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Four Personal Finance Stories to Ponder

Apologies for the really long absence, but with the Easter holiday, going home to Wallkill several times in the past month, and a crazy period at work, I haven’t had much time to update anything worth substance.

In the past week, there have been several fantastic personal finance-related stories in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

No, none of these have anything to do with income taxes. Do make sure you file by April 15th, though, or else the big bad taxman just may come after you.

If you have the time this weekend, definitely peruse these not-so-long stories. I’ll give a quick summary and my thoughts on each one after the jump.

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Daily Dimes 12/18/09

I focus quite a bit on doing more with a little bit of money, but what if you actually came across a large sum of cash? An inheritance, lottery winnings, etc.

I read somewhere that lottery winners are increasingly finding themselves filing for bankruptcy — it’s because they don’t plan on just how they’re going to use that lump sum. If you so happen to be lucky enough (of course, lucky is relative, especially if you received an inheritance after a loved one passed away) to come across a financial windfall, would you know what to do?
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Daily Dimes 12/10/09

The phrase “persistence pays off” is trite and oft-overused, yet unbelievably true. Whether you spend months working on free throws, eating right, or pounding away miles on a treadmill, you get in what you put out.

Sometimes, that means making sacrifices that aren’t fun in the immediate term. It also can mean being a miserable pain in the ass until you get what you want.

Today’s Daily Dimes will look at one person’s fight to get out of debt and the small reward she’s realizing as a result, and another piece showing how to fight companies to ensure you get exactly what you pay for.

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Daily Dimes 12/2/09

Like I noted in a previous dispatch of Daily Dimes, now that we are barreling toward the end of the year, we can expect to find more lists, tips, and how-to pieces when it comes to personal finances.

Today is definitely no different, as today we’ll take a look at one article touting the top 14 personal finance “tools” and seven steps to “achieving financial freedom.”
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Daily Dimes 10/20/09

Happy National Save for Retirement Week! In this post on 20something Finance, the writer goes into detail as to the pitifully low amount of savings many people who are ever closer to retirement than us twentysomethings have these days.

The article cites stats from the Employee Benefits Research Institute’s 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey, which found 53 percent of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments. Furthermore, the typical American household — headed by a 43 year old — has just more than $18,000 in savings. Now think about how much you spend in a month now. Imagine having only $30,000 available to you when you retire? There’s no way that would last more than one year, tops. Even then you’d be living close to poverty.

People like my grandfather and father grew up in an environment in which they could get a solid job, hold onto it, and then expect a pension fund to help them ease into retirement on top of Social Security. For us, don’t rely on Social Security. Quite honestly, it may not be there when we are set to retire in another 40 years or so.

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Weekly Roundup

We have some more good news to kick off the latest Weekly Roundup: Americans are paying down their debts, and getting serious about cutting down on unnecessary expenses. Really. Seriously. For the better part of a year now!

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