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Owning a home outright is a dream that many Americans share. Having a mortgage can be a huge burden, and paying it off may be the first item on your financial to-do list. Deciding between prepaying your mortgage and investing your extra cash isn't easy, because each option has advantages and disadvantages. But you can start by weighing what you'll gain financially by choosing one option against what you'll give up. In economic terms, this is known as evaluating the opportunity cost.

Massive computer hacks and data breaches are now common occurrences — an unfortunate consequence of living in a digital world. Now more than ever, it's important to safeguard yourself against identity theft. Here are some steps you can take to protect your personal and financial information.

When you buy cryptocurrency, you are engaging in something close to pure speculation — the possibility that another investor might consider the digital asset more valuable in the future even if there is no underlying value. Some investors may look at the extreme volatility of cryptocurrency as an opportunity to make quick profits by buying low and selling high, but this requires timing a market sector that is very difficult to predict, and the risks are extremely high. Considering all these factors, it should be clear that adding cryptocurrency to your portfolio involves adding volatility and risk in return for an unknown potential for gain. This kind of trade-off is not appropriate for all investors.

On August 24, 2022, just a few days before federal student loan repayment was set to resume, President Biden announced a plan for additional student loan debt relief. The new plan will cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individual borrowers whose income is below $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples) in 2020 or 2021, plus another $10,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

Referred to as the “investor fear index” or just the “fear gauge,” the VIX is the ticker symbol for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, which shows the market's expected volatility. The VIX is calculated daily, using the price of options on the S&P 500 and estimates how volatile those options will be between the current date and the option’s expiration date.

On October 13th, the Social Security Administration announced a 5.9% COLA. A 5.9% COLA will increase the average Social Security payment for a retired worker by roughly $92 a month, making the average monthly benefit worth $1,657.

The latest mess out of Washington is the fight to increase the federal debt ceiling. If this isn’t resolved, some fear catastrophe for the markets. Stocks may dip at first, but a market debacle won’t happen. The debt ceiling fiasco will come and go, market volatility will likely increase and we have to manage our emotions and follow our investment discipline.

Money matters are complex and even scary. How you choose to approach finances mentally is key to mastering them...

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