Protect Your Parents From Frauds and Scams

Being an older person (I’m 68), I know what the real world situation is when it comes to frauds and scams. Scammers tend to prey upon the elderly. Protecting yourself from fraud and scams would be a big enough job by itself, but you also need to protect your older parents from becoming victims of con artists.

While we all can be duped, your elderly parents are at greater risk of becoming victim to frauds and scams. Here's how you can help protect them from these financial dangers.
These days, many of us no longer live near our parents, making this effort even more difficult. You may not be aware of what phone calls, emails, and letters they receive which may be luring them into financial ruin. It’s a growing problem for a number of reasons and the biggest one is that the older generation is a soft target, many with assets that are fairly accessible for everyday use from a checking or savings account. Continue reading

Tipping Guidelines – Are There Really Any Rules?

There’s a tricky subject out there that many people fear to talk about with their friends and family. No, I’m not talking about the usual controversial stuff like sex, politics, or religion here. I’m talking about the subject of tips and tipping! Believe me when I tell you it’s a subject that you deal with pretty often and it involves so many different angles for you, your family, and of course to the people with whom you are interacting, the “tippees”. So today I’m going to cover my tipping guidelines.

Tipping can be a very confusing and even controversial subject, so here, along with some tipping history, are my tipping guidelines for all sorts of situations.

I can honestly say that this is a subject that can cause friction and even arguments for some and lots of second guessing and confusion for others. I have to be honest; it has been on more than one occasion for me. If you think about it, tipping adds a chunk of expense to your experience and you want to get the most for your money when you tip. That’s why today, I’m asking out loud this question: “Are there really any rules for tipping?” Continue reading

For St. Patrick’s Day, How Green is My Money?

There’s a good chance if I say the word “green” your mind might wander to thoughts of money. The color of our money is so iconic that it has become synonymous with stacks of cash. I thought that today we might have a little fun and ponder the color green since it’s fast approaching St. Patrick’s Day 2018, March 17th, a day when green is at the forefront no matter what your ethnic background!

For St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd have some fun looking at why money is green, and checking out the color green throughout our culture.

“Greenback” Dollars

The color green has been used in federal currency dating back to 1861 and the Civil War. Before then, the Continental Congress had experimented with issuing notes called “continentals” to fund the Revolutionary War, but they were printed at such a high volume that they quickly lost their value. These new green notes were printed for a similar reason, but this time it was the Union side of the Civil War that needed financing. Continue reading

How New Metal Import Tariffs Might Cost You in the Long Run

I don’t often write about government policies that can impact your personal finances just because I am not here to write about what’s political in nature. Ok, tax reform and tax law being a major exception to that idea, but that is an essential part of our finances so I can justify it. But having said that, the news this week of the establishment of import tariffs in the U.S. has everyone in the finance world buzzing. Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water…pardon my “Jaws” reference but it does feel like there is a great white shark looming out there and it might be a bit dangerous right about now. Is a trade war looming?

The current administration has moved forward with it's promise of import tariffs on steel and aluminum, but what affect could this have on your finances? Here's a look at what could happen as a result of this new policy.

I have literally re-written this post three times this week as new information and speculation has been surfacing every day about these proposals. Finally, the executive orders have now been signed.

Where Are We Right Now?

The economy and jobs picture seems to be humming along right now, but changes are happening. The new tariffs on foreign material steel and aluminum imports are going to affect industries that employ millions of Americans. Cars, beverage and robotics manufacturing are just three of the sectors that will be affected. Continue reading

So, Did Anything Good Happen to You This Week?

Once again it’s the start of a new week. It’s Sunday right now and for me at least it feels like it’s definitely an opportunity to start out fresh and clean and leave last week’s chaos behind us. I hope that my faith in that will be rewarded. It just seems that all that goes on such as the chaos in Washington, on Wall Street, and even just on Main Street right here in town leaps out at us all. But somewhere along the way I keep thinking that something good must be happening out there! Usually I ask that question in a different way. It’s usually, “Tell me something good that happened this week.” But what I really want to know is if anything good happened to you this week…your own personal good news.

Bad news and chaos seem to rule the headlines, but today I'm interested in good news. I'm sharing the story of my frugal shopping win, and I'd love to hear your good news of the week.

