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Sweaters are a very popular gift this year. But how can you tell if you're getting a good buy?

By Karen Datko Dec 8, 2010 12:33PM

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

 

Alongside iPads, e-readers and Pillow Pets, this year's letters to Santa have an unexpected entrant: the humble sweater. But although advertised sweater sales are plentiful -- with prices sometimes as low as $20 -- truly good deals are few and far between.

Even though $25 sweaters of all kinds can now be found at almost every retailer, it's tough to tell what's worth even that rock-bottom price, says Asta Skocir, a knitwear design consultant and assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

 

Still using a high-interest credit card or paying for a cool ringtone? Act your age.

By Karen Datko Dec 8, 2010 10:39AM

This post comes from Chris Birk at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Climb out from beneath the covers and face the harsh light of day: You're 30.

 

Surprisingly, it isn't the end of the world. In fact, consider it an opportunity to shed some of the bad habits and poor financial decisions of the past. That's not to say you should run from the previous decade of your life.

Embrace the all-nighters, corporate climbing, and occasional beer-fueled mayhem that led you to this point. But recognize that while age is just a number, the Big 3-0 can signal a turning point regarding some of the fiscal baggage that may be weighing you down.

 

Students waste time and hundreds of dollars pursuing fake credentials. For the record, you can't get a GED online.

By Teresa Mears Dec 7, 2010 5:50PM

When Becky Ploense got ready to enroll in massage therapy school, she pulled out the GED certificate she had earned online several years earlier, at a cost of $500. The massage school wasn't impressed.

 

It turned out her "GED" was fake.

You can't earn a GED online, as the American Council on Education, which administers the GED Testing Service, has been telling consumers for years. If you did not graduate from high school and want a General Educational Development credential, you must take the test in person.

 

Despite that, online institutions that purport to offer online GEDs proliferate, charging students $200 to $1,200 for a credential they could earn for little or nothing from their local school system.

 

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and and two major banks announce that they'll hold off evictions during the holidays.

By Karen Datko Dec 7, 2010 4:49PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Scrooge seems to be taking his holiday Prozac again: Troubled homeowners are getting a temporary amnesty on foreclosure evictions between Dec. 20 and Jan. 3. That's for mortgages insured by the government giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, anyway.

The two companies own or insure about half of all the mortgages in the country, according to this story by The Associated Press.

 

People who used Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner can apply for a piece of the class-action settlement.

By Karen Datko Dec 7, 2010 3:59PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

A recent class-action settlement concerning Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner provides class members with the relatively rare opportunity of collecting some actual money.

The settlement, which has received preliminary approval, provides compensation for anyone who "purchased, used, or suffered any property damage from use of CATBC" between Dec. 13, 2002, and Sept. 15, 2010.

 

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.

 

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