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BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The data heists from Target and Neiman Marcus continue to focus attention on the problem of information and identity theft. If you're a victim, or just don't want to be one, see these sites. Immediate steps to take when your identity is stolen include placing an initial fraud alert with one of the three big credit-reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission's page on how to handle ID theft tells how. The alert entitles you to free credit reports from all three reporting companies, and you'll need them.
BUSINESS
January 20, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Credit-card debt can sneak up on you. If you think $20,000 in such debt is no biggie, you're wrong. If you think you'll never have to deal with that kind of number, better think again. For all but a few of those facing it, living with a credit-card debt of $20,000 or more is a major life problem. A Credit.com online survey this month found 5 percent of respondents had such debt - and a significant portion of that group thought most people were like them. The most common reason for running up such debt, the post says, is that people "don't have sufficient income to cover their expenses.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Many people settle for a job, but there are online tools that can help you choose a career that suits your personality, education, stress tolerance, and, of course, your need for money. Stressed out? At BusinessInsider.com, there's a list of "high-paying jobs for people who don't like stress" - illustrated, strangely, with a photo of a couple nursing tall glasses of beer. The list includes jobs with annual pay averaging from about $65,000 to $186,000, the latter number belonging to orthodontists, who apparently find it relaxing to realign people's teeth and jaws.
BUSINESS
January 6, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
If you think your retirement will take care of itself, think again. A secure retirement requires planning, no matter how modest your expectations. If you're getting a late start, here are some helpful ideas: "Tax Guy" Bill Bischoff says in this Marketwatch.com post that making "catch-up" contributions to a 401(k), IRA, or similar tax-advantaged retirement account can significantly increase your savings. In many cases, catch-up payments for the 2013 tax year are allowed through April 15 for people who were at least 50 years old by the end of 2013.
BUSINESS
December 16, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
We are not a nation of savers. But can some individuals and families be "oversaving"? A few advice-givers contend that is the case, putting oversaving in a league with hoarding. Could you oversave for retirement? That surprising question is answered with a yes in a Morningstar report that's described in this post on Yahoo Finance. Financial advisers and retirement calculators "often rely on a generic formula that could lead some workers to oversave for their golden years by as much as 20 percent," according to the post.
BUSINESS
December 9, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
December is time to look over your personal finances with an eye to how tax rules in the current and new year will affect your pocketbook. For example, keep an eye on health care. Investopedia describes some tax advantages and disadvantages of the Affordable Care Act. It's a mixed bag next year, according to a post by Jean Folger. "Many people will be eligible for a new kind of tax credit, and if you are required to have health insurance and you don't have coverage, you will have to pay a penalty fee on your 2014 tax return," writes Folger.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Money has an enormous effect on domestic relationships. Marriages are made and broken over money. Money troubles may scare people from divorce. And being single has its own issues. Half the fun of this investopedia.com post on "marriage-killing money issues" is seeing the related Web links, such as "The Tax Benefits of Having a Spouse," and "Kids or Cash: The Modern Marriage Dilemma. " Issues including the debts spouses bring to a marriage, and how each spouse approaches spending after marriage, can tear a relationship apart before it's had time to thrive.
BUSINESS
November 25, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Gift cards have swiftly become the default present for holiday giving. With the season upon us, let's look at the financial risks and rewards for gift-card givers, receivers, and sellers. Nothing beats the warm feeling you get from giving a gift - except for the hot prospect of getting something for yourself in return. At PocketYourDollars.com, a post by Carrie Rocha lists scores of gift-card deals that include discounted cards and free gift cards in return for purchased cards. Outlets offering the deals include restaurants, websites, movie theaters, and grocery stores.
BUSINESS
November 18, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Job-seekers worry how they will be perceived in person by employers, and for good reason. Likability, charisma, and - if you are ever so lucky - the "halo effect" play a major role at a job interview. Becoming more likable is the goal of many job-seekers, or should be, according to this Q&A with the author of a book, Likeonomics , at jobs.aol.com. The book's author, Rohit Bhargava, says likeonomics can be learned, and comes naturally to some figures, such as Bill Clinton. He advocates trying to connect personally with job interviewers.
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