thIt was 8 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, and I got my usual chuckle thinking of Halloween in Anchorage. We generally see a parade of Disney princess, zombie and superhero costumes obscured by winter garb.

Nothing like the sight of an Ariel or Rapunzel wearing a down coat and moon boots.

Last year, long before “Suicide Squad” hit the theaters, one of my great-nephews dressed as Harley Quinn. His makeup was great, his hair was stiffened in pigtails – and his homemade costume, thankfully, had long underwear as its base. It was plenty cold last Oct. 31, too.

Apparently we might see some election-themed trick-or-treaters this year. An e-mail from the Savers group of thrift stores noted that the presidential election has affected costume sales. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump accessories are flying off the shelves.


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thAlmost seven in 10 people surveyed by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling say their biggest financial worry is credit card debt.

Of the 1,869 respondents, 69 percent cited plastic arrears as being much, much scarier than having enough for retirement and emergencies (13 percent), paying off student loans (10 percent) or finding affordable housing (7 percent).

About 19 people checked answer E: “Nothing, I have no financial worries.” Lucky them.

It’s likely that most of the people reading the nonprofit agency’s website are already having money issues. But it wouldn’t surprise me if a decent number of the general population were also worried about credit card debt. And if they aren’t, maybe they should be.


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thDue to my daughter’s mystery illness, we both missed huge chunks of the 2016 Financial Blogger Conference. Huge bummer for us both, especially since we’d looked forward to meeting with some local readers.

(I did get to say hello to Ro in San Diego, a regular reader/commenter. Thanks for dropping by, Ro.)

My daughter and I each managed to visit the expo hall, where a ton of organizations and businesses were handing out goodies. Obviously both Abby and I wanted to learn about new products and services, but I must admit to thinking how much fun it would be to share these items with a lucky winner.

FinCon swag giveaways have been popular in the past. Pretty sure that the big box of FinCon16 swag will keep that streak alive.


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thHow’d you spend your weekend? I got to be on local radio, where I talked about “Your Playbook For Tough Times” and acted in an on-air skit.

“The Big Alaska Show” is an every-Saturday event on KFQD-AM. It’s a mix of interviews and (alleged) comedy bits, some of which hit and some of which miss. The hosts, Steve Stripling and Mike Ford, cheerfully describe it as “the longest-running error-riddled radio program in Alaska.

And I did my part to help that along. Wouldn’t you?


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thNot that this Lower 48 journey has been much of a vacation. It started out as a business trip and morphed into a medical emergency.

I was supposed to have gone home on Sept. 29 but we didn’t get back to Phoenix until Sept. 28. Our original itinerary had included a short post-FinCon visit, and by gum we wanted to make it happen.

Figured I’d go home on Monday but something told me not to make a reservation. Given that lower-back spasms woke me early Sunday morning, I’m glad I listened.

Ice, ibuprofen and stretching have eased the initial holycowthathurtstooscaredtomove, but I’ll likely give it another day or two before I think about a long plane ride.

Here are some things I’ve learned and some random realizations that popped up since I got here.

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th-1It wasn’t anything like we thought it would be. In a bad way.

Abby got sick but we kept attributing the symptoms to other stuff, such as exhaustion, dehydration and her compromised body finding fresh ways to torment her. At one point she weakly mused, “What new indignity are you throwing at me?”

Fortunately, my FinCon16 presentation had been at 8:30 a.m. on the first day so I was able to spend most of the time in the room with her. Unfortunately, she and I missed most of the rest of the conference.

That’s not nearly as self-serving as it sounds. Both of us mourned the chance to attend educational sessions and to hang out with fellow money nerds. And obviously no one wants to be sick, especially so far away from home.

On Saturday we agreed to stay an extra day in San Diego, still believing she could regain her strength. By mid-afternoon Sunday she decided it was time to go to the emergency room.


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