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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: 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.
Susan Tompor: You might need to plan for a smaller tax refund in 2019 11-12-18
Stop, before splurging on holiday gifts this year, and ask yourself if you’re going to get a far bigger tax bill than you expect next year.
Kendall Little: What to buy in November, from Black Friday doorbusters to holiday toys 11-12-18
Competitive shoppers and casual consumers alike know November is the Super Bowl of spending. The holiday shopping season has begun and the discounts are plentiful.
Health savings account: a stealth retirement savings vehicle 11-12-18
We’re been hearing a lot about health savings accounts –– a sort of stealth retirement savings vehicle from which investors can withdraw money tax-free for medical expenses.
Susan Tompor: The hidden costs of burial 11-05-18
Wanna hear of an eerie impulse buy? I sort of hate to admit this one. But earlier this year, I bought two gravesites — one cemetery plot for me and another for my husband.
Frustrated with health insurance costs, some turn to religious plans: ‘For us it’s been a godsend’ 10-29-18
Sarah Barazza doesn’t have health insurance, but money was the last thing on her mind as she and her 15-month-old son raced to the hospital in an ambulance last year.
The Journey: What ever happened to the ‘health dividend’? 10-29-18
Retirees are getting the fattest Social Security raise they’ve seen in years, but many are likely to spend it all in one place: their doctor’s office.
Susan Tompor: New job perk that’s luring employees, helping them cut college debt 10-22-18
Jamie Cummings, 41, faces $93,000 in student loans, the kind of college debt that could keep anyone awake at night.
The Journey: Unclear if new legislation will boost retirement savings 10-15-18
Political efforts to boost Americans’ savings are gaining steam. At the end of September, the House of Representatives passed a bill that eliminates required distributions for retirement accounts totaling less than $50,000
Susan Tompor: 3 ways to protect your kids’ college savings if the market falls 10-15-18
The record run for stocks — along with ongoing trade and election jitters — has some parents on edge about college nest eggs.
Susan Tompor: Social Security and Medicare scam calls heating up: What to expect 10-08-18
Hang up and keep hanging up. Or better yet, just don’t answer. Scammers are hitting mobile phones and landlines with all sorts of wacky pitches — including false claims about what you need to do to get a new Medicare card.
The Journey: Minister enjoys retirement on modest pension, Uber gig 10-01-18
As he prepared to celebrate his 80th birthday recently, Michael Halleen reflected on several career reinventions, including one he’s making now.
Susan Tompor: Credit freeze: A misunderstood freebie that you actually want 10-01-18
Just one year ago, consumers woke up and discovered that hackers had one heck of a field day with their Social Security numbers and other information in a massive data breach at Equifax.
Susan Tompor: Credit freeze: A misunderstood freebie that you actually want 09-24-18
Just one year ago, consumers woke up and discovered that hackers had one heck of a field day with their Social Security numbers and other information in a massive data breach at Equifax.
A decade after the financial crisis, many Americans are still struggling to recover 09-24-18
WASHINGTON — Amid the chaos after Lehman Bros.’ collapse, the big banks got hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts.
Susan Tompor: Are we or aren’t we looking at another bubble? 09-17-18
Just 10 years after the financial crisis, many people find themselves asking the same odd question that a friend asked me last week when we met for coffee.
Lessons from the crisis still relevant a decade later 09-17-18
The single best explanation for why we had a terrifying financial crisis 10 years ago goes back to how easy it seems to be to take risks when it’s someone else’s money.
 























 

 

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