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It's a lot easier if you begin preparing years ahead, but it can be done even if you don't start saving until you are 50.

By doubleace Apr 14, 2011 6:56AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money. See the end of this post for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

 

It's the American dream. No, not the one about a house, a good job, a sweet ride, lots of electronics and nice vacations. Your next American dream -- early retirement.

 

Whether you are 48, 59, 62 or even 65 (a year earlier than full Social Security payments currently kick in), it can be done. It just takes more than a bit of planning.

 

Here are five tips for making it happen:

 

GM recalls 2,100 of the cars after the incident.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 13, 2011 5:57PM

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

 

A motorist in a new Chevrolet Cruze says he was driving down a highway when the steeling wheel came off in his hands. Seriously.

 

General Motors said it believes it was an isolated incident, but is recalling 2,100 of the cars nonetheless. The carmaker reported the incident, which happened in March, in documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Here's what GM says it thinks happened:

 

New cars damaged in a crash are more likely to be sidelined by a parts shortage caused by the crises in Japan.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 13, 2011 4:35PM

This post comes from Susan Ladika at partner site CarInsurance.com.

 

Even if you're a safe driver, you might want to exercise extra caution behind the wheel these days. Even a minor collision could put your car out of commission for weeks, if not months, no matter how great your car insurance policy is.

 

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan have put the brakes on production of automobiles and spare parts, and no one can predict what kinds of shortages might ultimately occur or how long it will take for operations to resume to full speed again.

 

Sometimes businesses make statements that are over the top in order to get your money, prompting the FTC to take notice.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 13, 2011 3:04PM

This post comes from Mitch Lipka, consumer advocate at dealnews.com.

 

Some companies get a bit overeager when it comes to selling. Whether it's pitches for acai berry products, erectile dysfunction treatment, kids' vitamins or even vacuums, the advertising is so geared toward separating you from your money that it takes liberties with the truth.

 

Every now and then the zeal to sell means paying the consequences. Last week, it was vacuum cleaner company Oreck and its claims over the Halo and Oreck ProShield Plus systems that ended up on the hot seat.

 

The higher contribution limits make this plan an excellent retirement savings option, and it's easy to set up.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 13, 2011 1:16PM

This post comes from Greg Plechnerat partner site The Street.

 

If you've learned the many advantages of a Roth IRA and the importance of saving, even during these economically challenging times, it's worth hearing about a lesser-known plan: the solo 401k, possibly the best way for a young business owner or self-employed person to save for retirement.

 

There are green ways to approach holiday traditions like dyed eggs and Easter baskets.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 13, 2011 12:14PM

This post comes from Myscha Theriault at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Looking for ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Easter this year? Easter ideas are a dime a dozen. It's finding ones that won't wreak havoc on the environment that's the problem.

 

From egg decorating to candy selection, here are my top picks for eco-friendly Easter ideas that will keep your holiday firmly in the green zone:

 

A new study shows how social network users are leaving themselves vulnerable. Here's how to protect yourself online.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 13, 2011 10:35AM

This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.

 

I recently had to track down the past decade's worth of my alma mater's student body presidents for an article I was writing at another publication. Some were still local, while others had moved on. But 90% of them had one thing in common: They participated in social networks, so they were easy to find.

 

Once you share your birthday on Facebook or brag about your employer on LinkedIn, I can use public records to track down everything from your home address to your home value. But instead of a journalist tracking you down for an interview, a thief could hijack your personal details to steal your identity.

 

A Chicago K-8 public school doesn't let kids bring their own lunch, in the interest of better nutrition.

By Karen Datko Apr 12, 2011 5:36PM

Chicago public school principals are permitted to ban brown-bag lunches at their schools, and at least one educator has done that.

 

Elsa Carmona told the Chicago Tribune her Little Village Academy provides a more nutritious lunch than many kids would pack from home -- so they can eat the cafeteria lunch or have no lunch at all. (The policy is waived if a kid needs special foods for medical reasons.)

 

It's difficult to find anyone online who thinks this is a good idea. Let's examine the arguments:

 

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