Sunday Refresh

Your Parents Are Killing You

My (Amanda’s) best summer job ever was at a nursing home…

Back in college, I spent nearly three months as an activities assistant at a nonprofit nursing and assisted-living home. Between games of bingo, art classes, and musical guests, I developed friendships with many of the residents.

Five Tips for All You Tax Procrastinators

It’s a phrase that makes most of us shudder: tax season.

The dread is real. So, it’s no wonder that many Americans procrastinate when it comes to filing their tax returns.

Three Credit Myths Your Bank Wants You to Believe

Beware bad advice…

Recently, a family member asked me (Laura) for some credit-card advice.

Hack Your Future With These Two Tricks

Last week, I (Amanda) wrote about the mistakes people make with their rollover IRA accounts.

Let’s say you’ve opened a new rollover IRA. Or maybe you opened a traditional or Roth IRA… or you just started a 401(k).

If you’re like most Americans, you’re likely nervous about how to choose your investments. Don’t worry. There are two secrets you need to know to make a solid portfolio.

First, figure out your allocation and risk tolerance.

As we discussed in our issue “Overcoming Your Biggest Character Flaw,” stocks hold the highest risk, but also offer the biggest reward. The least risky are certificates of deposit (CDs) and U.S. Treasury bills.

Depending on your age, you’ll want to pick your investments accordingly. If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you have more time to recover from potential losses, so take advantage of more stocks (and their growth). Think of a split around 90% stocks and 10% bonds or 80% and 20%. Remember, this mix changes depending on your comfort level and personal circumstances. If you’re very risk-averse, fewer stocks are a better option.

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, move more toward fixed income like bonds. By the time you’re 50, you’ll want to be at about 60% stocks and 40% bonds.

Don’t Make My 401(k) Mistake

Don’t be like me (Amanda).

About six years ago, I left a job at another publishing company. At the time, I didn’t understand much about investing or retirement planning, and foolishly thought I’d just lose my 401(k) retirement plan.

Will a Snowball or an Avalanche Help You the Most?

One of the most common questions I (Laura) get is…

What is the best way to get rid of credit-card debt?

Are You One in Eight?

Think of eight women in your life… at least one of them is likely to get breast cancer in her lifetime.

Those are terrible odds.

How to Profit From Your Health Care Plan

The average American household spends more than $800 a month on health insurance.

That number doesn’t include additional expenses like copays and deductibles. One study from the Commonwealth Fund found that the average family spends 10% of its wealth on health insurance. That’s up from 6.5% 10 years ago.

The rising costs of coverage has pushed people to choose health care plans with even higher deductibles to save on the monthly cost.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of Americans have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). But if you have a medical emergency, you could be on the line for $1,000 or more in costs before you meet your deductible.

So today, we’ll explain how to put aside money for emergencies and take advantage of a loophole that allows you to profit from your health care plan.

HDHPs are one of three main health insurance plans. The other two are health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs).

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offer local plans that focus on in-network providers. That means they have specific doctors, specialists, and hospitals they work with. They’ve worked with the insurance plan to offer reduced rates in exchange for getting more patients through the insurance company.

Welcome to the Jungle

No one taught me (Laura) about finance in school…

Unless you count the one day in eighth grade when my home economics teacher showed the class how to fill out a check.

Add This ‘Useless’ Task to Your To-Do List Now

“Why are you writing a will?”

That was the reaction when I (Laura) told my friends and family that I was writing my will.