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Delaying retirement may make financial sense, but poor health and age bias make working longer impossible for many.

By Teresa Mears Dec 7, 2010 2:31PM

One of the top pieces of financial advice for those who want financial security in retirement is to work longer.

That advice ignores one key obstacle: People don't always have a choice. Poor health, mandatory retirement and -- perhaps most pervasive -- a bias against older workers can make it impossible for people to work as long as they'd like, even in a good economy. And we're not in a good economy.


Those issues are likely to keep at least 25% of people from working past retirement age, John Waggonerreports at USA Today.


Some of the jobs most in demand next year are in careers you've probably never heard of.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 7, 2010 1:36PM

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


Data modeler? No, you don't walk the fashion runway holding an iPhone. Business intelligence analyst? No, you're not teaching CEOs how to stop making dumb decisions.

Along with ERP technical developer and user experience (UX) designer, these are just some of the jobs predicted to be hot next year.


How to use the 'small wins' strategy to accomplish big goals.

By Karen Datko Dec 7, 2010 10:10AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


I'm not going to lie: I'm not a huge Dave Ramsey fan.


There have been several times he's spoken on radio or I've seen things he's written in print when I thought he was flat-out wrong or misleading on a point. One of my recurring favorites is how he encourages people to take what they save and put it into a "good growth stock mutual fund that earns 12% on average." Man, if only it were that easy.

Another one of his nonsensical strategies is also one central to the Ramsey philosophy. The "debt snowball" debt payment plan is completely contrary to basic rules of arithmetic. You see, Ramsey says that if you have a bunch of credit card debts, you should line them all up by the size of each debt, and pay the smallest-balance ones off first, regardless of their interest rates.


The rational person in us should cringe at this.


'You can't take it with you' also applies to credit card bills. But what kind of a retirement strategy is this?

By Teresa Mears Dec 6, 2010 3:27PM

We've all heard the expression "You can't take it with you."


Usually the maxim applies to assets. These days, an increasing number of retirees are applying that philosophy to debt, racking up thousands of dollars in credit card bills they have no intention of ever repaying, a survey says.

Some seniors are using the money to pay for "toys" and vacations. Others are going into debt for medical care and basic living expenses.


Thanks to the CARD Act, gift cards have fewer fees and less fine print.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 6, 2010 2:41PM

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


Gift cards are making a comeback after three years of sluggish sales -- and the federal government might be the reason.


A new survey from research firm TowerGroup predicts that spending on gift cards for the 2010 holiday shopping season will increase for the first time since 2007, reaching $91 billion in sales. And in two years, that should reach an amazing $100 billion.


Why the jump when we're still in the grip of a struggling economy?


While it's technically illegal to inflate the original price, state laws allow for lots of wiggle room.

By Karen Datko Dec 6, 2010 1:20PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Ads that tout deep discounts -- 50%, 60%, even 70% off -- have become the norm these days. But some of the companies behind those bold promotions may be doing more than luring bargain hunters: They might be breaking the law.


Several California district attorneys filed a civil lawsuit against last month, claiming that the site deliberately misleads customers about the depth of its discounts. In particular, the lawsuit alleges that the company inflates its reference prices -- the "compare at" or list price that's supposed to tell a shopper how much he or she is saving. The result, they claim, is that consumers may not check for lower prices elsewhere.

Among their examples: a patio set with an alleged reference price of $999, sold for $450, and arrived with a $247 Wal-Mart price tag.


Take a look at spending habits before crying 'poor me.'

By Donna_Freedman Dec 6, 2010 11:37AM

When I read Laura Rowley's excellent column, "Why the rich don't feel rich" -- in which she wrote about a University of Chicago law professor's struggle to survive on a combined family income of more than $250,000 -- I thought the column was a stark contrast to something that happened while I was in New Jersey to visit a terminally ill relative.

I frequently stopped by to see another relative, my Aunt Dot, who's 87 and very frail due to several medical issues. She and her son live on Social Security and disability plus her small pension. One evening I discovered that they had exactly one dollar in the house. Her check was due the next day and she planned to walk to the bank to cash it.

The bank is at least a mile from where Dot lives. And did I mention that she's on oxygen?


Wine brings people together. And it does that just as well at $8 a bottle as at $80 a bottle.

By Karen Datko Dec 6, 2010 9:03AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


The holiday season is upon us, the time of year for family, friends, food -- and wine. Yes, it's true. I associate the holidays with alcohol. It never used to be this way (probably because I didn't drink), but for the past five years, I've spent late November stocking our wine rack.


There are several reasons for this:



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