Virtual Kidnapping: The Latest Fear-by-Phone Hoax

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but it’s hitting homes across the country: “virtual kidnapping,” where fraudsters try to extort money by claiming that a family member has been taken hostage. This fear-provoking fraud isn’t new; there was a nationwide wave of similar calls two years ago in which swindlers usually claimed a loved one was being held after causing a traffic accident and refusing to pay for damages. But in recent weeks, the scam has exploded — and this …

Why Your Adult Children Suffer From Anxiety in College

October at colleges and universities may evoke images of falling leaves and football games, but midsemester exams bring a spike in anxiety, the No. 1 mental health problem on campuses. Midterms are not the only reason for anxiety, which causes students to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Most college professors share tales of students’ missed deadlines, classes and assignments, all because of anxiety. A friend told of a student who was in danger of failing because of multiple missed assignments yet …

Four Money Resolutions for Building Wealth

It’s been another good year for investing, but only if you’ve been doing it right. U.S. stocks are up 14 percent this year as of Dec. 26, on top of a 33.5 percent gain last year, as measured by the Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund ETF (VTI). If you want to do it right in 2015, and maximize the chances of growing your wealth, now is the perfect time to make some New Year’s resolutions. Repeat after me…. I will stop making …

The Danger of Acting on Stock Market Headlines

Over the past five years, U.S. stocks have tripled in value. For example, the Wilshire 5000 total return index increased from 27.50 to 82.62. Yet paranoia about the market has caused many investors to miss out. The chart below shows the return an investor would have received just by owning a total U.S. stock index fund and reinvesting the dividends. A total U.S. stock index fund essentially owns every publicly held company based in the U.S. Though the chart tracks …