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th-1Readers and writers: Want to talk about personal finance, blogging techniques or life itsownself?

I’m heading to Phoenix on Monday and hope you’ll join my daughter and me — and possibly some bloggers to be named later — at a casual meet-up on Saturday, Jan. 23.

I’ll be in town to visit my daughter, who blogs at I Pick Up Pennies. Abby and I will hold forth from approximately 1 to 4 p.m. at the Wendy’s restaurant (see “casual,” above) near her home. We’ve staged meet-ups there in the past and it’s been quite pleasant. Management doesn’t seem to mind if we loiter and talk.

And talk. And talk.


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Finishing your holiday buying in person? Get ready for warfare on wheels – and not just as regards scoping for prime parking spots.

Combat shopping can be murder on your ride. Whether you leave it in a garage, on the street or in a mall parking lot, you’re at risk of being tagged by a clueless driver and/or having your purchases stolen before you can even get them home to be wrapped.

While some consumers prefer to shop entirely online nearly six in 10 will do at least some brick-and-mortar visits, according to the National Retail Federation. Excited, distracted or stressed-out shoppers may dent your fender or scrape some paint on the way into or out of a parking space.

The honest ones will leave contact information on your windshield. The others just keep driving, which is not only bad manners but could also be a hit and run, legally speaking. Most states don’t define this as taking place on roads or highways, and many include parking-lot incidents in the hit-and-run definition.

One of my recent NerdWallet articles can help.


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thA whole lot of U.S. residents are scared of outliving their money. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 57 percent of clients called it their biggest money fear.

That doesn’t surprise me. Although nearly 8 in 10 full-time workers have some money for retirement, 28 percent of them report that the total value of household savings and investments is less than $1,000 (not including primary residence and defined benefit plans).

Certainly I’ve had my own share of bag-lady dreams, so this topic really resonated when I researched it for a NerdWallet article called “7 steps to deal with our No. 1 money fear.”

Funding a retirement plan can seem daunting, but it’s not something you can put off. Even if your future is decades away, your new best friend compound interest is here right now.

 


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thI’ve taken a two-month contract job and my head, she is spinning. At 8 a.m. Monday I had my first conference with the editor and by 9 a.m. I had four assignments, all due within one week.

The articles are all based on insurance, a topic about which I know as much as any other freelance personal finance writer. Translation: I’ve spent a lot of time researching this week.

By the end of the first day I was utterly wrung out and wondering just what I’d done. The only thing that kept me going was the memories of my first day at The Chicago Tribune and the first few weeks at MSN Money. In both cases I felt completely at sea but I managed to survive, and to thrive.

 


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thThe 2015 Financial Blogger Conference starts today in Charlotte, NC, and once again I’m among my people.

Not rich people necessarily, but people who are nerdy enough about money and blogging not to be bored by conversations about compound interest and Google algorithms.

Is it any wonder that some relationships — and at least one marriage — have resulted from this annual money geeks meetup?

Last year I wondered how these romances began. Was it finding someone with similar financial values? Noticing that this person’s eyelids didn’t droop when you mentioned retirement planning?

Or maybe it was just the two free drink tickets that come with the receptions.

 


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