Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smart Beta: Is It Better To Be Lucky Than Smart?

Individual investors have long been cautioned away from trading individual securities. Less than a third of professional stock traders beat benchmarked funds — those whose value follows some large-scale economic indicator. Rather than trying to pick winners and losers, individual investors have chosen to invest while assuming there will be winners. It’s still a good idea. If you don’t have time to research your investments, a whole-market index fund with low fees will provide a safe, predictable return over time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Zika Virus – How To Keep Your Family Safe

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re involved in recreation league sports, hiking, or barbecues, there’s something for everyone. Usually, flying pests are just a nuisance. The worst they do is provide a minor irritation to an otherwise fine outing.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Don’t Drink The Water! How To Be On Alert For Water Purifier Scams


For millions of Americans, warming weather and longer days mean more than just baseball and allergies. It’s a great time to be rolling up your sleeves, opening up the toolbox and getting started on home improvement projects. With recent crises like the water quality in Flint, Michigan, prominent in headlines across America, many consumers are beginning to pay more attention to their own local water quality.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The ‘Pink Tax': Does Shopping Like A Girl Cost You Money?


Several economic studies have confirmed the existence of a so-called “pink tax,” an inflated price attached to goods and services specifically marketed to women. While theories abound to explain the pricing discrepancy, its existence seems clear. On everything from razors and deodorant to car repair and haircuts, women are expected to pay more for products marketed directly to them. In many cases, marketing is where the differences stop.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mortgage Pre-qualification


Q: Every ad for mortgage companies I read talks about pre-qualification or pre-approval. Is that something I need to do before I start house shopping?

Friday, March 11, 2016


Family Finance Games For Kids

Usually, paying bills is one of those adult chores that takes time away from family time. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! Getting your kids involved in the family finances can let you take care of your responsibilities and spend time with your children at the same time. It’s easy to say “get your kids involved,” but getting them out of their phones, tablets, and video games for dinner is hard enough. Making financial fitness a game can help it be more of a fun activity and less of a chore. Try these tips to get kids involved in money matters:

1.) The memory game: If you’ve ever played the card game, “Memory,” you know how this works. Put the bills you’re working with face down on the table, then go through each category – ask your child to find the electric bill, then read off the amount to you so you can write the check. This can also be a chance to talk with your child about savings strategies – “What do you think we could do to lower the electric bill?” While they may not have a firm grasp on the solution, getting them thinking about savings early will help build good habits.

2.) The party budget: The next time you’re hosting a sleepover or planning a family activity, set a budget with dollar amounts and walk through the steps involved in setting priorities, allocating funds, and finding cheaper alternatives to expensive activities. Let your child make the decisions as much as possible. Even if it’s $20 that they have to allocate between pizza, movies, and candy, it’ll help them understand the basics of budgeting. This exercise helps your child understand scarce resources and can make it easier to include them in family budget talks.

3.) Play “What If”: Ask your kids questions like what they would do if they found incrementally larger quantities of money. Start with a small amount – $5, for example. Work your way on up to $1,000 or whatever point your child starts to struggle with thinking of the dollar amount in real terms. This can be a great way to get to know where your kids’ financial priorities are at and to start a conversation about saving a portion of financial windfalls. It can also be a great way to talk about what things really cost.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

52-Week Savings Challenge


Saving money can be difficult.  It’s easy to have self-control at home, when you’re setting up your budget, but it can be much trickier to have that same self-control when you want to grab dinner out after a long day. Or maybe you see a sale on sneakers and your old ones are just getting so ratty and you think you’d definitely exercise more if you had good sneakers. And just look at them, they’re amazing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Private Mortgage Insurance – What You Need To Know


Whether you’re a long-time home owner or you’ve just started shopping for your dream house, you’ve seen stacks of papers full of acronyms. Buried amid the dense undergrowth of legalese are three letters that could be costing you more than you think. Be on the lookout for PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance.

Monday, March 7, 2016

How To Keep Your Guard Up Against The Newest Scams

It seems like there’s a new data leak or identity theft trick to be worried about every week. If you’re not informed, you risk becoming a victim. Sitting back and waiting for news about scams to come to you may not be enough. In an ever-changing security climate, you need to stay on top of new threats in personal information security.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Power of Encouragement

Encouragement is a powerful motivator. It can boost your children’s self-esteem and help them become more responsible for learning to solve problems by themselves.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why REFUND Is A Four-Letter Word


Retailers across the country expect big sales for the first quarter of the year. They know this is the time of year when 75% of Americans get a big check in the mail courtesy of Uncle Sam. Nobody likes filing their taxes, but everyone likes getting a refund. It’s free money, right? Whoa … hold that thought for a moment. Before you celebrate your sudden windfall with a new big-screen TV, think about how your refund gets there. It might not really be the free money you think it is.