Color of Money: Stay woke or we'll have another financial crisis

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Young adults have a saying that I think applies to a banking bill now in Congress that would roll back consumer protection gains won after the Great Recession.

We've got to "stay woke."

It's so easy to become complacent when times get better. In my experience, I find it harder for folks to save when they have more money. That's ...Read more

Color of Money: IRS says it has refunds worth $1.1 billion just waiting to be claimed

Business / The Color of Money /

This is the giving season.

The IRS took your money and now it's time to give it back. People are positively giddy about getting a tax refund. Often, refunds are the result of over-withholding, meaning you gave the federal government more money than you owed.

By law, taxpayers have just three years to claim a refund. So, this April 17th is the ...Read more

Color of Money: Should I rent or buy a home? That's not the only question you should be asking.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I purchased my first home in my early 20s.

Honestly, it wasn't because I had done a lot of research into why homeownership was right for me. It was more to avoid having to move back in with my grandmother Big Mama.

I was living in an apartment and quite satisfied with renting. If something broke, I could call the landlord to get ...Read more

Color of Money: When a $4,000 dress is a symbol of frugality

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- My new favorite comedian is Tiffany Haddish. She's a penny-pinching heroine.

Don't know her? You will.

Haddish was the breakout star in last year's comedy box-office hit "Girl's Trip." Offscreen, Haddish -- who grew up in foster care and is now socializing with such big-time uber wealthy actors and actresses as Will and Jada ...Read more

Color of Money: It's not fun to do a 'paycheck checkup' -- but do it anyway

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Change is hard, so can I put on my parent hat?

As you may know, Congress passed some major tax legislation at the end of last year. Actually, it turns out that 26 percent of Americans don't know this, and about half haven't heard that income-tax brackets are changing under the new rules as well, according to a recent survey...Read more

Color of Money: Setting up an IRS online account is well worth your while

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- In today's world, we all have to play defense when it comes to our financial data.

We all need long computer passwords, anti-virus software and passcodes for our phones -- and we could really use an identity-theft prevention class.

You also have to get used to watching your online accounts. I have so many automatic alerts beeping...Read more

Color of Money: Same old tax scam, but with a new troubling twist

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- We know they are out there.

They are the criminals who call and claim that you'll be arrested if you don't pay up on an old tax debt that you don't actually owe. But the official-sounding calls can be scary.

My 17-year-old daughter got such a call recently on her cell phone -- and she doesn't even pay income taxes. She suspected ...Read more

Color of Money: How much should you be saving?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I love hearing from my readers about their financial conundrums, and this month their questions included everything from how much they should save each year to how they can best donate to the victims of the Florida high school shootings. Here are my suggestions for the best way to handle their money.

Q: In light of this latest ...Read more

Color of Money: Four myths about black wealth

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Blacks know how to make money.

In fact, even during times when black folks were just a parent or grandparent removed from slavery, there were black millionaires.

Right here I want to make a qualifier: The average net worth of black households is concerning -- and indicative of the disturbing wealth gap in America.

As a Pew ...Read more

Color of Money: Check your paycheck -- you might be getting too much money

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- With the new tax law comes a home assignment.

Remember that small form you filled when you got your current job? It's IRS Form W-4. This is the form that your employer uses to withhold federal income tax from your pay.

As a wage earner, you are required to pay federal income tax by having it withheld from your paycheck throughout...Read more

Color of Money: Four lessons from the stock market if you're looking for love

Business / The Color of Money /

There's a lot that couples can learn from the turbulence we're seeing in the stock market.

Investors, like couples in love, can get lulled into such a blissful state that they forget that the honeymoon doesn't last forever. After a long bull market, investors are reawakening to the reality that markets can fall -- and fast.

I was thinking ...Read more

Color of Money: I feel you about the stock market swings

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I don't come from money. Not even close.

So, when I hovered my computer mouse over the link to view my 401(k) account late Monday, I took a pause, my heart fluttering. It was another day of deep stock market declines.

What would I find? How bad of a hit did my retirement portfolio take? I'm not going to lie: I said a quick prayer...Read more

Color of Money: Love and Money - Coping in a marriage with your financial opposite

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- A dating couple recently asked my husband and me, "What's the secret to a good marriage?"

My husband said, "Don't let your wife see you drink from the orange-juice carton."

We all laughed -- and then came the serious answer.

For us, the secret is shared values, and this is particularly true when it comes to money.

This doesn't ...Read more

Color of Money: Stop charging me to attend your celebrations -- #guestsdontpay

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I don't mean any harm, but I am not paying to attend your parties anymore.

I want to commemorate your life moments -- your birthday, engagement, bridal shower, baby shower, anniversary or retirement. But if you can't afford to host, stop charging me for your celebration.

Too many times, I've shown up for an event and been told ...Read more

Color of Money: The trend for seniors' health care costs will make you sick to your stomach

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- New analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that out-of-pocket heath care costs for Medicare beneficiaries are likely to take up half of their average Social Security income by 2030.

As many seniors already know, Medicare does not cover an increasing amount of expenses related to health care. Among these are ...Read more

Color of Money: Bitcoin investing is sexy. But is the risk worth the thrill?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Even as the stock market continues to soar, investors are looking for the next great thing that will transform them into the millionaire next door.

Many believe bitcoin is that thing. They like the thrill of a new payment system taking hold. So, despite cautions from regulators and investment advisers, people are rushing in hoping...Read more

Color of Money: Want to save more money? Try these three financial fasts

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- At the beginning of the year, a lot of folks try to figure out what to do to become better money managers.

But as the good book says, their spirit is willing, but their flesh is weak. Meaning they want to change but can't overcome a lot of the things that torpedo their good intentions.

You want to stop overspending but the call ...Read more

Color of Money: Are you facing a loss of income? Here are four moves you need to make now.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Would you be able to survive financially if you suddenly found yourself out of work?

This is a question many people are asking themselves in the new year as they face job losses in both the private and public sectors.

For example, when we hear about a looming government shutdown, we usually think of the legions of federal ...Read more

Color of Money: Make sure you don't miss the memo for financial freedom

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Have you ever felt like you didn't get the memo?

I'm talking about a life instruction sheet that lays out what you should do to get ahead, especially economically.

On Jan. 15, we celebrate the work of Martin Luther King Jr., a Civil Rights icon, who fought and died for the less fortunate. When King was killed, he was in Memphis, ...Read more

Color of Money: The great Social Security benefits debate - Take it early or wait?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- A large part of retirement planning involves guesswork.

And I, for one, am stressed about whether I'm guessing right.

Take Social Security. Experts advise waiting as long as possible, until 70 if you can, to start collecting your benefits. Do this and you'll get more money. This choice makes sense if you guess correctly and live ...Read more


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