How to Create a Home Inventory for Insurance – Methods, Apps & Checklist

taking inventoryImagine that one night your house catches fire. You and your family escape unharmed, but by the time the fire is extinguished, there’s hardly anything left of the house or its contents.

Once you recover from your shock, you call your home insurance company to file a claim. The company tells you that in order to process the claim, they need a complete list of everything in the home you’ve lost with details, such as the age and estimated value of each item. Would you be able to come up with that list from memory?

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Buying an Old House? – Common Problems, Hidden Costs & Benefits

colonial homeAmerica has lots of old houses. According to HUD’s 2013 American Housing Survey, the average owner-occupied structure is about 37 years old. For reference, that’s higher than the U.S. median age.

In some parts of the country, the housing stock is far older. On average, owner-occupied housing in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania is more than 50 years old. Though there are exceptions to the rule, homes tend to be older throughout the Northeast and Midwest, and in urban cores across the country.

By contrast, newer homes and bona fide new construction homes are more common in Southern and Western cities in general, and in suburban and exurban communities across the country.

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How to Reduce or Avoid Capital Gains Tax on Property or Investments

capital gainsIn addition to paying income tax and payroll tax, individuals who buy and sell personal and investment assets must also contend with the capital gains tax system. If you sell one of these assets – such as vehicles, stocks, bonds, collectibles, jewelry, precious metals, or real estate – and you sell it at a gain, you’ll pay a capital gain tax rate on some of the proceeds.

Capital gain rates can be just as high as regular income taxes. Therefore, it’s worth exploring every possible strategy to keep these taxes at a minimum.

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4 Ways to Shop Local and Support Small Businesses in Your Local Economy

buy localSuppose that you’ve just accepted a new job in another state, and there are two areas nearby where you could live. The first is a suburb that’s nice-looking, with well-kept houses and neat green lawns, but it’s in the middle of nowhere. There’s nothing within walking distance, not even a post office. To do any shopping, even just for groceries, you’d have to drive 20 minutes to the nearest shopping center.

The other neighborhood is a bustling town with lots of local businesses. There’s a drugstore, a supermarket, a couple of bookstores, a repair shop, and a big variety store, all within easy walking distance. Which neighborhood would you choose?

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Community Cafes – What They Do and Where to Find One

community cafeImagine stopping into a small cafe for lunch. The first thing you see when you walk in the door is a buffet bearing tureens of soup, big bowls of salad, platters of fresh sandwiches, and trays of cookies. Many of the choices are meatless, and everything is made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. You load up your plate with exactly as much as you want of each dish, and when you get to the checkout, you decide exactly how much you’re willing to pay for the meal.

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How to Save Money at Work on 4 Major Job-Related Expenses

workerIf you’re like most people, you spend around 40 hours each week working to earn a living. You may not enjoy it much, but at least it’s a fair trade-off: your time in exchange for the money you need to live.

What you may not notice is how holding down a job can use up your money as well as your time. If you’re a parent, for instance, you probably have to hire someone to look after your kids while you’re at work. Commuting to work, whether by car, bus, or train, also takes money. And for many jobs, the cost of a professional wardrobe and weekday lunches take up hard-earned cash as well.

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10 Ways to Get Cheap Vacation Deals and Save on Travel

vacationIt’s official: Americans have the travel bug. According to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), Americans logged 1.7 billion “person trips” for the primary purpose of leisure in 2014. The USTA defines a person trip as “one person on a trip away from home overnight in paid accommodations, or on a day or overnight trip to places 50 miles or more [one way] away from home.” That works out to 5.33 leisure-focused trips for every single man, woman, cash-strapped college student, sulky teenager, wiggly child, and brand new baby in the country.

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5 Money Rules to Live By in Your Thirties

thirtiesYou’ve made it to the big 3-0. By now, you’ve hopefully left behind the ramen noodle-slurping days of your twenties and are starting to enjoy a more grown-up life, with the higher income it often brings with it.

Your income isn’t the only thing that changes as you enter your thirties. Many people also tend to take on more responsibilities during that decade, whether they buy a house, have a child or two, or start to think more seriously about their retirement. Following several financial rules will help you stay on track when it comes to your money and get through your thirties with your financial health intact.

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What Is a Trust Fund – How It Works, Types & How to Set One Up

trustIf you are like many people, you probably think that a trust is what rich people use to make sure their children never have to work. Though there is a kernel of truth to this idea, it doesn’t do trusts much justice.

A trust, sometimes called a trust fund, is a legal tool that almost anyone can use, and one that can provide a wide range of abilities, opportunities, and benefits. Trusts are not just for the wealthy, nor do they only exist to provide an income. Trusts are powerful tools that serve multiple purposes and can benefit anyone interested in protecting their finances or their future.

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How to Deal With Funeral Costs – Planning Guide & Checklist

headstoneWhen a loved one has just passed, it seems heartless to think about money. Unfortunately, with the average cost of a funeral at $7,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), it’s something everyone should consider. In fact, that figure doesn’t include burial costs paid directly to the cemetery, which generally range from $2,000 to $4,000 for the plot and grave marker. Additional charges such as flowers, music, obituaries, and the celebrant’s fee tack on another $950, bringing the total cost to $11,000.

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