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 …

1 in 4 Didn’t Notice ID Theft for at Least 2 Years. Would You?

Identity theft is fast-moving. Are you asleep at the wheel? The sooner ID theft is discovered, the easier it is to repair the damage. And yet, 1 in 4 people did not know they were victims until at least two years later, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). That’s more than enough time to destroy your financial life and start a new one on your dime. Sixteen percent of 201 people from 39 states who contacted the ITRC in …

Millennials Need Parents to Talk About Long-Term Plans

Religion, sex, politics and money rank as taboo topics for polite conversation, perhaps avoided with our adult children, too. But money should be on the table for the simple reason that our financial situation often affects our kids as we age. A reminder of that comes in an honest and heartfelt column by Yahoo financial adviser Mandi Woodruff about her parents. She writes: “These days, I find myself worrying far more about their financial futures than I do my own. …

New Campaign Highlights Holiday Joy, Stress for Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and AARP has teamed up with the Ad Council in a campaign that includes the results of a new caregiving poll as well as a series of powerful public service ads highlighting the changing roles of family caregivers. The ads also point caregivers to help from the AARP Caregiving Resource Center, which unveils two new tools this month: an opportunity to tell your own caregiving story and a searchable nationwide directory of senior-care providers …

Why You Should Pay Down Your Mortgage

Many in the financial services industry will advise you not to pay down your mortgage. I can’t disagree more. Why? Because a mortgage is essentially the inverse of a bond: Mortgage: borrowed money where you pay someone principal and interest. Bond: money you lend where the borrower pays you principal and interest.   It’s that simple. For example, the high-quality bonds I wrote about here recently, or bank certificates of deposit (CDs), will pay you roughly 2 percent. The average mortgage rate is about 4 percent. My conclusion …