Putting a Price on Caregiving

The value of unpaid family caregivers is staggering — an estimated $470 billion, according to a new AARP report — but as far as I’m concerned, no dollar figure can ever come close to our true value. I know that my contributions as my family’s caregiver go far beyond the amount it would cost to pay someone else for the hours I provide care, and I’m sure others like me would agree. In my case, there are my financial investments in his well-being, including the …

Spring Clean Your Identity Theft Risks

Spring cleaning should include more than decluttering your garage and closets. Take these simple steps to reduce your risks of identity theft: Shred — don’t just trash — unnecessary documents with your name, birth date, address, and account or Social Security numbers. Typically, bank deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts should be shredded as soon as the transactions appear on statements, credit card statements within 45 days, and pay stubs and medical bills after one year. Never simply discard …

Sharing Accounts With Adult Children: A Good Idea?

 “I have an embarrassing secret. And if you’re a millennial, chances are you’ve got the same one.” The secret? Journalist Elizabeth Weingarten reveals in her Slate article,  “In Defense of the Digital Umbilical Cord,” that she is on her parents’ cellphone plan and “mooches off” their HBO Go and Netflix accounts. Apparently she was shamed by a Glamour magazine article that chastised that it’s not OK “if you’re 26 and your parents still pay your cellphone bill. Cut the cord on that …

Few African Americans Take Advantage of Retirement Planning Products

Recent research shows that most African Americans/blacks age 50-plus use financial products, such as checking accounts and savings accounts. But only 1 in 10 use retirement planning products, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA). Millions of Americans haven’t saved any money for their golden years, and millions of others haven’t saved nearly enough. According to the Federal Reserve, the median balance of retirement accounts totals less than $60,000, and many African Americans/blacks have saved even less. >> AARP …

How to Find Reward by Working With Those in Need

As Maureen McCarty and I meet with Maria (not her real name), I realize the compounded struggles of the poor. Maria’s English speaking and comprehension are limited. She and her husband are separated. Her son’s health issues complicate her search for work. And at this moment, with area rents topping $1,000 a month, even for a small apartment, Maria needs rent assistance. Can we help her? Each Wednesday morning, McCarty and other finance counselors who volunteer with a Christ Church’s …

10 New Year’s Resolutions to Prevent Scams

Pledging to drop pounds might be the most popular New Year’s resolution, but consider adding these 10 simple steps to reduce your risk of scams in 2015 and beyond: Get your credit report – three times a year. Only about 1 in 6 Americans check their credit reports annually with each of the three credit bureaus, and 1 in 4 check with only one bureau, AARP has found. Bad move, since everyone is entitled to three freebies per 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s …