Personal Finance Column


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Gamers line up for new gaming consoles despite tough economy

New gaming consoles tempt gamers, but price remains a concern for many.Forget the hemming and hawing about price, forget the crummy economy and high unemployment rate — lots of people are going to buy the new gaming consoles that came out this month.

The 2013 Video Game Console Survey commissioned by Bargaineering.com shows that 9 percent of Americans are “very likely” to buy a next generation video game console in the next three months, with another 6 percent saying they’re somewhat likely to buy one, compared to 84 percent who said they were unlikely to do so. Of current console owners, 17 percent said they were likely to upgrade to a next-gen console, with 11 percent saying they were somewhat likely to upgrade.

 Personal Finance 
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Letting your man manage your finances? Watch out

Must-knows about money for womenIn many relationships, financial decisions are delegated to one partner, and overwhelmingly, that person is male.

A recent study from Fidelity found that just 24 percent of women say they take responsibility for day-to-day financial decisions. And that actually  represents an increase since 2011, when just 15 percent of women said so.

That gender gap presents a danger for women, in part because the life expectancy for women is longer than it is for men, and because women traditionally give up some of their earning power to be caregivers for at least part of their careers. Divorce can also hit women harder than men; according to a 2011 Census report, 23.3 percent of divorced women had taken public assistance in the last 12 months, versus 14.7 percent of divorced men and 15.2 percent of married women.
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What ‘Final Fantasy’ taught me about finance: Use it or lose it

Hoarding doesn't do much to help you enjoy Final Fantasy or life

My first foray into the world of Moogles and Magitek goes as far back as elementary school. In fact, I’ve been playing “Final Fantasy” so long that the game may have actually been the origin of a bad habit it would eventually help me recognize: holding onto things until they’re no longer useful.
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Comments of the week, renters insurance is cool edition

We had a lot of great comments on a bunch of different posts. One of my favorite types of comments are readers sharing their own experiences, and we got plenty of those on posts about renters insurance, bedbugs and financial pitfalls for veterans.

Here’s one from reader Huskervball testifying to the importance of renters insurance:

We had a killer tornado. Many apartment buildings were demolished. The importance of renters insurance was overwhelmingly clear.


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 Personal Finance 
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4 ways to fight and claw your way to the increasingly elusive American Dream

The American Dream is getting harder to achieve for many.The American Dream is a great story.

Since the days of Horatio Alger, Americans have been (literally) buying the story of how, through hard work and persistence, we’ll all get to live a comfortable life in a respectable neighborhood, and raise our kids to do even better.

This story gets part of its truthiness from the fact that we all know someone, or can point to an American we admire, who really did pull themselves up by their bootstraps through ingenuity and elbow grease and pep. The belief also serves a useful purpose: Thinking you can better your situation through sticktoitiveness and moxie is a great motivator. It’s part of why Americans work lots of hours compared to those in other industrialized nations, and why we have the most productive workers in the world.

Unfortunately, for lots of people, it’s just not true.
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 Personal Finance 
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When do you need a financial adviser?

Do you need a financial adviser?Not everyone needs a financial adviser or planner, but there have been a couple of times during my financial journey when a guide would’ve been nice. So when do you need a financial adviser necessary? I wasn’t sure, so I asked one.

“Everyone is different, so I can’t say yes or no to everyone having a financial planner,” says Matthew Watt, financial consultant at Heymont & Company in Los Angeles. “I would like to think everyone should want a financial planner, but that’s naive and biased of me. I provide value for people who are too busy to manage things on their own or need a second opinion.”

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Who needs a will? Pretty much everyone

Who needs a will? You do, probablyIt’s obvious why wills are necessary for married people who have children and valuable assets, but for those of us who don’t have kids or large estates, a will is still important.

“Most people over the age of 18 need a will,” says Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore, an attorney in Hamden, Conn. “Single individuals often need a will even more so than a married person. For married people, in most jurisdictions, most property can pass to the surviving spouse upon the death of the other spouse. However, since an unmarried person does not have this option, their estates generally go through probate court.”


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Comments of the week, baby boomer angst edition

Baby boomer angst is understandable given many are worse off than millennials

We had a great week for comments, with lots of people weighing in on a post I wrote pushing back against boomers’ frequent public critiques of the millennial generation.

Some readers thought I was being too hard on the boomers, who have also suffered as a result of the financial crisis.
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