Category Archives: Financial

Smart About Money: Gift cards are “real money”

It’s all too easy to lose track of the reality that gift cards are cash equivalents. A skeptical consumer might wonder if the companies like it that way. After all, every gift card that’s not fully redeemed is “free money” for them. Gift cards that aren’t redeemed at all are obviously even better.

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Smart About Money: “But I haven’t really thought about it …”

A personal finance blogger recently wrote a post encouraging his readers to beware of financial “experts” offering “contrarian advice.”

His point was that there are a lot of people out there trying to make a name for themselves – and, hopefully, get rich – by becoming financial gurus.

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Smart About Money: Should you make yourself balance your checking account every month?

A lot of people never balance their checking accounts. They have various reasons that mostly all boil down to the fact that they think it’s a chore it’s okay to ignore.

Online banking has made it easier to feel that way. People will say they keep an eye on their account online and that’s fine for them.

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Smart About Money: Can I get a mortgage or home equity line if I’m retired?

Writing in The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Management Report, retired senior editor Carol Hymowitz said there is “no single road map or retirement plan” these days. She seemed to wish there was.

Was there ever a “single” tried & true retirement road map? Possibly it may have seemed that way. 65 used to be “retirement age.” Today 65 is just another number. Some people are retiring much earlier than 65. Others don’t want to ever retire. If there was a “cookie-cutter,” it’s long gone now. Which is a good thing.

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Smart About Money: But what if the world doesn’t end?

In Martin Scorsese’s “American Masters” documentary about Bob Dylan, Dylan recalls how as a boy he and his classmates had to practice getting under their desks in case of a nuclear attack.

According to Dylan, “Our reality was fear that at any moment this black cloud would explode and everybody would be dead. We grew up with all that.”

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Smart About Money: When the bank won’t make you whole …

One of the biggest misconceptions about banks involves bank insurance. Specifically, many people believe that the FDIC and SIF insurance they hear so much about covers them for various kinds of losses, sort of like an insurer of last resort.

And if the bank insurance won’t cover them, surely the bank will, right?

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Smart About Money: “Don’t let clickbait rob you of your dreams …”

Clickbait is one of the biggest nuisances on the internet but the concept existed long before computers.

People have been using words to affect other people’s behavior since Day 1. It’s always been up to the individual to be skeptical and doubting, especially when “controversial” ideas are being presented as established truth.

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