investing-blog-get-organized-to-get-finances-straight

Get organized to get finances straight

Many people long for order and tidiness in their physical environments. Just look at the way a book by Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning consultant and decluttering guru, took the world by storm. Being organized confers more benefits than an uncluttered vista of gleaming furniture and spotless floors. Organization offers a soothing panacea to a…

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Social Security by the numbers

In 2015, the maximum monthly Social Security benefit for those claiming benefits at the current full retirement age of 66 is $2,663 per month, or $31,956 annually. Workers receiving this benefit earned the maximum taxable earnings for 35 or more years. The maximum monthly benefit changes each year with changes in wage levels. That sounds…

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Jitter-free cash balance plans

Cash balance plans can make retirement more comfortable. Above, a couple explores the old town of Valletta in Malta. This week, many of us are looking at our retirement plans and gasping as the stock market gyrates. Meanwhile, people with cash balance plans can be more sanguine, which may be one reason the plans are growing…

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Most popular city for second home

The wealthy are drawn to the historical and cultural capital of Britain. Above, early 20th-century Edwardian homes. For millionaires seeking second homes in another country, the U.S. is the most popular place to establish another residence, but London is the top draw for second-home owners from around the world. WealthInsight conducted research into the top 5 cities where…

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Homes sell the fastest in these markets

If you are a home buyer in San Francisco, you better act fast. Homes are still selling like crazy in northern California. In San Francisco, the hottest market in the country, 26% of homes were still for sale in August after being on the market for two months, according to a report from Trulia. The…

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Used car prices are at record high

Used car prices have risen to a record high of 7.6% in the 2nd quarter of 2015 compared with the same quarter of 2014, according to an Edmunds.com analysis, but the higher prices aren’t necessarily bad news. The shift in used car prices is primarily because of an influx of cars being returned from leases…

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Medicare: Where’s the competition?

Just a few players are vying for business among Medicare Advantage customers, creating an illusion of competition. The managed care supplemental Medicare insurance plan known as Medicare Advantage was dreamed up to give greater competition to this giant health care program by giving private insurers coverage opportunities. In theory, the competition that resulted was supposed…

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New home sales move upward

New home sales were up 25.8% in July 2015 compared with a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Tuesday. Smiling through the writer’s cramp after signing so many documents at closing. Single-family houses sold last month came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 507,000…

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Website builder credit data hacked

Web.com is one of the latest to get hit by hackers. Hackers took the credit card information of approximately 93,000 customers of the website builder on Aug. 13, after they breached one of the site’s computer systems, notes Web.com in its Security FAQ. The Jacksonville, Florida firm has 3.3 million customers in total, the company…

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Jean Chatzky: Online education done right

Research shows that learning something new is one of the best ways to keep your mind healthy. No wonder people over 50 seem to naturally gravitate to the vast world of online learning for everything from pursuing a passion to retooling for a new career. One in 10 students who take online courses at Kaplan…

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Insurers balk over hole-in-1 payout

If you follow professional golf, you’ll see a few aces — the tour’s shorthand for a hole-in-1 — over the course of any given season. Just last weekend, pro golfer Scott Brown kicked off his final round at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, by holing-in-1 the 174-yard, par-3 third hole — which, as…

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Is short-term care good enough?

Nine insurers currently market short-term care insurance policies, according to trade association AALTCI. Long-term care is expensive and, even if you need it, you may not need it for long. So now the long-term care industry is promoting a cheaper insurance alternative — short-term care insurance that will cover the typical nursing home stay, but won’t…

investing-blog-what-to-do-when-stocks-fall-off-a-cliff

What to do when stocks fall off a cliff

On Monday morning, global stock markets continued the bloodletting that began the previous week. On Friday, major American equity indexes fell pretty hard. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 3.12% on Friday. The S&P 500 fell about 3.2%. Is it time to panic? It is not time to panic. Stick with your investment plan and…

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Who is the richest self-made woman?

The business of Elizabeth Holmes, chairman and CEO of Theranos, is based on an altruistic vision. The richest self-made woman in America is a college dropout. Elizabeth Holmes, with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, according to Forbes and Wealth-X, turned 31 in February. Early signs of entrepreneurship Holmes, the founder of Theranos, a…

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Phishing scam targets E-ZPass users

© Najlah Feanny/Corbis Phishing scammers are at it again. This time around they’re targeting users of E-ZPass, the toll-road transponder mounted on an estimated 28.2 million vehicles in 15 states. The American Automobile Association, or AAA, warns that, for the 2nd year in a row, reports of scam emails have been popping up in the…

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3 ways to find the best CD rates

These days a handful of basis points on a savings account or certificate of deposit is enough to make savers shut down a bank account and move it across town for a higher interest rate. Of course, it’s not always so easy to pull up anchors and move on. For instance, once you’re locked into…

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The economy’s juggling act

Trying to gauge what happens next with the U.S. economy has become a more challenging juggling act than usual. You’ll need to watch the scheduled events in the week ahead, focusing on housing and growth, and those which aren’t scheduled but could steal the stage. Here are the events on this week’s calendar: Tuesday The S&P/Case-Shiller…

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The Investment Adviser Act turns 75

The Investor Adviser Act of 1940 turned 75 on Saturday. The act protects investors by regulating investment advisers. It was 1 of a series of legislative acts looking to increase investor confidence in the financial markets and the investment professionals in those markets after the 1929 market crash and the subsequent Great Depression. The Investment…

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Mobile app review: Daily Budget Original

App name: Daily Budget Original Publisher: C Ruttinger Price: Free (in-app purchases available) Available on: iOS What’s it supposed to do? Help you save money and stick to your budget by keeping you motivated with a simple and easy-to-use interface. Ease of use (4/5): It’s easy to get started with Daily Budget. The app asks…

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8,234 miles on less than $300 in fuel

A 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Clean Diesel has set a Guinness World Records title for using the least amount of fuel to travel through the 48 contiguous states. It took 16 days to travel 8,234 miles throughout the continental United States. The Volkswagen Golf used just $294.98 of Shell diesel fuel, achieving an average of…

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Global turmoil hurt stocks this week

Stocks are giving investors a rockin’ ride this week. By mid-day Friday the S&P 500 had fallen 4.2% from Monday’s opening price. “World equity markets are under pressure, facing what could be their worst week of the year with the Dow closing below 17,000 yesterday for the first time since October,” Stifel chief economist Lindsey…

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Seniors should freeze credit reports

The Federal Trade Commission has alerted consumers to 6 types of scams from identity theft to “You’ve Won” scams on its “Pass it on” Web page and provides people with advice on how to avoid these forms of elder abuse, and what the can do if they’ve been a victim of this abuse. I want…

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Ashley Madison customers: Beware ID theft

© Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis Data breaches don’t get much worse for victims than the 1 that hit the infidelity-matching site Ashley Madison this week. Hackers who had previously broken into the site’s servers and stolen many gigabytes’ worth of its most sensitive data on users apparently dumped that data on to the Internet. Now it’s available…