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th-1My personal-finance pal J. Money started an interesting conversation over at Budgets Are Sexy. A reader asked if it were “a poor decision” to use an item for years, then return it for a refund.

(That’s even a question?)

In “Returning used stuff – cool or no?,” J. Money said he wrote back to the reader saying, among other things, that this was a question of personal ethics. The blogger added that he would not return anything unless it was broken or otherwise not delivering on its promise.

(In his wild youth he’d returned a used boombox two days before the return window expired, and was thoroughly shamed by the customer service rep before he got his refund. Lesson learned!)

The reader then shared that he’d needed to move and “just couldn’t throw out my bedroom set that was in perfect condition and 10 years old.” (Emphasis added.) So he took it back to Costco and, unbelievably, the store refunded his money.

 


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thTell me: What is it you plan to do with your 30 wild and precious extra years?

Right now a man can expect to live to at least age 72 and possibly as long as 87; for women, the numbers are 79 and almost 89. (Hint: It helps if you’re rich.)

Back in 1916, the average life expectancy for men was 49.6 years and for women 54.3 years.

According to a new study from Allianz Life, most of us (93 percent) are excited about the fact that we’re living three decades longer than our ancestors did.

Among the top plans for those years are “travel extensively” (56 percent) and “live in a different place” (35 percent). Most interesting to me is the fact that almost one-quarter of those surveyed say they would “take more risks in life.”

In part, that’s because they’re steeped in remorse about the road(s) not taken.

 


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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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thThe first was a misrepresentation and the other a lie of omission. Since May 12 I’ve been on the East Coast, but I couldn’t tell my dad or my readers. To do so would have ruined the surprise 80th birthday party we’d planned.

When he recently asked if I’d be coming back East any time soon, I prevaricated. Since he reads my blog and follows me on Facebook, I couldn’t suggest meet-ups with Surviving & Thriving readers in Manhattan or South Jersey. What, and ruin the surprise?

And it was a surprise, especially since his 80th natal day took place back in March.

 


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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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