Eileen Ambrose: Personal Finance

The Baltimore Sun's Eileen Ambrose has been writing on taxes, retirement, saving for college and other personal finance issues since 1999. Got questions? She'll try to find answers. She also contributes to the blog Consuming Interests.

September 9, 2012

Lessons learned in personal finance

About a dozen years ago, the Internet bubble had burst and many workers were forced to postpone retirement because their 401(k)s were wiped out by the bear market. Today, we're living through the aftermath of another bubble collapse and workers again are wondering when, or even if, they'll be able to retire.

12:22 PM EDT, September 4, 2012

Credit cards offer pricey — and unnecessary — extra products

Open a credit card account and you might walk away with more than just plastic.

August 28, 2012

So many financial scandals raises the question of whether ethics classes work

Ethics professors at business schools aren't short of teachable moments these days.

August 26, 2012

Senior advocates urge more help to stop financial exploitation

Baltimore police arrested five people last week accused of impersonating city tax collectors and going to the homes of elderly residents to rob them.

7:42 PM EDT, August 20, 2012

Was Maryland's $10 million sales tax holiday worth it?

The early results of Maryland's sales tax holiday are in: Retailers liked it. So did their customers.

Consumers could be charged more for using credit cards

August 14, 2012

Consumers could be charged more for using credit cards

One of the largest business expenses for Santoni's Supermarket in Highlandtown is interchange fees — what the grocer pays a bank to process customer's credit card transactions.

August 19, 2012

Is your financial aid being eaten up by debit-card fees?

Students across the country are headed back to college, and millions of them will get financial aid disbursed on a debit card.

7:48 PM EDT, August 6, 2012

Unlucky in love? Adopting savvy investors' methods could help

If you're stuck in a bad relationship, you might have something in common with the subprime mortgage mess.

August 12, 2012

Stalemate in Congress makes tax planning nearly impossible

Here we are less than six months away from the "fiscal cliff" and Congress shows little sign of pulling the country back from the brink.

Report: Let private student loans be discharged in bankruptcy

July 29, 2012

Report: Let private student loans be discharged in bankruptcy

Borrowers overwhelmed by private student loan debt often discover an ugly truth too late — these loans can't be discharged in bankruptcy like other types of consumer loans.

7:24 PM EDT, July 27, 2012

Legg Mason posts first quarterly loss since 2009

Legg Mason Inc. reported Friday that it lost $9.5 million in the first quarter, citing the costs of restructuring debt and launching two funds.

Would-be entrepreneurs will have a new place to call home

July 24, 2012

Would-be entrepreneurs will have a new place to call home

Baltimoreans, got a great idea for a web or mobile product? Do you have the passion — and energy — to turn that idea into a reality?

July 22, 2012

Can consumers outraged by outages be compensated for woes?

Cathy Pelekakis, who was without power for six days after the June derecho, quickly made a few calls to complain: to her state representative, the Baltimore County executive and the Maryland Public Service Commission.

6:28 PM EDT, July 16, 2012

Employers weed out job candidates with off-the-wall questions

You walk into a job interview prepared to be grilled about your skills and what you can bring to the position. Instead, the interviewer throws a curveball:

July 15, 2012

Is your tax preparer changing your return to collect a refund?

The tax season ended in April for most of us, but for some consumers their tax headaches are only about to begin.

July 8, 2012

Study: Consumers taking out reverse mortgages earlier

Much of the wealth of millions of baby boomers is tied up in their houses — a sure sign we're going to see a growing demand for reverse mortgages.

Baltimore city is among many suing big banks over allegations of rate-rigging

5:52 PM EDT, July 9, 2012

Baltimore city is among many suing big banks over allegations of rate-rigging

You're likely part of the largest financial scandal in the world today if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage or a private student loan.

7:50 PM EDT, July 2, 2012

Count on shady businesses cropping up in wake of storm

It happens after every natural catastrophe. Once the winds die down, the water recedes or the fire is doused, shady contractors appear on the scene to make affected homeowners victims twice over.

