Personal Finance Column


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 Personal Finance 
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Bankruptcy can set you back for 26 years

Bankruptcy can present long-term roadblocks to financial securityMost people aren’t surprised to discover that personal bankruptcy can set you back by quite a lot financially. After all, you have to be in a pretty poor financial position to file for bankruptcy in the first place. But the effects of bankruptcy on your financial situation might be greater than you imagine.

According to a study from Ohio State University and University of Maine researchers, it can take 26 years for bankruptcy filers to catch up to their nonbankruptcy-filing peers in terms of net worth.

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 Personal Finance 
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Want help reaching your goals? Use a financial incentive

How many times have you set a financial goal, only to quickly fall short? You might start out with good intentions, but after a while you let yourself slide and soon your goal isn’t even on your radar anymore. How can you stay motivated?

According to the founders of stickK, what you might need is a financial incentive.

“I co-founded stickK with two of my professors from Yale,” says Jordan Goldberg, CEO of stickK. “They have done a lot of research related to incentive design, and found that certain nudges, when put into place, can help you reach your goals.”


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 Personal Finance 
14
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Financial education not helping consumers make better money moves

Financial education isn't working right now. Please try again later.Even with new regulations put in place after the financial crisis, we still have a pretty caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) approach to finance in this country.

Americans are mostly free to take out an adjustable rate mortgage with a crappy rate that will leave them eating ramen every night, or invest all their retirement savings in high-risk foreign stocks if they want to, based on the premise that consumers themselves are the best judge of what financial products are right for them.

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 Personal Finance 
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Comments of the week, deadbeat friends edition

Here’s another edition of the comments of the week, where I try to highlight what I think are funny or thought-provoking comments from readers. There were some especially great comments this week on Kristin Wong’s blog about how to get money back from a friend without destroying the relationship.

Tommy Z has a pretty clever but somewhat Machiavellian trick for getting some clarity on exactly how much they owe you:
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 Personal Finance 
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How to get money back from a friend

Ever have trouble getting money back from a friend?Ever loaned money to a friend? If so, then you’ve probably experienced some level of awkwardness, which usually kicks in when it comes to asking for your money back.

Last year, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that friends who borrow money remember the loan very differently than friends who lend the money. Sometimes, borrowers even remember the amount differently. Researchers call it “the blind spot.”

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 Personal Finance 
5
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Comments of the week, debt ceiling edition

Keep the comments coming!One of the best parts of running Bargaineering so far is getting to read all the incisive comments left by readers. Here are a few that stood out on some of the big issues we blogged about this week, including the debt-limit fight going on in Washington, D.C.:


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 Personal Finance, Retirement 
6
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Will your future self thank you, or curse you?

What will your future self's life look like?I don’t remember when my wife and I started talking about our past selves and our future selves, but for years we’ve been doing it as a way to motivate ourselves through tough moments, especially when we’re making our lives difficult in the present to help ourselves in the future.

“My future self had better appreciate this,” we’d say as we pulled old carpets up on New Year’s Eve so we wouldn’t have to do it after we had moved in and put all our furniture on top of it. Or when we set up an automatic direct deposit to a savings account that tended to leave our checking account pretty empty by the time the next paycheck rolled around.

Somehow, picturing our future selves not having to stress about a flat tire or unexpected medical bill made it easier to save in the here and now.

We may have been on to something with that.
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 Personal Finance 
3
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Money is great, not worth getting murdered over

More than a hundred Americans lose their lives every year over money disputesThe FBI recently published its latest crime statistics for 2012, and it turns out that disagreements over money end in murder an awful lot.

Last year, there were 148 murders stemming from “arguments over money or property,” more than were committed during “brawls due to influence of alcohol” (82), burglaries (92), or “romantic triangles” (95). It’s also more than the total number of murders committed annually in many countries, including Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Belize, and many more than the 15 deaths the CDC recorded from “contact with a marine animal” (including sharks) between 1999 and 2010.


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