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thThis year I’m not taking the advice from my friend Liz Weston, who says you should treat yourself with 10 percent of any windfall and then put the rest where it will do some good. My 2016 income tax refund will be deposited directly into savings and there it will stay.

Some people believe that tax refund = an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam. Personally, I think a refund makes sense for those who don’t have the discipline to save. Let me define that further: It makes sense if they use the refunds in smart ways.

Here’s an example of a not-smart way: Friends of my daughter’s planned to buy a race-car bed for their toddler son. This despite the fact that she didn’t work and his profession (drywaller) left him unemployed off and on.

A race-car bed. Sure, it would be fun to give that to your kid. You know what else is fun? Not having to worry about how you’ll feed him during during periods of little to no work.

 


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thHoly cow — a month has gone by without a giveaway! Work plus travel plus seasonal ennui can do a number on even the best of intentions.

Although I have a handful of books begging to be re-homed, I don’t have it in me today to do the careful write-ups they deserve. (Tomorrow’s not looking good, either.)

 

Thus I’m taking the path of least resistance and proffering an Amazon gift card. Easy for me to send. Easy for you to spend. I’d call that a win-win.

 


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th-2A whole lot of people approach retirement with a serious misconception about credit scoring.

A recent study from TransUnion indicates that almost half of Baby Boomers think that credit scores don’t matter as much after age 70.

Guess what? They do.

Generally speaking, seniors aren’t applying for mortgages or refinancing existing ones in their eighth decades. But a low credit score affects insurance premiums, auto loan interest rates and, maybe, getting accepted for long-term care.

Folks edging toward retirement with moderate to poor credit – or no credit – need to think about how they might handle any financial surprises. Even if you think that Social Security plus pension/retirement plan will let you live a cash-only lifestyle, you’re better off owning and using credit cards.

Life does tend to throw curveballs. Suppose during retirement…

 


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