3:05 PM EDT, June 29, 2012

Workers to learn how much they pay for their 401(k)

Workers are about to get valuable information about their 401(k) — specifically, how much they pay for it.

June 26, 2012

Md. firms, treasurer balk at proposed money market regulations

Battle lines are being drawn over whether money market funds need more protection in the event of another financial crisis. Maryland investment firms and the state treasurer are on one side of the fight; the SEC chairman is on the other.

8:19 PM EDT, June 18, 2012

New Web tool grades banks on their small-business help

Small businesses needing loans should think small — bankwise, that is.

Sparrows Point steelworkers await their fate — again

6:32 PM EDT, June 11, 2012

Sparrows Point steelworkers await their fate — again

Rodney Donald represents the third generation of his family to work at the Sparrows Point steel mill, and he's hoping this one won't be the last.

June 17, 2012

Financial aid award letters often lack transparency and wind up confusing students and parents

When you buy a house, you know the price and your monthly payment. The same with a car.

About 21,000 high earners paid no federal income tax

June 10, 2012

About 21,000 high earners paid no federal income tax

A new report from the IRS shows that nearly 21,000 American households with incomes of $200,000 and up didn't owe federal income taxes.

Investor distrust likely to rise after Facebook IPO debacle

7:47 PM EDT, June 4, 2012

Investor distrust likely to rise after Facebook IPO debacle

Susan Fulton says about 100 clients of her Bethesda asset-management firm were "up for the risk" last month and invested a total of $1 million the day Facebook went public.

Taxpayers face long waits, conflicting information when trying to recover from identity theft

June 3, 2012

Taxpayers face long waits, conflicting information when trying to recover from identity theft

Tom Morgan tried to file his federal tax return electronically this year, but he kept getting an error message that advised him to double-check his Social Security number.

Travelers determined to have a vacation — within a budget

May 27, 2012

Travelers determined to have a vacation — within a budget

Money may be tight, but not enough for most of us to forgo a summer vacation.

6:24 PM EDT, May 21, 2012

Md. to launch program to stimulate lending to small businesses

Maryland small businesses gripe that they can't get loans from banks. Lenders complain of a dearth of borrowers.

Identity thieves filing fake returns using data on real taxpayers

May 20, 2012

Identity thieves filing fake returns using data on real taxpayers

Here's another reason to file your tax returns as early as possible: an identity thief might beat you to the money.

7:23 PM EDT, May 14, 2012

New Md. law aims to halt financial abuse of the elderly

Maryland banks and credit unions are likely to be among the first to notice that an elderly customer is being financially exploited by a con artist or an unscrupulous relative.

Prepaid card market heats up — and the fees are plentiful

May 13, 2012

Prepaid card market heats up — and the fees are plentiful

Prepaid debit cards are everywhere these days — and so are their fees.

7:54 PM EDT, May 7, 2012

Home renovations are a lot of work — and require due diligence

About a year ago, Matt Venditto hired a builder to construct a house in Westminster. It wasn't long before buyer's remorse set in.

8:13 PM EDT, April 30, 2012

Regulators pressure life insurers to help beneficiaries collect their due

Regulators nationwide are pushing life insurers to do a better job of tracking when policyholders die and locating the beneficiaries — an effort that could reap billions of dollars for consumers.

Banks and credit unions to offer cash prizes under new law

May 6, 2012

Banks and credit unions to offer cash prizes under new law

The thrill of potentially winning big bucks gets people to spend millions of dollars regularly on lottery tickets. Can this same concept excite Marylanders to become better savers?

April 29, 2012

Consumer agency to review mandatory arbitration in financial services

Finally, a spotlight will be shone on a widespread business practice that forces unhappy customers to settle disputes through binding arbitration — rather than by telling their story in court.

7:14 PM EDT, April 23, 2012

Consumers stand to make a few gains from legislative session

Let's turn to baseball to sum up the Maryland legislative session's impact on consumers: It had a few singles but no home runs.

