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On a budget
Each phase of life comes with its own set of financial circumstances, goals and necessities. The question is, how should we be spending, or saving, our income as we move through different stages?

Local Investing
Locally grown. Locally sourced. These days it is all about going local. But what about investing? Can a portfolio be locally sourced? Is it a good idea?

Crowdfunding as collateral
So you want to start a business, but don’t have the start-up money or the collateral to ask the bank for a loan? And you don’t want to ask friends or family? Do the next best thing — ask a stranger. 

Planning for your retirement
Is your retirement plan on track? How do you know? According to a survey by Employee Benefit Research Institute, 60 percent of Americans aren’t sure they’re on track to retire successfully. Unfortunately, many of them may be right.

Credit card hacking
Although credit card companies and financial institutions are becoming smarter about protecting people’s personal information online, credit card fraud and identity theft are still very real threats.
Millennials and managing money
While millennials have been labeled with negative stereotypes like materialistic and entitled, the reality is that crippling debt and lack of employment opportunities have significantly impacted this generation’s financial future.
Estate essentials
"Picture this. You’ve been invited to a meeting; when you get there you realize it’s the first meeting after your own death. You can’t say anything. You can only observe. What do you see? Is your family celebrating your life or are they sitting there helpless not knowing what to do or whom to trust." 
In the hot seat
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur seeking money from angel investors, you’d better be prepared with a snappy pitch to get their attention.
The new normal
With the Great Recession becoming a distant bad memory, people are once again thinking about the future ­— including retirement planning. But the recent economic setbacks have left many wary of the market and the security of their retirement investments.
Fiscal fitness
When it comes to wealth management, there are several ways good intentions can go awry. Our panel of experts outlines five common mistakes and advises how to avoid them. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s profitable.

Creative Sisterhood
Growing up in Glendale with six siblings in a single-parent household, the Bendfeldt sisters learned to be resourceful at an early age. "We were forced to be MacGyvers," says Amy Bendfeldt Barnum. "If there was something we wanted, we had to get creative."
Hot jobs
Gaining employment in today’s marketplace depends on the ability to offer relevant skills, especially those considered "nonroutine analytical," says Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Managing your wealth
Most of us have financial goals, whether it is to retire at a reasonable age, fund our children’s education, do some traveling or simply manage debt. While overall plans haven’t changed, people’s attitudes have gone through a period of adjustment — and that’s occurring across all age groups, local industry experts say.

