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Wash Post Personal Finance

The Washington Post Personal Finance section provides news and advice on personal finance news such as investing,real estate,autos,retirement planning,taxes,college savings and much more.


Fast ways to improve your credit score

Sun, 04 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDT

Q What's the fastest way to boost my credit score? For most people, the fastest way to improve your credit score is to pay down your credit card balances. About one-third of your FICO score (the score most lenders use) is based on your credit-utilization ratio, which is the total of your credit c...

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Tips for couples to help solve money problems

Sun, 04 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDT

In my online discussions I frequently get questions from couples facing financial issues.

Half of firms have yet to restore 401(k) match, poll finds

Sun, 04 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDT

NEW YORK -- Almost half of U.S. companies that reduced or suspended their contributions to employee retirement plans during the recession haven't restored them, according to Towers Watson.

In blow for BofA, Fed rejects its dividend plan

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:28:28 EDT

NEW YORK -- It was one more blow for Bank of America: the Federal Reserve didn't allow nation's largest bank to increase its dividends.

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Leggett, Montgomery County unions spar over pension costs

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 16:50:04 EDT

For years, officials in wealthy, liberal Montgomery County have avoided difficult decisions on scaling back pensions and health-care benefits for retirees. Now, the long-term shortfall is $4.8 billion.

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Business Highlights

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 18:12:44 EDT

-- --- Home sales fell 9.6 pct. in February WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer Americans bought previously occupied homes in February and those who did purchased them at steep discounts. The weak sales and rise in foreclosures pushed home prices down to their lowest level in nearly nine years.

Value Added: Creating a conveyor belt for renovation

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 15:00:02 EDT

Anthony Lanier built an assembly line of engineers, architects, historical preservation specialists, zoning lawyers and construction firms who could pump out renovated buildings one after another.

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Citi resumes dividend, will do reverse stock split

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:53:08 EDT

NEW YORK -- Citigroup Inc., one of the worst-hit banks during the financial crisis, is taking more steps to get back in the good graces of shareholders.

Treasury: Will begin selling mortgage securities

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:34:02 EDT

WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department announced Monday that it will begin selling its remaining $142 billion in holdings of mortgage-backed securities purchased during the financial crisis.

Lessons learned from 4 years of 401(k) volatility

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 10:25:43 EDT

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Americans who were afraid to open their 401(k) statements during the recession are finding good news inside the envelope now: For the most part, their accounts have come all the way back and then some.

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Citing pension costs, Costa Mesa, Calif., plans to lay off nearly half its employees

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 22:51:01 EDT

In all, about 210 of the city's 472 employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, were given pink slips.

Maryland budget fights will focus on benefits for state workers, tax increases

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 11:32:00 EDT

Maryland's emerging budget plan, with which few say they are pleased, is a case study of conflicting priorities in one of only 10 states that are a fully Democratic laboratory.

Citing pension costs, Costa Mesa, Calif., plans to lay off nearly half its employees

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 08:45:00 EDT

In all, about 210 of the city's 472 employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, were given pink slips.

Union-free Virginia not spared state pension woes

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 19:05:00 EDT

Virginia is one of only a handful of states that prohibit collective bargaining for public employees in state and local government.

Judge rejects Securities America class settlement

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 19:40:07 EDT

DALLAS -- A federal judge in Dallas has rejected a deal that would have allowed brokerage Securities America Inc. to pay $21 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that the company didn't do proper due diligence on millions of dollars in investments it sold that later proved worthless.

Housing paperwork can pile up at tax time - here's what to keep, and for how long

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 19:40:01 EDT

Many taxpayers are preparing for their annual battle with IRS form 1040 by gathering up all their documents, statements, checks and other assorted papers. At the end of this process, taxpayers are often left with piles of neatly sorted, tabulated and cross-indexed piles. From a homeowner's perspe...

With short-sale offer refused, foreclosure may end up the best option

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 19:23:01 EDT

Q. We built a spec house in 2007 as the market declined. We've tried to do everything to get it sold and recently received a short-sale offer on the home.

Attorneys general try to rein in lenders' shabby behavior on modifications

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 19:22:01 EDT

When you take out a home mortgage, do you expect to be treated fairly and competently by your bank or loan servicer?

Cisco announces first dividend

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:23:32 EDT

NEW YORK -- Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest maker of computer networking gear, on Friday said its first-ever cash dividend will amount to 6 cents per share and will be paid on April 20.

Business Highlights

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:01:17 EDT

-- --- Investors cheer dividend increases at large banks

Investors cheer dividend increases at large banks

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 16:31:54 EDT

NEW YORK -- Bank shareholders got a long-awaited gift from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Friday when the central bank cleared the way for major lenders to increase their dividends.

Why inflation hurts more than it did 30 years ago

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 11:33:48 EDT

WASHINGTON -- Inflation spooked the nation in the early 1980s. It surged and kept rising until it topped 13 percent.

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Personal Finance: Cashing in on the Disaster in Japan

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:47:02 EDT

One thing is for sure, when there's a disaster in the U.S. or abroad there's an appeal to help victims.

