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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.

The Journey: Paying off mortgage quickly is not always the optimal retirement strategy 08-06-18
Q: I will soon make our final mortgage payment. My wife will retire in two years and I will work to age 67.
Susan Tompor: No, Tyler Perry isn’t paying your tuition: Don’t fall for this and other college scams 08-06-18
Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry does not have a scholarship sitting on the sidelines just waiting to help you go to college. No matter what you might spot on Facebook.
Millennials really do have it tougher — compared with 1977 08-06-18
Is life more expensive for America’s millennials? We may hate to admit it, but yes. New data reveal millennials don’t earn as much, pay more for higher education and put off home purchases longer than Gen Xers and baby boomers did.
Econometer: Should people with student loan debt be allowed to declare bankruptcy? column 07-30-18
Question: Do you think Congress should make it easier for those with student loan debt to declare bankruptcy?
Why don’t more people shop for health care? Online tools exist, but most don’t use them 07-30-18
CHICAGO — At Rush University Medical Center on Chicago’s West Side, the median charge for a vaginal birth was $16,703 last year.
Susan Tompor: 5 tips if you’re packing a credit card for college 07-30-18
Back in 2009, college students seemed to have a love affair going on with their credit cards. About 84 percent of college undergraduates had at least one credit card, according to a study then from Sallie Mae.
The Journey: Social Security Administration is shortchanging survivors on benefits 07-23-18
Widows and widowers who were shortchanged on Social Security benefits by an estimated $131.8 million won’t get any of that money back, despite an Inspector General report calling for action.
Susan Tompor: Students aren’t the only ones crushed by school debt 07-23-18
College debt is building and, increasingly, parents are on the hook. Where do you turn when you’ve maxed out on federal student loans? Ask Mom and Dad to take out some parent loans, too.
United Airlines joins other carriers in peddling credit cards to passengers 07-23-18
If you hate unsolicited sales pitches, your next flight on United Airlines might be a bit irksome.
Susan Tompor: Could a tsunami of robocalls be heading to our cellphones? 07-16-18
Billions of robocalls already are working on the last nerve of consumers each month. So, no one wants to hear a warning from consumer watchdogs that yet another "tsunami of unwanted and unstoppable" robocalls and texts to cellphones could be on the horizon.
Why the tax overhaul could lead to lower settlements for sexual harassment victims 07-16-18
The tax overhaul law, written last year near the height of the #MeToo movement, could place a bigger financial burden on victims of workplace sexual harassment and make such cases more difficult and expensive to settle.
Do ESG investments outperform? One investor says ‘no way’ 07-16-18
For a different take on environmental, social, and governance-based investing, or ESG, we spoke with Vanguard investor Dan Wiener, who publishes a monthly newsletter on all things Vanguard.
Susan Tompor: How to get a credit card when you’ve never had one 07-09-18
The Uber Visa, launched last fall, targets on-the-go millennials with amazing rewards, such as 4 percent for eating out and 3 percent on airfare.
43 million Americans wrongly carry credit card balance to improve credit score, report finds 07-09-18
About 43 million Americans wrongly believe that carrying a balance on their credit cards will help improve their credit scores, a report released Monday shows.
Bitcoin ATMs showing up in odd spots 07-09-18
Walk into the Shell gas station on the corner of Nine Mile and Greenfield roads in Oak Park, Mich., head toward the back of store, and there, next to the Better Made potato chips, sits an ATM selling bitcoin.
Susan Tompor: Retiring with debt? More Americans are. Here are some strategies 07-02-18
Rhonda and Lonnie Edwds Jr. had good middle class jobs most of their lives. He worked nearly 35 years in an hourly union job at General Motors.
Susan Tompor: Why Fed rate hike can drive you to pay down credit cards 06-25-18
For roughly a decade, millions of consumers could afford to focus on the rewards and ignore the rates on their credit cards.
The Journey: Keeping an eye on the big numbers of retirement 06-25-18
Critics panned it, but there’s a great line from the 1979 film "The Main Event" that pretty much sums up our weird relationship with money.
For Vanguard employees' own retirement fund, the firm will no longer offer its signature S&P 500 index fund 06-18-18
At Vanguard, which popularized the S&P 500 index funds, workers will no longer be able to choose that option in their 401(k) retirement plan.
Susan Tompor: How to plan for next round of Fed interest rate hikes 06-18-18
The easy money officially ends Wednesday, as interest rates, much like summer temps, heat up once again.
Lottery and other prize scams cost Americans millions in losses, BBB says 06-18-18
An investigative study of prize and lottery scams found that between 2015 and 2017, more than 500,000 scams resulting in more than $344 million in losses were reported in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Better Business Bureau.
The Journey: New law makes small steps to protect elders from financial abuse 06-11-18
Tucked into the new rollback of reform created after the 2008 financial crisis is a provision aimed at prompting bank and other financial firms to watch out for elder financial abuse.
Susan Tompor: How your money in the bank can make more money 06-11-18
Making money by saving money at the bank or credit union is ridiculously tough when consumers are battling super-low rates on savings and sky-high banking fees.
How Dan Gilbert has made Quicken Loans thrive in mortgage industry 06-11-18
Quicken Loans recently overtook embattled Wells Fargo to become the leading direct-to-consumer mortgage lender in the nation.
Discriminatory mortgage lending harder to detect as banking regulations rolled back, critics say 06-11-18
ST. LOUIS — The title of the new federal law that rolls back Obama-era banking regulations includes the words "relief" and "consumer protection." 
Susan Tompor: Is there a better way than the 401(k) to build retirement savings? 06-04-18
If you believe 401(k)s are a joke — many people will never save enough or invest well enough to retire — then perhaps the idea of a mandatory savings account might do the trick.
The Journey: Balancing college spending and retirement saving 05-28-18
Let’s stop blaming colleges for ruining retirement. To be sure, student loan debt topped $1.5 trillion in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s a huge number.
Susan Tompor: Think twice about betting on Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ 05-28-18
Wall Street’s rocky ride in 2018 — a level of chaos we’ve not seen in quite some time — has everyday investors fearing for their 401(k)s.
Why Vanguard advisers don’t always push muni bonds, today’s best-paying asset 05-21-18
When triple-A rated local and state governments borrow money — and less-solvent ones, too — investors who buy their bonds typically enjoy federal, state, and local tax exemptions on bond income.
Susan Tompor: Robocalls are out of control. Here’s how to keep from getting scammed 05-21-18
Some days, you cannot pick up the phone without running into yet another fraudster demanding money.
Consumers brace for premium hikes while lawmakers grasp at remedies 05-21-18
As some insurers angle for hefty premium hikes and concerns grow that more Americans will wind up uninsured, the federal health law is likely — once again — to play big in both parties’ strategies for the contentious 2018 election.



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