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Archive for July 2010

Overcoming Spending Anxiety: When Financial Planning for Retirement Isn't Enough

Published 7/14/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

This is a guest post from Marc Pearlman.

Back in the early to mid-1990s I made my living by sitting in front of computer monitor with green and red glowing pixels that flashed stock and commodity prices. I was an off-the-floor stock and commodity trader, and in my world, green and red meant everything. Green meant I was making money, and red meant I would be drawing out of my savings to pay for monthly expenses.

Fortunately for me, I was given some sage advice from a wealthy mentor of mine who was about 25 years my senior and knew of an obstacle that I was likely to encounter. I still remember his wise words: "Kid, make sure you put money into an account you can draw from when times are lean--and expect some lean times. It's part of the game."

Even though I heeded his advice, there was one thing I didn't account for: the feeling I'd have when trekking to the bank to withdraw those savings. While I had been diligently depositing money in my high yield savings account specifically to be drawn on when needed, the mental anguish of seeing my balance decrease--sometimes month after month--was one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome as a trader.

From Retirement Saving to Retirement Spending: Getting Past the Anxiety

Fast-forward 16 years: now I manage other people's money for a living. I'm on the phone with a client in his mid-60s who recently retired. He asks me if taking $10,000 out of

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New Credit Card Statement Format

Published 7/13/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Usually when I open my credit card statements, my eye goes right to the line that tells me how much I made during the past month in cash back and credit card rewards points. Recently, though, something else caught my eye when I opened my monthly statement: the brand-spanking-new statement format mandated by the Federal Reserve.

As of July 1, credit card issuers were required to conform with new rules approved by the Federal Reserve Board to protect consumers from what many have seen as unfair (or at least unclear) practices by the card issuers.

The new statement does a lot of things right--it's now abundantly clear, for example, just how long it'll take you to pay off even a small balance if you just send in the minimum payment required (and how much interest you'll rack up in the process). Closing one of the classic traps of card usage that have ensnared many, the new statements must tell cardholders up-front just how much their credit card rates will jump and how much the late fee will be if you're late with your payment. And interest fees and fee charges of all types are now labeled clearly--you'll be able to see at a glance whether that zero percent balance transfer transaction was correctly implemented.

FiveCentNickel.com has a nifty infographic with mouseover highlights of the new changes:

Credit Card Statement Changes from Five Cent Nickel

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