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BUSINESS
December 1, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
When you lose or leave a job, it's important to know what to do about any money that's stashed for you in a former employer's 401(k) retirement plan. There are lots of options. Losing a job raises all sorts of questions in addition to immediate concerns for income. What becomes of the retirement money you and your former employer have put into your 401(k) account? Bankrate.com's Don Taylor notes some facts that may surprise you in a post titled, "I lost my job. What happens to my 401(k)
BUSINESS
November 16, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Retirement could be dicey for debt-laden and risk-averse millennials - the generation that started coming of age around the turn of the century. But there's some hope. "Retirement coach" Jacob Gold writes in this USNews.com post that millennials looking at retirement - three decades away or more - know they won't arrive at that distant horizon with a safe company pension. They need to be putting money in 401(k)s, taking advantage of any matching funds their employers put on the table, and investing the savings aggressively.
BUSINESS
October 27, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Finding a broker to assist or guide your investing is hard. Switching brokers can be even harder. There are ways to ease the process, and here's how to become familiar with some of them. "Transferring a brokerage account seems a little intimidating," observes this post at informational site LearningMarkets.com. But, it continues, "if you are in an unhappy brokerage relationship don't let the paper-work scare you. Dump your broker and educate yourself on how easy the transfer process can be and what you should ask for to make it as inexpensive as possible.
BUSINESS
October 6, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Annuities are supposed to give you a steady retirement paycheck from your investments, but the field is full of land mines. Here's a start on learning to navigate that minefield in safety. Start with simple explanations. The Securities and Exchange Commission's site on investing basics defines annuities and tells why some people buy them. "An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that requires the insurer to make payments to you, either immediately or in the future.
BUSINESS
September 29, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Smartphones are expensive to own, but the powerful, often free, apps they carry around can make up for some of that expense. These sites offer guides to useful money-saving apps. Budgeting apps are first-off. Everything Zoomer, a site that says it's for the "45-plus demographic," recently posted this list of recommended personal-finance apps. It notes that most banks and other financial institutions now provide apps for tracking your accounts, finding ATMs, and so forth. Many save you a trip to the bank by allowing deposits by snapping photos of checks.
BUSINESS
September 15, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
When you are new to investing or in search of a disciplined way to salt away funds, try the method called dollar-cost averaging, or DCA. Here are some pointers, and caveats. Investopedia.com explains the basics: "Dollar-cost averaging is carried out simply by investing a fixed dollar amount into your mutual fund (or other investment instrument) at predetermined intervals. " But why? "It's a strategic way to invest because you buy more shares when the cost is low, so you get an average cost per share over time, meaning you don't have to invest the time and effort to monitor market movements and strategically time your investments.
BUSINESS
September 1, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Reports of a major data breach at JPMorgan and other banks - possibly by Russian hackers - puts in question the security of customer accounts. What's a consumer to do? Infosecurity magazine runs through the possible methods of the hackers and what the fallout might be. "The FBI has called the skill associated with the attack 'far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers,' leading many to conclude that the action was state-sponsored," writes reporter Tara Seals. The cold implication: "Without significant change in strategy, ultimate resistance to high-level attacks is, well, futile.
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