Now, more than ever, consumers are relying on the convenience of credit and debit cards to make everyday purchases, such as gas and groceries, and to make online purchases. With this convenience, however, comes the risk of having your account information compromised by a data breach.
In recent years, data breaches at major retailers have become commonplace across the United States. Currently, most retailers use the magnetic strips on the backs of credit and debit cards to access account information. Unfortunately, the account information that is held on these magnetic strips is also easily accessed by computer hackers.
If you follow financial news, you’ve probably heard many references to “the Fed” along the lines of “the Fed did this or that,” or “market watchers are wondering what the Fed will do next.” So what exactly is the Fed and what does it do, anyway?
What is the Federal Reserve?
The Federal Reserve–or “the Fed” as it’s commonly called–is the central bank of the United States. Generally speaking, a central bank is a large, centrally controlled bank that’s in charge of a country’s interest rates, money supply, and banking system. Most countries have a central bank.
Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.
1. Make time to plan
Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There’s a real opportunity for tax savings when you can assess whether you’ll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. So, carve out some time.
You’re probably covered under Social Security–according to the Social Security Administration, an estimated 165 million workers are*–but how much do you know about this program? Test your knowledge by answering the following questions.