Susan Tompor: With credit card debt up 7.5 percent, next financial disaster could be you 03-11-19
We all seem to be on the lookout for clues that we’re on the verge of another widespread financial crisis.
Vanguard effect? SoFi launches ‘free’ ETF as fee war flares among brokers 03-11-19
Anyone paying down student loans may recognize the name SoFi from ubiquitous mailers and Super Bowl ads.
The Journey: Investors in or nearing retirement should pay attention to the markets 03-04-19
The very young and very old needn’t worry so much about market turbulence, we’re often told. Over a long time, volatility smooths out quite nicely for the young. Older retirees, hopefully, have tamped down enough risk in their portfolios that a stock shock shouldn’t cause much of a blip.
Susan Tompor: Online romance scams cost victims thousands 03-04-19
Although Valentine’s Day candy is nearly gone from store shelves, romance –– and the scams that go with it –– goes on year-round.
Susan Tompor: Smaller tax refunds darken an already grim consumer debt picture 02-25-19
The U.S. economy may be strong. But we continue to see signs of financial stress that indicate that just having a job may not be enough to pay the bills.
The Journey: New post-retirement job: making the world a better place 02-18-19
Retirement experts often recommend working longer as a way to make savings outlive the saver, but it isn’t always easy.
Susan Tompor: How to avoid the Social Security scam that makes you out to be a criminal 02-18-19
Maybe con artists are inspired by the movie “The Mule” where Clint Eastwood plays an octogenarian who hauls cocaine shipments in a Lincoln pickup for a Mexican cartel.
Living paycheck to paycheck? This San Diego startup wants to help you shop 02-18-19
SAN DIEGO — Buy now and pay later. It’s an irresistible offer, especially for cash-strapped Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
Susan Tompor: New tax deduction cap could turn big refund into big tax bill 02-11-19
The big tax question of the year: Will you get a super-sized refund or suddenly discover that you’re going to end up writing one monster check?
The Journey: Where is the safe haven for retirees? 02-04-19
Q. My wife and I are both 66. She has retired and started Social Security; I am working part time, receiving a small pension from a previous job, taking dividend income from a rollover account where I put my 401(k) funds, and putting off starting Social Security.
Susan Tompor: Tax refund advance often too good to be true: What to know 02-04-19
Plenty of people would jump at the chance to speed up getting some of their tax refund cash, especially in light of the government shutdown, job cuts and other financial headaches.
When to file 2018 taxes and how to dig through new rules 02-04-19
Sitting down to do your taxes in the next few weeks — or talking with your tax preparer — will involve tackling the most sweeping changes in the federal income tax rules in more than 30 years.
Susan Tompor: How the gender pay gap hurts women’s retirement and 401(k) plans 01-28-19
Any woman who isn’t investing money in a 401(k) plan — or maybe only sets aside a tiny amount — needs to realize that the retirement game is stacked against her.
The Journey: ‘Bucket’ approach to spending reduces stress of retirement 01-21-19
Anyone retiring in 2019 could understandably be feeling a little skittish. There’s retirement research showing market declines in the first few years can devastate a portfolio’s chances of providing enough income for life, and recent volatility after a nearly decade-long bull market is worrisome.
Susan Tompor: Leases, used car sales could be hurt by tax refunds: What to know 01-21-19
The warnings flashed a few years back: 2019 was to be a year of the “lease tsunami.” A glut of cars, trucks and SUVs leased a few years ago are set to come off three-year leases and return to dealer lots, driving down used car prices.
Susan Tompor: Key trends that will hit your wallet in 2019 01-14-19
Many times, the New Year kicks off with a huge financial hangover. But this year, we’re looking at even more reasons to keep an eye on our money.
Susan Tompor: Tax refund scammers are finding new ways to steal from you 12-31-18
A coordinated crackdown on tax-related, ID theft has drastically reduced the numbers of new refund fraud victims. But new schemes keep popping up all across the country.
The Journey: Medically underwritten annuities can boost income for those who qualify 12-24-18
Retirement plans focus on boosting the number of participating workers and the percentage of pay being saved, but few prioritize how employees will actually fare financially once in retirement, a new study shows.
Susan Tompor: Five things to know about your money in 2019 12-24-18
No doubt, 2018 is ending on an economic thud. Fear that the next recession is around the corner has been knocking down stock prices and our 401(k) plans.
Relying on expensive drugs? Discount cards may not help in 2019 12-24-18
Buying drugs to treat chronic health problems such as HIV/AIDS, arthritis, hemophilia, Hepatitis C, and multiple sclerosis is becoming more expensive, thanks to a tug of war between the health insurance and prescription drug industries.
Susan Tompor: Social Security calling? Nope, it’s scammers out to grab your cash 12-17-18
Watch out, the Social Security scam is looking like the new IRS scam. Crooks increasingly are impersonating an official from the Social Security Administration, making harassing calls similar to the annoying Internal Revenue Service calls.
Vanguard is no friend to shareholders seeking more details on firms’ political spending 12-17-18
When shareholders of Camden, NJ-based American Water Works asked fellow investors to support a measure on corporate political spending accountability this year, Vanguard voted ‘no.’
The Journey: Life insurance is being squeezed out by other household priorities 12-10-18
Multiple studies have tagged millennials as risk-averse, so why are they shunning life insurance?
Susan Tompor: Year-end giving doesn’t guarantee getting a tax break 12-10-18
In years past, nearly one-third of all annual donations were made in the month of December, as people made their charitable gifts before the deadline for tax deductions.
John Bogle pens WSJ op-ed warning index funds becoming too big 12-10-18
The creator of low-cost indexing warns his invention may have grown too powerful. Vanguard founder John Bogle penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal (paywall if you click) offering potential guardrails against the ever-growing power of institutional index fund managers — including his own firm Vanguard, plus State Street, and BlackRock.
On Philanthropy: On Philanthropy: Best excerpts from the first 100 columns 12-03-18
Since 2010, I have now written 100 columns addressing many aspects of philanthropy — for families, businesses and foundations. 
Susan Tompor: The gift your kids will thank you for later 12-03-18
Looking for a clever way to give money — something beyond shoving cash in an envelope — remains a fun challenge during the holidays.
The Journey: Changes in tax law lead to shifts in giving 11-26-18
Older retirees may save Christmas for charities. Donors gave a record $410 billion to nonprofit causes last year, according to Giving USA Foundation, in part because taxpayers were bunching contributions ahead of this year’s higher standard income tax deduction, experts say
Susan Tompor: Black Friday shoppers: Scammers likely to use ‘pick up in store’ scam 11-26-18
We’re looking at 32 days of endless shopping from Black Friday through Christmas Eve — the longest holiday spending spree possible given that Thanksgiving falls so early in November.
Susan Tompor: Paying off student loan? Repayment options you should consider 11-19-18
November marks a time to talk turkey about how to repay those student loans. Are you looking for a way to keep the monthly payments as low as possible? Or a way to control your total debt?
The Journey: Decisions due soon in Medicare open enrollment 11-12-18
Senior advocates routinely advise Medicare participants to scrutinize their options during the federal health care plan’s open enrollment period, which runs through Dec. 15, but this year the warnings are taking on some added urgency.



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