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Emergency fund

Act Your Age: A Decade-by-Decade Guide to Saving

Do you have any regrets about how you’ve prepared for your retirement so far? Noooo, not you, right? But maybe you’ve heard from friends that they’d be in better shape if only they had remembered to set up that 401k their 20s…or continued to save...

Which Debt Should I Pay Off First?

My husband and I have student loans and mortgage debt (on our primary home and rental properties). Which should we pay down first? —Stephany Y., Los Angeles, CA You’ve probably heard student and mortgage debt referred to as “good debt.” That’s...

Be Ready for the Worst-Case Scenario

Suppose the first thing your boss says to you tomorrow is, “Clean out your desk.” Any idea how you’d manage? Time for a financial fire drill: Imagine paring down your current expenses and creating a plan to cover just the basics. “Basic” means...

Three Smart Ways to Earn More, Save More

Today’s “It’s an Emergency!” saving tip: Stop scrimping and score yourself a mini windfall. Here are a few fun ideas for a $100 savings bump this weekend: Get paid to run to the post office, organize a closet, or buy and cook groceries for an...

Think Now, Save Later

Tip #3 in the It’s An Emergency! savings challenge is sneaky:  Avoid having emergencies. Step 1: Sit down and have a scary brainstorming session with yourself or your partner. What things could possibly go wrong that you can predict? Think: car,...

Tax Refund Allocation Dilemma

Meet TRAD What is TRAD? TRAD is the Tax Refund Allocation Dilemma, and it's a hazard this time of year. Here's one reader's puzzle: Q: I'm getting about $1,200 back for my tax refund. There are three things that I would like to do. What is the...

A Penny Saved

Expecting a refund check from the IRS? Most Americans do, and the average refund is over $2,000. Don't use it toward paying bills, buying a new wardrobe or a down payment for a new car or a house. Start an emergency fund. Financial planners think...

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