Seven Ways to Keep Your Data Safe Online

Hacker in front of a computer with information security terms relating to cybersecurityIdentity theft and cyber fraud are becoming increasingly prevalent.  Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim. 1. Establish strong passwords The best practice is to use a longer passphrase that incorporates numbers rather than a single word (e.g.,...
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Worried About Investing at a Peak?

As stock markets climb to all-time highs, many investors with cash on the sidelines have been asking themselves – is now really a good time to invest?  Aren’t we at another market peak? Well, let’s just say hypothetically that we are at a market peak – and flashback to October 2007. Almost a decade ago, the S&P 500 was trading at an all-time high, just over 1800. Equity valuations were still humming along as the underlying fundamentals of the housing market were eroding right under our feet. The financial crisis took hold in 2008, first Bear Stearns collapsed, followed by Lehman Brothers...
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Assisting Aging Parents

caring for aging parentCaring for aging parents is an increasingly common responsibility, even for those who still have young children at home.  Nearly ten million adult children (over age 50) are currently taking care of an aging parent, according to Metlife. For many people, it’s an important concern, but planning for it can make things easier once the need arises.  Fortunately, there are plenty of...
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Shockingly Low Percentage of Americans Confident About Their Future Retirement

senior man leaning back in chair thinking about retirement savingsAre you very confident that you will end up enjoying a comfortable retirement? If so, you’re in the minority. Only 18% of Americans are very confident about their future retirement prospects. This grim statistic comes from the longest-running national retirement confidence survey, which is published annually by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In the 2017 survey,...
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How Lifestyle Inflation is Affecting Your Savings

You may have heard the phrase “lifestyle inflation,” or seen articles about families making well over six figure incomes and still living paycheck to paycheck.  This phenomenon is also known as “lifestyle creep” and refers to the tendency to let spending rise as income rises. In college and sometimes just after college, without much income, Americans often live with roommates and have secondhand or “assemble-your-own” furniture.  There might not be a car, or if there is one, it’s an old and secondhand. There isn’t much money to spend, so you optimize what you have. Then comes the first “real...
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Financial Aid Calculator: Do You Earn Too Much to Qualify?

mini graduation cap on rolled up cashWhen identifying affordable colleges, your first step should be to determine your Expected Family Contribution.       An EFC is a dollar amount that the widely-used federal financial aid formula says your family should be able to pay for one year of college. When deciding how much financial aid to award a student, colleges pay attention to the applicant’s EFC. For instance,...
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5 Ways Grandparents Can Avoid Hurting Financial Aid Chances

girl graduate with grandmotherIt’s always wonderful when grandparents can help with college costs, but they have to be careful to avoid hurting their grandchildren’s chances for financial aid. Here are five things that grandparents (or other relatives and friends) should be aware of when helping to pay for college. 1. If the student won't qualify for need-based aid, there’s no issue. If...
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Financial Planning at Fifty

“In fact, looking back, it seems to me that I was clueless until I was about 50 years old.” – Nora Ephron The Internet may abound with articles about “Top 40 professionals under 40” or even “Top 30 under 30”, but we still recognize that age can bring wisdom. There are many well-known scientists and artists whose major achievements occurred at age 50 or later. For example, at 50, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which revolutionized biology. Likewise, Julia Child was 50 when her first cookbook came out and Betty White became famous when she joined The Mary Tyler Moore Show at...
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15 Ways to Cut Your Vacation Costs

piggy bank at the beachAre you ready for the summer vacation season? Part of preparing for a vacation is knowing how to save money on your travel. Here are 15 ideas to get you started: 1. Consider a travel-related credit card. If you need a credit card, consider airline cards that offer tens of thousands of miles as a sign-up bonus. You may also want to consider a reward credit card that lets you earn points that can be transferred to...
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Best Practices for Online Security

secure computerTechnology is always evolving, and keeping up with security advice can be confusing. The guidance on securing your digital world can appear complex and overwhelming. While the details of how to stay secure may change over time, there are fundamental things you can always do to protect yourself.  Secure You Keep in mind that technology alone will never fully protect you. Criminals know that the easiest way to...
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