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BUSINESS
May 5, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The words life insurance have been called a euphemism for death insurance, but who wants to think about it that way? The important thing is that you think about it, and get insured, if needed. A primer on life insurance was posted last week by the Boston branch of the Better Business Bureau. The post has simple explanations of the many kinds of life insurance policies, most of which are variations on two types: whole life (policies that build cash value), and term life (policies that are cheaper than whole life, offer protection only for a set number of years, and have no cash value if the term ends while you're still alive)
BUSINESS
April 28, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Moving is on a lot of people's to-do lists as the economy improves, jobs change, schools let out, and older people look to downsize. Make it a little simpler with some planning advice. Lifehacker.com has a "start-to-finish guide for moving to a new place. " By Adam Dachis, this post is for do-it-yourselfers who want to - or must - take on the challenge of moving without professional help. Unless you're relocating from a dorm room, it's usually a really big job. But Dachis breaks it down into simple parts: preparation, packing, labeling, and moving in. Along the way, there are myriad issues, such as how to find cheap packing material, how to know if your stuff will fit in the new place, and how to talk a few, but not too many, friends into helping.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Last-minute tax filers who were due money back from the Internal Revenue Service are just getting, or still awaiting, their refunds. Here are ways to decide what to do with the cash. Kiplinger.com says refunds, which average around $3,000, should go "to bolster your personal balance sheet. " First, consider giving yourself a raise, this post suggests, "by adjusting your tax withholding to increase your take-home pay. " More immediately, use the money you got back from the IRS to pay off credit-card debt, or set it aside for an emergency fund, or boost a savings, retirement, or college account.
BUSINESS
April 14, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Summer is coming, and many of us are planning vacations. Don't cloud good memories you make by piling up vacation bills that take years to pay off. A little planning can keep you within budget. "The 'anything goes' spirit that is so intoxicating during a trip can turn a little . . . toxic afterward, when you're home facing staggering credit card bills," notes this post that we found at realsimple.com. To avoid that trap, plan your vacation - where you're going, how you'll get there, and what you'll do once you arrive.
BUSINESS
March 24, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Job interviewers are looking for something. But what? And how do you answer those intentionally tricky questions? Here are ways to navigate the minefield of the interview room. Interviewers want job applicants to be likable, to stand out, to ask questions. That's part of what business writer Jeff Haden says in this LinkedIn post titled "What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate. " At the end of an interview, according to Haden, employers should like it when you "do what great salespeople do and ask for the job. " Then, follow up. Employers appreciate a note of thanks.
BUSINESS
March 17, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The workings of the U.S. Social Security Administration can be clouded by jargon and bureaucracy. Check these sites for answers to big questions and how to deal with those bureaucrats. The retirement "estimator" at Social Security's ssa.gov site will give you a ballpark number for what you can expect in those benefits at retirement. The estimator uses your own information on record with the Social Security Administration. Other links from the same page will estimate your life expectancy and tell you how to begin an online application for benefits.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The hard winter may have slowed car sales. So, if you're in the market, there might be more good deals out there than usual in the coming weeks. Before hitting the lots, check out these sites. "Confessions of a Car Salesman," at the Popular Mechanics site, is labeled "anonymous" but has the ring of truth in it. The question-and-answer post explains, for example, that the salesman really must go talk to the manager on every deal, because - in addition to the odd psychology of car dealing - the manager holds all the cards and typically keeps information from the salesman on the bottom-line price for any given car on the lot. Usually, he says, "it's the hardcore hagglers that get the best prices.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Romances, always tricky, can turn difficult when couples face financial issues. After Valentine's Day, we look at the hard facts of life and love and mingled wallets. Advice that couples "may not want to hear," outlined at About.com, includes a way for married couples to avoid some financial disagreements by maintaining separate accounts - along with a joint acccount. Writers Sheri and Bob Stritof say: "Having your own money that you can spend however you want can lessen arguments about money.
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