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Oh, yes, and there's an app (or apps) for that.

By Karen Datko Dec 22, 2010 9:57AM

This post comes from Paul Michael at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

It's that time again. You think you have presents for everyone on your list, but somehow you forgot Great-Aunt Noonie. Or your neighbor pops over with a gift and now you want to return the sentiment. What do you get?

 

The Internet is usually my first resource for finding gifts, but now you have the dreaded shipping-and-handling issue to deal with. Sure, you could get it in time, but pay through the nose to get it overnighted. Plus, the stores are emptying faster than a beer keg at a frat party. But don't despair.

 

Here are 11 last-minute gift ideas that can help you spread some cheer without giving yourself an ulcer in the process.

 

Rather than increase their retirement savings once the kids are gone, many people live it up.

By Karen Datko Dec 21, 2010 7:30PM

The kid(s) has finally left home, and you and your spouse are all alone. Now's a great time to boost the retirement savings you've been neglecting. That child who cost $222,000 to raise (more or less) is no longer a drain on the bank account.

 

That would make sense. But a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found the opposite occurs in many households: The empty-nesters start spending more on themselves.

 

Fewer DVR users than expected are fast-forwarding through the ads, but they may be getting snacks along with the no-DVR crowd.

By Teresa Mears Dec 21, 2010 5:44PM

Here's a surprise: Nearly 40% of U.S. homes have the technology to fast-forward past the commercials while watching TV shows, but many of them don't, according to two new studies.

Surprised?

 

We are. We have a digital video recorder (DVR), and we fast-forward through nearly all the commercials. Well, unless we're in the kitchen getting a drink, or getting the laundry out of the dryer or checking e-mail.

 

You can see how a few commercials would slip through.

 

"Some people still say, 'Nobody watches commercials.' That's not true," Patricia McDonough, a senior vice president at the Nielsen Co., told The New York Times.

 

Compromise measure may please very few.

By Karen Datko Dec 21, 2010 4:39PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted new net neutrality rules, providing guidelines for both wired and wireless networks.

The policy, described by some as a compromise, passed along a party-line vote, with Democrats on the commission supporting it and Republicans opposed. The rules are likely to be challenged in court in the year ahead.

 

Network neutrality refers to the principle that Internet content providers should have equal access to the Internet and should suffer no restrictions on content, sites or platforms that may be attached.

 

Online shopping is convenient but has its dangers. Make sure you're safe as you stuff those stockings.

By Money Staff Dec 21, 2010 2:27PM

This post comes from Ashleigh Patterson at partner site Reuters' Prism Money blog. 

 

Reuters on MSN MoneyHoliday shopping: It's down to the 11th hour and rather than jostling for a parking spot or fighting for a fitting room, more consumers are choosing to shop online or on their mobile devices.

 

Sure, shopping online can save you some coin on shipping costs, and using a smart phone certainly makes price comparisons infinitely easier. But consumers are trading convenience for safety, according to a new study sponsored by Norton and conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research.

"It's the amount of activity that makes people more vulnerable," says personal finance expert Jean Chatzky. "People just aren't being as careful as they should be in a number of different ways."

 

You have one-tenth of a second to make a good impression (and faking a firm handshake won't help).

By Karen Datko Dec 21, 2010 1:48PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.

 

You've heard that old yarn about having only one chance to make a good impression. You might have even heard that first impressions happen fast. Maybe you didn't know they happened this fast.

Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov had test subjects look at photos of various people and rate them on attributes like trustworthiness, likability and competence. Some participants got a second to see the photo. Others got only half a second or a tenth of a second. In a separate test, they didn't give the participants any time limit at all.

 

Well, it turns out, most people decided what their feelings were about a person (based on looks alone) in that first tenth of a second.

 

The majority of workers have taken sick days when they were well. Are you one of them?

By Karen Datko Dec 21, 2010 11:49AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner site Bargaineering.

 

The other day, I was reading a Bloomberg Businessweek article about companies hiring sick-day bounty hunters to check up on people out on sick leave.

It gave me the idea for today's "Your Take" question: How many of you have taken sick days when you weren't actually sick?

 

While experts are generally skeptical about the employment picture for 2011, at least one new report says secretaries should find more work.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 21, 2010 10:57AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Recently we reported on 11 promising jobs for 2011, but that was little comfort to those of us who don't have the skills to be a "senior business systems analyst" or an "ERP technical developer" -- if we even knew what those meant.

So it's nice to see new research that shows "administrative professionals" -- secretaries and office assistants -- getting some love. And some work.

 

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