Thursday, January 31, 2013

No Longer a Curiosity

As banks tightened standards on small business loans, peer-to-peer lending has stepped in to fill the demand.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Go Ahead, Take the Deduction!

Do you take the home office deduction? New rules are making it easier for home-based businesses to do so.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Useless Business Help

Thousands of Americans are scammed out of millions annually in work-at-home scams. A look inside one investigation.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pricey Penalties

Do you owe your employees or contractors a tax form for 2012? Get with it or face a tough penalty.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Protect Yourself


Some proactive ways to prevent identity theft, from CatalogChoice:

Restrict access to your social media profiles. Pay close attention to your privacy settings and the information you post.
Don't give out your zip code at the register. Your zip code allows retailers to easily find your entire address so they can send you mail.
Make it difficult to unlock your smartphones and tablets. If your mobile device goes wandering, someone else might be a simple finger swipe away from information meant for your eyes only. Be it a PIN, a clever password or zigzag swipe pattern, use it!
Stop the flood of junk mail. After the holiday season, enormous amounts of unsolicited mail fill our mailboxes. Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive with our free opt-out service.
Update Pa$$_w0rDz! There is no better time to update passwords than the beginning of a new year. Create strong, complex passwords that are difficult to hack, even for a professional.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Dark Side

I'm proud to say that my friend, Helaine Olen, has a hit on her hands. 

The former Los Angeles Times personal finance columnist (we both worked for the business section there in the 1990s) has a new book, Pound Foolish, that is racking up some terrific reviews (as I knew it would!) from some very prestigious sources.

I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to downloading my Kindle copy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Retail vs Etail

Should online sellers collect sales tax from all their customers - even those living out-of-state? The issue pits bricks-and-mortar vs Internet outfits.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ker-Flu-ey


Flu season is looking serious this year. (I got my shot!) Here are some quick tips from the CDC aimed at protecting your general health.

One minute or less:
Wash your hands
Protect your skin
Buckle up
Check cruise ship inspection scores before you travel
Place infants back-to-sleep

Five minutes or less:
Test smoke alarms
Do a skin and body check
Make an appointment (for medical exams, screenings, and immunizations)
Know the signs and symptoms for heart attack and stroke
Take care of your teeth and gums
I heard Jared Diamond lecture last weekend; he's amazing. His No. 1 health worry is not cancer, diabetes or an exotic disease he might pick up on his travels. It's slipping in the shower.

Sounds silly, but it's not. Statistically, a fall in the shower leads more elderly people to decline and death than anything else. Happened to my mother and she was never able to live independently afterwards; she died within a year.  

Note to self: Buy shower mats!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Resolutions


Making some resolutions for 2013? Here is a list of five things you can do to reduce your risk of identity theft, provided by Experian's Protect My ID website.

1. Lock up your social security card! Get it out of your wallet! Put this valuable card, along with all other important personal documents, in a safe, locked box or safety deposit box.
2. Don't share your Social Security Number (SSN) unnecessarily. Ask questions: Why do you need it? What happens if I don't give it to you? Who gets to see it? What are you going to do with it? Legitimate reasons to provide your SSN are limited and include: verifying identity for employment; establishing new lines of credit; participating in government benefit programs; and for tax purposes.
3. Invest in a good cross-cut shredder and USE IT! Destroy all documents that include personal identifying information (account numbers, birth dates, SSN, etc.). This includes those pre-approved credit card offers that fill your mailbox. When in doubt, shred it!
4. Consider investing in a locked mailbox. Additionally, make it a habit to take out-going mail to the post office and stop using your "come steal me" red flag.
5. Take the time to place passwords on all your accounts and change the old ones. This includes bank accounts, investment accounts, credit card accounts, etc. Be creative and use something that cannot be easily guessed by someone who may know you. A good verbal password is NOT the last four digits of your SSN, your mother's maiden name, your pet's name or anniversaries or birthdays. A random word, not associated with you or your life, is highly recommended.

Thursday, January 3, 2013