Owe taxes but your bank account is empty?

7:25 AM EDT, April 17, 2012

Owe taxes but your bank account is empty?

So the tax deadline is here and you don't have the money to pay the bill.

9:16 AM EDT, April 3, 2012

Young investors show less interest in IRAs

Give anyone age 40 and older a time machine and they would likely go back to their early 20s — to open an IRA.

7:45 PM EDT, April 14, 2012

New law allows entrepreneurs to sell securities via crowdfunding

Could crowdfunding work for entrepreneurs who need capital for their private startup and are willing to sell a stake in it to the masses? Congress seems to think so.

10:05 AM EDT, April 10, 2012

Md. bans yo-yo financing of car purchases, but it still happens

Yo-yo financing is what happens when you drive off the lot with your newly purchased car, only to be reeled back in days or weeks later by the dealer because the financing didn't go through.

April 8, 2012

Another day, another security breach.

Even among the hundreds of data breaches that occur each year, the hacking of card processor Global Payments stands out.

4:51 PM EDT, April 2, 2012

Young investors show less interest in IRAs

Give anyone age 40 and older a time machine and they would likely go back to their early 20s — to open an IRA.

April 1, 2012

Many oppose health care act, and many don't know its benefits

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is in the hands of the Supreme Court justices. But in the court of public opinion, a large percentage of people polled recently want the law scrapped.

Apple sparks renewed interest in dividend-paying stocks

12:00 AM EDT, March 24, 2012

Apple sparks renewed interest in dividend-paying stocks

Apple made headlines again last week, but this time they weren't entirely about the new iPad.

4:11 PM EDT, March 19, 2012

Want a scholarship? Watch what you post online

Students beware: Scholarship providers aren't just going by your application to learn about you.

March 18, 2012

Md. legislation targets employer bias against unemployed

Many long-term unemployed have discovered an ugly truth: You need a job to get one.

6:15 PM EDT, March 26, 2012

Maryland proposes ban on 'forced bundling' by insurers

Many consumers voluntarily buy more than one type of insurance from the same company so they can get a discount on premiums.

March 11, 2012

Eight things you might not know about Social Security

Most of us know some basics about Social Security.

9:55 AM EST, March 5, 2012

Financial planning for same-sex couples who seek to wed

Same-sex marriage, signed into law Thursday in Maryland, will bring significant changes to gay and lesbian couples here. But to their personal finances, maybe not so much.

Consumers unhappy to find some rebates are taxable

3:55 PM EST, February 20, 2012

Consumers unhappy to find some rebates are taxable

Last year, Jane Kuhl and her husband qualified for a state-run program that promised a 50 percent rebate to homeowners installing energy-saving insulation.

8:16 AM EDT, March 13, 2012

Fewer workers saving for retirement, more under financial stress

Workers' confidence about their retirement is at a near-record low. Fewer are salting away money for their later years, and the majority have less than $25,000 in savings and investments.

7:29 PM EST, March 5, 2012

When you can't get a checking account, where do you go?

Roberto Pagan-Franco didn't have a bank account for decades. His employer paid him in cash or with a check that the Baltimore resident took to a check-cashing store. A few years ago he lost his job after a severe illness and for a time was homeless.

Maryland raises the bar for individual tax preparers

February 26, 2012

Maryland raises the bar for individual tax preparers

For years, anyone in Maryland could prepare tax returns for money, so it wasn't unheard of to find tax services offered at laundromats, car dealerships or palm-reader shops.

February 19, 2012

Stopping thieves before they steal your child's identity

As concern grows over child identity theft, Maryland is considering legislation that would make the state the first in the nation to protect a youngster's credit report.

February 28, 2012

Fake debt collectors a 'major problem,' regulator says

It's bad enough being hounded by collection agencies for debt that's yours. Imagine getting calls from fake debt collectors in India who threaten to have you arrested for not repaying payday loans you don't owe.

5:49 PM EST, February 6, 2012

Retirees face the risk of outliving their money

Until recently, retirement planning focused mostly on helping workers accumulate savings.

