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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.
BUSINESS
February 10, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
In a power outage, utilities can't charge you for electricity they didn't deliver. But what responsibilities do they have in providing service, and what are your rights - and responsibilities - as a consumer? The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission displays the "PA Energy Consumer Bill of Rights" in this document. There's nothing specific about how your utility should respond to an outage, but it notes that utilities "are required to make necessary repairs and improvements to service and facilities.
BUSINESS
February 3, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Janet Yellen is to be sworn in Monday, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve. Will she oversee an ongoing economic recovery? And what of the legacy of her predecessor, Ben Bernanke? Bernanke's legacy is the subject of this Breakout video at Yahoo Finance. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, says of the exiting Fed chair, "He gets credit, and quite rightly so, for steering us clear of a depression back in 2008. " However, McBride says, it will be some time before Bernanke's real impact is known.
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.
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