Beware of a New Scam Involving “Relatives” & Gift Cards

(This post was originally published on CBS’ Money Watch Blog and was written by Aimee Picchi.   The article was published on April 20, 2017.  Find the original blog here. Follow CBS MoneyWatch  & Aimee Picchi on Twitter.) In a new twist on an old phone scam, criminals are preying on family ties by asking people to buy gift cards to help relatives they falsely claim are in trouble. Criminals call victims and pose as relatives who urgently need money, according to an alert from New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Instead of asking… [read more]
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How to Avoid Running an Illegal Casino in Your Home

College Admissions Counselor: “You don’t have enough money.” Father of incoming Freshman daughter, Alex: “It says right here we have $401,000. You missed it!” Mother of Alex: “Jackpot!” Counselor: “Uh, that says you have a 401k account.” Later at home Mother: “Alex thinks we can afford tuition and we can’t.  What are we going to do?” Father: “We’ve got to lie.  That’s what parents do.  Because otherwise the kids are going to realize that we don’t know what we’re doing!” These few exchanges give the basis for the plot of the soon to be… [read more]
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The Uncertainty Paradox

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’  Issue Briefs blog dated May 1, 2017. Dimensional Fund Advisors is a global investment manager dedicated to implementing the great ideas in finance by applying academic research to practical investing.)    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one. —Voltaire “The market hates uncertainty” has been a common enough saying in recent years, but how logical is it? There are many different aspects to uncertainty, some that can be measured and some that cannot. Uncertainty is an unchangeable condition of existence. As individuals, we can feel more or… [read more]
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Doing Nothing is Hard

In my last blog, I talked about the challenge I had booking a vacation because of its cost and my nerves around spending the money.  Well, I’m happy to report that I booked that vacation and am just returning from a glorious week in the Turks & Caicos.  Worth every penny! But boy, did I pick a heck of a week to be gone.  In a mere 7 days, our 45th President was inaugurated, millions of men and women around the world marched in protest and the Dow Jones broke the 20,000 mark… [read more]
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Chasing the Trade Winds

When I was a little girl, summer began with strawberries and ended with pumpkins.  In between we plowed dirt, planted vegetables and pulled weeds on our small farm.  Work began in the morning when dew was still on the strawberries, and ended when we could no longer use the tractor headlights to see what we were doing. Mom and Dad were school teachers, and the money we made from selling tomatoes to Frisch’s and strawberries at the roadside stand paid for piano lessons, a Shasta trailer, and savings for college.  We worked hard, but… [read more]
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A Look Back at 2016

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Down to the Wire blog by Weston Wellington dated 1/13/2017. Weston is a Vice President with DFA, helping to lead the firm’s market research.  He works closely with financial advisors all over the world in helping them to understand DFA’s approach to investment success.)    Every year brings its share of surprises. But how many of us could have imagined that 2016 would see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, Bob Dylan receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Donald Trump elected president, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average close out the… [read more]
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Under the Influence

Every day we are deluged with messages and memes through cable and the internet.  These messages can influence us in ways we may not realize, and the source of the information may not be what we assume. If you are a Facebook user, the news feed content you’re being sent each day arrives through algorithmic adjustments, and according to Facebook is “designed to show you stories most relevant to you,” and ranks the stories “so that what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their news feeds.”  Many of these news feeds… [read more]
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It’s a Matter of Trust

Every year we join my husband’s family in Florida over the 4th of July holiday week, to reconnect with family members who travel from Texas, New Jersey, Ohio and Georgia to be together.  It’s a wonderful tradition and an escape from reality – but this year we could not escape the news of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers, followed by the ambush and deaths of police officers in Dallas. This year my brother-in-law couldn’t join us, because he was recovering from a concussion he suffered… [read more]
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Check Your Mirrors

“He who doesn’t look ahead remains behind.” “Looking back gives you regrets. Looking ahead gives you opportunities.” “Don’t look back, you’ll miss what’s in front of you.” There seems to be consensus among the proverbs that when directing our focus, we ought to be looking ahead rather than behind. In fact, the implication is that looking behind us will lead to bad things – regrets, missed opportunities, lost ground. As someone who spends a lot of time talking about how to prepare for the future, you might think I am another proponent of forward focus… [read more]
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11 Tips For Making Your Charitable Donation Count On Your Taxes

(from Kelly Phillips Erb’s 12/20/2015 Forbes article.  Click here for the original post.  Kelly is a staff writer for Forbes, goes by the handle Taxgirl® and has earned her JD, LLM in Taxation and spent time working for the IRS.  Follow Kelly on Twitter @taxgirl. Americans gave $358.38 billion in 2014, a 7.1% increase from 2013, and equivalent to a whopping 2% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The majority of that giving, $258.51 billion, came from individuals, representing 72% of all charitable donors. Making a charitable donation is not only… [read more]
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