42% guessing how much money they'll need in retirement

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 00:14:00 EDT

That question is coming up for more and more Americans.

Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:31:00 EDT

Among government workers, one group enjoys lifetime health benefits virtually unmatched in the United States: military retirees.

Congressional pensions fall on high end of scale

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:25:00 EDT

Members receive much heftier retirement packages than most private-sector employees and state workers do.

Treasuries climb as official says Obama to seek spending freeze

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:07:01 EDT

Yields on 10-year notes fell the most in almost three months as the Bank of Japan's efforts to provide liquidity and expand an asset-purchase program failed to stem an equity selloff, which sent the Nikkei 225 Stock Average down as much as 14 percent and sapped U.S. stocks. Two-year note yields...

Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:58:01 EDT

Among government workers, one group enjoys lifetime health benefits virtually unmatched in the United States: military retirees.

U.S. Stocks Drop as S&P 500 Falls to Lowest Level Since January

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:41:01 EDT

General Electric Co., which is in talks to sell reactors to India, fell 2.5 percent. Alcoa Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. slumped at least 1.4 percent as commodity prices fell amid speculation demand will slow. Intel Corp. dropped 3.1 percent after Nomura Holdings Inc. cut its recommendation for...

Nevada's boom ends in record number of empty homes

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:29:52 EDT

LAS VEGAS -- The promise of palm tree groves and low-priced real estate lured Alan and Katherine Ackerly across the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Nevada in 2004, where thousands of new houses beckoned brightly as any neon sign.

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Uneasy economy dashes retirement confidence

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 10:44:40 EDT

-- Stocks have bounced back but Americans continue to have serious doubts about their retirement security.

Safeguarding the promise and fairness of Social Security

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 00:00:00 EDT

Regarding Charles Krauthammer's March 11 op-ed column " Et tu, Jack Lew? ":

Safeguarding the promise and fairness of Social Security

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 20:02:02 EDT

Regarding Charles Krauthammer's March 11 op-ed column " Et tu, Jack Lew? ":

Business Highlights

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 18:42:02 EDT


Business Highlights

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 18:17:00 EDT

-- --- Japan central bank feeds markets money after quake

Borrower has second thoughts about that second chance

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 16:04:01 EST

Q. I was going into foreclosure, but the bank gave me a loan modification. I agreed to the modification at the beginning, but now I see it was a mistake and think foreclosure would be better. What do I have to do - just stop paying?

Many still owe taxes on forgiven home-equity debt

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 14:51:02 EST

With hundreds of thousands of homeowners having negotiated loan modifications or short sales or been foreclosed upon during the past year, the Internal Revenue Service has issued fresh guidance on how to handle canceled mortgage debt in the coming tax season.

What to expect from D.C.-area housing market this spring

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 13:00:00 EST

The Post's real estate section editor Elizabeth Razzi and real estate reporter Dina ElBoghdady take questions about the springtime housing market in the Washington area.

Major changes ahead for mortgage system as U.S. seeks to scale back role in housing

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:13:01 EST

Fundamental changes are probably ahead for the American mortgage system as the federal government pushes to unwind its unprecedented involvement in the housing market.

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Ryan says GOP ready to take on health programs

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 03:30:03 EST

WASHINGTON -- Republicans in charge of the House are facing two unappealing options on the budget.

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Republicans planning cost curbs on health benefits

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 00:32:32 EST

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans will "lead with our chin" and offer politically explosive cost curbs this spring on programs like Medicare, Medicaid and perhaps Social Security, the party's point man for curbing crippling budget deficits said Thursday.

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Federal Housing Administration leader David Stevens will leave post

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 22:56:01 EST

David H. Stevens plans to leave his post as head of the Federal Housing Administration by the end of April after guiding the agency through its toughest financial challenges in one of the housing market's darkest periods.

Social Security and spending fairness

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 19:58:01 EST

Regarding Robert J. Samuelson's March 7 op-ed column, " Why Social Security is welfare ":

Business Highlights

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 18:21:26 EST

-- --- Stocks lift household wealth; companies amass cash

Stocks lift household wealth; companies amass cash

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 17:56:40 EST

WASHINGTON -- Americans are spending more of their growing wealth. The economy still needs companies to do the same.

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Color of Money Live

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:00:00 EST

Need advice about how to handle your personal finances? Post columnist Michelle Singletary offers her advice and answers your questions.

Personal Finance: Many NFL players living paycheck to paycheck

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 11:35:48 EST

As I've said over and over again, more money doesn't mean your money problems go away. Take the possible lockout of National Football League players, who are in a contract dispute with team owners. If there is a lockout, many players, despite hefty annual incomes, would struggle to pay their bills.

A fresh focus on Social Security in budget debate

Wed, 09 Mar 2011 18:20:57 EST

WASHINGTON -- In the midst of the budget crisis, an old debate has broken out with new force: Should Social Security be seen as part of the deficit that Washington needs to rein in?

Business Highlights

Wed, 09 Mar 2011 18:11:16 EST

-- --- Wholesale inventories and sales rise in January