Personal Finance

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Dorms are filling up, classes are starting, and Frisbees are flying above quads at colleges and universities across the country. But these familiar seasonal patterns don’t reflect how a growing number of students are starting the year. More and more older Americans are heading back to school, often part time or in the evenings, and …

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Sorry, folks, but there is no magic number when it comes to retirement savings goals. Conventional wisdom has been that saving for a $1 million nest egg, or retirement income of 80 percent your current salary, is a good safety net. But advisors say such broad generalizations often miss the mark given consumers’ disparate incomes, …

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There is a clear generational divide between millennials and other age groups when it comes to payment for small purchases. A recent study by CreditCards.com revealed that 51 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 choose plastic over cash for purchases under $5. This is in stark contrast to the 82 percent of consumers 65-plus who …

Back-to-school investor checklist

Tim Maurer has smart “back-to-school” moves for investors of all ages.

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Customers shop for back to school supplies at a Target store in Colma, Calif., Aug. 9, 2014.

Got your back-to-school shopping finished? If so, chances are your wallet feels a little lighter than it did this time last year. Back-to-school spending is on track to rise 3 percent overall in 2014, according to the National Retail Federation. Families with kids in elementary, middle and high school are likely to spend 5 percent …

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A pension, for those lucky enough to have one, offers a guaranteed check every month for the rest of your life upon retirement. But a number of companies are now offering an alternative—a pension advance, typically made in one lump sum payment. Their pitch, aimed at military and government retirees with generous pension benefits and …

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A new report shows a growing number of car and truck owners are struggling to make their monthly auto loan payments. Experian, which analyses millions of auto loans, says the percentage of those loans that were delinquent or ended up in default with the vehicle being repossessed surged in the second quarter of this year. …

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If you thought buying textbooks, desk lamps and extra long sheets would be your child’s biggest headache on the way to college, think again. Debit card fees are coming to bite college students. Debit card issuers are charging hefty overdraft fees, according to a recentreport by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The median charge is $34, …

Raising a kid will cost you $245K

A new government report says that raising a child costs an average of about $245,000 and that’s not including college.

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The shopping spree may start months, weeks or maybe the day before the school year begins. Buying a dozen pencils and a few Trapper Keepers won’t cut it for today’s students. The back-to-school buying binge may include trendy new clothes, shoes, sneakers, in addition to hefty expenses for extracurricular activities. For older kids, a new …

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You do everything else with your smartphone—why not use it to deposit checks? Just snap a picture and send. What could be more convenient? Using a mobile banking app will eliminate a trip to the branch or ATM, but it could dramatically slow down the process. At some financial institutions, mobile deposit can delay access …

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My parents left inheritance money in an irrevocable trust for their six grandchildren. They trusted me to handle the money matters for them, so now I, as the executor, have spent a great deal of time discussing investment options with a bunch of 20-somethings. I made it clear that they should have fun with some …

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New car sales are stronger than they have been since the start of the Great Recession, and likely to keep climbing, according to industry analysts. The good news for consumers is that despite surging demand, interest rates remain at near-recession lows. That’s led many buyers to move upmarket by stretching out loans to five, six …

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Changes are coming to the FICO credit-scoring system, potentially allowing millions of people to take out loans. The Wall Street Journal reported that Fair Isaac, which produces the FICO score, will no longer include failures to pay bills when calculating a score if the issue has since been resolved. The tabulation also will take unpaid medical bills less into account, …

Protecting your money

A lousy start to the trading day got even worse, but there are ways to protect your money in this market.