Today’s Money: Should you open a joint account with a new spouse?

This morning on Today, we played a little game of “This or That.” Personal finance style, of course. See the clip below to see how Tamron and Al did.

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Today’s Money: The Bank of Mom and Dad

We’ve seen the research in the headlines for weeks now: Over half of all college graduates are still funded by the bank of mom and dad. Well, this morning on TODAY, I offered a lesson on financial independence to two graduates who make up that statistic. If you missed it, check it out below.

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The Death of Bake Sales on Morning Joe

This morning I chatted with Leigh Gallagher on the demise of U.S. bake sales in schools. See what we had to say on Morning Joe:

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Today’s Money: Making Money Coversations Less Awkward

Sure, money conversations can be awkward, but they don’t have to be. This morning on TODAY, I addressed why we cringe when people bring up money, and offer tips on how to let loose during your next money talk. For more, see the clip below.

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Today’s Money: Should you spend or save your tax refund?

It’s officially Tax Day! And for more than two-thirds of Americans, filing is likely a pretty uplifting experience. Why? They’re getting refunds averaging $2,800 according to the IRS.

What are they doing with them? According to Principal Financial, the top three uses for the money are: save or invest it (51%), pay off short-term debt like credit cards (38%) and pay off long term debt like a mortgage (24%). But what if you’re looking for other ideas? I was on Today this morning with a few suggestions. Check them out below:

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Today’s Money: Best Home Improvements for Your Money

Happy Friday! Do you know which home improvements give you the biggest bang for your buck? I ask, because some pay off more than others. This morning on TODAY, HGTV’s Mike Aubrey and I give you the 411 on home improvements — what’s worth your time and money, and what’s not. If you haven’t already, test your home improvement IQ with my quiz here. For more, check out the segment below:

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Morning Joe

I had a great time (and a good laugh) on Morning Joe today. The conversation was on my recent Fortune column: Why couples don’t talk finance.

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Today’s Money: Helping Aging Parents Manage Their Finances

When it comes to aging parents and money management, 70% families find it difficult to handle. How do you know when your parents need help with their money? It’s a tough question, and an even tougher conversation to have. This morning on Today, I offered my tips on how to get the ball rolling, while keeping emotions at bay. To see what I had to say, check out the clip below:

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Today’s Money: Protect Your Financial Security Quiz

What’s your identity theft IQ? This morning on Today, I had a fun time quizzing Tamron and (stumping) Willie on theirs. If you missed it this morning, you can check it out here:

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Thank you to the thousands of readers and viewers, who helped me prep for my segment this morning by taking my quiz on protecting your financial security! If you haven’t by the way, you can here. I promise you’ll learn something new. I’m also receiving tons of emails asking about the site for protecting your passwords — it’s Dashlane.com. I’ll get to those emails too!

Before I sign off, here are some quiz results:

  • 40% couldn’t point to the safest precaution you can (and perhaps should) take with your credit reports.
  • More than 60% of people didn’t know the first step to take if their identity was compromised or their credit cards hacked.
  • And only 10 percent understand which Americans are truly most vulnerable to identity theft.

And for even more, you can head to Today.com.

Have a great day,

Jean

Today’s Money: Best Credit Cards for 2014

As Natalie said this morning on Today, if you’re using credit cards when you shop, some cards are certainly better than others. I did the groundwork for you, and came up with the best cards for 2014. Below you’ll find my segment with Natalie and Al — scroll a little further to see my top picks.

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Best Balance Transfer cards:

If you have excellent credit (above 720 on the FICO scale):

Slate from Chase
0% on new purchases for 15 months
0% on balances transferred for 15 months
No transfer fee
No annual fee
Regular APR of 12.99% to 22.99% depending on your credit

If you have good credit (between 660 and 719 on the FICO scale):

Capital One Platinum Prestige
0% on balances transferred and new purchases through May 2015
3% transfer fee
No annual fee
Regular APR of 10.9% to 18.9% depending on your credit

Best for New Purchases:

If you have excellent credit

Citi Diamond Preferred
0% on new purchases for 18 months
No annual fee
Regular APR of 11.99% – 21.99%

If you have good or fair credit (620 to 720)

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
0% on new purchases until February 2015
No annual fee
$100 bonus for spending $500 during the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on everything
Regular APR of 12.9%-20.9%

Best Cash Back: Overall, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card gets consistently high marks – and it’s also great because you don’t need to have pristine credit to get it. Also:

Chase Freedom (for good and excellent credit 660 and above)
0% on balance transfers and new purchases for 15 mos.
$100 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months
5% back on three categories each three month period (currently gas, movies and Starbucks stores – up to $1500 max)
1% on everything else

Best Rewards:

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (for excellent credit)
40,000 mile bonus if you spend $1000 in the first three months
2 miles for every purchase
Use miles (100 = $1/40,000 = $400) as a statement credit against travel, so no blackout dates
0% APR for 12 months
No annual fee first year; $89 thereafter

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card (for good credit)
20,000 mile bonus if you spend $2000 in the first three months
1.25 miles for every purchase
Use miles (100 = $1/40,000 = $400) as a statement credit against travel, so no blackout dates
0% APR through February 2015
No annual fee

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard for Average Credit
0% intro APR for six months on balance transfers and purchases.
24.99% thereafter.
You receive 2,500 points after your first use of the card. 2 points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities;
point for every $1 on every other purchase.

If you’re not a student:

Capital One Platinum Credit Card caters to people with limited credit history
No annual fee the first year; $19 thereafter
No rewards
APR 24.99% — high, but the goal is buy it, pay it off, build credit
A tip: Put an automatic payment, like your health club on the card, pay it off automatically and don’t use the card for anything else – building credit will be a breeze.

If you are a student:

BankAmericard for Students
0% APR for 15 months on transfers and purchases
No annual fee
APR 10.99% – 20.99%
If you have bad credit:

Credit One Bank Credit Card With Gas Rewards
Annual Fee: $35 to $75
APR: 17.9% – 23.9%
1% back on gas purchases
Make your first six payments on time, they’ll increase your credit line. Also offers email/text reminders that your payment is due.

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