August 23, 2015

Pay extra on student loans

The Squared Away blog has a good resource to show the benefit of paying extra on student loan debt. "Paying down debt is just another form of saving, and larger loan payments significantly shorten the time it takes to pay it off, while reducing the total interest paid." For example: "Paying $96.66 per month on a $5,000 student loan with 6 percent interest eliminates it in five years. An extra $50 every month – a couple of nights out – knocks two years off the payment time." Learn more at:

August 14, 2015

Scam Gram

Check out the latest scams at the Consumer Action "Scam Gram"
Windows 10 scam
Phoney iphone fix
Beware the Craig's List kooks
It includes more examples of scams and "Tips to keep you safe." If you think you are immune from scams... think again and review this list.

August 7, 2015

Having trouble making ends meet? You're not alone

Almost one in five Americans struggle to make ends meet. The good news is that in most cases spending can be controlled. Watch this video to learn more.
Check out the website for more financial information.
Almost one in five Americans struggle to make ends meet. The good news is that in most cases spending can be controlled. Watch our video to learn more. - See more at:
Almost one in five Americans struggle to make ends meet. The good news is that in most cases spending can be controlled. Watch our video to learn more. - See more at:

August 4, 2015

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

The insurance industry is always inventing new products to try to sell more insurance or insurance + investment products that charge higher commissions than basic term or whole life insurance. Indexed universal life is one of these new complicated products.
Keep it simple. Buy basic term life insurance to cover your insurance needs and invest separately; again, keep the investments simple and straightforward (i.e. low cost, no-load index mutual funds).
The more complicated the product, the higher the commission to the sales person which is why the financial industry heavily promotes their more complicated products. Life insurance sales people cannot make a living by selling what consumers need- basic term insurance.
In general, consumers are better off with plain vanilla financial/insurance products.

July 29, 2015

Help for Caregivers

The mission of Share the Care ( is "to improve the 'quality of life' of anyone who needs support–and to reduce the stress, depression, isolation and economic hardship of their caregivers.
"Caregiving will touch everyone at some point in life yet it often remains in the shadows of the public/media spotlight because it does not make for a picture that melts the heart but rather one to be avoided at all costs. Not so much because people are uncaring but rather frightened and uneducated.
Sometimes, friends disappear when illness strikes because they don’t know “what to do or what to say.”
And often the person needing support and their caregiver hide the fact and carry the entire burden alone rather than admit they could use help.
STC’s focus is on educating caregivers, patients and their concerned friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances about the profound personal benefits to everyone involved through sharing the care.
Because we find that family caregivers often tend to be isolated and therefore less likely to reach out for help, we target professionals, and faith communities. They see caregivers and patients on a daily basis and are best situated to identify those who could benefit from a STC group. We also seek to reach working caregivers through corporations."

July 28, 2015

Will College Pay Off?

While a college education provides much more than a ticket to a job, the focus has definitely shifted from the benefits of a well-educated populace who can think, analyze, and make rational decisions, appreciate the arts, and contribute to society. The emphasis now is on the financial aspects: can I get a good job when I graduate? And with the explosion in student loan debt, students and parents need to be a lot more savvy than in the past, especially when it comes to for-profit higher education. University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School professor Peter Capelli, new book, Will college pay off? A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You Will Ever Make, provides plenty of information for prospective students and their parents to consider before deciding on higher education. Check out this link to an interview with the author for more info:

July 26, 2015

"Will college pay off? A guide to the most important financial decision you'll ever make" by Peter Capelli is a must read for anyone (parents included) considering college or other post-secondary education. The book presents a very up-to-date perspective on college choices, whether to borrow to finance, getting internship experience while in college, and the first and subsequent job. I just finished reading the book and found it enlightening.
Check this out:

More evidence that financial advisers may not benefit clients

As recently reported in The Wall Street Journal,by Daisy Maxey on July 24, research in Europe found that:
"Investors trading stocks with assistance of financial advisers are more diversified and overcome some common pitfalls, a new working paper from European researchers found.
But they are worse off overall than investors who trade independently, because their stock purchases underperform, the study says.
The findings suggest advisers “do not help investors make superior stock purchases,” wrote the researchers, who examined client transactions at a large, unidentified Swiss bank.
There was “consistent evidence” that stock trades made by investors in conjunction with an adviser underperformed benchmarks as well as trades investors made independently, the researchers say.
Moreover, the underperformance was “particularly severe if the client-advisor contact was initiated by the adviser, suggesting that advisers actively approach clients with rather poor trading ideas,” the paper says.

July 22, 2015

Avoid Medicare Enrollment Mistakes

About to turn 65? Need to know more about Medicare?Watch the short video and check out the additional links to help you understand how Medicare works and what you need to do to enroll. All this is included in
this terrific blog post from the Squared Away Blog at

June 23, 2015

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Bet you never thought about what would happen to your email, Facebook, Twitter, and other digital accounts after your death. Well, here's one more thing to add to your estate planning. Check out Consumer Action's Digital Estate Planning Guide at

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