Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.
Economy expected to get lift from improving housing market
According to investment firm Charles Schwab & Co., the housing recovery’s positive impact on the growth of the economy could be as great as a full percentage point in 2013. Among several key real estate factors the firm says should be enough to overcome the potential reduction in government spending is increasing confidence among home-builders, which hit a six-and-a-half-year high in November.
Read the full article at Business Week.
Most helpful personal finance apps
Mobile apps are for more than just games and socializing. Managing personal finances is always crucial, but especially this time of year. But consumers can now can turn to their smart phone or tablet for assistance, thanks to some recent advances in mobile technology. Mobilewalla recently ranked the best apps for helping out with financial tasks such as budget tracking and paying off personal debts.
Get the complete list at Finance Wise.
What could be changing with your taxes in 2013?
All eyes are on the “fiscal cliff” these days, but so far there is more uncertainty than useful guidance. However, MarketWatch has identified 6 tax issues which could be affecting you in the coming year. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take today in anticipation of changes in key investment and expenses areas, including personal medical expenses, deduction limits, and capital gains.
Read more at Wall Street Journal MarketWatch.
You can no longer simply count on a social security check to take care of your needs in retirement. Making matters worse, consumers are forced to navigate through all the information – and misinformation – when it comes to retirement-planning. A couple of the popular myths now debunked are that Medicare will cover all your health care, and you won’t need nearly as much income to keep your standard of living. Having a solid retirement plan is as important as ever.
Read about all the debunked retirement myths at NBC News.
The pitfalls of deferred interest offers
The Christmas shopping season is heating up. That’s good news for retailers, but consumers should proceed with caution. The average household credit card debt is currently about $6,700, and another expected $800 in holiday purchases could run that balance even higher. Advertised as 0% deals, deferred interest offers typically only apply for a limited time, after which accumulated finance charges can deliver a devastating blow to the card-holder, if the entire balance is not paid on time.
Get all the details at Fox Business.
Is hiring an accountant worth the money?
There are many resources and tools for financial planning out there, and many of them available free of cost. However, depending on your situation, it might be helpful to consult a professional such as a tax accountant or certified financial planner. However, their fees range from $25 to $400 or more per hour. So be sure you know what your needs are and do the necessary planning for the meeting beforehand.
Read the expert advice at Yahoo! Finance.
Video ATMs changing the banking experience
Are personalized automatic teller machines an oxymoron? In a move designed to cut costs and stay relevant, banks and credit unions are deploying flat screens at ATM locations that enable remote interactions with tellers. Customers can now get personalized assistance through direct video contact and chat with a representative at some ATM’s. While providing a more personalized service, video ATMs still allow banks to focus their branch services on customers with more in-depth questions.
Read more at USA Today.
Top cities for housing recovery
Home prices are on the rise, according to the latest report by Fiserv Case-Shiller, and will continue to increase over the next 5 years. The report estimates that the average home value in the U. S. will go up approximately 3.3% by 2017. It also ranks the best, and worst, housing markets in the country, according to projected annualized change in home prices. The report’s projections takes into consideration median home price, household income, unemployment rate and changes in average home prices since their peak.
Get the complete list at MSN.