Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.
CPI steady, but US consumers paying more for food and rent
The inflation rate stayed steady in October, as consumers saw gas prices drop. Unfortunately, food and rent costs went in the opposite direction. The consumer price index (CPI) increased slightly by 0.1%, according to the Labor Department on Thursday. The index has now increased by 2.2% over the past year, thanks in part to a 0.7% rise over the past three months. The Federal Reserve’s goal is to keep the national inflation rate under 2.0%.
Go to Yahoo News for the full story.
Natural disasters attract scam artists, along with volunteers
People whose lives have already been devastated by disasters like superstorm Sandy often face another follow-up threat: scams. Predators use home repair, used auto sales, charities and tree removal as ruses to fool their victims. In addition, fraudsters may also set up fake charities to profit from donations intended for disaster victims. After the surge of scams following Hurricane Katrina, the Justice Department set up the National Center for Disaster Fraud to warn potential victims. Among their many tips, they urge consumers to avoid making cash donations and to check with insurance companies before agreeing to any contractor repairs.
Read more at Reuters.
States ranked according to taxes paid by residents
The Tax Foundation reported today that across the United States, 9.9% of income in 2010 went to state and local taxes. This figure is roughly the same as the previous year, but is an increase from 9.3% in 2000. At the same time, per capita income fell to $41,146 in 2010, from $42,539 in 2009. According to a review of states with the highest and lowest taxes are identified compiled by 24/7 Wall St, the most important factor in how much states tax their residents is the amount of revenue they generate from out of state. For example, the 10 states with the lowest tax burdens received about one-third of their tax revenues from people and businesses who don’t live in the state.
Read the entire story at USA Today.
Retirees face tax uncertainty
Americans trying to plan for retirement face a number of risks and challenges. That reality is even greater these days as future tax policy is an unknown. Spending cuts and tax rates may be changing at the beginning of the year, which complicates retirement portfolio planning. Columnist Robert Powell reviews the various strategic and tactical recommendations being provided by top investment advisors and professionals.
See the video at the Wall Street Journal.
How mature jobseekers can overcome age bias
It’s not always easy finding employment as a mature job-seeker in the U.S. Although age bias may not be as prevalent as before, it is still present in today’s market. Nevertheless, it doesn’t affect all mature workers and, as columnist Andrea Coombes writes, there are ways that mature workers can overcome potential age bias.
Read the full story at Wall Street Journal Market Watch.
Economy hampered by banks’ lending standards
Qualified potential home-buyers are prevented from getting mortgage loans because of banks’ tight standards, said Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, during a speech in Atlanta last Thursday. As a result, it could be having a negative impact on the economy. Home lending criteria had to be tightened after 2008 due to the financial crisis, but overly high standards may be keeping credit-worthy consumers from taking advantage of historically low mortgage loan interest rates. The Federal Reserve has helped keep rates at historic lows, and Bernake said it would continue to pursue efforts to open credit availability for more homebuyers.
Read more at Boston.com.