Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.
10 items that were cheaper last year
If you’re a vegetarian, you have nothing to worry about. But for Americans who enjoy a steak, pork chop or other meat proteins with their meals, 2013 will mean higher prices. Hamburgers, steaks and bacon are projected to cost 3% to 4% more in 2013, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture, because of the drought that continues to impact much of the nation’s midsection. But the price of meat is not the only consumer item going up.
Read more at CNN Money.
Money-saving health resolutions
Every New Year, millions of Americans resolve to make healthy changes to their lifestyle. Some of these health resolutions can actually put a few more dollars in your pocket at the same time. According to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, taking full advantage of your Flexible Spending Account, losing weight, finally giving up the smokes and reacquainting yourself with your doctor are good savings kick-starters.
Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch.
The fiscal cliff deal, broken down
We were nearly hurtling over the edge when the House of Representatives, Senate and White House finally came to agreement. Hopefully you didn’t do much work on your taxes before the Jan 2nd, because they are changing (unless you happened to guess correctly). The big changes are an increase in the tax rate for those making over $400,000, a payroll tax hike from 4.2% to 6.2%, and a capital gains tax increase from 15% to 20%.
Get the full breakdown on CNN Money.
Are you doing enough to retire?
Among the many check-ups recommended for the New Year, Money Magazine’s Walter Updegrave recommends a review of retirement plans. He recommends using an online retirement planner (or retirement income calculator) to determine how much you need to retire, and then evaluating your investment portfolio in light of your goals and plan needs.
Read more at CNN Money.
New business startup tips
Though it may sound counter-intuitive, more businesses are started during recessions than during stronger economic periods. Making that decision to startup a new venture is not a simple or easy decision for aspiring entrepreneurs, but starting a small business now has some clear upsides. Experts agree that, above all, it takes resilience to succeed – and some self-made luck.
Read more at USA Today.
Cities with best economic recovery
A recovering housing industry has provided an economic boost to many cities and metropolitan areas in the U.S., but the recovery has not been the same everywhere. But according to Brookings MetroMonitor’s recent report, many of the communities that suffered the most during the housing crisis are now experiencing some of the fastest turnaround. However, those are the same communities that also have the longest road to recovery. Taking the top spot for the second straight year is New Orleans, LA.
Read more at the Business Insider.
Best deals for state colleges
Kiplinger ranked the best values in public education based on test scores, graduation rates and tuition affordability for 2013. And once again, 12-time champion University of North Carolina is at the top of the list for public universities. But a combination of cuts to state funds and climbing costs cast a rather bleak outlook for many other public institutions. One state does stand out for best bets on good deals on public education: California.
Read more at Kiplinger.