Author Archive | Matt Bell

Keeping Found Money

What’s the biggest mistake you can make when leaving your job for greener pastures? Posting a video of the last office party on YouTube? Using the boss’ reserved parking place on your last day? Cashing in your 401(k)? Okay, they’re _all_ bad ideas. But the worst _financial_ mistake you can make is closing out your […]

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Found Money

Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans are becoming more generous. As reported in _USA TODAY_ recently, 36 percent of such plans now offer a 100 percent match on employee contributions. In other words, for every dollar an employee saves in a 401(k) plan, their employer kicks in a dollar as well–usually up to a certain percentage of the […]

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Expecting the Unexpected

Do you have an emergency fund? If so, you’re in the smart minority. Just 40 percent of Americans have such a fund, according to a new Consumer Federation of America survey. While higher income households are most likely to have an emergency fund, even among the highest earners more than 40 percent said they do […]

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Great Advice

A couple of weeks ago I asked you to send in the best financial advice you’ve ever received. Several readers said it was to base their lifestyle on one income right from the start of their marriage. Initially, following that advice enabled Jennifer and her husband to pay off an automobile loan. Ever since, the […]

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Falling Prices

Something that’s actually become less expensive over the years is term life insurance. According to a _Wall Street Journal_ story on 2/21, longer life spans are driving the prices for such policies down, and the growing popularity of level-premium policies is making it easier to compare costs among providers. The article pointed out that if […]

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Financial Role Models

As part of a special section on Baby Boomers, _Money_ magazine recently asked several Boomer celebrities about the best money management advice they ever got. Novelist Alice Walker pointed to her father’s encouragement to get in the habit of saving money as early as possible. Her first deposit was 50 cents that she earned selling […]

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Chasing the American Dream

How would you define “the American dream?” A nice car? An annual vacation? A home theatre system? A recent MetLife survey asked that question and the most common answer was financial security. In previous surveys, the American dream was defined as a combination of home ownership, a happy family life, and a stable career. But […]

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The Rodney Dangerfield of Money Management Tools

It’s quiz time. What money management tool is used by over half of all millionaires in the U.S. yet is widely despised by most non-millionaires? Answer: a budget. The lowly budget’s image problem was the focus of a recent article by syndicated columnist Gregory Karp, and I was pleased to be part of the story […]

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Can’t Buy Me Love?

Technically, the Beatles had it right. But that doesn’t stop us from spending a lot to _demonstrate_ our love. According to the National Retail Federation, 63 percent of people are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, and they’ll do so to the tune of $120 each. Men tend to outspend women by a nearly […]

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The Uncle Sam Savings Plan

Are you among the 75 percent of federal income tax filers who’ll get a refund this year? If so, the government is making it easier to deposit the money straight into a savings account where you won’t be tempted to spend it. According to a story on _MSNBC_, the refund can even be split and […]

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