Can Suze Orman's new prepaid card change credit scoring?

8:03 PM EST, January 23, 2012

Can Suze Orman's new prepaid card change credit scoring?

Personal finance guru Suze Orman says she never would have introduced her prepaid debit card if there wasn't a possibility that some day it could be used in credit scoring.

February 14, 2012

Marrying your financial opposite: A fatal attraction?

Somewhere, a husband and wife are arguing about money — even on Valentine's Day. And researchers say that if the two were being totally honest, they would say:

7:59 PM EST, December 24, 2011

By improving their own finances, parents give gift to children

Many parents braved the malls to find their children this year's must-have toy or the hottest gadget.

Many Marylanders living without a financial safety net

8:01 AM EST, January 31, 2012

Many Marylanders living without a financial safety net

Marylanders on average have the highest income in the country, but when it comes to having a financial cushion in hard times, we're disappointingly mediocre.

4:46 PM EST, December 19, 2011

Investors should sell their losers now to reap a tax break

Jim Loukota of Baltimore County is trying to make the best of a soured investment.

February 12, 2012

Consumers are starting to flex their newfound muscle

Stef Gray recently delivered a petition to Sallie Mae's Washington office, asking the giant private lender to eliminate a fee that unemployed college graduates must pay to suspend payments until they find a job.

February 5, 2012

Moves to lower your tax bill

Death and taxes might be certain, but the latter changes each year.

Wish list for new director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

6:37 PM EST, January 9, 2012

Wish list for new director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

To: Richard Cordray, Director

December 4, 2011

Some students are leaving college with huge private loans

Megan Connors of Harford County says she got a great education at Auburn University but a brutal lesson on private student loans.

January 22, 2012

Many workers are in the dark about 401(k) fees

Survey after survey shows that many workers don't know how much they shell out in 401(k) fees — or that they even pay them.

Will giving children an allowance make them smarter about finances?

3:55 PM EST, January 13, 2012

Will giving children an allowance make them smarter about finances?

The conventional wisdom is that allowances make children responsible money managers as they learn to budget so they don't run out of cash.

If you resolve to pay off credit cards this year, do it right

1:31 PM EST, January 2, 2012

If you resolve to pay off credit cards this year, do it right

Many consumers will resolve to pay off their credit cards for the new year, and their intentions are in the right place. But according to a recent study, how they go about it is likely to be wrong.

November 27, 2011

The earlier we learn financial lessons, the better

John David Kromkowski learned about compound interest as a youngster with the help of a passbook savings account at the bank.

7:37 AM EST, January 17, 2012

Early birds can begin filing tax returns electronically with Uncle Sam and Maryland

Tax season is officially here, with the Internal Revenue Service and state of Maryland starting Tuesday to accept electronically filed returns.

No quick fix: Getting out of debt requires patience — and help

9:31 PM EST, January 7, 2012

No quick fix: Getting out of debt requires patience — and help

After his mother's death six years ago, Doug Hamilton says, his financial life spiraled out of control. He spent freely, didn't pay his bills on time and had creditors calling him at work.

4:30 PM EST, November 21, 2011

Tips to help holiday shoppers avoid overspending

If consumers actually do what they say they'll do, this will be another slow holiday season for retailers.

December 31, 2011

What investors can expect in 2012

If you had slept Rip Van Winkle-style through 2011, you'd be awakening now to find that your stock portfolio was much the same as you left it.

8:00 PM EST, December 5, 2011

Fraudulent schemes? There are enough out there to fill a book

Joyce Brown of Brooklyn Park receives lots of blatantly bogus letters claiming she won millions or billions of dollars in a lottery, but the one that arrived about a week ago was different.

3:45 PM EST, December 26, 2011

New IRS reporting requirements kick in for fund firms in 2012

If you own mutual funds outside a retirement account, you likely have heard from the investment companies asking you to choose your math.

December 18, 2011

How does your savings rate measure up for your age?

