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Married Filing Taxes Jointly vs. Married Filing Separately – Which Is Better?

By Kira Botkin

married couple computer taxesOnce per year, married couples have the option to get a short, amicable separation – at least, as far as the IRS is concerned. If you’re married, you have a decision to make when tax time rolls around: Should you file jointly or separately?

Choosing a filing status does not reflect upon your marriage – it’s about making the best decision for your financial situation. Since each method of tax filing has its own set of benefits, you may find that filing separately benefits both you and your spouse more than filing jointly, or the other way around.

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9 Money Myths & Mistakes That Could Cost You

By Jacqueline Curtis

burning moneyLearning about money can be a bit of a trial by fire. Some were taught flawless finances by their parents, while others take courses in school. But for the rest of us, finance books, articles, and advice from friends and family make up most of our financial education. And while there are definitely nuggets of wisdom to be found, there’s also a ton of bad advice out there.

So how do you tell the difference between the solid financial truths and the money myths? It’s all about your individual situation. By applying the advice to your particular set of circumstances, you can see where it works – and where it doesn’t.

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What Is TED Conference – History & Criticisms of TED Talks

By Michael Lewis

ted ideasImagine the opportunity to hear the late mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, explain its application in fields ranging from “how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time, or how mammalian brains fold as they grow.” Or MacArthur Fellow and University of Southern California law professor Elyn Saks detail her life dealing with schizophrenia on a daily basis, often imagining that she has killed “hundreds of thousands of people.”

Perhaps you would prefer watching jazz musician Herbie Hancock improvise a new version of “Watermelon Man,” or see 64-year-old long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad explain her successful fifth attempt to swim from Florida to Cuba, 110 miles through shark- and jellyfish-infested water.

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Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express – Review

By Christina Majaski

american express blue businessThe Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express is the travel equivalent of the American Express SimplyCash Card. This card provides extra points for travel purchases and an annual bonus for spending. However, it’s questionable whether it stacks up to other business credit cards or travel cards that offer both more earning opportunities on business-related expenses and better options for point redemption.

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Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. As a new cardholder, you receive 10,000 bonus points after making your first purchase while enrolled in Membership Rewards within the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus is worth up to $100 in gift cards. You receive the bonus approximately 6 to 8 weeks after the qualifying purchase is made.

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express – Review

By Christina Majaski

american express simplycash cardThe SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express does exactly what you would imagine it would do: It rewards cardholders with cash back on all purchases in the form of a statement credit. The card also rewards generously for office supply purchases and gas up to an annual cap. Whether this card makes sense for you and your business depends on where you make purchases, how much you spend, and how you feel about American Express.

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Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You get a $250 statement credit after spending at least $3,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. In order to qualify for this offer, however, you must be approved for the card by April 28, 2014.

9 Travel & Vacation Planning Mistakes That Can Cost You Money

By Jacqueline Curtis

vacationWhen it comes to travel planning, the Internet is an incredible resource – but, let’s face it, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. I love going on vacation, but organizing my trips is enough to give me some serious anxiety. From timing plane ticket purchases for the best possible deal, to waffling over hundreds of hotel options, getting the most bang for your travel bucks can be overwhelming.

Whether it’s the curse of indecision or inflexible dates, you can sabotage your ability to snag the best vacation deals before you even hop on a plane or gas up your car. By educating yourself about common spending traps, you can better allocate your money and set priorities before starting your search for vacation deals.

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Top 15 Beauty Hacks – Tips, Tricks & Products That Really Work

By Jacqueline Curtis

makeupAs a beauty and style blogger, it’s my business to try as many techniques as possible, and to test-drive as many products as I can. At least, that’s what I tell my husband when I come home from the store with a bag of new finds.

While trial and error has helped me discover a lot of my favorite items and tips, it has also led me to a lot of duds. Bad formulas, poor color payoff, and makeup techniques that simply don’t work are common. In other words, just because a tip appears in “Cosmopolitan,” it doesn’t mean it’s true.

