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Money Talk articles from Joel Dresang

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Look (and scrutinize) before you leap

Scrutinizing is important, but sitting on your hands is more the point.

Gender gaps in financial literacy

Even with a greater role in family finances, women collectively have shown less confidence and lower scores in financial literacy.

Retirement: Thinking about spending

“Retirement is the most expensive purchase you’re ever going to make. It makes sense to figure out what it’s really going to cost.” …

Putting housing in its place

Housing economists at Harvard estimate that home equity makes up 42% of the median net wealth of Americans 50 and older. “Having housing equity be the primary source of net wealth poses risks for older homeowners,” they note. …

8 steps to better widowhood

“Of all the factors associated with poverty in old age, the most critical is to be a woman without a husband.” …

Securing elder finances

Various reports call elder financial abuse “an epidemic” and “the crime of the 21st century.” Like most personal financial crimes, though, these can be prevented through common sense and vigilance. …

 

Advancing age, declining capacity

Our accumulated knowledge and familiarity with finances can help offset some of the declines, but typically our abilities to process information and to reason start going downhill about the time we are ready to retire. That raises concerns in a retirement system increasingly relying on individuals to make their own decisions. …

When it’s time to retire

It’s not a scientific study, but my chance survey of classmates supports what I have surmised about planning for retirement: Most of us don’t. Most of us stumble along. Then at some point, we look up and realize that we are approaching some sort of finish line – or it is approaching us – and we’re not sure what to do once we’re past it. …

Not my father’s retirement

Researchers show how unprepared workers are, even for their own expectations. But some of their findings suggest how to be more successful in providing for our retirements. …

Freeze: Chilling effect on ID theft

The good news – especially if you have been the victim of ID theft or are afraid of being one – is there’s a relatively simple alternative to hiring a credit monitoring company: Freezing your credit.

For nominal one-time fees to the three credit reporting bureaus, you can make it discouragingly difficult for an ID thief to apply for credit in your name. Lenders check with the bureaus before issuing credit. So by telling the bureaus to withhold your information from any new inquiries, you can deter would-be ID crooks. …

Cleaning up after identity theft

The Amazon.com bill I got in the mail totaled $2,838 for three robotic vacuum cleaners. The problem was they weren’t mine.

My identity was stolen. I didn’t order those vacuum cleaners. I don’t even have an Amazon card. Someone assuming my identity opened a card in my name. Someone who now has criminally clean floors. And I’m left to clean up the mess. …

Crash test dummies

When I covered the market crash in 1987, I was reporting at an afternoon newspaper in upstate New York that published five days a week. That paper since has been swallowed into its morning rival, which now reports around the clock through updates on its own websites as well as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and more.

The point is that the news media are exceedingly harder to avoid, and they have an undue negative influence on investors’ expectations, which could harm behavior. …

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Joel Dresang is vice president-communications at Landaas & Company.
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