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There are steps you can take now to minimize the fallout if your smartphone gets nicked. But many say technology that would render phones completely useless if they're taken is still needed.

By Money Staff Fri 12:43 PM

This post comes from Herb Weisbaum at partner site CNBC.

CNBC on MSN MoneySmartphone thefts rarely make national news anymore -- unless the victim was seriously hurt or killed during the robbery.

Businessman in car with smartphone © Image Source, Image Source, Getty ImagesBut the crime spree has not gone away. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse.

About 3.1 million Americans had their phones stolen last year, according to a just-released national survey by Consumer Reports. That's nearly double the magazine's estimate of 1.6 million mobile phones stolen during 2012.

"You have to take into account the fact that there are more smartphone owners now, but 3.1 million is still a pretty big number," said Donna Tapellini, a senior editor at the magazine.

Why do so many thieves snatch smartphones? Because it's lucrative -- they can quickly turn that phone into cash.

If your phone is stolen, your carrier can disable it and add it to a national database, so that it won't be activated again. But this blacklist does not always work in other countries, where stolen phones can be sold and brought back to life.

That's why New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon formed the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S.) initiative to push for "kill switch" technology in all new smartphones.

Throw that kill switch and the phone would never work again -- anywhere in the world. That, they say, would remove the economic incentive for this crime.


These eight documents can make life much easier for those you leave behind.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:02 PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDo you want to be remembered fondly by your loved ones? Then tackle the estate-planning tasks you've been meaning to get to. Your heirs will bless you for not leaving a mess for them to clean up.

Many of us want to get going but don't know where to start. So, here are eight documents that can help you get your affairs in order. If that sounds like a lot of paperwork, don't worry: You probably won't need every one of them.


Your Easter celebration, from ham and eggs to spring clothes, will take a bigger toll on your wallet this year.

By Money Staff Apr 17, 2014 2:24PM

This post comes from Karina Magalong at partner site TheStreet.

TheStreet on MSN MoneyAs you prepare for your Easter feast Sunday, get ready for some sticker shock on some of the more common items you'll need.

Chocolate Easter Bunny in a Basket © bhofack2/Getty Images


The price of eggs is at a historical high. When dying those eggs crazy colors for your egg hunt, you may want to handle them with a little more care than usual.

The American Farm Bureau Federation's latest Semi-Annual Marketbasket Survey finds the average price of eggs is $1.98 a dozen, up 8 percent from a year ago. One reason -- global demand for eggs has been on the rise, especially to Mexico. The Bureau says exports have been strong since the supply of eggs was reduced by an avian influenza outbreak.


You may be a smart person, but you probably make some dumb purchases. Here are five stupid things smart people buy over and over again.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 2:02PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWe all buy dumb things.

Burning money © Lumina Imaging, Digital Vision, Getty ImagesI'm reminded of that every time I see the closet full of purses I just had to have. They're all lovely, but then I look in the mirror and remember I only have two arms and one wallet.

While we all have our individual weaknesses, some stupid purchases seem to cross boundaries. You may have a good reason to buy one of these items, but the following are five things we collectively seem to lose our ability to think rationally about and get sucked into spending our money on something dumb.


The high-ranking GOP House member accuses Democrats of politicizing the issue of gender paycheck inequality for political purposes.

By Apr 17, 2014 1:04PM
This post was written by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for partner site on MSN MoneyIf there’s one thing Washington is exceptionally good at, it’s politicizing the personal. In the past few weeks, the ongoing debate over "equal pay for equal work" has typified this type of unfair politicization -- this time with women -- and instead of working together on solutions to empower American women, it has only perpetuated false accusations.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Wash. © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The president and his Democratic colleagues continue to perpetuate the myth that Republicans do not support equal pay for equal work. This could not be further from the truth.

As a woman myself -- one who worked at the McDonald’s drive-thru to pay for school and was the first in my family to graduate from college -- and as the mom of two young daughters, I have never once wavered in my support of equal pay for equal work.

Many years from now, when my daughters, Grace and Brynn, decide to pursue their careers -- whether they choose to be teachers or doctors or artists or computer engineers -- they should do so without worrying they’ll make less than their male counterparts and without fear of gender discrimination.


The Massachusetts Democrat says it's a 'no-brainer' that pay discrepancies between men and women need to be addressed.

By Apr 17, 2014 12:53PM

This post was written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren for partner site on MSN MoneyI honestly can’t believe that we’re still arguing over equal pay in 2014.

When I started teaching elementary school after college, the public school district didn't hide the fact that it had two pay scales: one for men and one for women. Women have made incredible strides since then. But 40 years later, we’re still debating equal pay for equal work.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Mass. © Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Women today still earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, and they’re taking a hit in nearly every occupation. Bloomberg analyzed Census data and found that median earnings for women were lower than those for men in 264 of 265 major occupation categories. In 99.6 percent of occupations, men get paid more than women. That’s not an accident; that’s discrimination.

The effects of this discrimination are real, and they are long lasting. Today, more young women go to college than men, but unequal pay makes it harder for them to pay back student loans. Pay inequality also means a tougher retirement for women. In Massachusetts, the average woman who collects Social Security will receive about $3,000 less every year compared to a man in a similar position, because benefits are tied to how much people earn when working.


There is a growing trend among 30-somethings to cover the costs of their weddings themselves.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 12:42PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe days of the bride's parents footing the bill for a lavish wedding are on their way out.

Bridesmaids © FEV Create Inc, Getty Images

Nearly 25 percent of weddings are paid for by the bride and groom alone, Reuters said. If the couple is over age 30, that number increases to 30 percent, according to David Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants.

Just 10 years ago, only about 15 percent of couples covered the costs of their wedding. And back in the '70s, people married much younger and it was widely expected that the bride's parents would pick up the cost.

Martha Stewart Weddings also makes note of the change:

Today, most people believe the couple should pay for their own wedding, especially if they have lived on their own for some time. Of course, parents often want to pitch in.

Reuters said there are a few factors to consider when deciding who will pay for the wedding:


Here are seven simple tips to help newbies in the credit world borrow money and build a credit history.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 17, 2014 11:34AM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCredit is one of those things you don't want to be without. But, as we all know, the credit game is definitely a Catch-22. You need a good credit history to snag the best deals on loans, yet it's very difficult to get credit without a borrowing history.

So what's a consumer to do? Here's what to do when you're new to the credit world or are starting over after some kind of financial catastrophe.



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