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Apr 13,2009
Dear Mary: In tracking our expenses, I've found that the category I call "Household Supplies" represents a massive leak in our budget. What is the least expensive way to purchase trash bags, dishwasher detergent, toilet tissue and other household supplies? — Andrea, e-mail Dear Andrea: Never pay full retail price for the products you mention. When not on sale, these items are the most expensive at the supermarket. However, everything you mention comes on sale ... [full story]
14530 times read - No comment posted

Apr 13,2009
Dear Mary: My husband receives calls from debt collectors looking for relatives who have fallen behind on payments. These callers don't harass us or seek money from us, but they are nuisances. This has happened with at least three different relatives. None of them ever has lived with us. How do the lenders find us? — Erika T., e-mail Dear Erika: You know when you go to the doctor or other care provider and they ... [full story]
14560 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Q: I am 58 years old and about to retire after 30 years of work for a county government in California. I was told that certain county employees in California, Texas, and a few other states could collect Social Security retirement benefits before the age of 62. Is this true? A: No, you can't draw Social Security retirement benefits before age 62. And that's a fact whether you live and work in California, or Texas, ... [full story]
14358 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
If you can stop licking your stock market wounds for a minute, it's time to consider your IRA contribution for this year. The April 15 tax deadline is also the last date you can make contributions for 2008. And it would be a good time to consider your 2009 contribution. In 2008 and 2009, the contribution limits remain the same: $5,000 for both traditional and Roth IRAs for those under age 50. But if you're ... [full story]
14688 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: Our broker thinks this stock market downturn will end by year's end. We'd like your thoughts on this before we follow his advice. Because he strongly believes this market will bottom before Christmas, he wants us to invest $80,000 in eight different aggressive mutual funds (list enclosed) by putting $10,000 in each. His reason for investing in those funds is because they are way down and he believes they will "double in ... [full story]
6538 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Note to readers: April is financial literacy month. In keeping with that theme, my next columns will offer practical suggestions regarding what young people can do to get into better financial shape, and the crucial role parents and employers can play. This week: how parents can encourage young adults to become financially independent — even if they're still lending a hand. Tough times often mean making tough decisions. This can be especially true when it ... [full story]
5083 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Q: My husband is about to turn age 62. He isn't in the best of health. He's been an actor most of his life but he never made much money. (Most actors don't make the kind of money Tom Cruise does!) His annual Social Security statements say he can expect to get a small retirement check of about $500. On the other hand, I've always made quite a bit of money. My Social Security statements ... [full story]
14531 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: Do you think it's time to buy Citigroup, Bank of America or some of the other banks that have crashed in this economy? The government is encouraging these banks to be more aggressive in their lending to small businesses and consumers, which should increase bank profits and move the economy forward again. So I'm considering an investment of $21,000 in six different banks like Citigroup, Bank of America, Fifth Third, Synovis, Regions ... [full story]
5046 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: I'm an actively employed physician in Central Florida. I recently discovered that a party unknown to me had used my Social Security number to charge more that $5,000 of neurological test to Medicare. So, as a good citizen, I decided to do the right thing and report this fraud that took place in Miami to Social Security. Well I called my Social Security office on three occasions and no one cared enough ... [full story]
6167 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Dear Mary: My husband and I have been married for 40 years. We are debt-free. Our bills, major purchases, house and bank accounts always have been in both names. Recently, he came into a substantial inheritance. He opened a savings account and put it in his name only. He thinks I should not be concerned about it, because he put me as beneficiary. I am upset about this and feel it should be in both ... [full story]
6099 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
TIP OF THE MONTH. I grew up in a house where we used cloth napkins daily. My mother painted clothespins with tiny flowers and our names. She gave each pin a few coats of varnish to protect it. We each had one, and we clipped them on our folded napkins at the end of every meal. They were collected for the laundry as it became necessary. Using some kind of label on napkins allows a ... [full story]
6382 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
I make my own household cleaners to save money, not to avoid toxins or to help clean up the planet. For years, I've been collecting, testing and recommending cheapskate solutions to help my readers save time and money. That these concoctions just happen to be "green" alternatives is a terrific bonus. All of these solutions should be mixed thoroughly in an appropriate container (spray bottle or other container with a tight-fitting lid), labeled clearly and ... [full story]
6280 times read - No comment posted

Apr 06,2009
Infidelity. It's not what you're thinking, although being sexually unfaithful to your spouse creates one industrial-strength barrier to harmony in your relationship. Today I want to talk about financial infidelity, which is the subject of many letters I receive. "Is there any hope for my situation? I have run up more than $75,000 of unsecured debt. My husband doesn't know and I will never be able to tell him. It takes my entire paycheck just ... [full story]
5831 times read - No comment posted

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