Finances

credit unionInterest rates remain low, though that’s no reason to stow your money under your mattress.

Hiding your money at home won’t earn you any interest on it, and that’s one of the benefits — no matter how small — that banks and credit unions can offer customers. But banks and credit unions have different benefits and drawbacks, and knowing how each work can make it easier to decide where to put your cash.

Here are some differences between credit unions and banks:

Profit vs no profit

The first thing to note when comparing banks to credit unions is that  banks are in business to make money and credit unions are not for profit. This can allow credit unions to offer better interest rates, as we’ll get to shortly.

Credit unions are cooperatively owned by all members and run democratically by members who volunteer as board members, who decide interest rates and other factors.

To join a credit union, you may have to be a member of an employee group, association or some other specific affiliation, and may have to live in a specific geographic area. ...continue reading

1 Comment

bank feesThis post on avoiding bank fees is by Ryan Bonaparte, who has written for Add-Vodka before about common financial mistakes that young adults make. Ryan is a long-time writer and author, delving into topics including personal finance, technology, and career pursuits. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and fiercely independent cat.

In the financial journey to building wealth, there are many pitfalls to watch out for, but none as insidious as fees charged by banks for standard services.

Fees can erode any earnings that you may have accrued from investments, and in some cases faster than poor spending decisions. At least with a shopping spree, you get something in return. With bank fees, you might as well be setting your money ablaze.

Bank fees to avoid

Although by law in the United States, all fees are required to be shared with consumers when they sign up for an account, it’s still very easy to pay out lots of money before you realize how much bad habits can eat away at your hard-earned money.

Here are some types of common bank fees to look out for:

ATM Fees

Even though more and more transactions occur via credit cards or mobile payments, sometimes cash is necessary. There are stores that only take cash, and many people find using the envelope method of budgeting (stocking envelopes with cash at the beginning of the month) as a great way to manage their finances.

But taking out your own money should never cost you money. To avoid bank fees, either use an account at a bank in your area or an internet bank that reimburses bank fees. ...continue reading

As published in the VOX on Nov. 11, 2016, “Donald Trump's deportation machine is already in place. It just needs to be turned on.”

The Trump administration is going to be more aggressive in arresting and deporting unauthorized immigrants than any presidency has ever been. In an interview given to 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl, President Elect Trump promised to deport three million “illegal immigrant criminals.” Basically, people who are criminals and have criminal records, are gang members or drug dealers.

Khemka and Chaudhary’s deportation lawyers in Houston explained that the US Immigration Law calls it “removal”, which other nations commonly call “deportation”. In this process, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), attempts to remove the non-citizens from the United States, hiring a deportation attorney.

In a place like Houston, where immigrant growth is a category in itself, the idea of deportation isn’t palatable. However, there are circumstances that can force the authorities to take this harsh step.

Who Can Be Deported?

Earlier, immigrants being deported were those who were undocumented, often called “illegal aliens”. Such people had either crossed the US border illegally or had stayed in the country beyond their permitted time on a temporary or nonimmigrant visa.

As mentioned by the President Elect, any immigrant who violates the terms of his or her stay can be deported or removed from the country. However, other than criminal activity, this will include tourists who accept a job, for which they have not been permitted or a student who fails to pursue a full-time course of study.

Additionally, those who haven’t become US citizens, including green card holders, can be deported if they are found to have something that falls under the Immigration Law's grounds of deportability.

Rights of Immigrant Facing Removal from US

The immigration authorities will not deport anyone without providing a chance to be heard. A person who has been identified as a candidate for deportation has the right to an Immigration Bond Lawyer, along with certain other rights provided by the US Constitution. However, the alleged immigrant has to be quick, since the authorities often try to expedite the process.

In case the immigrant is really staying in the country illegally, the best way is to leave voluntarily. It can save the person's record from the order of deportation.

Anyone who strongly believes that they have every right to stay in the country should insist on their right with the lawyer. However, they need to pay for the lawyer on their own. Immigration court proceedings are administrative and they are less formal than ordinary court proceedings. The usual rules of evidence don't apply here. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be represented by a deportation attorney. During the proceedings, the judges as well as both the attorneys may ask questions of the immigrant. Either attorney may bring in witnesses to testify.

If the immigrant is found guilty, the judge will issue an order of removal. However, negative decisions can be appealed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the federal court system.