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You probably assume that your bank's website is secure. However, a new report shows that banking websites might not be so airtight against attacks.

By Credit.com Mon 1:11 PM

This post comes from Eva Velasquez at partner site Credit.com.


Credit.com on MSN MoneyWhen you go online to bank, you probably assume the site – along with your transaction – is secure. However, a new report shows that your banking experience could be more vulnerable than you think.


Computer error © Digital Vision/Digital Vision Ltd.Operation Emmental, cleverly named by Trend Micro to convey how full of holes online banking protections can be, is the latest threat affecting 34 banks and a yet-to-be-determined number of European consumers. While there has been considerable news coverage of this hacking scam in tech and cybersecurity circles, the story has not made it into the consciousness of mainstream America and probably wasn’t a topic of discussion at your dinner table last night. The article in the New York Times recently, “Hackers Find Way to Outwit Tough Security at Banking Sites” didn’t make the top 20 most read online articles while “French Food Goes Down” and “What Writers Can learn from ‘Goodnight Moon’” did.


So why isn’t there more interest? And more importantly, why should there be?

 

You probably don't need a full-blown pet trust, but you do need to take steps to make sure your beloved animals are cared for if you die before they do.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 12:47 PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.
 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyEstate planning is smart for a lot of reasons. One easily overlooked one is to make sure your beloved animal sidekicks will be well taken care of if you should die before they do.


Dog © Alley Cat Productions/Brand X/CorbisAs anyone who has worked at an animal shelter will tell you, a number of the pets there were beloved companions who became homeless because of their owners' deaths.


Trouble's story

Perhaps the most spectacular illustration of estate planning for a pet was the $12 million fortune that hotel magnate Leona Helmsley bequeathed to her little white Maltese, Trouble.


Trouble, presumably the world's richest dog, died in 2011 at age 12, leading ABC News to reminisce:

When Helmsley died in 2007, she left Trouble $12 million. Twelve million! A judge knocked it down to $2 million but still, she was one of the world's wealthiest animals.

Helmsley was eccentric, but on this question, at least, she had the right idea. Lining up care for your pets in case you die ensures that your animals won't be abandoned.

 

A Fidelity study found that adult kids and their folks aren't on the same page when it comes to discussing finances.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 4:42 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you think the birds and the bees is the most uncomfortable discussion a parent and child can have, think again. It seems there's an even more difficult talk: the one between parents and their adult children about money.


 Adult with elderly parent © Digital Vision/SuperStockAccording to Fidelity's Intra-Family Generational Finance Study (.pdf file), parents and their adult children agree that discussing finances -- including retirement planning, elder care and inheritance -- is important. Unfortunately, they can't seem to agree on when the conversation should occur, and how much financial detail should be covered.


The study found that while parents prefer to delay the conversation until after they've retired, most children said the finance discussion should occur earlier, before retirement or potential health issues arise. Overall, just 40 percent of parents said they had a detailed conversation with their children about expenses during retirement.


Some parents said they avoid the financial talk because they don't want their children to count on receiving an inheritance, MarketWatch said. The top reason kids said they don't want to broach the discussion is because they believe it’s upsetting to talk about -- both for them and for their parents.

 

Tax-free weekends help your back-to-school dollars go a little further. Find out if your state participates.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 4:36 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneySchool supplies aren't cheap.


The National Retail Federation projects that U.S. families will spend an average of $669 on back-to-school items like clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from $635 last year. If you're looking to get a bigger bang for your buck on school items, back-to-school sales tax holidays are a great time to shop.


 A green chalkboard with the alphabet written on it © Ocean, Corbis A number of states offer tax-free weekends during the back-to-school shopping period, where select items -- typically clothing, footwear and school supplies -- can be purchased tax-free. The back-to-school shopping period is the second-largest selling season of the year, according to Today.


"Sales tax holidays are very, very popular with consumers and very successful at getting consumers into stores and getting them to spend money," said J. Craig Shearman, vice president of government affairs public relations at the National Retail Federation.


The impact goes far beyond money, Shearman said. If a retailer were to offer 5 percent off a purchase, consumers -- who are used to seeing double-digit discounts in store windows -- would laugh. But because the discount relates to not paying a sales tax, it has a psychological appeal, he said.

 

Here are several reasons your income never seems to be enough to support your lifestyle.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 1:33 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN Money"If only my income was greater" or "If only I had a million bucks." Sound familiar? Well, you'd probably do the same thing you're doing now: Spend it!


I know the phrase "It's not how much you make, but how much you spend" is trite, but it's also true. Many Americans tend to spend as much as or even more than they earn, and finance the rest. If this weren't true, credit card debt wouldn't be through the roof.


In today's marketplace of new gadgets and toys, it's not hard to find something else to spend any excess cash on.


Here are five reasons your  $100 dollar bills © Image Source, age fotostockmoney will never work for you:

 

You pay good money for your warehouse club membership. Make the most of it by picking up these 10 best buys.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 1:23 PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyEveryone loves a deal, and warehouse clubs promise so many of them you'll pay to get in the door.


Rest assured, an analysis by Consumers' Checkbook indicates your annual membership fee to Costco, Sam's Club or BJ's can be money well spent. However, to maximize your savings, you'll want to be sure you're not missing the very best deals.


Here's our list of warehouse club best buys to help you make the most of your membership.

 

Trying to revive their image, lenders are reaching out to the millions of Americans who are unbanked.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 5:15 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you're low-income, unbanked or have a troubled financial history, big banks want you as their customer.


bank ATM (© Image Source/Corbis/Corbis)You read that correctly. According to The New York Times, an increasing number of big lenders are offering low-fee banking services to poor Americans.

The products, including bare-bones bank accounts and prepaid debit cards, are hardly big moneymakers — in some cases, the banks barely break even.
But for the banks working to overhaul their public images in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the products offer a different and potentially far bigger payout: good will from regulators and a chance to woo more customers who might just become profitable in the long run.

JPMorgan Chase is offering a $4.95-per-month prepaid card that has many features of a traditional bank account.

 

An affordable trip means no worries about credit card bills. Use these tips to plan a break that won't break the bank.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 24, 2014 12:09PM
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talk News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHave you taken your summer vacation yet? Or has your vacation taken you?


Some people travel on autopilot. You cart the kids off to Disneyland because you're supposed to, or fly to Europe because everyone says you should see Paris before you die.


Man with tropical drink © CorbisYou book a trip to Hawaii after a co-worker raves about how beautiful it is, or sign up for a combination hot yoga/zip line/dude ranch adventure in Idaho because your sister-in-law says it was the most amazing experience ever.


But what do you want?


"Most of us don't take the time to think about what would make us happier -- what kind of vacation would be relaxing, would recharge our batteries, would be a great time with family," says Donna Skeels Cygan, a certified financial planner and author of "The Joy of Financial Security."


Cygan suggests having a "values talk" with your spouse and/or family before planning a vacation, to help clarify what everyone expects. Adventure? Relaxation? Roller coasters?

 

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