How much in savings and investments should you have by age 35 or 45? Or, for that matter, at 65 when you're likely to be near retirement?

7:14 PM EST, December 12, 2011

Is a new credit card regulation hurting stay-at-home spouses?

An aim of the landmark credit card reform act of 2009 was to protect consumers from getting too deep into debt.

6:22 PM EST, November 14, 2011

Should you buy a computer on Monday or Friday?

Timing is everything if you're trying to get the best deal on a computer, airfares, cars and even stocks.

Got a gift card you don't use or want? Sell it

December 11, 2011

Got a gift card you don't use or want? Sell it

We want gift cards and like to give them, but for some reason we don't always use them and wind up wasting billions of dollars.

November 13, 2011

As credit card reward programs grow more generous, it's worth checking what's in your wallet

Don't automatically shred those credit card offers arriving in your mailbox. They just might contain an attractive rewards program.

Students need all the debt relief they can get

7:38 PM EST, November 7, 2011

Students need all the debt relief they can get

Tens of thousands of Marylanders could benefit from two initiatives by the Obama administration that are designed to ease the burden of federal student loans.

Taking the holiday blues and hassles out of air travel

12:03 PM EDT, October 7, 2011

Taking the holiday blues and hassles out of air travel

Airfares can fluctuate even within the span of a few hours, but the direction of holiday travel prices is one-way: up.

November 20, 2011

Make moves now to lower next year's tax bill

Year-end tax planning these next several weeks will be refreshingly straightforward for a change.

Debit card fees are last straw for some consumers

9:42 AM EDT, November 1, 2011

Debit card fees are last straw for some consumers

Apparently, consumers have a breaking point — a $5 monthly debit-card fee.

Employers face higher health care costs for next year

October 2, 2011

Employers face higher health care costs for next year

Health care costs rose faster than inflation and wages this year — a trend that will hit home for many workers in the next several weeks as employers offer open enrollment.

6:50 PM EST, November 28, 2011

You pay bills on time, so why isn't your credit score higher?

Marlene Partridge and her husband have a six-figure retirement income, no debt and pay off their credit cards each month.

Even savvy consumers can find it tough to negotiate car sales

October 29, 2011

Even savvy consumers can find it tough to negotiate car sales

Most of us don't buy cars all that often. So when we do, we can come away with that nagging feeling of not knowing whether we got a fair deal or grossly overpaid.

As America ages, issue of long-term care emerges

November 6, 2011

As America ages, issue of long-term care emerges

When the Obama administration recently backed off a long-term insurance program that was part of the law to overhaul health care, we all lost.

5:42 PM EDT, September 26, 2011

Debt collectors, other businesses want to call your cellphone

That unfamiliar incoming call to your cellphone soon might be from a debt collector.

Know your rights in disputes with landlords

7:09 PM EDT, September 23, 2011

Know your rights in disputes with landlords

For Eddie Germino, being unemployed for a time last year worked to his advantage in a dispute with his Maryland landlord.

Taking the mystery out of the bottom-line cost of college

9:11 PM EDT, October 24, 2011

Taking the mystery out of the bottom-line cost of college

By the time you know how much it will cost out of pocket to attend a college, you are far along in the process. Not only have you been accepted by the school, but you've likely waited weeks to receive the financial aid package.

September 18, 2011

More parents are laying out the welcome mat for kids, Census Bureau reports

A couple of years ago, Joe and Marlene Everett were 50-something empty nesters with a daughter out on her own and a son away at college.

6:42 PM EDT, September 19, 2011

Student borrowers have another option before defaulting on loans

The number of borrowers defaulting on federal student loans continues to rise in Maryland and elsewhere. But even during the long and painful economic recovery, many of these defaults likely are unnecessary.

Troubled homeowners still have time to get mortgage assistance

9:15 PM EDT, September 5, 2011

Troubled homeowners still have time to get mortgage assistance

Help still is available for Marylanders at risk of losing their homes because they lost a job, their pay was cut or earnings reduced because of an illness.

