Lara's Feed
Jan 11, 2011
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Time running out on FSAs

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There are only a few days left to buy over-the-counter drugs using your flexible spending account (FSA) debit card before new rules kick in that require a prescription for common healthcare products such as Tylenol and cough syrup.

Under new guidelines that came into effect on January 1st,  “any drug or medicine is going to require a prescription from your doctor if you’re going to submit a receipt to your administrator,” explains Jeremy Miller, president and co-founder of FSAStore.com. But those with FSA or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) debit cards have through January 15th to make OTC drug purchases without a prescription while merchants update their systems, the IRS says.

Jan 4, 2011
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12 ways to say “I do” without going broke

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When it comes to lavish weddings, event planner Sasha Souza has seen it all: $25,000 cakes, a live performance by Tony Bennett and more caviar than most people could eat in a lifetime.

But in these somber economic times, more couples are saying “I don’t” to the kinds of affairs that will put them in a financial tailspin long after the last crystal candleholder has been unwrapped.

Dec 31, 2010
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How many kids are too many?

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Carl Friedrich and his wife were perfectly happy – and busy – running a wealth management practice with a bustling household of four daughters. Then a bouncing baby boy arrived.

“For us, that was the tipping point,” says Friedrich, the managing principal at Friedrich Wealth Management in Syosset, New York.  “Four kids was a do-able, and five kids…it’s a stretch.”

Dec 31, 2010
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Do you need a bigger house – or just want one?

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Jake Engle has some sobering news for bright-eyed families eager to ditch their tiny houses for sprawling four-bedroom homes in the suburbs: you might be sorry.

As a financial planner at Wealth Planning & Management in Portland, Oregon, Engle has a unique perspective on the financial blunders people make in the name of having a family, particularly when it comes to the idea of owning a home.

Dec 30, 2010
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529s: the good, the bad and the ugly

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Saving for college just got even more critical. With the latest figures from the College Board showing a sharp jump in post-secondary tuition and related fees across the board, it’s no wonder parents are looking at their 529 plans and asking: How does my plan stack up?

Simon Napper of MyPlan IQ aims to clear up the confusion by separating the best state college savings plans from the worst. His criteria: fund quality (based on risk-adjusted returns over the past year), asset allocation and diversification.

Dec 27, 2010
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Financing fertility: The high cost of bringing home baby

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Bethe Halpern and her husband Ted tried to have a baby for nearly a year before turning to fertility treatments in hopes of conceiving.  Two doctors, five rounds of IVF and close to $50,000 later, they were exhausted – and still without a child. “We were held hostage for three years of treatments,” says Ted. “When do you find time to plan a vacation and live your life?”

The Halperns’ story ended happily – today they’re the parents of twins, Lauren and Jack – but it’s far from unique. More than 6 million women in the U.S. have difficulty getting or staying pregnant, the CDC reports, resulting in a tsunami of financial turmoil: with the average costs of IVF around $8,000 to $13,000 for a single cycle as well as doctor visits, fertility drugs and the price of related treatments and therapies – the cost of infertility is staggering.

Dec 8, 2010
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Gen Y on the recession: lesson learned

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Generation Y has long been derided for everything from being spoiled to self-involved, but the so-called “Me Generation” vow to get one thing right: they won’t let the next downturn catch them off guard.

A survey by TD Ameritrade found that members of Gen Y (broadly speaking, anyone born between 1979 and 1988) heeded the lessons of the financial crisis better than any other generation, despite being faced with dwindling Social Security, rising college costs and an anemic job market.

Dec 3, 2010
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Why having the “money talk” with your kids matters

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If you think kindergarten is too soon to talk to your kids about money, think again. A survey released by McGraw-Hill found that nearly 30 percent of kindergarteners show an interest in the powerful green stuff, a figure that jumps to 80 percent by the time they reach third grade.

Given the U.S.’s epic financial foils in recent years, it’s no wonder parents are eager to give their children a leg up on money matters. But the problem is two-fold: For starters, not everyone can agree on who should be teaching their kids about cash. (Parents? Teachers? Both?) And of the one-third of educators currently teaching money management topics in school, a whooping 72 percent feel they don’t have sufficient resources.

Nov 30, 2010
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When adoption is Plan B

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Karen McIntyre was 40 years old when clarity struck: she was ready to adopt. After spending most of her thirties on and off injectable medications and having endured two failed IVF attempts, it was time to stop trying to get pregnant and consider plan B.

For McIntyre, adoption was the best alternative. “I realized that carrying a baby lasts nine months , but parenting a child was the key goal  and it no longer mattered to me how that was accomplished,” says McIntyre, who lives in the Philadelphia area.

Nov 30, 2010
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The tricky business of giving your kids cash

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Clark Kendall was 12 years old when he bought his first stock, and by middle school he was attending shareholding meetings. Today, as a father and financial planner at Kendall Capital in Rockville, Maryland, he says the best financial gift you can give your children isn’t a padded allowance or even shares in Apple  –  it’s teaching them about money.

“From a philosophical point of view, the more quickly you can get your kids to understand financial planning and what it’s like to earn a dollar, the better,” he says. “You can’t give them money for the rest of your life, but you can give them an education about it.”

    • About Lara

      "Lara Pingue joined the Reuters online newsroom in August 2007. Before that, she reported for a national newspaper for financial professionals and freelanced for several Canadian publications. Pingue majored in Magazine Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto."
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