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BUSINESS
November 11, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
October's jobless rate, pegged Friday at 7.3 percent, was up slightly from September. But the number's meaning is a source of monthly public confusion. Here are some explanations. The arm of government that computes the unemployment rate is the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. This FAQ on the bureau's site explains how the number is reached and what it means. It starts with the question "Why does the government collect statistics on the unemployed?" When a willing worker is unemployed, everybody loses, it explains.
BUSINESS
November 4, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The word Affordable in health care is a relative term. That's why many people take advantage of tax-free flexible spending accounts to set aside money for expenses not covered by insurance. At MarketWatch.com , Jonnelle Marte blogged the late-week news of an important change for flexible spending accounts. "New rules put an end to the 30-year old 'use-it-or-lose-it' restrictions on health-care flexible spending arrangements, allowing taxpayers to carry over up to $500 of unused balances to the following year," Marte writes.
NEWS
October 7, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Last of three parts "It could be a kiss-off gift," says the cultural leader of a $10,000 check that had recently arrived in the mail. It would be a nice chunk of change for any Philadelphia arts and culture group, this 10K, except when you realize that the donor who sent it is worth several billion dollars. Relatively speaking, it's the same as someone with $100,000 in the bank sending a check for $3. This donor hasn't emerged as one of Philadelphia's great philanthropic leaders, despite his capacity.
BUSINESS
September 30, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Don't outlive your money. A carefully planned retirement means choosing options, way in advance, that are most likely to see you through with a minimum of financial worries. Living longer than you expect - a likely scenario - is just one factor that could erode your retirement assets, says this post at Investopedia.com. Inflation and medical expenses are among the other real threats to financial security in later life. But, this article says, "knowledge is power, and if you are aware of these factors, you can take steps to ensure that they do not affect you. " But how?
BUSINESS
September 23, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Guarding your 401(k) and other retirement money requires attention to details on your account statements and in the wider economy. Watch for missteps by your boss, and by the government. Missing money. Credit.com says payroll deductions for a 401(k) - a popular retirement savings program - should show up quickly in your retirement account statement. If they don't, get ready for a fight. "Retirement plan fraud is more common than you might think," says this post by financial planner Matthew Illian.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2013 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Learning how to earn, spend, and save money wisely ought to start in childhood. But if you missed the early lessons, websites such as these offer many ways to catch up on financial literacy. Among articles on Visa's Practicalmoneyskills.com site is one on the company's annual "Tooth Fairy survey," which Visa says "shows that American children are receiving an average of $3.70 per lost tooth this year - a dramatic increase of 23 percent over the $3.00 per tooth left in 2012. " Visa doesn't say if that's a good thing, though.
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