Color of Money: Boomerang generation: Should parents welcome them back?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Once your children launched, you thought you were free, right? They were now out of your pocketbook, and your parenting duties were done.

But for many parents, that freedom has yet to arrive. Their adult children are moving back in for financial relief.

Others boomerang feeling entitled to access their parents' resources. A ...Read more

Color of Money: Why smart women do stupid things with their money

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- On the face of it, the landscape of personal finance is a man's world.

Men's faces dominate our currency.

Men largely control Wall Street and the firms that hold and invest our money.

And when you see a commercial about financial advising, it's almost always a man giving the advice.

But James Brown was right when he sang, "This...Read more

Color of Money: Yes, you probably should get a credit freeze for your child

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Another day, another data breach.

Most recently, Quest Diagnostics, a major medical-testing company, reported that a breach may have compromised not just financial and medication information but also the Social Security numbers of nearly 12 million patients.

It's a battlefield out there, but it's important to try to keep hackers ...Read more

Color of Money: How playing blackjack proved I was a natural-born saver.

Business / The Color of Money /

EDITORS -- Michelle Singletary is taking a one-column vacation. Her next column will move Thursday, June 6, for release Sunday, June 9.

WASHINGTON -- I always wondered if I was a penny pincher because my grandmother taught me to be a saver, or because my DNA had genetic code that predisposed me to fear spending money.

Mostly, I've believed I ...Read more

Color of Money: Young adults are told to save for retirement as soon as possible. But is this the best advice?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Young adults have at least one thing working in their financial favor: time.

Older adults who are faced with delaying retirement longer than they wish often confide in me that, if they could tell their younger self one thing, it would be to start saving for retirement as soon as possible.

But the slow and tedious process of ...Read more

Color of Money: No taxes for you! Billionaire Robert F. Smith's pledge to pay off Morehouse graduates' student loans may truly be a gift.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Getting something for free in America can still end up costing you something.

Those "free" T-shirts that credit-card companies give to college students can sometimes result in high-interest rate debt for years.

The invitation for a "free" meal that includes information about managing your money in retirement is often just a sales...Read more

Color of Money: Don't keep debt around like it's a Pet Rock

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- For those too young to remember, there was once an entrepreneur who actually got more than a million consumers to pay $3.95 for a "pedigreed" Pet Rock.

Gary Ross Dahl, who created the Pet Rock in 1975, even had an instruction pamphlet for the care and training of the stone, which came in a cardboard box with air holes.

"Your PET ...Read more

Color of Money: Stop costing people money -- show some RSVP R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Event planners often warn clients about the no-shows.

Depending on the event, 10% to 20% of the people who RSVP with a "yes" may not show up to your celebration.

I remember that when I was planning my wedding, my grandmother insisted that I invite a neighbor because she didn't want bad blood on the block. I was already on a tight...Read more

Color of Money: Got a grievance against a credit bureau? Post your complaint here and you're more likely to get a response.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes it pays to complain.

This is especially true at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The watchdog agency has a complaint database that consumers can use to ask for help in resolving financial issues, such as problems with a mortgage, debt or student loan.

In fact, if you've tried to get a credit bureau to remove ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's how to develop a criminal mind to protect your personal data

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- It happened again.

Another company that I've done business with sent me a letter saying that my personal data had been compromised. An investigation found that my name, address and Social Security number had been improperly accessed. I shouted out some things not fit for print.

And, wouldn't you believe it, not long before I got ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's when giving financial support to an adult child crosses into coddling

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- As parents, my husband and I have struggled with finding the right balance between protecting our children and letting them learn things the hard way.

To raise children to become responsible adults, you have to be supportive and encouraging. You also have to set limits -- and you have to let them fail. It's through those stumbles ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's why some coupes have destination weddings

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- It never occurred to me that some couples plan destination weddings as a maneuver to eliminate potential guests.

They don't actually want you at their wedding, so they purposefully plot for it to take place at some exotic location, knowing you can't afford to come.

"A relative of mine and his fiancée know a lot of people where ...Read more

Color of Money: Stop with the destination weddings. Yes, it's your 'big' day. But it's our money and vacation time.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I won't go. Period.

I've had it with people and their weddings in destinations that require guests to fly, book a hotel room and, in many cases, also splurge on various other events associated with the celebration -- rehearsal dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties and showers.

Just stop the madness. You're getting married. ...Read more

Color of Money: Debt isn't 'Junk' anymore. It's an American treasure.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I recently saw the play "Junk," a retrospective of the 1980s, when Wall Street junk-bond kings were revered and then reviled.

It was a time when financial wunderkinds figured out how to use massive amounts of debt to go on buying sprees, leaving a path of devastation. Think of a plague of locusts swarming companies while wearing ...Read more

Color of Money: Start planning for your 2019 tax return now

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- People hate doing their taxes so much that, as soon as Tax Day is over, they want to retreat from anything related to their returns.

But now is the time to start tax planning for next year, because you have time to make any changes that may be necessary to avoid a huge tax bill.

Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax at online financial ...Read more

Color of Money: Trump promised the tax-cut bill would be a great gift to middle-income Americans. A new poll shows many taxpayers want to return it.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Tax Day is now over, and many Americans say they didn't notice the "tremendous" tax break President Trump promised.

"This is going to be one of the great gifts to the middle-income people of this country that they've ever gotten for Christmas," Trump said in December 2017, just before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed.

But ...Read more

Color of Money: Once the April 15 deadline passes, tax fraudsters go into overdrive

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Maybe your tax return is done and you've already spent your refund.

Or you might have learned you owed the IRS this year, and you're struggling to find the funds to pay your tax bill.

No matter where you stand on your taxes, one thing is certain: After the April 15 tax deadline, the scammers will show up like the folks lining up ...Read more

Color of Money: No, filing an extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Thank goodness the tax code allows for procrastination and the things in life that happen, including events that are out of your control.

You can achieve a reprieve by filling out IRS Form 4868: "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return." The extension gives you six extra months to file...Read more

Color of Money: If you're a middle-class family and can't afford the college sticker price, here's how to appeal for more financial aid

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- There's a lot of attention right now on uber-wealthy families who allegedly bribed their children's way into expensive colleges that they could easily afford -- even after six-figure payoffs.

But in many other households right now, there are parents fretting about the not-nearly-enough financial-aid packages their children have ...Read more

Color of Money: Credit card vs. debit card - Wow Air's recent shutdown highlights why one is better than the other.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- My daughter came rushing into my office last week in despair.

She has a trip planned to Ireland in June. And the return flight she'd booked back from Dublin on the Icelandic budget airline Wow Air had just been canceled -- after the company announced without warning that it had ceased operations.

She wasn't just worried about ...Read more


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