Protect Your Personal Information This Holiday Season

Locked WalletJP Morgan. Home Depot. Goodwill. And, yes, the IRS. Those are just four of the 636 data breaches that occurred through the first 10 months of 2014, a 30% increase over the same time period last year, according to the Identity Theft Research Center. Is it any wonder consumers are experiencing breach fatigue?

That’s what a new study of more than 1,200 consumers conducted by Morpace on behalf of LifeLock reveals. Consumers are very worried about their personal information being pilfered and used for identity fraud – two-thirds describe data breach as a serious life disruption, and half think it would be one of the worst things that could happen to them. But data breach is now so common that the overall attitude of many seems to be one of helplessness, with about half of consumers agreeing that they don’t know how to prevent data breach or what to do if it happens to them.

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Get the best service: Dial into Mobile Savings

iStock_smartphoneSome providers are coming out with new offers to entice customers to switch carriers, even if they have existing contracts. They’ll happily buy that contract out, pay your early termination fees and throw in a few extra perks if you switch your service. On Bankrate I go over what you should consider before taking advantage of a deal like this. 

Read more here.

Should your 401(k) amount to cash in a flash? #GetAPlan

When times are tight, that money sitting in your 401(k) can look very tempting. If it’s the difference between paying hospital bills, getting out of crushing debt or fixing a hole in the roof, it can be hard not to dip in. But is it always a smart idea? That’s just one of the several most frequently asked questions about 401(k)s. Here’s the answer to that and other common 401(k) questions. For more, head over to today.com.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Wednesday Welcome: Know Your Worth, Three Reasons Why Women Need Life Insurance

CT-ssToday, we’re welcoming Cynthia Tidwell, President/CEO of Royal Neighbors of America, to the blog. Royal Neighbors of America is one of the largest women-led insurers in the U.S. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and Ms. Tidwell, nationally recognized as an expert in life insurance for women, discusses the importance for women and their families to be financially protected.

When I look to the future, I see great things for women. At no other time in our country’s history have women had so much opportunity to pursue education and careers; grow as leaders in their communities; and raise healthy families. A recent Shriver Report analysis found that women — including both married and single mothers — are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children as of 2009. Plus, women dominate the global marketplace controlling more than 80 percent of consumer spending — the power of the purse! (more…)

Money Sense on Fortune

XSmallToday’s Fortune column is based on an Arizona Pathways to Life Success (APLUS) study, which found that more than half of college graduates rely on their parents for financial support (that includes nearly half of those employed full-time). Additionally, these recent grads don’t seem to value the same things many of us did at their ages. Nearly 30% said marriage and having children wasn’t important — and roughly 20% don’t value owning a home. And 16% — gulp – said living on their own is unimportant. For more — and to see my take on the matter — head over to Fortune.com.

Jean on Morning Joe

Has it become impossible for America’s middle class families to save money? This morning I weighed in on Morning Joe. See my take below:

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Mailbag Monday: Calculating Your Retirement Numbers

Nest Egg with coinsI always read columns on many magazines and financial shows on finding your retirement number. This number is always into the hundred thousand or million dollar amount for your retirement. This number is based on certain criteria so a retiree will live comfortably. For a person who has no mortgage payment, a small amount of debt, no credit card or personal loan. That individual with a pension/401k plan and Social Security would not need the high dollar number that is always brought up. What is your input on that?  That is my position I will be upon retiring in 5 years. Thank you.

–Adrian

 

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Wednesday Welcome: Three Steps to Maximize Your 401(k)

This week we welcome Roger Wohlner, an Illinois fee-only financial advisor and blogger at The Chicago Financial Planner. Since I met Roger at the FINCON blogging conference last year, he’s become a frequent source of mine when I’m reporting a column or television segment. I asked him to bring his wisdom to you today. Below, he offers some tips for making the most of your 401(k) plan.

indexThe financial press carried numerous stories during the financial crisis about the evils of 401(k) plans — in several cases it was referred to as a “201(k).”  There are many lousy 401(k) plans out there, but there are also many excellent ones as well.  Here are a few tips to help you maximize the benefit of your workplace retirement plan.

Get started.  This might seem intuitive, but you can’t benefit from your employer’s 401(k) plan unless you are participating.  If you haven’t started deferring a portion of your salary into the plan, this is great time to start.  Look at your budget, determine how much you can afford to defer each pay period and as the Nike folks say “…just do it…”  Many plans allow you to do everything online. Otherwise, contact the plan administrator at your company. (more…)

Wednesday Welcome: How to Motivate Yourself to Save Money

This week David Ning joins the blog. David is the writer behind MoneyNing, a blog that encourages readers to take action when it comes to their finances. The action he’s encouraging today? Some simple steps you can take to get more money in the bank. You know we love that!

moneyning-headshot-1“Savings is boring, so why do it?” says pretty much everyone around you. Luckily, you know better, but still, stepping on the gas could be difficult to maintain at times. If you are struggling to stay focused on saving money, then you need a few tricks to help ease the perceived sacrifice. Here are a few such suggestions:

Celebrate a milestone generously. Savers know the key to long term success is to keep the fire up. That’s why it’s important to relax for a brief moment every time you reach a mini goal to bring out the bubbly. It’s like resting just so you can actually walk farther. Aside from validating the effort you put behind reaching this milestone, you are also giving the present a bit of a priority. After all, today is just as important as the future.

Look at history. Sometimes, all it takes to remind yourself of the effects of modern day consumerism is looking at everything you bought but no longer use. Open up the closet, dig out the cabinets and check out the garage when you have a chance. Do you even get any enjoyment out of much of that junk taking up space anymore? Now what if you just bought half of those things and saved the rest? (more…)

New SEC Guidance for Financial Advisors

handshakeJust recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted money managers and advisors the right to feature third-party reviews on their marketing materials. Meaning: Your advisor can now use your dazzling Facebook review (of him) to boost his business. I asked WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou for the run down – why you should care and what this means for the advisory industry? Here’s what he had to say:

JC: What finally sparked the SEC to allow this?

OP: Not sure, but we hope that sites like Yelp & WalletHub that have allowed reviews on financial advisors irrespective of financial gain had something to do with this. 

JC: What does this mean for consumers/investors?

OP: This represents a major breakthrough for consumers and investors. In a world where everyone relies heavily on the internet for fast-paced information, this will allow investors to react faster. Additionally, consumers/investors are now free to compare the professionals who manage our money with the same level of discernment and transparency that has long been available in other segments of the market – from hotels to restaurants and consumer electronics. In other words, the SEC is making ground breaking strides to level the playing field.

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