Brokered CDs: Worth Exploring for Good Rates

If you want to earn more on your “safe” money than you can get from buying certificates of deposits directly from a bank, you might want to consider something called brokered CDs. Although going directly to banks to buy high-paying CDs with easy early withdrawal penalties is still my core strategy for safe-money investing, I’ve started adding brokered CDs for my clients’ portfolios and my own. Brokered CDs are certificates of deposit sold through brokerage firms such as Fidelity, Schwab …

Millennials Are Spending Less and Saving for a Rainy Day

While waiting in line last week at Starbucks, I realized that I was the only “guest” ordering black coffee — not a grande, no-foam macchiato concoction — and the only person using cash. The mostly millennial customers were flashing a smartphone app or swiping credit or debit cards. The way our adult children spend and save money is very different from their boomer parents. “I want it fast, and I want it now” is the millennial mantra when it comes …

The 411 on Two-Factor Authentication

In an era in which online accounts can be cracked with sophisticated software or a hacker’s ingenuity, taking an extra step when you log in can give you miles in added protection — even when using “strong” passwords. It’s called two-factor authentication (2FA), and it requires both something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a cellphone). Once enacted, after you successfully log in to an online account, you receive a code to your phone, via text …

Banks Ease Terms for Struggling Student Borrowers

Big banks are beginning to cut some slack to distressed student-loan borrowers. Wells Fargo announced a new program this week that will lower the interest rate on loans so payments will be more affordable based on a struggling borrower’s income. The bank will review borrowers’ financial situations to determine whether they qualify for short- or long-term loan modification. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses According to the Wall Street Journal, both borrowers and cosigners will have to show financial hardship to get a modification. Modifications …

10 Dumbest Things to Do Online

Trying to get scammed? Engage in these stupid but common online practices and the smart money is that you likely will. 1. Falling for emotional bait. Online and otherwise, scammers line their pockets on your emotions — greed, fear, curiosity — and often fuel each with “Act Now!” urgency. Offers of easy money and threats of negative consequences phish for your money and/or personal information. Promises of forbidden photos or links, especially with terse “Check this out!” messages, are used to install …

Regulator Seeks Greater Oversight of Auto Financing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to extend its oversight to large nonbank auto-finance companies to make sure they are not discriminating against consumers. The CFPB announced today its proposed rule to expand its supervision to these companies, which would include the finance arms of auto manufacturers. “Nonbank auto-finance companies extend hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to American consumers, yet they have never been supervised at the federal level,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Today’s proposal …