Little-known health education and advocacy unit helps Marylanders resolve medical bill and insurance disputes

September 4, 2011

Little-known health education and advocacy unit helps Marylanders resolve medical bill and insurance disputes

The surgery on Don Hayden's son was successful. The only lingering complication: a bill for $23,000.

7:11 PM EDT, August 29, 2011

Earthquake. Hurricane. What disaster is next?

If this past week was not a wake-up call to make sure you are financially prepared to survive a natural disaster, what is?

August 14, 2011

Help wanted: But only the employed need apply

While nearly 14 million unemployed Americans are searching for work, some employers are limiting their hiring to preferred candidates: People who already have jobs.

September 13, 2011

To end a banking relationship, don't just walk away

Breaking up with a bank can be hard to do — and expensive if you don't do it right.

Consumer advocates fear that more traditional banks will be offering payday loans

6:19 PM EDT, August 22, 2011

Consumer advocates fear that more traditional banks will be offering payday loans

If you are offered a short-term advance on your paycheck at a triple-digit interest rate, you might think you're being pitched a payday loan — a product that's basically banned in Maryland and other states with rate caps.

August 21, 2011

Budgeting is a drag, but online personal financial management sites make the chore easier

Online budgeting sites aim to take the tedium out of money management, and the latest entry even tries to make a game of it with cash prizes.

August 28, 2011

Tough economic times make less expensive colleges more attractive to families

Sam Cameron says high school classmates used to give her "funny looks" when she told them she planned to go to a local community college after graduation instead of some prestigious four-year institution.

September 11, 2011

Consumers aren't alone when they've been wronged

Last week's column on a little-known state group that helps consumers with medical disputes generated emails from readers asking if organizations exist that can help them tackle other problems.

8:27 PM EDT, August 8, 2011

Investors' flight to Treasuries seen to have a short-term benefit to consumers

Investors watched stock markets swoon and economists fretted about the nation's fragile recovery on the first day of trading after the unprecedented downgrade of the nation's credit rating.

7:15 PM EDT, August 15, 2011

Interest rates on consumer loans have fallen recently

The silver lining in all this economic upheaval lately: low interest rates on consumer borrowing.

4:32 PM EDT, August 6, 2011

Debt-ceiling debate, market downslide test investors' appetite for risk

Think about how you have been feeling about your portfolio lately.

7:00 PM EDT, August 1, 2011

Credit unions developed battle plans to protect federal workers during debt ceiling fight

While congressional leaders work to push through a deal to raise the government's debt ceiling, some credit unions that serve federal employees aren't taking any chances.

Millions of dollars earmarked for investor education across the country

July 24, 2011

Millions of dollars earmarked for investor education across the country

Back in 2003, major Wall Street firms agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle claims that their research analysts hyped stocks to curry favor with — and get business from — the companies they covered.

6:24 PM EDT, July 18, 2011

A year in the making, consumers finally get greater protections on financial matters

Consumer advocates aren't getting their first choice to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Despite the setback, this is still a big week for consumer protection.

Car buyers should know their rights when getting financing through an auto dealer

11:34 AM EDT, August 1, 2011

Car buyers should know their rights when getting financing through an auto dealer

Imagine showing off your new car to friends and family only to get a call from the dealer — sometimes weeks later — saying your financing has fallen through.

Treasury moves away from paper to electronic savings bonds

9:52 AM EDT, July 26, 2011

Treasury moves away from paper to electronic savings bonds

The move by the federal government to end the sale of paper savings bonds at banks and credit unions next year is bad news for savers in more ways than one.

Retailers, manufacturers crack down on extreme couponing

9:52 AM EDT, July 12, 2011

Retailers, manufacturers crack down on extreme couponing

It was just a matter of time before businesses began to push back against some of the worst behaviors of extreme couponers.

Today's treasure hunter doesn't need a secret map or shovel to uncover wealth

July 10, 2011

Today's treasure hunter doesn't need a secret map or shovel to uncover wealth

Years ago, before we were married and moved to Maryland, my husband opened a checking account in Indiana and had the statements mailed to his office there.

