Tips for Empty Nesters on Selling the Family Home

Last spring Cathy and Gary Chester put their ranch home in Morris County, N.J., on the market. Come August, the house is unsold and Cathy admits that she’s enjoying another summer in the home that the couple built 21 years ago. What saddens her is the prospect of closing a chapter in her life. “This is where – young, married, pregnant with my son – I started a new part of my life that ends when I sell the house,” …

Are Medical Credit Cards Unhealthy for Your Finances?

You need some expensive medical care yet don’t have the insurance or money to pay for it. Should you use a medical credit card that’s pitched at some doctors’ offices? A new report by the nonprofit Consumer Action warns that some of these cards can be unhealthy for your finances. They usually offer a zero percent introductory rate, though after that period, card terms can vary greatly. The problem is that these terms often are difficult to uncover. So patients …

Retiring Early? Pony Up $51,000 Extra for Health Care, Fidelity Says

Are you and your spouse thinking about retiring early? Doing so can cost you, as a couple, an extra $17,000 a year in medical costs, according to a Fidelity Investments analysis. The Boston-based investment company compared the projected average health care costs of couples retiring this year at age 65 with those of couples retiring as early as age 62 and as late as 67. It assumed they would have Medicare coverage at 65, although the analysis doesn’t include costs for nursing home and …

Why Your Children Should Help Pay for College

Spring means college admissions, and we still recall the agonizing wait for the mail carrier. A thin envelope brought bad news, a thick envelope acceptance. Today, though, the “envelope” arrives via email – and that’s not all that’s changed. These days, the sticker price for private colleges starts at about $40,000 a year, going much higher for a prestigious institution; in-state schools run about half that. Nearly as soon as the anxiety on the admissions front dissipates, it’s replaced by …

4 Myths About Daylight Saving Time

Let’s hope you’ve recovered from Groggy Monday, the day after we turn our clocks ahead an hour (and lose an hour of sleep) for that  convoluted practice called daylight saving time. Even though studies show that this fiddling with our sleep schedule is a bad idea – a higher risk of car accidents from sleepy drivers during the Monday morning commute, workplace injuries because of tired workers, a spike in heart attack risk – we’re still somehow wedded to “springing …

Rising Propane Prices, Shortages Add to Winter Woes

Persistent record-setting low temperatures across much of the United States are making this a tough winter for many families. Households face higher heating bills as prices for heating fuels continue to increase with rising demand sparked by the cold. Price increases for liquid propane have been significant. The Department of Energy estimates that 6 million households, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, use propane as their primary source of heating fuel. Low inventories and high demand for the fuel have …