Money Matters - Simplified

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My Home

Protect Yourself Amid the Mortgage Mess

It's a scary time to be shopping for a new home. Whom can you trust? When it comes to the meltdown in the mortgage industry, there's more blame flying around than there are mosquitoes on a Wisconsin lake.

When Your Home Is Not Your Castle

Shopping for a new home brings out your creative side. As you look at promising prospects, you see not just what's in front of you, but also what a property might look like after you add your own personal touches to it. In your mind, you might paint those drab gray walls a nice bright yellow, rip out those ugly bushes in the front yard, and think about big renovations.

Which Homes Should You Look At?

If you were to look for a new home to buy today, how would you decide what price range to consider? Here are some formulas you might consider:

Do Homeowners Deserve a Bailout?

From Wall Street to Main Street, lots of people are asking for help. So far, the government's response has been very positive: "Ask, and you shall receive."

Reduce Your Energy Costs

Quick questions: Would you rather spend $50 on unnecessary electricity, or on a share of stock that will help provide for a more comfortable retirement? Would you rather spend $100 on an unnecessarily inefficient refrigerator, or on a night out with your loved one? These are not toughies, I think.

Improve Your Home, Save Money

A few months back, just when the Washington, D.C., heat was approaching its peak, the central air conditioning in our house conked out. After a week of short-term "fixes," we concluded that we needed to shell out a few thousand dollars for a new unit. By this time, our family was very hot, cranky, and impatient (spoiled, I know).

Understanding Your Mortgage Rate

Fears of recession have the stock market reeling. But for homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages, recent talk about possible cuts in interest rates is sparking celebrations.

No Tax Relief for Housing Woes

When you face hard times, it's natural to look for a silver lining. For homeowners who have to sell their homes at a loss, however, there's not much good news. In fact, some homeowners are getting a nasty surprise from the IRS.

Move for Less

My nagging lecture didn't persuade you to stay in that fleabag apartment with the roach infestation, huh? Well, sometimes, it is a good idea to move, especially if you're heading for a better job or fleeing a place with fire-code violations.

Invest in Your Kids

Your kids may want to go to college for all the wrong reasons. At first, they may scare you to death, being on their own for the first time. And when it comes to how they're spending their time, you just might not want to know.