What to Do When Your Pension is Terminated

As traditional pension funds continue to go the way of the typewriter all across America, you may find yourself in the position of having to decide what to do with a pension plan that’s being terminated by your employer. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean the money disappears. It just won’t be added to anymore and you have to choose what to do with the money. While this may sound like the kind of thing you’d rather not deal with, these come with an expiration date and a default option that may not be your best choice. So let’s look at the pros and cons of some common options. Continue reading

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Posted in Retirement Planning, The Maverick | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Was I Thinking? – How Some Investment Decisions Are Made

Think about the last investment decision you made. Why did you make it?  Was it part of an existing investment strategy? Did you see somebody else do it? Perhaps it was done for you?  Continue reading

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Would You Scream for Free Ice Cream?

As the saying goes, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”  This comes from lyrics from a 1925 song by the Waring’s Pennsylvanians, an American band.  With July being National Ice Cream month, you don’t even need to scream to get ice cream and in some cases, a cold scoop could even be free! If you are in Portland or New York City, be on the lookout for the Ben & Jerry’s CoreTour scoop truck this week, which is traveling the East and West coasts this summer giving away samples of their core flavors.  Continue reading

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Posted in H.R. Guru, Money Saving Ideas | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to the Financial Finesse Book Club

What has been on your reading list so far this summer? Last week, we looked at some recent financial blogs to help add some balance to your summer reading list and hopefully improve your finances along the way. Since I am often asked about recommended personal finance books, I figured why not summarize some books that my colleagues and I have read in the past few years. The good news is that many of these books are located at your local library so you can check them out for free. Continue reading

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Posted in Financial Wellness, The Money Doc | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Making Mac-n-Cheese is Like Investing

I was talking with my friend Diane recently and she told me a story about a visit she made to her daughter’s house.  Here is her email recap of a portion of that visit: Continue reading

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8 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

Have you had a rough patch in your financial life? Or maybe you’re trying to position yourself to get the lowest possible rate on a mortgage or even a new job. For whatever reason, you may be like one of the many people I speak to on our Financial Helpline and Ask a Planner sessions who are trying to improve their credit. If so, here are some steps you can take: Continue reading

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Posted in Financial Wellness, The Maverick | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s the Deal With Car Reservations?

Oscar Wilde once wrote “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates life.”  As though this statement needed any proof, my recent trip to a rental car agency proved to be a reenactment of a classic Seinfeld episode.  Several months ago, I reserved a minivan in anticipation of a family trip to the West Coast. Upon arriving at the rental car agency, I was told that there were no minivans available. How could this be?  They knew what I needed.  They knew when I would be there.  So why would they not have a car waiting for me?  Continue reading

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Posted in Financial Wellness, Rebel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay Off the Chex

I’m not warning you away from cereal, but from ChexSystems – a consumer reporting database used by 80% of financial institutions that determines whether you will be able to open a checking or savings account with a bank or credit union.  Any past banking issues within the last 5 years can appear on the report, including overdrafts, unsatisfied negative balances, fraudulent check deposits, or suspicious account activity. Unfortunately, low income individuals who are more susceptible to overdrawing their accounts are often barred from the traditional banking system and forced to use high cost check cashing options or pre-paid debit cards.  Continue reading

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Posted in H.R. Guru, Money Saving Ideas | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Balancing the Summer Reading List

My eight-year old daughter Caroline recently made an observation that in her opinion, I simply don’t read enough.  This of course is coming from an up and coming 3rd grader who absolutely loves to read and is currently breezing through J.K. Rowling’s entire Harry Potter series along with countless other books.  Although I will acknowledge that I never was a bookworm growing up, it must be noted that her definition of reading does not include financial journals, academic research studies, personal finance blogs, IRS tax code, or financial planning books. I am impressed that my daughter balances her reading preferences and also reads non-fiction books to learn about various topics ranging from history, Bible stories, and Golden doodles. Continue reading

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Are You in a Cash Flow Drought?

Living on the East Coast but working for a California based company, I get to hear about things that are newsworthy on both coasts. One of the more recent news items that I talked about with my CA coworkers was the drought that they are currently experiencing.  This article talks about the drought and what it has done to the price of water in California. Continue reading

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