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thI’ve noticed a lot of summer blooms lately. And by “blooms,” I mean “yard-sale signs.”

The hand-lettered, brightly colored notices are tacked to utility poles, taped to trees (really?) or stapled to big boxes that have rocks inside to keep them from blowing away.

Narrowly missed attending a couple of these this morning. My niece e-mailed to see if I’d be interested, but we were entertaining an unexpected guest and then working in the garden, so I didn’t get online until mid-afternoon.

In addition to her e-invite I saw “Tag sales: Don’t buy the fantasy,” a Time magazine column written by my former MSN Money colleague M.P. Dunleavey. It’s a darned amusing (and darned true) story of the ways we sometimes lose our minds in the face of a bargain.

Even a bargain we don’t need. Especially a bargain we don’t need.

 


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th-2Dear Members of the Class of 2016,

You’ve gotten that diploma and landed a job – maybe even your dream job. Now that your career has officially begun, it’s time to think about how it will end.

Even though the ink is barely dry on your new business cards, you need to focus on retirement – specifically, on the need to save for it either through the workplace or on your own. Retirement is decades away but your new best friend, compound interest, is here right now.

Some financial experts say you need $1 million or more for your old age. The median starting salary for the class of 2014 was $45,478, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Your mileage may vary, of course. If you majored in something like early childhood education, music or communications your paycheck is more likely to be in the $31,500 to $39,800 range. Or maybe you haven’t landed the right job just yet and are making do with retail or other gigs.

Scary, huh? But you have a secret weapon: Time.

 


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thSome very interesting reader comments appeared on my April 6 post, especially as regards grown sons and daughters who expect help with down payments and furnishings.

“Just got an email from my stepson who wants us to co-sign on an FHA home loan because they don’t have enough income to qualify for the loan,” wrote Kandace.

She hasn’t said “no” yet, but she will. But she knows that won’t be the end of it.

“Then they will likely want us to co-sign on an apartment, but I’m not comfortable with that either. I’m thinking about what I would be willing to give – or lose – financially. It will probably be an amount that helps get them (he, his wife and their two kids), into an apartment. But no co-signing for me.”

Not everyone was able to make that kind of call – at least initially.

 


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thApparently I can’t read a calendar. Last week I offered a 40 percent discount on my Write A Blog People Will Read online course. At the end of the post I noted that the discount was good until “11:59 PDT Wednesday, April 8.”

Swell, except that April 8 is a Friday. Ooops.

Those who are still mulling it over (and I’ve heard from a couple of you) now have two extra days to make your decision. If you’re on the fence, feel free to e-mail me at SurvivingAndThriving (at) live (dot) com with any qualms.

For example, one reader wrote to ask how much experience was needed for the course. Although she does a lot of writing for her job it’s a very different type of scribbling. Thus she wondered if the course would be “too advanced” for someone who was new to blogging.

I responded with a note plus a couple of sample chapters so she could get an idea of what the course holds. If you, too, have specific questions (how can I know whether I’ll find enough ideas, what if I’m not sure there’s time in my life to maintain a blog, et al.), send them along and I’ll respond with advice*** and a course sample that helps address that question.

In other news:

 


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thGiven that my most recent giveaway had 243 entries, I’m guessing you guys like to win gift cards. That’s why you should all head over to my daughter’s website, because she’s giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.

Well, she isn’t. DollarDig is. Abby’s just the host. The cash-back site is sponsoring the giveaway of the gift card and will also donate $100 to a charity of the readers’ choice (and 10 T-shirts in addition to the Amazon scrip).

That’s not the only site you should visit, though.

 


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