How to find a real, live person for real customer service

7:54 PM EDT, June 20, 2011

How to find a real, live person for real customer service

This recorded message must be one of the biggest fibs a business makes to customers: "Your call is very important to us."

Small investors worry about debt-ceiling impasse

6:55 PM EDT, July 15, 2011

Small investors worry about debt-ceiling impasse

While politicians in Washington refuse to compromise on raising the debt ceiling, small investors are worrying about what a stalemate might mean to their life savings.

Consumer advocate feared by financial institutions appears in Baltimore

July 3, 2011

Consumer advocate feared by financial institutions appears in Baltimore

On Capitol Hill, some lawmakers treat Elizabeth Warren as if she were Public Enemy No. 1.

8:00 PM EDT, June 27, 2011

Regulators focusing on bank overdraft programs

Some banks soon will find it more difficult to slap consumers with overdraft fees — a boon to customers who discover that one misstep can lead to a cascade of penalties.

How to rebuild finances after losing a job and finding another

June 19, 2011

How to rebuild finances after losing a job and finding another

Ever so slowly, the unemployed are getting hired. And if you're one of them, the next task will be to get your finances back on track.

Investors may soon be able to buy into their favorite Internet companies

June 26, 2011

Investors may soon be able to buy into their favorite Internet companies

Investment guru Peter Lynch once advised ordinary folks to "invest in what you know."

IRS promises to ease up on struggling American taxpayers

March 1, 2011

IRS promises to ease up on struggling American taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service says it will file fewer liens against those who owe back taxes and make it easier for taxpayers to get liens withdrawn — a move that wipes the blemish from credit reports.

February 1, 2009

Eileen Ambrose: Tips to help you save some of your money

Gather your W-2, charitable receipts and investments statements. Tax season is here.

Federal Reserve sets limits on debit card swipe fees, leaving merchants and banks unhappy

July 5, 2011

Federal Reserve sets limits on debit card swipe fees, leaving merchants and banks unhappy

You might not have paid attention to the fierce yearlong battle between merchants and banks over debit cards, but you'll likely notice last week's outcome in your wallet.

Changes you may encounter while preparing this season's tax return

January 30, 2011

Changes you may encounter while preparing this season's tax return

For taxpayers who are procrastinators, this is your year.

Auditors raise doubts about First Mariner's future

9:33 PM EDT, March 31, 2011

Auditors raise doubts about First Mariner's future

Auditors have raised doubts about First Mariner Bancorp's ability to remain in business, according to financial statements that the largest Baltimore-based bank, founded by prominent businessman Edwin F. Hale Sr., filed with regulators late Thursday.

IRS revokes tax-exempt status of thousands of Maryland groups

5:50 PM EDT, June 13, 2011

IRS revokes tax-exempt status of thousands of Maryland groups

Soccer clubs, PTAs, community associations, a temperance union and inactive foundations belonging to a couple of Baltimore sport legends are among the thousands of Maryland groups that have had their tax-exempt status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service.

March 14, 2010

PERSONAL FINANCE

Build a better 401(k)

The fastest-growing segment of the population these days: centenarians.

Why pay more to file your taxes?

6:09 PM EST, January 31, 2011

Why pay more to file your taxes?

If you are a low- to moderate-income taxpayer and you shell out any money to have your taxes done, you're likely paying too much.

Some taxpayers will be getting their refunds on a prepaid card

1:45 PM EST, January 21, 2011

Some taxpayers will be getting their refunds on a prepaid card

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is hawking a prepaid card. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian briefly offered a prepaid card before it was pulled off the market. Then earlier this month, the Treasury Department announced that it would allow some taxpayers to get their refunds on prepaid cards this year.

February 9, 2010

How protected are you from snow damage?

With 2 feet of snow this past weekend and more flakes forecasted, many homes in the Baltimore area are likely to end up with some weather-related damage.

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