Color of Money: Don't just offer to help, actually give assistance to a caregiver this holiday season

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- The holidays open our hearts in ways no other time of the year does. We generously give our time and money to the poor and others in need.

But there are 40 million family caregivers who also need your help. These are the women and men caring for loved ones who can no longer do some of their own basic daily life activities, such as...Read more

Color of Money: Michelle Obama is right. We can't have it all.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I've never liked the "lean in" movement.

And now I can say that out loud since former first lady Michelle Obama recently spoke some real truth during her promotional tour for her new book "Becoming."

At a Brooklyn appearance last weekend to promote her book, "Becoming," Obama talked about her marriage, motherhood, work and ...Read more

Color of Money: Many people pay a high price to be an unpaid caregiver

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- We talk about the joys of caregiving, but it can take an emotional and financial toll on even the most loving person.

In September, I fell and fractured my right foot in two places. I'm mobile now, but for a few weeks I couldn't do much for myself. It was torture lying there waiting for help. It was a preview of what it might be ...Read more

Color of Money: There's a looming long-term care crisis. Will you be prepared for the help you'll need?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- We often talk about the significant cost of long-term care, but there's something else to consider.

Live long enough -- and many of us will see our 90s -- and you're likely to need help with such basic activities as eating, dressing and bathing.

The cost of this care could decimate your retirement savings. The annual median cost ...Read more

Color of Money: 'Tis the season for proposals. And no, the bride's parents aren't obligated to pay for the wedding.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Here's a mantra to live by: Do what you can afford.

Of course, that's easier said than done -- especially where your children are concerned and particularly when it comes to weddings.

There are so many emotions wrapped up in wedding planning that affordability can get tossed aside like a garter at the reception.

Such was the ...Read more

Color of Money: Why banning students from wearing designer coats won't prevent 'poverty shaming'

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I remember it like it was yesterday.

My grandmother Big Mama couldn't afford to purchase the five grandchildren she had rescued from being placed in foster care the popular sneakers at the time. The Jack Purcell canvas athletic shoes were the Air Jordans of their day.

All Big Mama could afford was knockoff shoes that sold for $1....Read more

Color of Money: Even machines are discriminating against black and Latino homebuyers.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- When will discrimination die?

I keep hoping there will come a time when the color of my skin doesn't dictate how I'm treated -- especially as I shop for loans.

But that day has yet to come. Once when I was buying a car, I asked the salesman to give me a quote on the interest rate were I to take the dealer's financing.

At the ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's how to be far richer than a millionaire

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I used to watch the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and dream of answering that final trivia question to win my way into a world of wealth.

But the reality is I can barely remember where I last put my eyeglasses, so I doubt I could recall enough trivia to win $1 million.

Luckily, you don't have to win on a game show or ...Read more

Color of Money: How a grandparent-owned 529 account affects need-based financial aid

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- The cost of college has risen so high that many families are relying on two generations to help cover expenses.

There are the parents, who are increasingly saving in 529 college-savings plans, where earnings are tax-free if used for qualified educational expenses. Then there are the grandparents, who are joining in the mission to ...Read more

Color of Money: You, too, can join the 401(k) millionaire's club

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- It can be done.

The "it" in this case is saving enough in your workplace retirement plan to have a seven-digit account balance. You too, with enough time and consistency, can join the 401(k) millionaire's club.

Fidelity Investments reported that for the third quarter of 2018, the number of people with $1 million or more in the ...Read more

Color of Money: Which states have gold-rated 529 plans? Morningstar ranks the best and worst in class.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- It's only fitting that the savings plan that helps families pay for college gets graded itself on how well it performs for investors.

Morningstar recently released its 2018 rankings of the best and worst 529 college-savings plans, and the report cards revealed vast differences in the quality of the programs. In all, the financial ...Read more

Color of Money: Should you start saving for college even before your child is born?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Next to buying a home, paying for college has become the largest investment for many families.

One of the best ways to save for college is in a 529 savings plan, which allows your money to grow tax-free. And if the funds are used for qualified educational expenses, earnings are not taxed at the federal and, in most cases, state ...Read more

Color of Money: Gift cards are the No. 1 preferred payment demanded by 'imposter' scammers

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Cash is not king when it comes to the latest round of scams.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to consumers that criminals are posing as government officials and asking people to use a gift card to pay a bogus tax bill or get a new Medicare card.

This type of crime is adding up to big bucks. The FTC said victims ...Read more

Color of Money: You didn't win the Mega Millions? Good. Here are three reasons why playing the lottery is bad for you.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- The likelihood of winning the lottery is so astronomically low that it's preposterous to even play.

And yet, as the jackpot for the Mega Millions hit an incredible $1.6 billion, out came the dreams of a payday that will solve everything. You no longer would have to worry about paying your mortgage or saving for retirement or ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's one way to reduce the cost of college

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I frequently find myself in conversations with parents who believe they have little to no obligation to pay the entire cost of college for their children.

I'm not talking about people who are just getting by financially and can barely pay for basic needs. I hear this from parents who could save if they started early enough, but ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's a reality check - The odds of your child getting a full ride to college are pretty low.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- As the deadlines for early college admission get closer, many parents dream of big scholarships for their star athletes or academically gifted students.

They argue that they didn't need to save. Instead, they shuttled -- or dragged -- their children to sports practices, hoping all that time on courts or fields would pay off in big...Read more

Color of Money: Wharton finance professor says to put stock-market plunges in perspective

Business / The Color of Money /

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Dow Jones industrial average was in free fall this past Wednesday, I was at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School listening to finance professor Jeremy Siegel talk about what went wrong in the last financial crisis.

Behind Siegel, on a split screen, were his lecture notes and real-time stock market data. Red ...Read more

Color of Money: Should adult children bail out financially reckless parents?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- There comes a time when roles reverse between parent and child.

The adult child becomes the caregiver, and the parent becomes a dependent. And navigating this role reversal can be emotionally and financially draining. With so many people unprepared for retirement, adult children increasingly have had to step in to fill the ...Read more

Color of Money: The average 529 college savings account hits a record high. But it's still not enough.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- The cost of college just keeps climbing, so it's never too early to start planning for how you will pay for it.

And if you think your highly gifted student athlete or academic prodigy will win a full ride so you don't have to save, you should know that the odds are not in your favor. Sure, there is a lot of private and school-...Read more

Color of Money: How I lost my perfect 850 credit score -- and, how I got it back

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- There is such a love-hate relationship with credit scores.

If you've got a high score, you feel pretty good about yourself. It's seen as a sign that you're an excellent money manager.

But if you're credit-challenged, you likely hate the score, which lenders use to help measure the riskiness of borrowers.

There are a number of ...Read more


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