Personal Finance «

    Your Parents Think You Stink at Managing Your Money

    No matter how old you are, you can always count on mom and dad to let you know when you’re doing something wrong. A recent study from Fidelity tapped into that sentiment, asking parents how they think their adult children are doing at handling their finances. As you might expect, parents didn’t hold back with their criticism: •42 percent of parents said that their adult children have too much credit card debt. •38 percent cited their kids’ failure to save for retirement early enough. •36 percent of parents listed not having a big enough emergency fund as a major financial error of their offspring. Perhaps surprisingly, adult children were less likely to find fault in their parents’ financial behavior. Almost half of those surveyed said that their parents hadn’t made...


    Americans Better About Paying Credit-Card Debt in 1Q

    LOS ANGELES — Americans got better about paying their credit card debt on time in the first three months of the year, a period when many borrowers use income tax returns to tackle their holiday season debt. The rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue fell to 0.69 percent in the first quarter from 0.85 percent a year earlier — drop of nearly 19 percent, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday. The January-March card delinquency rate was also down from 0.73 in the October-December quarter, when many consumers ramped up credit use to finance holiday season purchases. Neither a 2 percent hike in Social Security payroll taxes that took effect in January, nor delayed federal income tax returns this year appeared to blunt borrowers’ ability to manage their debt. While...


    My Kid’s Drowning in Credit Card Debt! What Do I Do?

    If you trusted your son or daughter to keep track of their finances, and they slipped up, what in the world are you supposed to do? Let’s say they’ve racked up a big, nasty credit card debt — to the tune of thousands of dollars. Should you pay off their debts to help keep their credit score above water? Or is it better to let them learn from their mistakes and suffer the consequences? Though each individual situation is different, here are your options, what’s at stake, and a few pointers to help you plot your course of action. A Personal Loan, With a Contract If you have the means, think about whether or not you want to loan your daughter the money. Sometimes her debt is manageable enough that you can pay it off in the form of a personal loan to your daughter. You can charge...


    Why I Lie to My Parents About How Much Money I Make

    In LearnVest’s Money Mic series, they hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. Today, one 32-year-old woman — who for obvious reasons, prefers not to publish her name — tells us how she went into five-figure credit card debt by footing the bill for her parents’ expenses and why she now lies to them about her $70,000-a-year salary so she doesn’t have to continue to bail them out. I love my parents dearly and will always be grateful for the love they’ve shown me. That’s why lying to them about how much money I make — and resisting the urge to bail them out of the financial messes they continually find themselves in — is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. When I was growing up, I wasn’t really aware...


    When It Comes to Money, Millennials Bow to Peer Pressure

    Peer pressure lives on after high school, at least for millennials, those Americans currently ages 25 to 34. A new study from the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council shows that 78 percent of millennials base the way they handle their own money on their friends’ financial habits. The national survey, a launching pad for a new series of public service announcements called “Feed the Pig” that aims to get younger adults thinking about their future financial security, found widespread dependence on friends and family. Far more than half (61 percent) still need money from their parents or other family members to make ends meet. They also rely on their friends for direction on lifestyle decisions: •66 percent of those polled say they want to keep pace with their peers on where...


    10 Surprising Stats About the 2013 Holiday Shopping Season

    Ah, the holiday retail season, when most of us scurry around, shopping for gifts for loved ones, and trying to take advantage of the best sales we can find. You’ve been here before: You know the score. Or do you? Here are a few interesting details you may not know about this year’s winter spending dash. •About one quarter of Americans surveyed recently said that they never miss or usually visit at least one store on Black Friday. •Apparently some Black Friday participants from seasons past stayed home this year, though, or maybe they just bought less, as the total take for the weekend, per the National Retail Federation, was down by $1.7 billion, or 3 percent. •If 3 percent doesn’t seem too meaningful, consider this: The holiday season accounts for between 20 percent and 40 percent...


    5 New Year’s Reality Checks for Your Health and Wealth

    For many people, a new year represents an opportunity to dedicate time and energy to getting physically fit. For others, the prime focus of their self-improvement efforts will be their finances. And Ellie Kay and Danna Demetre, co-authors of “Lean Body, Fat Wallet,” say the principles and habits that can help you lose weight and gain a healthier body are the same as the ones that could lead you to financial security. Here are five reality checks to help you identify your financial problem areas and tackle them head-on in 2014. 1. Try on your fiscal “bathing suit,” and shine a bright light on your full credit picture. Demetre says a great reality check before you indulge in a high-calorie treat is to try on your bathing suit and decide if you’re where you want to be with...


    Does it pay to airbrush your holiday photos?

    One of this past year’s most often-overheard phrases “Don’t tag me in that photo!” (usually uttered by someone looking harried by a cellphone-weilding Facebook fanatic) may soon give way to something along the lines of “Don’t tag me — until you airbrush out my flaws.” Generation Facebook will always be forever young, thanks to a raft of new apps and built-in beauty filters on cameras that make the years melt away. Once reserved for celebrity magazine covers, airbrushing tools are of course now instantly available to everyone. Jeff Adelson Enlarge Image Jon-Marc McDonald’s before and after, from the Line Camera app. Adobe Photoshop once charged hundreds of dollars for its software; it now charges $9.99 per month — a special discount until Dec. 31. It must compete with a slew...


    Employer spying: Shrieks in France, shrugs in U.S.

    Last month, French prosecutors placed the local subsidiary of Ikea and two of its top employees — France CEO Stefan Vanoverbeke and CFO Dariusz Rychert — under formal investigation amid allegations that the company’s human resources department gained access to private police records of potential and current employees. In fact, Swedish furniture giant expressed “regret” in 2012 after claims that it checked the judicial records and backgrounds of over 200 people. “We have ascertained that there have been some practices at Ikea France that are not up to our values or ethical standards,” Vanoverbeke said. “These practices are intolerable and unacceptable and I sincerely regret them.” (Ikea did not respond to requests for comment.) But while some of the practices Ikea allegedly used are...


    Once Fired, Now A Founder: How a Tech Leader Rebuilt His Career

    As chief technology officer at Kayak, the travel booking website he co-founded in 2004, Paul English sometimes finds himself interviewing job candidates who have been fired from their previous job. English can relate. A story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal examines the fast and frequent firing that can mark life at a startup company. In 1996, English was let go from a Cambridge, Mass., technology company called NetCentric Corp. The experience shaped his career, he said, leading him back to his roots as a coder and eventually prompting him to start his own business, which he sold for millions of dollars. He’s even now friends with the manager who fired him. So it all turned out fine. But English still remembers the devastation he felt when he was fired. He’d been a vice-president for a year, and...