The good things seem to just come and go, often without being recognized and truly appreciated. We have to recognize the bad things because they are right in our faces and must be dealt with, but the good things just add quality to our lives in some simple way and sometimes we expect that to be part of the norm and we may even take them for granted. It’s only when life gets disrupted by the bad that we sit up and take notice. Continue reading

These 14 Things Will Cost More in 2018

Your budget won’t like this, but there are a number of goods and services you can expect to be more expensive in 2018. Giving you a heads up can make your planning a little easier and certainly keep you sharp when looking to buy. This list is meant to do just that. Here’s what you can expect in 2018.

It seems like prices are always going up, but for these 14 items, you're sure to see a price increase in 2018. Adjust your budget and plan ahead for success.

14 Things Where You’ll See a Price Increase in 2018

1. New Phones

Smartphone prices have already started to rise. The latest iPhone model jumped to a whopping $999 and the Google Pixel 2 XL launched at $849. That means that some of us are now spending almost a solid grand on a phone (granted, they take some pretty amazing photos). It’s a trend that seems to run opposite from other tech products that usually get better and cheaper as they become more common. While there are always some good deals around, they are getting harder to find as phones are getting better but more expensive, and you can expect this trend to continue. Continue reading

My Holiday Wishes for a “Super” Year Ahead!

The holidays have once again sneaked up on us and this year I’ve decided to diverge from the usual financial topics to write about something closer to the heart, revisiting what I wrote last year. For me, that is taking some time out to appreciate what I have in my life and to think about something really important: gratitude and kindness.

As we approach Christmas, I am sharing my message of holiday wishes. May you and yours have a happy holiday season, and I'll be back after the new year.

The holiday season tends to fly by in a rush each year, and then suddenly, before you can say “hot cocoa”, the holidays are here and then so quickly gone! It is true that your holiday traditions and holiday moments can slow things down a little bit, and so can moments of gratitude and kindness to friends and strangers. But overall, the holiday season moves way too quickly and in a flash, the winter doldrums takes its place. Continue reading

Double Trouble: The Stock Market Bubble and Carbon Bubble

Financially speaking, 2017 has been a very profitable year for many, especially those individuals who have a stake in the stock market and those businesses that have made huge gains as well. Just ask our leaders about that and you’ll probably hear over and over how great our economy is performing, “record levels like no one has ever seen before” to coin a phrase.

Facing 2018, we are headed for danger if the stock market bubble and carbon bubble burst together. Here's what may lie ahead for investors.

But, 2017 has been a year also marked and marred by unexpected events, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks and all kinds of political and social upheaval. It seems 2018 will likely prove to be no different, but the least we can do is examine our own expectations for the year to come, so we know where we may be in for some really unpleasant surprises. One such surprise might just be a burst in the stock market bubble and the carbon bubble that might spell double trouble. Continue reading

17 Weird and Wacky Ways to Save Over $7,000 A Year

When times are tight, and that seems to be just about all of the time these days, it’s important to search for ways to stretch your dollars. While everyone seems to know the obvious money-saving strategies, like clipping coupons or online shopping instead of spending extra for gas and driving everywhere, there are plenty of other options to cut your costs. Some of you may have heard some ideas whispered in a back room at the office, but you may have never even imagined that people spend a lot of their time looking for new and even extreme ways to save their money!

As prices go up and incomes rise slowly, it's time to look toward weird and wacky ways to save money to help balance your budget. Here are 17 ideas for you.

Don’t be afraid. If you are really serious about saving money, you can get pretty creative with your saving strategies. Those willing to think outside the box can save some serious cash. If you’re willing to do just about anything it takes to add some extra room into your budget, try these 17 crazy, weird, and even extreme ways to save money and cut your expenses! Continue reading

Join Me in the Spirit of Giving Back This Thanksgiving

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” – Arthur Ashe

Thanksgiving is just two days away, and many of us are focused on two things: preparing for Thanksgiving dinner and the shopping onslaught that begins after that. But not all of us get to do that. Some of our neighbors won’t have a turkey and all the trimmings. Some will be struggling to feed their family at all.

As Thanksgiving approaches, giving back is even more important. Join my Virtual Holiday Food Drive to support the food bank or try one of these other ways.

At this time of year, when it is so important to give thanks for what we have, I’ve decided to hold a Virtual Holiday Food Drive for the local food bank. For those of you who are able, I’d like to ask you to share what you have and donate what you can. Continue reading