Chris DeSimio

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At least 14 states have banned high-interest payday lending, but providing these short-term, high-interest loans is still a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. 

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"Don't put all of your eggs in one basket." Sound advice for anyone with an investment portfolio, including a retirement account. Financial experts recommend diversifying the types of assets you hold and the companies and industries you invest in to minimize risk.

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Last week U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that an image of former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson's picture on the front of the $20 bill, with a smaller image of President Jackson appearing on the reverse side.

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April is National Financial Literacy Month, sometimes referred to as National Financial Capability Month. Social service agencies, financial institutions and educational groups use the month to raise public awareness about the importance of financial literacy and the need for financial education, for both adults and children.

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Have you filed your tax return yet?  If you haven't, you're not alone. The IRS says about one-third of Americans wait until the last minute to file their federal taxes. And, if you're counting it down, you've only got about two weeks left until the filing deadline, unless you get an extension.

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Are you confident you will have enough money saved to live comfortably throughout your retirement years? Recent surveys show most American workers would answer “no.” More disheartening, most workers have no real idea of how much money they would need by the time they retire.

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Many investors received an unpleasant surprise when they read their January IRA or 401k account statements. The month was one of the worst starts to a new year in recent history for the stock market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 5.5 percent and the NASDAQ suffering an almost 8 percent drop.

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Many of us feel we need to take control of our finances and do a better job of managing our money. But it can be difficult to sort through the vast amount of financial advice available today from online sites, cable shows and best-selling authors, and come up with a financial plan that works for our specific situations.

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January is a good time to think about your financial goals for the year, come up with targets, and a plan to meet them. Whether you hope to reduce your credit card debt, increase your retirement savings, or put away enough money for the family vacation, your chances of success will improve dramatically if you think about and write down your goals now.

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As you enjoy the holidays, it’'s a good idea to remember to set aside some time to review your finances and see what options you have before January 1 to reduce your taxes.

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