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If your child's bag contains electronics, keys or other personal items, your back-to-school season could be wrecked by identity theft.

By Aug 7, 2014 12:14PM
This post comes from Adam Levin at partner site on MSN MoneyWhether you’re scanning the surf to protect your little ones from a rogue jellyfish, lazing at home on a stay-cation or carting kids to camp, you’re probably already thinking about your back-to-school to-do lists.

Child with backpack © Mareen Fischinger/Westend61/CorbisWhile you’re out there searching for the perfect backpack for your child, the more important consideration than style, size and color should be – what can happen if a dishonest person gets a hold of it? The things your child carries in his or her rucksack can become weapons of your financial destruction if they fall into the wrong hands.

With identity-related crimes at historic levels, the odds are better than ever that a dishonest person will know the basics of taking advantage of the kinds of personally identifiable information, sensitive data (like passwords and credit card numbers) and the many other keys to your household economy that often lurk in your child’s backpack.


Almost 90% of uninsured Americans won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016.

By Money Staff Aug 7, 2014 11:59AM

This post comes from Stephanie Armour at partner site The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyAlmost 90 percent of the nation's 30 million uninsured won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health coverage requirement.

The architects of the health law wanted most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. But an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation said most of the uninsured will qualify for one or more exemptions.

Daphne Gaines expects to be one of them. She said recently she got an electricity shut-off notice, which is one way Americans can get out of paying a fine. "I don't think I should have to pay any penalty," said Ms. Gaines, 52, of Jasper, Ala., who works part time at a church preschool and a drug recovery clinic.


Planning for your golden years is a big task with lots of moving parts, so don't let something important fall through the cracks.

By Aug 7, 2014 11:27AM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyPlanning for retirement can be tricky and you may feel unprepared for planning your financial future. Researching and understanding the retirement process and even using a retirement calculator can be great places to start.

A bird nest full of money © David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc., AlamyThough retirement may seem far away, the financial decisions you make now can affect how long it takes you to reach your goal. Retiring the way you want requires planning, budgeting and follow-through. But even those who plan carefully can forget to take into account some important factors that could lead to costly mistakes.

1. Family needs

While you may hope that your children and grandchildren will be hard workers and great savers like you try to be, periods of economic recession can leave young adults looking to their parents for help.

If you want to help out in this type of situation, it’s important to have some padding in your retirement plan. Consider establishing a specialized trust account for family members, a 529, UTMA or UGMA plan for each of your grandchildren, or even a gift account where you can make payments to family members as you see fit.


DealNews looked at the items and categories most discounted in back-to-school sales, so you know what you can expect to pay.

By Aug 6, 2014 4:45PM
This post comes from Elizabeth Zimmerman at partner site DealNews.

DealNews on MSN MoneyFor many of us, August marks a sort of return to reality after a summer of late nights, lazy days, and beach vacations. The school year is starting anew, which means routines and discipline and all that other un-fun stuff will once again be in play.

Student in library © Sigrid Olsson, PhotoAlto Agency, JupiterimagesBut there's one bright spot — back-to-school shopping. At no other time would picking out folders, notebooks, and pencils seem so exciting, but we all have fond childhood memories of selecting just the right supplies to match our school lists. Plus there's the bonus of new clothes, and for college, maybe even new furniture and gadgets.

It can get a little overwhelming, actually, and the costs add up if you're not careful. So DealNews is here to help; we took a look at our archive of sales from last summer to see what you can expect from sales on items commonly needed at the beginning of the school year. 

August gas prices are the lowest in 4 years, and experts say they could keep falling.

By Money Staff Aug 6, 2014 2:03PM

This post comes from Jim Probasco at partner site on MSN MoneyGasBuddy reported this week that this year’s Aug. 1 nationwide average gasoline price of $3.509/gal is the lowest in four years.

In addition, GasBuddy Chief Oil Analyst, Tom Kloza told Benzinga that some broad sections of the country could see gasoline priced at $3 a gallon or less by the end of the year.


Yes, you can use the Internet to make money -- real money, not pocket change. Here's how it works and which websites can help you pull in the dough.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 6, 2014 1:17PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAt one time, Mike Lam was just your average New York City office worker, doing whatever programmers do at Goldman Sachs. Then, he needed to find someone to watch his dog and stumbled upon the website DogVacay, which hooks up owners with pet sitters and boarders.

Man with laptop © Image Source/SuperStock"I didn't want my dog in a kennel, and I didn't want to pay (hundreds) for a doggie hotel," Lam said in an interview. So he used the online service and was so smitten he signed up as a host himself. His very first client was someone jetting off to China for an extended trip.

Fast-forward and Lam was ready to move on from the world of high-finance firms to something new. While he certainly could have taken his programming skills elsewhere, Lam decided to focus on his DogVacay services.

"What sealed the deal was realizing how lucrative it can be," said Lam, who added that he makes about as much dog watching as he did at Goldman Sachs. "Plus, I'm not sitting in an office 10 to 12 hours a day. It's a much happier life."

Lam's story is the perfect example of how regular people can use the power of the Internet to quit their 9-to-5 jobs for a more enjoyable and fulfilling career path. Forget the blinking pop-ups and spammy ads promising thousands while you sit in your pajamas. Here's the real way to make the Internet your moneymaking machine.


You can't stop rising prices, but there are ways you can soften the blow.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 6, 2014 1:11PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyInflation means prices are rising. With inflation, a dollar buys increasingly less. Really bad inflation can destroy economies and governments. In post-World War II Hungary, prices doubled every 15 hours, says The Atlantic.

American inflation concerns aren't in the same ballpark. Not even on the same planet. Still, you feel it when prices rise. See for yourself: The American Institute for Economic Research's cost-of-living calculator shows the purchasing power of money over time.


Drowsy driving is the No. 1 problem for people who shouldn't get behind the wheel, according to a recent survey from

By QuinStreet Aug 6, 2014 1:07PM
This post is from Michelle Megna at partner site on MSN MoneyDriving drowsy is the most frequent problem among people who get behind the wheel when they shouldn't, according to a new survey. asked 2,000 drivers about the times they drove when they shouldn't have and found that many people hit the road whether or not they feel well and regardless of broken car equipment. 

Tired man yawning while driving © mediaphotos/Getty Images

People who have driven when they shouldn't did so when:

  1. They were sleepy:  68 percent
  2. They had a headache: 53 percent
  3. They were sick enough to be in bed but got up to drive: 35 percent
  4. They were less drunk than a friend: 23 percent
  5. They weren't wearing needed glasses or contact lenses: 16 percent
  6. They were taking narcotic pain medicine: 15 percent
  7. They had an arm in a cast: 8 percent
Loss of good driver discount

Sixty percent of respondents in's survey think driving while sleepy should be illegal, and in two states it is. In New Jersey, a driver who has been without sleep for 24 hours is considered to be driving recklessly, in the same class as an intoxicated driver. In Arkansas, you can be charged with negligent homicide if you kill someone due to "fatigued driving." Other states have pending laws about drowsy driving or are studying it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.



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