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7 Tax Preparation Tips to Ease the Stress of Filing

By Michael Lewis

filing taxesDecember 25th and April 15th are two of the most memorable dates on the American calendar. The first is the culmination of a joyful season of celebration, gift-giving, and general goodwill, and is eagerly anticipated. The second date – the day income tax returns must be filed – is a day of dread, stress, anger, and fear for many people. Preparation for Christmas often begins in early autumn, while many people wait until the last minute to complete and file tax returns.

Despite the fact that three out of every four filers receive a refund, nobody likes income tax time. However, there are ways to make the experience less hectic and easier to endure.

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6 Best Investments for Retirement Planning

By Michael Lewis

retirement savingsBaby boomers are the first generation of a new retirement era with the burden of saving the bulk of their retirement income and making those savings last 20 to 30 years. This responsibility is due to the decline in company pensions which shifted saving and investment responsibilities to employees, as well as an increase in life expectancy after attaining adulthood (almost 20% since 1950). The challenge of investing has been particularly difficult in the last five years; a study by Thornburg Investment Management calculated the annual “real return” for many classes of investment during the period as being negative.

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Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card Review

By Christina Majaski

citi dividend platinum select cardRewards credit cards usually offer either miles, cash back, or points for merchandise or gift cards. The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card is Citibank’s cash back card, plain and simple. If it looks a bit familiar to you, it may be because this card is practically identical to the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card for Students, except that it has a sign-up bonus offer and lower APR.

If you’re looking for a credit card that rewards purchases with cash, the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa may be worth considering.

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Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Review – 20K Bonus Points

By Christina Majaski

citi thankyou preferred cardCredit card rewards programs often provide miles, cash back, or points in exchange for purchases made. The ThankYou Points program, included with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, rewards cardholders with points that can later be redeemed for travel, cash back, and merchandise. The Citi ThankYou Points program could be the best rewards program for you – especially if you spend regularly on dining and entertainment.

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Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first three months of opening the account. These points can be redeemed for cash and merchandise, and are equal to $200 in gift cards or airline travel.

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® Review

By Christina Majaski

citi aadvantage mastercardThe Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® is a Citibank card that rewards purchases with airline miles. For diehard fans of American Airlines, there are bonus chances to earn points, as well as great opportunities to redeem flights.

If you are not quite as attached to American Airlines, however, you’re likely to find it difficult to justify the $95 annual fee. Still, if you’re looking for a card that awards airline miles and free flights, you may want to take a look at the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard.

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Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card Review

By Christina Majaski

citi hilton hhonors reserveThere are many hotel rewards cards that provide travel benefits and reward purchases with free hotel stays. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is one of these, but it also rewards for other travel-related purchases such as airfare and car rentals.

Although similar to the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature and the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass cards, the Reserve card manages to stand out a bit ahead of the pack as it offers a sign-up bonus and certain additional benefits.

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Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card Review

By Christina Majaski

citi hilton hhonors cardCredit cards offer a variety of rewards, from cash back, to points for merchandise, to airline miles and hotel stays. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card provides travel rewards to cardholders who frequent Hilton properties, with opportunities to turn purchases into free stays at hotels. With no annual fee and opportunities for multiple free nights at Hilton properties, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature is one of the best hotel rewards cards available.

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Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You receive 40,000 HHonors bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening, which is enough for eight nights at a Category 1 property.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Review – 0% APR for 18 Months

By Christina Majaski

citi diamond cardThe Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card does not offer rewards in the way of cash back or miles, but instead provides the longest 0% introductory APR available. Non-rewards credit cards such as this one provide benefits in the way of savings and elimination of debt rather than cash back or points, and depending on your own financial situation, they may be a better deal.

By transferring existing balances to the Citi Diamond Preferred card with a 0% promotional balance transfer offer, you can gain an additional 18 months to pay off your debt without incurring additional interest charges.

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