The Savings Game

  • Family vacation doesn't have to break the bank

    Family vacation doesn't have to break the bank

    When my husband and I were honeymooners backpacking around Asia, we started a tradition that continues to this day: the snack bag. A little drawstring, waterproof sack carried nuts, dried fruits, crackers and any exotic nibble we came across along the way. It was amusing to reach into that pack...

  • The financial rewards of clearing out clutter

    The financial rewards of clearing out clutter

    The Boston Globe reported recently on an emotional and practical dilemma facing baby boomers. Their parents are passing away, they are downsizing and their children don’t have much interest in antiques, heirlooms or other memorabilia. The problem is so acute, the Globe reported, that “senior move...

  • How's your retirement literacy?

    How's your retirement literacy?

    The American College of Financial Services conducted an online survey to assess retirement literacy among those near or in retirement. Respondents were between ages 60 and 75 with at least $100,000 in household assets, not including their primary residence. The participants, representing a cross-section...

  • Don't lose your head during home renovation

    Don't lose your head during home renovation

    My husband and I are in the process of buying a 100-year-old house. We’re facing the first big renovation project of our lives. It’s exciting but also incredibly nerve-wracking. One of the hardest parts about budgeting for a home renovation is figuring out how to think about the cost. Is it a short-...

  • Make a plan for prosperous retirement

    Make a plan for prosperous retirement

    For many Americans, the difference between a secure retirement and an uncertain one comes down to how well they plan. Here are some major factors that will affect your well-being in retirement: How much you will spend The first consideration of retirement planning is estimating what your expenses...

  • Don't forget digital assets in estate plan

    Don't forget digital assets in estate plan

    By now, most regular readers of this column are aware of the need to make an estate plan to minimize the difficulty of conveying their financial assets and physical property after death. But what about digital assets? These are the online accounts in your name that may include files such as images,...

  • New IRS policy makes tax scams harder to avoid

    New IRS policy makes tax scams harder to avoid

    By now, most readers have heard about fraud perpetrated by criminals posing as IRS agents. Scammers have reached people by telephone, email and even video relay, a service for the deaf and hard of hearing. These types of scams are becoming more common and more sophisticated. The IRS saw an approximate...

  • Don't fiddle with our 401(k)s

    Don't fiddle with our 401(k)s

    I wrote letters to my congressional representatives this month, and I hope you will too after reading this column. I wrote to implore them not to fiddle with how 401(k) contributions are taxed. I was inspired to write my representative and senators by reports that Congress was looking at ways to...

  • Older Americans facing serious debt

    Older Americans facing serious debt

    Older Americans are shouldering far more of the nation's debt than in years past. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released numbers showing that the share of all household debt held by people age 60 and older has nearly doubled, from 12.6 percent in 2003 to 22.5 percent in 2016. Their...

  • Margin accounts aren't for the cautious investor

    Margin accounts aren't for the cautious investor

    If you own a home, you likely understand the advantage of investing with leverage. For example, suppose you make a down payment of 10 percent on a $200,000 home. A year later, you sell the home for $220,000. If you borrowed $180,000 at 5 percent interest, your net profit would be $11,000 ($220,000...

  • Spend that tax refund responsibly

    Spend that tax refund responsibly

    You likely already have your tax refund in hand. The IRS reports that eight out of 10 Americans can expect a refund this year, and over the past few years the average individual refund amount has been more than $3,000. Most refunds are received within three weeks of filing. But unless you qualified...

  • Planning for a rapidly changing future

    Planning for a rapidly changing future

    Much of personal finance writing is about helping people plan for the future. But what if the economy of the future, and all aspects of life that depend on it, is going to be fundamentally altered by technological change? How do you plan for that? Best-selling author Ric Edelman addresses this...

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