Brandon Ballenger

I'm a freelance journalist living in South Florida. If I'm not writing, I'm playing video games or at the beach. My favorite spice is oregano, and I thought you should know. I got my bachelor's degree in English and public communication from Florida Atlantic University in 2008.

Smiling businessman is happy with a handful of money to invest
7 Ways to Use Your Tax Refund to Become Richer

on March 4, 2024

They say it takes money to make money. Here’s how to leverage a tax refund into more cash.

older couple getting tax advice
8 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

on February 29, 2024

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

UAW workers and students on strike
Striking Back: The 10 Biggest Work Stoppages Last Year

on February 29, 2024

After years of painful inflation, frustrated workers fought harder than they have in decades for substantial pay increases and better working conditions. And across the country, they won, over and over.

Property taxes
9 States With the Lowest Property Tax Rates

and on February 28, 2024

Homeowners in these U.S. states have the lowest property tax burdens in the country.

Businesswoman looking at iPhone while working at her desk in an office
11 Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well

on February 26, 2024

These occupations usually pay six figures and don’t involve too much stress compared with other work.

Man signing documents for a loan or payment of a debt and another pointing to the signature line and holding a pile of cash
8 Groups Who Can Avoid Fines for Retirement Withdrawals

on February 23, 2024

Under certain tough conditions or life-changing moments, the IRS is willing to waive penalties for early withdrawals from retirement accounts.

Frustrated woman looking at smartphone with a bad signal or suspicious message
4 Tricks to Improve a Bad Phone Signal

on February 22, 2024

It’s hard to tell if some common tactics for signal boosting actually help. But these things will, and we can explain why.

iPhone in a bowl of dry rice
Rice Won’t Save Your Wet Phone. Please Stop, Apple Says.

on February 21, 2024

Here’s what Apple now advises you do if your iPhone gets wet — no rice necessary.

Suspicious man holding a briefcase full of money protectively, clutching his cash and angry or running with the money
5 Things Criminals Have to Pay Income Taxes On

on February 21, 2024

Whether or not the IRS sincerely expects to collect money on these things, it’s about as funny as taxes get.

Happy senior going fishing with a fishing rod in retirement
The 10 Most Affordable States for Retirees in 2024

on February 21, 2024

If living expenses are the most important factor for retirement, a recent analysis says these are the best places to live.

Ybor City, Tampa, Florida
The 25 Best Places To Retire in America in 2023

and on February 21, 2024

These cities rank highly based on health care, affordability, activities and quality of life.

Tired, frustrated or bored man sitting with smartphone and waiting for a phone call possibly sitting on hold
A New Google Feature Could End Waiting on Hold Forever

on February 20, 2024

Save time with a free new feature from Google — even if you have an iPhone.

Stressed senior preparing to move or unpacking boxes in her home
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2024

on February 20, 2024

Based on such categories as affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not the most ideal places to spend your retirement.

Stressed senior man paying bills sitting in his home office
The 10 Most Expensive States for Retirees in 2024

on February 20, 2024

While these places all have good things going for them, affordability is not one of them.

Excited smiling woman wearing glasses and looking at smartphone for happy news
3 Helpful Things You May Not Realize Your Phone Can Do

on February 19, 2024

Regardless of how you use your phone, these settings might make it a more pleasant experience.

Young mother paying at grocery checkout with baby in cart
9 Grocery Shopping Mistakes That Will Cost You

on February 19, 2024

Shop smarter and turn your grocery receipts into something to smile about.

10 Countries We Import From the Most (China Isn’t No. 1 Anymore)
10 Countries We Import From the Most (China Isn’t No. 1 Anymore)

on February 16, 2024

Federal data reveals the biggest trade partners for the U.S. last year — and there’s been a major shake-up.

Woman accountant or tax expert or businesswoman using a laptop and a calculator to do finances or tax paperwork
7 Ways to Get Your Taxes Done for Free

on February 15, 2024

Don’t fork over hundreds of dollars to a tax professional to prepare your taxes.

Businesswoman arguing with a businessman in an office or company setting
13 Fees That You Should Never Pay

on February 14, 2024

They shouldn’t exist to start with, but at least they’re avoidable.

upset senior citizen
4 Pitfalls for New Medicare Enrollees

and on February 14, 2024

Medicare’s rules are exacting, and penalties can be stiff and sometimes permanent.

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