Jean Chatzky: Our Relationship With Money Is a ‘Hot Mess’

Jean Chatzky has a few choice words for how most folks describe their relationship with money: Confusing. Frightening. Chaotic. Stressful. Precarious. “For two decades now, I’ve been watching how we make our money, save it, spend it, borrow it, invest it and protect it,” Chatzky told an audience today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. “And I can tell you that, overall, our relationship with money is a hot mess.” Chatzky, AARP’s financial ambassador, is a best-selling author and …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Insects are a food source for one of every three people worldwide. (Learn more at Yahoo) 2. The debts and unpaid bills of more than a third of Americans have been reported to collection agencies. (Learn more at Urban Institute) 3. Handshakes share 20 times more germs than fist bumps. (Learn more at AARP) >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  4. A new smartphone app simulates a retro camera by making you …

Money Market Funds Just Got Safer … Or Did They?

After years of debate, the Securities and Exchange Commission this week finally adopted new rules designed to shore up the stability of the $2.6 trillion money market  industry. The question now is, will it help? While the changes largely affect institutional investors, one provision also applies to small investors by temporarily restricting their access to their money if a fund has liquidity problems. For decades money market funds were seen as reliably boring, investing in government securities or high-grade corporate debt. Though the funds’ …

Interest Rates Are Low Until You Do the Math

I often hear that interest rates are awful and that it’s the worst time ever for retirees needing to live on fixed income. Yet when you look at after-tax, inflation-adjusted returns, a different picture emerges. Many people smile when I tell them that back in 1980 they could have earned 12 percent on a 10-year U.S. Treasury or certificate of deposit (CD). Depositing $10,000 would have returned $1,200 a year. But if a third went to taxes, that gain would …

Those Free Financial Dinner Seminars May Give You Indigestion

Ever get those invitations for a free financial seminar at a restaurant? “Nothing will be sold – we only want to educate you on your financial future,” is the typical pitch. Most specify that “financial professionals may not attend.” However, I recently received one that didn’t exclude me, and decided to see what I might learn about my financial future. Here’s my experience and what you need to know. First, this wasn’t just some seminar at a local restaurant; this …

Planning for a Strong Financial Future

By Lee Baker, CFP One of my favorite things as a child was reading comic books. To be honest, if I had more free time, I would probably read them now. Like me, most of you probably remember the Charles Atlas ads in comic books and other magazines. You know the story: A bully kicks sand in a skinny kid’s face. Deciding to do something about it, the skinny kid sends for a free book from Charles Atlas that promises …