Shelly K. Schwartz, Special to CNBC.com’s Posts

With the proliferation of price-comparison apps that give mobile device users a competitive edge, there’s no excuse these days for getting had online or in the store. Many enable bar-code scanning to compare the best deals, plus price-drop alerts on everything from technology and travel to groceries and gasoline. As mobile app technology evolves, others …

Americans who will reach retirement age over the next two decades rely too heavily on Social Security when estimating future income, and many believe they are reasonably well versed on the countless and complex options available for claiming benefits. The financial-planning community, however, begs to differ. A survey released today by AARP and the Financial …

Despite their wealth and business savvy, more than one-third of high-net-worth families have not taken the most basic steps to protect and provide for their loved ones when they die, according to a recent survey by CNBC.com. The CNBC Millionaire Survey found 38 percent of those with investable assets of $1 million or more have …

Recent news that Internet hackers compromised U.S. government data on 4 million current and former federal workers earlier this year is just the latest in a seemingly endless litany of online security breaches making headlines of late—and making Americans wonder if they can trust digital gatekeepers at both public and private institutions with their personal and …

With interest rates projected to rise and inventory increasingly tight, the window for purchasing a second home at an affordable price may be starting to close. Such sentiment has helped to fuel the recent boom in vacation property sales among affluent investors, many of whom are feeling flush on the heels of a six-year stock …

As any financial planner can attest, it isn’t only how much is saved but what is spent that determines whether a nest egg will last. Indeed, the annual withdrawal rate during retirement is the most important factor in minimizing the likelihood of outliving one’s money. That percentage, which differs for everyone, is based upon the …

It’s your last, best chance to fatten your nest egg. But all too often, new retirees undermine their own financial security by claiming Social Security too early, and without regard to strategy. Indeed, the amount you receive in monthly benefits is largely determined by the age at which you begin collecting, your marital status, lifetime …

You donate to charity during the gift-giving season. You purchase presents for loved ones. You may even tip your postal worker. But it’s no doubt safe to assume that the Internal Revenue Service is not on your holiday list. Indeed, by failing to take advantage of all tax breaks to which you are entitled, you …

It’s among the most popular tools available for maximizing after-tax returns. But unbeknownst to many investors, the practice of harvesting losses to offset capital gains also comes with some pretty sizable downside risks. Some say the benefit of tax-loss harvesting is overstated, that the net effect of selling securities that are down and buying them …

There may be fewer changes to the federal tax code this year than in 2013, but the handful that exist could still impact what you owe. Some, like the new health insurance tax credit, could put more jingle in your pocket, while the expiration of more than four dozen temporary tax breaks that Congress has …

Bonds have long been viewed as a port in the storm, a low-risk asset class that creates consistent cash flow and helps to balance equity market mood swings. But with rates for Treasuries and other safe haven securities barely keeping pace with inflation—and in some cases falling behind—yield-hungry investors have been forced to purchase fixed-income …

You’ve worked hard for what you have. You funded your retirement plan, paid off your home and amassed enough savings to cover future expenses, plus leave a financial legacy to your loved ones. Too bad your ex-spouse—and his or her kids—will inherit it all. Indeed, estate-planning blunders are costly and common, even among the fiscally …

For the last 20 years, it didn’t particularly matter whether you owned U.S. bond funds or individual bonds. Fueled by falling interest rates, they both delivered consistent income and a counterbalance to equity market volatility. No wonder the market grew faster than the domestic economy and tripled in size to just under $37 trillion. But …

Faced with rising medical expenses and longer life expectancies, many seniors are turning to their single largest asset as a source of supplemental income: their home. Indeed, reverse mortgages enable seniors who are 62 and older to convert a portion of the equity in their home into cash without having to sell. As the name …

It’s bad enough that you might get stuck paying the alternative minimum tax (AMT). That it takes a tedious calculation to know for sure is salt in the wound. Indeed, IRS Form 6251, which is used to calculate taxable income under the AMT, requires 60 lines of mind-numbing computation using a different set of tax …