 10 cents on 100 bucks.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for saving money and keeping […]

Published or Updated: April 21, 2011

The Employment Battle of Men vs. Women

Men vs Women

Any reader of the news frequently hears that women earn 77 cents on the male dollar. Fifteen years ago, an organization called the National Committee on Pay Equity marked April 20 “Equal Pay Day,” because that is the day on which the average working woman will make her “full” salary (meaning it takes her 15+ […]

Published or Updated: June 6, 2013

Credit Cards Stack Up Well Against Interest Rates

Credit Card Piggy Bank

For most of the 20th century interest rates in the USA moved in a range that would swing like a monetary pendulum with a center of gravity around 10 percent. Many people born during the baby boomer generation, for example, lived through decades when financial planners advised that borrowing money for anything in the single […]

Published or Updated: April 3, 2014

My Credit Karma Credit Score is Over 600!

CreditKarma Score

Two years ago, around the time when I had left my full time office job to work online, my credit score was in the tank.  I wasn’t making enough money to support myself and my massive debt load and as a result,  I was late on almost every payment I made.  And if that wasn’t […]

Published or Updated: March 5, 2013

How to Build an Emergency Fund

How to Build an Emergency Fund

Last week I wrote about how my wife and I paid off a lot of debt in less than five years. An important part of getting out of debt for us was an emergency fund. A lot has been written about the importance of saving for a rainy day. But most of what you’ll read […]

Published or Updated: April 3, 2014